field stretched out

Grand Prix Legends has been the game that has kept me glued to the computer for hours at a time. I started out just driving solo, but once I had discovered online racing, I spent hours connected to the phone line. On broadband, you can even host your own races. Although I play it less often now, this is still one of my all time favorites.

What is the attraction? The most important is the physics model. This sim, like no other, accurately models the performance of the car right down to the effects of each individual wheel and the airflow through the engine. This gives a performance and behaviour that feels as close to the real thing as possible. Added to that superb graphics and a reality created through sound used to its utmost and the immersion is almost complete. Make no mistake about it, driving a 1967 formula one car is no piece of cake, and you have to be ready to put in hours and hours of practice to get somewhere. But in the end its worth it.

For me, there is added nostalgia. The sim models the racing year of 1967, just at the time as a teenager I was in to model car racing. My friends and I built a figure of eight track out of hardboard, wooded battens and copper strip, We bought some old post office mechanical counters (from old telephone exchanges) and made ourselves a control panel with automatic lap counting.

During the summer we would race in the garden with cars that we had built ourselves – right down to re-winding the shop bought motors to increase the power. My car was Dan Gurney’s Eagle Weslake, my friends had a Ferrari, a Cooper (modelling in this sim as the Coventry, and (my memory fades a little at this point) a Brabham(?).

The picture at the head of this post is me leading the pack (2nd overall) on first bend at Kyalami (South Africa)