Though Live for Speed has been around for 18 years now, it is still pretty much kept on the down low, so let us try to expose it a bit with some tips we feel all players should know.
Live for Speed is one of the very few quality, free online racing simulators - well, free to some extent, at least. In order to unlock the full content of the game, a licence must be purchased.
It has been out since 2002, and while it’s not exactly the flashiest piece of entertainment when it comes to graphics, the game’s physics are top notch.
While most of the in-game cars are fictional, there are some real world models available as well. The free version of the game includes one track and three cars: a fictional 115bhp fwd XF GTI, a 140bhp rwd XR GT - also fictional, and a 140bhp BMW FB02, which is a real world formula car.
Whether you are new to racing simulators or not, when it comes to Live for Speed, we suggest you don't go rushing to online racing just yet. Take your time to get to know the game, its cars and its track(s).
Since this is racing a sim, it means all controls are variable - gas throttle, clutch, breaks and steering. However, the keyboard can be used to control the throttle, breaks and shift gears. This means that every time you use the throttle, it’s pedal to the metal - expect some oversteer with rwd vehicles. But when it comes to steering, it makes more sense to use the mouse.
Now, you need to tweak your ride. Of course, the simplest way would be to just visit the game's official website and download setups from various drivers. But if you’re a bit of a grease monkey, then pop the bonnet and start pimping your ride.
You can tune-up and adjust everything to your style of driving, from paint job to gear ratio. Just make sure to save the settings before you start playing around with suspension, steering and final drive.
And while you’re at it, make sure that your clutch is set to automatic and that your breaks are adjusted accordingly so you don’t lock your wheels every time you hit them. Our personal sweet spot is 607nm with 72 per cent break balance to the front wheels.
Once you’re done setting everything up, it’s time to hit the tracks... well, the training tracks, we should say. The best way to get a feel for the game and learn how your car behaves on the track is in the training mode.
The game will rate your skills as you progress through the training lessons - beginner, learner, OK, quick and pro is a simplification of your in-game skill evaluation. It might become somewhat tedious after a while, but try to complete all available training lessons. It will certainly help you out a lot.
You’re probably itching to race by now, but, before going online, try doing some single player sessions with AI racers, which are also rated according to skill, so you can match it with yours. Make sure to turn on the racing line as well - it’s a great feature that shows the ideal path and speed around the track.
If you’re comfortable driving faster than the line designates and you’re confident that you can make the corner, then, by all means, do - that’s really the only way you can improve your time.
We also recommend you practice overtaking AIs, especially while cornering. Contact with a rear-end side of your opponent will spin them out of control, and will most likely get you kicked from a server, so be mindful of that.
There is only one track in the free version of the game, called Blackwood. Get to know the track like the back of your hand, and once you drop your lap time down to 01:37 with XFG and XRG, or to 01:17 with FBM, you will be ready to start competing and joining servers.
There are all kinds of races waiting out there - from simple circuit and rally, to drag and drifting races. With no time like the present, we suggest you start revving your engine so that you can dominate those tracks.