Assetto Corsa Competizione: Front vs Mid vs Rear Engined Cars: Which is Best?
In this guide we examine the difference between front-engined, mid-engined and rear engined cars in ACC. I'll show you the benefits of each, along with which cars you should drive.
In Assetto Corsa Competizione, many sim racers will have a preference on which car they like to drive the most. This could be because it handles well, because it’s stable or simply because it’s incredibly quick. One of the major contributors to all of those points is the engine placement within each car.
In this guide, I’m going to run through how engine placement in the cars in Assetto Corsa Competizione makes a difference to each car’s characteristics and how they drive. I’ll also look at which cars have their engine mounted in each position, and how you can use a car’s engine placement to find additional lap time.
Why does engine placement make a difference in ACC?
Where the engine is in a car has a large impact and affects each car’s individual driving characteristics. This is because an engine is one of the heaviest single items within a car’s design and build. Moving this large, heavy lump around will drastically change the overall weight balance of the car.
If you position the engine over the front of the car, like it is in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 for example, this will add a lot of weight at the front. This can help to keep the front of the car planted into the ground allowing it to be very stable to drive.
But this will also impact the rest of the car’s balance. It can have a negative effect of making the rear feel light, making it prone to oversteer under acceleration or make the car feel sluggish on corner entry.
If you flip the engine placement and hang it out over the rear axle, just like it is in the Porsche 991 II GT3, all that weight is suddenly at the rear. This will completely change how the car feels to drive and is something that you can experience quickly by running back-to-back laps in both the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the Porsche 991 II GT3.
The Mercedes will feel planted, stable and somewhat heavy with a tendency to understeer on corner entry, and oversteer if you’re too aggressive on throttle.
The Porsche will feel light and agile, with a tendency to oversteer on corner entry due to the additional weight at the rear of the car.
As you can see, the engine placement drastically affects the balance of a car in ACC. But it also changes a few other aspects as well.
Common tendencies for each engine placement
A few key tendencies of different engine placements are;
- Front-engined car: Heavier at the front of the car, lighter at the rear. Tendency to feel stable over kerbs. Can understeer on corner entry, and oversteer on corner exit if too aggressive under acceleration. This can result in you having to decelerate further and work a little harder to get the car turned into corners.
- Mid-engined car: Overall weight balance is good, much closer to 50:50. Car will feel agile, but can be a little delicate. Doesn’t take bumps and kerbs as well as a front-engined car, but has less oversteer under acceleration.
- Rear-engined car: With more weight at the rear of the car, the car can have a tendency to oversteer on corner entry, or have lift-off oversteer. The car feels less stable on corner entry but will understeer slightly more on corner exit.
Of course, these observations are generalised to each engine placement and aren’t definitive characteristics for all cars. For example, both the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and BMW M4 GT3 are front-engined cars, but both drive rather differently at speed.
Affects on aerodynamics
Depending on where you position the engine within a car, you have to make aerodynamic choices and changes to accommodate such a large object. For this reason, you’ll see that a front-engined car such as the Mercedes-AMG GT3, and the Bentley Continental have much larger bonnets.
This is apparent when compared to mid-engined cars such as the Ferrari 488 GT3 and the McLaren 720S GT3. These cars have much shorter, more streamlined bonnets allowing for a potentially more aerodynamically efficient design.
Front-engined cars in ACC
Front-engined cars are among the most stable in ACC. With added weight over the front axle, the car is much less likely to behave badly when attacking kerbs or riding over bumps.
Positives of front-engined cars
As mentioned, front-engined cars will generally be more stable than those with the engine towards the rear. This is due to the weight at the front of the car planting the car into the ground.
With a heavier front end, bumps and kerbs have less effect on the car’s balance. Front-engined cars are also among the fastest in a straight line. This is due to the larger engine bay resulting in a car that has more raw power.
Negatives of front-engined cars
On the flip side, there are a few negative characteristics that front-engined cars do have to endure. They have a greater tendency to understeer on the initial turn-in than other cars.
This again is due to the added weight at the front. It makes the car slightly less agile, making the driver work a little harder to get the car turned in. This is usually combated by having to slow down a little more on the corner entry.
Another negative of front-engined cars is that due to the weight being towards the front of the chassis, the rear can feel light in some scenarios. This is apparent when accelerating out of corners.
Some front-engined cars can be more prone to oversteering due to the lightness at the rear. This can help rotate the car through a corner when applied correctly but does require delicate throttle application.
Below are all of the front-engined cars in ACC.
- Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3
- Bentley Continental GT3
- BMW M6 GT3
- BMW M4 GT3
- Lexus RC F GT3
- Mercedes AMG GT3
- Mercedes AMG Evo GT3
- Nissan GTR Nismo GT3 2015
- Nissan GTR Nismo GT3 2018
- AMR V8 Vantage GT4
- BMW M4 GT4
- Chevrolet Camaro R GT4
- Ginetta G55 GT4
- Maserati Granturismo MC GT4
- Mercedes AMG GT4
Mid-engined cars in ACC
Mid-engined cars are just as popular in GT racing and in ACC as front-engined. They can be among the most fun to drive due to their agile nature.
Positives of mid-engined cars
By positioning the engine in the middle of the car, just behind the driver, it is much easier to achieve a perfect 50:50 weight distribution, or close to it. This allows the car to be well balanced between understeer and oversteer, making them relatively easy to jump in and drive.
Mid-engined cars are among the most agile and responsive in Assetto Corsa Competizione. They can be thrown about, and the car will generally respond well, allowing drivers to attack tracks hard in a mid-engined car.
As you approach corners, a mid-engined car will be more inclined to turn into a corner better than a front-engined car. It will rotate easier, but a new problem is introduced called lift-off oversteer.
Negatives of mid-engined cars
Lift-off oversteer is when the rear of the car starts to rotate as you lift off the throttle and start to rotate the car. While this can be apparent when attacking a corner hard, it isn’t anywhere near as much of a problem as it is when driving a rear-engined car.
Much like oversteer can be used to rotate a front-engined car, you can utilise lift-off oversteer to rotate a mid-engined car into a corner. When this technique is mastered, drivers can be blisteringly quick through a corner.
Another negative effect is that mid-engined cars generally aren’t as stable as front-engined cars over kerbs and bumps. While being more agile, you’ll have to master your positioning through corners in a mid-engined car to avoid any large impacts.
Below are all of the mid-engined cars in ACC.
- Audi R8 LMS Evo GT3
- Audi R8 LMS Evo II GT3
- Ferrari 488 GT3
- Ferrari 488 EVO GT3
- Honda NSX GT3
- Honda NSX Evo GT3
- Lamborghini Huracan GT3
- Lamborghini Huracan Evo GT3
- McLaren 650S GT3
- McLaren 720S GT3
- Alpine A110 GT4
- Audi R8 LMS GT4
- KTM X-Bow GT4
- McLaren 570S GT4
- Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Rear-engined cars in ACC
Rear-engined cars aren’t commonplace in ACC, with the Porsche 911 varients being the only cars that utilise this design.
Positives of rear-engined cars
Many sim racers will say that the Porsche 991 II GT3 is one of the hardest cars to drive fast, but when mastered is easily one of the quickest cars in ACC.
While there are some strong negative characteristics, you can’t overlook just how fast a rear-engined car can be in ACC. Good drivers can utilise the tendency of a rear-engined car to oversteer on corner entry to get the car turned into a corner while still carrying great minimum corner speed.
Negatives of rear-engined cars
But that tendency to oversteer on corner entry can result in a few cases of losing the rear of the car. Lift-off oversteer is a real problem with the Porsche GT3 cars in ACC, and it can be a tricky phenomenon to master.
Through fast, sweeping corners such as Double Gauche, the Porsche 991 can be a real handful. If turning it while perform a quick lift and downshift, a rear-engined car can oversteer rather than remain planted.
The result of this is that you need to adjust your driving style to ensure the car is straight while downshifting. But when mastered, drivers can also utilise this oversteer to turn into corners faster.
Bumps can also be a problem when driving a rear-engined Porsche in ACC. They can really unsettle the car due to the front of the car being so light.
A rear-engined car can also have a tendency to slightly understeer as you apply the throttle on corner exit. This can be combated by rotating the car well using the lift-off oversteer before accelerating out of a turn.
Below are all of the rear-engined cars in ACC.
- Porsche 991 GT3 R
- Porsche 991 II GT3 R
How to use each car’s engine placement to your advantage
Learning to drive each car in ACC can be tricky, but is rewarding when you start to learn and master each car’s driving characteristics. You’ll certainly have to adjust your driving style as you move from a mid-engined to a front-engined or rear-engined car.
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But learning to use each car’s negative traits to enhance your speed is key to a fast and consistent lap time. In each category above, I mentioned how to use each car’s negative traits to enhance your speed.
Utilising a rear-engined car’s tendency to oversteer on corner entry can be mastered to increase the car’s rotation and ultimately result in higher minimum corner speeds.
And using a front-engined cars on-throttle oversteer tendency to increase the rotation through and out of a corner can also help find lap time.
Mastering these traits is all about learning how each car behaves and adapting your driving style to suit the car you’re driving. If you are struggling with a certain car, it may be that your driving style is better suited to a different car’s configuration, so be sure to try all cars in ACC before deciding on a favourite.
Which engine placement is best in ACC?
There really isn’t an answer to the best engine placement in cars in Assetto Corsa Competizione. Thanks to BoP balancing, each and every car can be incredibly fast once mastered.
For newer drivers, a front-engined car can be ideal to help with a little bit of extra stability, and a mid-engined car is ideal as a good all-rounder.
More experienced sim racers may have learnt how to really master an individual car’s characteristics and might have tamed the notoriously difficult-to-drive rear-engined Porsche 991 II GT3.
The best advice on finding the best car in ACC is to experiment with all cars. Take a selection of the best cars in ACC out on track to see which style of car suits your driving style.
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