With feelers in industries ranging from oil and gas through healthcare, pharmaceuticals, aviation, and financial services, McLaren—or, rather, as it was rebranded in 2015, the McLaren Technology Group—is a multi-dimensional company that has long-since expanded from its core business of motor-racing.
McLaren Automotive is the arm that builds road cars. The fastest road cars on earth. Supercars. Hypercars. There are 10 current models available, with the 1,648 units built in 2014 exported to 30 countries. Five of its most important models to date are available for your edification in Project CARS. Feel free to take one to the ’Ring and push it to its limits. Or all. Including the race-spec P1 GT3. Given you’ll be doing 200kmh in six seconds in the mighty P1, just be careful not to run out of talent. Safety, though, is a key feature of any McLaren; it is in-built into the DNA of the company, all the way back to the very start of the company.
It’s time to take a look at the qualities that separate the good from the great. Project CARS simulates motor-racing and the driver and car on the limit. A byproduct of this, of course, is that it also simulates the real-world of motor-racing where you’ll always find a handful of drivers on any grid being just that much quicker than the rest. The reason?
As with everything in life, there’s talent involved—innate talent that some are simply gifted with at birth—but that talent is but a small percent of the total package that makes up the race-winning driver. The rest is graft, knowledge, and skills that can be acquired.
This weekend’s challenge is the BMW M1 at Brands Hatch by our resident hot-shot.
Why the BMW M1?
Because Giorgetto Giugiaro. The lines of this BMW were created by the ‘Designer of the Century’. Also, because Dallara, who did the chassis and suspension. It’s BMW’s only mid-engined car (until 2012’s i8), and BMW’s first and only supercar. It also featured the best drivers in the world competing during F1 weekends. You can read about it here.
Why Brands Hatch?
Because the Procar series ran here in 1980. Carlos Reutemann won the race, and you’ll find the sweeps of this classic British track the perfect foil for the weapon that is the BMW M1 Procar.
Project CARS Vehicle Lead Casey Ringley Gets Under The Formula Renault 3.5 And Finds A Seriously Quick Runne
This was a cool project to work on as we ramped up to the IndyCar Dallara. The FR3.5 chassis is made by Dallara, and the underbody with full tunnels isn’t all that different from the Dallara DW12. We were given extensive data for what this kind of underbody does over a wide range of ride heights, and matched the game model to it in seriously minute detail.
This week’s setup guide takes you away from messing with your springs, suspension, and bump and rebound settings and into the far-more predictable—and arguably even more crucial—component of setting up your differential for battle.
From acceleration to deceleration, lock to slip preload, the differential settings have a vast effect on youf car’s behavior. Proper differential settings allow you to balance the car’s behavior both off and on throttle as the acceleration and deceleration lock settings not only affect the car’s balance, but can have a big impact on tyre wear.
This part of the setup guide series also deals with the important issue of radiator openings. Vital to the car’s engine cooling, the radiator openings need to be as small as possible so as not to negatively affect the car’s aero’ negatively, while still being big enough to prevent the engine from overheating.
It took a global oil crisis, war, and a recession to sink BMW’s Lamborghini-built, Giugiaro-designed, once-in-a-lifetime supercar …
The BMW M1 is a staple on any list of best supercars of the ’80s. There are some persuasive reasons: The only BMW supercar ever produced, the only mid-engined BMW in history (until 2014’s i8), the first BMW to be named ‘M’-Sport. Add to that a car that was penned by the ‘designer of the century’, conceived for racing, powered by the legendary BMW straight-6, and what you had was a recipe for easy success.
It turned out to be BMW’s greatest-ever failure.
Tallying up the list of why this is one of BMW’s most-important cars would not be a list of successes, but disappointments. They were many, they were varied, and they were spectacular. The BMW M1 project killed—not people, but careers, reputations, and ambition.
Project CARS offers more than just cars and tracks—it offers the intimate experience of what it’s like to be a racing driver on the limit. That limit is often dictated by weather, especially during endurance races. Racing in the rain has always been the limiting factor; but it can also be the great equalizer. Being fast on a wet track, though, is a skill that can be learnt. Sure, you may never be Ayrton Senna-quick, but there’s no reason why you can’t be as skillful as the rest of the world’s racing mortals. As with everything else in the racing driver’s toolbox, understanding what it takes to be competitive in the rain is half the challenge mastered.
The same applies to the art of endurance racing. These are skills that can be learnt. The crew over at Race Control will now share advice on how to brave the elements, and how to keep your focus during those extra-long races. The unfair advantage in motor-racing is always about preparation; knowing how to take advantage of the weather and how to remain focused through the dark hours of that endurance race is the difference between competing and winning.
This weekend’s challenge is the Pagani Huayra BC at Road America.
Why the Pagani Huayra BC?
Because Horatio Pagani. If you haven’t yet read the profile on the man behind the legend of Pagani, now would be a good moment to learn how Mr. Pagani went from floor sweeper in 1983 to building the Zonda in 1999. Pagani’s best cars have always been named after a friend to Mr. Pagani, and just as the Zonda F (named for 5-time F1 World Champion Juan-Manual Fangio) was, for many, the best Zonda ever produced, the BC (named after Pagani’s first customer and close friend, Benny Caiola) may well be the greatest-ever Pagani ever produced.
Why Road America?
Because the US is where Pagani sold his first car (to Benny Caiola). Road America, though, also features some really nice long straights and tight-twisty bits, all the better to get the automatically-rising wings (that appear at over 200kmh) working. The coolness factor alone is worth the ride!
Motor-sport Legend Vaughn Gittin, Jr. Will Be In The Airtec Project CARS Ford Fiesta at Time Attack Croft on Sunday, August 21. Come Join The Fun At One Of England’s Great Racing Venues
Legends don’t get any bigger—or exciting—than Vaughn Gittin Jr.
Here’s your chance to come watch a legend in action. World Champion drifting legend Vaughn Gittin, Jr, who drives his own creation—and one of the most iconic cars in all of motor-sports, a 900hp Ford Mustang RTR in the US-based Formula Drift Championship—will get behind the wheel of the Airtec Project CARS Ford Fiesta at Croft Motor Circuit this weekend, and you’re invited to come watch the fun.
Sharing the title of the winningest driver in the history of the Formula D series, Vaughn will bring the unique style that has captivated a generation of fans in Formula D to England this weekend—and apply them to the front-wheel drive Airtec Project CARS Ford Fiesta at Croft Motor Circuit.
Anti-roll bars and ride height settings are often the crucial piece of the setup jigsaw puzzle that sees rookies lose their way—and their cars—in the most spectacular way. Understanding, however, is key to performance
Altering the anti-roll (otherwise known as sway bars) offers a great way to adjust the handling of your car. What it does do is offer a way to adjust the front-to-rear roll stiffness ratio without affecting other elements of your suspension setup which may already be tuned for bump compliance, etc. Roll stiffness balance is a measure of how cornering forces will affect the ratio of changes in tire forces (i.e. does more load transfer happen at the front or rear) and adjusting the ARBs is a way to tune this balance independently from other suspension settings. The result of tinkering with the anti-roll bars is as follows: stiffer will reduce the body roll at that end of the car, while softening them out will have the opposite effect. It is crucial, however, to remember that, changing these settings will have a very clear effect on the handling of your car. Going radical with these settings is a very fast way of getting your car going a lot slower.
From penniless floor-sweeper to creator of the world’s finest hypercars, the Pagani story is the myth of a man that reinforces the legend …
Project CARS boasts over 100 cars hand-built to exacting standards. Of those, there are a handful that can be labelled a hypercar. But there’s the thing about simulation; you don’t need impossible odds—or apply for traffic duty at the Dubai Police Department (where you’ll find enough hypercars to satisfy all your worldly desires)—to lift open the light-as-a-feather gull-wings of the Pagani Huayra BC and slide into the steampunk-like moving-art exhibit that is the BC’s cockpit. You can go one step further, too; you can fire-up the sonorous V12 and thrash it around your favorite track, push the BC to its natural limits—and beyond, if the notion of wrapping one around a tree doesn’t upset you too much.
Watch 2015 European Le Mans Series Champion And Ginetta Works Driver, Charlie Robertson, Drive Project CARS Live In Our London Studio
Ginetta Factory Driver and ELMS Champ’ Charlie Robertson will be driving Project CARS LIVE in our studio on Thursday, August 18, and you’re invited to watch the live-stream, send in your questions, and get some pro’ tips from a real-world champ.
On Thursday, August 18, at 3PM BST, Charlie Robertson will race his virtual Ginetta G55 GT4 in our studio in London, and you can watch it live by tuning in to Twitch.tv/projectcarsgame.
Charlie will also be sitting down to answer some of your questions and offering expert insider knowledge about what it’s really like to be a pro’ race driver, how to be a quicker, more precise driver, and how sim racing is not only a vital tool for race preparation, but a viable entry-point into the high-octane world of real-world motor-racing.
With more than 100 cars, dozens of motor-racing’s most demanding and iconic tracks featuring ever-changing weather conditions, Project CARS is a challenge for even the most dedicated of sim driver. Mastering all these tracks can require a little help. While there’s no substitute for seat-time to learn braking points and finding the best apex, there are short-cuts (to learning the fastest way around) to finding the ideal lines.
Improve Your Driving Technique
While the art of creating a competitive car setup has already been extensively covered by our Wednesday Setup Guide Series, this video guide by Yorkie065 offers salient advice on how to both improve your driving technique, and outsmart your opponents in key moments of the race.
This weekend’s challenge is at Le Mans with the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro.
Why the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro?
Because it won the 24 Hours at Le Mans in 2014. And it introduced the 4.0 litre V6 turbodiesel to the R18 series that began in 2011 with the TDI and its 3.7 litre. (In case you’re wondering why Audi have been calling all their LMP1s ‘R18’ since 2011, it’s because Renault own the trademark to R19 through R35 which means Audi are sticking to the R18 designation for a while to come.)
Is it the quickest real-world LMP1 car in Project CARS?
The Toyota TS040 Hybrid will run it close.
Is it the most successful LMP1 car in Project CARS?
Depends—the Toyota TS040 won the championship that year, but around the Circuit de la Sarthe, this is your LMP1 weapon of choice.
Why The Circuit De La Sarthe No 15?
Because René Rast. René has raced the Audi R18 LMP1 at Le Mans; he is also one of the top endurance racers in the world, having clinched multiple wins at the 24 hours of Daytona, the ’Ring, and Spa. On Tuesday, René gave his turn-by-turn description of a lap of Le Mans with an Audi R18, including setup advice. If you missed it, now’s the time to catch-up, because you may need René’s insights if you’re going to challenge Nic Hamilton to one lap around Circuit No 15 in the fearsome Audi R18 e-tron Quattro.
Need some tips how to master Le Mans?
Audi sports car ace Rene Rast has you covered with his guide on the perfect lap around the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Are you fast enough?
Project CARS Vehicle Lead Casey Ringley gets to grips with the Cadillac ATS-V.R
The ATS-V.R replaced the Corvette-sounding V8 with a twin-turbo V6 as Cadillac responded to the arrival of GT3-spec’ cars in the Pirelli World Challenge. In 2014, the V8 Cadillac won the PWC championship, and this—a GT3 ready car—was the Cadillac they used to try and defend their title.
The ATS-V.R. is best described as a ‘neat’ race car. Official spec has the GM LF4.R engine—that includes racing upgrades like larger twin BorgWarner turbochargers, increased capacity intercoolers, competition engine management, and direct side-exiting exhaust engine—producing 600hp @ 7,400RPM with 520lb-ft @ 5,500RPM. This, however, makes a very vague statement as neither restrictor size nor boost pressure are specified.
Learn How The Holy Trinity Of Wheel Alignment Can Solve Most Of Your Handling Issues In Part 4 Of Our Setup Video Guide
You’ve tweaked your brake bias, you’ve decided on wing angles focused on either speed or grip, and you’ve set your tyre pressures for either performance or endurance. Now it’s time to send your car in for an alignment. Yes, you heard that right; the next phase of our setup guide will do precisely what your local mechanic does for you—make sure your wheels are aligned with the manufacturer’s specs before completely ignoring their advice and dialing in the handling characteristics you want for a specific track or even turn.
Beginning with the basics of wheel alignment is an essential first-step on the road to a deeper understanding of the black arts of setup engineering. The logic here is basic; your wheels are at an angle to both your car, and to the other wheels. Changing the alignment will therefore have implications on not only the feel of your ride, but also on tyre endurance, and temperatures. If you happened to read René Rast’s notes on setting up his LMP1 Audi for Le Mans , you’ll have read he likes to go ‘aggressive’ on cambers (and tyre pressures) for qualifying. Why? You’re about to find out in Part Four of our video setup guide.
Want To Know The Fastest Way Around Le Mans? Jump Onboard With Audi LMP1 Star René Rast In His Project CARS Audi R18
The Circuit de la Sarthe has been around since 1923. It has gone through 15 modifications in that time, meaning the current configuration is known as ‘Circuit No 15’. The track, on first recce, seems not that difficult, but appearances can be deceiving, as you’ve probably discovered when finding yourself lapping seconds off the fast runners. There are secrets at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Secrets that will now be revealed by none other than René Rast, the Audi Works driver who has won the Daytona, Spa, and ‘Ring 24 Hours, and who finished on the podium at this year’s Le Mans. René, who is a handling consultant on Project CARS, will serve as your guide around ‘Circuit No 15’ in the Project CARS Audi R18 e-tron Quattro
Telemetry is the science behind the whispered secrets of the black arts of setup engineering. If you’ve ever seen any top-level racing series on TV, you’ll surely have noticed drivers and engineers hunched over security-protected screens involved in hush-hush, hands-over-lips conversation. What are they sharing? Secrets as revealed via telemetry analysis. Want to know who is the real number one in any team? He’s the guy whose telemetry is not being shared with his team-mate because there’s nothing more revealing than a telemetry dump.
Those elusive tenths that make up the difference between winning and also-ran is all there—you can’t hide the truth once you get someone’s telemetry. Data doesn’t lie: if you want to know why, and where, you’re losing time to that guy up front, get his data, and compare to yours. Five minutes of analysis, and you’ll know exactly where you’re losing time. Add another five minutes of research, and you’ll know why, too. Combined with a serviceable knowledge of setting up a car, telemetry is the magic bullet that can and will make you a faster driver.
So how do you go about getting telemetry readings in Project CARS? As it happens, there’s an App for that, and it’s brilliant.
This weekend’s challenge is the 1952 Mercedes-Benz W194 at Le Mans Bugatti
Why the W194?
Because legends. This is the car that won the PanAmerica, the ’Ring, and Le Mans in one epic season. It’s also, as Project CARS’ Vehicle Lead Casey Ringley notes, a difficult car to drive on the limit. The engine is strong from 4000-6000rpm, peaking at 180hp near 5,200RPM. The low drag is impressive, but that comes with a fair amount of aero lift. There’s also a big fuel tank slung way out back, so handling balance changes dramatically over the course of a fuel stint. Weight distribution changes by something like 10 percent rear to front as that burns off, so keep that in mind when you’re challenging Nic’s time. The suspension design is also very old fashioned. Zero caster, camber or steer axis inclination at the front means steering often feels quite vague, and the swing axle rear is responsible for some spooky handling. It combines the fun of very high camber change with a very high rear roll center. Not exactly a recipe for the most stable rear end. You’ve been warned!
Why Le Mans Bugatti?
Because summer! The W194 scored an unlikely win at Le Mans in 1952. But we thought you’d prefer the shorter challenge of the Bugatti configuration with the W194. And don’t forget to read our four reasons why the W194 may well be the most epic drive in Project CARS here.
Project CARS’ Vehicle Lead, Casey Ringley, forensically dismantles Toyota’s Le Mans challenger.
The Toyota TS040 was, for many of us here, the highlight of the Japanese Car Expansion Pack. Working out the details for these hybrid LMP1s is always a real challenge, because manufacturers never give out detailed technical info’ for current race cars (rightfully so), and that means we have to go into full forensic science-mode to sort out the details.
It helps, too, that the TS040 is an absolute hoot to drive. Where its main opposition, the Audi R18 e-tron, is only mildly hybridized in the 2MJ class and consequently drives mostly like a ‘normal car’, this thing has a Mario Kart Golden Mushroom on it. These hybrids are really odd creatures, and the TS040 is no exception. It’s the fastest car with a low top speed that you'll ever drive, and obtaining the fastest lap is all about acceleration, not top speed advantage. It’s a strange feeling because, in order to maximize lap times, you’ll have lower top speeds at your disposal than a GT3 car, but you’ll be getting to top speed so much more quickly resulting in lap times over 20s per lap faster at tracks where they run these hybrids in real-life.
Strange creatures indeed—but let’s get back to forensic science: here are our dissection notes.