More reactive and dynamic, the new RaceRoom tyre model promises to elevate the driving experience in the sim to another level. But there is much more to it.
Announced last week, what developer KW Studios has been working on lately is sure to change car behaviour in RaceRoom substantially. We are talking new tire physics, new braking behaviour, improved ABS as well as changes to how diffusers and the entire aero work.
We were among the first to get our hands on the Beta build and also had a chance to talk directly to the heads behind the changes. So, how much will this update improve RaceRoom when it drops in December?
New Tyre Model Based On Real-Life Data
The biggest change compared to the live version of the game is definitely RaceRoom‘s new tyre model. The previous physics held their ground and were overall pleasant to drive. However according to KW Studios, there were car behaviour quirks that were simply not fixed with setup tweaks. As a result, the game was not true to life.
The best example for this is the new Porsche 992 GT3. A beautiful car – but with loads of understeer under power. As it is heavy on the rear due to its engine placement, this is also true for the real car. And like in reality one should be able to drive around it. In RaceRoom however, this was not possible, as the front tyres were not producing enough grip.
Getting a Grip on Physics Exploits
Esports players resolve this by using exploits. They go for unrealistically stiff setups with extremely negative camber on the front, maximizing grip to unnatural proportions. This setup as well as a certain driving style helped drift the rear around turns.
Now, in order to literally get a grip on this exploit, KW Studios dug into the tyre code and found some placeholder data from yesteryear. This they then replaced with new real-life data from tyre companies and racing teams they are in contact with. The result is a transformed racing experience, offering much more grip, responsiveness, and control. But heading to the track, one can see for oneself.
How Exactly Have the Tyre Physics Changed?
As it is the most played class in RaceRoom, GT3 is getting the new tyre model first. So for our test session, we took the new Porsche 992 GT3 for a ride on the Nordschleife. First with the live (current) version, and then with the Beta build. These are our impressions and findings from the comparison.
Impressions & Findings
- Difference is immediately noticeable.
- You can feel the tyres loading when you turn the wheel on a straight.
- There is now softer FFB in the middle – and more pronounced feel for tyre grip.
- The feedback of tyre grip feels more alive, dynamic and responsive now.
- You can rotate the car better on brakes, or even on throttle like with the Porsche.
- The loss of traction is more gradual than before. Gone seem the days of sudden oversteer. Now the transition is more defined, giving you better control, making driving at the limit easier.
New Tyre Model: Preliminary Take-Aways
According to professional drivers, GT3 cars are quite easy to drive in real life. KW achieves that as well with the improved tyre physics. Before, the tyre basically had the same amount of grip in all phases of driving. In other words, the FFB was static. Now the tyre grip is calculated more dynamically. Therefore, depending on the load of each tyre and weight transfer, the grip changes. As a result, there is way more grip overall in RaceRoom.
Overall especially the GT3 cars are now easier and more natural to drive. Also, with the tyres now working more independently, the camber issues have been fixed, resulting in cars riding kerbs much better. So, spinning out over a kerb is less likely now. It is actually quite difficult now to even lose traction.
Physics Update: New Brake Behaviour, Nerfed ABS, Tweaked Aero
KW also tinkered with the brakes, ABS and aero capabilities of the cars. They noticed that the old models were not powerful enough compared to their real-life counterparts. So all GT3s have now new, better brakes installed. In return, though, the effect of ABS is reduced.
Thus they aim to simulate the real braking process of pro drivers more realistically. So just like in a real GT3 you should now be able to hammer the brakes, ease off a little to roughly 80 % and then trail into the turn, as you are increasing the steering input.
And this change goes hand-in-hand with the new GT3 car diffusers. The diffuser produces one third to half of the downforce of a GT3 car and is therefore of key importance when it comes to the overall cornering performance.
Dynamic Downforce and Porpoising
In the old implementation, rake – so tail up, nose down – would only give you more downforce. Moreover, running the car lower to the ground would give you more topspeed. With downforce increasing with speed and dropping off when driving slowly. Now this is more dynamic as well, with downforce increasing the closer you get to the ground. Until you bottom out and it switches off. So porpoising is a thing now in RaceRoom!
But also front to rear axle balance is being influenced by this. So now rake can really influence how much grip the front can produce and how well the rear reacts to steering input.
Much More than just a New Tyre Model
Though we have called it thus, you can expect the coming RaceRoom update to be much more than just a new tyre model. Including changes and improvements for brakes, ABS, and aero, we reckon it to be a game changer, on the level of the FFB update back in 2021. As it adds several far-reaching physics innovations and improvements, we are optimistic that it elevates the driving experience in the sim to the next level.
For us RaceRoom is far more pleasant to drive now. We cannot wait until December, when this new update arrives, to test the new physics on the other 200 cars!
A New KW Game in the Works?
Although nothing has been confirmed, let alone shown, from recent statements from KW’s head of studio Jean-Francois Chardon and from what we heard from the physics team, we can conclude that something new graphically is in the works behind the scenes. At least KW teased that everything that is currently being developed for RaceRoom will also be used for future projects.
Whether this new chapter in the history of KW will be “Raceroom 2” or simply a graphics engine update for the existing title remains to be seen. But it is definitely good to know that at least something is happening and that the RaceRoom IP is going somewhere in the foreseeable future.
Are you looking forward to the RaceRoom update and new tyre model? Let us know on X (Twitter) @Overtake_gg or in the comments below!