With the open beta launch of rFactor 2 Online, the developers promise big community races akin to iRacing‘s Special Events. That got us thinking: What big races should they include?
After many years with a competition and ranking system that seemingly lagged behind its contemporaries, rFactor 2 is implementing a new platform for online matchmaking. Dubbed ‘rF2 Online’, it promises a new way to compete in daily races, accumulate driver and safety ranking, as well as tracking player progress.
But perhaps the biggest piece of information from this launch are the inclusion of special events. Big community races with multiple splits held once a year, with a huge amount of prestige. These have been happening on the likes of iRacing and RaceRoom for some time now.
iRacing hosts the likes of the Bathurst 12 hours and 1,000 races, Sebring 12 Hours, Petit Le Mans and the 24-hour races on Daytona, Spa and the Nürburgring. So what could rFactor 2 have for their special events?
Le Mans 24 Hours
For those who wanted to experience what it was like to compete in the 24 hours of Le Mans, their best bet was to compete in the iRacing Special Event. However, after 2020, the event disappeared after ACO and Motorsport Games struck a deal.
With the Le Mans 24 Virtual event they held being invite-only, average joe sim racers never got the chance to race the event outside of low-level organised leagues. So it would make sense that rF2 finally gives the players what they want with these promised Special Events.
Although, there may be another game releasing that may throw a spanner in the works.
Set for a December 2023 release, Le Mans Ultimate will be the officially-licenced 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Endurance Championship game developed by Studio 397 and Motorsport Games. It is probably safe to assume that in order to drive sales of the title, they will lock any open Le Mans-style special event to it.
Even though more people play rF2 since the launch of Online, there will be more relevant content on LMU both at launch and in the future. This includes the LMH and LMDh cars that are prevalent in the 24 Hours. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that the event will happen on both platforms.
Another race that was a mainstay on the iRacing Special Events schedule until recently was the Indy 500. When Motorsport Games promised an IndyCar standalone game for this year, their exclusivity deal meant the extremely unpopular canning of official online IndyCar racing on every other platform.
The least they can do is have the Indianapolis 500 as part of their own Special Events on rF2. The platform may not have as good an oval racing package as iRacing, but for a wide-scale community event centred on IndyCar with the standalone title nowhere to be seen, rF2 is the only choice.
Unlike with the Le Mans 24 Hours, we do not have any idea when this IndyCar standalone title will release. Assuming it does though, any Indianapolis 500 special event would also probably move there. But until then, rFactor 2 would be the place to compete in the greatest spectacle in racing.
Although with MSG selling the NASCAR licence to iRacing, maybe the IndyCar licence could follow and the Indy 500 will be back to being an iRacing Special Event.
Spa 24 Hours
If there is one track that is universally beloved, it is Spa-Francorchamps. Every year, it hosts a 24 hour GT3 race that results in two of them in the sim racing world. There is the iRacing Special Event and the SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports round on Assetto Corsa Competizione.
Yes, the ACC event is not open to all, but unlike MSG with Le Mans and the Indy 500, SRO have not put a stop to the event taking place on platforms other than their own. So what would prevent them from having a Spa 24 Hours on rF2?
Maybe we could have an unofficial Spa 24 Triple Crown and see if any drivers can win the race on iRacing, ACC and rFactor 2. Of course, like any other major sim, it has an abundance of GT3 cars. Maybe it could not just be Spa, but also the Nordschleife 24-hour race as part of the rF2 Special Events.
Speaking of the Nordschleife…
Nordschleife LMP & GTE
Every event mentioned so far exists in the real world, but this one is different. Back in November 2021, the Le Mans Virtual Series held its third round of the season with teams in LMP2 and GTE cars. The previous rounds were at Monza and Spa, with the two following rounds at Sebring and Le Mans.
All those tracks host Prototypes and GTE cars in the real world. This round, however, took place on the notorious Nordschleife, where nothing faster than a GT3 could reasonably race for safety reasons. But since there is no life-risking level of danger in a sim, it was perfectly okay for them to race.
The 8-hour event did not run to distance due to external reasons, and it never returned for the following season. It is a shame, as it was such a unique challenge for all drivers involved, so it would surely prove popular with the typical rF2 playerbase.
If a Le Mans special event took place exclusively on Le Mans Ultimate, maybe having the now-obsolete Oreca 07 and GTE cars from Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, Corvette and BMW on the combined Nürburgring GP and Nordschleife track would be a very popular alternative.
At the start of this article, we mentioned two of the three triple crown blue ribbon events. Both existed previously on iRacing, but the one that never appeared on the iRacing Special Events calendar was the Monaco GP. The track does exist as official content on rF2, although even that is not quite straight-forward.
On the official Steam store for rFactor 2, the circuit is not called Monaco, but rather Circuit d’Azur. Many games with the track outside of the official F1 games have listed it as such due to some licencing issues with the organisers of the Monaco GP and Formula One. It is why Formula E’s Accelerate esports series have not had a round on the track.
It could point to rF2 not being able to run the event on an official basis in a broadcasted event, whilst such issues do not befall rF2-based independent leagues like Formula SimRacing. Nevertheless, whilst the track has not proved popular in terms of racing, it is a popular challenge for drivers.
As for the cars involved, the default choice would be the official Formula Pro. However, Studio 397 do have some free content in the form of historical McLaren F1 cars from ’76, ’93 and ’97. Maybe those cars could be considered for an rF2 Monaco GP.
What races would you like to see become an rFactor 2 Special Event? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!