FITE ME 4! (entries closed, scrutineering in progress)

Hey all. So it’s been about 18 months since I played this game in any detail. And this will probably be the last time I do any gaming for the forseeable future as in under 5 months my wife and I are expecting our first kid sooooooooooooooooo this may be the only opportunity that I got-

you better lose yourself in the music the moment you own it you better never let it goooooo

Who are you again?

I played Automation too much since 2014. Then when the Automation exporter to Beam dropped in 2018 I played with that altogether too much. I liked to drive fast cars fast in sims and was decent at it. Aside from real life, I dipped from the official Discord server when I stopped playing due to major engine updates breaking save files which taught me that I should probably not touch another hypercar project until my kid starts going to school :rofl:

So now I’m very rusty and probably don’t know half of you. Or maybe I do because this kind of game is perfect for us neurodivergent nerds who hyperfixate LOL

Wait a moment, what about FM3, the Supercar round?

Still indefinitely on ice. After discussing it with some more current players, I’ve concluded that while the tyre model has advanced significantly, several issues with tyres, suspension, meshes with complex geometry and lightweight nodes etc. prevent exports of ultra high performance cars behaving with sufficient fidelity to make that project worthwhile. The development that’s been happening and the fact that we have a working vehicle exporter in a physics simulation is already nothing short of amazing, so one can hope! I also see that people have continued to make significant leaps and bounds in design capability and scope, far beyond what I now have the time and investment to achieve.

The biggest issue I’m having currently is that it seems that adjusting the tech level of wheels in Automation adjusts the rigidity of the wheel mesh in Beam, but this isn’t necessarily good for contact patch: the higher the tech level the less traction I seem to have. Hoping somebody else can advise me on that.

So this being said, I’m going to run something rather more focused to give me and hopefully all of us a bit more of an idea of the state of things.

Fite Me 4: The Sport Coupe 1990-2020

Some automotive purists opine, nay, insist that the FR is the purest form of automobile there is. Front engined, rear wheels driven, something something balance, something yadda yadda… Look, Enzo Ferrari thought that way once but then he eventually realised better. And I’m not one of those purists either, I drive a turbo FWD rice rocket :joy: and my FR experiences, namely in an MX-5 NB, a Dodge Challenger R/T, and a couple Holdens haven’t exactly lit up my dial.

And that’s precisely why I’m coming back to this as the main, actually make that exclusive focus for this iteration. My lack of appreciation for the FR format was not remedied by the initial release of the AutoBeam exporter, because of weight balance and tyre model issues that meant that most FR creations capable of spinning the rear wheels were slippery jittery slidey messes. FM2 made that painfully clear in the heavy performance discrepancy between their FF and MR counterparts.

But the game and exporter has been significantly refined since then. And we now have more control over weight distribution (though I know that it doesn’t translate well to Beam still, fear not I know the workarounds). So it’s time to return to the neglected sector, time to welcome the game’s prodigal son home.

What do I do? What do you do?

You give me a car (or more, I haven’t figured out how many yet) that fit within the parameters of this event, I review it briefly in Automation then do a more detailed review of its driving characteristics, as exported, across a range of tracks in Beam that will test dynamics, handling, and high speed performance. I will also report on seeming export infidelities and issues with bodies as I encounter them. Unlike FM2, this time it will be released in a hybrid form of text and video.

What am I competing for?

To be honest I can’t think of any specific prize this time. It’s more of an educational process for my benefit and for anyone else who’s interested in examining Beam export models. What I’ve discovered so far is that the cars of this spec are much more controllable than before but I also have a particular approach that optimises things, so collectively we can generate a more complete picture.

What kind of car am I making?

As you can see from the pics I’m looking for the classic FR sport coupe, mass produced, within “reasonable” budget, that’s driven mostly on the roads and sometimes on the track. There’s a range of sizes and performance profiles each with their own characteristic and I’m happy to explore that range.

What this means in terms of design requirements in the game (if not specified assume free choice):

After a couple of frantic weeks of trying to wrap up my work, turns out that I thought I was flying to Japan a day earlier than I was, so that gives me just enough time I need to finalise the rules and open entries!

Final Ruleset

Mandatory Rules

  • Engine Tech Pool Total: 30 points
  • Car Tech Pool Total: 45 points
  • Model year 1990-2020 inclusive
  • Body type: sedan (4 door) or coupe (2 door). Convertible is allowed.
  • Engine position: Front
  • Do not use motorsport/race car bodies, or novelty bodies like golf-carts, lawn-mowers etc. (as the former may suffer significant damage when driving the street track, and the latter are more often than not undriveable in Beam)
  • Panel material: no full or partial CF
  • Chassis Type: no ladder or light truck monocoque
  • Chassis Material: again no CF
  • Engine Placement: Front Longitudinal only
  • Suspension: no solid axle in the front, no pushrod anywhere
  • Engine design: has to be stress free, run on unleaded 91-95 and have a 3-way cat. No tubular race exhaust or race intake manifold. Max loudness 60.
  • Aerodynamic fixtures: a maximum of 1 wing/1 spoiler AND 2 lips. The wing/spoiler must be placed on the rear of the vehicle
  • Drive Type: Longitudinal RWD (you get the idea by now)
  • Differentials: no manual or auto Locker Diffs
  • Tyre Type: Radial
  • Tyre Choice: Sports Compound
  • Tyre Profile: an absolute minimum of 35 (my intuition is that handling may get iffy if too low)
  • Tyre Quality: MUST BE 0 WITH 0 TECH POOL
  • Brakes: set the pad to exactly 70. They must also have 0 fade in Automation. The reason for the exact pad figure is that it will require you to build in sufficient brake cooling whether by size of disc or ventilation such that I don’t cannon off the end of Conrod straight.
  • Undertray: no Offroad Skidtray or Race Diffuser
  • Active Aero: forbidden, because it isn’t implemented in the exporter
  • Downforce: rear downforce must be at least equal to or greater than front downforce. Lift is fine, that’s more the norm for most of these vehicles until more recently
  • Seats: At least 2 in front row. A rear row is optional if available.
  • Interior: no Basic
  • Entertainment: must have a period-appropriate device equipped
  • Traction Aids: 90s, free choice. 00s, at least ABS. 10s, at least ABS and TCS (which I will be turning off anyway lol but this is for realism)
  • Springs: standard or progressive ONLY (the rest don’t operate in Beam)
  • Dampers: no adaptive or semi-active
  • Sway bars: no off-road or active


  • Wheelbase: 2.3-2.75m
  • Panel Material: full Aluminium will incur a small penalty
  • Chassis Type: space frame and semi-space frame will incur a penalty
  • Chassis Material: Glued aluminium will incur a penalty
  • Engine ET: I recommend no more than 100
  • Power output: 180-450hp across ALL decades
  • Tyre width: up to a maximum of Tyre width (mm) = vehicle mass (kg)/6 + (2020 - model year)/2 + 25
  • Staggered widths are allowed, staggered diameter also allowed where difference between front and rear is a maximum of 1 inch
  • Downforce: no more than 10kg@200km/h on the front, and no more than 50kg@200km/h at the rear
  • Suspension tuning: it is recommended to tune for between drivability and sportiness, leaning towards drivability. I will not penalise for the rates as this will be part of the tuning contest
  • Total weight of car: 90s: 950-1500kg 00s: 1000-1550kg 10s: 1050-1600kg
  • Power to weight ratio: between 180-360hp:metric ton
  • Approximate cost: between 90s: 15000-25000, 00s: 18000-30000, 10s: 21000-35000


  • Tech point excess for either engine or car: cumulative sum penalty points i.e. 1 over = 1 point, 2 over = 3 points, 3 over = 6 points, 4 over = 10 points and so on
  • For every cm above or below the wheelbase limits: 1 penalty point
  • full Aluminium panels: 2 penalty points
  • Semi-space frame: 5 penalty points
  • Space frame: 10 penalty points
  • Glued aluminium: 10 penalty points
  • Solid axle rear suspension: 1 penalty point
  • Engine ET: for each ET above 100: 1 penalty point
  • Power output: for each 2hp above/below the range: 1 penalty point
  • Tyre width for each mm above the recommendation as given by the formula: 1 penalty point
  • Total weight of car: for each 5kg outside the range: 1 penalty point
  • Power to weight ratio: for every 5hp:metric ton outside the range: 1 penalty point
  • Downforce: for every kg front or rear over the recommended limit: 1 penalty point
  • Approximate cost: for each 100 dollars above budget: 1 penalty point


Name your submission in the following format. Do not deviate from this scheme or I’ll probably lose your entry!


FM4 decade - your username


The name of your car

You can name the engine whatever you want.

Competition housekeeping:

  • I will not be judging aesthetics, aside from requiring that it has sufficient fixtures to look like a real production car, because I’m going to put them in a video. I might making comments about general appearance. But I urge people to, if they haven’t already made it, go easy on the interior because…
  • I will be matching the weight distribution and weight of the cars in Beam as they appear in Automation. However I can only reduce the node weight in Beam so much (by about 9% tops) before the model falls to pieces.
  • The window for submission is now to 11:59pm the 9th of July, GMT+10.
  • You may submit up to ONE vehicle to each decade category i.e. a maximum total of 3
  • You must submit these entries to my DMs on this forum, or I’ll lose your entry
  • In your DM, it would be good for flavour if you could include a brief description (up to 100 words) of your vehicle and company lore, including nominating what car in real life yours is based on/would rival, but this is optional.
  • If a car breaks a mandatory rule, it will be insta-:wastebasket: and there will be no resubmissions due to time constraints on my end.
  • After assessing my timetable, if I receive more than eight entries in each decade, I will cull their numbers down, first by the highest number of penalty points accrued on that vehicle, then by how far their performance parameters deviate from the recommended range.


The courses I will drive the cars on will be: West Coast USA Street Course 1, West Coast Mountain Course, and Bathurst - Mount Panorama. I’m just going to set it to open session and once I’m confident I’m consistently maxing out the performance I’ll record the best time. While I’m not really looking to crown winners and boo losers here, there are a few ways to rank the vehicle so I will be rating them on a number of metrics.

  • Outright pace
  • Time versus a performance index which will be based on a product of power to weight ratio and outright power
  • Bang for buck: pace vs the nominated price of the vehicle, which isn’t something you should take too seriously if your vehicle is not purely focused on a sporting drive
  • Driving factors: speed vs control vs fun

I will have benchmark cars of my own, not optimised but rather 3 different vehicles that represented each decade in different ways. They will be:

  • 1997 Mazda RX-7 Spirit R (with a 1.3L 3cyl instead of a 13B rotary): 278bhp, 1275kg
  • 2002 Honda S2000 AP1: 247bhp, 1274kg
  • 2020 Toyota Supra A90/J29 DB02: 389bhp, ~1520kg (haven’t worked this out fully yet)


Congratulations Strop!


Congratulations, and this takes me back to the AGC you ran with the rally cars in beam as well as obviously FM3

Sounds a really good challenge

What kind of price and speed are we looking at here?

Congrats on getting little Strop soon, wish you best of luck there…cant comment from parent perspective, but im older brother and uncle to enough kids that i know they can be handful at times, but watching them growing up is extremely satisfiying
Speaking of cousins, my two cousins aged 7 and 9 at beggining do sometimes ask if they can play Automation or/and Beam when they come around, so thats possibility for some parent-kid bond down the line…

I guess rules seem fine to me as they are atm, good luck hosting this…dont know if i will join but certainly possible i could


Sounds like a great challenge - count me in! (And I am totally a FR guy - in racing sims I can’t drive MR/RR cars sustainably fast for the life of it…)

The main task in my view for the rules set would be to prevent people from sending in race cars when you want to see regular mass production cars (we’ve had this phenomenon quite a few times in the past when Beam testing is involved).

So, something along the lines of:

  • Min comfort (to prevent race car set-ups)
  • Min reliability (since the weight slider kills reliability)
  • Min safety (& basic safety ban?)
  • Min 50? cooling (no overheating penalty in Beam)
  • No negative ignition timing
  • Aero restrictions (e.g., max fixtures, no positive downforce etc.)
  • Brake fade restrictions (rear brakes stay much too cold in Beam in the current exporter)
  • Camber limit? (for that extra realism)
  • No race components
  • No components that limit mass production?
  • Strict quality limitations (no neg, max 3?)

There are probably a few other things I am not thinking of right now.


Good to see you back, is this a fully sweat it out competition for the legendary Strop or is this just, make something nice and send it?

I also won’t lie, I don’t think any challenges have included ET since like the last 6 months maybe. It’s mainly done by total price, especially since techpool messes with it so much. I can see you want “lower” spec sports car rather than muscle or super.


A maximum of +5 points overall (for engine and trim) with up to +2 points in any one area is very strict (although it is at least better than not being allowed to use any techpool at all), so we would have to choose our tech pool options wisely. May I suggest +10 points for both engine and trim with up to +3 points in any one area? This would allow for more creative freedom, without being too outrageous.

Also, will the cars be categorized by price as well as era, with a minimum and maximum cost for each price bracket?

With that in mind, is the use of the legacy body mod pack (which contains many deprecated, obsolete body sets from earlier game versions) allowed or not?

Given that techpool usage affect PU/ET values considerably, I’m not sure if there would be any point to adding PU/ET limits for engine or trim this time.

To that end, I am also proposing a maximum of two lips (no more than one on the front or rear) and one spoiler/wing, the latter of which must be mounted on the rear.

That’s fine by me, especially since my skillset leans more towards the engineering part than the visual design aspect.

yeah absolutely correct. And this is me trying to figure out what kind of “spread” I want in a “sample space”, because I’m already fielding questions from people who want to abuse malicious compliance to the utmost (I get it, I’m like that myself) and that in itself does present some opportunity for variety.

This is a pretty chill thing. There’s no prizes and no winning unless somehow you send me a car that would be quite realistic and reasonably priced yet also drive absolutely fantastic, however it was intended to be.

So in that case, given you understand the target brief what would your suggestions be wrt. total price? I can see that I’m going to have to graduate it by year also as IIRC money scales by inflation in Automation.

Whilst we are still in the question phase here, usually tuning for automation means the cars handle like shit in beam. So are we aiming to get a good beam setup and not worry about the automation stats too much

this is kind of what I’m trying to figure out by doing the test. The short of it is that I’m not going to make people optimise markets because stats cheese makes for a terrible experience.

EDIT: also this is part of why i’m restricting the scope of the test. Of the models I tested, tweaking the suspension around the “sport” preset actually yielded pretty good results, at least appropriate to the era, which is more than can be said for previous iteration of exporter as well as for more extreme builds.

Excellent suggestions, I’ll most likely be implementing most of these.

Some of the issues that are systemic “does not translate well to Beam” are for me to find out and note so I have to figure out the balance between tuned for Automation vs tuned for Beam.

Min comfort will penalise small cabins, and while I don’t want absolutely tiny cars in this particular round, I feel it may give too much latitude to the larger vehicles. It may also be a bit too harsh on turbo vehicles.

Aero restrictions, absolutely, a maximum of 1 wing OR spoiler, and 2 lips should be sufficient. It’s true that most of these cars didn’t reach positive downforce either but I’ll have to think about that one. EDIT: sike, @abg7 beat me to this one haha, but I independently think the same.

Camber limit, I reckon should be between +0.5 and -1.5 degrees or something.

As for the quality discussion, I am now leaning towards opening that up a little but using reliability and total costs.

Probably not, the way I’m judging there shouldn’t be a need to do this.

Do they work and will they export correctly? That’s the only thing I’m concerned about. I probably need another crash course into the mods I’m supposed to be downloading…

After external feedback and concerns about receiving zero-fixture spam, I’ve decided that I do require the vehicle to at least look like a decently built era-appropriate car to pass scrutineering :laughing:


Maybe limit the lower comfort % for suspension setup? That would be independent of the size and probably harder to cheese. Also I’d argue against banning basic safety, as TBH it’s still a basic road legal safety, so as long as it’s neither ancient or resulting in single digit safety rating it should be allowed IMO.

Oh, and congrats for the evoutionary success of course :wink:

Another thing I haven’t seen people speak about yet is the advanced trim settings.

While messing with the width and everything else to do with tyres I dont think does anything to change the numbers in beam, it’s still worth checking quickly as it does export properly.

Engine position doesn’t affect weight distribution since it’s an average around the node points I believe so no cheesing that either.

yeah basically I have noticed that some models do not export with the correct weight distribution. I will be correcting this to the nearest 0.1% by using the advanced tuning options to move the engine in Beam manually, as correct weight distribution is vital to the feedback process.

I’m going to be banning people from changing the wheels in the advanced trim settings as, in my experience, this has changed how the car behaves in Beam and sometimes in potentially whacky ways.

Can you elaborate?

When you tune the suspension there are those four bars representing IIRC the frequency of the springs and dampers, and above them there are three percentage modifiers displayed: one for comfort, one for drivability, and one for sportiness. Limiting the comfort one to be a minimum of XX% could prevent too hard (= sporty in Automation) suspensions.

The previous (attempt at a) FM allowed users to submit more than one car, but I’m not sure if that would be a good idea here - the entry list would potentially be too large!

As for weight optimization and distribution sliders, should there be any restrictions on how far we can tweak those?

And regarding this recommendation on tire widths:

I think this formula could (and should) be used for the car’s recommended average tire width (1/2 of the sum of its front and rear tire widths).

Related to the above, I have another recommendation regarding suspension tuning: the sportiness percentage should be at least xx% to avoid overly soft setups.

Ok yeah I think minimum sport% will probably help here just as a guide so I don’t do a nose stand every time I hit the brakes.

Problem I see with this and the eternal battle with malicious compliance is that I can absolutely see some players (looking at you, @TheElt ) putting in like some minimum weight car turboed to absolute fuck and making a power to weight ratio like 500hp:metric ton, and to compensate for this they make the rear tyres 395 and the fronts 135 :joy: I think I’m going to stick to maximum tyre widths and stipulate some engine conditions that keep it not too mad.


Those engine conditions could take the form of upper limits for engine displacement (preferably divided by the number of cylinders, to avoid cheesing), boost pressure (for turbo engines), power outputs, and in particular, power-to-weight ratios.

I saw this yesterday and tinkered briefly with a Firebrand concept. Maximum muscle for an affordable price kind of thing. 700kW didn’t feel like enough, but that might just be me. Seems likely that any sensible engine conditions will send that straight out of the window, which is simultaneously fair enough and a damn shame.

Truth be told, I probably won’t be able to enter either way, but it was nice to see a familiar name pop up. Been a while since I fired Automation up. Grats on the kid!