Project CARS 2 Performance Review

The Game, Graphics Engine & Settings

Shortly after the release of Project CARS (Community Assisted Racing Simulator), Slightly Mad Studios and World of Mass Development started fundraising for its sequel. Project CARS 2 launched worldwide last September, and is based on the same in-house Madness Engine development framework.

But the addition of SMS' LiveTrack 3.0 environmental simulation system makes Project CARS 2 more realistic. Your experience over the course of multiple races changes as the track surface, temperature, and weather vary.

Project CARS 2 for the PC remains a DirectX 11-based game, even though the 3D engine is supposed to be DirectX 12-capable. You're still able to play across three 4K screens (if you have the graphics horsepower) or a VR HMD. Excited yet? Let's see how well the game runs.

Benchmark Sequence

It is always difficult to choose a test sequence when the game has no integrated benchmark. We therefore picked an easy circuit (meaning we can easily reproduce it over and over): Autodromo Nazionale Monza GP Historic, with 15 vehicles on the track and slightly cloudy weather. Watch the recording of our test in the video below:

Incidentally, by repeating this sequence for each card, we rose to the top of the world ranking for this track behind the wheel of Toyota's TS040 Hybrid. Here's hoping it's a Tom's Hardware reader who unseats us from the throne!

Steam' page for the game conveys minimum and recommended system configurations for playing Project CARS 2. Graphics seem to be the most important consideration, though a quad-core CPU with high clock rates appears necessary, too. Of course, we'll make it our mission to determine if that's a critical specification.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ProcessorIntel Core i5-3450 or AMD FX-8350Intel Core i7-6700K
GraphicsGeForce GTX 680DirectX 11GeForce GTX 1080 or Radeon RX 480DirectX 11
Operating SystemWindows 7, 10Windows 10
Disk Space50GB50GB

MORE: Star Wars Battlefront II Performance Review

MORE: Wolfenstein II Performance Review

MORE: Destiny 2 Performance Review

Project CARS 2
  • spdragoo
    Question on the Minimum/Recommended specs:

    GeForce GTX 1080 or Radeon RX 480

    I'm assuming the "GTX 1080" is a misprint. While I'm an AMD fan, I know the RX 580 isn't anywhere near as good as the GTX 1080. Also, I didn't see any testing done with the GTX 1080, but the GTX 1060 did show up.

    Also...any plans to do some more testing with other older/lower GPUs? I'm only asking because a) although the listed minimum (GTX 680) isn't too far off the RX 580/GTX 1060 in performance, it is 3 generations behind (& you did testing with GPUs that are technically lower on the hierarchy than a GTX 680); & b) my own GPU (R9 380) is roughly comparable to the 680 (& superior to the GTX 1050/1050TI & RX 460/560 that were used in testing).
  • anbello262
    I would actually like to ask the exact opposite. Any chance of testing 1080 or 1080ti and 4k? This game has ultra realistic graphics that are really affected by resolution/alias.
  • Th_Redman
    I want to try to understand why my old i-7 950(overclocked to 4GHz from 3.06 stock)with a great aftermarket air cooler supposedly couldn't run this game(says minimum i5 3470). I have it paired with a Zotac GTX 970 and 12 GB's of DDR3 1600Mhz RAM so shouldn't that be enough to run the game with good FPS at 1920x1080P resolution?
  • kerberosa20
    try it and u will see if it will be enough
    but stock i7 950 has around half single core performance of i7 3450...
    so dont expect miracles
  • nmezib
    Any hope of doing VR performance? Like with using Nvidias FCAT tool, or by measuring reprojection times, etc.?

    VR sim racing is a real big deal, and PCars 2 is one of the best looking but most demanding of them. It would be nice to have a list of the most important graphics settings with respect to performance impact.
  • cooldex
    yea woulda like to see 4k tested with gtx 1070 but i actually have the first one which ran pretty well on my laptop at 40fps at 4k (1070)
  • gadgety
    Shortly after the release of Project CARS (Community Assisted Racing Simulator), Slightly Mad Studios and World of Mass Development started fundraising for its sequel.

    They didn't make enough profit on the first?