Studio 397 and Motorsport Games have released the 2023 Q1 update and content drop for rFactor 2. While it’s light on content compared to previous drops, it’s clear that this update will revolutionise the sim title in more ways than one thanks to several new features.
Image Credit: Studio 397
A few days ago, we highlighted a few pieces of content coming to rFactor 2 in its Q1 update. The new content and update dropped yesterday, on the evening of 21 February. Despite no additional pieces of content sneaking in, it includes plenty of game-changing features.
Content Joining rFactor 2 in the Q1 Update
In our previous article, we mentioned the two pieces of content joining the simulator. First up, simracing’s only officially supported Dallara IR-18 finally got a new track to race on in the form of Long Beach. Prior to Long Beach joining the sim, just three tracks from the 2022 Indycar calendar were officially included in rFactor 2. So fans of the series will certainly be happy at this latest release.
As well as Long Beach joining the title, Studio 397 came one step closer to completing yet another Motorsport Games license. With the release of the Honda Civic Type-R BTCC car, the BTCC grid is now near-on complete. This machine typically wears Halfords colours in its factory racing guise. It is a front-wheel drive staple of the British Touring Car grid that brought championship success to many a driver. Now, just the Cupra Leon remains for rF2 to feature the entire BTCC field.
From today, rFactor 2 players can purchase these two pieces of content in a variety of ways. The 2023 Q1 update pack costs €11 on Steam. If one of the two elements doesn’t tickle your fancy, they are available to purchase separately. The Civic costs €5/£4.44 while Long Beach comes in at €9/£7.99. Furthermore, the Civic is also part of a larger BTCC pack joining the BMW 330i and Vauxhall Astra. It will set you back €12/£10.67.
GT3 BOP Updates and Return of GT Challenge
We have known about an impending update to the GT3 cars and their Balance Of Performance for a while. In fact, it was released separately, a few weeks prior to the major Q1 update. The update itself brought all 14 GT3 class cars up to date, both graphically and from a handling perspective. The result of this should be less of a disparity in quality between the models.
Furthermore, the cars should all run at a much closer pace thanks to work surrounding the class’ BOP. However, this issue is a never-ending matter in simracing. So Studio 397 can, and will, make further changes.
The refreshed cars now seemingly set to race at a closer pace means Studio 397 is launching a new series, GT Challenge. Taking place over six rounds, this open-entry esports championship uses the GT3 cars on some of the best official tracks in-game.
From now until mid-March, the series begins with open qualifying. The times from each driver will separate the community into different pace-based splits, allowing everyone to take part. Then, from March 27, the championship kicks off at Long Beach. Each week, drivers will race at a new venue. The calendar travels to Sebring for Round 2, then Laguna Seca, Indianapolis, Lime Rock and culminates at Daytona on May 1.
A live stream for the top split will feature on rF2‘s Twitch channel. As many servers as necessary will be made available to accommodate everyone looking to take part.
Hybrid Update to Revolutionise rFactor 2
Since its inception, rFactor 2 has lacked an in-depth hybrid system. Though in this Q1 Update, that all changes. Finally, the game’s BTCC cars get the hybrid push-to-pass system brought to the series last year.
In the touring cars themselves, this means drivers will get 15 seconds of hybrid boost per lap. Many regulations restrict how players can use these 15 seconds. But, the in-car dashboard and in-game UI will provide information on when and how the boost is available.
Currently only available on the BTCC cars, hybrid powertrains have been missing in rFactor 2 until now. But, with the groundwork in-place, we could see other hybrid power units join the title. Motorsport Games holds the license for FIA WEC content, so we may see more Hypercars join the Vanwall in-sim. The likes of Toyota, Peugeot, Ferrari and Porsche may all be officially represented very soon.
Don’t Spend your Life Savings
Just like iRacing, rFactor 2 has used a per-piece of content DLC system for a number of years. At times, this can make playing the game rather expensive. Especially as, until recently, players in rF2 had to purchase every piece of content in each session. For example, fans of the BMW BTCC car had to own the rest of the BTCC grid to race them.
But, thanks to yet another revolutionary feature included in the Q1 Update, that is no longer the case. The developers are calling it ‘Racing Against Unowned Content’ and it does exactly what it says on the tin. Now, a BMW fan only has to own the BMW BTCC car and whatever track they’re racing on in order to race a full-field of BTCC cars. This works both online and offline. With Low Fuel Motorsport growing in popularity among rFactor 2 users, this is surely another step towards challenging iRacing.
As with any major update, plenty of patches and hotfixes have been made to how the game looks, feels and runs. From a new photo mode to a more streamline UI experience and many AI improvements. It’s worth taking a look at the entire changelog provided by Studio 397.
Which part of this Q1 update makes you the happiest? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!