As Porsche have it, the "legendary Porsche 911 is the longest production run sports car of all time".
In 1998, Porsche decided to develop an entry for the GT1 category, having produced a car with bodywork which looked rather like a traditional sports prototype, instead of a normal GT1 car. And certainly, not the "common" Porsche 911 either, sharing the front end with the regular 911 and the back end with the 962.
This car was light, aerodynamically advanced, featuring a downforce producing body and short diffuser set from the rear axle to the back end (as regulations required).
Modelling this car required different (higher) figures for the downforce produced by the splitter/body/rear wing/diffuser configuration. This car features slightly lower inertia values due to its construction type (carbon monocoque) and innovative figures for brake disks and wheel/axle inertias. It was modelled according to GTR2 Reborn principles, but also having in mind the needs of the URL league in regards to tire wear and heating.
It is a demanding car - lots of grip at high and low speeds, but requiring lots of finesse when approaching mid and low speed corners. Demanding, but rewarding, as it is powerful and fast, sporting a rather direct steering. It will be very punishing for those drivers that rely on medium slides - departure from its envelope of standard driving can be sudden, but above all, tires will heat up considerably (grip drops acutely) and wear out quite fast (drivers must, more than ever, plan ahead their stints).
How to be successful with this car? Simple enough: be smooth and let it dance.
This is a very important moment for URL. For the first time we are using a Reborn physics set, one that was custom made for us. Driving the URL-1 car is a wonderful surprise: it is very sensitive to setup changes, a really tough yet pleasing car to drive. One of the premises on our League is all cars perform exactly the same, so we required it as well: the 956 from Group C will perform just as fast as the 911 GT1-98, with physics made with the latter in mind. One of the key aspects of them is Reborn set of tyres, with a fantastic feeling suited to our League by heating and wear values we required for Sporting reasons. The way they wear out and punish abusive driving will definitely give those guys with Jenson Button-like driving style a huge advantage. Being our first co-op work with Chronus I'm very happy with the way the handling was made, we expect this partnership to last for a long time, and work on Season 03 will begin soon.
URL-2 drivers who team up with a URL-1 one will definitely be in good hands. It is not a common practice for online Leagues to pay attention to drivers who are either new to sim racing or don't have a steering wheel. Everyone is welcome - as long as he/she drives cleanly and fairly. The decision to have the teams made of both classes is to give URL-2 drivers the opportunity to learn from their teammate and have someone to ask for help and support. To win the Teams' Championship both drivers will need to deliver, and that's a good reason for the most experienced one to help his teammate, and hopefully give him the push needed to become the next star.
Changes from Season 2:
- First thing you'll notice even before racing is the mod structure. We are doing the best we can to reduce the risk of mass CTD and decrease the download size per season. The biggest step for that was launched today with the URL Mod V1, a package that will last for more than one season, with the season - by - season changes to performance / skins being on a separate file. Instead of downloading, for instance, 380MB for mod + skins on each season, you get a 320MB (one time) and minor 60MB ones per season. Saving bandwidth, saving the planet! fftopic:
- Race length is now fixed at 45 minutes, no longer being either 45 min or a certain distance; the only exception is when racing on default tracks, where the game might set a shorter race distance.
- Track session times were changed. Instead of using GMT as reference, we are now using British Time, and starting practice at 22:30 that time rather than 22:00 GMT. Please notice the clock on top of all pages and use that for reference, so you never miss a race This means races will be starting some 30 minutes later than before and people from Northern Hemisphere will virtually be immune to daylight saving time changes, giving specially the American guys a better chance of leaving their offices in time for the race;
- On physics front, both cars had their engine power reduced, but their masses were reduced as well (URL-1 from 1100kg to 900kg, URL-2 from 1320kg to 920kg). Power to weight ratio was kept similar, if not increased. The URL-1 engine (URL HTA 2012B) rpm red line was also brought 100rpm back: now it's set to 7900 rpms instead of 8000, with max revs still at 8500. No further changes were applied to URL-1, while URL-2 got a brand new physics set, grippier, faster, funnier. The gap between URL-1 and URL-2 was decreased almost by half, and so was the URL-2 fuel tank capacity: only 40 litres, meaning one pitstop / race will be needed. I wish I could drive that...
- The largest number of different car models introduced at once over here. Growing from 4 cars in Season 2 to 8 models in Season 3, this season marks the retirement of Gallardo GT3 and debut of no less than 5 models:
URL-1: Audi R15 TDi, McLaren F1
URL-2: Corvette C5-R, Aston Martin DBR9, Audi R8 GT
Within our philosophy of a DRIVERS' championship, all models within the same class share engine, physics and tyres, so you just have to choose the one that you like the most.
- Last but not least, the magic. Many thanks to our skinning crew led by Tibone and Scotty who came up with some great cars for this season. Out of the 42 (!) cars included in this seasons' mod, only 3 were brought from our previous seasons: 39 new cars (33 by them, 6 by me), in a total of 4 models per class. That's something, guys, that's something!
- And all those beautiful 42 cars also come with matching helmets. While it may not be seen all the time, it's something extra, thanks to Nocunox who made a great work producing 75% of them.
- Did I mention the very first round is at the Daytona International Speedway?
- Talking about tracks, trackpack will be available for download in a day or two.
Themes to watch during this season:
After two seasons in the URL-2 class, top 2 on Season 2 decided it was time to up the ante and face the mighty URL-1 drivers in their own game. Nocunox, reigning URL-2 Champion, and runner-up Scotty already stated they will be moving up. With some great drivers left in URL-2 still to decide their future, both titles are up for grabs!
The decrease in overall car weight in both classes also means weight ballast will have a bigger effect on drivers' performance. There will be less chance of seeing a 100kg heavier driver winning races, setting fastest laps or pole positions.
Everyone wants to take Fernando off his throne and grab the #1 for themselves, and Season 3 offers the biggest chance for them. John Sportelli, fresh from a great comeback on late stages of Season 2, Edgecrusher, trying to overcome the late season bad luck, and Raider, still seeking his first victory, are certainly candidates. But let's not forget VonDutch, BigFudge, Dartguy, if they can make it this time, and of course the always favorites Berger R-74 and phantom16, used to win races like none else. And let's not forget the ex-URL-2 drivers!
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