Since its surprise announcement in June 2015, Slightly Mad Studios has remained silent about the development and potential release date for Project CARS 2. However, it's looking like we will be learning much more about the upcoming racing simulation very soon, if some teasing posts on the official forum by CEO Ian Bell are anything to go by.
One of the biggest revelations is that development on Project CARS 2 seems to be nearing completion. According to a forum post by Bell, the game has already started quality assurance testing which is expected to last seven months. This would imply a potential release date for Project CARS 2 in the summer of 2017, although Bell has since said to expect it "at a guess, Septemberish," citing that the team is "a bit behind on GUI and Career" aspects. Considering it's only been two years since the release of the first Project CARS game, that is a lot sooner than we expected.
Bell also revealed some other intriguing tidbits. Apparently, "none of the famous brands are missing this time," so we could see the holy trinity of Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini in Project CARS 2. This is feasible, since Slightly Mad Studios previously worked on Ferrari Racing Legends and EA's exclusivity deal with Porsche has expired, paving the way for the manufacturer to appear in more major racing game franchises.
Project CARS 2 will also feature a slew of improvements to the physics engine – Bell described the handling as "transformed," with "more intuitive" force feedback":
We have rewritten the rendering system. We have added multiple newly written and very important modules to the physics, drivetrain, differential and tyre modelling systems. The FFB system is now much more intuitive and comes with presets. The handling is transformed, in a very very good way. I'm biased I know but right now in the latest build I have, those cars that have all of the new systems in place have raised the bar for simulation… and this is before they are polished.
With a possible release window set for September, it seems likely that we'll start to see screenshots and video footage of Project CARS 2 emerge in the coming weeks and months. Before then, a collection of Project CARS 2 screenshots has leaked on Polish gaming site Simrace.pl showing some of the new cars and weather effects. The particle effects look promising, particularly in the new snow conditions, but it's worth noting that these are probably early screenshots that don't represent the game in its current state.
Project CARS 2 is one of our most anticipated racing games of 2017. The sequel will build on the foundation of the original, with over 200 cars and new disciplines including Rallycross, never-before-seen Concepts, and Banned Race Cars. Other planned new features include a co-op career, online track days, and broadcast eSports.
As with the original game, development is being crowdfunded which is why the game was announced earlier to raise funds. Hopefully the bigger budget and experienced gained from the previous game will result in a more polished product that's less bug ridden than the original on release when Project CARS 2 races onto PS4, Xbox One and PC later this year.