Assetto Corsa Vs Project CARS 2 – Which Is Best?

author avatarJoe Terrell
12/26/202026th December, 2020
Filed under Gaming Guides

Whether you’re planning to drift or race, Assetto Corsa and Project CARS 2 are among the most popular sim racing games. But, which is best? We cover everything you need to know in this guide.

assetto corsa vs project cars 2


Introduction

When Slightly Mad studios released the first Project CARS game in 2015, it received a mixed response from gamers and critics alike, and very few felt that it matched the standard set by Assetto Corsa, which had been on the market since 2013.

After listening to the feedback, they opted to head back to the drawing board, and in September 2017, they launched Project CARS 2, providing them with a second shot at beating Assetto Corsa’s efforts.

As the reviews began rolling in, they picked up an “Amazing” 9.2 rating from IGN. Meanwhile, Gamespot wasn’t quite as blown away - instead opting for 7/10.

But, let’s face it; the early critics’ reviews aren’t the deciding factor.

It’s not until you begin throwing some significant hours into both games that you begin to unravel the true positives and negatives that either game has to offer from your perspective.

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Luckily for you, we’ve invested a shameful number of hours of seat time in both games.

After several years of enjoying what they both have to offer, we’ve built up a fairly substantial list of considerations to help you decide which game is likely to be best suited for your individual preferences.

Although they’re both targeting a similar sim racing crowd, their approach has been somewhat different. Because of that, there’s no clear-cut answer to which game is ‘better’ since they have their unique appeal.

For that reason, it’s time to head to the start line as we put these sim-racers head-to-head!


Assetto Corsa vs Project CARS 2 - Physics

Those of you experienced in sim racing will undoubtedly know that physics can be a little controversial, especially in games where there are so many settings that can be tweaked to find a much-improved setup.

Force Feedback (FFB) is typically the main complaint with Project CARS 2 when comparing the games. Assetto Corsa feels much more refined straight out of the box when it comes to FFB, where Project CARS 2 is likely to need quite a few adjustments to get right.

There’s a vast selection of custom FFB settings and profiles for both games, so it’s certainly not a deal-breaker, but it’s likely to be the first thing PC2 gamers will need to consider.

When it comes to sheer all-around driving pleasure, we feel that Assetto Corsa still takes the win, but not by a considerable margin, and Project CARS has undoubtedly improved their physics significantly since the first game.

We found this side-by-side video of the two games rather interesting, especially where it shows the ‘twitchiness’ of the steering:

As someone lucky enough to drive the Nurburgring on several occasions, Assetto Corsa takes the win to provide a more realistic experience. We also felt it offered more immersion, bringing back the vibes from when we enjoyed our time on the circuit.

For us, in-game physics provides the most important element for enjoying a racing sim long-term.

While graphics can blow you away initially, they’re likely to become the new ‘norm’ rather quickly, where the in-game physics set an excellent sim racing game apart from the rest.

In summary, for those of you looking for a realistic racing simulator, we feel that Assetto Corsa is the better choice, even once you’ve managed to iron out the PC2 FFB niggles.

When it comes to competitive sim racers, iRacing is another strong contender to consider, especially for those who aren’t looking to go down the drifting route.


Assetto Corsa vs Project CARS 2 - Graphics

Since Project CARS 2 is the newer game of the two and built on a much more substantial budget, sim racers had high expectations for the graphics, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

One of the main appeals that PC2 in terms of visuals is that it provides both dynamic weather and day/night cycles, which make for a fantastic addition during the longer races, which AC doesn’t have.

Putting the two side-by-side in terms of graphics, Project CARS 2 has a more polished, detailed, and refined feel to it – but Assetto Corsa is still far from disappointing.

Some gamers feel that Assetto Corsa looks a more natural feel, making it less distracting and cleaner to the eyes, but this mostly comes down to personal preference.

The positive of AC providing less detail is that you’ll be able to run it on a lower-spec PC, where PC2 is a little more demanding.

We’ve got an excellent guide for finding the best GPU for racing games if you’re considering upgrading to get the most out of your sim rig.

Assetto Corsa Minimum System Requirements:

  • OS: Windows Vista Sp1, 8, 8.1, 10
  • Processor: AMD Athlon X2 2.8 GHZ, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHZ
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 10.1 (AMD Radeon HD 6450, Nvidia GeForce GT 460)
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Hard Drive: 15 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Integrated

Assetto Corsa Recommended System Requirements:

  • OS: Windows 7 Sp1 - 8 - 8.1 - 10
  • Processor: AMD Six-Core CPU, Intel Quad-Core CPU
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 11 (AMD Radeon 290x, Nvidia GeForce GTX 970)
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Hard Drive: 30 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Integrated

Project CARS 2 Minimum System Requirements:

  • OS: Windows 10 (+ specific versions of 7)
  • Processor: 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5 3450, 4.0 GHz AMD FX-8350
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GTX680 or equivalent
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 50 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX compatible sound card

Project CARS 2 Recommended System Requirements:

  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel i7 6700k
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVidia GTX 1080 or AMD Radeon RX480
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 50 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX compatible sound card

Assetto Corsa vs Project CARS 2 - Content

So far, we feel that Assetto Corsa takes the win in the physics department, while Project CARS 2 made things equal again by taking the win when it came to visuals.

When it comes to content, this is a tough one to call. Although it looks pretty clean cut on the surface, Project CARS 2 appearing to be the clear winner.

Project CARS 2 offers 205 cars (189 at initial release) and 60 circuits.

Assetto Corsa falls short in comparison, featuring 178 cars and 19 circuits on the Ultimate Edition.

On top of this, Project CARS 2 also includes oval racing, go-karting, and rallycross events, all of which you won’t find in Assetto.

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For these reasons, Project CARS 2 is one of the most impressive racing sims out there when it comes to content straight out of the box, and this will undoubtedly appeal to those of you deciding which one to choose for console gaming.

On top of that, PC2 provides an enjoyable career mode that features Championships, team management, and various exciting race events.

On the other hand, AC isn’t on the same level. Although there’s a campaign mode, there are no Championships, or anything at stake, making it far less enjoyable in the long-term.

So, Project CARS 2 is shaping up to be the clear winner here, huh?

From a console gaming perspective, that may well be the case for providing a fun and enjoyable sim racer with an exciting career mode.

However, for the PC gamers out there, Assetto Corsa has a game-changing trick hiding up its sleeve, enabling it to completely blow PC2 out of the park when it comes to content, which we’ll cover in our next section.


Assetto Corsa vs Project CARS 2 - Mods

Yep, you guessed it - mods!

For us, this is where Assetto stands head and shoulders above any other game out there, and it’s the main reason that it’s become the clear-cut choice for so many sim-racing gamers.

Once you begin to explore what the mod community offers, you’ll realize that the content provided in either game in standard form becomes somewhat irrelevant.

Sure, Project CARS 2 may have almost 30 cars more than AC on the console, but given that there are quite literally thousands of car mods to choose from out there, AC is the ultimate platform for PC gamers.

We’re not just talking about cars, either. Mods can completely transform the game. Remember we spoke about the rallycross and karting that PC2 has? Don’t worry; there’s a mod for those.

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If you’re disappointed that Forza took Fujimi Kaido away from you? Nevermind, there’s a mod for that, too.

Have you always wanted to throw down Daigo Saito’s JZX100 at Ebisu Minami in VR? No problem, there’s a mod for that.

Or perhaps you want to take it to the streets, and visit Japan’s most incredible touge roads? Yep - you guessed it, there’s a mod for that, too.

You’re probably starting to get the idea!

We’re not exaggerating when we say that quite literally every car and scenario you can think of has likely been built by the mod community for Assetto Corsa.

The possibilities are endless, especially when it comes to drifting.

Combine all of these positives with the fantastic Content Manager, which overrides Assetto’s disappointing UI/launcher experience, and it suddenly becomes a whole different ball game.

It’s incredible to see what the mod community has achieved for AC. Although not every mod is 100% perfect, we’ve got no doubt you’ll be able to find endless amounts of incredible content to keep you entertained.


Assetto Corsa vs Project CARS 2 - Online

Although both games are excellent to play online, Assetto Corsa has a far larger online community, and unlike other games like Grand Theft Auto V, you’re able to play online with mods, too.

Specific lobbies run unique mod cars/tracks, so you’ll still be on an equal playing field, and this is why Assetto Corsa is the most popular PC choice when it comes to drifting.

With a vast selection of just about every car and track you can imagine available for you to choose from with Assetto Corsa mods, PC2 doesn’t come close if you’re mainly looking to drift in either game.

Not only that, but Assetto Corsa provides some incredibly competitive drift leagues and competitions, where you can go head-to-head with some of the highest-level pro drifters across the globe.

If you’re interested in competing, then you’ll want to take a look at the many competitions out there. VDC is known for featuring some of Europe’s best drivers, driving their competition cars in the game.

Check out the video below, which shows a fantastic battle between Irish drifting legends Conor Shanahan and Alan Hynes as they go door-to-door at Riga.

Although you’ll find plenty of races to join when it comes to playing Project CARS 2 online, it’s not going to provide the same experience that you’ll be able to get from AC, especially when it comes to drifting.


Assetto Corsa vs Project CARS 2 - Drifting

Although drifting is possible in Project CARS 2, there’s a minimal selection of cars to choose from, but even with the best cars, it’s simply not on the same level as Assetto Corsa for drifting.

That’s before you touch on the subjects we talked about in the ‘Online’ section above, where you’ll potentially have the opportunity to compete with some of the worlds’ best in AC.

When it comes to drifting in Project CARS 2, this is about as good as it gets:

On the other hand, this is as good as it gets in Assetto Corsa:

We’ll let you decide the winner here!


Assetto Corsa vs Project CARS 2 - Racing

When it comes to providing the ultimate racing package, it’s not so one-sided.

For console racers, the lack of content and career modes within Assetto Corsa stands out here.

Sure, you’ll have a whole new dimension unlocked with the incredible collection of mods available for PC gamers, but you’ll want to head online to maximize the potential here.

If you’re looking for a single-player racing experience against the AI, then AC doesn’t offer quite such a complete package as PC2, and you’ll likely find yourself doing hot laps with the various mods.

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As far as providing a ‘gaming’ experience, PC2 offers a far more complete package with an extensive career mode, combined with championships and various events.

On top of that, there are also various events to enjoy in PC2, such as off-road/gravel competitions.

Although the AI in Project CARS 2 has its moments, we feel that it provides a better single-player experience than AC has to offer.

Unless you’re looking to venture online, AC soon becomes more of a hot lap simulator, where you’ll be wanting to get behind the wheel of the thousands of mods that the community has to offer.

Assetto Corsa Competizione

If you’re serious about racing, then it may be worth checking out Assetto Corsa’s latest game, Assetto Corsa Competizione.

Contradictory to what many initially thought, isn’t ‘Assetto Corsa 2’, nor is it trying to be. It’s more of an intense GT-orientated racing experience.

ACC provides improved graphics, combined with a 24-hour day/night cycle alongside various weather changes, an improved network engine, and a comprehensive driver rating system.

If you’re looking for the most immersive racing experience, where you progress and improve your racing skill as a driver, then this could well be the perfect game to consider.

There are no mods in ACC, which makes it similar to PC2 in this regard, and it’s also a dedicated-racer with no drifting support.

It’s certainly worth looking at for the hardcore racers out there. For those of you that are planning to drift, stick with Assetto Corsa.


Assetto Corsa vs Project CARS 2 - Sounds

The sound of the cars in both games often divide opinions, but Project CARS 2 often receives a lot of criticism in this regard.

In our opinion, Assetto Corsa provides a better experience in the sound department.

Still, both games have some minor discrepancies, and we certainly wouldn’t be buying either game based entirely on sound.

One of the main positives with AC here is that there are plenty of sound mods available for the PC version should you wish to swap out any that bother you.

Here are some of the best engine sounds in Project CARS 2:

And here are some of the most pleasing sounds in Assetto Corsa:

Since we mentioned sound mods, here’s a delightful 2JZ soundtrack for you to enjoy.

Warning – eargasm incoming:


Conclusion

As you can see, there are plenty of positives and negatives for both games here.

The main difference lies between whether you’re looking to purchase either game for the PC, or an Xbox/PlayStation console, as the difference is enormous.

If you’re planning to buy either game for the PC/Windows platform, we can’t ignore what the mod community has to offer the PC game, and feel it’s an easy choice to hand the overall win to Assetto Corsa.

Those planning to purchase either game for drifting, whether it’s on the Xbox/Playstation or the PC platform, then we would definitely be opting for AC, with the PC platform being the far superior choice of the two.

However, if you’re looking for a single-player, career racing experience, then we’ve got to hand the win to Project CARS 2, but we would also be considering Assetto Corsa Competizione.

If you’re looking for a realistic, hot lap racing experience with the best physics, then we’d be leaning towards either Assetto Corsa or Assetto Corsa Competizione.

Likewise, if some slightly improved graphics are what tickles your fancy, we also feel that Project CARS 2 has the upper hand in this regard, even if some gamers think that the advanced detail it provides is a little too distracting.

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PC2 also has dynamic weather and can provide the full 24-hour day/night racing experience.

When it comes to content straight out of the box, the win once again goes to Project CARS 2.

However, for us, as drifters, all of the racing advantages of Project CARS 2 become slightly irrelevant, especially on the PC platform.

As we mentioned previously, the mod community within AC transforms it into an entirely different game.

The capability to have just about every drift car and track imaginable, combined with a fantastic online experience, is where Assetto Corsa gets taken to the next level.

Project CARS 2 simply can’t compete with Assetto Corsa from a drifting perspective, which deservedly takes the top spot as the ultimate PC drift racing platform.

You’ll also be able to enjoy the best of what Assetto Corsa has on a far lower-spec PC for those of you on a smaller budget, which means you’ll be able to put the money aside for a decent sim rig.

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With that said, both games come with an absolute bargain price tag, especially if you find them on sale, and we feel they’re both well worth having in your library.

If we had to choose one? Well, we’re drifters, so we’d opt for Assetto Corsa for PC, without a doubt.

For those of you out there that are hardcore circuit racing gamers, we’d also consider taking a look at both iRacing, and Assetto Corsa Competizione for the most impressive sim experiences out there.

So, there we have it! We hope that we’ve covered everything you could want to know about Assetto Corsa vs Project CARS 2 in this guide.

Looking for the perfect Project CARS 2 setup? This is the guide for you.

Thank you for reading our Assetto Corsa vs Project CARS 2 guide.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with the buttons at the bottom of your screen. If you’ve found this information useful, then please take a moment to share it with other Assetto Corsa or Project CARS 2 fans and sim racing/drifting enthusiasts. We appreciate your support.


Photography credits

We thank the following entities for the use of their photography in this article:

author avatar Written by Joe Terrell Drifted.com founder, motoring journalist and all-round car enthusiast. Read more about Joe and the Drifted team on our about us page.

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