PISTA Motorsport: First Hands-on Impressions

PISTA-Motorsport-F3-Termas-Logo.jpg
Far away from the usual GT3 at Monza or Spa scenario, PISTA Motorsport is in development by REG Simulations in Argentina. We got to try a preview build of the sim - here are our impressions.

Sim racers live in exciting times, with hardware being better than ever and new sims being in development seemingly more frequently. While many titles focus on well-known cars and tracks, REG Simulations decided to do the opposite, instead opting to portray the racing scene in their native Argentina in PISTA Motorsport.

First announced in summer of 2023, PISTA Motorsport is set to have a public version available sometime in 2024. Modders-turned-studio REG Simulations have recently shared the first bit of progress since October in their latest dev log, stating that the day of the public version's Early Access release "will be soon".

Until then, the closed beta is continuously developed. REG Simulations have provided us with access to the sim, meaning we were able to gather our first hands-on impressions of PISTA Motorsport in version 0.4.

Content​

First things first: What is actually in PISTA Motorsport as of early May 2024? The sim based on the Unity HDRP engine comes with a small selection of tracks, as the Autódromo Rosario, Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo and Autódromo Mouras (La Plata) are playable - the latter in three different configurations. Additionally, the Motokart Speedway Carlos Casares dirt track rounds out the selection.

Six cars split into five different categories can be raced in PISTA Motorsport at the time of writing this article. They range from single-seaters and small FWD touring cars to a Dirt Midget.

PISTA Motorsport - Cars in v0.4.3.1​

PISTA-Motorsport-F3-Crespi-XXV.jpg

Formula 3 Metropolitana​

  • Crespi XXV

PISTA-Motorsport-Turismo-Pista-C1-Fiat-Uno.jpg

Turismo Pista C1​

  • Fiat Uno

PISTA-Motorsport-Turismo-Pista-C3-Ford-Fiesta.jpgPISTA-Motorsport-Turismo-Pista-C3-Renault-Clio.jpg

Turismo Pista C3​

  • Ford Fiesta
  • Renault Clio

PISTA-Motorsport-Procar-4000-Chevrolet-Chevy.jpg

Procar 4000​

Chevrolet Chevy

PISTA-Motorsport-Dirt-Midget.jpg

Midget​

  • Midget

The available cars exhibit very different characteristics, of course. Whereas both Turismo Pista categories see relatively low-powered FWD cars with front-mounted engines battle it out, whereas the Procar 4000 Chevy features RWD with the same engine layout, but more power and weight.

As a result, the cars will behave very differently when compared to each other, which is especially apparent with the Formula 3 Metropolitana single-seater. It is much more nimble through the corners, as you would expect from a light car that has decent downforce.

It is also worth noting that the Dirt Midget and Motokart Speedway Carlos Casares are still very basic. The track is hardly more than a dirt oval surround by grass, and the car tends to roll as soon as you try to chuck it sideways at speeds that should allow for this type of maneuver.

Driving In PISTA Motorsport​

These characteristics did strike us once we headed out onto the track - for now, the only way to do so is a solo practice session. To explore and learn the relatively unfamiliar tracks (to the author, at least) with the different cars, this is plenty, however.

PISTA's physics feel believable, but tricky, which is likely down to the cars. The F3 Metropolitana, for instance, is very planted, and you are unlikely to spin up the rear wheels with its 140 hp engine - but it is also easy to lock up the fronts under braking due to the lack of ABS. On the other hand, the Procar 4000 Chevy is happy to slide around a bit - up to a certain point, which can cause difficulties on corner exits in particular.

The FWD touring cars are not the most stable vehicles either, but in true front-wheel drive fashion, slides can be corrected by simply pointing the steering wheel in the desired direction and flooring the throttle pedal. This might lead to more understeer than desired, but saves you from spinning out more often than it does not.

Procar-4000-Dodge-Termas.jpg


Rain​

Remarkably, PISTA Motorsport already offers the possibility to drive in the wet. When setting up a practice session, it allows players to set the amount of cloud cover and water on the track in five-percent increments, allowing for a variety of different conditions.

REG Simulations aim for a dynamic system for wet tracks, and the beta already includes standing water on the tracks. When running through them, you can feel the momentary reduction (or complete loss) of grip, meaning they are not just for show.

During our testing sessions, we could not tell whether or not a dry racing line would form dynamically just yet, but that is the aim for the system eventually.

Force Feedback​

As of early May 2024, the FFB is one of the areas that needs the most improvement. While it is there and allows you to feel the cars' weight shift, the level of detail in general is relatively low - so much so that in some corners, all you feel is a force, but no bumps, for instance.

It could be that this stems from the track surfaces are too smooth as is, or rather the FFB system itself. REG is continously working on PISTA, however, so the system might make big strides soon. In fact, when we first tried PISTA, the in-game FFB strength slider did not have any effect, so we had to reduce the force in the wheel's software. Within a few days of mentioning this towards REG, the issue was fixed.

Meanwhile, hitting puddles in the rain immediately makes the steering go light, so the effect is pronounced enough to keep control of your car in the wet.

Visuals​

PISTA Motorsport is being developed using the Unity HDRP engine, which is not common in sim racing. So far, REG has managed to create visually-pleasing cars, at least on the exterior. In cockpit view, some of the textures look dated, particularly on some of the dials like RPM gauges.

Similarly, the circuits themselves cannot compete with those found in productions by bigger studios. They do look good in places, often look dated texture-wise, similarly to the cars' interiors. On the other hand, puddles reflect cars that get close or run through them, which does look rather good at this early stage already. Plus, small details like drones flying over the track or the flag-waving marshals (who do look a bit robotic currently) are a nice addition.

Fiesta-TC3-Termas-Rain.jpg


However, keep in mind that the game is in at an early stage of development. Making it look pretty should therefore rank relatively low on the list of REG Simulations. And the engine allows for eye candy - just look at Cities: Skylines II to get an idea.

PISTA Motorsport: Looking Forward To More​

Undeniably, there is still a lot of work that needs to go into PISTA Motorsport. At its core, however, there is noticeable potential for a great, engaging racing simulation. And while it will not focus on the usual favorites of racing fans worldwide, its Argentina-focused content should be a nice breath of fresh air.

Of the tracks included at the time of writing, only Termas de Río Hondo is available as first-party content in sim racing, namely in Automobilista 2. PISTA could be considered AMS2's younger cousin from another country, if you will - after all, AMS2 brought some exciting Brazilian tracks to a broader audience that otherwise likely would have never found them.

PISTA could do something similar, especially when it comes to Argentina's domestic racing scene, including Turismo Carretera. We are certainly curious as to how the sim is going to evolve until its eventual Early Access release and will closely monitor PISTA Motorsport's progress. It certainly looks to be on the right track - hopefully, we will have a video to show you soon, too!

The game is already available to wishlist on Steam.

Are you looking forward to trying PISTA Motorsport yourself? Let us know on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments below!
About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D

Comments

Being developed in Unity is possibly a good sign. I mean It can't be worse that over bloated, inefficient, blurry pile of steaming turd that Unreal is.
Oh it can just look at games like truck & logistics simulator it looks horrendous
 
Premium
Being developed in Unity is possibly a good sign. I mean It can't be worse that over bloated, inefficient, blurry pile of steaming turd that Unreal is.
You would be surprised, unity has its own host of problems. Thats before you even talk about the foolish leadership running the engine into the ground
 
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Great!
Been looking much forward to updates on development for this title.
Every engine has it's faults. I insist to put on the bright hat, however.
The reports from Yannik's test drives is stimulating news to me - cars within same sim coming with great variety in reaction qualifies to a "sim" for me, with addition of the reported response from each car is exactly what you should expect.
Good news to me.

Edit: besides been loving south american sim content for soon 20 years now, just coming from historic Argentinian combo event. So to me the displayed content is just yet another plus.
 
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Moderator
Premium
If you live outside of Argentina, and don't have any interest in the local Argentinian racing, is there really any reason to get this?
I enjoy discovering new tracks and racing series. I had zero interest in Swedish touring cars until I found STCC for Race 07 but it introduced me to some great racing circuits, ditto Game Stock Car for South America, so I'm looking forward to learning more less well known tracks and having fun with the game.
 
Very curious to try this sim. My expectations are not sky high, unlike Assetto Corsa Evo, but the new cars and new tracks are intriguing. I live in Canada so the Argentinian racing scene is completely new to me, just like the Brazilian one was unknown to me until I bought Stock Car Extreme.
 
Premium
If you live outside of Argentina, and don't have any interest in the local Argentinian racing, is there really any reason to get this? Especially if you already have AMS2... Honestly I think it is neat that they're making a game like this, but I just can't see myself wanting to play it.
I find it interesting and exciting to get to know tracks and cars outside the normal simracer bubble, which often only consists of GT3 cars and tracks like Spa and Monza.
 
This could be interesting.
I see a potential market for lower powered cars that are not the usual F1, GT2, GT3 or GT4.
As to the engine and graphics... I just watched a great video detailing the feature set.
It looks to have quite a bit to offer.
Guess the rest is down to things like physics.
 
If you live outside of Argentina, and don't have any interest in the local Argentinian racing, is there really any reason to get this? Especially if you already have AMS2... Honestly I think it is neat that they're making a game like this, but I just can't see myself wanting to play it.
Yes and no. I remember that in 2008 ACTC Turismo Carretera (by 2Pez) gain some interest outside Argentina. But probably the knowledge of this game was bounded due ISI gmotor. And at the time, people were eager to know more about foreing series. And probably that's why Rezia released Game Stock Car in 2011. But yes, today will be niche, 'cause from racing enthusiast racing games have moved more into a general public.

Anyway i like like small/medium cars, so Turismo Pista C3 and C1 are pretty interesting imho.
 
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