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Why racing was never and never will be a pure GT3 simulator

With the launch of ESL R1 – the knockout-based eSports racing series that combines in-person LAN events with online racing and a $500,000 prize pool – many keen-eyed members of the sim racing community have noticed four GT3 cars, and well, that’s it.

Since the competition uses the racing platform, a game still in development, it becomes a showcase that acts as a preview of the upcoming title.

But like the Harrods Christmas display, most of the items on display are not accessible. This time not because of extortionate prices, but because the closed beta has been postponed and the final release date remains in the dark.

Except for the lucky few journalists, content creators, and invited esports teams, you can’t play it.

Of course, this is par for the course for the vast majority of video games, some undetermined months before launch. Development work continues, but what is special about racing is that this is usually done in secret.

Whatever the enigmatic people from Kunos Simulazioni are cooking up for next year, for example, it hasn’t even been officially christened yet. The parent company’s financial reports simply state “the second version of Assetto Corsa…”

The publicity from last year’s Summit 1 racing and the ongoing ESL R1 competition have shown the world that the codebase is playable and not just that, viable enough to be used for esports. That makes it tantalizingly close, and what the public has seen so far is a GT3-based simulator.

Which in turn has led to comments like:

“I’m still a bit confused as to why GT3, does RACING have a USP over other GT3 focused sims?”

“We already have a lot of great GT3 sim racing games… it’s a boring class after all!”

“As it stands now, it’s just another boring GT3 simulator.”

Don’t worry, racing is becoming more varied.

Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3

The Porsche Mission R was already drivable at the Goodwood Festival of Speed ​​​​Hillclimb in Munich in June 2022.

GT3-AMGs and BMWs with the Hockenheimring, Spa-Francorchamps and more recently the Nürburgring GP facility play it safe.

But an electric Porsche and Goodwood are anything but, and that should be a permanent reminder that racing can be all sorts of weird and wonderful things.

“It won’t just be GT3, there will be a lot more cars,” racing CEO Morris Hebecker told Traxion.GG 10 months ago.

“There will be futuristic cars, there will be historic cars and hopefully some open wheelers.

“So we’re really open to implementing what it takes to create great sport and keep the community happy.”

It was clear from the start that racing will have a diverse roster – and that’s before you address plans to create a legalized modding scene.

But then ESL R1 clearly drew even more attention and from there the feeling grew that somehow it was going to be just GT3.

A similar sentiment was repeated earlier this year ahead of the first ESL R1 round, this time specifically in relation to non-German cars.

Vehicles from this region are fantastic, but so far racing has only featured Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-AMG and BMW.

Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) confirmed for RACING 03

“It will definitely happen [a] non-German manufacturer will be released shortly,” Hecker told Traxion.GG in February 2023.

“It’s a ‘wish car’ on my part. It is also a new automotive partner, definitely not from Europe.”

“All the major automotive partners will be there, but also all these special sports car manufacturers.”

The messages from those who matter were clear from day one. Yes, GT3 cars are important and an integral part of racing to support its sporting endeavors.

But don’t take ESL R1 at face value if you assume that’s “all” the sim racing title has to offer. It’s getting bigger.

ESL R1, Round 2: Rogers dominates for Porsche Coanda Esports

The challenge at this point is that visual representations of these other vehicles are non-existent and more than ever images and videos do the talking.

As we move towards the rest of 2023, we’re waiting with bated breath to see these additional types of cars, and we’re sure the criticism that racing is “another GT3 sim” will be one by this time next year distant memory will be.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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