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SUBSCRIPTIONS

WELCOME TO THE SEVENTH ISSUE OF SIM RACER!

ORDER ONLINE AT: WWW.SIMRACER-MAG.COM OR OVER THE PHONE ON: 01775 750005

It’s another packed issue, and we’ve gone a bit Forza-themed this time, with our attention on Forza Motorsport 6, Forza-branded equipment from Fanatec, and even a retrospective look at the older games. This is the first time we’ve had a chance to cover this series, so I think it was worth doing properly!

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THE MAGAZINE PRINTING COMPANY ISSN: 1750-8584 While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of articles in this magazine, the publishers do not accept liability for any incorrect statement or errors contained in material from independent sources or authors that may be reproduced from time to time. Reproduction in whole or part of any text, photography or illustration in any form without permission from the publishers/editor is strictly prohibited. We welcome articles, photographs or artwork, however, Sim Racer cannot be held responsible for any loss or damage to unsolicited material. Please enclose a sae if you wish your material to be returned. Competitions will be judged on the 20th day of the month following publication and winner’s names will be published at the earliest opportunity. No correspondence will be entered into and the judge’s decision is final. In the event of the published prize not being available due to circumstances beyond the control of the magazine, a suitable alternative of similar value will be provided.

Welcome sim fans!

The Fanatec review represents the first deeper look into sim hardware, with the aim to cover more high-end equipment in this way over the next few months. We also had the chance to test Thrustmaster’s new T150, and we might be giving away one in a competition in the near future... watch this space. As promised, we have the beginnings of some virtual race coverage this issue, with the first report from the Virtual Endurance Championship. This should become a regular feature, hopefully along with other series too! We also have a chat with Hugo Luis and Wil Vincent of RaceSpot TV to find out more about the joys of sim broadcasting. And in the world of real racing, Luisa was at the Italian Grand Prix weekend, and secured not one, but three interviews for us, including a fascinating chat with Mario Isola at Pirelli. The usual track guide is here, along with some further rallying tips, as I’m sure many of you are getting stuck into (or perhaps stuck halfway up a tree in) DiRT Rally’s recent Finland update. As this is the last issue of 2015, I’d like to thank everybody for supporting the magazine this year. 2016 promises to be a revolutionary year for sim racing, and I can’t wait to find out more - see you there! Dominic Brennan

ebcon publishing ltd.

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FORZA 6 REVIEW

MONZA INTERVIEWS

A new Forza Motorsport title is always a significant moment on the calendar for sim racers and the wider gaming audience alike. It remains one of Microsoft’s strongest first-party franchises, with Turn 10 Studios at the helm - a team with many successful titles to their name. But with Forza 5 receiving a lukewarm reception, and Project CARS offering a serious alternative, they needed to step up their game. Is it the ultimate Xbox One racer?

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A unique triple feature from the Italian Grand Prix weekend at Monza. Sauber’s Formula One driver Marcus Ericsson and GP3 champion Luca Ghiotto talk to Luisa and Alessandro about their race weekends and offer very different opinions about simulators. We also hear from Mario Isola at Pirelli, who had some interesting information about tyres, and how the teams use Pirelli’s data in their simulation.

NEWS

Sim racing moves fast - check out the news section for a quick summary of the stories that caught our eye recently.

13 FORZA MOTORSPORT 6 Turn 10’s latest game is our headline feature this month. Although this Xbox One exclusive arrives less than two years after the launch of Forza 5, they’ve managed to add wet weather and night racing for the first time.

19 PC PREVIEW Last month we looked at the magnificent, high-end Fusion Master PC from Chillblast for those willing to pay for the very latest technology. If you’re looking for a solid pre-built PC at a lower price point, the Primal GS4 from DinoPC might fit the bill.

22 MONZA INTERVIEWS EXCLUSIVE We chat to F1 driver Marcus Ericsson, GP3 driver Luca Ghiotto and Pirelli’s Motorsport Racing Manager Mario Isola about realworld racing, simulated racing and tyres!

27 RACESPOT TV EXCLUSIVE We chat with Hugo Luis and Wil Vincent about their popular live virtual race broadcasting channel, with some words from Hugo about his successful virtual racing career.

30 VEC SILVERSTONE First in a series of race reports covering the Virtual Endurance Championship - a well-established series using rFactor 2. Now on its 8th season, the first challenge was 8 gruelling hours at Silverstone!

37 STOCKING FILLERS Looking for the perfect gift this feastive season? We’ve got a few ideas, from sim-specfic hardware to general PC options.

42 TRACK GUIDE Courtesy of Simraceway, here’s Jeff Westphal’s guide to the complex Sonoma circuit.

46 SUBSCRIBE NOW! Subscribe today and don’t miss an issue!

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RACESPOT TV

FANATEC GEAR

An exclusive interview with Hugo Luis and Wil Vincent at RaceSpot TV, one of the leading broadcasters for virtual online racing, including the iRacing.com World Championship Grand Prix Series. They tell us what it’s like to broadcast a live racing event, and what they expect from the future of the channel. Hugo is a former World Champion himself, so we had a few racing-specific questions for him too!

Here’s a detailed introduction to Fanatec’s everexpanding ClubSport system. We test the core component, the ClubSport Wheel V2, combined with the new Universal Hub for Xbox One and the Forza Motorsport rim. We’ve also been testing the lastest ClubSport Pedals V3 combined with two Damper Kits. Find out what we think about this unique and compelling ecosystem of products.

47 MINI ITX BUILD

60 FORZA RETROSPECTIVE

Completion of the tiny PC that packs a big punch!

Forza Motorsport 6 proudly celebrates the series’ 10th anniversary this year; we look back at the early titles, and how it evolved into the multi-million-selling franchise we know today.

52 TECH DESK Answering a popular request, Connor takes you through how to install a self-contained water cooling system.

53 FANATEC CLUBSPORT SYSTEM REVIEW

64 PIT STOP We check out some new gear, including Thrustmaster’s new T150 wheel, the TX Leather bundle and a look at a highlyacclaimed variable-refresh monitor.

A detailed introduction to several key components in Fanatec’s ClubSport system - including a review of the core ClubSport Wheel V2, the lastest Forza-licenced rim, and the new ClubSport Pedals V3 with Damper Kits.

68 AWARDS

58 RALLY DRIVING TECHNIQUES

74 NEXT ISSUE

A summary of some of the main nominees in order to help you place your vote!

A small taste of what’s in store next time.

With a wealth of rally games arriving over a short space of time, we’re continuing our rally driving tips with a more detailed look at left-foot braking - how to execute it and when to use it. We also teach you the invaluable Scandinavian Flick.

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SIM RACER NEWS rFactor 2 Has finally made its way on to Steam, completing the list of all major PC simulators available on the platform. With the long-awaited Stock Car update and a comprehensive set of oval-specific rules and systems, along with the recent overhauls to their historic Spa and Monaco circuits, there has been no better time to jump in.

Thrustmaster T150 IS NOW AVAILABLE, a new entry-level wheel suitable for PS3 games such as GT6, along with PS4 and PC support. Check out our review on page 64.

RaceRoom Racing Experiance RECEIVED A MAJOR update in October, with some major overhauls to the physics of many cars including the popular GT3 class, and coinciding with the release of DTM Experience 2015. We’ll be reviewing the software next issue!

n ews Assetto Corsa HAS ALSO RECEIVED significant physics changes over the last couple of months. Version 1.3 saw further FFB improvements and an overhaul to the ABS, tyre model and differentials. The second DLC, ‘Dream Pack 2’, launched alongside 1.3, including a laser-scanned Circuit de Catalunya, and the following cars: Lamborghini Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Ford GT40 MK1 Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG003 Audi R8 ULTRA 2014 Ruf RT12R AWD Ruf RT12R RWD BMW M4 Coupe BMW M4 Coupe Akrapovic Edition

DiRT Rally

Updates everywhere! DiRT Rally also experienced some major improvements when they released the ‘Flying Finland’ update with the iconic 2001 Focus and Impreza along with miles of trees to avoid. Many of the existing cars received overhauls with their ‘version 2’ physics, which has transformed the handling for the better, particularly on tarmac.

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iRacing THE NÜRBURGRING IS NOW due to launch in December. After talking with Greg Hill for our behind-the-scenes feature on iRacing’s track building process last issue, it’s understandable that this enormous project has been pushed back. It looks like it’ll be worth the wait!

HAS ALSO BEEN receiving regular patches and DLC - a good sign after announcing Project CARS 2 so quickly. Following successful events at Gamergy and Gamescom, Slighty Mad partnered with the Electronic Sports League, making Project CARS an official ‘Esport’. They had further strong presence at the Eurogamer Expo and at Paris Games Week in the ESL Arena. We’ll be talking to Andy Tudor about their ‘Esport’ initiative and the future plans for the sim in the next issue!

Virtual Reality THE VIRTUAL REALITY sector continues to develop at a frantic pace, yet consumer headsets remain just out of reach. In the least-surprising news of the year, HTC’s Vive has effectively slipped into 2016 to join both the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus, which was recently given the rather less interesting name, ‘PlayStation VR’. Stay tuned.

DEM Simulators The DRS Integrale from DEM Simulators, a 16Nm dual-motor FFB system, is now available. We should be testing this wheel base soon - watch this space!

n ews

Project CARS

iRacing have updated their base content to include 5 additional cars (NASCAR Chevrolet Silverado 2013, NASCAR Chevrolet Impala 2013, NASCAR Chevrolet Impala 2011, V8 Supercar Ford Falcon 2012 and the Indycar Dallara 2011) and 3 additional tracks (Concord Speedway, Daytona International Speedway road and oval (2007) and Phoenix International Raceway road and oval (2008) as part of the subscription fee. Two new ‘fun’ series have been created - this is a smart way of using the older content, some of which have been replaced with newer versions. Since our interview with the world’s fastest sim racer last issue, Greger Huttu has won his 5th iRacing World Championship Grand Prix Series title congratulations Greger!

We’ve been enjoying: Watching virtual racing online - Project CARS is the new kid on the block when it comes to commentated competition, with iRacing and rFactor 2 having a large number of dedicated live broadcasters, including RaceSpot TV - check out our interview with them on page 27!

Gran Turismo 6 COURSE MAKER IS finally available, but strangely only on Android and iOS devices. At this point we have to wonder whether it would’ve been worth holding it for GT7, but Polyphony Digital work in mysterious ways... • Gran Turismo Sport was recently announced for PS4 - a beta is due early 2016!

Fanatec REVEALED A FORZA-BRANDED wheel for the Universal Hub for Xbox One to coincide with the launch of Forza Motorsport 6, and the rim was recently made available to purchase separately. We have a full review of both hardware and software in this issue!

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FORZA 6 REVIEW SIM RACER

review!

MICROSOFT’SFLAGSHIPRACINGSERIES ISBACK,WITH ALONGLIST OF IMPROVEMENTS, REFINEMENTSANDNEW FEATURES. WITH GRAN TURISMOSTILL STUCK IN THE GARAGE,TURN 10COULD HAVE HELDBACKTHEIR SECOND TITLE OF THISCONSOLE GENERATION. BUT RESTINGON LAURELS IS NOT IN THEIRDNA,ANDBESIDES, THEY HAVE FRESH COMPETITION FROM SLIGHTLY MADSTUDIOS. HASFORZAGOT THE RACING CHOPSTOSTAY ON TOP?

review

BY DOMINIC BRENNAN

A NASTY POOL of water sits on the apex of Stirlings Bend. With the full glory of the British weather entering the cockpit of my Formula Ford EcoBoost 200, I tentatively negotiate the opening lap at Brands Hatch. Intimidating and downright treacherous, I have a huge moment at turn 8, the front left tyre diving deep into the drink, causing massive oversteer and a possible need for some new overalls. But with another 7 laps to go, my thoughts are already leaping ahead, shaken by what is normally a straightforward, confidenceinspiring corner. Next time round, I take a slightly different line, and it’s even worse - the front end washes around and some over-corrections almost cause a spin. Thankfully I’d been forced to slow more than planned due to an AI tangle at Sheene; I survive to live another lap. In the end, with my attention focused so keenly on this single puddle, I bin it spectacularly at the opposite end of the circuit. Welcome to wet racing, Forza-style. This is a first for the series, and naturally the most-promoted highlight of Forza Motorsport 6’s new features. It’s an admirable first attempt, with many elements having to come together in order to achieve a convincing sensation of driving in the rain, such as the sound of raindrops tapping on the roof, the low-hanging mist that starts to roll off the track surfaces, and of course, the

partially-hydrated connection of rubber to road. Occasionally the combination of reflective tarmac and tyre spray makes the cars look de-coupled from the environment, but 90% of the time it is stunning, often besting Project CARS’ stormy conditions for visual wow-factor. Physics-wise, this is also some of the best wet weather behaviour I’ve seen. But... and it is a big but - the conditions are once again static, meaning the wet weather is a single track state, with fixed lighting and fixed surface grip levels. The puddles are always in the same place, and after the initial thrill of being caught out, you’ll quickly learn their positions and the optimal way to approach them. The feeling of venturing into the unknown soon fades once you’ve completed a handful of races. Therefore it feels like a stop-gap until a fully-featured weather system arrives, and I can’t help but think the puddles have been exaggerated to impress. It looks like they’re collecting in the right kind of places, but I’ve never seen this level of standing water at Brands or Sebring - races are red-flagged well before these kinds of conditions occur.

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SIM RACER

FORZA 6 REVIEW

review

This reluctance to move to a dynamic simulation of the environment both prevents Forza from matching the technology of Project CARS (and even PS3 Gran Turismo titles) and helps to maintain such a rock-solid presentation - it’s the only console sim of the three that achieves an unwavering 60fps. If smoothness is your priority, Forza is the obvious choice. The visual splendour of Forza 6 is, at times, unsurpassed. The Physically-Based Material rendering has been further refined since Forza 5, particularly noticeable on chrome accents and bright alloy wheels. It means even the most outlandish paint schemes I applied managed to look ‘right’ on any track, in different lighting and weather conditions. The am-I-having-a-near-death-experience crepuscular rays from the previous game have been toned down, and the new Rio track is a stunning showcase of the daylight refinements. Overcast lighting during wet races, with its diffused shadows and desaturated palette, can look nigh-on photorealistic at times, and night racing has the ability to impress too, from the spectacular colours of the Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi to the ominous darkness of the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans. Stunning textures cover the tracks, and there is remarkable detail on the tyre barriers. Turn 10 have performed another impressive job of showcasing the console’s power, with few indications of aggressive

optimisations or image quality problems. The LOD scaling seems less noticeable than previous iterations, but the eagle-eyed viewer will spot aliasing at night and the combination of motion blur and not enough anisotropic filtering causing the incredible track textures to be mostly lost, everywhere but photo mode. Forza retains its clear advantage over Gran Turismo in terms of audio, but that's hardly saying much. Project CARS is the title to beat in this area, and Forza puts up a good fight, but not without oddities - what should be a glorious symphony of noise from DBR9s racing at Monza results in an odd resonance and a painful mix of tones. Car model quality has taken yet another step up. New cars for Forza 6, such as the AMG GT S, are simply stunning in their accuracy and attention to detail. For road cars in particular, Forza and Gran Turismo are in a class of their own when it comes to the variety on offer and the model detail. With over 460 cars to choose from, all at ‘ForzaVista’ levels of detail (meaning you can explore the car close up, opening all doors, start/rev the engine, and listen to some history or facts and figures), there’s a staggering amount of content here. Many of the DLC cars of Forza 5 are readily available in Forza 6, but not all - the ethics of that being somewhat debatable.

But the good news is that the list is full of surprises as well as the usual most-wanted. When I see a Renault Clio Williams, McLaren M8B, Mazda 787B, Lancia Fulvia and both the 2001 and 2013 versions of the Audi RS4 Avant to name a random few, I know the series is in good hands. Turn 10’s modelling team have really stepped up this generation. The gap has closed, but I still believe Polyphony Digital has the edge when it comes to model accuracy, for one particular reason... The Ferrari F355 is one of my all-time favourite cars; as a kid I lost countless hours poring over any image or footage I could get my hands on. Since its appearance in the original Forza Motorsport, I have stared at the

OVERCAST LIGHTING DURING WET RACES CAN LOOK NIGH-ON PHOTOREALISTIC AT TIMES

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the steering set to ‘normal’ rather than ‘simulation’, as it reduced the impact of those pendulum weight transfers. Thankfully, though a noticeable visual latency remains, the force feedback delivery feels considerably more responsive in Forza 6, meaning the ‘simulation’ steering mode becomes a viable option. But this is still a major problem, unnecessarily increasing the difficulty. I suspect that if Forza could halve its latency, there might not even be a need for the ‘normal’ steering mode, as ‘simulation’ would simply feel correct. My first thought was that it might be a console-wide problem, but Project CARS running on the same system has less lag and is, therefore, the better sim for wheel users. It’s unfortunate that Forza still suffers from a lack of communication with FFB wheels, as it has some sophisticated and convincing tyre characteristics and vehicle dynamics under the hood, but it is at least playable in all-assists-off mode this time. Most of Forza 5’s problems have been addressed. The music is more uplifting for a start - quite a subtle change in some areas but it makes a big difference. Top Gear integration is toned down, not only due to 100% less Clarkson, but with the sillier challenges taking a back seat. They’re still in, along with Hammond and May, sensibly introducing parts of the career, along with a number of motorsport celebrities. The menus are snappier and more intuitive and the flow of the career is much more comfortable. It allows skipping of race intros and you can fly through the awards at the end - a huge improvement. The pay-to-win system has been completely removed, and the grind for credits is back to normal. As a nice touch, you can check your FM3, FM4, FM5, and Horizon 1 and 2 garages, and it’ll reward up to 5 million credits per game depending on your car count. A Prize Spin is awarded with each Driver Level for potentially huge credit wins, and there are ‘mods’ (similar to a first person shooter ‘perk’ system) that can earn you faster credits too. Overall it’s a much more positive, satisfying system, if rather unbalanced - the Prize Spins have such a high chance of winning big that it limits the incentive to try to earn credits the hard way, by completing clean races against very challenging AI. Sometimes I wonder if the developers are a little too engrossed in their

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review

roofline in horror. Despite throwing millions of polygons at it since then, the problem remains - the curvature of the roofline just above the top of the side windows and windscreen is still incorrect. Knowing that this flaw remains despite three generational overhauls across six titles is frustrating to say the least. It is probably a matter of millimetres at this stage, so this is nit-picking in the extreme, but when the game proudly presents its models in this way, with a mode specifically for gawking, I have to hold them to a higher standard. The environments deserve plenty of praise. With 26 locations, mostly containing 3 or more track variations, this the best track count Forza has ever enjoyed, which is arguably more important than the vehicle count. The stunning version of Long Beach carries over from the previous title, as does the legendary Nordschleife, the first laser-scanned version of the track to hit the market. Particular mentions go to new tracks Brands Hatch, Circuit of the Americas, Watkins Glen and Lime Rock Park, all of which have the look and feel of tracks made with accurate laser point-cloud data. Some artistic liberties have been taken to liven-up the trackside detail, but it’s not Need For Speed Shift-levels of embellishment. For instance, smoke from a

spectator’s barbecue at Lime Rock Park, leaves blowing in the breeze and an acceptable number of Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Men at the Glen. Being a launch title for Xbox One, a massive achievement in itself, Forza 5 escaped with fairly lenient reviews; there was a great deal wrong with the game. The backlash on the pay-to-win initiative was appropriate; the two displays of ‘Press Y to level faster’ almost permanently etched into the menu, along with the ‘buy with tokens’ prompt, which appeared each time you wanted to add to your garage, left a bad taste in the mouth. But those labels were eventually ignored; other issues I found more troubling over the long term - the unusual musical score for example, creating an awkward ethereal vibe throughout the proceedings. It seemed to clash in style with the loud Top Gear component, including intro voice-over from Clarkson and the instantly ludicrous Top Gear ‘London challenge’ as the second event in the career. An unskippable, painfully slow end-of-race sequence would follow, forcing you to sit through the awarded credit/points counter, complete with lethargic choir in the background. The career felt disjointed, with an unusual flow of events, but it was the combination of slow navigation, unskippable displays and the painfully dull music that would eventually take its toll. And let’s not forget the ‘Drivatar’ AI. But the biggest problem with Forza 5? Latency. “Just because it is difficult to drive doesn’t make it realistic.” This sentiment is often thrown around sim discussion with limited justification, but it applies here - with a twist. All assists off, Forza 5 remains one of the most challenging sims to drive, but for the wrong reason - enormous input lag. This was highlighted most clearly when driving through a high-speed, shallow curve; the force feedback lagged to the point where the centring effect appeared to pull at your hands in a slow oscillation, all the way along the curve. With this amount of latency, the ‘tank slapper’ scenario when overcorrecting a tail slide, causing it to ‘snap’ the other way was inevitable, due to the woefully indirect connection with the car. As such, Forza 5 was far more enjoyable (and I would argue, more realistic) with

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SIM RACER

FORZA 6 REVIEW

review

cars, when one of the first tasks is to ‘pick a car subculture’, and the Sport Compact segment is referred to as ‘Ultimate SpoCom’. Pretty questionable phrases, but maybe I’m just not ‘hip’ enough. Nevertheless, off I go to delve deep into the career mode. The ‘Stories of Motorsport’ theme works well, and the quick-fire rotation of events can maintain my interest for many hours. But however you want to dress it up, this is the usual gated content that should be familiar to fans of Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport alike. You need to earn credits and come third or higher in order to progress through the career and actually enjoy all the content, which can be frustrating for some, and the main part of the fun for others. Why third? Because they’re using gold, silver and bronze awards instead of points. This means you don’t really get a sense of achievement if you fight your way from 24th to 4th - that’s not good enough, try again. But come a comfortable third when you could’ve been fighting for the win? That’s fine, you can carry on. This arcade-like structure to the events promotes a certain attitude towards racing - in fact it all seems to be geared a certain way; the short sprint races, no qualifying, always starting mid-pack and an AI system that behaves like (dangerous) mobile chicanes all the way until about 4th place. It feels like a game designed around the rewind system, so the fact Forza 6 finally allows it to be disabled completely almost has no consequence. And when I say ‘no qualifying’, that’s not just in the career, where it would be inappropriate for the quick-fire races, that’s across the board; no qualifying in multiplayer or in Free Play. Free Play is also strangely restrictive and the least intuitive menu in the entire UI. But there’s still split-screen, which should be applauded. I said ‘most’ problems have been addressed, but one persists - Drivatars are back with a vengeance. For the uninitiated, a Drivatar is an AI driver based on a real player using Xbox Live. It was introduced in Forza 5 with much fanfare as Microsoft pushed their ‘Power of the Cloud’ marketing throughout the launch of the Xbox One. The idea is that the system learns the way humans are playing the game online, i.e. the racing lines, the braking points, even the driving style and the mistakes, and then applies that to the AI opponents, meaning more unpredictable, human-like AI. An impressive idea, but the execution left much to be desired. The AI in Forza 5 was all over the place, unlike any AI we’d seen before, but absolutely not in a good way. Turn 10 are sticking to their guns, and the system has been refined for Forza 6. It’s an improvement, but in my experience, plenty of problems still remain. The racing is messy, turn 1 pile-ups are a regular

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occurrence, and they have an uncanny knack of braking when you least expect it, such as while negotiating a shallow corner or kink that should be easily flat-out. Then there is a related issue of the leaders pulling unrealistically large gaps in no time at all - something that Turn 10 are aware of but is not fixed at the time of writing this review. It’s not all bad news the unpredictability is welcome to some extent, and during those rare moments where everything comes together, it is a unique AI experience that almost justifies the technology investment. There is a new toggle to ‘limit Drivatar aggression’, but this seems to go against the grain. The AI then back off too easily and won’t put up a good fight. The best way to ‘fix’ the AI is to simply run them at very high difficulty, where they seem to behave better. Participating in endurance races, where they have more laps to spread out and settle into a rhythm, helps too. The one area where Microsoft’s console has maintained the upper hand is in multiplayer, with the Forza series being one of the regular showcase titles to promote Xbox Live. I jumped onto Forza 5’s multiplayer recently and was pleasantly surprised to see it still going strong - with near-instantaneous matchmaking and races filling up quickly. Forza 6 is the same story, but it’s even more populated. The presentation of the menus has come along leaps and

bounds, and a beautiful spectator mode is there to keep you entertained if you need to wait for a race to finish, with refined camera angles and telemetry readings; a nice touch and possibly useful if you’re helping a friend complete an endurance race. But the stand-out multiplayer feature, new to the series, is Leagues. On the face of it, a League race is just like any other random online race - the matchmaking is quick and you’re on the starting grid before you can say “did I set up my wheel correctly?” The difference is that there is a set schedule of events, and each race is about raising your rank and skill rating. Everybody starts at ‘Grassroots’, and you have to earn your way through five divisions to ‘Pinnacle’. The idea is to increase the chances of matching your skill level with other players,

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leading to closer, more competitive racing. The system also gauges temperament, so clean drivers should be matched with other clean drivers. In theory then, this is the closest concept on console to the fully ranked system found in iRacing, the undisputed top-dog in multiplayer racing on PC. In practice, it’s not as effective as I hoped, with it being frustratingly difficult to escape the lowest division due to the multitude of wreckers filling every grid, but then all too easy to reach ‘Pinnacle’, where I still found a few unsavoury drivers. The scheduling is strange too, sometimes leaving the player with no choice but to come back later. But as with all multiplayer experiences, your mileage may vary, and indeed with some tweaks this could be a superb feature. I tested the game mostly with three control solutions - the Xbox One gamepad, a Thrustmaster TX with T500RS pedals, and a Fanatec CSW V2 with Universal Hub and Forza rim and the CSP V3 pedals. The so-called plug and play console experience is not without its peculiarities. Both the TX and CSW V2 wheels required firmware updates (via a PC) before they would cooperate. Once sorted, they both performed admirably, with the Fanatec’s superior strength and clarity shining the brightest, but also more obviously highlighting the shortcomings of Forza 6’s FFB. (Check the full CSW V2 review on p54 for more details). Indeed switching to ‘Normal’ steering still largely made for a more pw11leasant experience. After using both wheels on ‘simulation’ for hours, ‘normal’ does indeed seem more artificial, but ultimately, it meant less frustration and more fun. And fun is really what Forza is about. As you’d expect, it works brilliantly with the gamepad, putting the haptic triggers to great use once again, and the latency isn’t anywhere near as noticeable with this kind of input. For all its physics and tyre technology, Forza Motorsport still feels like the priority is gamepad users. A clear hint of a gamepad-focused title is the lack of any Field of View adjustment. The only way to make the FOV look correct on Forza 6 is to sit closer to your TV or buy a bigger model! On top of that, the steering animation only rotates through 180 degrees, and there is no option to disable the arms or on-screen wheel. These are all standard features of simulation software these days, found in every PC sim and indeed Project CARS (on every platform). The animating hands are quite a distraction even with a gamepad - the fingers

review

THE BEAUTIFUL SPECTATOR MODE IS A WELCOME ADDITION TO MULTIPLAYER

are constantly fidgeting, and in some cars the driver seems to release his grip almost entirely, and this can happen through a high-speed, high-load corner where you’d need all your strength to keep control of the wheel. It breaks the illusion somewhat when my avatar looks like he’s about to order a double cheeseburger at the local drive-through while I’m sweating away, sawing at the wheel. Furthermore, the audio options are basic, with only a master volume and an option to choose the type of audio system. It’s a regular struggle to hear my tyres above other sounds, so separate sliders would make a big difference in terms of using audio cues to sense the grip levels. And the most positive reason for gamepad use? Forza has always had the best and most comprehensive set of driving assists. It is a superbly accessible sim, with settings for anyone to enjoy, even if they’ve never touched a video game before. All that said, a steering wheel positively enhances the experience, mostly by virtue of being a fun peripheral to use, and with most of the tyres being reasonably forgiving over the limit (more so than Forza 5) it doesn’t take long to adjust to the latency, or you can simply use ‘normal’ steering for some pure fun. And of course, you can still apply all the assists to the wheel too. Forza, like Gran Turismo, is primarily a celebration of cars with a racing sim hiding under perhaps a few too many layers of polish. Try too hard to seek it out, and you might forget to enjoy yourself! After all, if you

want to dive into the nitty-gritty of setup tuning and take it all very seriously, Project CARS does that better. For all Forza 6’s foibles, Turn 10 have much to be proud of. The presentation is unrivalled, and the quantity and quality of the content is impressive, as is their production speed; they’ve now delivered the same number of major iterations as Gran Turismo, despite Polyphony Digital’s 7+ year head start, including two titles on current gen hardware (three if you count their assistance with Horizon 2). With both Forza Motorsport and Project CARS carving distinct paths, Xbox One owners are lucky to have two very capable but very different driving sims to choose from. It’s the multiplayer of Forza 6 that will draw me back in, with the potential of Leagues and the incredible paint community. It rarely feels like I’m racing against 23 opponents in single player but online is a different story. If a patch introduced more customisation options in Free Play, such as setting a starting position, adding qualifying and more precise opponent selection, it would make a big difference to my enjoyment. But it’s the controller latency, unusual FFB and lack of dynamic conditions that are the significant drawbacks, and those aren’t going to be simple fixes. Forza Motorsport 6 is the best game in the series so far, but I wish it would pay more attention to the needs of the simulation enthusiast. Turn 10 are on a path heading toward great things; let's hope they don't forget the fundamentals along the way.

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V O L U M E

GUN REVIEWS • GAME REPORTS • HOW-TO GUIDES • GEAR TESTS

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OUTDOORS - ADRENALIN - TACTICAL - ESSENTIALS - FITNESS - EXPLORE

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PC PREVIEW

SIM RACER

DINO PC PRIMAL GS4

SOMETHING WE’VE NEGLECTED IN THE PAGES OF SIM RACER IS AFFORDABLE GAMING PCS. IT’S VERY EASY TO GET DISTRACTED BY THE BIG MONEY WHEN IT COMES TO PCS, HOWEVER IT IS ALSO AS EASY TO FIND WELL BUILT, AFFORDABLE PCS THAT WILL BE MORE THAN HAPPY PLOUGHING THROUGH YOUR FAVOURITE RACING SIMS. THIS MONTH CONNOR TAKES A BRIEF LOOK AT THE PRIMAL GS4 FROM DINOPC.

With the new Windows 10 recently being released, and all PCs that ran other Windows operating systems being offered an upgrade to 10, it makes sense that the Primal GS4 makes use of the latest OS on offer. Personally I've yet to get hands-on with Windows 10, as I'm a huge Windows 7 fanboy, but it’s gotta be hard to mess things up worse than Windows 8… Surely?

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SIM RACER PC PREVIEW RAM: 8GB CORSAIR 1600MHZ VENGEANCE With DDR4 now on the market (Check out our view on DDR4 in last month's issue), DDR3 RAM has started to fall in price, and you can get some massive bargains as things stand. Corsair’s range of Vengeance RAM has always been a favourite here, and with 8GB you’ve got enough to keep things ticking over smoothly. Should you wish to expand, you can do so with there being another 2 vacant slots. Just be aware that RAM is not cross compatible, so make sure you buy the exact RAM on use here!

CPU COOLING: BEQUIET! PURE ROCK German engineering at its best, the BeQuiet Pure Rock is a rather non obtrusive air cooler that simply works and does a very efficient job of it too. There is minimal noise, the specially designed PWM fan features nine blades for expelling hot air away from the heatsink as quickly as possible, with high quality bearing optimized for quietness. Aluminium is the predominant metal used, with four copper heat pipes for dissipating heat. This fan is a great alternative to a basic water cooling unit, offering similar functionality at a lower price point and even easier maintenance.

CPU: AMD FX 6300 BLACK EDITION AMD have for years lived in Intel’s shadow, but that’s not to say they don’t still produce good products. The AMD FX 6300 Black Edition is seen by many as a great budget CPU, with the ability to handle overclocking to a huge scale. In the past, people have managed to get these up to 4.5GHz without a quality overclocking motherboard, and have been pushed to as high as 5GHz. The 6300 Black Edition is definitely a solid choice, and for entry level gamers offers a lot in terms of value-for-money.

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MOTHERBOARD GIGABYTE 970A-DS3P One thing you lose when you’re buying on a budget is things with fancy names, and motherboards are definitely part of that… But do fancy names make PCs? Of course not! The Gigabyte 970A-DS3P is what I’d call ‘solid’. It doesn’t necessarily excel in anything, but nor does it completely fail at everything it’s meant to do. The biggest issue for me was its lack of ports, however chances are, if you’re buying pre-built, you won’t be introducing anything new to the build. So with that in mind I’d say the Gigabyte 970A-DS3P is a solid choice, and makes for a good foundation for any AMD FX processor build!

STORAGE: SEAGATE 1TB SSHD SSHDs (Solid State Hybrid Drives) have been introduced to deliver a more responsive experience, at a fraction of the price of an SSD. This innovative approach achieves this by pairing a mechanical HDD with a small amount (usually 8GB) of fast Solid State Memory, automatically delegating this memory to loading the files that are accessed frequently, providing for much shorter waiting time for loading or writing to large programs or files. Not quite as fast as an SSD, but massively faster than a regular HDD, these “in-betweeners” are our pick for value-for-money and are worth considering.

GRAPHICS CARD: AMD RADEON R9 380 4GB AMD have in my eyes really outdone themselves with the R9 380. For a card that costs less than its main rival, it performs better in every sense of the word. Dino PC have chosen the 4GB version of the card, which is definitely a plus in our eyes as they could’ve quite easily chosen to keep costs down with the 2GB version. Essentially, the R9 380 will more than handle any sim or game out there, and will do so in both 1080p and 1440p with ease.

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SIM RACER MONZA

interviews!

MARCUS ERICSON

AT THE ITALIAN GRAND PRIX WEEKEND AT MONZA, SIM RACER WAS ABLE TO SECURE THREE INTERVIEWS: TWO DRIVERS WITH VERY DIFFERENT PERSEPECTIVES ON SIMULATORS, AND PIRELLI’S MOTORSPORT RACING MANAGER... BY LUISA GHIBAUDO AND ALESSANDRO MATTIODA

raced for some of the best GP2 teams; Dams, ART Grand Prix, iSport, participating in 94 races and obtaining 3 victories, 2 pole position and 15 podiums. In 2014, his dream became reality, as he was signed as a Formula 1 driver for Team Caterham. This gave Marcus the opportunity to learn and demonstrate his speed, but the financial troubles cut short his season. It was immediately annouced that he would drive for Sauber in 2015. In the first GP of the season in Australia, he achieved 8th position and his first points of his F1 career, followed later by two 10th places in Hungary and Belgium, and a 9th overall in Italy, in Monza. During the Monza GP weekend, we talked with him... BORN SEPTEMBER 2ND 1990, Marcus started in karting at the age of 9; his career took off when his Swedish compatriot Kenny Bräck (winner of the 500 Miles of Indianapolis in 1999) recognised his talent and found him a seat for the 2007 Formula BMW UK Championship, which he won on his debut season. The victory allowed Marcus to advance to Formula 3 in 2008, obtaining the 5th place overall. He then become a driver of the Tom’s, the prestigious Japanese F3 Team. Marcus raced in the Far East in 2009, gaining the title of F3 Japanese Champion, and participating at the important GP in Macao, obtaining the pole position and the 4th place overall. The next step: the GP2 series, the main feeder series for Formula 1. From 2010 to 2013, Marcus

BEFORE THE RACE.... We know that Sauber does not have his own simulator. For preparing before GPs, do you use external simulators? Not really. I’ve done it occasionally this year but not regularly. Just sometimes, like when we go to new tracks like Austin and Brasil, so then I use external simulators to learn the tracks.

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So, how do you prepare for the races, without simulators? Usually I study a lot of data from the previous years, also my own notes from previous years, and of course videos - the onboard videos from previous years to prepare and then mentally I try to drive laps in my own head, memorising or something like that. Is the work you did last year with Caterham also useful this year or is it quite different between the teams?

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I think it’s a big step up to come to Sauber; it’s an experienced team and they have been around in F1 for a long time. It was a very important year for me, to get the chance to show what I can do in F1. I think that without my year in Caterham I would not be here today, so I have a lot to thank them for, but of course it’s a different world with Sauber, where we have a competitive car.

During your spare time, do you use any kind of commercial sims? No, I don’t. I’ve tried rFactor a couple of times, and sometimes I play the F1 game with my youngest brother, for fun, but I don’t use any commercial sims. Do you think that sims, compared with the reality, are very different? Yes, I think it’s quite different, but I think also that simulations are a good tool. This is why now, when I go to tracks I’ve never been to, I really make sure to try the simulator first to really learn the track, but I think the track data isn’t so deep - I don’t feel that it gives me that much information. We saw on a video where you’re using a Cruelracing sim: did you collaborate with them? Where is this? (looking at the video) I don’t really remember (smiling). I think it’s probably some event, I think. It’s Swedish branding, so actually I think it was in an event that we did in Sweden last year. I only tried a couple of laps!

Since the Belgian GP, you’ve used the new Ferrari engine how many tenths are you faster? It’s difficult to say exactly how much but for sure it’s a big step and we’ve improved our performance because of the Ferrari upgrade, I guess somewhere like three or four tenths. So, it’s a good step and if you compare the last race they have done a good job to catch up to the Mercedes. Mercedes are obviously strong, but I think we showed yesterday with me getting to Q3 and the Ferrari beating Rosberg, and being not so far from Hamilton, that Ferrari is making good progress. You had a good top speed in the qualifying, will this be an advantage in the race? Yes, I think we’ll be focused this weekend to trying getting much top speed without giving away too much in the corners, and I think we found a good balance there between top speed and corner speed, and I think, like you said, that we were quite strong in the speed trap yesterday so hopefully there will be a benefit for us today in the race.

AFTER THE RACE... Hungarian GP, Belgium GP, and now Italy: 3 races in which you scored points and you’re doing better than your team mate, what helped to make this improvement? Step by step with my engineer before and during the weekends, we’re focusing on the qualifying and the races, and not putting anything into the practice session as far from getting all the information we need for the race weekend. For me it had made a big difference because I feel lot more focused and I can show my potential. I have a very good relationship with my engineer; we work to make the car suit my driving style. I think in every sport when you start to perform well, your confidence grows. Were you surprised by your pace today? I think yesterday we were a bit surprised we could actually fight and beat one Lotus and be on the same times as Force India and the other Lotus. Today we didn’t really know where we were because on Friday we had the old engine for the long runs. The new Ferrari spec engine gave us a stronger pace. It was nice to see that we could fight with the Force India all the way through the race. We were on Hulkenberg’s tail and I was attacking him at times. I think it was a good race, probably my best in F1. Why it was so hard to overtake Nico Hulkenberg? He’s an experienced guy, he didn’t make any mistakes and the Force India was very strong in a straight line, so even when I was in DRS with rear wing opened I couldn’t really get close enough to attack him. I think he felt the pressure of the drive; it’s all I could do.

Felipe Nasr started the season showing good performance and suddenly you’re starting to beat him. Is it a good feeling? For sure, in F1 there’s always a lot of focus on team mates and at the beginning of the year it’s no secret that he was very strong. I worked hard, like I said I changed my mental approach, also with my training at Formula Medicine (see note), to the race weekend not looking so much at him, looking more at myself, looking more at my performance and trying to get the best results. I’ve beaten him for 5 or 6 races, but this doesn’t mean that I can relax - he’s pushing even harder and I need to make sure I work hard to stay ahead. [Note: Formula Medicine is a structure based in Viareggio (Italy) directed by Doctor Riccardo Ceccarelli, who has worked in F1 for over 25 years. The philosophy is to work on the preparation of the drivers: physical and above all mental, because it considers the brain a muscle to train. The drivers are instructed to use the most of their mental energy, focus on specific goals, maintaining a higher concentration during the prolonged physical effort of the GPs, without wasting muscle energy.] Did you damage your front wing in the first corner? Yes, I did a really good start, so I was trying to stay on the inside, but then I got slip, I was on the curve with people turning in, so I almost stopped the car and I still got hit on my front wing. We lost a little bit of downforce but it didn’t make a huge difference, so we decided to stick with that wing for the rest of the race and I think it was the right decision. What happened at the last corner of the last lap? It’s very frustrating to lose one position in the last lap and in the last corner, but Ricciardo was very fast on new tyres, and I was struggling a bit with the rears. He got the run on me going down on the straight before Parabolica, and I defended to him on the inside. Now I have to calm down a bit, looking at the good performance, that I’ve done a good race, but it’s never fun to lose a position.

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Without your own simulator, was the starting procedure at the Belgian GP (where fully manual starts were reintroduced) more difficult? I think for me it’s not. In GP2 we never had any system to help us start, and now that we don’t have the help from the team it’s more like we did in GP2. In GP2 I was very strong in the starts, so it is pretty normal for me.

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SIM RACER

LUCA GHIOTTO

MONZA

interviews!

BORN IN ARZIGNANO in Italy on Febraury 24TH 1995, Ghiotto started racing karts in 2008, moving to single-seater race cars in 2011, making his debut in the Italian and European Championship of Formula Abarth. 2012 marked an important season for the young Italian, finishing in second position in both Championships (Italian and European). This gave him the opportunity to debut in Formula Renault 2.0 Alps in 2013, where he achieved second place in the Championship. In 2014, Luca advanced to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. A difficult season followed that didn’t give him the expected results, but in the middle of the Championship, he raced the GP3 series, driving for Trident Motorsport at Spa-Francorchamps, obtaining a stunning pole. Now at 20 years of age, Ghiotto has found great success with Trident Motorsport, leading the 2015 GP3 Championship with 5 pole positions and 3 wins.

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During your spare time, do you use any kind of consumer-level sims? I’ve used a simulator for more or less ten years, and it’s a quite good simulator, considering that I have it at home. It’s a rolling chassis in fibreglass, with a 50-inch screen, and a normal PC where I mostly use rFactor. The steering and pedals are a normal consumer-level. This year you raced at Silverstone for the first time. You said that to prepare for the GP, much work is done on a simulator. Please could you describe this preparation for a new track - which simulator did you use? I used Trident Motorsport’s simulator. They have an advanced system, with a motion chassis combined with a curved screen and three projectors. It’s a serious piece of kit - the chassis is ex-GP2, the brake pedal is very realistic, requiring the same force as the real car, and the steering wheel delivers similar forces too. Is braking on the simulator more difficult because you don’t have G-forces to help you? Yes, in fact when I work in the sim, I tend to struggle with the left foot, and it’s one of the things

that I notice after the first run. I always get the impression that I struggle more on braking, and I’m sure that lack of G-forces contributes to that. And it’s the same for the arms and legs? The strain on the arms and legs is similar, but there is no combination with lateral and longitudinal G-force we experience out on track. There is no strain on the neck in the sim; I think this makes a big difference. Before jumping into a simulator, how do you approach learning a new track? Generally it is quite a simple study, without putting too many ideas in my head. The driver must remain free to adapt to the track. Once we know the standard gears that are used in GP3, I usually watch videos of F1 to understand the corner trajectories. The braking points are something that is learned only after practice, so to start I think it’s enough to know the speeds and a basic knowledge of the corners. Can you describe the first session procedure? During the first run I usually drive for a long time as it takes a while to feel confident with the braking points. We only make setup changes once I am comfortable and consistent. This way, the engineer can be sure that the differences in lap time depends only on changes in setup and not from my adaptation to the track and to the simulator. How much time do you spend on the simulator to prepare for a race at a new track? Generally we devote a day to the Trident Motorsport simulator, and one day in another simulator: at Collins Sports in Modena (the same as used in the GP2 series, Luisa notes). In a day of work on the sim, I’d estimate the actual driving time is about 2 hours.

Does your race engineer follow you to every test in the simulator? Yes, during my sim work with Trident, he’s always there, however at the Collins Sports there is another engineer. Monza is a track you already know - have you done sessions on the sim to prepare for this GP? For Monza we just did one day because it is a fairly simple track, with only 7 main corners. I didn’t spend much time using it for practice, but we used it extensively to test dozens of aerodynamic setups, because at Monza it is very important to make the right decision - whether the aero advantage is greater for straights or corners. Do you also try wet or poor grip conditions in the sim? It’s possible, but we use it shortly before the race weekend, generally the Tuesday before the Grand Prix, so we can consult the weather forecast. If no rain is expected we focus on other stuff. For Monza we expected rain during qualifying, so we worked hard to find the perfect aerodynamic setup in this situation. Can you simulate Virtual Safety Car or Safety Car situations? No, usually we don’t do this kind of specific simulation. The only procedures we practice that are a little different from pure driving is the qualifying, simulating two warm-up laps and the next fast lap. When you get on track with the real car, what are the differences that stand out compared to the sim? The layout of the track is always very real; I don’t find any inaccuracies there. What surprises me the most is the bumps, because they are difficult to reproduce in virtual reality. They are unpredictable because they can appear just a month before the race; a small land subsidence could create a new bump. You are the leader of the championship, and now there is interest from the Red Bull team. Have you already had the chance to try the Red Bull simulator? Yes I’ve been on the Red Bull simulator, but I can’t give detailed information on the work I’ve done, I could say that it was a bit like a test…for a driver’s license! (smiling)

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MARIO ISOLA

Mario, can we begin by focusing on what type of information Pirelli provides the teams for use on their in-house simulators? We at Pirelli have developed our own virtual tyre model, one that can be easily implemented by the teams; using a laptop, if one so chooses, the teams can simply load this mode into their simulator, and at that point the teams will have our exact tyre model running within their physics model. It’s an ongoing development, of course, because each team uses a different type of simulator. Today we are able to furnish this tyre model for all the teams that use a simulator. It certainly wasn’t an easy job, or indeed a quick one, to integrate our model with the teams’ simulators, because, firstly, and as I mentioned, all the teams have varying simulators, and secondly, because the teams keep developing these simulators throughout the season. We can say with authority that our tyre model is both reliable and able to faithfully and accurately transmit the feel of the tyre to the driver in their simulator. The model, what’s more, is continually being developed. It is currently limited only to our slick compounds, because wet-weather simulators don’t exist at present. Over and above this, we furnish the teams a package of data throughout the season which we have accumulated, along with the teams, since our initial involvement in F1. With that data along with our tyre physics model, we offer also our tyre model for use in their windtunnels, which effectively means F1 teams are able to work in autonomy using our models. If all the teams used the same simulator, would this be an advantage for Pirelli? Isola: Yes, absolutely, because we would be able to have a more standardized approach, and we could get by with less resources to obtain the same results. Obviously, if you have 5 or 6 types of simulators, you have to fine-tune your model to work with the same level of efficiency with every simulator; with only one, our work would be drastically reduced. As of today, for example, we furnish two distinct models for windtunnel development - one for the 50% tunnel, and one for the 60% tunnel, because not all teams have the same windtunnel. We need to offer these contemporaneously, and both have to reproduce the same characteristics of deformation and movement to a scale of 1:1—net effect is, we have to reproduce the job twice.

During a race weekend, what kind of data do you share with the teams which they can use in their virtual garages? Isola: To answer your question correctly, you must realize that we are talking about two phases here: Prior to the race weekend, and the weekend itself. Prior to the actual race weekend, we ask the teams to furnish us with their simulator data, and we will sift through that data specifically analyzing for the load values exerted onto the tyres for the upcoming race that is signaled by their simulations. That’s phase one. Phase two occurs after the race (or during, for some of the bigger teams), when the teams will provide us with actual, real-world telemetry values directly onto our servers. We then compare and analyze the real-world values with the simulated values in order to verify that the values in the real-world correspond with those of the virtual world, particularly in terms of the load and velocity that are acting upon the tyres. And this is how we continuously improve our product. Formula One Management has asked Pirelli to supply tyres that degrade in a fashion that will allow for 2 or 3 pit stop races. Teams, meanwhile, insist on Pirelli supplying performance tyres: With this in mind, is it possible for Pirelli—via its simulation software—to determine the exact point at which a tyre will begin to degrade? Absolutely, yes. We should begin by noting that the simulation takes into account all the compounds that we supply—in reality we have 4 compounds with which we have to take care of 10 cars, 20 drivers, and 22 tracks, each distinctly different from the other. The consequence of this is that, each year, we have to provide and develop a product that functions well for each and every one of these combinations. What this means is that there will be races where we attain our specific targets, and others where the degradation will be too much or too little. Why? Well, because, while the cars are constantly developing throughout the season, our tyres are not—they are ‘homologated’ in September of the year before, in terms of both compounds and build, by FOM. The net result is that the teams will attempt to develop a car that works with the tyres in the most efficient way possible—and continue that development throughout the season. This means that the performance of the cars—and consequently the tyres’ performance—will change during the year and {sometimes not match-up with our simulations}. If Pirelli were asked to create the ideal F1 tyre, what would it be? Well—the tyre ideally is developed, always, in terms of an objective; if we were in a situation where we had competition with another manufacturer, for instance, we would be focusing all our resources on performance. But we are, instead, the sole tyre provider in F1, and that means our objective is to create a tyre that will satisfy our customers—FOM, in this case, that asks us to provide a tyre that will require 2 stops per race, along with overtaking, and an emphasis on the ‘show’. This, along with constructing a safe tyre, is our priority. Speaking of clients—how will Pirelli’s involvement in F1 today reflect in tomorrow’s tyres for our road cars? F1 is the maximum expression of motor sport, and what this means is that we—everyone involved in the sport—maximize our focus on every single detail, no matter how small. We at Pirelli have had to learn to create tyres that are incredibly technical in terms of their quality and, at the same time, we have learnt

much in terms of materials, production processes, quality control, and mathematical models for real-world and simulated technologies. I say this because, if today we consider that simulators are used primarily by F1 teams, tomorrow they will become normal tools in the development of street products. Indeed, we are in the process of working at present to develop a mathematical model for use with a GT series simulator, and also one that can be used with your average street car. If correctly attained, this will speed up the development of a street car’s production process enormously, and we see this as a critical tool for the future; instead of constructing a real-world prototype for testing, we could simply change the parameters on the computer and understand the performance of the street tyre {on each individual car much more quickly}. Clearly we are still in the early stages here, because this is a process that can only be successful with a close collaboration with the manufacturers, because we would need a precise model of the car. Pirelli has collaborated closely with the developers of Forza 6—was your motor sport division at all involved with this process? Absolutely, and not only that, also in the days of world rally we collaborated with the developer who made those games. The thing is, we are now at a level with video games where they are incredibly accurate, and the physics behind them really isn’t that far off what we see in use by F1 teams. Today a player is able to change so many parameters—tyres, setup, suspension values—while the game is able to react to these changes {realistically}. The fans now have the opportunity to indulge themselves in an extraordinary way. On our side, we were asked for all sorts of data on the tyres so that the tyres could run accurately on their physics model. So we are done—but I wanted to present you with a copy of a book written by one of the guys who sometimes writes for this magazine: In the book, he traces back an historical moment when Pirelli’s 1930s chief technician, Cossatter, developed the world’s first wet-tyre for Ferrari’s use at the 1934 Mille Miglia. That’s a great story, and great research actually! But those were different times, sadly, where there was so much more liberty in the regulations, so much more ability to experiment! Thanks very much.

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LUISA AND ALESSANDRO sat down with Mario Isola, Pirelli’s Motorsport Racing Manager, before qualifying for the Monza Grand Prix. With tyres and Pirelli having dominated the sports pages after the Spa Grand Prix and in the build-up to Monza, Isola seemed grateful to discuss rather more technical matters pertaining to simulation, and not delve further into the Belgium race that saw Rosberg cut a tyre, and Vettel complain about Pirelli’s compounds after he burst one a lap away from a podium finish. As for Monza, the race itself left even more pandemonium behind, and we left the Italian Grand Prix with a whole new ‘deflategate’ when winner Lewis Hamilton was called to the stewards for running his pressures lower than the accepted minimum. The controversy would carry on at Suzuka, where Vettel would jokingly ask Rosberg in the post-race interview whether Mercedes were again running ‘low’. Judging by Rosberg’s very serious lack of humor, one suspects the pressures (in all departments) will remain a hot topic for a while yet as Pirelli’s soft tyres make a comeback for the US Grand Prix—will we see another Singapore, where Mercedes were astonishingly off the pace for the first time in two years? Was it that Pirelli’s new procedures for testing minimum pressures being introduced in Singapore just a strange coincidence?

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SIM RACER

Interview RACESPOT TV’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL COVERS ALL KINDS OF RACES EVERY WEEK, INCLUDING THE PINNACLE OF ONLINE RACING COMPETITION - THE IRACING.COM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP GRAND PRIX SERIES. CO-FOUNDERS HUGO LUIS AND WIL VINCENT ANSWERED OUR QUESTIONS. BY DOMINIC BRENNAN WITH THE RISE of pro gaming, live streaming technology and an ever-growing audience of enthusiasts, Esports is a multi-million dollar phenomenon. One of the driving forces behind this is the emergence of quality broadcasting, from the graphical presentation to the exciting commentary and knowledgeable analysis. Sim racing has been quick to embrace such coverage over the last few years, thanks to the competitive nature of motorsports, with more organised races happening every day than you could ever hope to watch. What made you decide to create RaceSpot TV and start broadcasting sim races?

Wil: RaceSpot TV actually came out of necessity. Both Hugo and I’s previous broadcasters had worked together before, however when the 2014 World Championship rights were up for grabs, to cut a very long story short, we realised that the only way we could successfully bid would be to form a new, neutral company. It’s slightly weird, as RaceSpot was always originally supposed to serve only one purpose, and both of the other ‘brands’ that Hugo and I were a part of were supposed to continue. As many sim

racers will know, one has to an extent, the other less so, but RaceSpot was able to provide a new home for those who may have lost one previously, and in my mind, that’s all that matters. Can you given a brief explanation of the series you cover and the philosophy behind your broadcasts?

Wil: I think it’s better to talk philosophy first, and this exists at the bottom of every page of our website. It says ‘No gimmicks, just awesome online broadcasting’. I personally came up with this out of frustration over how people put the bells and whistles before the essentials. People want to see a RACE, and whilst pretty promo videos and webcams of drivers feet may be cool, if the core product sucks, the company sucks. Simple as that. We have focused more on open wheel and endurance race because that’s what’s been asked of us. We do, contrary to popular belief, cover NASCAR races if people ask, and we do occasionally enter the primetime US markets, but we focus on the European side of things. We prefer quality over quantity, and we have enacted a couple of simple rules to ensure this remains true as we expand. The reason for this is simple.

It doesn’t matter if we are broadcasting WCS or a brand new league. Our clients expect the best of us, so we need to know that we can deliver in challenging situations. iRacing have started to post RaceSpot coverage on their own YouTube channel, which I’m sure is helping you reach a wider audience. What is your relationship like with iRacing?

Wil: To answer this, you must remember that both Hugo and I have been involved in iRacing for a while, and we knew staff members before we were part of RaceSpot. I must admit that I’ve become more of the public face of RaceSpot, and this has impacted on iRacing’s expectations of me. iRacing quite rightly want to ensure that they can promote their product in the best way possible, so it wouldn’t be any surprise that I am held to a higher level of account than a standard member, similar to WCS drivers. I’ve messed up once, and I had to deal with the consequences of my actions, but that proved to be a useful learning curve for me. Whilst I don’t have Tony, Kevin, Jack or Steve on speed dial, and the same would apply for them, we have a really good, honest business relationship. I am consulted on some things that iRacing know would be of interest to me and the communities within which I sit, and iRacing respond to queries pertaining to our work in an expedited fashion, but there are no freebies. We see each other as partners, but respect each other’s work and operations. I’m not asking Tony to test-drive the Ring, and Tony’s not asking for us to stream races for them for the sake of it. I’d call it a mutual respect.

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RACESPOT TV INTERVIEW

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SIM RACER

RACESPOT TV INTERVIEW

I notice the Skip Barber 2K Cup races are starting to appear on the iRacing channel too, which is great to see. But your coverage of the UK&I Skip Barber Series on Monday evenings is the place to be, although I may be slightly biased... what is your favourite series to broadcast? It is often joked that the Pro Series should use the Skippy as the racing is so close and exciting - what do you reckon?

Hugo: Skippys are always awesome, that’s my favourite. Miatas are really great as well! Talking of which, congratulations on another strong season in the iWCGPS, securing yet another top-5 finish overall. You started your iRacing career with a bang, winning the Pro Series on the first attempt do you think you can achieve a second title?

Hugo: You need to put a lot of effort to get a good result in WCS. Unfortunately I can’t do that right now, but who knows! A second title would be nice.

I NTE RVI EW Back in 2011 when you won the championship then I believe you were using a Logitech G25 - have you upgraded since?

Hugo: Not really a big upgrade! I’m using a Logitech G27 now. You are a broadcaster and you race at the top level - it must be very difficult to balance your time?

Hugo: It is, as any top-level series requires a lot of practice, which also requires a lot of time, which is something I don’t have at the moment! (laughs) I haven’t been able to focus much on the World Championship. Not because of the broadcasts, though. Mostly because of other commitments. On the other hand, we broadcast a lot of exciting series, and I’d love to take part of some of these! But being behind the scenes on the cameras is as pleasant as driving. You’ve mentioned a lack of motivation and a struggle with the Williams - are you excited to start using the upcoming McLaren MP4-30 instead, or do you think the problems lie elsewhere in the physics engine?

Hugo: I’m very excited to use the McLaren MP4-30. Even though people says that the car in real life is

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not good, we’ll have things we didn’t have in the Williams FW31: ERS/DRS. That should make races more exciting. You currently race for Coanda Simsport, and despite being one of the newest teams, established for just over a year, you are already one of the strongest. What is it like to race with Coanda?

Hugo: I’ve known most of them for a long time, they are really great friends – not just team mates. I can say that I enjoy a lot the pre-race moments. We can’t start a race without a laugh about something silly. As I usually say though, sometimes I feel bad for not being that involved like I used to be in the past when most of us were members of 3id Motorsport. These guys do an incredible job. It is still early days for iRacing’s dynamic track, and they’ve had to iron out some pretty serious bugs. What are your thoughts on it so far from racing in the iWCGPS - I see you had a go at an oval race with dynamic track recently too? Hugo: Having dynamic conditions is always more

exciting, since we are in a racing simulator. As it’s a new feature, I’m not surprised by the bugs. Teething problems aside, it feels great! And even better when talking about ovals. Was great fun to drive. Last November you organised and covered iRacing’s first ever 24-hour race at Spa. I watched several hours of this myself, and was impressed by the endurance of the commentary team, Wil Vincent in particular. He was getting a little delirious towards the end, but that is all part of his inimitable style! Can you explain what it is like to broadcast a 24-hour race, a little about the planning that goes into the coverage, etc.

Hugo: Big events like those requires a lot of preparation. Of course you get very, very tired and stressed after hours and hours of broadcasting or commentating. Commentators should study facts about the track and also about the drivers and teams involved, so they won’t keep talking nonsense during the broadcast. We have to prepare carefully to ensure all the software/gear we use is working correctly.

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Wil: 24 hour broadcasts are like no other. They are as difficult for us as they are for race teams. We work in a world of 1s and 0s, so if something goes wrong, we are going to be the one who is blamed regardless! I must say that I learned a lot from my co-commentator Oscar Hardwick on the first 24 hour race. He almost played the role of audio director, helping steer the conversation, and find the balance between too little and too much. That’s where endurance racing becomes complicated, knowing how to linger on a point for just the right amount of time, to keep the viewer entertained, not bored. It became a lot easier after the first! Planning wise, it’s a pain. Everyone has their own social lives, and balancing all the different commitments is a challenge. We also have to remember fatigue, and that people need to eat, keep hydrated, and have a bit of family time! I spend the week before a 24 hour race worrying, yet we’ve pulled 3 off in 12 months, so…. We can’t be THAT bad. Right? iRacing has some of the best support for live broadcasting of any sim - is this why RaceSpot’s coverage is iRacing-focused? Would you like to expand your coverage to other sims?

Wil: There are two points here - Product loyalty, and also what else is on offer to us. I personally view iRacing as the best overall package in sim racing. I never have, and never will call it perfect, but I think that it nails the component parts better than others. This helps

when I present a race. Because I can speak as Wil Vincent, someone who has experienced a product, and can help talk about the intricacies, and not simply a salesperson. In order for me to feel comfortable commentating another sim, I have to know the sim. Know how it works. Know what it does, what happens when a driver cuts the course, or brakes on a white line, or runs over a low curb. The viewers want to know this, so if I don’t I’m doing them a disservice. Simple as that. So, I won’t commentate any other sims until I feel that I can give a reasoned an insightful view about the software in play. That’s not to say that I never will, but it takes time to learn things like this! Can you explain what kind of software and hardware is required to broadcast, and what kind of tools could make your life easier if you had unlimited funds?

Hugo: Oh! Unlimited funds would give unlimited ideas. Well, you don’t need a “powerful” hardware to “just make” a broadcast, but… you will need a powerful one for a quality broadcast (high resolution, high quality graphics, with high frame rates) that will make your computer work at its full potential for hours without a single “rest”. Software will depend on the broadcasting team’s tastes. We use the same software most people use in this market.

Hugo: I think racing/motorsports itself doesn’t have the huge amount of viewers compared to some other sports. I honestly don’t know if the real thing would be more interesting, it’s all motorsport after all. But I always see someone saying that there’s no point on watching a virtual race – something I can’t understand, since a motorsport lover would love any kind of racing, even being a virtual one. That’s just my opinion, though. You recently expanded your reach, broadcasting simultaneously on Twitch and YouTube. Was this a straightforward process or does it put extra demands on your systems? Having you seen an improvement in viewing figures, and what do you think can be done to capture that Twitch audience?

Hugo: This is possible thanks to a restreaming service that does this stuff. It’s definitely an improvement, but we are still testing until we’re sure that it is 100% stable. But our goal is to get this working as soon as possible, since the results were great when we did it for one of the iRacing World Championship Grand Prix Series races. Looking towards sim racing in 2016, the market has never been stronger both in terms of hardware and software variety and competitiveness. What are your thoughts on modern sim racing in general, and where do you see RaceSpot TV this time next year?

Hugo: Sim racing is getting bigger and bigger every year and we will do our best to stay on top of it! We have lots of plans to make our product better and to benefit the viewers... stay tuned!

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Esports audiences have reached incredible figures for certain genres - Multiplayer Online Battle Arena and Real Time Strategy games are sometimes referred to as the ‘national sport’ in South Korea for example. We’ve yet to see this kind of explosion in racing sims, despite motorsport being internationally popular. Is it because the ‘real thing’ is more interesting? Can you explain why somebody would want to watch virtual racing rather than real-world racing?

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SIM RACER

VEC Silverstone Recap

Virtual Endurance Championship 8 Hours of Silverstone Recap VEC,SHORT FOR VIRTUALENDURANCECHAMPIONSHIP,STARTED AS A MIRROROF THE AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES BACKIN2008.THELEAGUEMERGEDTWOFORMERLYSEPARATE LEAGUES, VIRTUALONLINERACERSANDCHAMPIONMOTORSPORT,UNDERONE SANCTIONINGBODY. BY ANDREW DICKMAN (INTRO BY JIMMI ALLISON)

race r e po rt

THE LEAGUE STARTED in rFactor 1 and used its own ILMS/VLMS mod with P1, P2 and GT1 and GT2 cars under the name ERL (Endurance Racing League). The league were pioneers in endurance online racing and had a full grid of 44 cars by the start of Season 2. The final season with rFactor1 was season 5 in 2012/2013. This saw the league conduct a short tryout of iRacing, which didn’t meet the demands from either admin or teams and drivers. Early 2014 saw the return of the league under the now well-known name VEC and using the new rFactor2. Season 6 was a test season with 30+ teams, getting ready to switch to the payware mod from URD called EGT and UPX. Season 7 was a full blown season with 8 rounds of a full grid of 40 cars, with close to 80 teams signed up for it. Season 8 just started - roughly 90 teams has signed up for the 8 rounds of endurance, including the 24 hours of Le Mans, 24 hours of Daytona and the epic 12 hours of Sebring. Please check us out at www. rf2vec.net!

QUALIFYING (Silverstone, England) – The Virtual Endurance Championship kicked off this week with qualifying for the 8 Hours of Silverstone. Each class would be given 25 minutes to dictate the grid and who would be in the first of two splits. With each of the four classes only allotted ten slots to get into the main split, the intense pressure placed on the drivers made for a thrilling session. LMP1 was first up for 25 minutes of qualifying. Lukas Elbs in the PRL Racing Porsche 919 Hybrid went to P1 on his first hot lap of the session and never looked back, as he continued to better his time throughout as the track rubbered in ending up half a second clear of the TXL P1 Racing Audi R18 qualified by Christian Michel in P2. While the top spot was never in doubt, the real action was for the bubble spot into the featured split. Jos Friemann in the SVRN Porsche added a little drama as the checkers came

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out, making a last-second bid for the top ten. After setting personal bests in the first two sectors, a small mistake in the third sector cost him a chance at the first split. LMP2 was next on track for their qualification session. The action early was hot and heavy, seeing numerous position changes throughout the 25 minutes. Anthony Jans set the time to beat in the Team Spirit Racing entry early in the session, and held on to the number one spot bettering his time as the checkered flag flew. GTE Pro offered arguably the most exciting action throughout qualifying, as Walk Racing’s RistoKappet, ScuderiaGTItalia’s Salvo Sardina and theFrecceAzurre entry of Francesco Bigazzi traded pole position back and forth for the duration of qualifying. However, it was KalleKoure in the Revolution Racing Dodge Viper who turned in a flier very late in the session who snagged pole. After a stewards review of Sardina’s lap he was found to have violated track limits and after a one second time penalty dropped to seventh, leaving

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RACE: Rafael De Blonde led the field down to the green flag in the pole-sitting #3 PRL Racing Porsche. Action at the start was fast and furious, as a few drivers had to take evasive action on the first lap. The field ultimately made it through clean and De Blonde set

the pace early. A fierce battle developed behind him however, between Martin Furhman (#80 P1-Gaming Porsche), Max Melamed (#007 RGPL Audi), Yuri Kasdorp (#003 Revloution Racing Audi), and Lars Brugman (#8 Doug Henson Racing Audi). The GTE Pro category also enjoyed an intense fight between pole sitter KalleKouri (#333 Revolution Racing Viper), RistoKappet (#224 Walk Racing Porsche) and Francesco Bigazzi (#53 Frecce Azure Porsche). The early running was not without incident however, as both Kouri and Kasdorp got into the anti-cut sleeping policemen installed prior to qualifying on the outside of Copse, taking them both out of contention for a victory early. As the field settled in, pit strategy started to play out. Teams that were toward the back of the grid in qualifying were able to move forward as attrition and smart timing in the pits jumbled up the field. Connor McCarrell had moved the #100 Overstep Racing

SILVERSTONE RESULTS LMP1 Podium:

LMP2 Podium:

GTE Pro Podium:

GTE Am Podium:

1. #8 Doug Henson Racing Audi (McGlade/Brugman/Bailey)

1. #45 Team Spirit Racing (Jans/Pailhes)

1. #53 Frecce Azure Porsche 991 (Greco/Bigazzi/Piccolo)

1. #845 Dark Racing Ferrari F458 Italia (Taylor/Ramada)

2. #143 3wide Motorsport Porsche (Bert/Wollert)

2. #29 SimHQ Motorsports (Gomes/Vinnari/Oqvist)

2. #33 Revolution Racing Dodge Viper GTS-R (Sentell/Davidovic)

2. #20 M.Technology Frucht24.de Corvette C7.R (Miebach/Schaller)

3. #1 TXL P1 Racing Audi (Christmann/Michel)

3. #69 Odin Racing (Rosenly/Ciampa)

3. #011 SVRN Ferrari F458 Italia (Beelen/de Muinck)

3. #033 Revolution Racing Dodge Viper GTS-R (Trevelyan-Johnson/Lakota/Fazzi)

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race r e po rt Images by Aurora Designs

Kappet second and promoting Bagazzi to third. GTE Am finished off qualifying with a fantastic three-way battle for pole between Dark Racing’s Adam Taylor, Texas Racers Valentino Mazzatenta and ScuderiaGTItalia’s Federico Leo. Mazzatenta held his nerve as Taylor was unable to make it across the line before the checkers flew to start his last attempt at P1 in class. Leo timed his final flier perfectly, but made a mistake into the second turn, ultimately costing him a chance at pole as well. For the full replay of the qualifying broadcast please visit www.rf2vec.net

Corvette into second in GTE Pro before problems later in the race, and Lars Brugman, after two early spins that were no fault of his own, put in an epic second stint to put Doug Henson Racing in the lead after switching to soft tyres. Disaster struck Risto Kappet as electrical problems saw him lose laps in the pits, putting a wrench into what would’ve otherwise been a sure podium for Walk Racing in GTE Pro. De Blonde and the PRL team also ran into some mid-race problems, dropping the pole sitters out of contention. Anthony Jans (#45 Team Spirit Racing) dominated the early going in the LMP2 class before handing over controls to Nicolas Pailhes, and by the start of the third hour the Spirit Racing team had almost a full lap over second place Jari Vinnari in the #29 SimHQ Motorsports entry. GTE Am was led in the early going by the #31 ScuderiaGTItalia Ferrari 458 of Federico Leo and Angelo Luigi Sileo, but late race woes saw the #845 Dark Racing Ferrari 458 jump into a commanding class lead. The story of the race however continued to be the fight for the overall lead as Stephen Bailey jumped into the cockpit of the race-leading Doug Henson Audi. Bailey put in an absolutely stunning drive and at one point had lapped the entire field. None of the other teams seemed to have anything for the Doug Henson boys as Lewis McGlade took over with a couple hours remaining and brought home the overall victory to Audi, when the red flag came out with three minutes left in the race due to problems with timing and scoring. Team Spirit Racing was able to hang on for the victory in LMP2, while a stellar drive from Dark Racing in GTE Am and likewise, a remarkable effort from the early leaders Frecce Azure in GTE Pro saw them get class victories. The Virtual Endurance Championship rolls on to Fuji Speedway for a 6 hour sprint race, with teams arriving in Japan on November 1 for qualifying, with the race taking place on the 7th of November. Please visit rf2vec.net for more information and don’t forget to tune in to the Virtual Endurance Championship broadcasts.

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SIM RACER NEW BUILD

PART

4

STRIPPING

YOUR

new build

PC OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS WE HAVE BEEN BUILDING A PC IN COLLABORATION WITH GRAPHICS CARDS EXPERTS, XFX. WE HAVE NOW REACHED THE LAST STAGE OF OUR BUILD, WITH NOTHING MORE THAN THE CENTREPIECE OF OUR BUILD NEEDING INSTALLING! SO WHAT HAVE WE CHOSEN FOR OUR GRAPHICS CARD? NONE OTHER THAN XFX’S OFFERING OF AMD'S FLAGSHIP PRODUCT - THE R9 295X2! STEP 1 REMOVE PROTECTIVE COVERS ON GFX CARD

On opening your graphics card up and removing your graphics card from its box, the first thing you will want to do is remove any protective covering on the card itself. Firstly you will notice covers on the graphics card ports, located on the bottom of the card. After removing these, you’ll also want to remove the yellow security stickers, located on the top right of the card.

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AMD RADEON™ R9 295X2 GRAPHICS CARD

new build

The AMD Radeon™ R9 295X2 graphics card remains one of the world’s fastest. A mammoth eight gigabytes of memory and more than 11.5 teraflops of computing power help this card do what it was built to do: monster performance at high resolutions. Making use of two AMD Radeon R9 GPUs and an industry first factory fitted liquid cooling system (an advanced closed-loop liquid cooling system developed alongside Asetek), the 295X2 is filled to the brim with features, visit xfxforce.com to get a full list of specifications.

STEP 2 REMOVE PROTECTIVE COVERS ON PC

Once you’ve removed the protective covering on the graphics card itself, you’ll then need to make some space within the case for the card to be inserted. When looking at your case, the only thing you’ll need to remove to insert your card is the protective covering that is located on the back of your PC. These are removed by removing various screws. Locate the correct covers (you will have to remove 2 for this card) and set them aside.

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SIM RACER NEW BUILD

STEP 3 INSERT GFX CARD INTO PCI-E SLOT

So now you should have a graphics card with all of its protective covering removed and a clear slot within your PC to place the card. Your next step is to insert the graphics card! Now this can be a little tricky with one pair of hands due to the cooling system, so if you can get someone to help by holding the cooler then it makes this a lot easier. Simply line the graphics card up with the chosen PCI-E slot and push the card in! This needs to be done on a slight angle to allow the graphics card to properly slot into the port.

STEP 4 SCREW INTO PLACE

You know those protective covers you removed earlier? Well I hope you didn’t lose the screws as you’ll need those! If you look at how the graphics card now sits, it should be resting in exactly the same way as the protective covering you removed from the casing earlier. The screws you previously removed simply screw back into place, holding the graphics card flush with the back of the case.

new build STEP 5 INSTALLING COOLING

So you’ve confirmed that everything so far is in place, now to install the cooling system! This is another task that becomes infinitely easier with the help of a 2nd person, however it is doable by yourself. Line the cooler up to the back of the case; the top fan port to be precise, and then use the long screws provided to secure into place. We’d suggest screwing these in loose to start with and then tightening them when all 4 screws are in place. Once this is done you’ll want to attach a fan onto the other side of the cooler. Making sure you have the fan pointing in the correct direction, simply screw onto the cooler and then make sure you plug each of the components in via their respected power cables.

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STEP 6 INSERTING POWER CABLES

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We’re finally there, this one last step and we’re done! All you need to do here is find the correct cabling from your PSU, wire them towards your graphics card and plug them into the two ports on top of the graphics card! Once these are plugged in, you’re good to go!

STEP 7 TURN PC ON!

Now give the inside of your build a once over, making sure everything that needs to be connected is in place. Once you’re happy that everything looks correct - and we’d suggest going over the build articles again just to make sure everything is followed correctly you can press the power button! Hopefully you should now be good to go and you can start to install the various drivers needed to get everything working!

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ELEMENT GAMING SIM RACER

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WITH THE FESTIVE SEASON AROUND THE CORNER, WE THOUGHT IT ONLY FITTING TO FILL THE NEXT 4 PAGES WITH SOME OF THE BEST PRODUCTS AVAILABLE NOT ONLY TO SIM RACERS, BUT PC GAMERS IN GENERAL. WE’VE GOT THE BEST PERIPHERALS, COMPONENTS AND FULL PCS ON SHOW, AND HOPEFULLY WE’LL POINT YOU IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR GIFTS THIS CHRISTMAS!

ButtKicker Gamer2 FROM: www.thebuttkicker.com PRICE: $149.95 A low frequency audio transducer is a clever way of describing what is effectively a subwoofer without the bass, instead putting all its energy into vibration. Instead of moving a cone to generate sound waves, transducers move a magnetically suspended piston in response to an amplified audio signal. Used in theme parks, cinemas and home entertainments systems the world over, these devices allow the user to experience deep bass without severely high volume. Used on its most basic setting, a ButtKicker replicates a speaker, vibrating in sync with whatever audio signal you provide as an input. If used with a game or sim, you’ll feel more engaged with the audio, particularly if you use headphones. Blipping the throttle never felt so good! While there are many audio transducers on offer, the Gamer2 is our pick, as it is a complete package with everything you need to get started. The design of the unit is ideal for attaching to swivel chairs too! And if you want to take the experience the next level, ButtKickers can be combined with SimVibe software, where a separate audio output is tailored specifically for the transducer, determined by the sim’s physics rather than the sound.

Ricmotech LC500 Load Cell Kit (V2) for T500RS/T3PA-PRO pedals FROM: www.ricmotech.com PRICE: $169.99 Editor Dom: I reviewed this kit in Issue #7, and was very impressed. This is a huge upgrade for anyone using Thrustmaster’s T500RS or T3PA-PRO pedals, converting the potentiometer brake into a load cell brake without intrusive modification, and maintaining compatibility with Thrustmaster firmware. This means if you use the T500RS on PS4, or combine the T3PA-PRO pedals with the TX wheel for use on Xbox One, you’ll have a great load cell brake on console as well as PC. The kit is concealed entirely within the pedal assembly, and is straightforward to install. The result is a race car pedal feel, requiring a more realistic amount of force

to apply the brakes. The load cell means the level of brake input is determined by pressure modulation rather than adjusting your foot position, which allows an intuitive development of ‘muscle memory’ for the amount of force required. You’ll be more consistent on the brakes, finding the threshold point with ease, and there’s a high chance it’ll make you faster too! While not the most affordable way to introduce load cell technology into your sim racing experience, it uses high quality components, and is undoubtedly the most elegant and most-compatible solution for those already invested in the Thrustmaster ecosystem.

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SIM RACER STOCKING FILLERS

GT Omega Pro Racing Office Chair PRICE: - £159.95 FROM: - www.gtomegaracing.com When we first launched Sim Racer, the guys at GT Omega very kindly kitted out the office with a range of their ‘Office Racing Chairs’. With a vast range of different chairs on the market from GT Omega, it was very hard to pick one to feature in our Stocking Fillers, however there was one that stood

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out eventually - the GT Omega Pro Racing Office Chair. Designed to offer a combination of luxurious comfort and high-performance style. The GT Omega PRO Racing Office Chairs provides outstanding lumbar support because its design encompasses the traditional deep-sided ‘body-hugging’ back. It features shoulder support as well as the integral lumber support cushion and a removable head rest pillow. The GT Omega PRO Chair has a built-in reclining mechanism to allow 90 to 180 degree backwards and forwards tilting movement. The chair can be adjusted to a lowered angled position for taking a quick nap, making it especially suitable for gamers. Height can also be adjusted. The Aluminium Star Base is fitted with high quality ball bearing castors that are styled like alloy wheels to complete the effect. The GT Omega Pro is one of the most affordable chairs with this highlyadjustable design. It’s comfortable, durable and also supports your back correctly for long periods of time, making it a great choice for both gaming and office use.

Logitech Driving Force Shifter FROM: www.amazon.co.uk PRICE: £49.99 With the new Logitech G29 and G920 racing wheels hitting the market in late 2015, many racers will be considering the Driving Force Shifter to complete the package. Unlike their predecessor, the G27, Logitech opted to sell the H-pattern shifter separately. Retailing at just shy of £50.00, the Driving Force Shifter is the perfect present; either bought alone for someone who already has the new G29 or G920 steering wheel, or as a bundle with either wheel, depending on whether you favour PlayStation (3 and 4) or Xbox One. The G29 in particular should

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be popular wheel for PC users for years to come. Sadly the shifter doesn’t function as a standalone device, and requires a G29 or G920. In terms of performance it feels practically identical to the G27 shifter, with a leather grip and a positive feel. Using an H-shifter means the clutch pedal will see more use, and it creates a more immersive experience when driving cars that use an H-pattern in reality.

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Derek Speare Designs “Tilton Style” Pedal Pads PRICE: $39.85 USD FROM: www.derekspearedesigns.com

G920, Thrustmaster T500 and HE pedal sets, and at just shy of $40.00 they will make the perfect little gift for any sim racer using these popular pedal sets - just make sure you pick the correct variant!

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If you’re not looking to break the bank this Christmas but want to buy someone a sim racing related present, what better way than these “Tilton Style” Pedal Pads from Derek Speare Designs. If they’re used in a race car then they’ve got to be good, right? Well that’s the reasoning Derek Speare Designs gives on their website. Derek Speare Designs pads are modelled after one of the top pedal manufacturers in the world - Tilton. Tilton makes some of the best race car pedals you can find, but they don’t make components to fit sim hardware, which is where DSD comes in. Fitting directly to the pedal arms, the pads couldn’t be easier to install, and yet transform the look and feel of any pedal set. So far DSD have made versions for Fanatec Clubsports V1/V2, Fanatec Clubsport Elites, Logitech G25/G27/G29/

Element Gaming Neon 250 RRP: £33.99 FROM: www.eBuyer.com A lot of people in the gaming world swear by the age old saying of “You get what you pay for”, insinuating that if you buy cheaply, you’re going to regret it further down the line. Yet over the years, companies have began to show that you can produce some brilliant products at a cheaper price point, and Element Gaming have certainly been one company who’ve done this. Last month our Technical Editor took a look at a range of Element Gaming products, focusing mainly on their higher-end range, however this month we look at one of their more modestly-priced headsets - the Neon 250. Let’s be blunt from the get-go… you really won’t find a better priced headset out there. The Neon 250 really does excel, and

selling at a RRP of £33.99, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a headset worth twice the price. It comes equipped with everything you’d expect of a headset, apart from Dolby technology, but you’re not going to get that from a ‘budget’ priced headset. What you do get is really clear audio, a mic that works perfectly and a vibration device in the ear cups that reacts to your games’ sound - It’s one of those things you have to experience to truly understand and love. Overall the Neon 250 really is a solid headset, and at this price you really can’t go wrong. It’s times like this where brand names mean nothing, and you should really start looking further afield for bargains!

SteelSeries QcK Heat Orange PRICE: £9.99 FROM: SteelSeries.com Mouse mats are a funny one to review. Whilst being simply a piece of cloth, many refuse to go without them, and over the years a huge array of companies have produced mouse mats, varying in price significantly. But do they have any application in sim racing? That completely depends on your definition of application and how involved you are with the genre. For your everyday sim racer, the chances are a mouse mat would be pretty pointless, albeit making your rig look a little smarter. However, for those heavily into painting/skinning, a mouse mat would do the world of good. Photoshop brushes often require very delicate movements, something that a mouse is unable to do on a normal surface. However use a mousemat like the QcK and everything should be a whole heap easier for you. But let’s be honest, at under £10.00, this should be an easy decision, just go out and buy one!

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SIM RACER STOCKING FILLERS

Corsair K70 Mechanical Keyboard PRICE: £119.99 FROM: www.overclockers.co.uk

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Technical Editor Connor: Corsair 100% hit the nail on the head with their K range of mechanical keyboards. If I could finish this review there, I would because there really isn’t any other way to look at the K70. I’ve had my K70 for over 4 years now, and I’m still yet to have any problems with it whatsoever. It’s durable, it’s well built and it just feels right. The Corsair Gaming K70 is a fully mechanical, backlit keyboard that’s designed for performance gaming. The built-in Cherry MX Red switches deliver smooth, linear response for ultra fast double and triple taps without the audible click. Every key is individually lit for brilliant backlighting and easy customizability to highlight important functions. The black anodized brushed aluminium structure provides rugged durability and a professional-grade finish. Replaceable contoured keycaps make it easier to find critical WASD keyseven in dim light. Plus the 104 Key Roll-over on USB and 100% Anti-Ghosting mean that every key you touch translates directly into the game. Now do you need such a fancy keyboard

for sim racing? Well, no. But does it look the part? Oh yes. And let’s be honest here, there are very few people that are purely sim racers; you’ll usually find some other gaming genre individuals spend their time playing. Add to that the fact you just won’t have to replace it anytime soon, then it’s definitely a sound investment in our eyes.

Nvidia GTX 770 PRICE: Shop around for a bargain! FROM: All good PC stores Nvidia have produced some brilliant individual cards over the years, and there is always a sweet spot in the range. The 700 series offered several sweet spots for different budgets, and by far the most popular choice of graphics card in the Sim Racer office is the GTX 770. It achieved rare agreement amongst gamers, offering the perfect balance between affordable price and outstanding performance, albeit with some unwelcome additions, additions that can easily be overlooked though unless you’re a complete tech geek. Performance wise, the 770 will still eat through pretty much everything at 1080p, and will even run 3 monitors through a single card, although you’ll have to expect to drop visual details down to maintain smooth performance. But with the new 900 series taking over, you can catch some

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real bargains; especially if you’re happy to buy through eBay, meaning you can likely pick up two 770’s cheaper than you can pick up one 970.

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Crucial BX100 SSD 250GB PRICE: £64.74 FROM: - www.eBuyer.com

boot up time, I mean time in which my PC was actually responsive. However with the newly installed SSD, well I barely had time to get out of the room before it was fully operational. Next I tried Project CARS, which of all the racing titles I play always took the longest to load. And again I saw the benefits, the game booted within a couple of seconds. Essentially what I’m trying to say here is humble pie was definitely ate, and I’m now in love with the speed of my PC… And all because of a sub £70 purchase!

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Publishing Director Paul: For years I’ve had my technical editor bang on about SSDs being one of the best upgrades I could fit my PC with, and for years I laughed at him. “How could a SSD enhance my gaming experience” I’d always ask myself, It’s just a fancy hard drive after all… Well I was wrong, and now I’m definitely eating humble pie. Now I was told that an SSD won’t make your games prettier or turn your 15 year old PC into a monster that’ll guzzle up today’s leading titles. However it gives your PC that little bit more ‘oomph’. Essentially an SSD gives you much faster boot times, which includes your operating system as well as all of your games and programs, provided they’re installed onto the same drive. Connor, our technical editor received the Crucial BX100 SSD from eBuyer for test, and seeing as he already had two SSDs in his machine, he insisted on installing this into my PC, including all the hard work in re-installing everything I needed onto my new SSD. My first experience that showed me the power of an SSD was the first time booting it up. Now usually I was able to turn my PC on and go and make a cup of tea by the time it had finished; by this I don’t mean

Cyrorig R1 Ultimate PRICE: RRP £59.99 FROM: www.eBuyer.com Technical Editor Connor: Cryorig seemingly appeared out of nowhere in 2014, providing the computer world with some absolutely amazing cooling solutions and very, very strong price points. However, if you dig a little, you’ll soon come to realise that Cryorig has been a concept for years, and just took a while to come into fruition. The Cryorig R1 Ultimate is an example of how cooling should be done. It’s attractive, it’s functional and it just gets the job done. It’s easy to install, it’s quiet and did I mention it just looks awesome? And have you seen the price?! At £59.99 I genuinely thought our liaison at eBuyer had missed out a 1 by accident. But after further questioning, it is indeed only £59.99. The R1 Ultimate is just the perfect all round package in my eyes, it’s great for standard cooling, as well as for overclocking, with the ability to drop the temperature tenfold for both stock and overclocked CPUs. Personally, I would 100% recommend this to anyone looking to buy a cooling system, however I would also make people aware that it’s a tad on the large scale, so make sure you’ve got the space before committing!

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PRO-DRIVER TRACK TIPS

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SONOMA RACEWAY WTCC TRACK GUIDE

THANKS TO ITS OWNERSHIP OF A REAL-WORLD RACING SCHOOL—THE SIMRACEWAY PERFORMANCE DRIVING CENTER, BASED ON SONOMA RACEWAY IN CALIFORNIA— SIMRACEWAY’S ONLINE RACING WORLD PLACES GREAT EMPHASIS BOTH ON DRIVER TRAINING AND THE EVER-INCREASING SYNERGY BETWEEN VIRTUAL AND REAL RACING.

TURN 1

<LEFT

WHO BETTER, THEN, TO PRODUCE A SERIES OF VIRTUAL TRACK GUIDES PENNED BY PRO DRIVERS? THIS GUIDE FEATURES SIMRACEWAY’S HOME TRACK OF SONOMA RACEWAY WITH ITS RACING SCHOOL INSTRUCTOR AND HIGH-FLYING SCUDERIA CORSA DRIVER, JEFF WESTPHAL TAKING US AROUND THE WTCC LAYOUT.

1

Turn 1 is very fast, with an approach that starts just beyond the start/finish line. You should be top of fifth gear—almost needing sixth. After crossing the start/finish, turn slightly to arrive about one car width off the wall, and then set up track-right at the bottom of the hill. Relax your foot on the throttle with about 15 degrees of steering input. Then, from track-right (just past the curbing at the bottom of the hill) increase steering input to around 30-40 degrees and go back to power for the run up the hill. Apex on the first 1/3 of curbing and then slow down, select third gear and straighten your hands (this feels too early for Turn 2, but that’s okay). I brake firm and downshift the necessary gears, before I release the brake smoothly and sail as much rolling speed into T2 as possible. This is probably one of the more technical bits of the lap, so precision is important!

TURN 2

<RIGHT

TURN 3 & 3A

>LEFT/RIGHT

2

Success at Turn 2 is entirely dependent upon your setup from Turn 1. If you miss the apex at Turn 1, you can kiss Turn 2 goodbye! You need to slow the car down in a straight line in the middle of the road, and then turn in to T2 just after the curbing starts on driver’s right. The apex is late, and power down should also be late so as not to upset the car over the crest. Think of Turn 2 as a momentum corner, rather than a “point-and-shoot” turn. Exit on the left and stay there for a while before setting up for Turn 3.

3

Turns 3 and 3a are connected in that the exit of one feeds the entrance to the next—much like Turns 1 and 2. Sonoma is famous for combination corners and 3 and 3a are the most complex on the track because of the compression and the uphill-to-crest while cornering. The entrance of 3 is faster than that of 3a because of the bowl that compresses the tire, but it’s crucial to stay track-left at the exit, before executing a quick transition to the apex curb of 3a on the right and straightening your hands as much as you can. Then you’ll need to unwind slowly over the hill so as not to run out of road while cresting 3a.

3A

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TURN 4

4

TURN 5

5

<RIGHT

<RIGHT

A downhill, off-camber right-hander that’s more than 90 degrees, this turn will require lots of trail brake, or light brake pressure as you are turning in. Start with an aggressive hit of the brakes as the exit curb on the left disappears, and then reduce brake pressure as you turn right while aiming for an early-to-mid apex. Coast for a second after the apex curb, then unwind your hands quickly and feed power aggressively.

Find a way to stay full throttle while arriving to Turn 6 in the middle of the track before going over the crest. This corner is flat in almost every car, but especially in WTCC cars.

TURN 6

6

TURN 7 & 7A

7

<LEFT

>RIGHT/RIGHT

7A

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The entrance to The Carousel is a big crest, so steep that you can lock the rear tires while braking. You will need to scrub a little speed off, but not a lot. Brake light and long from the crest while turning left as you head down. Be ready to catch the rear end as oversteer is likely at the top of the hill. After that, the car will go to minor understeer before you exit. Squeeze the throttle at the beginning of the apex curb on driver’s left and feed it on slowly as you release the steering input.

Braking for Turn 7 is uphill initially, so the grip is high. The challenge here is when the road falls away just before you turn in. This will require you to release the brake slowly in order to keep load on the front while the road drops. Unwind your hands and try to get to some power before you brake lightly for 7A. Do not hit the curb here as it is quite severe and will upset the balance of the car. Think of 7a as a “stop-and-go” corner, ensuring you spend as little time as you can at a low speed while you change direction.

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TURN 8 & 8A

<LEFT/RIGHT

8 8A The “esses” are the second-hardest part of Sonoma, mostly because of their speed. They can be taken flat out if your line is correct, but turning in too early or being too quick on the wheel is a surefire way of taking soil samples! Think of late-apexing every curb on your way through the esses, touching the last 1/3 of each.

TURN 9 & 9A

<RIGHT/LEFT

9

The chicane will seem easy in comparison to the other sections on the track. Focus on mastering your braking going into the corner, while using the curbing in both 9 and 9a with enough speed to not need any significant throttle until you’ve cleared 9a. Then unwind your hands, head into second gear and squeeze on the power. Wheelspin is very easy to induce here because you are stressing the tire a lot laterally, so be sensitive!

TURN 10

<RIGHT

9A

10 As with Turn 5, steer as little as you can here while holding the go pedal down. I actually start on the inside of the road, since the exit of the chicane takes precedence. Then I unwind my hands as I see fit, ensuring I don’t pinch the car’s acceleration through Turn 10 while I grab the next gear.

TURN 11

>RIGHT

11

12

I find the best way to execute Turn 11 is to “diamond” the corner. This means turning in slightly early, maintaining a slow speed in the center of the turn where the car rotates, and then unwinding your hands early and going to power immediately, yet patiently. This will ensure as little time spent as possible at a low speed. You will be very close to the wall at track-left on exit. I usually aim to use the painted curb at the inside of the corner all the way around 11 as the grip seems to be better there.

Take this flat, no matter what car you’re driving, to complete your lap of Sonoma Raceway WTCC Circuit.

TURN 12

>LEFT

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SIM RACER IS ALSO AVAILABLE TO READ AS A DIGITAL EDITION; AVAILABLE AS AN APP ON ITUNES AND VIA WWW.POCKETMAG.COM

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SIM RACER COMPUTER BUILD

CO NT IN UE D...

MINI ITX

BUILD FINAL STEPS! THIS MONTH WE’RE FINISHING UP NOT 1, BUT 2 PC BUILDS! IF YOU TURN BACK A FEW PAGES, YOU WOULD’VE NOTICED OUR PC BUILD; BUILT IN ASSOCIATION WITH XFX HAD ITS FINISHING TOUCHES ADDED TO IT, AND NOW WE’RE FOCUSING ON THE SAME HERE!

FINISHING TOUCHES Everything this month is hugely straightforward, doable by yourself and doable with just a screwdriver! Essentially the goal of this issue, and the final goal of this build is to tie off all of the loose ends surrounding the build. Things like freeing up space for airflow, making sure everything is screwed in correctly and essentially just making sure everything is ready for you to press that big power button and get gaming!

One of the hindrances of working in the computer gaming world is the amount of stuff you get to play with. Sure, at first it was like being a kid in a candy store, but you soon realise that the huge nerd-gasm can’t last forever and review items slowly begin being given away as competition prizes or returned to their place of origin. Review PCs are simply the worst when it comes to this feeling of detachment when they’re sent back to their respected companies. A lot of these companies will pimp their high end machines right out, and it’s no surprise that these high end machines are the ones they want us to review. They’re often the all singing, all dancing machines that have been a part of your dreams for a while - top-of-the-range motherboards, two 780Ti in SLI, fancy water cooling systems… And at the time there was me sitting there with my cheap and cheerful, running a video card that was worse than my hot laps. Usually I was able to grit my teeth and bear it, or simply decide to swap an item out occasionally. But after playing with Mini ITX systems from both Chillblast and YOYOTech, I simply had to bite the bullet and splash the cash. Then it came to me in a splendid brainwave… I now work for a computer gaming PC, I can put the majority of these parts through the company and not even have to pay for them myself, using the ploy of ‘Oh, I’m doing a PC build article and need a ton of components to fully realise the potential of such an article!’ So over the next few months I’ll be talking you through the process of building a Mini ITX machine, something that has proven to be a lot harder than I initially thought.

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SIM RACER MINI ITX COMPUTER BUILD

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STEP 1

STEP 2

One of the biggest gripes I’ve had that has been well documented throughout this build is the lack of space within the case. With that in mind removing any excess parts is a must. Not only does this give us extra space should we need to work on the PC at a later date, but it will also improve the airflow within the machine. To achieve this, the only large part we were able to remove without butchering the case was the excess HDD caddy space. To do this, simply lay the case on its side and remove the 6 screws holding the caddy in place.

Once you’ve removed said screws, it really is as easy as removing the caddy. We went about this by placing the case in its natural standing position again, and pulled the caddy out of its usual spot. Now you’ve done this you will have a good area within the PC void of anything. Just a nice, empty space to encourage airflow!

STEP 3

STEP 4

REMOVING THE EXCESS PARTS

MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS PLUGGED IN CORRECTLY This is a step that is neglected far too often when building a PC, and something we’ve all likely turned a blind eye to in the past - making sure everything is plugged in and/or seated correctly. This covers literally everything within the PC, from power cables to the components themselves. Whilst it may seem a little tedious, it’s definitely something worth doing, as there really isn’t anything as frustrating in the PC world than building something, and it then not working.

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REMOVING THE EXCESS PARTS

SECURE POWER SUPPLY Now we’ve checked that all of our cabling is in the correct place and plugged in properly, you can now secure the PSU. This is done via a faceplate with four screw holes in. All you have to do here is align the faceplate to the screw holes on the back of your PSU, and screw! We personally have chosen to use bigger screws here, that not only look nicer, but also have the added benefit of being able to hand tighten or loosen should you need to do so.

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STEP 5

STEP 6

Fans are really easy to install thankfully. Firstly, make sure your fan is pointing the correct way; I once didn’t and ended up with a PC that would crash due to heating overloads, and it drove me mad for weeks until I finally realised what I’d done! Once you’ve made sure you’ve got the fan around the right way (many will actually have indicators on), all you’ve got to do is line it up, and screw it in! On show here is the back fan port, but you are also able to fit fans on the top of the case, and the front of the case. Once secured, plug the fan into the motherboard! The motherboard ports are labelled, and the labelling varies, but the word ‘FAN’ is usually prominent. If you’re a tad confused, refer to your motherboard’s instruction manual!

We really are now on the final stretch of this build! Fans are important. The more fans you can fit in your PC, the better. We personally only went for two originally, but since our build, we’ve put another two in. However, the two fans were more than enough, we simply just had some spare fans, along with some spare space… Put two and two together, and well, you get the drift!

INSTALL FAN

INSTALL... ANOTHER FAN

STEP 7 FINITO!

We’re done! Well nearly… Your PC is now built at the very least! Simply secure the side casing, plug the correct leads into the correct places, and off you go. Once going through the boot process, you’ll need to install the correct drivers; which 9 times out of 10 come on a CD supplied with the component. We’ve opted to go without a CD drive here though, so what do we do?! Well you’ve got two options - Either use a secondary PC to download the driver files to a USB stick, or purchase a USB CD drive. Neither has real advantages nor disadvantages, so just go with what you feel is best!

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SIM RACER

WHAT’S ON OUR DESKS?

WATER COOLING HOW TO GUIDE ONE OF THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS I GET ASKED REGARDING PC BUILDS IS ‘SHOULD I USE A COOLING SYSTEM?’, AND IT REALLY IS ONE OF THOSE QUESTIONS THAT JUST DOESN’T HAVE A DEFINITIVE ANSWER IN MY EYES. DOES IT BENEFIT YOU? WELL, SURE. DOES IT BENEFIT YOU TO THE POINT THAT YOUR PC WILL RUN NOTICEABLY BETTER? WELL, NO. HOWEVER, WITH A HUGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE ASKING ABOUT IT, THIS MONTH WE THOUGHT WE’D SHOW YOU HOW TO INSTALL A COOLING SYSTEM CORRECTLY! Step 1 t e c h n i cal d e s k

INSTALL COOLING BASEPLATE TWO MOTHERBOARD

For those of you who are looking to install a cooler onto an already built PC, here comes the bad news… You’re going to have to take it all apart to install your new cooler. For those of you who are building anew, well you’ve chose the right time to install a cooler! To start off, you need to install the cooling baseplate to the ‘back’ of your motherboard. When we say back, we mean the part of the motherboard that usually sits against your case, and the section that nothing else plugs into. In the Corsair H80i’s case, this is done very easily and doesn’t actually require anything but lining up the motherboard holes to the baseplate.

Step 3 SCREW COOLING RADIATOR IN PLACE This is the only part of installing a cooler that can become a pain in the backside, and if you’ve got someone who can help, it will definitely make your life easier and completely negate the risk of you dropping the cooler onto something and breaking said something. How the radiator is installed is relatively straight forward. Make sure the hoses are pointing into the PC instead of out of the PC, line up the holes screw holes on the radiator to the holes of your case (we’ve chose to install our cooler onto the back of our machine), and screw. We’d suggest getting all the screws in first before tightening.

Step 2 SCREW IN RAISERS These raisers are what keeps your baseplate in place, but also what end up keeping your cooler in place as well. All that needs to be done here is screw the raisers into the four holes surrounding your CPU. Once this is done, your baseplate should be firmly in place, and shouldn’t move around at all. I’d suggest tightening these, but not too tight. Hand tight will do, no need to grab a wrench!

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Step 5

SCREW FAN/S ONTO RADIATOR

ARRANGE COOLING TUBING

Once you’ve got your radiator in place, your next step is to install a fan to cover the radiator. Firstly make sure the fan is pointing the correct way (Most fans will have markings on to indicate this). Then you simply line the fan screw holes up to the radiator and then screw into place!

This may actually be a step that you can ignore, but we thought we’d put it in just in case. Once you’ve got everything so far into place, you’re going to want to make sure your cooler can reach your CPU. Sometimes the hose attached to said cooler can get itself into a right tangle, so just make sure you’ve got it in a position that makes it easy to reach the CPU!

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Step 4

Step 7 SCREW COOLER INTO PLACE Now you’ve got your cooler into place, you’re going to want to screw it in. This is pretty simple. Those raisers you screwed in earlier act as your base pillar so to speak, and your cooler slots over these. Once your cooler is in place, you then use the screw tops provided to secure the cooler.

Step 8 Step 6 PLACE COOLER ONTO CPU Now the tricky bit. To start, you’re going to want to get hold of some thermal paste. Put a small amount of said paste onto your CPU and then you need to place the CPU cooler onto your CPU. Why exactly is this tricky? Well working in such a confined space, it can be a right hassle to get the cooler into the right place without getting a ton of thermal in places it shouldn’t be!

GOOD TO GO! …And you’re now good to go! Once you’ve installed your cooler, make sure you check your PC BIOS to check CPU temperatures and make sure it’s not running stupidly hot. There are a number of reasons your CPU could be running hot after installing a cooler such as not securing the cooler properly, or installing a fan the wrong way round. You may also want to download programs such as CPU-Z to get readings whilst under load, just to be on the safe side.

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SIM HARWARE

SIM RACER

review! By Dominic Brennan WITH PRODUCTS DATING back to the late 90’s, Fanatec is a well-established brand within the world of sim hardware. A few years ago, Fanatec’s product line-up compared more directly with consumer-level devices from the likes of Logitech, Saitek and Thrustmaster, albeit with a leaning towards higher specifications and quality. With the introduction of the ClubSport Wheel in 2011, Fanatec began to move further away from the mainstream brands, and that trend continues with the ClubSport Wheel V2, the new ClubSport

Pedals V3, and the associated attachments and accessories. But their recently-introduced Forza Motorsport rim and Universal Hub for Xbox One shows Fanatec are still hoping to attract a wide audience, including console gamers. With its high entry price, we should be looking at the ultimate hardware to experience Forza 6, and much more besides. A substantial ecosystem of devices is now in place, so let’s introduce you to few of the essential components. Does having a pleasant ‘unboxing’ experience

really matter? Debatable, but it didn’t go unnoticed. High quality inside and out, welcoming sentences appear as you unfold each flap (of both the wheel base and the pedal boxes), showing some thought has gone into the packaging. Once inside, you’ll find the units encased in dense foam; the branded cloth bag is the icing on the cake. If you have the slightest appreciation for metal and engineering design, you’ll want to take the time to admire the build and appearance; even before anything is plugged in, the units are very impressive.

ClubSport Wheel V2 Let’s start with the centrepiece and star of the show, the ClubSport Wheel base. At 5416g (with angled mount attached), the V2 is almost a kilogram heavier than a T500RS base, but in a considerably more elegant, compact design. The casing ‘depth’ (measuring away from the driver) is very short, which may allow the user to bring their screen(s) closer, depending on the setup. This is undeniably a beautiful piece of engineering, exuding quality and robustness, with cold metal on most surfaces and an almost equally-tactile plastic rear casing. The eye-catching chamfered edge of the machined aluminium front cover differentiates the V2 from its predecessor at a

glance, but there are more clues if you peer through the (now smoked) acrylic window, offering a glimpse at the all-new mechanism inside - a tantalising collection of bearings, gears, pulleys and belts. Gone are the dual motors of the V1, replaced with a single, more powerful, brushless servo. Almost as important as the motor itself is the new heatsink design, surrounding the motor with large cooling fins, with the upgraded fans positioned for improved airflow. FFB motor ‘fade’ is a sore subject amongst racers, and the CSW V1 wasn’t immune to a weakening of feedback strength during long sessions. The V2 has addressed this with its new cooling

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PRICE: €749.95 ($599.95)

systems, and I’ve been unable to detect a hint of fade even after long endurance stints at high strength. The fans stay at a reasonable level throughout normal operation, with a more pleasant tone than those found in many consumer-level wheels. You won’t find a desk clamp provided with the V2 understandable as the majority of users will want to hard-mount to a rig, and you’d need a super-strong clamp to get the job done - Fanatec offers one separately. All the connections are conveniently positioned at the rear - accepting pedals, two shifters and separate LED indicators. The USB interface is here too, and uses a high-quality, braided cable. The power button is a welcome feature. Almost all consumer-level wheel systems rely on plugging/ pulling the USB or power cable - the CSW’s power button means all plugs can stay attached at all times, which could be very convenient for certain sim setups. Before we delve into the details of the driving experience, we need a wheel rim...

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SIM HARDWARE

Universal Hub for Xbox One PRICE: €349.95, $299.95

The new Universal Hub is the most intriguing component in this package, and arguably the most impressive product Fanatec has ever made. Simply put, it is an adapter that allows the attachment of real wheel rims to the CSW. Fanatec offer their own wide range of rims, but if you’d like to treat yourself to a race-spec MOMO or Sparco - go right ahead. At first glance there appears to be mounting holes for every conceivable wheel in existence, but the hub is only designed for the popular 6-hole and 3-hole patterns - the other holes are for mounting the ‘button boxes’ and aren’t threaded. No Nardi then... at least not without another adapter!. The headline feature of the new version is Xbox One support, adding to the PC, PS3 and PS4 functionality found on the original Hub. This means that Fanatec is once again the only manufacturer to offer compatibility with PC, PlayStation and Xbox platforms on a single device (previously achieved with their 911 GT2 wheel for PC, PS3 and 360). It should also be noted that the Hub is designed for both CSW V1 and V2, so owners of either version might see this as a good investment if they intend to use their wheel

base on multiple platforms. The presentation of the new Universal Hub is unusual - the packaging is unmistakably Xbox, with the green strip around the top; Microsoft’s licence is in full effect. The buttons are labelled using the Xbox controller layout, including the large Xbox ‘Guide’ button; the quick-release mechanism is a striking, anodised green. And yet, this Hub is very much a PlayStation device too, and considering Microsoft’s strict hardware requirements for peripherals, this is quite a surprise. It is primarily an Xbox device though, as the startup process always defaults to Xbox

mode. Switching to PC/PS4 mode or the separate PS3 mode is a simple dual button-press away, but it would be nice to have the option to change the default startup mode. Fanatec no longer produce the PC/PlayStation-only Hub, so those purchasing for PlayStation-only use might not appreciate the Xbox theme. Perhaps Fanatec can start offering blank or PlayStation-themed button replacements, but those on the top of the Hub could be difficult to change. To be fair, it’s easy to live with once you learn the button associations, and for most PlayStation users it’s probably no more than a small inconvenience compared to the huge bonus of multi-platform compatibility. There’s so much going on here, it’s hard to know where to start. The LCD ‘box’ is incredibly neat, with the option to unplug and stand it upright, facing the driver, or leave it flush with the case, away from view. With an endless collection of rims to consider, some would obscure a display facing forwards, and some might prefer to not see the display for aesthetic reasons, for instance when using a ‘historic’ rim. In addition, when not being used for various fine-tuning options, the display can act as a gear indicator, if

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Hub is the adjustability. Unlike the original version, the new Hub comes pre-assembled ready to accept the Forza rim. A sensible move, as assembly of the various parts is fiddly, due to the circuit board connectors and a swarm of cables to deal with. You really don’t want to pinch any of these when tightening everything together! It’s a consequence of the near-endless configuration possibilities; you can even remove the buttons entirely and rely on the ones at the top of the Hub, if you want a clean appearance. The notion of using the Hub as a quick way to switch between more than one rim was soon quashed, as it takes several minutes to adjust the position of each ‘button box’, particularly if you have two very different rim designs. Thankfully, the design of the arm fixings allows some ‘play’ even when securely screwed together; it’s the final bolting-down of the rim itself that clamps the arms completely. This means you can make small changes to positioning rather than having to unbolt everything for every adjustment. The paddle shifters alone have some excellent adjustability, in terms of position, angle and distance to the back of the rim, and two much smaller paddles are included for ‘Formula’ style rims. At first I wasn’t too keen on the actual ‘click’ of the paddles - there’s a very subtle click and then a large throw until you hit the metal stop. But with a small grub screw adjustment, you can shorten this throw

significantly, making the metal stop feel like the ‘click’ itself, effectively making the paddles feel much more positive. The ability to make the downshift a shorter throw than the upshift was surprisingly satisfying! With all buttons (and large shifters) attached, the Hub weighed in at 1019g - not bad considering the amount of features packed into it.

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the sim chooses to support it. iRacing, for example, displays the gear and then flashes at the shift point. The ‘FunkySwitch’ deserves a special mention, as it combines a rotary encoder, a four-way d-pad and a button. The knurled metal finish makes it very tactile and pleasant to use, even when wearing gloves. When using an Xbox One, this acts as both the d-pad for navigating the menus as well as the main Xbox button, which is unconventional, but it gets the job done. On PC, seven different controls can be assigned to it. The quick release system is useful, not only to swap to a different wheel entirely, but simply when you want to use the screen behind your CSW without a huge rim in the way. With use of the locking pin, it isn’t a true quick release system that you’d find in a real race car. It has been suggested that the tolerances are so close on the V2 shaft that the locking pin isn’t necessary, but my unit developed a Mysterious Ticking Noise during high-torque situations, that were reduced by using the pin (and eventually eliminated with some lubricant), so it does make a difference. But the most pleasing characteristic of the

Forza Motorsport GT Rim PRICE: €129.95 ($99.95) Designed in collaboration with Turn10 to mark the launch of Forza 6, this 33cm rim is very similar to Fanatec’s standard GT rim, but with smooth leather and white stitching. It’s a beautiful design; a quality feel to the leather and a good smell (more important than you might imagine). I would have preferred just the ‘FM’ logo in the centre without ‘Forza Motorsport’ embroidered into the leather, but it does look distinctive and is much neater than some of the images of the pre-production version. Having regularly used a 28cm wheel before testing this gear, I expected the larger diameter to require a period of adjustment, but it was almost instantaneous, as the sculpted grips at the ‘9 and 3’ positions are so comfortable, moulding perfectly to my hands. The size and shape makes for a great all-round

wheel for a wide variety of vehicles; it’s understandable why Turn 10 selected this as the recommended rim for Forza. As I started to explore the vast number of cars available across multiple sims, it was surprising how many were suited to this rim. Practically every road car felt right, particularly LaFerrari, with its distinctive ‘square’ wheel matching perfectly with the bottom corners. It’s also almost perfect for a Skip Barber car being the same diameter and nearly the same shape as the real deal. Driving older cars in more of a ‘10 and 2’ position also felt very natural, as well as the big oval beasts of NASCAR. It was only really the extreme single-seaters that just felt plain wrong to use with this rim. The flat section isn’t ideal for drifting, but it was pleasant to use in the majority of driving scenarios.

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SIM HARDWARE

The Verdict

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While not quite the beefcake 2140g of the original CSW BMW rim, the Forza rim combines with the Hub to weigh 1911g, meaning this is still a hefty piece of kit to spin around. Seeing that figure on the scales I was a little concerned, but gripping it in the ‘9 and 3’ position and rotating it in free air felt like the mass was concentrated in the centre - not as much rotational inertia as I expected. Once attached to the CSW V2, my fears were put to rest in dramatic fashion when I accidentally clicked the ‘test FFB’ button. Thankfully the base was already well-mounted, as the test is a violent demonstration of the motor’s power - and rather unexpected after the sedate start-up sequence. Fanatec confidently claims that no human would be able to feel any notches or ‘cogging’ in the rotation. I have no reason to dispute that; it’s really the most notable characteristic of the V2. The V1 was smooth, but this is on another level, feeling almost hydraulically damped, yet impressively free-spinning considering the belt-driven design. It feels far stronger and more direct than a T500RS - more than the claimed torque figure would suggest. The CSW V2 distances itself from all consumer-level wheels through a combination of strength, smoothness and a lack of noise. It’s the noise that I’d like to highlight. If you’ve used any consumer FFB wheel, you’ll be familiar with motor whine. Imagine an oversteer situation - after the motor has helped to apply opposite lock, you usually have to ‘fight’ the direction of the forces when re-centring the wheel near the end of the slide, accompanied by a squeal from the motor. On the V2, this characteristic FFB sound simply isn’t there. Having used standard FFB wheels for many years, this sound had become integral to my sim racing; a persistent

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reminder that I was using a ‘controller’ rather than holding a real wheel attached to a car. Remove this noise, and the effect is startling. It almost defies logic that something can operate so quietly during such a forceful moment, so it goes a long way to achieving a convincing ‘real car’ feel. As you’d expect, Forza 6 has been well-optimised for use with a ClubSport Wheel. By default, it’s a flashy exaggeration of FFB delivery, but makes for a great first impression. With the vibration settings tamed to more reasonable levels, the depth of the feedback is communicated more clearly. It’s enjoyable, but the latency lets it down - check the review on page 13 for more details. Moving over to Project CARS, the sim came alive in a way that I’d normally associate with PC simulations. It also highlighted a strange difference between the FFB delivery of the console version compared to PC (the main strength needed to be run at about 25, compared to about 85 on PC, and I had to run custom FFB profiles for the ‘Formula’ cars to tame the violent centre oscillation on the straights) but once adjusted, it shared very similar qualities. But it’s the PC where the CSW V2 really shines, thanks to the wider selection of sims, and the low latency across the board. The likes of iRacing, Stock Car Extreme and Assetto Corsa all benefit from the V2’s clarity and performance, and it reaffirmed my belief that rFactor 2 remains the benchmark for force feedback realism. Sliding the Brabham around Silverstone has always been a joy, but the qualities of the V2 enhanced the driving experience to near euphoria.

ClubSport Pedals V3 + Damper Kit PRICE: €359.95 ($299.95) DAMPER KITS: €79.95 ($69.95 each) BLACK-ANODIZED ALUMINIUM, deep red highlights and chamfered edges to match the CSW V2 - this is the most stunning pedal set Fanatec has ever made. The basic design is unchanged from the previous generations - bowed endplates sandwiching three cross members, two of which act as the pivot points for the pedal arms. It’s a proven concept, with the same limitations of fixed pedal-spacing (pedal face adjustment aside) and no inversion options - but there are plenty of interesting solutions if you’re the modding type. Beyond this, you’ll find significant changes. The familiar aluminium pedal faces come pre-installed, but new ‘D-shaped’ faces with extensions are included. I preferred the more race-spec appearance of these, and eventually settled on using them on the clutch and brake, combined with the metal throttle plate. This long, smooth plate is ideal for heel-and-toe downshifts, and for careful throttle application out of corners (an overlooked aspect of ‘going fast’). Stiffer throttle and clutch springs are a welcome included accessory; it helped particularly on the clutch, which retains the clever pivoting cam from the V2 that simulates a ‘biting point’. The default throttle spring, with a touch of preload adjustment, is near perfect for my tastes, but it can be changed in a flash - a much easier process than the V2 pedals. The V3 is easier to maintain overall - good news as this kind of open design wants to be self-serviced regularly, if only to add some of the included lithium grease to avoid the squeaks. One of the key changes to the V3’s design is the brake pedal. On one hand, it’s a step backwards from the oil-damped V2, being a foam and spring system, but on the other, it’s an improvement in simplicity, with its self-contained, hand-adjustable preload that offers a wide range of adjustment for throw and stiffness. The load cell is now custom-made and rated at 90kg. Oil damping is still available, but via the optional Damper Kit. Out of the box, the throw of the brake was at its longest setting and ‘BFR’ mode was set to 30 in the wheel LCD - this is the weakest possible combination, performing similarly to a potentiometer system from a much lesser pedal set (perhaps good for those who have never use a load cell brake and want to transition slowly). With BFR at 100, and a medium amount of preload applied, it started to feel like a substantial pedal, but it was still maxing out too easily for my needs. I soon discovered that auto calibration has quite a conservative limiter, and only manual calibration mode allowed me to set the max pressure I was looking for. This was verified by Fanatec support as something that should see improvements in future firmware updates. Indeed, auto-calibration had other issues relating to max and min points on all three pedals, and this was solved by a new firmware update before my very eyes. The update process is something I became

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demonstration of its potential, vibrating each time the car experienced some rear traction loss. It worked rather well despite not being a particularly realistic effect, and it actually helped to inform the driver in a couple of areas - managing wheel spin from a standing start, and when trying to get the power down out of a very slow corner. Is it a game changer? No, but it shows promise, and hopefully something that can receive more attention and support in the future. On to the Damper Kits. Unique to the V3 pedals, these can be installed on both brake and throttle, and promise a more ‘hydraulic’ feeling. As ever, each damper comes beautifully packaged, and once installed, enhances the appearance of the V3s even further. On the brake pedal, it restores the oil-damped feel of the V2, but with far easier and wider adjustability - adding a higher resistance to a longer throw, for example. The braking system certainly felt more complete once the kit was installed. But why would you want a damped throttle? I

was intrigued. I expected the added resistance to be distracting, but it wasn’t a problem. In fact, on the lightest setting, it felt pretty good. Weird a first, but it seemed to help when applying a gradual throttle input, and it didn’t get in the way of very fast ‘blips’, and the pedal seemed to spring back just as quickly. But just as I was beginning to warm to it, disaster struck - the throttle suddenly became heavy in the middle of a race, and it was no longer smooth, as if something was grating against the sides of the chamber. Unfortunate, but by the time you read this I should have received a replacement from Fanatec. I will be following up, hopefully with good news. In any case, my suggestion would be to order a single damper with your V3s, and test it thoroughly on both pedals, before deciding whether you need a second one, as this is definitely a case of personal preference. To be honest it took a few weeks to get comfortable with these pedals. The amount of adjustability on offer is almost overwhelming, but the construction is very serviceable, as long as you have a decent set of Allen keys. A socket/ ratchet set is invaluable, but you’ll also need a thin wrench in order to secure the bolts for the D-shaped pedals. The dampers can be extremely fiddly to install, particularly when using these pedal extensions. Access to the bolts is incredibly tight, particularly if you have to deal with the metal bracket for the vibration motor. Once I’d gone through all the obvious configurations, settled on one and figured out that manual calibration was the way to go, I began to enjoy using them. Ultimately, they perform very well, feel solidly-built and look the part. I’m not sure how long that beautiful finish will last - the chamfered edges are easily dinged as you work on adjustments with tools, and the red-anodized aluminium screws are all too easily stripped particularly the three that secure the heel plate, as these required repeated installations as I experimented. A CSW V2 with Universal Hub paired with V3 pedals is a seriously impressive collection of metal, and a great starting point for anyone looking for the next step above plastic gear.

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accustomed to, as the V3 also required new firmware before it could be detected by an Xbox One. It involves connecting the pedals directly to a PC via the braided USB cable (they can function as a ‘standalone’ device on PC) rather than via the RJ12 connection to the wheelbase. Socket access is tedious, requiring the removal of the heel plate if you’ve already hard-mounted. This reveals a new circuit board design representing the all-new electronics, featuring easier connections of the various sensors and a dedicated handbrake port, and most importantly, the RJ12 connection that allows 4x the resolution of clutch and throttle readings, even when connected directly to the wheel base. The V3 also introduces a vibration motor to the back of the throttle pedal, adding to the one found on the brake of the V2. Enabling the brake vibration is simple; a ‘canned’ effect that triggers at a pre-determined amount of pedal pressure. But the throttle requires deeper integration with each sim by using the Fanatec SDK, and at the time of writing this was only functional on the PC version of Project CARS. It was an interesting

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SIM RACER DRIVING TECHNIQUES

LAST ISSUE, WE OFFERED SOME GENERAL RALLY DRIVING ADVICE WITH A BROAD OVERVIEW OF TECHNIQUES. THIS TIME, WE’RE CONCENTRATING ON THE DETAILS OF LEFT-FOOT BRAKING, AS IT CAN BE APPLIED IN SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS.

advanced rally

left–foot left– left –foot braking

IF THIS WERE a motoring magazine, even thinking about leftfoot braking would be a novel idea for most readers. But sim racers are a varied bunch, and many of you will have always used your left foot to brake, probably due to learning on a basic 2-pedal set or the triggers on a gamepad. So if you’ve always left-foot braked, you have a head start, but try to get comfortable with right-foot braking too for good measure! And read on, because you might not be making the most out of your LFB technique... Please note: success with these techniques will be much easier to achieve if you have a decent set of pedals. Sporadic LFB: Right-Foot Braking when necessary (if you need to downshift with a clutch), but always moving your left foot from the clutch to the brake if you know you’re going to negotiate a medium-speed turn with no gear change but need to get the nose hooked into the apex. A light application of brake with the left foot can help to tighten your trajectory slightly; this is particularly useful on front-wheel drive cars and four-wheel drive cars, but takes a lot of practice to be worthwhile. Full-time LFB: When your left foot is above the brake pedal at all times. In Issue #6, we described the importance of trail-braking for track driving, where brake pressure is slowly released during

the corner-entry phase. Naturally, this can be done with either foot, but using your left means faster reactions and faster application, with no transition time between pedals. With LFB there is a danger of leaving some throttle on while you begin to brake; be wary of that, as it affects your stopping power. Practice synchronising the dip of the nose caused by lifting off the throttle with the initial braking application. So while you trail-brake towards the apex, we might need to think about downshifting. We’ll be covering shifting techniques next time, but we’re assuming your rally car is equipped with a sequential shifter or dogbox that permits clutchless downshifts. Your right foot may need to blip the throttle on downshift, or you may want to give it some revs to keep the turbo spooled up for best acceleration out of the corner. But throttle blips and downshifting are secondary; your concentration should be on modulating the brake pedal, and right-foot brakers out there used to slamming a clutch pedal into the floor will need to develop some sensitivity in the left

foot for trail braking and threshold braking (to avoid lockups without ABS). In theory at least, full-time LFB is the faster technique, particularly for loosesurface rallying. Correct brake modulation combined with subtle throttle and steering inputs allows a car on a lowgrip surface to rotate or change direction with great precision. Generally you want to avoid applying brake and throttle at the same time, instead tip from one to the other as you try to carve a perfect slide (slight oversteer is the best state to be in). Having the correct brake balance is important, and should be one of the first setup changes you experiment with, but the beauty of good LFB technique is that you can overcome a less-than-optimal setup as you can influence the four tyres so efficiently with quick dabs of both pedals. Example scenario: Subaru Impreza WRC on gravel, high-speed left-turn. Compare the images below. A standard RFB technique first, followed by an LFB technique.. Approach speed is the same, 104mph. At the point of turn-in, a throttle lift in

No left foot braking

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combination with the initial steering input helps rotate the car. Speeds are still the same, 96mph. At this point, it becomes clear from the force-feedback information coming through the wheel as well as the visual/audio cues that the entry speed is too fast, and the throttle lift alone is not enough to rotate the car, causing understeer. The right-foot braker either has to hesitate (coast) or move to the brake pedal to try to get the front to bite before going back on the power, resulting in a less-than ideal line and considerably slower mid-corner speed. The left-foot braker on the other hand, can instantly apply a small touch of brake in combination with the throttle

lift to overcome the understeer, resulting in much more rotation, a better apex, carrying much more speed through the bend, as well as being back on the power earlier. Please note: there are ways in which this corner could be taken equally as quickly with both RFB and LFB techniques - in fact with a perfect ‘racing line’ entry and a perfect setup, the corner can probably be taken completely flat-out with no braking involved. But rallying is about reacting to each corner as it comes - it is unwise to drive an unfamiliar corner in the same way you’d drive on a circuit. Scandinavian Flick: Not exclusive to left-foot

braking, but the speed between alternating pedal movements of an LFB technique can make the flick easier to execute. These images show an exaggerated version that was rather unnecessary for the vehicle/corner, just for demonstration purposes. The corner is a good shape - 90 degrees with a wide entry, but it is after a blind crest, so you have limited time to prepare. The idea of the Scandinavian Flick is to create a large lateral weight transfer in order to induce a sharper rotation into a corner. It means that you need to begin the process well in advance of the corner entry, so an unsighted braking zone isn’t ideal.

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Entering the braking zone, the car is positioned deliberately more to the right, which gives us some space on the left to turn towards. This feels unnatural at first, as it is the complete opposite to a traditional racing line. As you begin to brake hard, turn to the left - the forwards weight transfer should reduce rear traction and cause some rotation (away from the corner). Once this rotation

begins, the car should have slowed enough to make the corner, so as you come off the brake, you should steer into the corner with a short steering input. If the timing of the brake release and steering is correct, the car should naturally want to snap the other way. At this point you can be on the throttle to power through the corner, hopefully dealing with some slight oversteer through the apex and

exit. This technique requires a lot of patience and is very difficult to execute consistently, and is no longer all that prominent in modern rallying as the cars become more sophisticated. However, it remains one of the most satisfying techniques to master, and will give you a great understanding of weight transfer and car control, so it is worth taking the time to practice.

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OLD SKOOL

A Retrospective look at Forza Motorsport

BACK IN THE DAY THE OPENING TO FORZA MOTORSPORT 6 PROUDLY CELEBRATES ITS 10TH ANNIVERSARY, SO IT’S A GOOD TIME TO TAKE LOOK BACK AT TURN 10’S LEGACY. BY BOB SIMMERMAN

c o m m e n ta ry

RACING GAMES ON the various console gaming systems over the years have been a mixed bag. At one end of the spectrum we have the pure arcade offerings such as Mario Kart and Crazy Taxi. At the other end of that spectrum we have the Hollywood Budget games such as Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsport and the Codemasters series of fully licensed Formula One games. Toss in the brilliance of Richard Burns Rally and the eventual arrival of Assetto Corsa for the console gaming platforms and it would seem there exists the possibility for the console racing game to make the leap from pretty good but still arcade-ish to pretty good racing simulator that you don’t need a PC to play. A decent racing simulator on a console system? Madness! Not possible, period. Such has been the commentary from the hardcore simulator crowd and, for the most part, it’s difficult to disagree. While it is certainly the case that a lot of not-sogreat sim racing products are on the PC, it is also the case that the absolute best simulators regular humans can buy are to be found all but exclusively on the PC. So what’s the deal here? Surely gaming platforms that measure game sales in the tens of millions of copies would have room for a hardcore racing sim, wouldn’t they? Certainly, the room is there but I think that, at least today, the PC is safe and sound from having the hardcore crown ripped from its head any time soon. We don’t have to study too hard to understand the reasons for the PC’s dominance over the consoles when it comes to racing games. In terms of pure computational power, the PC simply has more going for it and this allows for the cars in these games to have more detail and fidelity. Physics, graphics, and tyre models are but three areas where the PC offerings show their true strength and while it is the case that the current PS4 and Xbox One are on par in terms of computing power with PCs of not so long ago, they still fall short. But it’s important to keep in mind that while the console systems are not on the same playing field as the PC as far as the hardcore sim racer is concerned, the power of the system is not the

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only thing holding them back. Case in point - a current racing simulator for the PC, say, rFactor 2, is just as likely to run on a three year old PC as it is on a three day old PC. You may have to turn down a few of the bells and whistles for a smooth running experience on that three year old PC but the overall experience in terms of driving fidelity remains largely intact. The same might not hold true on a ten year old PC, but you get the point. So what gives? Well, let’s take a look at a really big elephant in the room here - peripherals. In the PC world the fidelity of your control system is limited by the size of your wallet. For a couple hundred dollars anyone can pick up a wheel and pedal system that for the vast majority is going to deliver a brilliant and accurate experience. For a few thousand dollars, well, you can find yourself sitting at a setup that would probably require you sitting in the actual car to feel more realistic. The interface between the game and the driver, crucially important in delivering a believable simulated racing experience, is where the PC truly shines. The options are plentiful, affordable to nearly everyone and unless you are looking really hard it’s going to be difficult to end up with a bad deal here.

The consoles? Well… for years we just had the gamepad. Great for those first person shooters, RPG’s and Metal Gear Solid games but far from ideal for controlling any sort of simulated car, be it low or high fidelity. But what about those wheel and pedal sets for the consoles…? I vividly recall my time with the Xbox 360 and the Microsoft Wireless Racing wheel. Some games are known as system sellers; Gran Turismo or Forza, for example, games that, literally, move systems off the shelves. After using the Microsoft wheel for about ten minutes I was made aware that there exist some things that might prompt one to sell the system! Not the sort of system seller they had in mind I’m guessing. It’s hard to believe, but in that case the gamepad was the vastly superior controller. Hopeless? Far from it. Not long after the release of the Xbox 360, Fanatec released their Porsche wheel that not only worked on the PC, it was also allowed to work on the 360 - I say allowed because Microsoft is rather particular when it comes to who is able to plug things into their console systems - and compared to the official wheel of the console it was like moving up from a broken Yugo to a free-of-charge McLaren

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Reality’ and, according to (at the time) assistant editor Joe Brown “Depending on the type of car and number of parts, anywhere from 3750 to 9375 variables influence the way the car drives… every piece of the engine that spins carries its own inertia and resists forward acceleration in proportion to its size, weight, and rotational speed.” When I first saw that comment a few years ago, I had to read it several times before it sank in - the lowly original Xbox was capable of some incredibly complex and detailed physics calculations in real time and the result was a game that was not only fun to drive but rewarded ham-fisted burnout junkies with a quick trip into the crash barrier. I don’t have exact figures at hand but I do know I spent many nights trying to perfect my game pad technique in order to get that extra tenth of a second out of whatever car I was driving. What set Forza apart from Gran Turismo, for me, was the damage modeling. I have no doubt that Gran Turismo (4) was in many ways every bit as complex as Forza, but without the damage modeling, or even the appearance of damage, I found myself returning to Forza and, eventually, staying there. It wasn’t the best damage to be

found, but ultimately it rewarded the driver with poor performance if they were unfortunate to accumulate too much of it. Often, I accumulated too much of it. Testing purposes, you see. As the years went by it was clear that Microsoft had a winner on their hands and Turn 10 Studios kept delivering the goods. Improvements to the physics, damage, tyre models, graphics and track count helped to ensure that the next iteration of the series was more than just a few new cars and new game box graphics. As a quick example, the polygon count of Forza 3 was ten times that of Forza 2, a fact that is even more impressive when you remember that both games were released for the Xbox 360. Toss in relationships with Pirelli and Toyo over the years and it’s clear that Forza is more than the casual arcade racing game. I don’t think that a console racer will take the place of our beloved PC sims any time soon, but given the improvements in the peripherals available and the ability of developers to extract every last drop of performance from the fixed hardware spec console systems, I’m looking forward to what the next ten years bring to the land of console based racing games.

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c o m m e n ta ry

F1. Literally, it transformed the racing games on that console and while it was clear that even with a properly designed and implemented wheel, the console still lacked in many areas of fidelity, it was equal in every measure in one of the most important categories - fun. Fun. Now that we’ve gotten to what many consider to be the reason to play a game or drive a racing simulator in the first place, fun, it’s easier to see why racing games for the consoles keep being made - they’re fun to play. Sure, those multiple million unit sales figures don’t hurt, but if they weren’t fun to play those sales would dry up pretty quick. And if you look a bit deeper than the surface of Forza or Gran Turismo you would find some very complex, detailed, and impressive features. Take the first Forza release, for example. Developed by Turn 10 Studios and released in May of 2005, this game featured more than 200 cars - all fully customizable - and licensed real world tracks, telemetry, damage modeling and a physics system that was impressive, to say the least. To give some insight into the complexity of the physics system, Popular Science took a hard look at it in a 2005 article ‘Race against

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geAR SIM RACER PIT STOP

PULL IN AND FILL UP WITH OUR GUIDE TO SOME OF THE LATEST KIT TO HIT THE SIM RACING WORLD. THIS MONTH WE TEST THRUSTMASTER’S BRAND NEW ENTRY-LEVEL WHEEL, THE T150, WE REVISIT THE POPULAR TX WHEEL IN A NEW BUNDLE, AND WE TEST A G-SYNC MONITOR FOR THE FIRST TIME!

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TX RACING WHEEL LEATHER EDITION IN CASE YOU MISSED our reviews of the original TX Italia wheel and pedal set from Thrustmaster, and more recently the Leather 28 GT wheel rim add-on, here’s a quick recap - the TX Italia was a good buy, using an impressive steering/ force-feedback system marred by a lacklustre set of pedals and the toy-like 458 Italia replica rim. Coupling a Leather 28 GT rim to the TX base dramatically improved the look and feel of the entire product, particularly when combined with T3PA or T3PA-PRO pedal sets. The TX base is now available to buy separately, but Thrustmaster has begun to offer new bundles for those interested

in a TX and want to jump directly to the higherquality add-ons, saving money in the process. So here we have the new TX Racing Wheel Leather Edition; a TX base, Leather 28 GT Rim and T3PA pedal set in a single box - a saving of around £60 compared to buying them all separately. But at £399.99, this is comparable to the price of a T500RS, which has superior strength and quality in both base and pedals. If your focus is PC sim racing, you’ve got a difficult decision to make, as there are pros and cons to both models. Some even favour the FFB delivery of the TX/T300’s brushless motor compared to the T500. And the TX is Thrustmaster’s only base with Xbox One support, so this bundle is an ideal starting point for those looking to dig deeper into

Forza 6 and Project CARS on console. Its most direct competition is Logitech’s G920, the Xbox One and PC-compatible version of the G29. While much criticism was aimed at Logitech’s decision to price the G29 and G920 at £299, it doesn’t look too unreasonable when compared to the TX Leather Edition. After all, the G920 also offers a leather wheel, Xbox One support and a pedal set that is by our reckoning, a better build than the T3PA. That said, the T3PA set is decent, with the included conical brake mod giving a reassuring, progressive feel. It even has one advantage over the T3PA-PROs - a stiffer clutch spring (the T3PA-PROs have the same spring for throttle and clutch as it can be inverted). What is without doubt however, is the belt-driven, brushless servo FFB system in the TX, which is a clear step above Logitech’s helical-geared system in almost every area. Combined with the greater flexibility of the T-Series ecosystem, this TX bundle is undoubtedly a superior package.

FROM:WWW.THRUSTMASTER.COM PRICE: £399.99

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PITSTOP SIM RACER

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VERTAGEAR GAMING CHAIR ENTERING THE INCREASINGLY crowded market of gaming chairs, Vertagear confidently introduced themselves in late 2015 with three models comparable in specification with popular high-end gaming chairs from the likes of DXRacer and AKRacing. We’ve tested Arozzi and Element Gaming chairs in earlier issues; both in a lower price bracket and both were impressive. So what can this bigger investment offer? An adjusting back angle for a start. The majority of lower-priced office chairs use the cost-effective design of using the armrest sections as the main structural part for connecting the seat with the back. Vertagear uses the more complicated method of sprung hinges, meaning the back can move independently from the seat, with armrests mounted separately and completely removable. This is a bonus for those looking to use the chair for racing sims (or even flight sims with side-mounted controls), as fixed armrests can sometimes be a hindrance. As usual, you’ll also want to remove the casters if you need to push a heavy brake pedal. This is one of the most race-inspired chair designs we’ve seen, which is saying something when almost every gaming chair looks like it was ripped out of a performance car. But in the case of the SL4000, they’ve really pushed the racing theme, with an exaggerated shape around the shoulders, and a sculpted seat with a central hump that keeps your legs in an optimal position. It might even be suitable as a chair for a racing rig, if the swivel section was removed. It isn’t a chair for lounging in, that’s for sure. In fact the bolstering and stiffness of the foam combined with a straight back angle promotes a very good posture. There is a drawback to this sculpted and heavilybolstered seat however - it results in an increase in height of as much as 4 cm above a normal office

2 chair design in the thigh area. Combined with the sloping legs of the base, the chair is already at a conventional height at the gas strut’s lowest setting. As such, if you’re shorter than about 5’ 8”, you may want to look at Vertagear’s SL2000 or SL5000 models, both of which have a flatter ‘seat’, otherwise your feet might not be able to rest on the floor (the design of the legs is sloped and smooth not particularly suitable as footrests). The quality of the chair was already evident during assembly process, using enormous Allen screws to secure the armrest supports and swivel section. The materials feel durable; the chair uses a high quality PVC that appears more breathable than most, and the stitching and embroidery is flawless. The firm padding results in good comfort over long gaming sessions, and it looks the part too.

FROM: WWW.OVERCLOCKERS.CO.UK PRICE: £214.99

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ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q G-SYNC MONITOR AT ITS LAUNCH last year, the ROG Swift was the very first monitor to offer a 2560x1440, 144Hz panel, with the added bonus of the much-vaunted variable-refresh technology from Nvidia, G-Sync. We’ve been eager to see how the technology fares with sim racing, so our thanks to Overclockers UK for providing a test unit. With a claimed 1ms grey-to-grey response time and 170/160 degree viewing angles, it is a TN panel, but 8-bit instead of the common 6-bit, resulting in better colour and contrast than most displays using this technology. It does however, need to be aimed directly at your face; any off-angle viewing is poor. After connecting via the single DisplayPort, and turning down the eye-melting default brightness, it was time to check out the performance. Running iRacing at 144Hz (fixed refresh), it was clear that the high-refresh rate alone was enough of step above a standard 60Hz monitor. But with a single car on track, maintaining a rock solid 144fps, a G-Sync test was pretty pointless. Keen to find out the true beauty of G-Sync for general gaming, we diverted our attention to Grand Theft Auto V, a game that mostly hung on to 60fps in the city, but dropped when venturing into the country, the vegetation really bogging-down the system. On a conventional 60Hz monitor, this is an unpleasant, juddery mess. Doing the same test on the Swift with G-Sync enabled - revelatory. Barely any visual indication of framerate drops, just a feeling of slight sluggishness in the controls. The way everything remained smooth to the eye during a performance drop was both impressive and disconcerting. It takes a while to accustomise after years of expecting to ‘see’

WHAT IS G-SYNC? A variable refresh rate solution. Solves many sim racers’ problems. V-Sync ON PROS: smooth if you can maintain framerate above refresh rate, no tearing. CONS: Creates input lag, judders if you drop below refresh rate. V-Sync OFF PROS: minimal input lag CONS: unlocked framerate can cause overheating, judder, tearing. Using a frame limiter helps overheating and judder, but not tearing. G-Sync PROS: Synchronises refresh rate with framerate, looks as smooth as V-Sync even during

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hitches and judders. Back to the simulators. We tried every possible combination at 1440p: different refresh rate modes, the effectiveness of G-Sync from 30fps up to 144fps, and ULMB mode (only available from 85Hz to 120Hz). The conclusion: The monitor is spectacular. Or rather, variable refresh technology is. There’s no reason why this couldn’t be repeated with other 144Hz, G-Sync displays, but the Swift remains one of the best amongst quite a small range of products. Standard fixed-refresh 144Hz (V-Sync ON, maintaining >144fps) on the Swift is already responsive enough. It is similar to, if not better than, most 60Hz displays with V-Sync OFF. Everything else is a bonus. G-Synced 144Hz feels even more responsive, and it can drop as far as 45fps before it starts to compare unfavourably to a standard 60Hz display. For a really demanding game, G-Sync is the mode you want to be on. Sims tend to deal with large performance fluctuations, usually at the start of a race and each time you drive past a busy pit lane due to the sudden increase in objects on screen, and G-Sync solves that problem perfectly. But if you want ultimate performance? ULMB is on a different level, delivering a motion clarity usually reserved for VR headsets. Unfortunately, the requirements are nearly impossible - you basically need to maintain a perfect 120fps at all times, and G-Sync is disabled so you’re still bound to suffer the traditional fixed refresh problems. But for those older, undemanding titles, it is

fairly sudden drops, minimal input lag, no judder, no tearing. G-Sync CONS: Expensive, Nvidia only. (AMD have an alternative, known as FreeSync)

WHAT IS ULMB? Ultra Low Motion Blur mode is available on most G-Sync monitors; a similar concept to LightBoost and the Low Persistence technique used in the Oculus DK2 and upcoming VR headsets. ULMB works by rapidly strobing the backlight, usually above 85Hz, so it appears to the eye as simply a dimmer display (some people can see the flicker

worth switching modes. As for the Swift itself, it’s a brilliant PC gaming monitor (no HDMI here, so not suitable as a console display), but not so great for desktop tasks due to the poor viewing angles. However, the 279Q should be available by the time you read this - an IPS version that should solve this particular problem. The Swift is also an ideal high-end triple-screen monitor, being the sweet spot for size and having even thinner bezels than the BenQ GW2760S’ we tested for a triple layout. The bezels are slightly deceptive; they’re not as thin as shown in some of the press images, with an additional 2mm inside the raised part of the frame, but still some of the thinnest we’ve seen. Three Swifts in native ULMB mode would demand 7680x1440 and at least 85fps - enough to bring monster PC builds to their knees, but really G-Sync mode is good enough and so much easier to manage. It means your framerate can vary as low as 45fps if native resolution and eye candy is the priority, but that can mess with your timing if you’re driving very precise hotlaps. Variable refresh is revolutionary, but nothing beats consistent, high framerates for sim racing. Luckily, the PG278Q is excellent at both.

FROM: WWW.OVERCLOCKERS.CO.UK PRICE: £599.99

at 85Hz - it works best at 120Hz). The result is a small part of each refresh cycle being seen, i.e. a shorter moment in time, avoiding the smearing effect as the pixels change state, significantly the reducing motion blur inherent in LCD technology. On the PG278Q, there is also a ‘Pulse Width’ slider, which effectively adjusts the amount of time each strobe cycle is lit. By reducing the width, the display becomes even dimmer, but the motion blur becomes even more reduced. The result is incredible motion clarity. However, it can’t be used in combination with G-Sync, so all the traditional V-Sync problems remain.

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T150 FERRARI We’ve been testing the Ferrari version of the T150, an officially licensed product currently only available in Europe, sporting red grips and the famous prancing horse in the centre. Otherwise, it is the same as the standard T150 (and the same price), with the blue grips and no horse. We were keenly anticipating this one, as the mention of a new ‘mixed belt-pulley and gears system’ immediately caught our attention. An indication, perhaps, that this could set a new benchmark for quality at this price point. Unpacking the components, we found a wellconstructed, compact wheel base and tidy 2-pedal set. Every surface is durable plastic, aside from the rubber grips on the steering wheel. The T150 base borrows its styling from its more expensive siblings, but it is considerably smaller in volume and much lighter. The wheel rim is closer to 27cm than 28, and being quite a slim profile, it doesn’t feel as substantial in the hand as Thrustmaster’s T300. The rubber grips are comfortable though, and should survive hours of frantic driving. The pedals are, unsurprisingly, the weakest part of the package. They have a decent throw and feel smooth, with the brake offering slightly more resistance than the throttle - comparable to the pedals bundled with Logitech’s Driving Force GT, for example. The threaded hard-mounts suggest the designers were expecting users to fashion their own brake mod solutions, something we’d highly recommend. The T150 wheel base is compatible with the T-Series pedal add-ons, so you can upgrade to the T3PA or even T3PA-PROs if you want something more substantial at your feet. Even the TH8A shifter is supported, but that’s where the ecosystem integration ends - the wheel rim is fixed and not replaceable. Thankfully, the design team didn’t cut costs on the paddle shifters, feeling almost identical

to those found on the luxury T-Series rim addons. So what about that all-important steering mechanism? Perhaps our expectations were set slightly too high with the promise of a belt/gear combination. There is a hint of the characteristic belt smoothing in the steering feel, but the overriding sensation is that of a gear-driven wheel attached to a typical brushed motor. This means a fair amount of ‘cogging’, a small deadzone in the feedback when you change direction, and a significant amount of noise. The motor whines in every steering situation, again, much like the Logitech Driving Force GT. The 1080 degree rotation and metal shifters are a step above Logitech’s famous wheel, but it’s the similarities of the basic T150 package with the DFGT that are unmistakable, down to the lack of hard mounts on the wheel base. Despite its shortcomings, the DFGT was often recommended as the ideal entry-level sim wheel. We were immediately reminded of its directness and simplicity when testing the T150. Now that Logitech’s wheel is no longer in production (as it lacks PS4 support), the T150 has comfortably taken up the reins as the new, best entry-level wheel for PC, PS3 and PS4.

FROM: WWW.AMAZON.CO.UK PRICE: £169.99

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VO T

E!

DRIVER

AWARDS SLIGHTLY LATER THAN PLANNED, WE’RE NOW GIVING YOU THE CHANCE TO VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE PRODUCTS. OUR EDITORIAL TEAM HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO ALL MANNER OF SIM RACING HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE OVER THE PAST YEAR AND HAS COME UP WITH A SHORTLIST OF FINALISTS IN EACH CATEGORY. ALSO INCLUDED IS A REMINDER OF THE ENTRANTS FOR THE BEST SIM AWARD. BEST SIM IRACING

BEST RANGE OF CARS IN SIM

PROJECT CARS

IRACING

ASSETTO CORSA

PROJECT CARS

RFACTOR 2

ASSETTO CORSA

STOCK CAR EXTREME

SIMRACEWAY

BEST RACING GAME RACEROOM RACING EXPERIENCE F1 2015

STOCK CAR EXTREME

BEST RANGE OF CARS IN GAME

FORZA MOTORSPORT 5

RACEROOM RACING EXPERIENCE

DRIVECLUB

DRIVECLUB

GRAN TURISMO 6

FORZA MOTORSPORT 5

BEST IN-GAME GRAPHICS PROJECT CARS

GRAN TURISMO 6

BEST PHYSICS

BEST SOUND IRACING RACEROOM RACING EXPERIENCE DRIVECLUB STOCK CAR EXTREME PROJECT CARS

EASIEST LIVERY DESIGN PROJECT CARS IRACING FORZA MOTORSPORT 5 RFACTOR 2

STEERING WHEEL MANUFACTURER THRUSTMASTER

ASSETTO CORSA

IRACING

LOGITECH

FORZA MOTORSPORT 5

RFACTOR 2

MAD CATZ

DRIVECLUB

ASSETTO CORSA

STEELSERIES

STOCK CAR EXTREME

FANATEC

SIMRACEWAY

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THE 2015 SIM RACER DRIVER AWARDS SIM RACER

DRIVE R AWARDS

PEDAL MANUFACTURER

RACING RIG - STATIC

BEST ONLINE FORUM

THRUSTMASTER

GT OMEGA

INSIDE SIM RACING

MAIN PERFORMANCE PC

OBUTTO

NO GRIP RACING

FANATEC

RSEAT

RACE DEPARTMENT

DEREK SPEARE DESIGNS

GAME POD

GT PLANET

HPP

SHIFTER MANUFACTURER

RACING RIG - MOTION

DIALS AND DASHBOARDS

ATOMIC MOTION SYSTEMS

SIM RACER HARDWARE

THRUSTMASTER

VESARO

DEREK SPEARE DESIGNS

FANATEC

SIM EXPERIENCE

SYM PROJECTS

DEREK SPEARE DESIGNS

CXC MOTION PRO

DASHMETERPRO

TSW

HEADSET MANUFACTURER THRUSTMASTER TRITTON/MADCATZ STEEL SERIES LOGITECH

TO MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT:

VISIT WWW.SIMRACER-MAG.COM! THE WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED IN JANUARY. W W W.SIMRACER-MAG.COM

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AWARDS ENTREE SPOTLIGHT BEST SIMS iRacing PRODUCED BY

LAUNCHED

simulation products available, and will no doubt be a benchmark for years to come.

iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations August 2008

INFO iRacing has been the staple of the simulation racing community for years, offering a huge range of tracks and cars, doing so with a fine attention to detail in regards to driving physics and vehicle and track accuracy. iRacing is one of the most established racing

THE GREAT Large range of tracks and cars The most active online community Industry-leading aerodynamics and laser scan technology THE NOT SO GREAT A large amount of additional content to purchase Intimidating for new drivers Significant time investment needed to enjoy the service

Project CARS PRODUCED BY

LAUNCHED

Slightly Mad Studios Bandai Namco May 2015 (Full Release)

INFO Project CARS has been long anticipated by sim racers, with the hopes of combining jaw dropping graphics with realistic physics. With the full release of the game now available, sim racers and enthusiasts around the world have been eager to discover if Slightly Mad Studios have delivered. Check back to our full review from Issue #6 THE GREAT Jaw-dropping graphics Easy to pick up and play regardless of your experience Intense single player experience with a unique career mode THE NOT SO GREAT Early teething problems, particularly on console Will need a powerful PC to run smoothly Confusing presentation at times

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THE 2015 SIM RACER DRIVER AWARDS SIM RACER

Assetto Corsa PRODUCED BY LAUNCHED

Kunos Simulazioni November 8th 2013

INFO Assetto Corsa is probably Project CARSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; closest competition in the simulation racing world. Boasting an exciting range of cars, stunning graphics and realistic but approachable handling, you can definitely see why it has been such a success since its PC release in 2013. Coming to console in 2016, will it prove to be a big hit on other platforms? THE GREAT Stunning Graphics Excellent range of vehicle dynamics Becoming embraced by the modding community THE NOT SO GREAT Limited track selection Poor single player career Lacking a complete set of online features

rFactor2 PRODUCED BY

LAUNCHED

Image Space Incorporated 2013

INFO rFactor 2 builds on the highly successful rFactor, taking all the development knowledge and features to the next level. rFactorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s success was largely down to its modding potential and advanced physics. rFactor 2 has improved the physics further, particularly in terms of tyre and surface simulation, but the ease of modding has suffered as a result. THE GREAT The most complete simulation of tyre, surface and environment dynamics Good AI for single player racing Established community

THE NOT SO GREAT Limited amount of in-house content Difficult for simulation newcomers Struggles to compete graphically

Stock Car Extreme PRODUCED BY

Reiza Studios

LAUNCHED

11th Feb 2015

INFO Stock Car Extreme is one of the most highly-regarded racing simulators for the PC. A unique title with a Brazilian focus, the sim takes the aging isiMotor2 (rFactor 1 engine) to new heights, with every vehicle and track created with a loving attention to detail. THE GREAT Remarkable vehicle simulation despite the old engine Well-supported with free DLC Offers good value and a very polished product THE NOT SO GREAT Multiplayer is poorly populated Outdated interface and visuals Requires some tinkering to get the most from it

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LATEST ISSUE OUT NOW!

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RACEROOM RACING SLIGHTLYMADSTUDIOS AND MUCHMORE!

NEXT ISSUE LAUNCHES JANUARY 7TH BE PART OF SOMETHING SPECIAL - ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY! 074

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Sim Racer Volume 1 Issue 8  
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