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Targa Florio for rFactor – Taming The Sicilian Beast

Targa Florio for rFactor – Taming The Sicilian Beast

Later today, the Targa Florio Conversion Team will be releasing the iconic Targa Florio for rFactor, adding what is arguably the most challenging and grueling circuit in the history of motorsport to the simulation.

If you´re wondering what all the fuss about yet another rFactor track is about, you probably aren’t aware of the specifics of this event. Used until the 1970s, the Targa Florio is a massive 72 kilometer race track on the Italian island of Sicily.

By today’s standards, this circuit can’t even be called a race track, it is more like a circular rally stage. There are no gravel traps, curbs or catch fences but pure Italian roads winding their way through the countryside and various villages.

The Targa Florio hosted an annual world championship event that had touring cars, GTs and even prototypes race on these public roads until the mid 70s. Even in a time when death was a common occurrence in racing, the Targa Florio was considered to be an insane event and the track’s unique challenges were both fascinating and scaring the participating drivers.

Despite its massive length, the track is less than 200mbs in size. Since this track is more than three times as long as the Nürburgring Nordschleife, loading takes quite a while. With 8GB of ram and rFactor installed on a SSD drive, the track loads in about 50 seconds.

Since most sim racers have never driven this track or seen any of the very rare on-board footage, the first runs are all about learning the track. Don’t expect to make rapid progress on that front though as the Targa consists about 900(!) different corners.

Thankfully, racers don’t have to take a full lap around the place just to start a timed lap as the starting garage is placed right before the start/finish area. Your best bet is to take a slow and easy to drive touring car and just enjoy the scenery for the first laps around.

There’s plenty to see as both the original creators and the conversion team have packed in a lot of great details as drivers are treated to beautiful countryside and villages with plenty of details such as graffitis that cheer on the fan’s favorite drivers such as hometown hero Nino Vaccarella.

Depending on your speed and talent, your first lap will be done in any time between 40 to 60 minutes. I had to abort my first run in the BMW 2002tii because I ran out of fuel in the middle of the lap, the standard setup of most mods simply does not put in enough fuel to even get around once.

The first few laps, you´ll be driving purely on sight, always wondering what will come up behind the next crest. After a few laps, partly familiarity kicks in as you remember having seen that village or that herd of goats besides the road. Unfortunately, this leads to false confidence as you´ll think you know what’s coming up after the next corner – Unfortunately you don’t…. crashes and spins will be a common occurrence once you try to turn up the speed after a few laps.

I can’t remember having to learn the Nürburgring Nordschleife as I´ve been racing it in various sims for over 15 years and have watched races there since I was a little kid. I know that many sim racers have been struggling with that though so the Targa might very well drive some people insane. Right now, I´m not sure if it`s even possible to know you way around there like on a regular circuit.

The Targa is not just time consuming (a few “quick laps” easily eat up a whole afternoon), it’s a big test of endurance too as I´ve never felt as mentally drained and exhausted just by sim racing after two consecutive laps there. The seemingly endless string of tight bends and lack of straights gives the driver very little time for some mental rest.

Despite it’s massive size and the beautiful graphics, the track isn’t that much of a performance hog as I´ve been getting around 130fps compared to 280fps on normal tracks. Given that the track is more than 10x as long as normal venues, roughly doubled performance requirements speak volumes of great optimizing by the creators.

As great as the Targa is, it isn’t much of a place for actual racing as the track is notoriously tight at some points. Even the world championship sports car events there were more of a time trial as cars were started a minute apart of each other as overtaking is an extremely delicate matter on this track.

Since this track was used until the 1970s, the mod’s of choice to use it with are Historic GT & Touring Cars as well as the World Sports Car 1970 mod that includes many of the prototypes and GTs that were typically raced on the Targa.

Whether or not you´re into historic racing, the Targa Florio is a track that every rFactor user has to experience at least once! Not just because of the sheer length of the track or the sheer amount of work that has gone into making the virtual version but to experience a stunning piece of motorsport history (almost) first hand.

The wait for the Targa Florio is over in a few hours… a fraction of time compared to the life time it takes to masters this Sicilian rollercoaster.

  • ZombieJim

    Bring it on.

  • Fabian Bonora

    This should be in the World News!

  • GeraArg

    911S ready.  🙂

  • Henry James Forlong -Benson

    just wow but any idea when we can expect it 2 day how many hours coz i go on holiday in 24 hours also i will take a 906 because its light fast and fun

  • Oggy

    Gonna take a XJR-12 around here. Might be a bit too fast, but w/e.

  • Explosive Face

    “The wait for the Targa Florio is over in a few hours”
    “Posted 4 hours, 30 minutes ago”


  • Eddie Jansson

    Someone MUST convert it to GTR Evo D:

  • Sputnik Wood

    12:19AM Pacific Time. I guess we’re not there yet. 

  • Michael Springer

    I think this is one of the best articles I’ve ever read on VirtualR. 
    Trying very desperate to get myself calm until the track is released… lookin’ forward to it!

  • Captain Underpants

    Great write-up. I’m counting the minutes.

    ‘Posted 5 hours, 56 minutes ago’  … so close I can almost taste it.

  • Dieguez Sébastien

    it’s out!!!

  • DeDios

    LINK! lol

  • Paul aD

    its out @ nogribracing !

  • DeDios
  • Brett Mansfield
  • 6e66o has all the download mirrors.

  • Paul aD


  • SBKRacer

    thank you so much guys I guess I’ll be spending all my time with this almost perfect track (it’s in south Italy god should had made it in north Italy to be perfect) untill the NTM for iRacing is available.

  • Crimson7

    anyone for an online race?

  • gtrNL

    I’m upgrading my pc now (happy coincidence), when it’s done I was going to install iRacing first and enjoy a good race. Guess I’ll be installing rFactor now…

    Awesome. Thanks guys.

  • SBKRacer

    I’m going with the 1955 F1 as I’ve haven’t got Historic….(GPL)

  • Light1

    Hi! The track is very good, but I hoped they release Alfa Romeo GTA also…
    They both are essential for release! Is there any other car with similiar physics, which can drift like Alfa Romeo?

  • Niels Heusinkveld

    Congrats! From the beta I had the pleasure to try it was very good, very long, very hard, very easy to go too fast and die horribly very often.

    In short, great track 🙂

  • kimikaze

    Now Red Bull X1 here i come 🙂

  • Riches

    X-mass comes early this year!!!

  • Art-J

    Downloading now, can’t wait to try it. Rob, where did the 900 corners figure come from? The GPL version has officially 567 and I find it difficult to believe that suddenly their number almost doubled, even if we include all the slight kinks.

  • Henry James Forlong -Benson

    that is the best track ever ever just did it in a 906

  • 6e66o

    Guess it depends what you define as a corner.
    Wiki lists 900 corners, for the piccole madonie version.

  • Riches

    I think that’s the Historix version, original model comes from GT Legends.
    Physics has be redone by the Historix team.
    So you need the original GT legens disk for the install.

  • Samuel Korthof

    Barbarian! Heretic! U should drive it with a classic car not a fantasy car!!

  • Samuel Korthof

    Every track that will come out now is pointless…really the closing chapter of rfactor.  :'( 😀 =-O  all at the same time. What a epic moment this is.

  • Light1

    I Have installed GT Historic cars 1.01 with GT Ledends disc, but the physics are not similiar like on the video. Drifting is nearly impossible. Is there any other downloadable physics for Historic cars 1.01?

  • Riches

    Could be they used a very good setup, i remember you can do some good sliding wih the alfa.

  • kimikaze

    lol, sarcasm on. I recommend mod “sports 2000”.

  • Captain Underpants

    Oh my god. This track is a work of art. I just did 2 laps in a Caterham. Got dq’d just before the start/finish line because I took a wrong turn where those cops are just after the pit exit 🙂 , but I managed a 40:23 second time around, with a few prangs. I feel pretty happy with that. There’s really only a handful of problem corners.

    A thousand thanks to all that contributed to this truly epic track. To top it all off, it was released just in time for my birthday tomorrow. Brilliant work.

  • Art-J

    The vid shows physics for ver.2 of the mod, which had been redone from scratch and is probably nowhere near as the physics in 1.01. As you have noticed, ver. 2 has not been released yet, so you gonna have to wait some time to do similar drifting, or at least try to use more oversteery setups in 1.01.

  • Rantam

    Exactly. That GTA has been totally redone for “HistorX 2.0” and hasn’t been released yet. But you may have a more oversteery v1.0 Alfa just tweaking the setup also 😉

  • Filg Popov

    I just had my first run in the BMW 2002tii… nailed it (with some crashes 😉 ) in 39:40. Wonderful track! But it’s REALLY hard to keep being concentrated 😉

  • Nazirull Safry Paijo

    I ran a single lap with f430 in 37minutes…with 3-4 crashes of course.

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