One major benefit of sim racing is the ability to travel back in time to historic layouts of infamous circuits. Here are four forgotten layouts we want to see in sim racing.
In recent months, Automobilista 2 in particular has truly tapped in to a unique benefit of sim racing. In fact, this virtual driving hobby allows motorsport fans to explore circuit layouts forgotten to the past.
Be it through poor funding, extreme danger or the desire to change things up, almost every circuit around the world has altered its layout at some point or another. Therefore, many old-school layouts are no longer available to drive in real life. That is where sim racing’s time machine capability comes in.
Previous releases from Reiza include historic variants of the Nurburgring, Spa, Silverstone and the Hockenheimring. But there are so many more possibilities for official historic circuit layouts in sim racing. Here are some of our top picks.
Le Mans 1932-1971
Aside from the almighty Spa layout that ran its way around a Belgian valley in the Ardennes forest, the Le Mans circuit surely features some of the most iconic historic layouts. Before chicanes broke up the Mulsanne straight and safety concerns removed the flat-out run past the pits, the track was heaven for speed demons.
Indeed, between 1932 and 1971, the venue resembled the current track with its 90-right Tertre Rouge and Indianapolis-Arnage sections. But the long pit straight remained, providing an excellent turn-1 challenge.
The modern Porsche Curves and Ford Chicanes were only implemented for the 1972 race. This meant that, bar the high-commitment flick of Maison Blanche, nothing separated Arnage from T1 (except for the first makeshift-style iteration of the Ford Chicane from 1968 to 1971).
Host to many of the 24-hour race’s infamous battles, racing this layout as an official game addition would be fantastic. Who knows? Maybe Le Mans Ultimate or the recently announced Le Mans packs for Automobilista 2 will feature this historic ribbon of tarmac.
One circuit to have experienced a lesser-known evolution over time is Zandvoort. Indeed, the venue for the F1 Dutch Grand Prix has not always been the technical blend of turns it is today. Up until 1967, the track looked much more like Lime Rock Park from above.
The first few turns have always existed with the front straight and the first sector to the fast right-hander of Scheivlak featuring on the old course. But in its original configuration, a succession of high-speed right-handers followed. Drawing a perimeter around the track’s estate and cutting through dunes, it was a much different experience to today’s track. Later versions included a few chicanes to slow cars down, but did not alter the circuit’s overall character.
The current circuit is all about mechanical grip and direction change through the second and third sectors. But the historic Zandvoort layout was a high-speed blast, all about balance and getting any downforce one could get from the older cars.
This flat-out sprint would surely boggle the mind in-sim. But it’s something we would love to try out. An Assetto Corsa mod by Sergio Loro (F3 Classic Tracks) is available. But there is nothing like official content. So when will a developer finally tackle this brilliant circuit?
Laguna Seca 1957-1963
Another track that has become slower as time has gone on is Laguna Seca. Today, this Californian dream of a track winds its way gently up a hill and plummets back down via the Corkscrew.
But back in the day, this circuit resembled an oval from above, at least for two thirds of the lap. A long, sweeping turn 1 seemingly runs all the way round to the top of the track. Here is where one reaches one of just two notable braking zones. Dive through the tight left-right of the Corkscrew which remains unchanged from the circuit’s inception and fly down the hill.
The third sector is more recognisable as just the final hairpin provides an acceptable overtaking opportunity. Removing the infield section of sector 1 from the modern layout means cars arrive towards the Corkscrew with much more speed.
This alone is reason for wanting to try it in sim racing. Unlike other historic layouts, classic Laguna Seca does not garner much attention in sim racing. Hopefully that will change soon.
Across Europe, there are a few sites that attract petrol heads religiously. The Nürburgring is one, Spa is another. But a location many will recognise thanks to the countless cliché Instagram shots is the pit building of Reims Gueux.
Still standing today despite not serving use since the early 1970s, this is a staple photo opportunity for road-tripping car enthusiasts. It is all that remains of the ancient French Grand Prix location. But what if one could visit it in its heyday? Well, sim racing has the possibility of allowing you to do just that.
Not only is the pit building a stunning insight into the past of motorsport, the circuit itself was a true test of man and machine. Long straights, tight corners and tricky braking zones made up the original 7.8km triangular circuit.
But we would rather see the layout that ran from 1953 to 1972. This was a more technical circuit mixing faster turns and slower hairpins with long straights. Better yet, braking for the northern-most corner was a difficult blend mixing braking and turning.
Which no longer used historic circuit layout would you like to drive in sim racing? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!