Project CARS was the highly anticipated racing simulation game set to take the race to Gran Turismo and Forza in late 2014, but after several delays the game was finally released to decent reviews in May of 2015. To most fans like myself, there was just something missing. The inclusion of IndyCar was the thing that was missing.
The March 1st DLC release of the U.S. Race Car pack unleashed the 2014 Dallara DW12 on the gaming community. Xbox One and PC gamers, have had the opportunity to race IndyCar’s premiere chassis for several years, whether it be Forza for Xbox, or iRacing and SimRaceWay for PC, but until now, there just hasn’t been an opportunity for gamers on Playstation 4. Which in my opinion just isn’t acceptable! I grew up on games like “IndyCar Series” published by CodeMasters in 2003. Unfortunately it was one of the last IndyCar dedicated games to come out for popular video game consoles like PlayStation or Xbox. From that point going forward, it was usually just the occasional racing game or sim that included a one-off IndyCar to drive. Project CARS was supposed to change that.
Photo from ProjectCarsGame.com
I was extremely excited for this opportunity and closely followed the development of Project CARS starting back in May of 2014 when WMD (World of Mass Development) announced the inclusion of IndyCar and the Indy 500 would be included in the Project CARS game. Unfortunately the game had several delays and was pushed back to a May of 2015 release date and IndyCar was dropped from the initial launch edition. Well I liked what I saw up until that point, so I went ahead and purchased the game, and aside from some of the typical launch bugs that has recently plagued all the big game launches, I was impressed.
Below are some very reputable initial reviews from when Project CARS was released… and they were all very praising. Several of those reviews stated that Project CARS is a great racing simulator that the hardcore racing fans will appreciate.
“Project CARS isn’t for everybody. It’s a serious, deep, and demanding racing simulation for people who like their motorsport pure.” Their summary: “Deep and demanding but incredibly user-friendly, Project Cars looks great, sounds fantastic, and feels even better. The action is ferocious and tactical, the weather effects are awesome, and it’s brimming with content to explore. This is real racing done right.”
“When everything works and with the right control configuration, Project CARS is the strongest sim-style racer on console platforms, and the best all-rounder on PC. Less serious racers may find the career a bit of a slog, but if you prioritize quick thrills over authenticity and challenging racing, then Project CARS is not the game for you.”
“Project CARS is, then, a serious game for serious racers. It’s not inaccessible as such; on moderate difficulty settings, the career mode must be one of the most appealing and engaging interpretations of real-world motorsport video games have ever produced. But it is a game that doesn’t come to you. You need to go to it: finding precisely the right settings for your taste and skill level, discovering its more out-of-the way content and features for yourself, learning to appreciate its community’s love of a tight line and a fair fight.”
I’ve enjoyed the game for nearly nine months post release and would highly recommend purchasing the game, whether you have a Playstation 4, Xbox One, or PC. It is a great racing simulator that has great physics and even better graphics. The one thing I’ve been waiting for was the inclusion of IndyCar, and knew it would eventually show up based on the developer’s comments, but I had no idea how limited it would be implemented. Ovals, scrapped; the developers couldn’t get the AI to work on them. Official liveries that were promised, scrapped, at least for now… no explanation on that one yet. Official Chevy and Honda aero kits, also scrapped, same reasoning as the official liveries. Even with all of the disappointments, I was thrilled when the single Dallara DW12 chassis was announced as DLC, with 25 fictional liveries (slideshow below).
No. 1 - 100TH INDY500 - DALLARA
No. 2 - TAG HEUER - DALLARA
No. 3 - ZIPANOL RACING TEAM - DALLARA
No. 4 - ZIPANOL RACING TEAM - DALLARA
No. 5 - PAIS MOTORSPORTS - DALLARA
No. 6 - TEAM BELL - DALLARA
No. 7 - BROOKS AUTOMOTIVE - DALLARA
No. 8 - HALLBOT RACING SHOCKS - DALLARA
No. 9 - TEAM SOLTSEEM - DALLARA
No. 10 - TEAM SOLTSEEM - DALLARA
No. 11 - AOTECH RACING GROUP - DALLARA
No. 12 - TEAM REXXOTT MOTORSPORTS - DALLARA
No. 15 - OPTIMALIN RACING - DALLARA
No. 16 - OPTIMALIN RACING - DALLARA
No. 20 - CURTIS CAMS - DALLARA
No. 24 - EL PERRO ENCENDIDO - DALLARA
No. 25 - TEAM RAPA OLIO - DALLARA
No. 27 - SPORDDREKA EXHAUST SYSTEMS - DALLARA
No. 28 - SPORDDREKA EXHAUST SYSTEMS - DALLARA
No. 60 - NEXTRAKO RACING OIL - DALLARA
No. 64 - HUNTCLUB TEAM - DALLARA
No. 66 - BEEZART RACING - DALLARA
No. 78 - TEAM GERSTEN FELDER - DALLARA
No. 88 - REXERGIE POWER - DALLARA
No. 90 - REMCO MOTORSPORTS - DALLARA
Casey Ringley, the vehicle lead for the Project CARS team always releases a forum post explaining how the physics of newly released cars were developed. This post is a great, in-depth read of how they developed the DW12 for the game. The Project CARS team actually worked with the Schmidt Peterson team along with there engineering staff and even James Hinchcliffe to make the final adjustments. Casey claims that their model is within 2% for drag, downforce, and the overall aero balance compared to the real car… or at least the raw data that Schmidt Peterson provided. The player driving the DW12 has the same adjustments as the real car, allowing for setups as stiff or as soft as the real thing, with the stock setup is somewhere in the middle to start off with. What I was impressed with was how the Project Cars team developed the signature Red and Black Firestone tires and the different characteristics that they each bring to the track. Setup is key on this car, just like in real life!
Finally, I’d like to reiterate how much I’ve enjoyed playing Project CARS, and the addition of the Dallara DW12 has just made a great game better. I’d highly recommend picking up a copy of the game if you haven’t already. At the end of this post I’ve embedded video of me driving the new DW12. As you can see, the visuals are fantastic in this game, the sound is great, and it can get as realistic as you want, and until Project CARS 2 comes out; or a dedicated Verizon IndyCar Series game, this may be the best us video game/IndyCar lovers will get.
Platform: PlayStation 4
Racing Seat: Playseat Evolution
Steering Wheel and Pedals: Thrustmaster T300rs
Television: LG 65″ 4k Ultra HD
Camera: GoPro Hero 4; Helmet Mounted