It’s an especially exciting moment for fans of endurance racing, if only for representation in terms of current cars. F1 and rally fans get to drive the cars they see racing every year with yearly titles. Now, Le Mans Ultimate will pack the entirety of the 2023 WEC’s grid for the ultimate endurance experience and as opposed to having yearly releases, will evolve year-on-year with added content, including presumably, new cars.
Yes, that includes the complete line-up of hypercars, with the first images of the game showing the Porsche 963 in its special commemorative Le Mans centenary livery. The only other car shown so far is the somewhat less fresh Ferrari 488 GTE, though we’re assured the likes of the Ferrari 499P, other hypercars, all the other current WEC GT challengers and indeed, LMP2 cars, will be present. We also expect to see the line-up of GT3 cars that are due to debut next year and take over from GTE added to the game pretty soon after its release.
Le Mans is of course the lead image but other race venues set to feature include Monza, Fuji and Spa, though we expect more still to complete the WEC calendar. It’s fairly early to make judgements on the graphics given they’re still a work in progress, but it looks very nice already. Given the full Le Mans 24 will be playable, expect fully variable weather and a real-time day/night cycle.
Though it is a brand new title, Le Mans Ultimate is being developed by Studio 397, the bods behind rFactor 2. Underneath, the game will be running on the studio’s proprietary pMotor 2.5 engine. That said, this new game is said to be intended to be more accessible, with an improved controller experience compared to that of rFactor 2. Obviously, the game will be best experienced using a wheel.
The usual online multiplayer racing formats are expected, though there is talk of a highly interesting asynchronous co-op option, where drivers can step out of the car after a stint in real time and another player ‘step in’ to take over, there and then or at a time of their choosing.
Further details on the game and how it plays will come at Le Mans on 7th-11th June, where an early build of the game will be playable. The game will then be brought to further events along this year’s endurance calendar.
As for where you’ll be able to play it? On release, it’s definitely PC-only, though a console release is reportedly in the pipeline with evaluations taking place of when this would be appropriate. ‘The performance of current generation machines makes this a real possibility’, the Le Mans Ultimate website reads, in reference to a console release.
“It’s great to pull the covers off and introduce the world to Le Mans Ultimate for the first time,” said the new CEO of Motorsport Games, Stephen Hood.
“In this Centenary year, we have been working closely with the ACO to bring the thrill of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC to people all around the world.
“We aim to help make them feel invested in Le Mans Ultimate from the start, taking them on a gaming journey with updates and behind-the-scenes coverage through our social media channels to show the development and the excitement we all have at Studio 397 and Motorsport Games to produce the best experience for gamers and motorsport fans.”