Our writer Luca was lucky enough to be selected for the Rennsport beta, and observed a few details about the sim worth mentioning that may need refining.
Imagine my surprise when I opened up my email one morning to find I had been granted access to the Rennsport closed beta. For those out of the loop, Rennsport is the game that is being talked about by many as the next big sim racing platform. It’s still inaccessible to the wider public, and only been used in the ESL R1 esports competition.
Having been juggling iRacing, rFactor 2 and Assetto Corsa Competizione, I always intended to race on Rennsport when it became available. I had heard that it felt like rFactor 2 or RaceRoom to drive. But after a few hours with the game, I can pinpoint a few key details about it already.
Setting up Rennsport
One thing that surprised me about Rennsport when I first loaded it up is that the loading times were pretty quick. It felt like a PS5 game, although you can probably attribute that to the game currently having very little content. At the moment, there are just the four cars and tracks used in ESL R1.
I loaded up a test session, and realised I had to manually map the functions. So I went through steering, throttle, brake and clutch, and went to drive. But I flicked the paddle and nothing happened, which was confusing.
Turns out, you have to scroll down in the same menu where the steering and pedal functions are mapped. After much deliberation, I was finally out on track to see how Rennsport felt.
It wasn’t that long before I found a problem. The wheelbase I use is a Fanatec GT DD Pro with the 8Nm power boost, and I had not looked for the ideal settings for a direct drive wheel. I knew it wouldn’t be immediately optimised, but I noticed something very odd about the force feedback.
Normally when you turn into a corner, you expect the wheel to get heavier. But in this case, it got lighter which was the oddest feeling. I couldn’t centre the wheel, it would always want to go either left or right. I inquired about it on the Rennsport Discord server and they said you had to change an option called ‘Invert’ from No to Yes.
Maybe this is an option you don’t select on non-DD wheels, but if that isn’t the case then it feels pointless to have. Anyway, I got recommended some settings and was able to fairly assess the way the cars drove.
Physics & HUD
Having been watching ESL R1 closely, I have been able to see how the competitors throw their cars into corners. After driving like I usually do, I tried that approach and it amazed me how stable the cars remained.
You can brake very late and throw your car into a corner, and it sticks. Prior to driving the game, plenty of people claimed it handled a lot like rFactor 2, and whilst I’ve never driven an officially-licenced GT3 car on rFactor 2, it still feels very different to Rennsport.
So far, I have only tested the cars in single player test sessions and not done any online races. But I sense with the way the physics are, that online races will be won by the ones who can keep the momentum when throwing the car into corners.
Another detail I noticed was the HUD. There is a live sector time counter which surprisingly isn’t on all sim platforms, and rejoice for there is a live track map! Something that is on ACC but not on iRacing or rFactor 2 without running external software. That does make me wonder, since Rennsport has been confirmed to be mod-compatible, how will the track maps be made for those?
The final detail was the rear view mirror. The frame rate for the mirror is very low as standard, probably by design. Having not done any multiplayer races, I can’t say whether the frame rate compromises the experience. You can increase the quality and frame rate of the mirror but it could be to the detriment of the forward facing imagery. All dependent on your PC of course.
There is a vehicle proximity radar, so you may not need the mirror at all.
In my admittedly limited experience, my main takeaways are: the physics need a bit of work, the settings were unnecessarily complex at first but the HUD was very well designed and had everything one may need for racing.
I am looking forward to the game fully releasing. But it will take a lot for me to make it my go-to sim for racing. The cars just feel way too light and forgiving for it to feel like a challenge. I hope the devs can rectify this. Rennsport has a lot of potential.
If you have access to the Rennsport beta, what do you think of it? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!