iRacing vs Assetto Corsa *Next up: Porsche GT3 Cup*PC 

  • Thread starter Punknoodle
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Punknoodle_Nick
Recently I was asked by a fellow member here to describe the differences between iRacing and Assetto Corsa in terms of the actual driving feel, ignoring the online multiplayer component which iRacing is well known for, and ignoring the modability that Assetto Corsa is well known for.

Just a bit of background before I get in to it; I’m not starting this conversation to start some kind of debate on which is better. I am a big fan of both iRacing and Assetto Corsa, and regard them both as being two of the best commercially available racing simulations on the market today. This conversation is more to try and describe the differences between the two when you strip it right back to simply sitting in a cockpit of a race car and driving alone on a circuit. I think this is something that quite a few members in the community are curious about.


Let’s start with something you are going to need to do with both simulations, which is setting it up for your own preferences. Both have excellent triple screen support, although I think Assetto Corsa's is more user friendly to set up, both have excellent peripheral support and the ability to run things like external dashes and telemetry easily. With iRacing though, you have the ability to map things like the joystick axis on your wheel (if you have it) to look around and there are many more mappings available. It also has a function to be able to map functions per car – brilliant for those like me who have both a sequential shifter and multiple wheel rims. When I drive the GT3 car for instance, I run the Formula Rim and use paddles, and I don’t have to remember to change it if I was just using the MX-5 for example, where I would be running the larger wheel rim and using the shifter.

For the actual driving comparisons, I decided to use Imola, as both iRacing and Assetto Corsa have and excellent laser scanned version of it, and the MX5 Cup car for the same reason. Ambient temp is 26 degrees C in both cases, traction control is off (standard in iRacing, forced in Assetto Corsa). Car set up is completely standard in both cases. I could goose around with the set ups to try and see if they are the same, but normally I drive the standard setup so I figure this will be good enough.

I’m running ACTI for Assetto Corsa and Mu for iRacing for the telemetry data, which both export to the Motec i2 telemetry software format. From here I can simply pull up both log files and compare them directly.

I drive with a Fanatec Clubsport v2 wheel and for the MX-5 I’ll be using the BMW GT2 rim. I use Fanatec Clubsport v2 pedals with a modified brake, and in the MX-5 I shift with a DSD Pro Sequential shifter, using the Heel and Toe braking technique.

iRacing does punish miss-shifts by putting the car in neutral until you re engage the clutch and select the gear again. This is something Assetto Corsa does not do, in fact you don’t actually need to lift or use the clutch at all it seems.

This was a fresh test, I just ran a few laps and selected the best lap from each session. As you can see I’m no alien, but when not pushing for the last tenth I can usually put in some pretty consistent times.

I made these two videos by copying the replay data over to my laptop to avoid changing the display properties on my rig PC to single screen. Sorry that the iRacing one came out a little weird...

AC laptime: 2:11.351

iRacing laptime: 2:10.069

Imola%20MX5%20Comparison_zpsjwbkj7hf.jpg


The car feels a little bit looser in Assetto Corsa, it feels as though you have to perform more corrections. The car just generally feels more stable in iRacing. I don’t know if this is down to the tire/physics models or down to the individual setup from both. Really, to get a fairly similar laptime from both and have the telemetry showing similar traces, I think it shows that both do a really good job of the simulation. It feels a little more involving to be driving the car in Assetto Corsa, like you have to try harder to carry more speed through the corner (telemetry shows that's where I'm slower in AC). I think with more laps the gap would decrease between the two. That's not to say iRacing isn't involving, not at all, in fact it pretty much just as good, it's just that you need to work a bit more in Assetto Corsa in this car, anyway. It still takes the same amount of skill to drive in both, to maximise corner entry and exit and so on.

I’m impressed by the sound of the MX-5 in both titles. The interior is a little different in each, interestingly enough. In iRacing the car has no pit lane speed limiter, whereas in Assetto Corsa every car has a pit lane speed limiter. In iRacing, when in a car such as the Z4 GT3, when you engage the pit lane speed limit you can hear the pops and bangs from the engine as the timing is being retarded to control the speed, and it sounds brilliant. However in Assetto Corsa, as you run over kerbs you get to hear little things in the cockpit like the belt buckles clang around. Both are incredibly immersive in different ways.

The circuit looks great in both versions, but I feel like the Assetto Corsa version feels more natural.

Assetto%20Corsa%20View_zpsue5gaomn.jpg


One thing iRacing does that I really like, is that the pit lane speed is left up to you. There are still speed limits, but it’s your responsibility to obey them or risk a penalty. In certain cars, it’s just a matter of engaging the pit lane speed limiter but in others you have to control the speed yourself. It’s a personal preference, but I think it just adds to the immersion and authenticity. I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t just pull over at the end of a race and quit, I like to do the in lap and bring the car back in to pits, so engaging the speed limit and seeing the lights flash on the dash is just very rewarding.

Pit%20Lane%20Speed%20Limit_zps5s0mzskq.jpg


I'll post a couple more comparisons of different cars over time, perhaps when iRacing gets the Porsche Cup car. That would be quite interesting I think, especially surrounding the hype of the Porsche release for both titles.
 
3,208
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Punknoodle_Nick
It's taken me a while to finally get around to doing this comparison between the iRacing and Assetto Corsa versions of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. This is a great car. Really nice to drive. It's nimble but also feels planted and stable.

Like the previous test with the MX-5, I'm keeping things neutral in terms of setup, with no changes made to the base setup. I'm also running factory settings, which, in the Assetto Corsa car means there is ABS assistance, and in the iRacing car there is none.

My test circuit again is Imola.

Here is my Assetto Corsa session. My best laptime in this session was on the third lap, and was a 1.49.458.

Now for my iRacing session. Again, best lap was on lap 3, and was a 1.48.642.

Imola%20Porsche%20Telem_zpsv9s99xoz.jpg


One of the glaringly obvious differences between the two was the braking. In the iRacing car it was quite easy to lock the rear brakes and it required a good deal of modulation to get to the stage where you feel confident under brakes. I actually prefer this, it makes the car feel more lively and involving. In the Assetto version it's just a simple matter of mashing the brake, but in terms of braking performance, the brake markers I was using were much the same.

I did find that the Assetto Corsa car had better turn in, it would point to the apex a bit easier than the iRacing car, where it suffered slight initial turn in understeer. Both cars feel great through the mid corner and exit, with the iRacing car exhibiting a hint more oversteer. What I like a lot more in iRacing though is the bump handling of the car. It seems that in AC, when you try to hop a kerb it just really unsettles the car. In iRacing, it hops up on two wheels and you can maintain control.

Interestingly, in Assetto Corsa the car behaves like a proper manual for initial motivation. If you release the clutch in first gear, it wants to stall. In iRacing, you can select first gear with no clutch and it will sit there with no problem at all without stalling. To move off, you just accelerate. I'm not sure what system the actual Cup car has in place for initial launch control.

As for sound, I think both titles sound excellent, however, I think the iRacing car has a few more details, like when selecting gear for instance, you can hear the hydraulics operating. When trundling down pitlane (again, needing to manually control the pit lane speed limiter here is a big plus for iRacing) the car has more burbles and backfires, which is exactly what the car should be doing when it's on a low RPM limit like that with the throttle open.
 
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jpfctf
jpfctf
Thank you for this. It's something I've been interested in (out of curiosity) and you've just created the perfect comparison that I've been looking forward to see.

While it is true that "the more, the better", I'm happy to discover that we, console players, are very well served with AC and that, personally, I'm not left itching for a console version of iRacing.
 
5,161
United States
Massachusetts
Very nice Punknoodle! It's great to see comparisons to other sims without it being about a contest...just the driver's (you) opinion of how the car feels between the two. I found the statement about AC's car feeling looser than the iRacing car while using stock setups. A common complaint I hear about AC is that cars are setup to understeer way too much. Speaking of setups...how did you find the suspension in each of the cars? Did you find the stock setups to be too firm for Imola? Too soft? How about braking? Is one car easier to be consistent with the brake pedal?

Awesome job! 👍
 
3,208
Australia
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Punknoodle_Nick
Very nice Punknoodle! It's great to see comparisons to other sims without it being about a contest...just the driver's (you) opinion of how the car feels between the two. I found the statement about AC's car feeling looser than the iRacing car while using stock setups. A common complaint I hear about AC is that cars are setup to understeer way too much. Speaking of setups...how did you find the suspension in each of the cars? Did you find the stock setups to be too firm for Imola? Too soft? How about braking? Is one car easier to be consistent with the brake pedal?

Awesome job! 👍
To be honest, I don't know how to tell if I need to go one way or the other with suspension in the sim. That's why I don't tune. I found the iRacing car better able to hop the kerb in the chicane without getting too unsettled on the exit (although I find kerb hopping itself to be much more comfortable in iRacing). Other than that, they both handled well, changed direction as I'd expect and had good balance. As for braking, the Assetto Corsa car did seem to pull up quicker but I can't say that either had problems with stability under braking, in fact it was quite fun braking the car on the slide coming in to Acque Minerali in both sims.

Sorry I can't give more detailed feedback on the actual setups, I generally stick to the standard setup and potentially just change the brake bias and MAYBE the tire pressures but I don't even know what way to go with them either!
 
5,161
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To be honest, I don't know how to tell if I need to go one way or the other with suspension in the sim. That's why I don't tune. I found the iRacing car better able to hop the kerb in the chicane without getting too unsettled on the exit (although I find kerb hopping itself to be much more comfortable in iRacing). Other than that, they both handled well, changed direction as I'd expect and had good balance. As for braking, the Assetto Corsa car did seem to pull up quicker but I can't say that either had problems with stability under braking, in fact it was quite fun braking the car on the slide coming in to Acque Minerali in both sims.

Sorry I can't give more detailed feedback on the actual setups, I generally stick to the standard setup and potentially just change the brake bias and MAYBE the tire pressures but I don't even know what way to go with them either!
:lol: :lol: :lol: I can't tune worth a damn either which is why I asked that question...It looks like we're in the same boat in that department :D I'm awful - besides some alignment changes, tire pressures, brake bias I generally run stock setups. Occasionally, if I'm feeling saucy, I'll put 1 click or remove 1 click on the front or rear dampers. But that's only when I'm feeling bold and powerful! :lol: I was running the E30 Group A for quite a while this morning at Vallelunga Classic and I tried some tunes on the AC market. There were a couple that I liked, but there was one in particular that I really enjoyed. Never in a million years would I have thought of making those changes...Oh, I'm awful.

Overall...if someone put a gun to your head and said "Choose!", which sim would you say you personally felt the road better in - lest anyone think this is an indictment of any sort, the car, tires, setup will play a huge factor...as well as subjective feeling. Did you feel equally connected throughout the lap? Do you think you felt the road better in one sim while travelling straight, slow/fast? But did the other sim feel better while cornering and throwing some lateral G forces at you?

I realize these may be questions you weren't considering at the time, so if you'd rather not answer...that's cool. I just love hearing about & learning about each sim as much as I can. 👍
 
1,522
RaceManiacGT1
Hmm, I thought AC does have some kind of shifting punishment. The gear won't change if I am not using clutch in cars with a 3 pedal design, and you can have a bad shift that incur some kind of gearbox damage.
 
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FredzyN2
Nice write-up. Looking forward to more comparisons 👍

I feel you regarding tuning! I used to piddle with that stuff all day back in GT1 through 4 days. Do 2-3 laps, make incremental change, do 3 more to see what it does. Ha! Memories of a bygone era.

I have some thoughts on going from GT5 to iRacing a few years back, and how that compares to going from GT6 to AC recently. The TL;DR is that GT5 to iRacing was not a good experience and GT6 to AC was too good. GT feels very sterile to me now. GT felt a bit sterile compared to iRacing as well, but I simply couldn't get comfortable with iRacing and so preferred GT to it. I never thought once about going back to iRacing. Meanwhile I'm worried that AC spoiled me to where I won't be able to enjoy GT Sport (if it ever comes :lol:)

Cars in AC are a handful but driving seems to be the most natural and rewarding. I don't encounter surprise loss of control so often like I did in iRacing. There are four years between those experiences, surely a lot changed between me and the iRacing code in that time so I can't say this is apples to apples. Indeed, your observations conflict with my expectations based on my experience. Maybe... I've become a better driver!?!
 

LeGeNd-1

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GTP_LeGeNd-1
iRacing still has its roots in NR2003, so no surprise that AC physics feels a lot richer to drive. I'm surprised how close the laptimes are though. Well done to the iRacing folks for stretching that physics engine to this day 👍 If it gets the job done, then why change and risk ruining everything?

Unfortunately for me iRacing is just way to expensive and not suited to my kind of play style, so it's good to know that AC is (slightly) ahead in terms of driving at least ;)
 
I have a lot of trouble with missed gear changes in AC so I do not recognize this at all.
But it kind of breaks the immersion when all you need to do is engage the clutch for the gear to go in when hearing the grinding gear sound.
Would be so cool if there was a gear shifter that would behave like a real gearbox, ie you cant get the shifter into next gear physically if not handled correctly.
 
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1,334
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voofx
I have a lot of trouble with missed gear changes in AC so I do not recognize this at all.
But it kind of breaks the immersion when all you need to do is engage the clutch for the gear to go in when hearing the grinding gear sound.
Would be so cool if there was a gear shifter that would behave like a real gearbox, ie you cant get the shifter into next gear physically if not handled correctly.

The Porsche Cayman GT4 is brutal for me on this. 3rd gear drags me into understeer and wont slot nicely into 2nd to get the engine braking to hold me back at the same time while braking.

This car doesn't give me any confidence in downshifts.
 
1,591
United States
Under the Hood
As a veteran AC user I can eco most of what @Punknoodle says. I recently got into iRacing since the online activity of AC is abysmal at best and here are my impressions:

Graphics:
As a VR user it is imperative that I get butter smooth gameplay with maximum detail. Both games are great and while AC has prettier graphics, iRacing does have smoother gameplay and seems better optimized for VR. Another thing I noticed in iRacing that I wish AC had was fully functional mirrors! They aren't just static cameras that point to somewhere vaguely behind you. You have to move your head to see different things behind you just like a real car, and they're adjustable! This is a big plus for iRacing if you're a VR user.

Feel:
Physics are eerily similar but there are one or two differences. iRacing is a LOT more picky about your shifting. In AC I can flatshift almost any car and never miss a gear. With iRacing it seems like you have to have the clutch completely depressed before even taking it out of gear. This was the most annoying thing to get acclimated to. Other than that I noticed that in iRacing when trying to use every inch of the track it isn't uncommon to go offroading a bit. AC taught me to avoid that at all costs. Coming out of a hard, high speed turn and catch the grass even a little with your tire and off you go. In iRacing it is much more forgiving. Overall for me at least, AC is a lot more satisfying to drive.

Both are great and if you like AC you will most definitely like iRacing as well.
 
@Harry6784 I have not played iRacing since AC 1.7 was released. And have only played the Mazda mx5 car, but to me iRacing felt more like gt6 than AC because AC did not turn in properly before the 1.7 patch making them at the time two very different games handling wise.

Like the Punknoodle stated AC feels more on the edge/limit, maybe hectic is a better word to use but Iracing with the mazda felt stable and like everything happened slower, ie giving you more time to react. Hm how should I compare it better in other words, Iracing with the Mazda felt like an older style sportbike, like a Tl1000r, Rc51 or older Ninja. Ie stable even when going fast but not that flick able and direct as modern supersports/superbikes.

Every time I race in AC I miss shift and it does not fix itself, Ok maybe if I am not on the throttle or above some rpms then maybe, I have to test it for sure. But I pretty much must have the pedal pressed all the way if I want a clean shift.
Maybe it is something with our gear that makes it different for us who knows.

For me personally Iracing was the easier one to race it, because it felt like a better version of gt6 for me.
Ps, I do not dislike Iracing or Gt6 or anything and do not want to make it a game vs game thread but to me, AC is hell with gearshifts :P
 
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3,208
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Punknoodle_Nick
As a veteran AC user I can eco most of what @Punknoodle says. I recently got into iRacing since the online activity of AC is abysmal at best and here are my impressions:

Graphics:
As a VR user it is imperative that I get butter smooth gameplay with maximum detail. Both games are great and while AC has prettier graphics, iRacing does have smoother gameplay and seems better optimized for VR. Another thing I noticed in iRacing that I wish AC had was fully functional mirrors! They aren't just static cameras that point to somewhere vaguely behind you. You have to move your head to see different things behind you just like a real car, and they're adjustable! This is a big plus for iRacing if you're a VR user.

Feel:
Physics are eerily similar but there are one or two differences. iRacing is a LOT more picky about your shifting. In AC I can flatshift almost any car and never miss a gear. With iRacing it seems like you have to have the clutch completely depressed before even taking it out of gear. This was the most annoying thing to get acclimated to. Other than that I noticed that in iRacing when trying to use every inch of the track it isn't uncommon to go offroading a bit. AC taught me to avoid that at all costs. Coming out of a hard, high speed turn and catch the grass even a little with your tire and off you go. In iRacing it is much more forgiving. Overall for me at least, AC is a lot more satisfying to drive.

Both are great and if you like AC you will most definitely like iRacing as well.
Some tracks have much closer limits to what they deem as off track too, in iRacing. Spa in particular has a few places where if you go out wide it'll give you a penalty. I've been on a really good lap a few times where it's recorded an off track point and I've been left frustrated and seriously wondering where the hell it could have been. I think it can be a little over sensitive at Spa.
 
1,591
United States
Under the Hood
Some tracks have much closer limits to what they deem as off track too, in iRacing. Spa in particular has a few places where if you go out wide it'll give you a penalty. I've been on a really good lap a few times where it's recorded an off track point and I've been left frustrated and seriously wondering where the hell it could have been. I think it can be a little over sensitive at Spa.

First place I've noticed this is at the Mazda Cup race at Laguna Seca. I had no idea how people were running low 1:38's until I followed one on track. They went almost completely off the track on the hill coming up to the corkscrew and coming down. Apparently that doesn't register as a penalty. I haven't run at Spa yet.
 
5,161
United States
Massachusetts
97% of my iRacing knowledge came from Empty Box vids. In fact, it was watching his videos that gave me the final push to abandon GT6 and look for something a bit more advanced in the areas I was concerned with. Fortunately, I'm getting a lot more iRacing information from you guys and I really appreciate it. Knowledge is power.

I've heard people talk about the mirrors before - hopefully Kunos will be able to implement something realistic in the future, especially with VR bound to blow up in popularity. Oddly, since I've been playing AC I have actually watched fewer and fewer Empty Box videos, so I definitely haven't been kept up to speed.

I know they built LeMans, which is super cool considering they have the vehicles for it. Strangely, I didn't know that iRacing was fully supporting VR yet. Perhaps I should have assumed they were.
 

LeGeNd-1

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GTP_LeGeNd-1
AC doesn't have working mirrors? That's news to me. Even rFactor has it. Just shows you how many times I've played AC with other cars around me (hint:zero :lol:)
 
5,161
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Massachusetts
AC doesn't have working mirrors? That's news to me. Even rFactor has it. Just shows you how many times I've played AC with other cars around me (hint:zero :lol:)
It has mirrors, but they're not adjustable...so they're really just like having a camera pointing backwards.
 

LeGeNd-1

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GTP_LeGeNd-1
It has mirrors, but they're not adjustable...so they're really just like having a camera pointing backwards.

But it does show cars behind you right? I didn't even know you can adjust the mirrors in iRacing, that's mighty impressive if so!
 
5,161
United States
Massachusetts
But it does show cars behind you right? I didn't even know you can adjust the mirrors in iRacing, that's mighty impressive if so!
yes. They show whats behind you. But, if you put something directly 3 inches from the mirror you wouldn't see that reflection, like a true mirror. That's why they're more like cameras mounted to show what's behind you. You see cars moving around and will even see smoke (if you've enabled it).
 
12,019
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Indianapolis
BrandonW77
yes. They show whats behind you. But, if you put something directly 3 inches from the mirror you wouldn't see that reflection, like a true mirror. That's why they're more like cameras mounted to show what's behind you. You see cars moving around and will even see smoke (if you've enabled it).

Yeah, I believe it's basically like a rear view camera mounted above your rear license plate that sends an image to monitors mounted in your wing mirrors.
 
525
United States
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Wow this is amazing work! You are truly hardcore sim racer :). If you have Project Car, would you like to drive the same car on the same track. I bet the lap time there will be the fastest. I personally notice some consistent gap there. AC car seems harder to control. Once the tire is going just a bit beyond the limit, everything breaks loose and hard to correct compared to other games. I also agree with the cars in AC being "loose".
 
5,161
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Thanks for doing these reviews Punknoodle. 👍 For some reason, I was expecting the Assetto Corsa Porsche to be "more natural" to drive. Kunos really did a fantastic job with that car. Internally they need to make a few corrections, if they want to really mimic the Cup Car cockpit. I thought pankykapus was going to activate the internal dash lights for pit speed indicator and tire lockup indicators. Maybe I misunderstood or maybe they already have fixed it and I just didn't notice. :lol:

I wonder if there is any reason why you've been quicker in both sets of cars on the iRacing tracks.
 
3,208
Australia
Brisbane
Punknoodle_Nick
Thanks for doing these reviews Punknoodle. 👍 For some reason, I was expecting the Assetto Corsa Porsche to be "more natural" to drive. Kunos really did a fantastic job with that car. Internally they need to make a few corrections, if they want to really mimic the Cup Car cockpit. I thought pankykapus was going to activate the internal dash lights for pit speed indicator and tire lockup indicators. Maybe I misunderstood or maybe they already have fixed it and I just didn't notice. :lol:

I wonder if there is any reason why you've been quicker in both sets of cars on the iRacing tracks.
I think that generally most people who use both find that iRacing is quicker. I just find that I'm more consistent and able to push that little bit harder in iRacing.
 
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