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Happy New Year! Assetto Corsa Competizione 2019 Season Update [V1.1 Update]

Happy New Year! Assetto Corsa Competizione 2019 Season Update [V1.1 Update]
 2019 has finally arrived in Assetto Corsa Competizione and that means new cars, a new circuit and a whole host of other changes and improvements. This is a big update and there’s a lot to get through, so I’m going to try and be as concise as possible and break it down into sections. But before we get into the details, just a quick reminder that this is a free update for everyone that has purchased ACC, and not paid DLC. The timing of ACCs original release meant that the 2019 Blancpain GT Series had just got under way, meaning that the content in the game was based on the 2018 season. Kunos promised that the 2019 content would be coming later in the year as a free update and well, here we are. So, let’s dive in.

Assetto Corsa Competizione 2019 Cars

Let’s start off with the cars, because if we’re honest, that’s why most of us are here. The 2019 update includes 6 new cars. The Audi R8 LMS Evo,  Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO, Honda NSX GT3 EVO and the snappily named Porsche 991 II GT3 R are new for 2019 evolutions of cars that previously appeared in ACC, while the final 2 cars are very much new. First of these is the Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage. Yes, I know the old V12 Vantage is in ACC, but really the only commonality between the two cars is the name. Finally, there’s also the McLaren 720s, which has been added by Kunos as as bit of a gift, and to bring the McLaren Shadow Esport project into ACC. It will presumably also unlock the ability to drive as relatively unknown Finnish driver Mika Hakkinen when the Intercontinental GT DLC gets released. Seriously, Hakkinen, McLaren, Suzuka. Yes please!
There’s too much to get through to go through each of the cars in detail in this video, so consider this as a bit of an overview.
First up is the Italian Audi, or as to use the name written on it’s birth certificate, the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO. Externally, the much loved and super successful Huracán looks pretty familiar, but under the skin much has changed. Power steering, roll cage, radiators, a new rear wing, suspension and dampers are amongst the more subtle changes, but the Aero and engine are probably the most obvious in game. Wind tunnel testing with Dallara has helped make a more predictable platform, addressing the pitch sensitivity of the last generation car and moving the overall aero balance 10% further forwards. What this means in game is a more predictable car overall, In particular the Huracán feels a lot better on turn in, and is a bit less nervous in high pitch situations. On to the power plant, and the tweaked 5.2 litre V10 has been improved to aid drivability and features a significant tweak to the torque curve – providing more power at lower RPM – again with the goal of a more predictable, driveable car. The old Huracán was an incredibly successful platform, and that was mirrored by it’s popularity in ACC. And I can see the 2019 EVO version being incredibly popular in Assetto Corsa Competizione. 
Unlike the Lambo, The Audi R8 LMS Evo is a bit of a softer update and for good reason. The R8 GT3 has been a pretty competitive platform, and in 2018 Audi teams were overall winners of over twice as many races as any other single manufacturer in Blancpain. But, the 2019 EVO hasn’t replicated that success. Whether that’s down to BOP issues, or something inherent to the car remains to be seen. The EVO features new front bodywork, an improved gearbox and the usual chassis and packaging improvements that you would expect from an updated car. And in the game it does feel fairly similar, though perhaps the balance has shifted a little more towards the front based on my limited and completely non-scientific approach to testing!
Next up is the Porsche 991 II GT3 R, or as I’ll be calling it, the Porsche. The last version of the 911 GT3 was very much like a 911 of old in many ways, and that caused some issues. The engine placement got in the way of the underbody aero, the front suspension was designed more with luggage space in mind, and with the car struggling on the latest generation of Pirelli rubber, things were not great in 2018 for the Porsche’s in Blancpain. But the new car features a host of changes under the familiar bodyshell. Gone are the MacPhearson struts at the front, replaced with a more conventional double wishbone design. This is coupled with larger front wheels, new brake supplier and significantly reworked ABS, which makes the on-track and in game models quite the different beast on turn-in. At the the rear of the car the engine placement has been refined to aid airflow to the diffuser, which is still pretty small by GT3 standards. All in, the new Porsche has a slightly wider operating window than the previous car, and is perhaps a little more forgiving. But, the wheelbase is still short, and despite tweaks, the power delivery is still a bit focused on the top end and the weight bias is still towards the rear. In short, it’s still a Porsche! The new car has been pretty competitive in the real world, let’s see how that translates to ACC.
I must admit, I’ve not spent that much time driving the 2016 NSX GT3 in Assetto Corsa Competizione. It’s a nice enough car, it drives very nicely in fact, but its just… slow. The new car features the usual sort of tweaks that you would expect for an evolution; small aero improvements, more efficient cooling and a whole host of other small changes to improve balance, drivability, fuel economy and performance. And, honestly, to me, in game it feels pretty similar. The old car felt good, and so does the new one. And without having time to do some more detailed side by side testing, there’s not a lot more I can say at the moment. And, of course the big question is still yet to be answered, it remains to be seen if this time it’s actually fast. 
I’ve left the McLaren and the Aston Martin until last, because they completely new designs that haven’t been featured in ACC. And, as such I’ve actually made a video dedicated to these two, since the subject requires more depth than the few sentences I have time for here. So, if you want to know more about the 720S and the V8 Vantage, there will be a link to that video in the end screen of this video, and if you’re impatient then there’s also a link in the video description! 

Zandvoort for Assetto Corsa Competizione

I could make a video dedicated to Zandvoort as well, but this whole thing would start to get messy. So instead, let’s take a brief look at the new circuit here. Zandvoort replaced Zolder on the 2019 Blancpain GT Sprint Series calendar, or thanks to the magic of rebranding, I should probably say the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe Calendar. I guess Stephane Ratel, like Porsche, isn’t a fan of short names. Back to Zandvoort and players of the original Assetto Corsa will be very familiar with this place. It’s a drivers track, with plenty of challenging corners, adverse camber, bumps compression and less runoff than the average scalextric circuit. The team at Kunos have done a predictably great job of replicating it in ACC, warts and all. It looks the part, it feels great to drive and I suspect if it’s anything like the real circuit it will prove pretty tricky to overtake in GT3 cars. But, driving it is as still a little bit magic. Even if you spend half of the lap thinking to yourself, “they’re seriously going to bring F1 here”? 

Features, Tweaks and Improvements

With the big stuff out of the way, lets get into the details. There’s a lot of great stuff coming to the Version 1.1 update, though not all of it is visually that exciting! 
First up, Paul Ricard, Silverstone, Barcelona and Spa all have updated tarmac to match real world changes, including resurfacing that happend for the 2019 season. This means that the road surface will differ at these circuit depending on which years championship you select. This of course will impact lap times, for example Aris claims the resurfaced Paul Ricard is around a second faster, while Silverstone has lost the edge that new tarmac provides and is now slower than the 2018 version. I think this is a sim racing first as far as I can remember and a wonderfully deep detail that really goes to show what can be done in a sim that focuses on one single series. 
Moving on, and as many of you will have already seen, Kunos have added triple screen support to ACC. This is something they’ve been working on for a long time, and quite sensibly have kept quiet about publicly until they were sure the feature would work properly and reliably. The issue of triple screen support in Unreal is well documented elsewhere, so I won’t go into it here and all I’ll say is that it’s great to see this niche, but important feature see the light of day. I’ve not had a chance to test it myself as I migrated away from triples over a year ago now. 
Next up we have pitstop animations, which look pretty decent. This isn’t a game changing detail, but it’s adds to the immersion, and it’s a nice surprise bonus to see included later on in the development cycle of the title.
Speaking of small improvements, there are a number of small UI tweaks throughout, most of which aren’t interesting enough to talk about here, but I’ll mention two specifically. First up is the reworked showroom, which allows you to zoom and rotate around the cars to get a decent look at them and also seems to work with a joypad as well, which is a nice touch. Also added, for those wondering, is a UI filter to select between different years, and to filter between the core content and DLC when that comes along.
So, that’s pretty much all the most noteworthy changes that are coming along very shortly to Assetto Corsa Competizione Version 1.1. Obviously, in addition to all of the headline grabbing stuff there is also myriad small changes and optimisations throughout. In terms of content, this is a pretty significant update. And, I’ve had a lot of fun playing around with the new cars and tracks to make the content for this video. I can’t wait for the release to go public to take some of the new content online and really dive deep into some of the new cars in particular. As I said before, if you want to know more about the McLaren and the Aston Martin, then check out my other video.

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