o How Do Circuit Racers Adjust to Rallying? | OverTake (Formerly RaceDepartment)

Silverstone To Sweden: How Do Circuit Racers Adjust To Rallying?

How Do Circuit Racers Adjust to Rallying 576p.jpg
Fans worldwide are eagerly awaiting the release of EA Sports WRC, which is due to release on the 3rd of November 2023. Real-world rally drivers, such as Adrian Fourmaux, have endorsed the game as having genuine skill-building potential. But how can circuit racers adapt and enjoy this new rally game too?

Image credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Escort-1024x680.jpg

MK2 Ford Escort. Image credit: DirtFish.com

It goes without saying that circuit racing and rally racing are two completely different disciplines of Motorsport. Whilst both include getting a car to the finish as quickly as possible, that’s where the similarities end. Circuit racing is a beautiful dance of skill and precision, whereas Rally is more of a heavy metal concert at 100mph. On gravel, dirt, snow, tarmac, or all of them in some cases.

EA Sports WRC invited Abbie Eaton, British GT driver and Grand Tour Racing driver, to test out their MK2 Escort Rally car. Professional Rally2 driver, Adrian Fourmaux, guided her and demonstrated the basics of what it takes to drive a rally car. Both in the EA Sports WRC game and in real life.


By the end of the video, Eaton was able to complete a scaled-down version of what a rally stage could look like, albeit with a slight mishap. But it is not just UK drivers that are lending their hand to the world of rally.

Dylan Murcott – IMSA To Rally ARA LN4

Starting out in Spec Miatas, Dylan Murcott went on to win two separate titles on the IMSA package. His first title came in 2015 in a Lamborghini Super Trofeo. Two years later, Murcott won the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series in a GT4 Porsche.

galstad-VIR-0817-199114-1024x640.jpg

Dylan Murcott and teammate guiding home their GT4 Porsche for the brand’s 50th win. Image credit: Autoweek

One final part-time season of circuit racing in the NASCAR Xfinity series saw Murcott leave the tarmac and trade it for gravel. The COVID years, 2020 and 2021, saw Murcott adapt and change his skillset for the gravel and mud surfaces. Last year, he went for the LN4 title in his Subaru WRX rally car with co-driver, Andrew Sims.

Pretty much every event that we finished we came in either second or first, so combined between the five events that we have finished, we came second three times, and have two wins. So that’s a pretty good history together with one another, especially in the competitive LN4 class.” - Dylan Murcott to DirtFish.com on his rallying experience

Murcoott.jpg

Dylan Murcott in the forest of New England. Image credit: DirtFish.com

Whilst a big crash and engine failure have kept him from a title, Murcott is looking like he could be contending some of the bigger Rally championships in years to come. WRC is, of course, the main aim. The EA Sports WRC game is the perfect launch pad if you do not happen to be a two-time IMSA champion, however.

Is Circuit Racing Skill Transferable To Rally?​

Circuit racing technique pays little evidence to the sideways sliding of a rally. Car control, for example, is vital for both disciplines but applicable in very different ways. Understeer for example is treated with trail breaking on a circuit, but could send you off a cliff at an alarming speed if put into practice on the rally stage. Instead, the utilization of the handbrake is essential.

Keeping the rear of the car planted and stable is vital for lap time around the world circuits, however, on dirt, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Having the rear end lively and loose allows for the expansion of the rotation axis. It allows the car to change direction quickly and with more certainty.

The ‘short hold’ style of the handbrake usage on dirt is unique to the rally stages. The technique is known as the ‘Scandinavian flick’ and is used to rotate the rear of the car on a much tighter axis than a normal clutch kick could produce. Circuit racing obviously has no use for this technique so for drivers transitioning over from the circuits to the stages, WRC’s driver school would be a great place to learn this vital skillset.

ea-sports-wrc-hands-on-preview_header-1024x536.jpg

Image credit: EA Sports

The new WRC game looks to set the standard in terms of off-road virtual racing, especially when it comes to real-life accuracy. Not only does the game offer you a detailed training regiment in the form of the WRC Rally school mode, but also lets you rise through the ranks of the slower classes if you want it to. This way, you should be able to pick up some essential rally driving techniques with ease.

WRC offers a broad range of cars and tracks with a dynamic range of weather and time-sensitive options. Make sure to check out OverTake’s first impressions of the preview build of the game as well as its full stage list.

Are you looking forward to EA Sports WRC? Let us know over on our Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments below!
About author
Connor Minniss
Website Content Editor & Motorsport Photographer aiming to bring you the best of the best within the world of sim racing.

Comments

You can transfer real driving knowledge to Mario Kart, if you wish. The point with EA's WRC and any other game is if you can transfer any game knowledge to real world driving (something different from a shopping cart). Back in the day, sims like rFactor and RBR actually saved me having from 2 real world car crashes, one in the wet, one on ice. Hence the point of playing something as realistic as possible for us sim folk. The amount of articles trumpeting mediocre simcades these days makes me think that your target audience average age is somewhere between 10 and 15, not caring much about anything over that judging by the content.

And if a real racing driver hits the same exact lap time in a game as he does in real life, that doesn't say anything about the quality of that game's physics. Realism comes from making physics as real as possible, regardless of what famous drivers get paid to sing praises to that game.
 
Last edited:
You can transfer real driving knowledge to Mario Kart, if you wish. The point with any EA's WRC and any other game is if you can transfer any game knowledge to real world driving (something different from a shopping cart). Back in the day, sims like rFactor and RBR actually saved me having from 2 real world car crashes, one in the wet, one on ice. Hence the point of playing something as realistic as possible for us sim folk. The amount of articles trumpeting mediocre simcades these days makes me think that your target audience average age is somewhere between 10 and 15 these days, not caring much about anything over that age judging by the articles you post.
Garbage elitism like this is why most racing sims have <2000 active players at any time...
 
The amount of articles trumpeting mediocre simcades these days makes me think that your target audience average age is somewhere between 10 and 15 these days, not caring much about anything over that age judging by the articles you post.
Oh FFS, I've been away for about a year and the elitist bullshit seems to have massively increased.
Back in the day, sims like rFactor and RBR actually saved me having from 2 real world car crashes,
LOL, I lost the rear end of a van once, back in the 90s. got it back through knowing how to actually drive - there weren't sims around then and we didn't have anything like ABS, traction control, or stability control - it was just you, an engine, and four wheels.
 
It doesn't take long at all for someone who is good at one racing discipline or vehicle type to get good at a different racing discipline or vehicle type. If you understand basic physics and understand how vehicles move when accelerating, braking and turning, that knowledge and experience transfers between different vehicles, different conditions, real-life, racing sims etc, even when the situations are not identical. Physics is physics, and all experience is transferable to other similar situations. We take in feedback, our brains fill in any missing info using previous similar experiences, we react and make adjustments on the fly, we learn from that new experience and apply it to all similar situations going forward. AKA 'learning'.
 
Premium
My adjustment when i switch from circuit to rally is just --> wheel off, joypad ON
Because there is no rally game available after RBR which is worth to play on the wheel.
I doubt this one will change that....

And to the topic: For me circuit and rally are almost like different sports. Beside the fact both is about driving cars.
 
For me circuit and rally are almost like different sports.
Exactly.

Circuit racing is usually on a prepared track with smooth and consistent surface. You have plenty of time for practice/testing to learn the track. If you make a minor mistake during a race there is time to make up for it, most races being 1-3 hours.

Off road rallys are on various surfaces, often within the same stage, with no practice time (you may get to drive a recon "lap" or two). And it is a one-shot run, make an error and that's it, you're in last place.

An interesting point is, even before sponsor and insurance concerns essentially killed crossover driving, you rarely saw drivers from other series competitive in rallying, and even more rarely saw a rally driver in other series. It is that specialized.

An odd thing about every rally sim I've tried - in nearly all other sims you can easily add cars and tracks, I've never seen a rally sim where you could add anything. You can only replace.
 
When switching to rally on tarmac, I think I do alright. On loose surfaces, I'm still working on it. Going the other way, I usually start doing a little better than I was before as I try and make small improvements based on the flaws I noticed in my driving during the switch.

I can easily jump between the two disciplines, confident of being off the pace in both of them.

That is how I feel every time I look at other people's times, no matter how much I improve.
 
Premium
When switching to rally on tarmac, I think I do alright. On loose surfaces, I'm still working on it. Going the other way, I usually start doing a little better than I was before as I try and make small improvements based on the flaws I noticed in my driving during the switch.



That is how I feel every time I look at other people's times, no matter how much I improve.
Well, all races need backmarkers, and only one person can be out in front. The only benchmark I use is my own performance.

I've always found it odd in sim-racing that so many put forward a time put in place by someone in isolation as the standard for everyone else, yet in real life even at the top-most level of racing their is breadth across the field.

Seen discussions where people with strong leader-board performance tell others their point of view is inferior because they aren't driving on the limit, and It did make me wonder if they would display that level of arrogance in a real world situation, Literally tell someone who finished mid-field they couldn't make any valid observations because they weren't at the cutting edge.
 
If an F1 team ever released their latest simulator software as a mass market game, RaceDepartment users would still call it simcade without having ever played it.

Right, that's why EA themselves made F1 Challenge 99-02, one of the sims that consolidated the concept of modding and precursor to rFactor, the base actually used by F1 teams to train for some time.
 
Last edited:
Garbage elitism like this is why most racing sims have <2000 active players at any time...

That's why an actual sim that barely had articles about it here 6 months ago has almost 10 times the playercount you mentioned, daily. "Garbage elitism" is what actually brought up RD to what it is today, if you happened to catch the beginning. And people play much less on public servers today because of kids looking for bumpercars fun in any game/sim they touch. It's just the general IQ of the times. So yeah.
 
Last edited:
Premium
I think the most underrated difference between the two styles of driving is the ability to listen to your co driver. Circuit racing - you can be chatting it up with your friends in discord while doing so. Rally - I'm muting the discord channel and all audible attention is focused on the co driver.

Just figuring out the cadence between their call out and when the event happens is the most specific thing I can think of when it comes to how I adjust from circuit racing to rally.

This of course goes out the window if you play rally games with a HUD activated like a weirdo.
 
Right, that's why EA themselves made F1 Challenge 99-02, one of the sims that consolidated the concept of modding and precursor to rFactor, the base actually used by F1 teams to train for some time.
And had RD existed 20 years ago it's users would've called F1 Challenge simcade before launch, because the Need For Speed publisher could never in a million years make something realistic.
 
Last edited:
Premium
And had RD existed 20 years ago it's users would've called F1 Challenge simcade before launch, because the Need For Speed publisher could never in a million years make something realistic.
You do realise it was made by ISI and the same core engine has been used by multiple titles right up to the present?

The main one being rFactor 2 which for all its issues is held with probably the highest regard for simulation aspects.

And 20 years ago we had Racesimcentral, and we certainly argued about all manner of things sim-related.
 
Last edited:
Premium
I do remember how one of the um...heated discussions back in the day was how Mobil Rally Championship 2000 fudged the sliding mechanic by rotating the car around a centre pivot point.

The more things change....
 
And people much play less on public servers today because of kids looking for bumpercars fun in any game they touch. It's just the general IQ of the times.
If you want to find a low-IQ discussion on the Internet look no further than simboomers discussing "race car physics".
 

Latest News

Article information

Author
Connor Minniss
Article read time
3 min read
Views
2,885
Comments
24
Last update

What brands would you like to see with more engagement in simracing?

  • Ferrari

    Votes: 152 37.2%
  • Porsche

    Votes: 151 36.9%
  • BMW

    Votes: 146 35.7%
  • McLaren

    Votes: 101 24.7%
  • Toyota

    Votes: 158 38.6%
  • Intel

    Votes: 51 12.5%
  • AMD

    Votes: 77 18.8%
  • Gigabyte

    Votes: 35 8.6%
  • IBM

    Votes: 22 5.4%
  • Elgato

    Votes: 33 8.1%
  • Microsoft

    Votes: 69 16.9%
Back
Top