The PC sim racer lands on consoles this week, offering one of the most authentic sim racing experiences of a real-life racing league.
Look, if you’re like us, you’ve probably spent the last few months playing a little more video games than normal. And if you’re a fan of all things four-wheeled, that’s probably included sim racers. Good news, then: if you’re on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, a new sim racer is touching down this week. It’s called , and it promises to deliver an authentic experience of a real-world race series.
You might have already heard of . The groundbreaking sim arrived on PC years ago, with a heavy focus on the physics simulation part of, well, simulation. Last year developer Kunos Simulazioni released the spin-off on PC. is the official title of the GT World Challenge race series, thanks to a partnership with organizer SRO. The series uses GT3-class machinery from the likes of Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari, Honda and more, with shorter sprint races as well as endurances, including the 24 Hours of Spa.
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AutoGuide.com took part in an preview event last week, which gave us our first look at the game running on consoles. Not only were team members from Kunos and SRO on hand, but so were professional racers. Guy Cosmo and David Perel have decades of racing experience combined, while Bryan Heitkotter is one of the very first of a new breed of drivers. Heitkotter made a name for himself nine years ago as a winner of Nissan’s GT Academy competition. The event plucked the fastest Gran Turismo drivers and pitted them against each other in real cars. After winning there, Heitkotter found himself behind the wheel of GT3 and GT4 machinery, racking up wins in the Pirelli World Challenge. He now finds himself transitioning back to sim racing, picking up multiple first-place finishes in the recent GT Rivals events.
“I think the competition that I was involved in was probably one of the first to really legitimize the concept of going from sim racing to racing real cars, and doing it successfully,” said Heitkotter during the event. “Since then, that was nine years ago, sim racing has just grown exponentially both in terms of volume, but also the level of competition especially. We’re going to see more of those opportunities going forward.”
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As mirrors the real-world GT World Challenge—including all the cars, drivers, and tracks from the series—it offers a unique training experience for Perel. “These days, I use the simulator more to understand how I react physically under pressure and how I can be more self-aware and improve that in the real world,” he said when asked about potential crossover. “A big problem for me in real life racing has always been my qualifying, so I try to compete in as many high pressure online events as possible to try and stimulate the same pressure that I feel before qualifying. I do think that I made a step there and I can’t wait to bring that to the real world. That progress was made through ACC, SRO, and GT Rivals events.”
Helping Perel, Heitkotter, Cosmo and others is the level of track accuracy in . Kunos Simulazioni has laser-scanned every circuit in the game, offering inch-by-inch recreations of Spa-Francorchamps, Monza, Brands Hatch and more. Not only that, but includes dynamic weather and time. Your dry setup won’t help you much when the skies open up mid-way through that race at Brands Hatch, and nothing feels quite as claustrophobic as the Nürburgring at night.
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With the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 both being seven years old now, Kunos has had to make some concessions to get the whole package on them. The developer has retained the in-depth simulation model is known for, instead dialing down some of the visual aspects of the title to run smoothly on consoles. For both Microsoft and Sony camps, the game will run at a locked 30 frames-per-second. Base-model PS4 and Xbox One players will make do with 1080p and 900p resolutions, respectively. If you’re running the powered-up PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, you’re looking at 1800p (upscaled to 4K) or a native 4K resolution. The audio effects certainly sound just as impressive on console, judging by the preview video above. Every nuance remains, from the pings of dirt hitting bare metal to the ABS sounds—the latter of which Perel himself helped with.
launches tomorrow on PS4 and XB1. Stay tuned; we’ll be doing a virtual driving review of the title too. You can pre-purchase on Amazon for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One now (through the AutoGuide.com referral program, which we earn a small commission from).