In what seems like a perfectly timed move to take advantage of our collective house arrest, The Bend Motorsport Park has just become the newest addition to highly regarded racing sim Assetto Corsa… but only if you play on PC. Sorry, Xbox folks.
Now available to purchase in four different configurations as DLC for the game, The Bend - located in Tailem Bend in South Australia and notable for being Australia's longest and newest racetrack - has been assisting in the development of its virtual counterpart throughout 2019.
The circuit might look a little simple by modern standards, what with bright-green grass, 90s-era sky textures and an appearance that just looks a little too 'clean' for a circuit, the stuff that matters should be spot on. With a nine-month development that saw the track surface laser scanned, turned into CAD data, and cross-referenced with GPS measurements, The Bend promises that its digital version is ultra-faithful to the real thing.
Even so, do not expect the same level of visual accuracy as the Mount Panorama DLC that was recently rolled out for Assetto Corsa Competizione. Yes, we know they're two different games running on two different graphics engines, but ACC's gorgeous Mount Panorama DLC (below) makes the official Tailem Bend DLC look particularly cartoonish.
The primary offering and one which we suspect will be the most popular purchase is the full 35-turn, 7.77km GT Circuit, which is available for $19.95. At the same price is the shorter (4.95km) International Circuit, which skips the East Circuit section of the track but otherwise mimics the GT layout. If you're looking to replicate Supercars races at The Bend, the International config is the one you'll want.
Racers seeking a more cut-down experience can also opt for the East and West Circuit (3.41 and 3.93km respectively), each available for $9.95, but if you’re cashed up and keen for the full Bend experience you can save just under ten bucks and buy the whole set of four configurations for $49.95.
And that's a hefty price for a track DLC, and not far off the cost of the Assetto Corsa Ultimate Edition that includes the base game and ELEVEN DLC packs that include, among a few other additional circuits, the mighty Nurburgring Nordschleife in high-res, laser-scanned glory - the only circuit in the world that's longer than The Bend's GT configuration. In fact, the Dream Pack 1 that contains the Nordschleife will set you back just $9.95 on Steam... and includes six new racecars to play with as well.
Nevertheless, if you want an accurate representation of Tailem Bend then there's no real substitute. As far as we can tell there's only one other DLC available for The Bend: a community-developed mod for rFactor 2. Plus, buying the official track puts a little more dosh in the pockets of The Bend Motorsport Park itself, so you'll be supporting local motorsport in a fairly direct fashion - even if your visits to the track are strictly virtual.