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‘The Racer’ Trailer Debuts For Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown

KT Racing has released its newest trailer, ‘ The Racer’ much to the delight of the already dedicated fanbase. Since its first trailer, Solar Crown has been marketed as a driving game over a racing game. ‘The Racer’ trailer has turned that on its head with a 1v1 challenge system debuting as well as street racing and circuit racing.

Preview of an Included Racetrack. Image Credit: Nacon

‘The Racer’ Gameplay

‘The Racer’ trailer debuts and brings with it a whole host of new content. In a similar style to the Need For Speed games, the trailer featured a ‘challenge’ option. This allows players to simply drive up to an AI car, or another player, and challenge them to a basic street race.

In Solar Crown’s instant challenges, players choose the stakes that they race for. Performance Rating and Solar Coins are what you must put on the line. Deciding to risk it all for that one race or slowly building up your reputation over a longer period is a decision every player is going to have to make.

Outside of the streets, however, circuit racing and drifting are also shown throughout the trailer. Being a Test Drive Unlimited game, the main focus will, of course, be on street racing.

The Featured Corvette Drifts a Small Roundabout. Image Credit: Nacon

Dynamic Weather

There is a short sequence of the trailer where the newly customised Corvette drifts around a small roundabout and then fires itself off onto the highway. The weather suddenly changes, filling the camera lens with water droplets. The road forms puddles in certain areas as well creating a different environment to the one seen just before this scene.

With weather like this available at a player’s disposal, it could make having the right tyres on your car a necessity. Consequently, the racing becomes less about who can afford the best slicks and more about who is best prepared for the race. This furthers Solar Crown’s intention to make the player earn every upgrade without handouts.

If you haven’t already seen, a beta play-test conducted back in July 2023. Back then, we covered several other features that do appear in ‘The Racer’.

Game Modes

Throughout your Solar Crown racing experience, you will come across a wide variety of races. From classic circuit races to point-to-point events.

  • Circuit: A race around a closed loop with checkpoints to cross. The number of laps can vary.
  • Sprint: A race from A to B via checkpoints that you have to pass to finish the race.
  • Time Attack: Solo races in which you need to reach a given location via checkpoints and cross the finish line before the countdown ends. The faster you reach the finish line, the higher your ranking on the leaderboards. In this game mode, you can also play against the ghost of any player in the rankings.
  • Domination: In this game mode, players earn points according to their position each time they reach a checkpoint. These are A to B races, and the player with the most points at the end of the race is the winner! In each race like this, there is a randomly determined Rush checkpoint that doubles the points awarded at that location.

Different race modes and challenges, including some very popular ones from TDU 2, are also in the long-term plan for post-launch updates.

Cars And Customization

Players want to customize and tune their cars to their liking. That has been made obvious in series’ such as Forza Horizon. ‘The Racer’ trailer certainly appeals to that branch of the audience with a decently in-depth look at how the upgrade tree will work as well as cosmetic customizations shown off in their flamboyant glory.

Car Upgrades

The physical upgrade tree for the car shown in the trailer is very extensive. Whilst not visually described in great depth, just looking at the UI you can tell that there are at least six categories.

  • Engine
  • Suspension
  • Transmission
  • Chassis
  • Wheels And Tyres
  • ECU

Within these six categories sit many other options and upgrade trees to explore. In the engine section, for example, you can upgrade the air and fueling system. Whereas in the chassis section, you can fit a roll cage. Upgrades like this, whilst commonplace in other free-roam-based games, are good to see demonstrated at this point in Solar Crown’s development.

Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown Upgrade Tree. Image Credit: Nacon

Finally, once you have upgraded a specific aspect of the car, it appears that in the majority of cases, you will be able to choose from one of six qualities of upgrade. With an engine upgrade the options are:

  • Stock
  • Performance
  • Sport
  • Supersport
  • Race

Upgrades applied to other aspects of the vehicle present a different set of paths. Wheels and tyres for example are sectioned off into specific situational pathways. You won’t want to fit offroad tyres to your Ferrari and likewise, slicks to your pickup.

Cosmetic Upgrades

At the end of the upgrade segment of ‘The Racer’ trailer, the presentation of the livery editor and interior customizer is debuted. With these additions, a Forza Horizon-style marketplace could be possible.

Interior Customization Menu. image Credit: Nacon

A third closed playtest was announced in an accommodating blog post. Everyone who took part in either the first or second test will be invited back for the third. If you haven’t tested the game but would like to, make sure to sign up for the TDU Newsletter here.

Live Events

Temporary events will appear each week which, upon completion, will grant access to exclusive rewards and a stack of Solar Coins. There are several types of events coming to Solar Crown:

  • Lifestyle Battles: These races embody the rivalry between the Streets and Sharps. During these challenges, each clan tries to impose its vision of luxury and racing on Hong Kong Island. There are 5 different types: Instant Challenge LBs (win the most Instant Challenges), Frantic Spender LBs (spend the most money), Maximum Gain LBs (accumulate the most money), Need 4 FRIM LBs (earn the most SC in FRIM), and Betting Challenges (win the most SCs in Instant Challenge bets)
  • Hot Heads: Time Attacks are randomly selected to become Hot Heads races each day on Hong Kong Island. Players need to achieve the best possible time and climb as high as possible on the leaderboard by the end of the day. The amount of Solar Coins you earn depends on where you finish.
  • High Stakes: Just like with Hot Heads, Time Attacks are randomly selected to become High Stakes races. When an event becomes a High Stakes, a new target time is set. Participants get 3 chances to try to beat the time. They also need to pay an entry fee for each attempt. The entry fees are added to an overall pot and then split among the drivers who beat the target time. (Credit: Nacon)

Throughout the second playtest, some players were able to experience some of these events. The third playtest, due in the ‘coming weeks’, will almost undoubtedly include another sample of these live events.

Image Credit: Nacon

Let us know your thoughts on Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown‘s ‘The Racer’ on X @Overtake_gg or in the comments below!

Sports Journalism graduate from Solent Southampton University with a burning passion for motorsport. I've been sim racing virtually all my life, I started out with Toca 2 Touring Cars when I was very young and now attempt to compete in the likes of iRacing and Rfactor 2. I graduated University in July, and got married to my beautiful wife Rachel at the end of August.