Assetto Corsa Competizione is a popular choice among sim racers. But our editor Luca has been competing in an ACC league and is critical of certain features that are lacking on the platform.
At the start of 2023, I decided to follow many of my heroes and finally get myself a sim racing PC. Being inspired by the VCO Esports Racing League, my aim was always to get as good as I could on a range of different platforms, those being iRacing, rFactor 2 and Assetto Corsa Competizione.
Despite starting with ACC as I had played the PlayStation port, I found myself racing and enjoying the other two a lot more. I always wanted to not get too comfortable on any game, which is why with the sim racing outfit I am a part of United Sim Team, we committed to an ACC league.
After a few false starts, we joined the SimZone Rags to Riches league which began in early September. It is the same league that the likes of Jardier and SRO Esports European champion George Boothby are racing in to qualify for the SimGrid x VCO Grand Finals. We of course won’t be joining them in that, since they are aliens and I am a mere mortal.
Despite the pace deficit, it is still a very fulfilling experience. But in my time getting up to speed on ACC and also endurance racing on the platform, there are a few things I’ve noticed about it. Details that make me wonder how on earth ACC-focused drivers have done without them for five years.
On iRacing, rFactor 2 and now even F1 23, it’s possible to lock setups for all drivers in an online race. For newer drivers, this is a collective sigh of relief since the difference between a good and bad setup can be huge. ACC has never had fixed setups, which is quite daunting for those newer drivers.
When I got my Low Fuel Motorsport licence, it was when the Hungaroring was the track to take the test. I didn’t change the setup at all, and all seven of my lap-times were above the time that LFM had set. But then when I started doing LFM races, the drivers who were more knowledgeable with setup were understandably much quicker.
Of course, the argument for open setup races are that it does highlight the best drivers who can find the right setup. But for me? I resorted to bought setups from different providers, editing them slightly to suit me. Because starting from scratch is way too daunting.
Whilst not as detrimental to the enjoyment, there is always that voice in the back of your head saying “if you made this change, you could be leading”. Fixed setups are not always the level playing field-setter everyone claims it to be. Someone’s driving style may suit that fixed setup more than another.
But for new players starting out, it is almost impossible to catch up without getting paid setups. It would have been nice to have the option to lock the setups to the four presets for all drivers.
Despite most iRacing players insisting their sim is the most realistic, a lot do not seem to mind having lone qualifying. This is where each driver has the track all to themselves at the same time, without fear of being impeded or impeding someone else.
ACC does not have this either. So if you have ever done a league race on the platform, you have inevitably been part of the traffic jam before the last corner. The feeling of compromising someone else’s lap is not a nice one, especially if you are improving yourself. It is a lottery!
Like with open setups, you can make the case for the fact that ACC is merely not sacrificing immersion for the sake of convenience – which is a very good point! In the real world GT3 championships, they may be able to send drivers out on their own in qualifying. But the conditions will never be the same so there is always an advantage afforded to some.
But there is one element that is – quite frankly – inexcusable as to why it does not feature.
Teammates Cannot Alter Strategy
Last but by no means least. Someone who played a big part in helping me understand ACC complexities was one of my teammates, Brandon. With his help, I came to learn how to get the most out of the car when it came to tyre pressures and executing pit strategies.
Brandon always said to keep the tyre pressures between 26 and 27 psi for their optimum operating window. But because of different driving styles, the starting pressures would have to be different between stints. So we had to have those pressures pre-selected in pitstop presets.
But with that comes the issue. Whoever is not driving cannot change the strategy.
On iRacing during an endurance race, you can change the strategy when you are not driving, setting how much fuel goes into the car during the stop and whether the tyres are changed. Therefore it saves your teammate who is driving the trouble of having to do it themselves. Since, well you know, they should be concentrating fully on the track and what is happening ahead.
Why the Limitation?
Why does ACC not have that? All that the driver who is not currently driving can do is call out gaps and lap-times to cars around them. They cannot even look at their car’s tyre pressures or fuel number! Not being able to see this when spectating other cars is understandable since it would not be fair. But it is putting too much responsibility on the one driving at high speed.
With the new Assetto Corsa follow-up releasing next Spring, let us hope this is not something that is carried over. Endurance racing is a team effort, and any driver spectating on their team’s car should be able to directly change the strategy.
What features absent from Assetto Corsa Competizione do you believe should have been in the game? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!