For me, rFactor 2 provides the most convincing driving experience of any of the major sims. Sure, it has its flaws; it doesn’t have a multiplayer system like iRacing (yet); it arguably doesn’t look consistently as pretty as Assetto Corsa Competizione; and its user interface is as simple to negotiate as a McLaren IndyCar contract.
However, Studio 397’s sim has undergone a bit of a renaissance over the last year or two, with graphics updates adding depth of field effects and a snazzy photo mode, as well as exciting content like the latest Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Formula E and BTCC cars (not to mention the Vanwall Vandervell LMH and the INDYCAR IR-18).
In terms of tracks, there are British classics like Thruxton and Donington Park, with top endurance racing venues such as Daytona, Le Mans, Spa-Francorchamps, Sebring and Bahrain all represented in their full laser-scanned glory.
Most are part of paid DLC packs but there are some official rFactor 2 gems available for free via the Steam Workshop – like the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for example.
I’ve outlined some of my favourite rFactor 2 track and car combinations below in part one of the ‘Best car and track combinations in rFactor 2’ series. Make sure to pass on your favourite combos in the comments!
1. Senior X30 kart at Atlanta Motorsports Park Kart Circuit
Developed by karting simulator gurus Kart Sim, the Senior X30 kart mimics the real-world X30 class kart used around the globe by thousands of grass-roots racing enthusiasts.
Producing around 30bhp from a 125cc engine, the X30 is lightweight enough to build up a head of steam and get the esports juices flowing. And Atlanta Motorsports Park’s Kart Circuit is almost the perfect place to test its abilities. As a bonus, the track is available as a free download from rFactor 2’s Steam Workshop.
Atlanta Motorsports Park is a giant motorsport facility incorporating two race tracks and a karting circuit. Designed by Hermann Tilke, both the kart and race tracks take inspiration from world-famous motorsport corners – Eau Rouge from Spa-Francorchamps and Karussell from the Nordschleife are notable examples.
The track features elevation changes previously unseen in kart circuits, with exciting dips and blind crests adding to the epic-ness of sliding a kart around at high speed. For extra immersion, try it in VR – although maybe not right after breakfast…
The Senior X30 kart is available to purchase as part of the Kart Sim Kart Pack, the Kart Sim Esports Pack or as an individual item in rFactor 2’s storefront.
Remember to set your steering ratio to ‘Fast’, otherwise you’ll need to crank on the steering lock to negotiate hairpins…
2. BTCC Honda Civic Type R at Croft
Croft is little-known outside of the UK. The North Yorkshire venue has hosted rounds of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) since 1997. Its combination of flowing corners, tight bends and deadly tyre stacks has supplied British motorsport fans with years of crashy action.
So what better car to tackle it with than a modern-day BTCC car? In all honesty, any of rFactor 2’s eight BTCC car models would do here, but the Honda Civic Type R feels great around Croft thanks to its inherent long-wheelbase stability.
This comes in handy through Croft’s bumpy braking zones on the approach to Tower and Sunny In, which both precede high-speed sections: one false move on the brakes and it’s a one-way trip to the barriers, causing more BTCC havoc than Aiden Moffatt’s dad.
The car also has a noticeably distinctive exhaust note, which, if you’ve ever attended a live BTCC event, is bang on the money. Take a bow, Studio 397’s sound team.
Races at Croft tend to be tense affairs, with the last turn providing most of the action as aggressive touring car drivers try divebombing their way down the inside of opponents. It’s the slowest corner of the BTCC season and a small part of one of the most technically challenging British tracks. And that’s why I love it.
3. Dallara INDYCAR IR-18 at WeatherTech RaceWay Laguna Seca
The Dallara-built INDYCAR IR-18 is a grip-hungry open-wheel brute of a car, equally at home on ovals as it is on road courses and street circuits.
One of my all-time favourite sim racing experiences was taming it around the tight confines of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (best known as the ‘Knockhill of California’).*
By tweaking the car’s myriad set-up options I was able to gradually decrease my lap times – adding a touch of wing here, a softer anti-roll bar there and a whole heap of bravery everywhere – until I was able to throw the car into the high-speed Turns 4, 6, 9 and 10, confident it would stick to the road and not wash out into the Monterrey sand.
Pick the shortest IR-18 wheelbase you can, add a ton of wing and you’ll have a great time mastering this tricky circuit with a moreish car. There’s no better feeling than using a sim car’s aero grip to its maximum, confident that pushing harder will reap more lap time. And the IR-18 delivers this in spades.
Even Laguna Seca’s slower corners are a worthy challenge, with the Andretti Hairpin daring you to brake as late as possible to help set up a late-apex run to Turn 3. Remember to short-shift into third gear through the Corkscrew, however; it’s definitely not the best place to have oversteer…
Here’s a lap I did a few months back without using push to pass – I’ve added a free set-up in the video comments for those struggling to get the best from these machines.
4. Formula Vee at Longford 1967
This is a bit of a left-field choice, but the Formula Vee from the Reiza Pack is a thing of beauty. It’s a simple, low-powered single-seater, which offers a stern driving challenge thanks to its narrow tyres and tendency to go sideways.
In terms of racing, it’s an absolute joy to battle against equally-armed opponents, with slipstream trains regularly forming. It’s the kind of grass-roots racing that makes the Formula Vee such a popular choice for many racers in the sim world, where it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the popularity of GT3s.
Reiza is the development studio behind racing sims Automobilista, Game Stock Car and Copa Petrobras de Marcas, titles renowned for their driving physics and handling models. So, it’s no surprise the Reiza Pack’s cars all tick the box marked ‘feels’. The Vee is my favourite, however, celebrating the low-tech and low-cost fun of amateur motorsport.
In terms of circuit choice, Longford 1967 is not the best-known track around – despite being freely available on rFactor 2’s Steam Workshop – but it’s a real-world re-creation of the Tasmanian Longford Circuit. Originally created by modder Woochoo, the track was so well done it was eventually adopted as official rFactor 2 content.
Vee for victory
Predominantly used in the fifties and sixties until financial difficulties forced it to close in 1968, Longford is a characterful track, with quaint white fencing adorning the streets (yes, they raced on actual streets), featuring a giant brick railway bridge near the start line. Oh, and you need to cross the train tracks during the lap. A health and safety officer’s nightmare there.
Longford consists of four 90-degree right-handers connected by four long straights. It sounds rather humdrum but the Viaduct complex is a thing of beauty in the Formula Vee, forcing you to hit the gas in third gear while the car makes a break for the boonies.
The lengthy straights give opponents a chance to draft right back up to the leading cars too, making races a frenetic battle of tactical overtakes. It’s magic – just look at it!
5. Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTE at the Circuit de la Sarthe (Le Mans)
There’s nowhere quite like Le Mans, and the Circuit de la Sarthe is present in rFactor 2 in all its endurance racing glory. The French venue has hosted its famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race for over a century now (check out our ‘History of Le Mans’ videos on the Traxion.GG YouTube channel for more information), and there’s no sign of the great race’s popularity waning.
The Hypercar rules have rejuvenated the top class of Le Mans, but I’m going to concentrate on the outgoing GTE cars, with the Corvette C8.R the pick of the bunch.
The reason? Not only does it offer mid-engine agility but it’s also rather effective, winning its class in this year’s centenary Le Mans race in the hands of Nicky Catsburg, Nico Varrone and Ben Keating.
There are few rFactor 2 experiences more atmospheric than driving the C8.R during the night, frantically checking your rear-view camera for marauding LMP2 cars as you nervously hit the brakes for Mulsanne corner (without the help of ABS too – eek). GTEs are tricky to drive, that’s for sure.
GTE cars are being replaced by GT3s for next year’s Le Mans, so enjoy them while you can.
Remember to leave a note with your favourite rFactor 2 track and car combinations in the comments below – we may even feature the best pairings in part two!
*only by me
Full disclosure – Traxion.GG is part of Motorsport Games and the Motorsport Games family of brands. All Traxion.GG content is editorially removed from Motorsport Games video game development and created by a dedicated team.