The GT4 class has been a part of the Assetto Corsa Competizione roster for over three years and yet is far less popular than GT3. Fun to drive and full of diversity, Angus wonders why these racers do not get much love.
In July 2020, Kunos Simulazioni greatly expanded the Assetto Corsa Competizione car list. Launching the GT4 Pack, it gave the title a new lease of life growing from the basic single-class roster previously present.
Back in the day, plenty of hype surrounded the announcement and subsequent release. But it seemingly did not take long for the community to put the slower cars down and go back to playing with the GT3 racers. Since then, we ACC racers rarely look twice at these ‘junior’ models. But why is that? Let’s dive into the world of Assetto Corsa Competizione to try and understand why the GT4 class does not get the love it deserves.
GT4 in ACC: Reasons to Love it
Before diving into potential reasons why this class does not get much attention, we must point out just how good the collection is. The GT4 DLC Pack includes no less than 11 cars, spanning from the lightweight Alpine and its four-pot engine to the heavy brute that is the Chevy Camaro. Essentially doubling the ACC car list, it is a refreshing addition to the game.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Unlike the GT3 models that focus on aero and are radical race cars, the GT4 class is pretty much made up of modified road cars. With a lower performance window, this allows for greater variation in car models. As aforementioned, there is a great variety in car sizes. But the layouts and engines of each model differ greatly too.
Front-engine cars of different engine layouts battle with rear- and mid-engine racers. That is not all. Compare cars at either end of the spectrum and you will soon see that weight and power figures are worlds apart. The Ginetta for instance is a low power, light weight model, great for twisty national circuits. The BMW M4 on the other hand is all about power, without much care for weight reduction, excellent on Grade 1-style layouts.
GT4: Best Racing in Assetto Corsa Competizione?
This makes for brilliant David and Goliath racing in a far more obvious way than the GT3 cars. In fact, the leagues that do see regular attendance make for excellent fun. Both throughout a lap and across a season, different cars will be strong at different times.
It is not only this back and forth motion that makes GT4 racing so much fun in ACC. With less power, less weight, simpler aero and more forgiving suspension, these cars are simpler to drive. The slipstream is relatively strong, but dirty air is far from a factor when compared to the GT3 cars.
As a result, pack racing is far more frequent meaning that race craft is a key skill with the class. Very often will one come into battles of over three cars, all fighting for the same piece of tarmac. In public lobbies, this may feel like a scary prospect. But in a league with respectful racers, this can lead to some of the best fun in sim racing.
A Kunos Side Project?
Whilst organised league racing manages to get the most out of the GT4 cars in Assetto Corsa Competizione, the rest of the game struggles to make the class fun. In fact, the single player experience in ACC is far from optimal with any car. But when it comes to the lowest GT class, it is best avoided.
From the get-go with the class, it became apparent that the AI does not perform to the same level as it does in GT3 cars. Whilst the majority of sim racers will find competitive times against the AI in GT3 cars, it is not the case in GT4. Minimal practice, standard setups and little attention to tyre pressures can still lead to pole position by a large margin.
It seems this is not an issue only found in the GT4 Pack however, with the AI strength dropping considerably in additional ACC content. From post-launch tracks like the USA Pack to the Challengers DLC cars, they all tend to see offline racing become a boring domination by the player.
In addition to the poor AI raceability with GT4 models, it seems recent Assetto Corsa Competizione updates skip the class. Consistently do we see new GT3 cars added to the game. In fact, the recent 1.9 update meant the title now features every GT3 car from 2023. But when it comes to GT4 models, just the Alpine and Aston Martin represent cars seen racing in 2023.
The BMW, Porsche, Mercedes, McLaren and Audi have all been replaced or updated. Elsewhere, the Ginetta, Chevrolet, Maserati and KTM are no longer eligible to race in the class. Kunos could bring us new models to inject life into the category, but no. Instead, the McLaren 720S needs a Traction Control update.
“Faster is Always Better”
Whilst a change in update focus would help Kunos influence racers’ gaze regarding class choice, racing something new is up to the community. Some organisers do manage to run popular GT4 leagues. But in general, racers will always be more attracted to the GT3 cars in Assetto Corsa Competizione. That is for one reason, it is the top class.
One can see a similar dynamic in iRacing with its multiclass events. Ever since the release of the full GTP grid in Season 4 of 2023, the IMSA series have seen a larger top class grids. The LMP2 and GTD classes have seen numbers drop as a result.
In general, racers prefer to drive faster, headlining vehicles, because we can. In sim racing, we do not concern ourselves with running costs, licence progression or experience. Instead, we see a fast car and want to drive it. So we do. Especially when it comes to the GT class ladder, GT3 and GT4 are very similar categories in their style. So driving the lesser models is very similar to getting behind the wheel of a GT3. But with less power and aero that is.
When it comes to multiclass events, the disparity in popularity is even clearer. Major events on Assetto Corsa Competizione typically see strong GT3 grids and a few GT4 cars driving around alone. It seems the allure of racing through traffic, or rather the fear of being said traffic, draws numbers to the top class.
Assetto Corsa Competizione: Lesson in Favouritism
With its impressive recipe for success, the GT4 class in Assetto Corsa Competizione is certainly the most evident sign that the GT3 class sits at the top of the castle for both Kunos and the community. However, it is not the only category that suffers from being overlooked.
In fact, from launch the title always featured a collection of single-make series from both Porsche and Lamborghini. They were complimented in 2022 with the Challengers Pack. It included the Ferrari 488 Challenge, Porsche 992 Cup car, latest Lamborghini Super Trofeo model and BMW M2 Cup. But much like the GT4 Pack, the hype for these cars within the community died out rapidly.
With just one model per class, these cars’ downfall was perhaps more predictable. However, it is yet another clue towards the game being a one-trick pony. Assetto Corsa Competizione is good at recreating GT3 racing. But it will never quite capture the overall passion behind the GT sportscar racing and scene. This is something GTR2 for example did brilliantly.
This leads us to wonder about the success of what may well be the final car pack for ACC, the GT2 class. Despite not confirmed, the community has been aware of an upcoming GT2 Car DLC for ACC for over a year. The issue is that, GT4 cars and competitive single-make series cannot excite the community. So how will heavy, amateur-focused GT2 models?
What do you make of the GT4 class in Assetto Corsa Competizione? Why do you think it is unpopular? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!