Getting started in the world of sim racing can be a daunting task with a whole host of jargon, unspoken rules and just general complexity to the setup of your chosen sim. Here at The Coach Dave Academy, we want to ensure that anyone who wants to start sim racing can jump in and have fun no matter their experience or skill level. So much so that we have decided to put together the beginner’s guide to Assetto Corsa Competizione.
The guide has been broken down into six different steps so if you already have a head start skip to the section you need help with. Additionally, throughout the guide there will be a number of other articles linked within that will go into more detail on particular topics.
1. Before You Begin
Before you go to steam and buy the first edition you see of ACC there are a few details that need to be understood. The main point of interest before purchasing is that ACC comes with several different Downloadable Content (DLC) packs that add a host of new cars and tracks to the game. Without some of these packs, there are pieces of content you will not be able to experience within the sim.
The majority of the content within ACC will focus on the SRO licenced series. If you are familiar with the real-life series then many of the tracks and cars will be familiar to you.
Currently, ACC host a range of the SRO series including the GT World Challenge Europe (formerly Blancpain Sprint & Endurance series) 2018, 2019 2020 season, the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge and a number of tracks from the UK and American GT series.
Not just that, ACC also includes a number of different GT with both GT3 and GT4 cars being present in the sim! If you are still looking for something different, feeder series cars have been added, including Porsche Cup, Super Trofeo and 488 Challenge cars.
Below is a handy guide that outlines all available DLCs with all their content and prices. Our Recommendation at Coach Dave Academy is to focus on the packs including new tracks as they will add the most to your sim racing experience in ACC. Oh, and remember, you can purchase setups to help you find pace at any of these tracks in any car, in the form of either a setup bundle or as part of our ACC Setup Subscription.
|American Track Pack||3 new circuits from the Americas.|
1. Circuit of the Americas
2. Indianapolis Motor Speedway
3. Watkins Glen International
|Challengers Pack||5 new Vehicles:|
1. Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II
2. BMW M2 CS Racing
3. Ferrari 488 GT3 Challenge Evo
4. Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo EVO 2
5. Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 992)
|British GT Pack||3 new tracks from the UK|
1. Donnington Park Circuit
2. Oulton Park Circuit
3. Snetterton Circuit
|2020 GT World Challenge||Addition of the world-famous Autodromo Internationale Enzo e Dino Ferrari (Imola). As well as two new cars:|
1. Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO
2. Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO
In addition, this adds the 2020 GT World Challenge season including the liveries, tyre models, BoP and new track surfaces
|GT4 Pack||This adds 11 new cars from the GT4 Category.|
1. Alpine A110 GT4 (7 new liveries)
2. Aston Martin Vantage GT4 (7 new liveries)
3. Audi R8 LMS GT4 (4 new liveries)
4. BMW M4 GT4 (8 new liveries)
5. Chevrolet Camaro GT4R (2 new liveries)
6. Ginetta G55 GT4 (1 new livery)
7. KTM X-Bow GT4 (3 new liveries)
8. Maserati MC GT4 (1 new livery)
9. Mclaren 570S GT4 (5 new liveries)
10. Mercedes AMG GT4 (10 new liveries)
11. Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport (4 new liveries)
|Intercontinental GT Pack||Adds 4 new circuits from across the globe.|
1. Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit (South Africa)
2. Suzuka Circuit (Japan)
3. Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca (USA)
4. Mount Panorama Circuit (Australia)
ACC is one of the deepest simulations on offer at the moment for any sim racer looking for a close-to-real-life GT car experience. It’s not a racing game; it’s a racing simulation. Being a simulation, you need to treat the car you’re driving like driving a real car on a real track.
However, there are plenty of arcade racers that can quench your thirst for that type of racing. When it comes to choosing between Assetto Corsa and Assetto Corsa Competizione, there are subtle and in-depth differences that should help you decide where to begin.
Steering Wheel Setup
Since you will be racing in something almost identical to a real car, you get the best experience using a wheel with decent force feedback. A Thrustmaster T150/TMX or Logitech G29/G920 would be the minimum spec wheel that we can suggest. Assetto Corsa Competizione IS playable with a gamepad/controller. You may still lose 90% of the simulation experience and 100% of the fun driving with anything other than a wheel.
Pro sim racers go to extreme lengths to ensure they have the best sim racing setups to perform at the highest level. However, racing wheels are not cheap and are often on the pricier side of gaming accessories. It is perfectly understandable if you aren’t willing to dish out 200€ or more on a hunch. If your still struggling to choose which wheel is for you then try out our Best Sim Racing Wheels For ACC article to find the perfect set up for you.
PC Hardware Requirements
Another note: ACC is very resource-intensive, and is biased towards newer hardware. Your 5-year-old Intel i5 might run Doom Eternal on medium to high settings with a constant 60 FPS, but that very processor will feel wholly inadequate calculating the physics and AI in this game. The same goes for your GPU. Once more than 20 cars are visible, you can see your performance melt away faster than an iceberg in 2030.
For the best racing experience, it is recommended that you have a pc from the 20 series from NVIDIA or the RX 5600 series for AMD cards. CPUs can be a slightly different story due to the large range of offerings, but a good starting point is the 9900k offerings from intel or any of the 5000 offerings from AMD.
It is important to note many other setups can work depending on your preference for resolutions, VR or FPS. Be sure to do your own research and find something within your budget as the PC is just one part of enjoying the sim racing experience.
2. Initial Start-Up
When you first boot the game, you need to do a couple of things before you can go driving. Many of these will be trial and error based, and you need to find whatever suits you best.
ACC Graphics Settings
Since this game intensively uses your PC’s resources, you might need to fine-tune your graphics settings. Depending on how powerful your PC is, you might want to start with the low, medium, or high pre-sets. We strongly advise against using the epic settings for racing unless you have the beefiest of rigs. Be sure to lower the mirror quality, mirror distance, visible opponents (sixteen suffices), and turn on HLOD for an optimal experience (for an extensive list, read here). Make sure you do a practice race against AI to test your settings since the AI is very CPU intensive, whereas the game itself is very GPU intensive.
More (and consistent) frames per second equate to a better learning experience in a game like this. If you notice that your performance is fluctuating, don’t be too proud and just turn on v-sync. Smoothness is key. However, V-sync will introduce a small amount of delay into the system so try both on and off to see what you prefer.
ACC Control Settings
The controls also need a bit of fine-tuning, the typical term you will often hear thrown around is Force feedback. If you don’t have a clear understanding of this term or any other below, we have a handy force feedback set-up guide to get you up to speed.
For those looking for a quick and dirty set-up to get started here are some recommendations. Ideally, you put the gain as high as you can control. This makes it easier to spot when your car starts sliding. Our recommended settings are; Minimum Force at 0%, Dynamic Dampening at 100% (unless you have a budget wheel), and Road Effects at 0%. The frequency should be at 333Hz for mid to high-end wheels. And, make sure you map the buttons the way you want them.
It’s crucial to map “Cycle HUD MFD Up” to an easily accessible button on the wheel as it allows you to change the Multi-Functional Display (MFD) and through that will enable you to make changes to the car and your pit strategy during races. All settings matter, right down to your steering rotation angles!
Getting your view settings sorted adequately is very important to judge your speed and position on the racetrack. You want to reflect the track to what you would see in real life from your seated position. You can change the view settings from a practice session, showing real-time results to your input. First, use a (vertical) FOV calculator to calculate the correct setting. For those looking for a better understanding of FOV in ACC, we have a more in-depth guide that takes you through some of the nuances of FOV.
Next, change the camera’s height, lateral position, distance, and pitch to reflect your real-world seated position. Make sure to make it feel natural, while also optimising what you can see. Don’t be afraid to change your seated position as well to try out what works for you.
3. Achieving The Ratings
Before you can start your online racing career, you need to work on your Ratings. Ratings are Kunos’ way to measure Driver Level and allow server owners to establish thresholds and lobbies with a minimum entry-level requirement in terms of Ratings. The biggest hurdles in improving your Ratings are Track and Safety Ratings.
What is a Track Rating (TR) in ACC?
Track Ratings are quickly gained if you know what you are doing. If you don’t, you are going to have a bad time working around it. Remember the concept of driving these cars like you’re on a real track? This is a test to see whether you can do just that. You can get one star for completing one clean lap.
Sounds easy enough, but you also need to maintain a certain pace for it to count. You get two stars for two subsequent clean laps and three stars for four subsequent clean laps. This is an excellent way to learn the tracks and the behaviour of a car. Feel free to take a comfortable vehicle to drive, like the Aston Martin AMR V8. You might also want to start with an easy track, like Monza.
What is a Safety Rating (SA) in ACC?
The Safety Rating is the other major hurdle. Before you can improve your Safety Rating, you need to achieve a minimum value for Consistency (CN) and Car Control (CC) by putting in clean, consistent laps. Safety Rating, on the other hand, is gained by driving close to other drivers.
You need to get within 0.7 seconds of a car (and stay within 1.2 seconds) to get ‘Trust’ points. Hit the other car, and you gain ‘OBWP’ (penalty) points. The more kilometres you drive near others, the higher SA you obtain. You also get bonus Trust for finishing races. The best way to gain SA when you have a negligible value is to do 20-30 minute short races against the AI. Put the AI’s skill on a similar level to your own so that you can stay close behind them and don’t crash into them.
Note: just because you have enough SA to get into a server with a 30 SA threshold, doesn’t mean you should enter it. It is better to boost your SA further (preferably to at least 60) to skip the trench.
4. Your Beginner ACC Setup
When you are just starting, you will not understand the intricacies of car setups, which is okay for the time being. Car setups are fundamental, but you need to build yourself up to that level to experiment with different setup configurations for every race confidently. You can do that by focusing on driving cleanly, hitting your brake markers, etc. Just take the safe (or, if you are daring, the aggressive) pre-set setups and hit the track. However, there are a few things that you do need to keep in mind.
You need to put in enough fuel for the race. If you want to do a straightforward calculation, simply multiply the race time in minutes by 2.2. This will be a ballpark estimate. If you desire to calculate the fuel you need for any race properly, you can use one of the widely available fuel calculators or look at our fuel management strategy guide or you could remember the formula:
“FR = ((TR * 60) / TL ) * FL + (2 * FL)”
(FR=fuel for the race, TR=race duration in minutes, FL=Fuel per lap as calculated by the game, TL=Lap Time of the leader in seconds).
A lot of things influence tire pressures, air temperatures being the main thing. This temperature varies wildly per server, so you have to change the tire pressures accordingly if you don’t want to overheat your tires. Go out for a few (3 advised) laps and see what the pressures turn out to be. You should aim for ~27.7 PSI. Anything within 27-28 PSI is good, but ideally, you want to be as close to 28 without going over to maximise performance. Tire pressures are a vital part of understanding how tire pressures influence your performance. The general rule of thumb is 0.1 psi change per 1c change in ambient temperature
A wide range of people who came from (presumably) the F1 games take pride in driving cleanly without Traction Control. F1 does not have any Traction Control provisions in real life, and hence, driving without TC makes complete sense. But when they play ACC, the first thing they may do is turn off TC and then complain about others using the system. Don’t be that person. GT3 cars are designed to run with Traction Control on; they use it in real life. The power delivery is not intended to be used without Traction Control.
Please use Traction Control to make your life, and race, easier.
These cars have different engine modes too. Most vehicles at the very least have a qualifying mode, a race mode and a safety-car mode. You can use these modes to save fuel during the warm-up lap or the race.
Some cars (Mercedes) even require you to change from qualifying to race mode for the race if you want to do a 60-minute race. Mode ‘1’ often gives the most power but the highest consumption. Using MoTeC as your telemetry tool allows you to analyse your engine revs and behaviour amongst other things, helping you understand your racing style much better than by just vision.
The above-mentioned settings are simply there to get you started, the world of making set-ups can feel like a cryptic new language at times. Many people have spent several years across different sims to get that feel and understanding of what a car does and what setup tweaks are needed.
Often this level of understanding is only needed for the most hardcore of competitive sim racers. There are a few basic lessons that you can learn to help you get started. The Coach Dave Academy has detailed each and every set-up parameter and how these can be used to your advantage when setting up your favourite car in our Ultimate ACC Car Setup Guide.
It is key to remember don’t be put off by the complexity of some of the detail that is needed within set-up changes, the key is patience and practice, as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Buying ACC Setups
If you don’t want the hassle of adjusting the stock setups (which are already pretty good) to your liking, you could also buy ACC setups which have been developed by the best drivers/engineers in the business. If you’ve got the money to spare, buying a setup is a great way to save time, especially for beginners. Not just that, using these setups eases the pressure on you to extract the maximum out of your car mechanically, allowing you to focus entirely on your driving. Lastly, utilising these setups and studying each track map will help you step up your game at a rapid pace.
5. ACC Racing Etiquette
Now that you have lined up on the grid for your first race, there are a couple of things you should know when it comes to on-track procedures. Besides learning how a race session (an event) works, you also need to understand the basics of planning your strategy, not just for the race but also for everything around it.
Use this space to get used to the car, and the track, and try to get your tire pressures right under the weather conditions present in the server. You can race against people in free practice, as long as you don’t excessively block other racers.
If you are confident enough in your basic parameters and the track layout use this session to practice a number of different racing scenarios. Firstly, try a low fuel run and get used to the car at its lightest weight as you would in a qualifying session. Once you are happy with your peak performance add fuel to your car, ideally the amount needed for the upcoming race, and run several laps to simulate the feeling of the car and the general tyre wear you will experience during the race.
This time in free practice can be very valuable don’t squander it and be left with unexpected scenarios when it really matters, free practice is for learning and making mistakes.
Now is the time to show everyone your absolute best over one lap and make sure you get to the front of the grid for the race. Make sure you stay calm and remember what you practised, this session is no different you just need to put all the pieces together.
A key element of any good qualifying session is to slowly build up the pace, your best lap should always come just as the session is about to end. This is when the track is the most rubbered in and confidence is at an all-time high.
Although Qualifying is about solo performance be aware of your surroundings, and use your mini-map to judge whether people on a fast lap are close when exiting the pits. If you get blue flags during qualifying, that means someone on a timed lap is approaching you. Please let them pass your car. Also, when starting a flying lap yourself, make sure there is about a 2-3 second gap between you and the person in front to make sure you don’t hinder each other.
Put all these elements together and you will find that ultimate pace with little stress and panic.
There are two procedures: a short one where all cars are released simultaneously and drive in double-file to the start. Then there is a lengthy, full lap warm-up procedure (recognisable by it starting on the grid). In this case, cars are released one by one as they drive single-file to the end, where they need to start driving double-file again.
Follow the instructions of the widget on the screen. Cars are ghosted, so you don’t have to worry about bumping into anyone. Another tip: holding your brakes is a better way to warm up your tires (and brakes) compared to merely weaving. Use this to your advantage!
The race starts with people driving two or even three or four wide towards the first corner. However, the corner offers space for only 1-2 cars wide at most. This means that there will be an accordion effect of people trying to find their place for the first corner by braking A LOT earlier than you would expect. It’s a good thing to start lifting and braking to anticipate this. You don’t want to be that person, causing a multiple-car crash on the first turn, right?
The whole first lap will be a continuation of small accordion effects. The field will be very nervous as it stretches out to a single thin line. There will be some clutches or groups of drivers fighting for position, and inevitably, there will be a big crash at some point. Be prepared for this to happen and chances are it won’t happen to you. Still, make sure to slow down to maximise your chances of evading death. After all, a great first lap is the foundation for a great race.
Once the tension has eased, you can try to find your pace during the race. This will also be when you either start gaining on the car in front of you or lose the lead to the vehicle behind you. It is the responsibility of the vehicle behind to make a clean(-ish) pass. Rubbing is racing (no pun intended), but crashing isn’t.
Only make a move if you fully believe you can make it stick rather than bumping someone for the sake of battling. This also means that you shouldn’t poke your nose into someone’s rear at an unrealistic place and then be surprised when your opponent blames you for crashing both of you. When you crash, you not only end your race but potentially the race of multiple drivers as well. Be respectful of each other. The result isn’t as important as you think.
Finishing the race is the most important thing, you will always have more fun and improve as a driver by finishing out the race.
Contrary to Formula 1 regulations, backmarkers in GT racing don’t have to move out of the way under blue flags. They are allowed to, but they don’t have to. In GT racing, blue flags are meant as a heads-up that a faster driver is approaching and wants to pass. It is up to the faster driver to make this a clean pass. The backmarker, however, is not allowed to block the move of a quicker driver. On the relative MFD menu page, orange names are a lap ahead of you. Blue names are a lap down.
If you want to let a faster driver by, don’t suddenly brake. Get off the racing line first, then just lift. The best way to let people pass you is to go a bit deeper into a turn/hairpin by braking later, drifting wider on straights, or both. This minimises time lost on your end if you let someone pass!
Understanding all the penalties associated with GT racing is the most crucial aspect of sim racing in which you need to be thorough. ACC has an automated penalty system for corner-cutting. This system measures how fast you go through a micro-sector after you’ve had four wheels over the white line and compares it to the fastest time you have set through that micro-sector.
If you’ve gained time, you get a warning. If you lift (and thus lose time), you won’t get a warning. This system needs time to calibrate (you need to put in fast, clean micro-sectors) at the start of a race, so be careful of warnings early on. Four warnings result in a Drive-Through penalty. Serve the drive-through within three laps or risk being disqualified. Watch out though; speeding in the pitlane causes you to get a 30-second Stop & Go penalty. When you serve it, make sure that “Serve Penalty” is checked on the MFD menu page for the pitstop.
If you crashed, got a penalty or are otherwise at the back of the field, it might just be enticing to quit the race and join another server. Please refrain from doing that and use the remaining time to build your experience driving clean laps and just to have fun driving without any pressure. Someone in front might have a spin offering you a chance to battle with them.
Not only is it more fun for the entire lobby when everyone stays inside the server for the duration of the race (and tries to make it to the finish), but you also get bonus Trust points for making it there. This could offset the OBWP you may have earned earlier on, and makes sure that you can get into higher-rated servers later!There are some excellent software packages to track your race rivals’ telemetry in the same session as you in real-time with live timing, such as Pitwall for example. Use them to your advantage.
Go and Have Fun
Now that you know the ins and outs of sim racing and are ready to get started get onto ACC find your favourite car and track and get racing. Remember to be patient sim racing is hard by nature but this makes it so much more rewarding when everything comes together. A good tip for all new starters is to pick one car and stick to it you will learn its strengths and weaknesses and really get the most out of the car, don’t switch cars every race or you will pick up bad habits and end up having a bad time.
If you ever need any more tips or guides on anything within ACC be sure to go to check out the Coach Dave Academy Resources page where we upload weekly content on hardware, setups, cars and any new content to ACC. Additionally, if you prefer video content then check out the Coach Dave academy Youtube channel where you can find track guides and even sessions with our very own engineers.
Last but not least make sure to practice, practice, practice and have fun while doing so!