The brand new title will be developed by the Motorsport Games-owned Studio 397 of rFactor 2 fame, and using its pMotor 2.5 game engine – but with what’s believed to be a new structure, game modes and online functionality.
2023 grid, including Hypercars
LMH, LMDh, LMP2 and GTE cars will be included in the title from the 2023 season. Some of the Le Mans Hypercar and Le Mans Daytona hybrid (or ‘GTP in IMSA parlance) vehicles have appeared across several different platforms to date, such as iRacing, rFactor 2 and Gran Turismo 7, but Le Mans Ultimate should include them all in one place, plus the Ferrari 499P, Porsche 963 and Peugeot 9X8.
The Porsche LMDh and Ferrari 488 GTE are the only two vehicles shown so far. 2023 is the final season for the GTE class, replaced by an ‘LMGT3’ category next year.
The Circuit de la Sarthe is featured in the work-in-progress images, in dry or wet conditions and at different times of day. The game is also set to include additional venues from the World Endurance Championship, such as Monza, Fuji and Spa-Francorchamps.
While a game released on this particular game engine is a simulation, unlike rFactor 2, additional resource is said to be focussed on the controller/gamepad experience and driving assists alongside the mandatory steering wheel support.
RaceControl online multiplayer and co-op
Online multiplayer sounds like it could be the main focus for Le Mans Ultimate, through a new system dubbed ‘RaceControl’. It’s where competitive online races will be held, plus the ability to host private lobbies. Of note, developer S397 is currently looking for online alpha testers.
Intriguingly, some form of asynchronous cooperative mode is in the works, where drivers are said to be able to complete stints at times that suit them. We interpret this as being able to complete a stint of an endurance race before somehow handing it over to a friend who could complete their stint at a later date, but we await further clarification.
Playable at 24 Hours of Le Mans
An early build will be playable at the real-world 24 Hours of Le Mans event (7th-11th June), said to be used to gather feedback via on-site surveys, as part of a First Look Preview Presented by Thrustmaster. The 963 and 488 will be available to test.
“We hope to be at further events and provide opportunities for others to try Le Mans Ultimate throughout 2023,” reads the game’s FAQ.
“It’s great to pull the covers off and introduce the world to Le Mans Ultimate for the first time,” said the new CEO of Motorsport Games, Stephen Hood.
“In this Centenary year, we have been working closely with the ACO to bring the thrill of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC to people all around the world.
“We aim to help make them feel invested in Le Mans Ultimate from the start, taking them on a gaming journey with updates and behind-the-scenes coverage through our social media channels to show the development and the excitement we all have at Studio 397 and Motorsport Game to produce the best experience for gamers and motorsport fans.”
A new platform for Le Mans Virtual Series esports
When the Le Mans Virtual Series esports competition will return is yet to be confirmed, however, when it does, it will use Le Mans Ultimate. Not only will it use the new game, but how drivers and teams enter could be changed too. A ‘ladder of opportunity’ is mentioned, presumably making use of the RaceControl online system in some form.
Le Mans Ultimate has an expected release date on PC of December 2023 as a continually evolving platform with support over a ‘prolonged period’. Console versions are not guaranteed, but are being evaluated.
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