With the conclusion of the first www.IFCAracing.com Spec racing season for 2010 (Season 8), –one of the most popular and competitive simulation racing events in the Forza universe, it’s time to reflect and compare notes. IFCA Spec racing if you don’t know is a limited tuning 25 lap format with identical cars in an 8 week season. Originally designed to be exactly like the famed American, “SCCA Spec Miata” series, the idea was to stick to limited upgrade production based cars, so that driving rather than tuning would be the dominant influence. In the real series it was more a matter of keeping costs down so more people could compete.
Because of the XBL friends-list limitation of 100, only 100 drivers are allowed to sign-up for this or any IFCA event. Even so, many of the best Forza drivers in the world make it a point to join this popular event. Of the 100 competitors, there are about 25 seriously fast drivers, and out of that 25 at least half are ranked in the top 50 in the world. Only 8 cars can compete in a single Forza3 room, and this means that qualifying into the top 3 rooms where the most points can be snatched can be very hard to do. To get in the #1 room of 8 will demand that you be one of the very best drivers in all of Forza.
In its history IFCA Spec racing has seen many top 10 drivers make an appearance. Not all were successful, but it gives you an idea of the strength of the competition this series brings. If you ever want to really test your Forza skills, against the best, this is a must-race event for you.
An interesting observation has surfaced with this first season of racing in 2010 using the new Forza3 version of the game. The top drivers are as a group, much closer to the driving performance limits of the game these days. It is surmised that because FM3 is somewhat easier to drive than past versions, that driving at the limit can be reached by more people for longer periods of racing. In effect, the supreme skill of the best drivers is now equal to or better than what the game can challenge them with.
This new anomaly means that the best racers are not so much trying to compete with one another, as they are with the game itself. This lack of depth on the part of Forza3 places the focus not on beating your competitors, but more on beating the game. If you can run the entire 25 lap race at or near the theoretical limit of the physics of the game, you automatically win in other words. If all 8 drivers are capable of reaching this same physical limit, than odds are that the pole sitters or lead drivers have little to fear from anyone behind them. With this physical limitation of FM3’s shallow simulation, the drivers at the back ultimately can not go any faster than the drivers at the front, which means that no matter how hard they drive they will only be matching the same pace of the leaders. What actually accounts for this? A lack of physics variables combined with a softening or “dumbing down” of the simulation most likely.
Without more diverse in-depth real-world variables added to the simulation such as track condition, brake fade, greater tire degradation, weather conditions, etc., all the best drivers are going to eventually reach the same artificial limits of the game, at which point no further gains can be realistically had. With fewer variables and easier physics, the best drivers will easily sniff out and exploit the games performance weaknesses and limits.
In real racing there are so many variables that there is rarely ever a time when a driver feels he has reached the true limit of man/track/machine, all he really knows is that he was fast enough to win on that given day. Not that he was necessarily the fastest understand, but that he was, “fast enough” that day. He could come back next week with the same car and setup, and discover he needs to make some major adjustments to have a chance at matching his previous winning performance. He can’t simply assume he will be able to run the same nearly perfect lap times week in and week out.
For the vast majority of us, this issue is a non-issue however. We simply don’t have the skill to approach the in-game limits like the elite Forza drivers do, but, does this finding portray the kind of sophistication we prefer in a serious racing simulation? I think not. I think even average drivers would like to know there is something more to the game, and that sometimes, when the planets are all aligned just right, even they have an equal chance to win too. That sometimes being the fastest driver isn’t always enough, and occasionally the elite must struggle through things that take them off their game as well.
In recent sim-racing forums around the Net, some debate and talk has been bouncing around as to what may happen when many of the Forza elite cross over to Gran Turismo this Fall? Though it is generally accepted that the established Forza clubs, and Forza pool of drivers, is a far larger and therefore highly skilled group, the counter argument from the GT5 camp is, “skilled at what?” They make the case that of all the games that make any claims of being a simulator racer, FM3 is the weakest and most infantile of all.
Although no one knows for sure at this point, it would appear that GT5 is going to be on a higher level with broader simulation variables requiring greater study to master. Will this be enough depth to slow the hordes of elite Forza drivers from dominating the ranks of GT5 drivers? Probably only a little, but don’t think for a minute the top Gran Turismo drivers are going to be pushover’s, they love their game as much or more than the fans of Forza love theirs.
Congratulations to the new IFCA Spec Racing Champion TRC Greekman, and the rest of the top 10 finishers.
- 1. #41 TRC Greekman
- 2. #29 TRC LoCoArMeN
- 3. #1 TRC Smokinu
- 4. #501 GLR BRIZZO
- 5. #44 TRC Viking
- 6. #7 Chilledheat
- 7. #4 AAR GTDon
- 8. #680 GLR MtLife
- 9. #820 GLR WingNut820
- 10. #428 GLR1FastRedneck
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