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Aris Vasilakos Looks Back At The Spa 24H Assetto Corsa Competizione Event

Aris Vasilakos Looks Back At The Spa 24H Assetto Corsa Competizione Event
Aris Vasilakos Looks Back At The Spa 24H Assetto Corsa Competizione Event

Aris Vasilakos Looks Back At The Spa 24H Assetto Corsa Competizione Event

During last weekend’s, 2018 “Total 24 Hours of Spa” Endurance Race in Belgium, 505 GAMES and Kunos Simulazioni officially announced that the Early Acces version of the upcoming Assetto Corsa Competizione title will be released on September 12th while the full game should be ready somewhere in Q1 of 2019 in time for the start of the 2019 Blancpain GT Series Championship.

A beta version of the Assetto Corsa Competizione title was playable in the paddock area of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit and an eSports competition promoted by Pirelli and AK Informatica was the perfect feedback platform for the Assetto Corsa Competizione development team.

Now that the Total 24 Hours of Spa is behind us, Kunos Simulazioni staff member Aristotelis Vasilakos looks back at the very successful event and shares his personal thoughts with us. In a very interesting read up, Aris explained that the Assetto Corsa Competizione Spa 24 Hours event gave him the perfect opportunity to compare the techniques and driving style between the real-world racing drivers and alien sim racers.

Included pictures by Kevin Stuck

Aris Vasilakos  Aris Vasilakos

Aristotelis Vasilakos Quote:

The Spa 24 Hours event was particularly important because it allowed watching real drivers and alien sim-racers really going for it, especially alien sim-racers as they also had some big prizes at stake. Here are some of my thoughts.

So what did we learn? Some pretty important things.

1) First of all, everybody was driving in the same way. If you could put the real drivers and aliens side by side and watch their movements carefully, you wouldn’t notice any actual differences. Same movements, same lines, same attack style, same braking points… the lot. At the end of the lap there would be 1 sec more or less difference but it would be down to the aliens having more practice and being able to gain half a tenth at every turn. Being a 7km long circuit that was the difference. We could even watch the in turn speeds be like 1km differences lol. Tiny tiny stuff.

2) pro drivers in real life have nowadays extremely low practice time. Most of them would get 5 to 15 laps between practice and qualifying. When the race engineer sees in the telemetry that they are “on target” then the call them in the radio and…” good job, pit now and let the car to the amateur gentleman driver”. So their job is to be able to push the car close to the limit with that amount of tiny practice. It was impressive to see them do the same in our rigs. 4 laps and they would be instantly on their real-time laps. 10 laps and they would start to go down towards alien laptimes.

3) Alien sim racers also did the same initial laptimes as real drivers. We had nobody coming in, sitting down and posting 18s. Everybody would do a 1st lap in the 20s, some in the very high 19s. then practice made perfect. They are fast to adapt, but not really “magical”. Their strength is that when we stop at low 18s, they would continue to improve down to 17s. No “unrealistic” techniques were seen.

4). When real drivers decide to “practice” they will do 100% valid laps. Eau Rouge taken always in the same way, never putting a wheel outside.
When Simracers decide to push, they have 50% valid laps through Eau Rouge. I’m sure they can do also 100% but that’s pressure for you and pushing to get to the 17s to win the competition. Also explains the difference with reality.

5) Our hotlap competition was set at 25°C ambient 35° asphalt which we thought realistic for Spa… During the practice and qualifying sessions, thanks to global warming, we had 35°C ambient and “catering services cooking eggs on the asphalt”°C in real life. Also, I saw fish flying in the air, it was that humid. Significantly enough, when we got some rain, the temperature would stay almost identical. Race had a bit more normal temperatures. That could be another indicator of the slight difference of laptimes between aliens/real life. Still VERY small gap considering the long track and all the other factors.

6) Modern alien sim racers adapt. FAST! They are proper pilots in terms of technique. They don’t use “tricks” so to say. At the end of the competition, with no more pressure we gave them a surprise with a “hotlap race for a Sparco gloves prize” competition on condition totally invented by me and Kevin Stuck just on the fly. It wasn’t easy. Wet track, light rain, sun going down, slicks. We let them decide their own TC and ABS levels but with no practice or testing before. They handle it like pros. A single spin was all the drama that happened, then all valid laps and great car control and attention, even though you could see they were struggling on the conditions. Watch the video to get an idea.

7) Real drivers are hunting animals. I don’t mean this in a small way. I mean it in a BIG way. When a sim racers misses a corner, especially on a chicane, then he will sacrifice it and try to take the second corner properly to retain the car rhythm and improve the line.
When a real driver misses a corner he will ATTACK anyway whatever he has in front of him. He will not even blink before going full attack on the next corner on whatever situation he is in. The mentality is “someone is behind me and he will probably try to take advantage of my error, I MUST NOT LET HIM PASS!” Even though they are in a hotlap mode, their mentality is always this. ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK!
I know, but still impressive to watch them.

8) Setup was in the safe side. The cars are a bit of a short blanket so you can’t always make them perfectly balanced and neutral. Especially the Lamborghini has lot’s of rear biased weight so it suffers some power understeer on its DNA. Still you can work it out with setup, but then you can get brake and turn in oversteer and nervous behavior on high speed and kerbs. As you know we need to showcase the new game to thousands of people so the main setup was quite “safe” to avoid seeing people constantly spinning at every braking point. Obviously, drivers hate it at first, but interestingly enough, after they could arrive on their times they would say that “yes there is understeer, but you can work around it”. That was positive. Some of them even went so far to say that “in the end I could modify a bit my line and it wasn’t an issue at all for doing what I wanted to get my laptime”. I couldn’t change the setup in place as the UI is still WIP. All I could change for them was TC, ABS and some brake bias, but not while on the hotlap competition.
Still, a trend feedback from all real drivers was that the car was perfect at slow and mid-speed corners but lot’s of push understeer at high speed flat out turns, while in reality, they get a more nervous car at high speed. Part of it is in the setup as I said, but there’s also something I’m working on the aero as we speak. We should be good by early access.

9) Everybody from the real drivers as well as the sim racers that tried it, where highly impressed by the rain physics. Reactions were in the range from “oh wow that’s amazing” up to “what have you guys done!?”. Stefano Casillo should be very proud of the core physics code, I’m so lucky to be able to work with him on it. We still need some fine tuning on the whole system, but I’m confident we will deliver.

10) Believe me, when I tell you, the hardware got some through extreme abuse from Wednesday to Sunday. Non-stop. Rseat rigs and Fanatec wheels and pedals are an amazing combination. Everybody was extremely satisfied. I think we had a single screw to tight a bit, during the whole event or something like that. Ak Informatica PCs and monitors, rock solid and stable.

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