Project Cars is an ambitious racing sim. I know that because the presentation that preceded the hands-on preview event actually named Gran Turismo and Forza as the game's direct competitors. Even more so than GRID Autosport, this game has been built around ideas and suggestions from the racing sim community and real racing drivers. And without any other new-gen, track-based racers scheduled for release this Christmas, there's certainly a neat little car-shaped hole it can fill.
The stats certainly back up its bravado. It's got 80+ tracks over 30+ locations and 70+ licensed vehicles spread over nine disciplines. Real-time or accelerated day/night and weather transitions, pit-stops, tyre wear, simulated oil pressure and fuel loads… everything a simulation should have is in here, which is rare for a console game.
The driving model is predictably exacting, but fair, and the wheel-to-wheel racing is made much more tense when open-wheel collisions behave like they would in real life. You can easily flip into the air if you misjudge a braking zone and clip the car ahead, which is as it should be.
At this stage of development, however, the PS4 version is noticeably rougher than the PC version (which is often sensational, just look at the pics), and the AI is currently too aggressive in both versions. Not even Rosberg is this bargy. There's still time for balancing before the game's November release.
The online mode is the most exciting aspect for me, as it places a large emphasis on reputation. With network time trials, community tournaments (with real-life prizes) and the ability to share a highlight reel, this should offer the most serious online racing experience on console. Provided the PS4 version can at least approximate the quality of the PC game by launch, this could become an online favourite. In certain (very fast) circles.
Check out the following slides for additional images and more information.