Ultimate Project CARS 2 VR Guide

author avatarJoe Terrell
02/18/202118th February, 2021
Filed under Gaming Guides

Sim racing is soaring in popularity, and Virtual Reality provides an immersive racing experience from the comfort of your home. We explore Project CARS 2’s VR potential in this guide.

project cars 2 vr


Introduction

With the global pandemic taking its toll throughout 2020 and continuing as we head into 2021, e-sports have continued to provide a lifeline to motorsport enthusiasts that aren’t currently able to follow their passion on the racetrack or the streets.

As much as we wish we could travel to events, meeting friends, and drifting once again, we have to make the most of the situation that many of us find ourselves in, and this is where sim racing has thrown us a lifeline.

Many countries remain under full lockdown, and some significant drift competitions, particularly in Europe, have struggled to produce any events over the past 12 months.

As devastating as this has been, it has provided an opportunity for the rise in sim racing, a culture that we believe we should genuinely be embracing in the present day.

Not only is sim racing pandemic-proof, but it provides the perfect opportunity to refine your drifting, or racing skills, from the comfort of your home.

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With open-world games such as Forza Horizon 4, they can also provide a unique opportunity for getting your street drifting antics out of your system in a responsible manner without the fear of losing your license or worse.

Sure, there’s nothing quite like the smell of fuel, picking burnt rubber off your face, and the real-world fun and laughter with friends.

Still, sim racing provides the perfect chance to embrace the current situation for many of us, as we prepare ourselves in the best way for when ‘normality’ returns by refining our skills at home.

VR delivers the ultimate solution to getting the closest thing to the ‘real’ experience, and as they get more realistic than ever, they can certainly help you improve.

Although VR was dismissed as a gimmick by many at first, it’s evolved quickly, becoming the perfect match for drift simulators.

For those who are interested, you can read about my experience of transitioning from a single to triple-monitor setup for sim racing before eventually progressing to VR in our Assetto Corsa VR guide.

Although a triple-monitor setup is fantastic for racing, enabling a far wider field of vision, which is especially helpful for seeing out the side windows when drifting - there’s no question that VR takes this to the next level.

pan panning ferrari gt3 488 16

Another benefit to a VR setup over triple-monitor is that it takes up far less space. With three 23” monitors strapped next to each other, you need 69 inches of width, combined with room for a full setup and your gaming rig.

Transitioning to VR allowed me to return to a convenient, single monitor setup, along with a headset that takes up no room at all. And the best part? It’s provided a far superior drifting experience in the process.

VR is an experience that you truly need to try to understand why it’s so revolutionary. The fully immersive experience of being inside the cockpit of your favorite drift and race cars, with the ability to turn your head and look around, is incredible.

That’s before you even push the gas pedal. Once you do, the 360-degree experience is an absolute game-changer, and things feel faster paced and more realistic than ever.

Sure, your first few experiences may well end with motion sickness or nausea, but we encourage you to stick with it, as we know of many people that have struggled to begin with but soon adapted.

With VR now becoming more affordable than ever in 2021, there’s a wide range of VR options available, which will provide a solution for most gamers, from budget to premium.

When it comes to VR racing games, Project CARS 2 is one of the best on the market, and although there isn’t support for Playstation’s PSVR or Xbox consoles, it should still be a consideration for PC sim racing enthusiasts.

Not sure whether VR in Project CARS 2 is going to be for you? Check out this video, and if you like what you see, you’ll want to continue reading.

We’re going to explain everything you could need to know when it comes to getting the best out of what Virtual Reality has to offer in Project CARS 2 with this guide.


How to Play Project CARS 2 in VR

Although Xbox gamers are used to experiencing disappointment when it comes to VR gaming, the decision to exclude the PlayStation VR platform has left many keen Sony gamers feeling neglected.

Despite Slightly Mad Studios stating back in 2017 that they were working hard to try and bring PC2 VR to the PlayStation, they never materialized.

With the recent launch (well, flop) of Project CARS 3, this, unfortunately, continued to be the case, leaving many PlayStation enthusiasts bemused.

Unfortunately, PC gamers are the only ones who can experience what VR has to offer in Project CARS 2.

Before you can play Project CARS 2 with VR on the PC, you’ll need to ensure that your PC is capable, as VR is likely to push a lower-spec PC beyond its limits.

How to Launch Project CARS 2 In VR

Since many PC gamers have been having issues with launching Project CARS 2 In VR mode, we’ve provided some simple instructions to resolve the problems.

Firstly, you need to ensure that you either have a wheel or a controller connected. If you attempt to open the game with just a keyboard/mouse/VR controller setup, PC2 won’t correctly run in VR mode.

With the wheel or controller connected, the preferred method of launching would be to open your Steam Library, right-click the game, and you’ll be presented with a variety of options.

‘Play in VR Mode with HTC Vive’ or ‘Play in Other Mode with Oculus Rift’ may be the choices, depending on your VR make and model.

Although it may initially seem like it hasn’t worked correctly, the menu won’t be displayed in full VR mode, but VR should now be working as intended once you begin a race.


Is Your PC Ready For Project CARS 2 in VR?

To ensure smooth and enjoyable playback with VR in Project CARS 2, you’ll want to ensure that your PC at least meets these minimum requirements.

Project CARS 2 – Oculus-Ready Recommended Specs:

  • NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
  • Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • 8GB+ memory
  • Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output, 3x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

Although these are the minimum specs that the game recommends, it’s always better to go with the best setup you can afford.

This will not only provide superior visuals and smoother playback, but it’ll also ensure that it’s compatible with other VR games and make it far more future-proof.

Project CARS 2 uses more resources than games such as Assetto Corsa, and if you’re looking for the best settings, you’ll ideally want a high-end card like the GTX 1010 Ti, which is capable of handling ‘High’ and ‘Ultra’ settings in VR mode.

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In ‘Medium’ mode, cards such as the RX Vega 64 LC could be a consideration. GPU’s such as the RX 580 and GTX 1060 are likely to struggle to achieve framerates above 45 FPS on ‘Low’.

If you need to consider upgrading your gaming rig to get the best possible experience, our racing game GPU guide will provide the ultimate solution.


Best VR Headset for Project CARS 2

As with everything, different people may prefer specific VR headset brands, so it may be worth deciding which headset is best for you. Think of it as the ‘Xbox vs PlayStation’ or ‘Apple vs Samsung’ argument!

However, there is one standout product on the market right now from Oculus, and we don’t feel that their rivals, such as HTC, have caught up with a competitive offering for what you get for the money.

For that reason, here’s our personal ‘Drifted Choice’ recommendation in 2021.

Drifted VR Headset Choice

The Drifted headset of choice is used by several of our staff members for racing in Project CARS 2 and online drift tandem sessions in Assetto Corsa, and we feel it represents the best value-for-money by far right now.

oculus quest 2
Oculus Quest 2

If you’ve already begun researching VR headsets, then our recommendation will likely come as no surprise.

Oculus has brought several revolutionary headsets to the market, such as the Oculus Rift, Oculus Touch, the original Quest, and now the Quest 2.

Featuring an LCD-display with a 3664 x 1920 resolution, a 90hz refresh rate, and a field-of-view of 100-degrees, it’s the perfect setup for experiencing what Project CARS 2 has to offer without having to splash out big money.

The only downside for many gamers has been integrating a compulsory Facebook login to use the Quest 2, which hasn’t gone down well with many enthusiasts.

Facebook login aside, we’re sure this won’t leave you disappointed.

Our Premium VR Headset Choice

If you’ve got big bucks to spend and looking to build the ultimate sim-racing rig, we also have a superior premium offering, but it does come at a price.

valve index
Valve Index VR Full Kit

Valve Index has brought this incredible piece of kit to the market with a full AMOLED display, a maximum resolution of 2880 x 1600, a field-of-view of ~130 degrees, and a crazy refresh rate 120Hz, or 144Hz in experimental mode.

I’ve had the pleasure of using this setup once, and although it was mind-blowing, the Oculus Quest 2 is likely to be more than good enough for most everyday gaming needs.


How Much Does Sim Racing Cost?

As you can probably guess, this is similar to the ‘how long is a piece of string?’ question. It depends on how extreme you want to go with your build and what you already have.

For instance, here’s an idea of just how extreme things can get:

However, we haven’t got a million dollars burning a hole in our pockets, so let’s look at a couple of rational alternatives.

Drifted Wheel/Pedal Choice

We’ve had great success with the Thrustmaster TX wheel/pedal setup, and we’d highly recommend it for the price.

Although there are cheaper considerations out there on the market, such as the Logitech G920, we soon found ourselves opting for a superior setup, so we highly recommend jumping straight to the Thrustmaster TX.

Premium Wheel/Pedal Choice

If you’ve opted for the Valve Index, then you’re understandable going to be looking for the best wheel/pedal combo to match.

If that’s the case, then look no further than the Fanatec Clubsport.

It’s a serious piece of kit, with an eye-watering price tag, but it is the closest you’re going to get to the ‘real thing’.

Is it worth the money? Only you can decide. It’s on my dream wish list. One day!


Project CARS 2 VR FAQ

We’ve been asked several questions when it comes to getting the most out of your VR setup in Assetto Corsa, which we’ll answer in this section.

If you have any further questions, feel free to drop us a line, and we’ll happily include them in this section for you.

Project CARS 2 VR Performance Issues

Many PC2 fans that have opted to upgrade to VR have encountered issues when they’ve first started playing the game, but they’re most likely going to be easily resolvable, so don’t panic too much.

If you’re suffering from poor graphics, flickering, low FPS, or stutter, it’s likely to be some simple settings issues that need tweaking.

The first port of call will be to ensure your GPU is capable of running the game in VR, but if it is, and you’re still experiencing issues, then try adjusting the supersampling settings:

Project CARS 2 Poor VR Graphics – Supersampling Settings

Firstly, head to the SteamVR settings and try changing supersampling to a range between 100-135%.

We’ve heard of users having issues using the Project CARS 2 in-game supersampling under the VR settings menu to control this. Keep the in-game SS at 1.0, but tweak the SteamVR settings to enhance the performance - 135% worked well on my setup (Global – 150%, Project CARS 2 - 90% = 135%)

If you notice that you’re dropping frames occasionally under in scenarios where there are several cars on-screen, consider turning it down slightly.

rain rainy wet race gt3

We recommend purchasing fpsVR for a few bucks on Steam, which will allow you to monitor our hardware performance in the game to ensure it’s running optimally.

You’ll want to ensure your GPU usage stays within the 80-90 range. If it’s much lower, then the chances are you can continue to up the performance in SteamVR to find the perfect settings.

Project CARS 2 VR View Reset

A common issue is that gamers play with the view settings and then realize they’re stuck with an awkward viewpoint - don’t panic!

Head to ‘Options’ > ‘Edit Assignments’ > Third up from the bottom, there is ‘Center VR Headset’.

Alternatively, if you wish to move the camera around, you can use CTRL+K. If you want to make further alterations, you can use the WASD keys for forward-back and up-down camera movement – and Q and E for left and right.

You can also cycle views with Numpad keys 2, 4, 6, and 8, and this free camera mode sets the camera’s default position.

Can You Play Project CARS 2 Without A Wheel?

Although you’re able to use an Xbox (or similar) controller with the game, we highly recommended that you opt for a wheel setup to achieve the best experience.

Project CARS 2 is a significant step up from the original game when it comes to playing on the controller, but it’s still not even close to competing with a wheel.

If you attempt to open the game with just a keyboard/mouse/VR controller setup, PC2 won’t correctly run in VR mode.

Project CARS 2 VR Windows Mixed Reality

We’re yet to dive into the WMR realm, but we’ve heard of several PC2 players that have had success with WMR using this video:

Feel free to share any mixed reality videos you have here. We’d love to share more of this fascinating technology.


Conclusion

Project CARS 2 is one of the best racing sims available for all platforms, but it’s only PC gamers that are truly going to be able to enjoy the best that the game has to offer with VR integration.

Combined with PC2’s ever-growing PC mod community, there are many reasons why PC is proving itself as the perfect platform for Project CARS 2 enthusiasts.

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It’s a shame to see the lack of VR support across consoles, which could have potentially given Project CARS 2 the upper hand over its console rivals, such as Forza Motorsport 7.

So, if you’re a PC racing enthusiast that’s looking to make the most out of what Project CARS 2 has to offer, we hope we’ve covered everything you need to know when it comes to enjoying what VR has to offer.

For those of you, like us, that are more interested in drifting, we highly recommend giving Assetto Corsa a try.

PC2 is aimed more at the racing market than drifting, which it does exceptionally well.

race racing japan racecar

However, with an incredible mod community, Assetto Corsa can make just about any of your drifting dreams a (virtual) reality. Excuse the pun!

Whichever game you choose to go for, we’ve got no doubt that you’re going to love taking a look at what the virtual reality world has to offer.

Although motion sickness is common among VR gamers initially, be sure to give it a solid chance, as we found that after several sessions, it was no longer an issue. We’ve loved it ever since.

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

Thank you for reading our Project CARS 2 VR 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 Project CARS 2 and sim racing 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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