GTR - FIA GT Racing Game

GTR - FIA GT Racing Game started life as a mod for EA's Formula 1 2002 racing sim. Based on the FIA's real life GT Racing series in Europe, the mod proved a hit and became wildly popular. It didn't take long for the SimBin development team (the guys who made the mod) to realise they were onto a good thing and they promptly decided to turn it into a standalone racing game.

Now, a couple of years on, the game is almost done. Actually, the game was released in Germany last year. We managed to score an English version of the original release and can report it to be the new, unparalleled king of racing games. This is high praise indeed for a game based on a relatively obscure brand of motor sport, from a developer without a track record.

SimBin have put in considerable time laying the ground­- work for an authentic racing simulator - and it only takes a quick look at the screeds of real-world data the game developers have collected, interpreted and poured into the game, to see why.

Car physics have been tuned using telemetry data from each of the numerous racing cars included in the game, giving each vehicle distinctive handling characteristics. Tracks are modelled on their real life namesakes using GPS and CAD data to include every little bump.

Sound is utterly brilliant and even the cockpits are 100 per cent accurate - not just to the real-life cockpits, but to each racing team's unique customisation of the cockpits.

Other racing sims have done all of this before, but none have tied it all together in such an entertaining, yet authentic, way. GTR has matched intricate details so perfectly to the nerve-wrackingly fast GT style of racing that suspension of disbelief is easy to attain. The sensation of speed and track adhesion (or lack thereof, if you're so inclined) is unrivalled, and the amount of effort required to drive the cars competitively and consistently is high, but not unreasonably difficult. Besides, there's so much customisation available, GTR will suit all levels of racer from arcade junkies to out-and-out simulation nuts.

Multiplayer, however, is what keeps many a good racing game on the hard drives of PC racers for years to come, and GTR looks tantalisingly good in this respect because it features dedicated server functionality - a rarity in the world of online racing.

Score Card Visuals: Car and track models are ultra realistic, superb eye candy Audio: Engine revs combined with bumper-to-bumper racing must be heard to believed Gameplay: Car physics and handling make this a must-have for the purists Score: 4.5 Publisher: 10Tacle Studios Developer: SimBin URL: www.gtr-game.com

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Scott Bartley

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