Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown

Dear members,

By watching our recent trailer, “The Racer”, you got a taste of how responsive and dynamic our game can be, and the more competitive among you loved it. While “The Cruiser” trailer gave you a look at a more relaxed driving experience with the radio playing, “The Racer” video showed another way to play TDU, one that illustrates how much fun it is to win races, take on other players, upgrade your car and constantly strive for better performance. Today we'd like to take another look at this important part of Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown, which will take you to the top: competitive racing.



A lot of you have already expressed a preference for one of the two clans in TDUSC: the Streets and the Sharps. Whether it's for personal reasons or the kind of cars, clothes or music you like, you are already leaning in a particular direction! Each clan defends and promotes its own vision of luxury and passion for cars.


With its stunning landscapes, Hong Kong Island is the ideal setting for a battle for influence between the two clans. Even though you don't have to ally yourself with either of the two clans, helping one of them come out on top will help you achieve your objectives faster and unlock exclusive clan rewards.

Entering the Solar Crown competition means you will want to acquire new cars throughout the event. This could be because you want something more prestigious, with higher performance or a car better suited to a certain challenge. There are lots of ways you can acquire them:

  • Taking part in driving challenges: on- or off-road races, time trials, etc.
  • Exploring and discovering new districts, roads, secret areas, etc.
  • Finding and completing wrecks so you can restore iconic cars, only accessible by exploring the island
  • Using FRIM to perfect your driving skills and earn Solar Coins
  • In addition to activities organized by the Solar Crown, you can defend your clan's colours by taking part in clan races and by throwing down an Instant Challenge to members of the opposing clan.


While enjoying a relaxing drive around the streets of Hong Kong Island, chilling out to your favourite music station, you suddenly hear the deep roar of an engine behind you. A visibly fired-up player seems to be goading you. They flash their high beams, confirming their intentions. You only have the bare minimum of information: name, clan, car, Performance Rating and the amount of Solar Coins at stake. That's all it takes for a clash of egos to spill over. There's no way you'll let this player from the opposing clan provoke you and win a duel. Once the challenge has been accepted, you start a head-to-head race along a unique route that is randomly created and depends on your location on the island.

Each player has already configured their betting profile and the amount they are ready to stake for each challenge. Once the Instant Challenge has been started, the goal is to cross the line before the other player and win the pot! If the player you beat is from the rival clan, your Influence in your clan increases, and you help with your clan's ultimate aim of ruling over the island.

Instant Challenges are a fast and exciting way of competing against other players, with no limits on vehicle or Performance Ratings: they are 100% improvised and organized between players. They can also be disabled if you're not into that sort of thing. Once turned off, other players can no longer challenge you, but you will have less Influence within your clan.


On Hong Kong Island, new temporary activities appear each week, which give you access to exclusive rewards and mouthwatering sums of Solar Coins. There are several types:

  • Lifestyle Battles: These races embody the rivalry between the Streets and Sharps. During these challenges, each clan tries to impose its vision of luxury and racing on Hong Kong Island. There are 5 different types: Instant Challenge LBs (win the most Instant Challenges), Frantic Spender LBs (spend the most money), Maximum Gain LBs (accumulate the most money), Need 4 FRIM LBs (earn the most SC in FRIM), and Betting Challenges (win the most SCs in Instant Challenge bets)


  • Hot Heads: Time Attacks are randomly selected to become Hot Heads races each day on Hong Kong Island. Players need to achieve the best possible time and climb as high as possible on the leaderboard by the end of the day. The amount of Solar Coins you earn depends on where you finish.


  • High Stakes: Just like with Hot Heads, Time Attacks are randomly selected to become High Stakes races. When an event becomes a High Stakes, a new target time is set. Participants get 3 chances to try to beat the time. They also need to pay an entry fee for each attempt. The entry fees are added to an overall pot and then split among the drivers who beat the target time.

Some of you got the chance to try out Hot Heads mode and the first Lifestyle Battle Instant Challenge during Closed Playtest #2. It was a sneak peek and an initial chance to take on the best players in the Solar Crown!


In TDUSC, you can take part in different types of races to increase your Reputation in the Solar Crown competition. As you've seen through the different Solar Club Letters, the stories in Test Drive involve many players. That's also what we're aiming for with the races.

This means all the races are primarily multiplayer events, so you will face other players in each of them. If there aren't enough players in an event, AI drivers will fill out the starting grid. Each Solar Crown race has certain restrictions on participation. The restrictions may involve the car category, year, make, a specific model, type of transmission allowed (FWD, RWD, 4WD), type of engine (thermal, hybrid, electric) and, finally, the car's PR (Performance Rating). Each race always has at least one restriction, but there can be as many as three (e.g. Supercar, max year 2010, FWD).

In addition to these restrictions, which already allow for an infinite number of race variations, there are different types of races:


  • Circuit: A race around a closed loop with checkpoints to cross. The number of laps can vary. Basically, a classic race!


  • Sprint: A race from A to B via checkpoints that you absolutely must pass!


  • Time Attack: Solo races in which you need to reach a given location via checkpoints and cross the finish line before the countdown ends! The faster you reach the finish line, the higher your ranking. In this game mode, you can also play against the ghost of any player in the rankings.


  • Domination: In this game mode, players earn points according to their position each time they reach a checkpoint. These are A to B races, and the player with the most points at the end of the race is the winner! In each race like this, there is a randomly-determined Rush checkpoint that doubles the points awarded at that location!

More race modes and challenges, including some very popular ones from TDU 2, are also planned for post-launch updates.


The purpose of the Solar Crown is to bring together the world's most influential drivers and also to determine who are the very best. That's why Radiant has decided to set up a competition within the Solar Crown.

Starting from level 20, various races are randomly selected in the different districts of Hong Kong Island to become Solar Crown competition races. Why are they randomly selected? Quite simply because being the best driver in the Solar Crown means more than being the best driver in your favourite car. You have to be the best in every car in your garage. In the Solar Crown, the most well-rounded drivers are rewarded and celebrated.

By participating in these races, your position in the leagues changes according to where you finish in the races. Drivers can move up from Bronze to Diamond and reach the upper echelons of the Solar Court, which includes the best drivers from the Solar Crown. The best of this elite becomes the Solar King/Queen at the end of each season, becoming the new face of the Solar Crown.


Participants are rewarded according to how high they place in the leagues. Members of the Solar Court, and the Solar King/Queen, receive an exclusive new car. At the end of the season, participants' positions in the leagues are reset for the next competition.

Note from Guillaume Guinet, Lead Game Designer:

“In Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown, the experience is based on realistically depicting what it's like to drive the most prestigious cars on the planet. We also wanted to convey this in the racing experience by motivating players to push their vehicles to the limit.

We designed the competition so it would not only reflect the intensity of a closed-track race, but also in a city reproduced on a 1:1 scale. That carries certain limitations with it, which means you have to know the strengths and weaknesses of each of your cars, install the right parts and choose the right driving modes. The goal is to not only determine the best driver, but also to find out who knows and manages their garage the best.”




It's important to think about how to optimize your car to maximize your chances of winning. But don't worry, you don't need to be an expert in mechanics to get results. In TDUSC, car optimization is both satisfying and accessible!


Whether you're a beginner who just wants to enjoy stress-free driving without risk of an accident, or an expert with extensive road experience, the driving assists help you achieve your objectives through a range of essential settings:

  • ABS system (anti-lock braking system) for better brake control, adjustable from 0 to 100%


  • TCS (traction control system) for better road grip, also adjustable from 0 to 100%


  • A race line that shows the ideal trajectory to follow in your races. You can set it to be always visible, just visible for bends, or disabled


  • A gearbox that can be set to semi-automatic or manual

To help you become familiar with the different settings, you can use one of the three available presets: Novice, Intermediate or Expert. These presets automatically change the settings to match your preferences. Adjusting these settings also determines how many Solar Coins you earn from activities on Hong Kong Island: the less you rely on driving assists, the greater the rewards.


Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown aims to be realistic, while also being fun and accessible. We feel players should have sufficient scope to make modifications that have a real and visible impact on the car, and the process should not leave the player feeling lost in a host of ultra-precise adjustments that often have a negligible impact.

Just like in Test Drive Unlimited 1 and 2, you can focus your optimizations on several clear and concrete variables:

  • Acceleration power (torque)
  • Top speed
  • Braking
  • Handling 

There are different ways you can upgrade and optimize these variables:



As mentioned when we talked about Workshops in Solar Letter #1, you can upgrade your cars with mechanical modifications. This is sometimes essential to meet the entry conditions for certain races. Some modifications directly affect your car's performance: intake, exhaust, brakes, transmission, aerodynamics, cooling, etc.; whereas others have more of an impact on the car's behaviour in certain racing conditions: close or wide gear ratio, tire choice depending on the surface, suspensions, and so on.



With Driving Modes, you can refine the settings for your cars. More experienced players can customize and set up their own modes, which will affect (in a simplified way) speed, stability, handling and braking. Each vehicle has a Stock (factory) preset and three further presets from among the following:

  • Sport: For high-speed sports driving, designed for racing on major thoroughfares like motorways. It uses precise steering adapted to high-speed manoeuvres. Sport mode retains flexible handling suited to city driving and makes it easier to cross sidewalks.


  • Trail: For racing on dirt and gravel. This preset has responsive steering and a close gear ratio for frequent acceleration.


  • Dynamic: Oriented toward urban racing in confined areas. It uses a close gear ratio for frequent acceleration.


  • Off-road: For safe driving on all surfaces (asphalt, tracks, etc).


  • Rain: For wet conditions and safe driving on slippery surfaces.


  • Circuit: A responsive but challenging driving mode, it uses a wide gear ratio to get the most from the engine power. It stabilizes the vehicle but makes it more sensitive to road hazards.


  • Cross-country: Suited to crossing obstacles, it uses a close gear ratio to provide lots of torque and has more flexible suspension. This mode makes you more competitive off-road.


  • Relaxed: The safest and most comfortable driving mode, suited to cruising and exploration.


A few weeks ago, we gave over 5,000 players the chance to try out the TDUSC experience for a short time in Playtest #2. As well as once again noting your enthusiasm for the game, for which we thank you, it was a major step in the development process, allowing us to test game features and certain technical aspects on a large scale. The playtest allowed us to test the different types of servers and identify areas for improvement so we can ensure you get the best possible multiplayer experience.

We'd like to confirm that there will be a new Closed Playtest in the coming weeks. It will be open to even more people and regions. Those who took part in Playtests #1 and #2 will automatically be invited to join. The playtest will be subject to the same strict rules of confidentiality (streaming, captures and sharing are not allowed). If you haven't yet done so, you can register for the TDU Newsletter at https://testdriveunlimited.com/. If you've already completed the Playtest registration form (sent by email), there's no need to send in a new one even if you haven't been selected yet.


We hope this (long) Solar Club Letter has given you significant insight into the experience that awaits you in TDUSC, especially those of you who enjoy the competitive aspect. So, are you a Street or Sharp? Cruiser or Racer?

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See you next month ! 
TDU Team.