The day when Casey and AJ, along with Pirelli’s Vitale Maffezzini, and McLaren’s Senior Vehicle Dynamics Engineer Mattia Saluzzo convened to work alongside McLaren’s legendary chief test-driver Chris Goodwin will go down as a pivotal moment in the development of Project CARS 2.
The story begins in the early spring of 2017, on March 20. After two years’ worth of co-development with McLaren, Chris Goodwin, McLaren’s chief test-driver, had already signed-off on the handling and feel of all the McLarens in Project CARS 2. All, that is, except for “his” new car, the 720S that will come to Project CARS 2 in late 2017.
Goodwin and Casey had worked together on two other occasions already, testing and tuning the in-game McLarens. “The second test had provided really good feedback,” Casey recalls. “Chris clearly has a particular type of setup he likes on his cars, and hitting it with the 650S GT3 gave us a very good target for where to take the 720S. The 720S, with all the active suspension and aero’ elements, is a bit of a moving target, even when trying to match it against telemetry data. Having that baseline in the GT3 car, which isn’t allowed any active stuff, was a perfect snapshot of how a ‘Chris Goodwin’ car should handle.”
“The plan on our end—if the McLaren guys knew this or not, I don’t know!—was that the day would be more of an engineering session than pure testing, and McLaren would be a full-on part of the dev’ team,” Casey says. “We were set up to do fresh builds of the game and change all manner of fundamentals in the model as needed in order to suit Chris’s feedback.
“That was a great sign.”
With the day’s shadows thickening, and Goodwin driving the 720S with Casey monitoring the session alongside him, AJ was upstairs in the control booth.
“It was a really simple thing with a big impact!” recalls Casey. “See, our SETA tyre model breaks down the contact patch of each tyre to 36 individual points of contact, and we can visualize the contact patch pressure profile of each tyre while driving. Pirelli does similar testing on real-world tyres, and AJ had seen what the contact patch pressure of the real tyre looked like compared to ours. Most crucially, he noticed a disparity between the two models.