Are they gearing C.A.R.S. more towards off line, or is this going to be an on line game like the RFactor series?
It will include a hefty multiplayer component but it's not likely to make an appearance until the main features are finalized. I suspect we're a good few months from that yet.
As you are aware, both CARS and rF2 are in a very unfinished state. By all means pick them up as a glimpse at what's round the corner. Both are amazing in their own way but i'm not sure they would be the best entry point for someone looking to get into sim-racing.
Have a look at rFactor1, GTR Evo, GTR2 and iRacing. All offer different experiences and will provide tons of enjoyment while the next generations of sims take shape. Here at SimHQ we support rF1 and iRacing with rF2 currently under testing. New sims will be considered on their own merits as they appear. In fact with the rF1 Skoda Series about to kick off there's probably never been a better time to jump on board
In short -
rFactor1= cheap, massive content, hugely popular online but creaking at the seams a little.
GTREvo- Slightly better graphics, still a decent amount of content but less online presence these days. Good offline and great for honing your skills.
GTR2 - possibly the best offline recreation of a single race series (FIA-GT) ever, great AI. Still plenty of addons but not as popular these days. Along with GTREvo, the best choice for offline sim racing.
iRacing, - Takes itself seriously, massive online presence with structured online 'career' progression and more stats than you know what to do with. Limited content but all very high quality. Micro transactions can make it expensive.
Here's a good discussion thread about the merits of various sims and what might suit you best.http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/3493385/1.html
Also a shameless plug for mine and Jens article about what to expect during 2012 http://simhq.com/_motorsports5/motorsports_163a.html
If you need any more help or advise, just ask! there's plenty of us here, all with completely different opinions to confuse the heck out of you!