Tag Archives: RF2

RF2 (post_tag auto created by Wordpresser)

Prost’s 1988 McLaren F1 @Algarve = 01:27:594

This is a 01:27:594 lap around the Algarve track, racing Alain Prost’s 1988 F1 McLaren. As I write, the lap record is only 11 seconds faster, in a F1 2020 car.

From 2020-10-23 to 2020-10-25, the Formula 1 Championship is at a new racing circuit, where F1 cars have never raced before: the “Autódromo Internacional do Algarve”, in Portimão, Algarve, Portugal. F1 never officially raced, but did test there, in the past.

In a season so competitively poor and lacking dispute for the wins, the interest is beyond the podium. Tracks like Algarve’s are a very welcome addition to the calendar, not just because they are new, but mainly because they are different: in this case, the layout brings variance in the Z-axis. Cars go up and down, frequently! Corners are blinder and wider than usual, allowing and even inviting alternative trajectories, enabling a human-factor not so evident in other locations. I am enjoying it! It is unique and F1 needs variables that can contribute to less predictable race results.

I decided to try it myself, racing Alain Prost’s 1988 McLaren F1.
I have also upped my simulator’s resolution, from 2560×1600 to 3440×1440. The wider ratio is more immersive. I changed for productivity reasons, not expecting gaming benefits, but they are there.

Here is a video of a 01:27:594 (minutes:seconds:milliseconds) lap, using rFactor 2. Contrary to many, I never found the sound of this car’s Honda engine particularly enjoyable or spectacular. In-car, the noise is too regular, providing relatively poor acoustic queues for when to shift gears, up or down. Modern F1 cars literally beep the drivers when it is time to up-shift. This car also had no speed limiter and no driver-assists, and that is good.
I find the McLaren heavy, high down-force, trustable. That is its key positive attribute: it is predictable – after a short time, you know how it will behave, except when on the limit on old tires, when it becomes less clear how the tire wear will condition outcomes.
I dislike the slow gearbox and there is nothing the driver can do, to compensate it: the setup only allows different gear ratios.

Regarding the track itself, it is ever-changing in altitude, and challenging to the left-front tire under braking, because there are two right-corners which require heavy braking while not in a straight line.

The video has two segments: the first ~90 seconds are captured from in-car, exactly as seen, when playing. The second half is footage from the “TV” camera. Enjoy!

Ferrari F1 1968 @Algarve, Portugal : 01:51:9xx

If there is anything good in the current F1 2020 championship, is the new circuits, namely the “Autodromo Dino e Enzo Ferrari” (Italy), the “Autodromo Internacional do Algarve” (Portugal), and the “Intercity Istanbul Park” (Turkey).

Novelty is much needed. F1 has never been so full of young drivers, yet smelling of old déjà vu winners. Or winner, singular, such as been the boring, uncontested for tooooo long, dominance of Lewis Hamilton.

The wonderful Turkish track is a return, but it was missing from the official F1 calendar for so many years, that it feels like a debut. The Ferrari circuit is also no stranger to F1 (red) cars. In a way, the Portuguese track will be the completely new event.

I raced the Ferrari F1 1968 car around the Algarve track, in the RFactor 2 game. With no aids (no traction control, no braking assistance, no stability control), these 1968 cars are nearly impossible to control. They can be “driven” but never pushed to their real top performance levels, unless at least a bit of traction control is set on the game.

The 01:51:9xx lap that I am sharing, contrary to my usual, does use that bit of traction control (the minimum level). I could not approach the A.I. cars without such help. Even with TC on, I was 2 seconds adrift the top computer cars. If I was optimistic, I would say that if I practiced enough, I could null the difference in a few hours, but I value first impressions and my impression was that, with these cars and A.I. at 101%, TC is the only way to make the challenge feasible.

This left me wondering how hard these cars really were. I felt the Ferrari too nervous: not only small throttle inputs are enough to destabilize it out of control, but also small direction corrections can easily overcompensate and make the driver lose the car.

The video I am sharing lasts for more than the time of my recorded full lap (01:51:9xx), because it includes the start of a failed second attempt and a TV perspective of the whole event. I beached the Ferrari very early on the second lap, because of an unexpected car response out of a turn.

F1 1968 @Portland, USA

Modern F1 is probably facing its most serious existential crisis: the sport remains a formidable engineering laboratory, but the racing on track – or the perception of it – leaves much to be desired.

Seasoned viewers should be able to appreciate the underlying technology, and enjoy the constant showoff of amazing numbers, namely 200 kph to 300 kph in ~2 seconds, unbelievable short braking distances, body challenging G forces, and so on. F1, for example, is now the reference in applied IoT (Internet of Things), with hundreds of addressable sensors per car.

Yet, casual viewers, not knowing or not caring about the technology, and with no understanding of the history of the sport, will have no references, and see nothing but a small set of 20 cars going around boring wide tracks, designed for safety, difficult to capture on video, conveying a decent sense of speed.

The fact is that the “relative speed” of F1 is eventually at its lowest ever: cars might be regularly exceeding the once magical 300 kph mark, but 300 kph at an “airfield” is like 12 kph on a treadmill. Moreover, the understanding that the cars are safer to crash than ever, creates the perverse collateral effect of undervaluing the drivers’ effort: in the past, one mistake would literally break or kill you, so overwhelming respect was due to those daring to ride their fallible temperamental machines. After Senna’s death, in 1994, F1 changed enormously in terms of safety. The early 1990s cars were the last
machines to constantly challenge the drivers’ physical integrity, and even then, less than in the 1980s, the 1970s, and certainly the crazy 1960s.

I remember the day Jacques Laffite (JL) broke both his legs in what seemed like a slow accident: his car steered to the right, at the first corner of a chaotic first lap, to avoid other cars in trouble. His Ligier left the asphalt, and then just skidded “slowly” over the zero grip grass, until its “nose” hit the barriers. The absolute speed of the car upon the impact must have been “low” (~50 kph), but the car’s construction offered nearly no protection to the feet and legs. JL’s F1 career ended that afternoon.

Imagine higher speeds and even less modern cars, namely the machines from the 1960s and from the 1970s! Every event was a bit of a “circus”, such were the life threatening risks looming. Yet the “rewards”, for example measured in exhilaration and/or adrenaline, shared by both racers and spectators (which were crazy daring, placing themselves in unacceptable spots), is something unparalleled.

Today, somewhat bored with the F1 2020 cars, I decided to exercise my arms and legs, by virtually racing the “Matra” from the 1968 F1 season. I did some laps around the “new” Portland circuit, USA, a track for rFactor2, released this July. It was formidable! What a challenge! The Matra is a noisy, nervous, powerful car, capable of ~275 kph in such a short circuit! My best lap was a 01:14:8xx, half a second slower than the best adversary.
In real life, with this car, I imagine, if you put a wheel wrong, you will hurt yourself – instantaneously and seriously. The Matra is agile, nervous, very fast, but unstable. It accelerates much better than it can decelerate or turn, so be careful with what you request it to do!
The video that follows has two segments: first it captures my best 01:14:8xx lap, from the in-car camera (footage taken while I was driving the lap), then it features two other laps, from the “TV” camera perspective.

Enjoy and try it yourself. The “Portland” track and the 1968 F1 cars are both free.

F1 2020 at the Estoril circuit

This is a 01:14:xxx lap around the current (2020) layout of the “Estoril” circuit, @Portugal, Europe. The car is Esteban Ocon’s 2020 Renault F1, using “RFactor2” – the simulator selected for the first ever official “24 hours of Le Mans Virtual” (check https://www.studio-397.com/2020/06/celebrating-24h-lmv/).

Relatively to the layout that hosted real Formula1 / F1 races in the 1980s, and in the 1990s, the key changes are at turn #1 – now a ~90 degrees corner, instead of a pedal-to-the-metal right – and, by the end of the lap, at what was called “curva do tanque”, which also became slower, but not as slow as in the horrible version, used for some races, following Senna’s death, when there was a literal stop-and-go “S” segment.

This is an unprepared lap, done just to test the 2020 F1 cars and the circuit. For now, the cars sound bad and have much to improve in terms of credibility – I full-throttled the Renault at the exit of several slow corners and indeed got some wheel spin, but it was too easy to control. Nevertheless, a promising first version of these cars.

The video has four segments: from in-car, then two different from-halo angles, finally one lateral perspective.

RF2 : Racing Alain Prost's 1986 McLaren around the Nogaro circuit, France

One RF2 lap around the Nogaro circuit, France, driving Alain Prost’s 1986 McLaren. Two mistakes of mine and one accident of others easily cost 2 seconds, which means this 01:20:5xx lap could have been a 01:18:xxx lap. Notice that the 2019 Indycar machines lap this circuit in the 01:16:xxx. In other words: 30+ years ago, these turbo powered F1 cars were nearly at the level of performance of modern Indycars, at least believing RF2.

The video includes a “TV” view and, after that, the in-car camera.