Before i get your hopes up, I need to set your expectations of what you’ll get by reading the next few paragraphs. It is not straight forward, so don’t expect me to narrow it down to just one car.
I have decided to advance from the Skip Barber to the GTE cars for this season. There are numerous reasons for this, but partly it is because they are faster, they look great and from what I’ve heard, they might be easier to drive. That left me with the dilemma of choosing a car for the series that i was going to run (the Le Mans series, and the IMSA series both run GTE cars).
There are 4 cars in this class to pick from and they all are legendary and popular cars. These cars are pretty well balanced, and there is no car that is stronger, faster or better than the other. They all have distinct characteristics that will suite different driving stiles and tracks. This means that the best car, is the one that suits your style and that you feel comfortable in. I had the chance to test them all, and i got a pretty good feel for what would suite my style
Ferrari 488 GTE
The Ferrari is a very beautiful and legendary car. Many might pick it just because of that!
With more than 100 wins – including victories in the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans – to its credit, the Ferrari 458 GTE was the proverbial tough act to follow. But the Ferrari 488 GTE was more than equal to the task, securing the 2016 World Endurance Cup for GT Manufacturers in its debut season with victories at Silverstone, Spa and the Nürburgring, as well as the 19th running of Petit Le Mans.
It boasts a four liter, twin turbocharged V8 engine, producing an estimated 490 horsepower and 479 ft/lb of torque and is a very potent racecar.
The Ferrari 488 GTE feels a bit lighter than most of the other cars, and this means that you can throw it into the corners. It is also easier to setup, compared to the other GTEs. It is generally a very stable and smooth car that feels like everything is under control, even when going fast.
It is very forgiving, and generally comfortable to drive.
The fact that it is shorter than the other cars also means that it is more agile through slow bends than its competitors.
For me, this was by far the most comfortable car to drive, but i had trouble driving it fast. I really love how the car looks, how it sounds and how it drives, but I wouldn’t be fast racing it.
BMW M8 GTE
The M8 is the newest of all GTE cars in iRacing. It just launched a few days back, and although many have tried it, nobody really knows what it’s like to race a full season with. There are also theories that iRacing has not evened the BoP (Balance of Performance) so they let early buyers have fun with it, until it gets balanced out.
This car is often bullied for its size and there have been tons of jokes about huge news, absolute unit of a car and cars filling up rear view mirrors. That said, it is a hard car to pass, and takes up a considerable space on the track.
The twin-turbo, V8 powered beast boasts over 500 bhp and is the flagship racing car from BMW. A front engine car, the BMW has already earned a reputation for being tough to pass due to its performance and size.
For now, most people seem to think that the BMW is the easiest GTE car to drive. For me, i had mixed feelings about it. Mind me, i am not at all an expert, so i can only tell you what i felt after 10-15 laps in Road America in it. I loved the M6 in other racing games, so i had high hopes for its big brother. It is a very nice and planted car to drive, but i had trouble racing it fast. Especially the braking was a bit tricky for me, and i had to brake earlier than i would want. Non the less, this is already an iconic and legendary car, that you might love driving!
Ford GT 2017
I won’t keep this a secret, this is my favorite GTE car, but from what i hear this is a pretty uncommon choice. Some say that it is hard to drive and really only highly skilled drivers drive it. I don’t want to sound smug, but for me this car felt the most comfortable. To be honest, i only tested on Road America, but i have used the car on several races since then, and still like it and especially the brakes, seem to be more effective than the other cars that I compeat against.
The Ford GT 2017 GTE is a stiffer car but pretty fas. All in all, it is really stable and from what I can tell, it rolls the least. People say that it can be hard to set up, but as soon as you have the right setup can be slightly faster than the rest. To be honest though, i don’t mess too much with the setup. The Ford has a longer wheel base which makes it more stable in faster sweeping corners
This third generation Ford GT was conceived, designed and built with one priority in mind: win the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the 50th anniversary of Ford’s fabled victory at le Sarthe in 1966. It is a design masterpiece, incorporating the iconic shape of the Ford GT, while taking every possible advantage of the FIA regulations to create another Le Mans winner. The unique aerodynamics, let the car cut through the air like a knife through butter.
Porsche 911 RSR
I am pretty new to iRacing, but i had just joined, when the Porsche RSR came to iRacing. People where really hyped about the car, and i bought it right away, thinking it was just like back in the days when i was racing Forza. I took it for a spin, literally, and that was it. When i considered running GTE cars, i jumped into the car again, to give it a proper try.
Although the Porsche RSR is a very popular and seemingly fast car, i did not really like it all that much. I had trouble keeping it on track, and it felt very lively for me. I seem to be wrong though, because many people race it and are happy with it.
The 911 RSR is a true Porsche but has the engine mounted in the moddle. The flat-6 six engine literally screams at you when you accelerate out of corners. It is a well-balanced race car with massive brakes for unrivaled stopping power and a newly designed 6-speed sequential gearbox that allows for lightning changes up and down through the gears.
The best GTE on iRacing
To sum up all this, the conclusion is that there really is a car that is best than any of the rest, but the truth is that you have to decide what suits you best. For me, it was the Ford. For many it is the Porsche but the Ferrari seems equally good. The BMW has not been available long enough to decide, but for me it was comfortable but not as fast as the other options.
If you have access to all the cars, make sure to try them out before you decide. Adjust the fuel to be the same for each car though, to make sure that this does not affect performance. Run at least 5-10 laps depending on what track you’re on and compare laptimes. You will pretty fast figure out what car suits you the best.