Pre-war Grand Prix racing is underrepresented in modern sim racing titles. Historic Sim Studios aims to change this with its first 1934 racing car – the Maserati 8CM for Assetto Corsa is now out, just in time for Christmas!
From the late 1960s onwards, Formula One racing is well covered within sim racing. Thanks to the 1966 John Frankenheimer film ‘Grand Prix’ as well as the 1998 game Grand Prix Legends, the seasons of the late 1960s enjoy decent amounts of popularity among racing fans. The decades since have also frequently been portrayed.
What about the time before that? The Formula One World Championship only started in 1950, but not too much modern content for these years is around. Sure, there are GPL mods, and AC itself features the 1954 Maserati 250F in two versions. Also, rFactor 2 and the first Automobilista have mods available. But all in all, this time period does not seem to be as popular as the later ones, although a 1952 Ferrari 500 F1 has just been released.
Grand Prix Racing In The Early 20th Century
There was Grand Prix racing before that, however. Often overlooked, GPs were around since the turn of the century already, with roots going back as far as the 1890s. Between the two World Wars, its saw an upswing in popularity, as F1’s predecessor ran on multiple European circuits.
In 1934, German manufacturers Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union (now Audi) started to become the cars to beat in the Grands Prix. The likes of Bugatti, Alfa Romeo and Maserati had their hands full trying to keep up. However, as no official championship had been run that year, no champion was crowned. As the only manufacturer that entered every race in 1934, it was Alfa Romeo that took the best results, winning five of 13 races.
Their Italian compatriots at Maserati did not fare as well, however. Fielding the Maserati 8CM alongside the older V5 and 26M models, a second place at Pescara was the best they could muster. While not the most successful car in history, the 8CM is the car Historic Sim Studios decided to focus on first for its 1934 project.
Maserati 8CM: Raced By Legends
Raced by legendary drivers such as Tazio Nuvolari or Piero Taruffi, the car featured a straight-8 engine producing about 240 hp, drum brakes at not much else, as was usual at the time. Four gears and tires that were rather thin by today’s standards had to be enough for the drivers to compete with.
Speaking of drivers, you might want to download one. The car uses Nicecuppatea‘s 1923 driver model, which looks much more appropriate in the cockpit than the default AC one that will appear if you do not have the model installed.
Regardless, the Maserati 8CM for Assetto Corsa offers a brilliant look back to the times where this was the standard. Once seated behind the rumbling 3-liter engine, you will rarely point the steering wheel straight after hitting the throttle for the first time. The car very much likes a four-wheel drift to go fast. Beware of unsaveable slides, though – they will catch you out quicker than you may think.
Maserati 8CM in Assetto Corsa: Difficult, But Addicting
This also applies to the braking distances. As you would expect, they are quite long. You will not know whether or not you missed your braking point until seconds later, though, when you overshoot a corner. Practice is absolutely key in the Maserati 8CM. Once you know the car’s characteristics, though, you might soon start finding yourself trying to push it to the limit.
And despite being a handful, it is good fun to do so. A test run at Donington 1938 took me way longer than I initially though – simply because I could not stop. Flying through the gates around the track or underneath the iconic bridge was just too good a time.
Luckily, this is likely only going to get better. The Maserati 8CM is the first of five 1934 Grand Prix cars Historic Sim Studios is currently working on. After their Christmas present for sim racers, the Bugatti T59 and the Alfa Romeo P3 should be the cars we may see next relatively soon. A welcome breath of fresh air for an era that sim racing has not really seen much of.
What do you think about Historic Sim Studio’s Maserati 8CM for Assetto Corsa? Are you looking forward to diving into the pre-WWII Grand Prix era? Let us know on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments below!
We wish all of our community a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!