Despite the Cold War, Russia and the Eastern Bloc have a fascinating motorsport history. This Formula Easter mod for Assetto Corsa brilliantly showcases this era.
After the Second World War, the world divided into two major groups. The West is best remembered for its easy-going lifestyle and fruitful economy. Meanwhile, when one thinks of the East, grey communism is usually the picture that springs to mind for many.
But did you know that, despite the challenges of the Soviet Union on the other side of the Iron Curtain, was a fruitful celebration of racing? In fact, the Eastern Bloc had its own fun with motorsport, and Formula Easter was near the top of the pyramid.
With very few history books truly diving into the great culture of Soviet F1300 racing, one would be forgiven for looking over the series. But thanks to a collection of cars created for Assetto Corsa, everyone can now enjoy the sport. RaceDepartment user jurik1984 is the modder behind one of the most comprehensive recreations of a series that everyone should test.
Soviet F1300 in brief
Formula Easter was a racing series that ran throughout the 1970s and 1980s across the different nations of the USSR. Limited to engines under 1300cc, the series quickly gained the name F1300. However, its true title refers to its dedication to racing drivers from the Eastern Bloc.
Over time, full-size teams became versed in the sport, with a number of outfits all creating their own cars. With power coming from these small capacity engines, each model is designed and built by civilian racers. Meanwhile, only parts from Eastern companies were eligible – supporting one’s neighbour in true communist fashion.
With the engine size limitations, the VAZ-21011 inline-four engine became the go-to for its sturdy construction. However, car makers like Skoda and Dacia provided engines to some teams as well, mostly in a sign of national pride. It was not just the engines that saw Lada dominate. In fact, everything from suspension parts to gearboxes and braking systems typically came from the most prominent manufacturer on the market.
Over the course of the series’ history, the cars changed their look, much like other categories. In the early days, one would not tell the difference between a Formula Easter body and an early Formula Junior. In fact, the original cars were based off discarded Eastern German single-seaters. But as time went on, they grew wings and more thought-out bodies, making for some whacky designs.
It is thanks to this series that many modern motorsport venues across Eastern Europe now exist. In fact, Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic was originally built to prevent the organisation of such events on public roads.
As one would expect, the fall of the Berlin Wall led to motorsport becoming a far more international community. With far more advanced creations in the West, Formula Easter suffered a rapid death. In its place, racers began driving F3 and Formula Ford cars.
Formula Easter in Assetto Corsa
During its time, the Formula Easter category saw domination by the national team of Estonia. In fact, the cars progressed at a far quicker rate than the smaller teams. This is evident in the many cars available to download from RaceDepartment.
RD creator jurik1984 has put together a total of 11 Formula Easter competitors, six of which are of the Estonia outfit. The remaining five feature creations by Metalex, Melkus, Avia and RAF. Many of these represent different years of the sport. Whilst the Estonia-3 is an early recreation of previous Cooper racers, the RAF 80 is a sleek, mid-1980’s dart.
As a result, rarely are the different cars by jurik made to race against one-another. However, as engine regulations never really changed, they still run similar laptimes. It is worth keeping in mind that these cars are not one single mod. Instead, it is a collection of individual creations by a passionate and talented car maker.
Not only do the cars brilliantly represent a forgotten part of motorsport history, they drive well too. Their handling is the perfect mix of tyre grip and suspension softness. This makes for excellent fun when battling wheel-to-wheel. Sure, the draft is strong, but with aero not forming the majority of grip, one can follow close and race hard.
Furthermore, going from an older model to a newer car, one can clearly tell how much the chassis elements improved. The cars were all recently updated on RaceDepartment, so they make the most of the latest community-led Assetto Corsa developments.
Finally, each 3D model is stunning. From the detail present in each car, one can tell just how much passion went into the project. With so many AC car mods falling behind in the visual department, it is great to see such high-quality, consistent across so many cars.
Perfect Tracks to Use
If you are thinking of testing out these incredible little cars, it is worth putting time into finding the right tracks. Driving 1.3-litre sub-100hp single seaters at the current Silverstone layout would be pointless. But luckily, there are so many circuits available for Assetto Corsa on RaceDepartment, even some semi-accurate tracks from the series.
Built in the 1980s, the Hungaroring is typically thought of as the host to Grand Prix racing. But at its opening, it still sat behind the Iron Curtain. Furthermore, it is a circuit that regularly hosted the Formula Easter series. The 1988 version of the Hungaroring is potentially the most accurate AC mod for the series.
However, one must also remember that Autodrom Most seemingly exists thanks to these small single-seaters. RaceDepartment recently received a take on the circuit in its modern guise. However, with very little change throughout its history, this is an accurate representation of how they raced at the time. If you can get over the modern track-side furniture, of course.
What do you make of this Formula Easter Assetto Corsa mod? Let us know on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments below!