The Historical Factor

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The last few days leading up to the public release of the rFactor 2 Open Beta were among the most stressful I think I’ve felt in my entire working life. The day of release itself was spent feverishly trying to clear my email inbox, before posting the download, and then awaiting the incoming onslaught that I still haven’t recovered from a day later.

The release and subsequent overloading of the purchase servers with massive demand aside, I’ve been quite pleased at how the community has received the content we put out. This is a taste (albeit a very good taste) of what we have in store, so I’ve been delighted to see that response, but it has got me thinking, too…

The vast majority of the positive feedback, or perhaps the users most pleased (and most vocal) have been talking about the historical content. It’s worth remembering that the cars we released were all generic ‘fictional’ 1960s cars, while the tracks (Belgium and Monte-Carlo) were extremely accurate versions of their real-life counterparts.

I expected to hear a lot of people talking about Grand Prix Legends, and I have. I expected a lot of people to say how fast and dangerous the tracks feel, and I have. But I haven’t heard anybody really saying why rFactor 2 is getting the kind of reception that it is about that content, and basing this purely on my own needs, I think I might have figured something out…

We are not the first company to include a historic car in their simulation and we’re certainly not going to be the last. In fact it looks like more historical cars are going to get released in 2012 than at any time during the history of sim racing.

I’ve known that there was a market for historic cars for a few years, but it’s only when I joined ISI that I felt this information accepted and used. I was let loose and (as has been mentioned before) licensed cars from many different eras and types of racing. So what is going to be the difference at ISI? History, of course.

ISI aren’t just licensing historic cars and giving them to you to race around todays modern and sterile racing circuits; ISI are giving you historic cars to race on historically accurate racing tracks. Much like Grand Prix Legends, and for the first time since, you’re actually racing a historical car on the claustrophobic, astonishingly fast and absurdly dangerous circuits it was built for.

To me? That’s the difference, and that’s why people stuck to Grand Prix Legends: It wasn’t just the cars, it was the feeling of doing what those brave men did on the tracks they did it… That’s what I wanted out of rFactor 2.

While I’m pursuing every license I possibly can, from all eras of racing, I’m looking forward most of all to helping sim racers look backwards in time and perhaps learn about the history of the sport. We’ll have to go a lot faster than 88mph to get there…

7 thoughts on “The Historical Factor

  1. It is true, I believe that the experience is made much better by the historic locations, driving at Sepang in the 60’s cars feels a bit weird.

    However, I will be intrigued to see how it develops, I think the initial thrill may wear off and alot of people will revert to the more stable and comfortable confines of a Megane for online racing in the coming months, it really depends how well people get to grips with them.

    atm online no-one except me can keep a Megane on the road for more than two laps!


  2. The historic generics and incredible tracks scare the living daylights out of me. It’s not a game anymore ;o lol

  3. So awesome Tim. I really hope you guys take the classic 60’s content as far as you possibly can! The physics for all 3 levels of 60’s Formula cars are feel astonishing… and scary as hell as they were!

    Driving these cars around historic Spa and Monaco is one of the most awesome things I have ever done in sim racing. I really hope to see more 60’s tracks and licensed 60’s Formula cars!! Bring on the RING!!

  4. Tim, I have to agree with you totally. I was really excited to see that rF2 had not just historic cars but tracks as well. As an old Grand Prix Legends player i was really hanging for a game/sim to come out which had the historic stuff along with all the physics advancements recent years have brought.
    I bought rF2 on the day of its release and am looking forward to some great racing this weekend.

    You and ISI have done some great work on this title and I look forward to all that is yet to come whether that be support, patches, content and so on. rF1 was a legendary game (still is in many ways) and I am sure rF2 will only build upon that. Great work!

  5. You are 100% correct that the tracks are a very important thing.

    rF2 brought back the sim-fire inside of me.
    All I want now is some more historical tracks. Having some licensed historic F cars would also be nice but not really needed.

    All the modern cars and tracks don’t interest me one little bit so you guys can completely focus on the historic side :)

  6. I’d love to see cars and tracks from the 30s. Auto Union, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and tracks like Bremgarten, Avus, Mount Panorama, Monza, Reims.

  7. I am glad you are providing a historic set of cars and tracks. If I could only have one era and type of racing, it would be F1 in 1967. And yes, I still have GPL installed on my PC…since 1998.

    That era requires more driving skill than others,and that is what makes it so interesting… it truly is all about driver skills, and not technology. It is the driving experience that makes this hobby so interesting..and the immersion in realistic settings.

    I will be buying a life time license for rF2 after you have had a chance to work out most of the bugs during beta testing.. Looking forward to it,thanks for producing such a great racing sim…. Mike

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Racing Simulations Category Information

I grew up in a household where waking up at 2am to watch races in Australia or Japan were the norm. We were huge fans of motor racing, so playing racing games seems like a natural extension of that.

My first racing game addiction was with Geoff Crammond's 'Formula 1 Grand Prix' released in 1992 on the Commodore Amiga. This game kept me going for a long time thanks to various editing tools which were available, and I continued to play it until I owned a PC. After that, I played through most of the Papyrus and Image Space Inc. titles, but have most fond memories of Grand Prix Legends.

I founded a major sim racing site that led to my employment at iRacing, Image Space Inc. and later on, Studio 397. The difficulty in working in the industry is how little time you often have to play your own games. Quite often I escape with space games instead!

Left: GP cars at Silverstone in rFactor 2.


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Tim is British and lives in the United States with his wife and kids.

He works for software developers Image Space Inc. and Studio 397 on their racing simulations, and is a fan of Gaming, Motorsports, and photography.