Yesterday at E3, I had the pleasure of dropping by Codemasters’ E3 headquarters to check out the latest installment of their F1 franchise, F1 2016. The series has been going strong for a few years now, with F1 2016 marking the 8th iteration. Like most franchises that see a yearly release, the biggest questions are what improvements, fixes and new additions are in the latest title.

The demo I played was strictly limited to practice runs, with only four tracks. With F1 2016, the team behind the game has put a lot of effort into the practice section of the game, and it shows.

Some of the tests in practice mode are inspired by real tests performed in Formula One racing, including things like track acclamation, qualification performance, and tire and fuel management. One of the things you’ll be able to do with your practice runs is create strategies with practice data, presented using a number of graphs. Through that practice data, you can be given a set of strategies to choose from.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to experience that aspect of practice, but it’s nice to know that your practice runs actually count for something and aren’t necessarily there exclusively to improve your time on the track.

Outside of that, another big focus with F1 2016 is to improve the immersion of the game. To that end, they’ve made a number of changes that add up to deliver a more realistic experience for the Formula One enthusiast. The safety car will make a return, but new to this year’s game is the addition of the virtual safety car.

As a result, the AI has also been improved, and you’ll now see AI vehicles retire. Pit wall boards will give players the info they need on the race.

F1 2016 will also introduce a more realistic penalty system, and car damage sensitivity systems have been reworked based upon fan feedback from last year’s iteration. Kerbs and surface properties have also been remodeled.

With the new time of day editor, you’ll be able to switch between times, letting you race tracks from sunrise to sunset at day or night. This doesn’t apply to the career mode, which is also receiving a significant upgrade.

For career mode, you’ll choose a career path of 10 years and create your own driver, including your number, helmet design, and nationality. As part of career mode, you’ll have access to team members. You’ll have an agent and team engineer. The agent will help you manage your team by recommending different strategies to help you succeed.

I had a good time with the demo at E3 this year, and I look forward to checking the game out when it launches. During the demo, they weren’t talking about the release date, but this morning they announced that F1 2016 would release on August 19 later this year. That announcement comes along with a trailer, which you can check out up top.