Taming the Beast at Driversity Aberdeen

Like most men my age, I’d like to think I’m a pretty good driver.

I’m sensitive to what the car is doing both below my seat and on the road ahead. My amateurish experiences of heel-and-toeing and rev-matching were first practised on driving simulators, and then transferred to the real road.

However, just because you can put in consistent times on the Nurburgring on Gran Turismo, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be any good at Live for Speed – the 14 year-old, ultra-realistic game which Driversity uses in its full-feedback driving simulator.

I popped along with local car forum Eastside VW to give The Beast a shot – but sadly while we were there, it broke on my friend’s first try of it! For the brief amount of time we got to see it in action, it was a fearsome thing. Mounted on an elevated rig, The Beast would buck, judder and lean with every turn of the wheel and press of the pedals. Even standing from afar, it was clear that the driver was wrestling not just with the track but the real-life forces from the rig itself.

Motormessenger | Driversity | Aberdeen | Driver City | Racing | Games | Driving | Simulator

Helmet and race suit strictly optional!

Once it was clear The Beast wasn’t going to be up and running any time soon, we were ushered into the main room, where eight identical simulators awaited us. These were more like the traditional racing seat ‘n pedals setup of your local arcade, with each displaying the Live for Speed loading screen. While the gameplay characteristics are very realistic, the game itself is a strange mishmash of fictitious race circuits and cars obviously inspired by specific counterparts, and limited real-life tracks and cars.

After trying a few combinations (from stripped-out original Minis to tech-laden DTM racers with mad aero), we as a group seemed to come back to the LX4; a lightweight, two-seater open-wheeler in the style of the Caterham 7.

As you’d expect, the first couple of races for a group completely unused to the cars or track were an utter riot. If you managed to survive the first corner (most didn’t), clutches would soon overheat and explode if you neglected to take your foot off the throttle mid-shift, while a brief foray onto the verge would be all that was needed to spin your car off-course. Try as I might, I couldn’t get used to modulating the brakes effectively enough to slow down in time. A heavy stamp would see them lock (no ABS here), or otherwise I’d go sailing past the apex with too much speed.

That said, Driversity was a great experience and is probably the closest you can get to really racing without worrying about the financial or material consequences of a trackday. I’d really recommend a visit if you wish to properly challenge your petrolhead friends.

You can find out more about Driversity, including contact details, on their website.

Motormessenger | Project CARS | McLaren F1 | Red | DiRT Rally | Rocket League | Rain | Spa | Mount Panorama | PS4 | PlayStation 4

The best car games on PlayStation 4

At Motormessenger, we’re big fans of console gaming. But with Gran Turismo Sport still some  distance away, which games should you pick up now to get your motoring fix?

DiRT Rally

If you like your rally sims served with crushing realism, forget WRC 6 and go for DiRT. It’s a proper return to form for Codemasters, with the slight disadvantage of not featuring all the fully-licensed WRC cars from 2016 more than offset by the glorious graphics, punishingly tricky courses and breadth of virtual machinery available.

You can fire through Finnish forests in a Richard Burns-spec Impreza WRX STi, or drift your way down the Col de Turini in a snarling E30 M3 if you wish. For those who fancy something a little different, there’s the bump-tastic Rallycross option and also the max-power lunacy of the Pike’s Peak hillclimb.  And – rarely for a current-generation racer – there is a distinct learning curve to be made between cars. Just because the MkII Escort Mexico is loose at the rear doesn’t mean that you can drive the mid-engined Renault 5 Turbo II in the same way on the same stage.

Were you 7km into a 9km stage when you slid wide and clipped a boulder, flipping your car? Tough luck; there’s no rewinds here and that’s why DiRT is so addictive.

  • Price: £54.99

Project CARS: Game of the Year Edition

Despite the popularity of the PS4 in the console wars, there’s been a lack of high-calibre track racing sims of late. Sure, there was Driveclub, but that’s not exactly all about differential preloads and snappy gearing. Project CARS marries a range of fully-licensed road, touring, open-wheel and GT cars with a broad range of genuine and original global racetracks, such as Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and Mount Panorama.

Add into the mix a range of challenging weather effects (you can race on the Nordschleife at night during a storm if you wish) and you’ll have something to keep you on your toes… especially if you’re in a P1 and deploy KERS at the wrong moment.

If you can get past the absence of big-name manufacturers such as Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini, then Project CARS is well worth your time. Make sure to purchase the GOTY which comes equipped with 50+ more cars and the combined Nurburgring Nordschleife and GP circuit.

  • Price: £44.99

Rocket League: Game of the Year Edition

There are times, however, where trying to rein in the oversteer on a Zonda Cinque isn’t particularly appealing. For those quick and easy gaming sessions, we recommend Rocket League.

It’s a ridiculously fun game to play, and the main game essentially revolves around car football with customisable vehicles sporting large rocket boosters. The GOTY edition adds a variety of gaming modes such as Snow Day and Hoops (Basketball), but the basic premise is the same – skillful control of the ball or puck, coupled with timely use of rocket boosts and aerial flight, will get you goals.

Be warned, however – Rocket League is very, very competitive and people will not take kindly to putting three goals or more past them!

  • Price: £19.99

[P.S. Sometimes you can get really lucky on DiRT: https://twitter.com/Noucheisms/status/828211578671620096]

Which other current-gen console games would you recommend for the petrolhead?