Earlier in December, RaceDepartment received a 1952 Ferrari 500 mod for Assetto Corsa. With the creation, the 1950s in F1 finally gets some more sim racing representation. Here is all you need to know about the mod.
In recent years, the history of Formula One has slowly found greater sim racing representation. Third party Assetto Corsa creations, official Automobilista 2 content and a variety of seemingly random industry-wide additions mean one can recreate much of the series’ 70-year past.
That is until the late-1960’s however. In fact, the 1967 season received a lot of love thanks to Grand Prix Legends and subsequent recreations. Seasons following that received many a passion project. But it seems years before the ’67 extravaganza get lost to history. Furthermore, the entire 1950’s decade in motorsport has very little representation in modern titles, although there are numerous Grand Prix Legends mods.
That all changes now though. Those scrolling through recent Assetto Corsa mods on RaceDepartment may well spot an eye-catching offering. The 1952 Ferrari 500 F1/F2 car is a recent creation by Historic Sim Studios, the Revival Racing League and posted to RD by Obi-Wan_Kannabis. A rare insight into this special period of racing, it is most definitely a mod to check out.
Early Formula 1: Deserving of Love
With few racing fans of the 1950’s still around to tell the decade’s tale, it is no wonder why this early era of the sport is often overlooked. Taking place over 70 years ago, the 1952 F1 season requires a lot of research to truly understand. Furthermore, with the internet hardly even a concept at the time, books are the best bet for delving into details of the era.
This lack of awareness for the period is a true shame. With cars slowly finding pace thanks to the advent of more efficient engines and advanced weight-saving techniques, the cars were incredibly unique. Furthermore, tyre and brake technology being in their early days, driving such models is an absolute challenge.
Meanwhile, circuits from the period were rarely purpose-built venues. More often than not, racing in the 1950’s involved tackling large stretches of open road for hours at a time. Legendary courses of today began their lives as street circuits hosting the danger of early F1 in many cases.
This meant that, whilst struggling to keep power in check and doing all their best to remain seated, drivers had to contend with protruding barriers, worrying telegraph poles and rock-hard buildings. In-sim, this is sure to make for a thrilling experience, albeit without the stress of fatality lurking around every turn.
The Ferrari 500: A Dominant Force
In the early 1950s, one car dominated them all. In fact, it is thanks to the Tipo 500 that Ferrari garnered its incredible reputation, all whilst propelling the infamous Alberto Ascari to the top of the all-time list.
After the withdrawal from the sport by Alfa Romeo in 1951, the Formula One World Championship went through a strange period that combined older F1 and the brand-new F2 regulations in a single event. This allowed Ferrari to put together a smaller, lighter model that could fight for overall honours. The Ferrari 500 emerged as the first model built to F2 regulations with its smaller engine.
Being the only new F2 car on the grid alongside archaic, clumsy F1 machinery, the Ferrari 500 dominated the first few seasons of its career. With Alberto Ascari behind the wheel, this red dart won all seven 1952 races in which it competed. In 1953, race wins were more evenly spread across the Scuderia’s four drivers – Giuseppe Farina, Mike Hawthorn, Luigi Villoresi and Ascari. But in the end, Ascari claimed his second title, with the Tipo 500 taking every top step of the year, bar the Indy 500 – which counted towards the World Championship standings between 1950 and 1960, though F1 teams rarely ventured to the Brickyard.
In 1954, the Tipo 500’s engine was bored out, expanding its displacement from to 2.5-litres. Becoming the Tipo 675 F1, the car now put out 210hp. Despite these changes, the arrival of Mercedes and Maserati to the F2 class led to the end of Ferrari’s time at the top. Nevertheless, the Ferrari Tipo 500 would remain a famous model in the history of the sport.
1952 Ferrari 500 F1 for Assetto Corsa
Now, the car finally gets its moment in the sim racing spotlight thanks to a recent mod by the Historic Sim Studio. One can now download a beta version of the Ferrari 500 for Assetto Corsa on RaceDepartment.
The mod recreates the car in its original guise, between 1952 and 1953. As a result, it produces a more manageable 180hp from its 2-litre inline-four. A four speed manual transmission provides enough drivetrain flexibility to suit the variety of circuits present on the 1952 F1 calendar.
Created in an effort to recreate the 1952 F1 season, the Revival Racing League joined forces with Historic Sim Studio to put together this faithful recreation. It combines a free-use licence 3D model with physics from the HSS team.
According to the mod creators, the Ferrari 500 for AC is in an early state of development. The 3D model is reportedly taxing due to its lack of optimization. Meanwhile, some aspects such as animations and materials still require work. That being said, there is no doubt that this is a fun car to drive.
With CSP extended physics enabled, one gets a true sense of the vague nature of these engines on wheels. The car floats around on the tarmac due to its small tyre surface area. Furthermore, the engine provides good throttle response. Many in the RaceDepartment comments appear to praise the car’s handling.
Alongside the mod, RaceDepartment also features every livery for the car in the 1952 season. Two separate skinpacks add the Scuderia Ferrari and Privateer colours. For a sense of competition, one could run this model alongside the Kunos Maserati 250F. However, this omits the enlarged engine the Ferrari received for 1954.
Where to Race 1952 F1 in Assetto Corsa
As aforementioned, the 1950’s in sim racing is an often forgotten era. However, when it comes to circuits, the possibilities are far greater than the car list. In fact, Kunos itself has a couple of base game circuits that fit the historic bill.
Whilst layouts did change frequently throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, Silverstone 1967 is accurate to the 1952 F1 World Championship. Assetto Corsa also features a 1966 version of Monza as part of its standard content. Unfortunately, alterations to the final corner took place between 1952 and 1966. However, if you do not mind running the Parabolica rather than the twin-Curve Vedano, this too is an option.
Aside from original Kunos tracks, RaceDepartment can help in recreating the 1952 Swiss Grand Prix. In fact, Fat Alfie’s Bremgarten is available in the Download section for Assetto Corsa and one of the finest track mods created for AC. The opening round of the 1952 F1 season, Bremgarten is a fun circuit that brilliantly encapsulates racing in the 1950s.
RD also hosts a 1966 version of the Nürburgring. If the modern layout of the circuit is near-identical to its original guise, the 1966 model perfectly recreates the form in which it was built. The 1952 GP ran on the Nordschleife witht the old start/finish loop, meaning most should recognise the layout despite its historic tinge. Note that the Hohenrain-Schikane at the very end of the lap was not yet around at the time.
The rest of the 1952 season saw the paddock visit Spa, Indianapolis, Rouen-Les-Essarts and Zandvoort. Spend enough time trawling through the World Wide Web and you will find accurate recreations of each.
Meanwhile, the 1953 season is far trickier to complete. The Reims triangle replaced Rouen as host of the French GP. Just an old conversion from GP Legends is available on RaceDepartment of this infamous, and still standing circuit. Elsewhere, the addition of a stop in Buenos Aires, Argentina lacks representation in AC. The oldest version of the circuit available is a 1979 model which sported a longer, but still rather fast layout.
Would you like to see more 1950s F1 mods in sim racing like this Assetto Corsa Ferrari 500? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!