Straight4/SimRacing Unlimited

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GTR, but even better: Ian Bell launches ambitious project with Straight4

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It was not exactly a well-kept secret that Ian Bell, formerly of SimBin and Slightly Mad Studios, wanted to get the old developer gang of the GTR days back together to tackle a new project as Straight4 Studios. Now, they have launched their website and unveiled a few core philosophies as well as involved personnel that sim racers might still remember.

The project called GTR Revival sets out to “achieve ever-increasing realism” and to “bring unprecedented levels of immersion, excitement and fidelity to the player”. Straight4 is going to develop their own physics engine in combination with Unreal Engine 5 for the visual aspects, aiming to involve the community as much as possible as well.

Bell and his reassembled team share history that goes back to the days of GTR (2005) and GTR2 (2006), the latter of which is still held in high regards among sim racers. They were also involved in the Project CARS series. Bell had been tweeting about getting the old team of devs back together in 2022, and the Straight4 CEO also did not hold back with his opinions on what sim racing is lacking today.

The new project will see input from Henrik Roos, who is well-known for his involvement in GTR as well as racing his own red Chrysler Viper GTS-R (with white racing stripes) in the FIA GT series, as well as Ben Collins, who formerly played The Stig on Top Gear. They will work with Physics Director AJ Weber, who oversees the creation of an all-new physics engine. Their current test mule is a Ford Escort sporting a namesake straight-4 engine, as can be seen in wireframe models already.

Meanwhile, Stephen Baysted is back to create the sim’s audio environment. He had been involved in the GTR days already and has added titles like Need for Speed Shift and Project CARS as well as movies like Fast & Furious Crossroads to his body of work. The audio department shares the same philosophy as the rest of GTR Revival: Intensity. “The brutality of motorsport is our key focus”, Baysted states on the website.

It is not yet known what kind of content the project is going to focus on – though Bell has previously stated on Twitter that “based on fan feedback, we’re moving beyond a pure GT roster of cars to include anything we find interesting.” GTR Revival is also going to be “the most moddable Auto platform ever”, according to the Straight4 CEO.

Additionally, Bell has hinted at “a complete game changing USP” that the studio is looking to patent, which is either going to be featured in the sim from the start or to be added later via a free update, depending on how long the patenting process is going to take. More insight on GTR Revival by Roos and Weber can be found here.