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Assetto Corsa » Assetto Corsa Competizione Beginners Guide 2024
This beginners guide for Assetto Corsa Competizione will run through everything you need to know to get started in this racing sim. From deciding which car to jump into to learning the complex safety rating and what PC hardware you need to run ACC.
Assetto Corsa Competizione is a racing sim that has changed and grown a lot since its initial launch. However, one thing that remains constant, is that jumping into a racing simulator such as Assetto Corsa Competizione can be quite a daunting prospest. There are a range of different options and mechanics to learn, some of which aren’t common in other racing titles.
In this Assetto Corsa Competizione beginners guide, I’m going to give you all of the knowledge you need to get started in ACC, whether that is single-player racing or competing online. I’ll cover the basics such as setting up the game, recommended PC hardware, controller and racing wheel settings. Then I’ll look at more advanced info such as racing etiquette, safety rating and car setups.
Before you start with Assetto Corsa Competizione, you should look at this racing sim in a similar fashion to the F1 series of games (in terms of licensing, not gameplay). ACC offers licensed seasons of various GT racing series. There are a range of disciplines from GT4, GT3 and GT2, with real-world teams and drivers included.
This is amazing if you are a fan of a GT series, as you will recognise the cars, the liveries, the teams and the drivers. However, ACC is very different from the F1 games in terms of its driving experience.
At its heart, Assetto Corsa Competizione is a realistic racing simulator. It favours realism in every aspect of its gameplay compared to the F1 games which sits between arcade and sim racing. This makes ACC very unforgiving and you will find that to get the best lap times, you should try to drive the car like you would a real-world race car.
With the realistic simulation aspect of Assetto Corsa Competizione comes the recommendation to use a steering wheel rather than a controller. Driving ACC with an Xbox or PlayStation controller is certainly possible, and some players can be mighty fast with a controller! But you will almost always have much more immersion and control racing ACC with a racing wheel.
And on that note, I wanted to recommend a few steering wheels for Assetto Corsa Competizione. If you currently don’t own a racing wheel for your PC, Xbox or PS5, I would normally recommend starting with an entry-level racing wheel. This lets you try sim racing with a wheel and will help you find out whether racing with a wheel is for you.
A racing wheel such as the Logitech G923 does a great job of giving sim racers a glimpse at how racing with a wheel can feel at a relatively low price. The force feedback technology in the Logitech racing wheel isn’t as powerful as more premium racing wheels that use direct drive technology.
If you are happy to invest a little more money into your racing wheel, you can get a vastly better wheel. A racing wheel such as the Fanatec CSL DD or GT DD Pro is the next logical step up from a budget racing wheel.
|Logitech G923 Bundle
|Fanatec CSL DD
|Fanatec ClubSport DD
These small direct drive racing wheels are brilliant and offer a great performance-to-price ratio. They’re still priced more towards the entry-level end of the scale but offer vastly improved force feedback compared to the Logitech G923.
If you choose an option similar to the Logitech G923, you won’t be able to change your wheel rim. However, if you opt for a slightly more premium option like the Fanatec CSL DD, you can add any compatible steering wheel, as long as it’s compatible with the console or platform you’re racing on.
I would recommend looking at getting a GT or F1-style racing wheel right from the start. These styles of steering wheels emulate the type of steering wheel that is found in many of the GT3 cars of ACC. A wheel such as the Fanatec F1 Esports wheel or the McLaren GT3 V2 wheel offers a fantastic experience for the price and are both wheels I’d highly recommend.
Now on to Assetto Corsa Competizione’s game settings themselves. The very first thing you will want to do once you jump into the menus of ACC is to set up your driver profile. Head over to the driver customisation and set up your name and customise your driver’s look. You can create a custom helmet, a custom race suit and change options such as your country and name abbreviation, although the appearance changes aren’t overly important.
From the driver profile screen, you can also check your driver rating and in-game stats, but we’ll cover that a little further on in this ACC beginners guide.
Next, jump into the options screen from the main menu. Here we can tinker with some of the actual game settings. You can change options from your driving assists, gameplay options and on-screen HUD. The first thing we will do is set up our racing wheel to ensure it is calibrated correctly. We don’t want to jump out on track, approach the first corner just to find our brake pedal doesn’t work properly!
Jump into the settings labelled controls. This is where we can adjust all of our racing wheel settings. The first thing you should do is ensure the correct wheel is selected. You can do this by looking in the bottom left of the screen, where you will see the name of your wheel.
Once it is recognised, you should test all of your pedals and wheel inputs. Do this by simply pressing on the pedals and turning your wheels. You will see on screen that the bars under your brake and throttle will go up and down. This indicates that the game is recognising your inputs.
Once we are all set up with the control inputs, we can move on to the ACC force feedback settings. This is where you dictate how strong your wheel will be, and how it reacts. You may want to play about with these to suit your driving style, but to start we would recommend using recommended settings.
The link above will take you to our recommended ACC force feedback settings for Fanatec racing wheels. These are designed to give you a solid baseline, allowing you to feel the car and road as you should. After you have driven a few laps or sessions with the above settings, you can start to tinker with them to create your own personal set of wheel settings.
Once you are happy, you can save these settings as a preset. This will ensure that your controls stay the same every time you drive. You can create multiple presets if you race with different steering wheels, and this will allow you to quickly load your settings before heading out on track.
Now we have all of the baseline settings adjusted to what we need, we can think about jumping out on track. ACC features a variety of single-player and multiplayer game modes. The career mode or championship mode is probably where you’ll spend most of your time if you want to race single-player. Or the multiplayer lobbies if you want to race against other drivers online.
For now, I’d recommend jumping into a single-player practice session. This will give you a chance to drive any track with any car, with nothing at stake. You can push the limits of your driving, learn each track, and spend time tinkering in this game mode.
Once you click into a single-player session, you will be presented with a variety of options. You can change your car and track as well as settings for the weather, assists and realism settings.
Let’s start from the top and work through each of these options.
Assetto Corsa Competizione features every car and track from a range of different GT Series spanning from the 2018 GT3 World Challenge up to the most recent 2023 GT World Challenge. These championships give you a nice variety of different GT3 cars to race with, and plenty of opportunity to find a car which you like.
There are also GT2 and GT4 cars included in Assetto Corsa Competizione as well as a small selection of cars that compete in single manufacturer series. You can change the series you wish to race in using the bar at the top. This will drop down a selection of series, or you can select the open series to choose any car and run multi-discipline races.
Check out our complete Assetto Corsa Competizione car list for a full run down on every car in ACC.
A great place to start before heading out on track for the very first time is to choose a car that you like. If you have a soft spot for Audi R8s, then, by all means, choose the Audi R8 LMS in-game. There is a good selection of cars in game from Ferrari to Lamborghini, Honda to Mercedes and more.
All of the cars handle and drive differently, so you should slowly try to work your way through them as you play further. You may find that you don’t like how some cars drive, but you have a real connection with another. If this is the case, then stick with what you enjoy.
In terms of tracks, all of the included tracks in ACC range in terms of difficulty. For your very first practice sessions, we would recommend jumping into an easy track such as Monza. This will give you a great platform to learn how the game’s physics engine works, and how the car feels. This is important to understand before jumping into harder tracks.
If you go straight for the trickiest circuit, you will start your ACC journey being frustrated at how hard it is to drive. When in reality it could just be the car and track combination you had chosen. If you want to try a fairly easy combination, go with the Audi R8 and Monza as a starting point.
The realism settings in ACC will dictate how realistic the game is. Here we can change the amount of damage you will receive if you hit anything. As well as the tyre and fuel wear and variable brake temperatures.
There are also a few rule options here such as limiting the amount of tyres you get in a session, whether penalties for dangerous driving are enabled or not, and your formation lap options.
For your first practice session, leaving all of these off or zero is the way to go. We don’t want to have to worry about tyre and fuel wear, as all we want to do is start learning the game, the car and the track.
The weather conditions in Assetto Corsa Competizione are stunning. The game boasts a wide range of weather from light clouds to light rain, to a full-on thunderstorm. These can all be set to be dynamic, meaning during a race the weather can change. There is nothing like starting a race in the bright sunshine, just to see the clouds roll in and the rain start. It adds excitement and unpredictability to a race.
However, to start with, you don’t want to jump into a wet session. This will increase the difficulty massively. Instead, you should run your first few practice sessions and races in clear conditions with dynamic weather turned off. Only once you feel confident in the car you are driving should you turn on dynamic weather.
Racing in the rain in ACC will make the track slipperier meaning you’ll have to adjust your driving style. You will have to brake much earlier than normal as it takes longer to slow down, and you will have to wait until you are around the corner and in a reasonably straight line before accelerating.
The final option before we can jump into our first practice session are the driving assists in ACC. These are a selection of assists which will make the car easier to drive. These are great for new players as they can make the car more manageable and show you the best way to drive a new track.
Working through them from the top. You should set your gearbox to manual. This will allow you to change gears yourself, which is something you want to do if using a racing wheel. This lets you assign the paddle shifters on your steering wheel to manually shift up and down.
You can leave your engine start, wipers, lights, and pit limiter to automatic for now. If you want to add immersion later down the line you can turn these on. This will give you manual control for all of the above.
We would highly recommend leaving the stability control set to off. If you turn this on, it will add an artificial stability control to stop your car from spinning. This doesn’t feel natural, and won’t let you feel the true limits of the car. In the long run, it will only hamper your driving ability. Having it set to off from the start will let you learn the cars much better.
The ideal racing line is a great feature if you are learning new tracks. It will show an on-screen line for when to brake and accelerate through corners. It will also show you where you should be on track. Over time you will want to turn this off to add to the immersion of the game. But to start with it is highly recommended to keep this on until you learn each track.
Once you have gone through all of the above, you should be ready to jump into your first practice session. Click start and wait for the session to load. As soon as you are into the practice session you can head out on track by clicking drive. This will place you into the pit lane. From the here there is one last thing you should do before driving your first laps.
You will notice as soon as you jump into the cockpit, that your screen is full of on-screen graphics. These show you everything from your position, lap time, tyre temperatures and more. These options are completely down to personal preference for which elements you have displaying on-screen at all times. You can go into the options and turn all of them off, or just some of them. Or you can leave them all enabled.
Running through them, in the top left corner you will see your lap times. This displays your current lap time, as well as your best lap and your last lap. This is a great HUD option to keep enabled so you can see how much your lap times are improving.
In the bottom left, you will see your driver’s name and car number. In a race, this will show other drivers as well and will indicate your position in a race. Again, this is a great option to keep enabled so that as you race you can see where you are in the field of cars.
The bottom right of the screen shows the most amount of information. It shows your rev counter, your speed, engine modes, fuel and your tyre and brake temperatures. This is probably the most important HUD option. The rev counter and speed can be disabled as you will be able to see it in the cockpit view already. However, the tyre temperatures and brake temperatures give you great indications of how you use your tyres.
This bottom right corner also shows your fuel levels, which is key during a race. You can monitor how your fuel depletes and when you need to make a pit stop. And it also shows your engine mode. All cars have multiple engine modes which you can cycle through during a race. Different engine modes are designed for different uses giving more or less power.
We have finally covered all of the settings of Assetto Corsa Competizione. And now we’re ready to drive our first few laps on track.
The main thing to remember when driving out of the pits for the very first time is to take it slow. Don’t push any of the limits of the car or track straight away. You should give yourself plenty of time to brake, accelerate cautiously and follow the racing line. The most important thing is to just have fun!
You shouldn’t focus on your lap time yet, or try to get close to other cars on track. Instead, just take everything in and enjoy your driving. You should use these first few laps to get used to your car, experiment and learn what everything does. You should get used to pushing the brake and accelerator pedals. Push them harder and softer to see how your car reacts.
Practice shifting with the pedals on your racing wheel, keeping an eye on your RPM. Don’t shift too late otherwise, you can damage your car (if damage is turned on). And try not to shift too early as you will lose time by doing this. Overall, just get into a good rhythm in these first few laps.
You should also pay attention to your racing wheel. Get used to the feeling of the force feedback through the wheel, and pay attention to when it is happening. You will notice your wheel will shake when you drive over bumps and kerbs. You’ll also notice more subtle force feedback when your car’s tyres start to slip.
Just keep putting in laps and enjoy!
Once you feel comfortable with your car, and the way it behaves. It might be time to jump into a single-player race session. This will allow you to experience racing with other cars. You’ll also get to test out a race weekend format, from practice to qualifying to the race.
Before you do this you should try to accustom yourself to the racing etiquette within Assetto Corsa Competizione. You should learn the flags and what they mean, and how to drive alongside other drivers. Below are a few different circumstances you will encounter and a brief overview of how to handle each one.
Throughout a race weekend, there are three types of session. There are the practice sessions. These give all drivers a chance to get out on track and learn the track and their car. There is no real consequence to practice so you can try different car setups and different racing lines.
Use this time to get used to the track. You can keep the racing line on for these sessions if you don’t know the track layout. There will be other cars on the track at the same time so try not to get in anyone else’s way. You can pick up a penalty which will carry over into the race if you do something dangerous in practice. So just keep to yourself and learn the track.
After practice comes the qualifying session. This is where you set your fastest time to determine where you will start the race from. You should already have a good setup from the practice session and be comfortable with the track. Now is your time to shine.
Again, don’t block other drivers. This is more crucial here than in practice as everyone is trying to set their best lap time. If you are on a slow lap and are being approached from behind. Move out of the way and don’t slow the car behind down.
When you are about to start your fast qualifying lap, ensure you are a reasonable distance from any cars in front. You ideally want an empty road ahead of you so you have no distractions and can focus on running your fastest lap.
Finally, there is the race. This is the main event and where championship points are decided. Try not to get into any accidents as this will only hinder you, and race a clean race. This is probably the most important thing to focus on. In your first few races, you may not finish overly well, but if you race a clean race that is the most important thing.
During the race, there are a few key parts to focus on. You have the start of the race. This is where all of the cars will be grouped closely together. Everyone is fighting for position at the start and is the most likely time in the race for an accident to happen. You will also notice that everyone will be driving a little slower on the first lap.
Because the cars are bunched together there is a ripple effect when slowing down for corners. Ensure you brake early and don’t get caught out by the car in front braking before you do. The most important thing during the first lap of a race is to stay out of trouble. If you get caught up in an accident on lap one, it’ll be very hard to get a good race result. If you run a clean first lap, you will be well set to run a good race.
During a race, you may notice certain coloured flags popping up. These flags indicate an event has happened or happening and give you the heads up.
A yellow flag indicates there has been an accident ahead of you. When driving into a yellow flag area, keep your eyes peeled for any cars that may have had an accident. You should slightly slow down a little as well to ensure you don’t get into any trouble yourself!
After the yellow flag zone has been passed, you will see a green flag. This indicates that you have passed the accident and the track is safe to race on at full speed.
If you see a blue flag, this indicates a faster car approaching from behind. The blue flag in ACC differs from the blue flag in the F1 games slightly. When drivers are given a blue flag, they aren’t under any obligation to let the faster driver pass. Instead, it just tells the driver that a faster car is approaching.
You are not allowed to battle the faster car behind or hold him up, but it is up to them to overtake you. You do not have to slow down and let them pass like in the F1 games!
Once you start to delve into the career mode or feel more comfortable with your car and racing, you can start to adjust your car setup. You will find this when you are in a session in the pit lane.
Out of the box, Assetto Corsa Competizione gives you a few baseline setups to use. These range from aggressive to stable, and give you a feel for how the car behaves when set up differently. These are great to get started with, and you can switch between them at will.
Once you start getting more competitive and are looking for tenths of a second, you should look to create or find a custom car setups. On SimRacingSetup.com, we have a lot of custom car setups that have been created and tested by members of the community, Esports drivers and ourselves. Give these a whirl if you fancy a nice custom setup.
I won’t touch on custom ACC car setups too much here as it is a huge topic that really requires its own guide. Luckily, we have just the guide! Our ACC beginners setup guide will cover every part of your car setup in Assetto Corsa Competizione. It’ll show you what everything does, and how to change various areas of your car setup to achieve certain results.
If creating car setups in ACC isn’t for you, then you can opt to download free or paid car setups that others have created. While free car setups are a great place to start, they can sometimes be hard to find and often outdated.
Buying premium ACC car setups ensures that you always have the most up-to-date car setups, as they are updated after every ACC game update and often updated each week.
There are a variety of ACC setup bundles available on SimRacingSetup.com. These premium car setups have been created by long-time sim racers, and will almost always offer an improvement over your current car setup.
One of the most appealing aspects of ACC is racing against other drivers online. Games such as iRacing have created whole communities of sim racers who race with other drivers online in leagues and competitions. ACC is looking to replicate that success with this racing simulator.
Before you are even allowed to race online however you need to meet a few criteria. These come in the form of ratings. Your ratings essentially dictate how good of a driver you are, and rates you across different sectors. These include your track rating (TR) which indicates how fast you are. And your safety rating (SR) which indicates how safe of a driver you are.
There are numerous other ratings which break down these two categories further. All of your ratings can be improved by racing faster, and safer, both online and offline.
Increase your track rating by completing clean laps, and putting in fast lap times. For example, you gain a star (which can be viewed in your profile) by completing a single clean lap, and two stars for two consecutive clean laps. The best way to increase this rating initially is to jump into practice mode and lap your favourite circuit.
The more consistent laps you complete, the higher your track rating will be. Each track has three stars that can be earned and these are a great way to view your proficiency at each track in ACC.
You can increase your safety racing by racing safely. If you put in clean consistent laps and race closely with other cars this rating will improve. You also gain safety racing by completing clean races against the AI. One of the best ways to increase your safety rating is to complete quick races against the AI without incidents.
If you try to stay under 0.7 seconds, you will start to rack up your safety rating. This is calculated at the end of a session where you will see the result of your racing. Many online servers will impose a minimum safety rating. This ensures that races remain safe by not allowing those with a low safety rating to join.
And that rounds up our complete Assetto Corsa Competizione beginners guide for PC, Xbox and PlayStation. Hopefully, this beginners guide will help you through your first few play sessions with Assetto Corsa Competizione, and let you know what to expect as you progress. The most important thing to remember is to have fun and enjoy your racing. Enjoy your time with ACC.
If you want to increase your involvement with ACC, why not join a community or a racing league? You will find many ACC racing leagues and communities for all levels of drivers. Just remember that a slow clean driver is much more appreciated by the community than a fast driver who likes to use other cars as dogdems!
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ACC is certainly not an easy racing sim to pick up and play. It isn’t any harder than other racing simulators such as iRacing, however, you need to approach racing in ACC in a realistic way in order to be fast.
Each car in ACC handles differently, and some are much easier to drive than others. Cars including the BMW M4 GT3, Ferrari 296 GT3 and Mercedes AMG GT3 are all on the easier side to drive. Generally, front-engined cars in ACC are easier to drive than cars with the engine towards the rear like the Porsche 992 GT3.
Using the single-player game modes, you can take any car out onto any track and put in practice laps without any other car on track. You can also set up AI opponents in single-player races on any track to practice and improve your speed.
ACC has a very fleshed-out single-player game mode. There is a career mode, as well as the option to compete in single races and championships. The AI is also incredibly advanced and can race you hard on track. All of these factors result in ACC being very fun to race single-player.
Below are a selection of Assetto Corsa Competizione car setups which are optimised for both PC and console.
These setups are designed to help you improve your lap time and consistency by optimising your car setup for better pace and stability.
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