Project CARS 2 recreates the high-adrenaline rush of pure motorsports like nothing that has come before. Exploring the main race settings options in-game offers a clearer picture of the type of experience that will come with Project CARS 2 when it releases on September 22nd, 2017. Here’s a little preview of what you can expect
Date and time matter
The main race setting offers you two options for the duration of your race—laps-based (maximum 999), or time-based (anything between five minutes to 24 hours). Setting the race length is ideally complimented by the date option. Here, you can choose the traditional race date for that location—Le Mans in early summer, for instance, or the Indy 500 in May—or you can choose any date that springs to mind.
Selecting any random date that strikes your fancy matters because of LiveTrack 3.0. Choosing, say, a December date for Fuji will invariably mean your race will occur in cold conditions, opening up the possibility of snow. Project CARS 2, with its GPS-located tracks, will replicate your chosen track’s real-world weather: In other words, if the forecast is for snow in December at the scanned ’Ring, and you choose that date and track, snow is what you’ll be racing in. Wind, meanwhile, can play havoc with your open-wheel, aero’-dependent IndyCar—getting a tail wind on a crisp morning in October into Turn 1 that has yet to be warmed by the sun is the kind of racing that will make Project CARS 2 both challenging and viscerally unforgettable.
This is what anytime, anywhere means in Project CARS 2.
The weather and time of day scenarios—given the real-time weather options—are practically limitless. Moreover, you can experience, for instance, a full night-to-dawn progression, you can decide to speed up time with the time progression option which will, in effect, decide how quickly the earth revolves around the sun. Sounds fanciful, but given the game uses GPS positioning, the angle of the sun now has a direct bearing on your racing experience.
For instance, in a scenario where it has rained through the night but the dawn comes clear and the morning sunny, those turns lying in the shade will take far longer to dry than turns that are directly warmed by the sun. Deciding, then, what lines to take, and which tyres you want to be on, becomes as crucial in Project CARS 2 as it does in real-world motorsport.
Weather in Project CARS 2 is one of the core experiences of the game because it is reflected in the surfaces of the tracks which, in turn, directly affect the grip afforded to your car. LiveTrack 3.0 is the culmination of a decade’s worth of refinement by Slightly Mad Studios, and with Project CARS 2, the weather, combined with the surface you’re racing on that will alter grip levels corner-by-corner, guarantees one of the most exhilarating experiences you’ve ever enjoyed. The angle of the sun at a particular time of year, the shade of trees and their foliage, the type of race surface, all of this will have a direct consequence on the feel and grip of your racing machine.
You can also choose the season for your race—winter, spring, summer, or autumn—or you can make use of the four “weather slots” that come with your race settings. With a simple tile design, creating four distinct weather “events” is as simple as a click of the controller. If these four (or less) slots are filled in with standard weather acceleration, your chosen weather “events” will each last one hour before the next “event” is transitioned via a fluid, realistic transformation. You can also speed up the weather events via the weather progression option that will modify how quickly the weather will transition—anything from “real time” to “Sync to Race”, which will change the weather in accordance to the speed of the race that you have chosen.
The weather also plays a role in determining whether you’d like to run a formation lap. In Project CARS 2, the revamped tyre model has resulted in tyres that have been optimized for real-world performance, and that means they take a while before heating up. Using the formation laps to heat them as well as the brakes—carbon-based brakes, in particular, need time to get up to operating temps—brings a whole new realism to the motorsport experience.
Pit-stops are live and fully animated
Project CARS 2 will allow drivers to manually control their vehicle and manoeuvre it into the pit-box. If you come in too hot and miss your box, you’ll need to reposition your car. Drivers, meanwhile, who prefer to sit back and let the game’s AI take control while in the pit-lane will be given the option to do so too in race settings.
Pit stops in Project CARS 2 are now fully animated. Motion capture technology was used to replicate the human actions that take place during a pit-stop. 3D character models will now run around your car and complete tyre changes and fuel refills just like real-life pit crews.
The biggest challenge in creating this fully dynamic and beautifully realised animation was in capturing all the required body movements that take place in the many varied motorsport series featured in Project CARS 2, and their associated pit-stop rules. For example, some series allow tyre changes and fuel refills to happen simultaneously, whilst others must see tyre changes completed before fuel can be put into the car. You will experience pit-stops precisely as they occur in the real-world motorsport discipline you have chosen to run.
Opponent settings and multi-class action
The AI in Project CARS 2 has been the subject of an overhaul from the first instalment. Depending on the level that you choose to run them, you’re going to find opponents who will challenge you like never before. You can set the number of AI in your race up to the amount of grid spots at the chosen track. Their ability ranges from 0 (easy to defeat) to 120 (AI that has been optimized to crush your ego).
The novelty to Project CARS 2, though, is the opponent field setting where you get to decide what cars the AI will drive. There are three choices here—the AI can drive the same car as you (useful for series such as IndyCar), or the same class (useful in series such as GT3, where you can race against GT3s from a dozen or so automakers), or, finally, you can decide to run a multi-class race (perfect for those 24 hour races at Spa, or Le Mans) where each class is scored and timed individually by class and not just overall. So you may be ninth at Le Mans, but you may also be winning in-class, and the game will now score both scenarios simultaneously.
Multi-class racing recreates all the excitement of proper endurance racing; if you choose to run an LMP1 at Le Mans, for instance, you’ll need to deal with much slower GTLM cars, and if you choose a GTLM, you’ll be spending much time checking your mirrors as LMP1s come streaming through the night and pass you as if you were standing still.
This opens up a whole new challenge for drivers in Project CARS 2. Mimicking the terrifying speed-differences between varying classes of cars on track simultaneously, all battling for position, is going to be keep you seriously busy, whether you’re the car that needs to give way to a suddenly-appearing Audi LMP1 monster, or you’re the LMP1 coming up to a stream of battling Porsches and Nissans.
If you don’t want to modify the settings for the race weekend one by one, and want nothing but a recreation of a representational motorsport type, you can take a shortcut by going straight for the motorsport filters option. The purpose of these filters is to offer a number of presets that you can use in order to quickly set-up a race weekend that resembles one of multiple motorsport types in Project CARS 2. You may still modify the changes made by the motorsport filters option, but this is a useful shortcut, and also demonstrates the types of motorsport that will come with the game.
Rallycross, IndyCar, GT, Endurance, Prototypes, Open Wheeler, Touring Car, Trackday, Road.
Everyone will have a favourite car, track, weather, and even seasonal combination that feature settings that make it an ideal event. Maybe you like night racing at Long Beach, or you’d like to experience sunrise after a dark and foggy night in an LMP1. With a single press of a button, you can now use the favourites screen to set all options to the values that recreate that one setting you have come to adore.
The list of favourites consists of four slots in which you can assign previously-used race weekend configurations. So if, for example, you have just driven a race that felt flawless, you can go to the favourites screen and save this event’s setup. This will make it possible to recreate that setup whenever you want to race it again.
Anywhere, anytime is at the core of the Project CARS 2 experience, and the race settings is just one piece of the jigsaw of features in-game that guarantees you an authentic motorsport experience as no other.