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Lime Rock is one of those race tracks that I could quite happily race on until the end of my days. It’s fast, it’s fun, and it is a no-brainer when it comes to a content license.

I’ve attended a few events there, too, back when I lived in Massachusetts. It’s a superb facility to watch a race at because, at only 1.5 miles, you can walk from one end to the other in no time, and find a new perfect spot, even more perfect than the last one. There’s some history, too… It’s been around for a long time by US road racing standards.

I released a few screenshots of Lime Rock to the rFactor Web site last month, and also put up a work-in-progress written guide to the track.

I had actually driven on the track before, back in 2006 I did a racing school there. Good fun, but not that serious, the main outcome was that I understood how to drive a bit better (doing what I understand is a different matter), and I understood the racing line at Lime Rock’s main layout very well.

Back in June I visited again, this time to do the surveying the guys would require to make the track for rFactor2. I was pretty tired when I got there, having driven from Illinois, USA to Montreal, Canada, then down to Connecticut.

I slept in the shirt, trousers and shoes I had worn to the F1 Paddock Club on Sunday, in the car, in the middle of a Lime Rock parking lot. I got a very early start, got a nice ride in the pace car, and then was let loose on the track…

I managed to get everything done within the day (the benefit of being at a 1.5 mile layout), and then drove 14 hours home. The guys then started the track a while later, and released it to the testing community last week.

It has been pretty well received, but people being people, there’s been some comparing, and there’s been some people saying that we ‘missed’ things which aren’t even at the real track anymore (the concrete patches which were REMOVED in 2008, for example, and the whole track was resurfaced, two chicanes added, and the surroundings landscaped).

Their reference for these ‘missing’ things, of course, is Lime Rock in other software, rather than Lime Rock in real life. I don’t really understand comparisons sim to sim (nobody releases the same thing at the same time), but I do understand comparisons between a sim and the track which was surveyed to build it. So without further introduction:

I’m driving the car on the left (in real life, during my survey), AI is driving the car on the right in rFactor2. I think the guys did a great job with the data. You can see (if you take the go pro field of view into account) the good positioning of trees, buildings, other objects. You can also pretty easily see the track surface itself, the elevation, etc, is accurate. Everything important, everything that has any effect on the racing experience, the learning experience, or the fun, is all there.

You can also clearly see a distinct lack of concrete patching on the racing line… Because that hasn’t existed since 2008. Understood? ;)

For the video I had to cut the video of me driving into sections, then adjust it to match the pace of the AI. You can then properly compare the same section side by side. I also tried to overcome the enormous field of view that the go pro camera I was using on the left has, by making the rF2 footage a little smaller and similar to the size of the unaffected area of the go pro footage. The go pro footage is still quite heavily skewed towards the edges of the frame though, and it was actually a LOT darker than it looks (4-5am I think)… But whatever. :)

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Racing SimulationsRacing Simulation Category Information
Left: GP cars at Silverstone in rFactor 2.

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!


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.

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