Some of the most recent content in rFactor 2 is the collection of BTCC cars and tracks. With the pack’s quality, could it be a sign of hope for Le Mans Ultimate? We think so.
A few weeks ago, in a moment of boredom, I made the spontaneous decision to purchase the full BTCC Pack for rFactor 2. As a long-time fan of the series, I had been eyeing up the DLC for quite a while. But for some reason, I have only just made the leap.
Having put in more hours than I care to admit into this exciting batch of content, I am overwhelmed with a sense of positivity about the future of sim racing. More precisely, I am particularly hopeful for the upcoming Le Mans Ultimate title. In fact, the more time I spend driving these top quality British Touring Cars, the more I look forward to the upcoming World Endurance Championship game.
What is Le Mans Ultimate?
Announced in early June, just before the real life 24 Hours of Le Mans, Le Mans Ultimate is the official FIA WEC game, releasing at the end of this year. Making the most of Motorsport Games’ relationship with the ACO following the Le Mans Virtual series, it will feature every car and track from the 2023 championship.
Right from the get-go, the team behind it and rFactor 2, Studio 397, mentioned that Le Mans Ultimate would be built on the existing title’s engine. In simple terms, the endurance racer will be a repackaged version of rFactor 2 featuring every car and track from the 2023 FIA WEC, and nothing else.
The title’s announcement came after the postponement of the previously 2023-bound IndyCar game and seemingly vanished BTCC title. But with British Touring Car content featuring prominently in rFactor 2, the standalone game’s disappearance is now a good sign for LMU. Despite the clear difference in cars and racing styles, we the players get a glimpse into what Studio 397 will offer in the upcoming endurance simulator. And it is good!
BTCC in rF2: An LMU Demo
In 2020, Motorsport Games seemingly went on a spending spree. Buying out and taking over Studio 397, the company also claimed a number of official licences including FIA WEC and BTCC.
The original plan was for the British Touring Car Championship to feature its own title. But set-backs have somewhat made that idea disappear. Instead, the developer has added every BTCC car, driver and livery from 2021 to 2023 to rFactor 2.
The good news for us is that, as some of the most recent content in the MSG title, it provides great insight into how Le Mans Ultimate will look and feel. Having tried the new cars out on the scratch-built circuits, it’s clear to see that the WEC game will be of the highest quality and great fun to drive.
Much like the WEC, the BTCC features several very different cars all fighting one another on-track. Front-wheel drive cars vary from the long-wheelbase Hyundai i30 to the shorter Ford Focus. Rear-wheel drive models in the form of the BMW and Infiniti represent different edges of the budget scale. The Cupra, Vauxhall Astra, Civic Type-R and Toyota Corolla all fall somewhere on the spectrum as well.
The great thing is that, whilst each car makes up its time in different ways, they are all fantastically competitive. Furthermore, jumping behind the wheel of any model requires a totally different approach to another. In fact, one can truly feel the intricacies of each car in-game. This is something that is sure to shine in LMU.
They are certainly different cars to the high-downforce prototypes and GTs of the World Endurance Championship. However, the way you can easily play with the car on throttle and guide it into the apex on the brakes is sure to translate to the World Championship models. All in all, I felt these touring cars to be extremely intuitive to drive, something you need in endurance racing.
Aside from the cars, four tracks feature in the BTCC Total Pack. Brans Hatch, Croft, Thruxton and Donnington Park are all of sublime quality. Each bump is evident through the wheel thanks to the developer’s laser scan technology. The AI is very competent at each circuit providing great racing and the surrounding scenery is stunning. This all adds to the immersion which is already plentiful thanks to the inclusion of every livery from the past three years. Fancy recreating the 2021 season finale? Jump on rFactor 2 right now.
With Motorsport Games already announcing that LMU will be updated over multiple years, one can imagine that fans of the WEC will also get to replicate previous events in-game. Any fan of the sport will get to immediately feel like Antonio Fuoco spinning out at Spa or Vanthoor sticking it to the Toyotas in Japan.
More to Come
In rFactor 2, the BTCC content very much focuses on the cars and tracks. In fact, the series’ triple race weekend format, reverse grids, success ballast rules are not easily available. Furthermore, any sense of career mode, or full-length championship is out of the question.
But with Le Mans Ultimate, that should not be the case. With the game focusing solely on the FIA WEC, each minor intricacy of the series should feature in the game. Therefore, single-class qualifying sessions, pitstop limitations and Le Mans’ unique characteristics will all be available. In addition, previous posts revealed that in-depth championships will be available in Le Mans Ultimate, among other game modes.
So whilst rFactor 2‘s BTCC playability may limit itself to online competition and single races, that will not be the case in LMU. Indeed, the possibilities on offer for this exciting upcoming game are wide-reaching.
I am a very passionate endurance racing fan that closely follows the WEC and IMSA series. So obviously, I was already excited for Le Mans Ultimate. But since playing with rF2‘s BTCC pack, that excitement has well and truly become hype.
There are only a few things left to do now. Firstly, hope Studio 397 can meet fans’ expectations. Second, pray that the many rFactor 2 bugs, glitches and frustrations get ironed out. Lastly, but certainly not least, drive more British Touring Cars! I think I’ll do that right now.
What do you make of the BTCC content in rFactor 2? Do you agree with me about Le Mans Ultimate? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!