Hello sim racers!
The wait is finally over! We can now announce the next upcoming track for rFactor 2 will be… Monza!
Yes, I’m sure many of you have enjoyed guessing which AAA location will be next on the list of our ever expanding collection of tracks within the rFactor 2, and despite many wild and varied suggestions thrown into the ring over the course of the last few weeks, those of you who picked the home of the Italian Grand Prix can now proudly say “I was right”, as we can now finally confirm that the legendary Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is set to arrive in rFactor 2 in the near future.
Located towards the North of Milan, The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is one of the finest examples of an historic racing venue anywhere in the world. Built almost 100 years ago in 1922, the original build of the venue would represent only the third ever purpose-built racetrack in the existence, coming hot off the heels of Brooklands in the United Kingdom and of course the tremendous Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the United States.
Despite many laps and much drama having passed over the hallowed tarmac of Monza in the following 99 years of active competition, the core spirit of the circuit remains intact today – namely incredible speeds thanks to the three significant straights and plenty of slipstreaming and overtaking action – something we are absolutely certain will prove to be a popular experience for our players once the circuit hits the rFactor 2 Steam Store in the next few weeks.
Creating a new virtual racing circuit in a modern sim is never an easy task, made doubly so this time thanks to the many complications around travel restrictions that remain in place due to the world health pandemic, so with all these challenges taken into consideration, we consider ourselves rather fortunate that the Studio 397 team consists of staff members located all around the world – with some of our track team based in Italy – giving us the perfect opportunity to head over to Monza and grab the very latest scan data from this track, an opportunity that puts us in a great position to develop the most up-to-date and detailed version of the circuit currently available in sim racing.
Simply put, no racing title can be considered complete without this iconic cathedral of speed amongst its roster of circuits. Having been a staple venue of many high profile national and international racing events over the years, we firmly believe that the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza presents an ideal fit for many of the vehicles we offer within rFactor 2, and of course, as firm fans of endurance and GT racing ourselves, the correlation between this track and long distance endurance racing is simply too good of a combination to pass up!
How Did We Scan It?
We teased the community a little while ago that we have some of our team out in Europe taking a laserscan of a “popular European circuit”, in fact, we even placed an rFactor 2 sticker in a sneaky spot at the side of the track for someone to find. Alas, no one ended up tracking that sticker down, and despite quite a few of you correctly guessing the new venue would be Monza, we’ve managed to keep it under wraps (at least officially) until now! So with the big reveal out of the way, we thought it might be fun to have a look at some of the antics our team got up to as they went about the business of grabbing an accurate representation of not just the circuit itself, but the many surrounding spaces that make up this very visually strong and recognizable racing venue.
Laserscanning a circuit is a tricky business, as more often that not you only really get one shot at ensuring you’ve got all the many varied details captured ahead of starting the build process. Over the course of two days at the venue, our team managed to amass an incredible amount of footage from both the modern and historic variants of the track, capturing video, photo, drone and 360 degree shots of the track and surrounding areas – well over 300 GB worth of images for the track team to pour over and turn into virtual racing tarmac in rFactor 2!
Of course, in order to thoroughly capture the whole spectrum of details on a modern racing venue, especially one so rich in history and detail as Monza, our team deployed a range of different equipment to help record those all important images. The core of the circuit layout and details are of course captured via the laserscanning team on site, however to help build up a more rounded picture of the circuit itself, we also took the opportunity to deploy a drone overhead, which would be allowed to follow the lead car around a full lap and capture 360-degree video of all the various aspects of the circuit that aren’t immediately apparent when down at tarmac level. Useful as drones undoubtedly are, that footage alone would not be enough to accurately capture all trackside terrain and landscapes, so the team would also be tasked with additional reconnaissance data gathering to ensure we have fine detail like trackside transitions, curbs, degrees of grass banking and appropriate colour matching and fine detail recording to help us replicate the full Monza experience back at Studio 397 HQ.
In order to best bring the full racing experience to life within our simulation, it isn’t just the circuit itself that receives attention from the team. Arguably, the pit lane and various pit buildings of Monza are just as important as the racing tarmac, and as we at Studio 397 pride ourselves on fully recreating the whole trackside experience in our circuits, the team in Monza paid particular attention to the various different styles (and conditions!) of buildings in and around the pit lane and paddock area, focussing in on the key details that help make up much of the history and glamour of this famous venue.
From the impressive main building structures on pit road, right down to the interior of the pit box garages, and the various large and small outer buildings dotted around the main paddock area at Monza, all of these details have been painstakingly captured both ground level and with the aid of the drone camera, and are in the process of being recreated within the simulation to really present a clear and accurate picture of the layout, configuration and style of the Monza pit and paddock area in 2021. Although we appreciate that the vast majority of our players will mostly be concentrating on getting out of the pit box and onto the circuit as quickly as possible, here at the studio we have always enjoyed bringing to life those extra little details for people to discover when they go and explore around the circuit
I think it would be fair to say we here at Studio 397 are pretty excited about this new track coming to rFactor 2, and we hope all of you out in the community share our excitement about another top level international grade venue for the simulation. To find our more about how development is going with the current build of the track, tune in to the May Development Roadmap over on the Studio 397 website this May 31st, and stay tuned to our social media channels for more progress reports as development continues!
The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza – coming soon to rFactor 2!