When Gran Turismo 7 was released earlier this year, with over 400 cars all beautifully rendered to be almost exacting replicas of their physical counterparts, it signalled the latest release in what has been one of video gaming’s longest and most popular genres.

That’s because it’s been almost fifty years since the first racing game, Gran Trak 10, was brought to arcades in 1974, with its now rather rudimentary graphics that are so far detached from what we see today. Although it may look very different, without it, we may not have got to where we are now, and you can almost chart the growth in video gaming alongside the developments in the driving genre, as there have been so many iconic titles along the way.

Outrun was the game of the 80s, and it made everyone want to own a Ferrari Testarossa; meanwhile, Colin McRae’s Subaru Impreza welcomed the era of the PlayStation in the rally title endorsed by the legendary Scot. Stepping into the current millennium, players have continued to love beating their opponents to the finish, even if that’s the police! The rise in games such as Need for Speed with street racing in the Nissan Skyline have hurtled neck and neck with simulations such as Formula 1, and they can also be seen on other platforms which have grown popular in recent years. Mobile gamers haven’t been left out either; in the online slots offered by Foxy Games there are titles such as Wild Chase Tokyo Go and 24-Hour Grand Prix which trade on the racing genre without putting you in control of a car. Those who love to game on the go are also enjoying titles like F1 Clash which again, doesn’t allow you to get your hands on the wheel, instead offering the players a chance to manage the team to success. While these games don’t put you in the driving seat, they do play on the themes regularly seen in racing games.

However, alongside those titles, there have been times when a famous marque has also dipped their toe in the gaming waters by bringing their interpretations of the popular digital pastime into our homes, so here’s our look at some of the best manufacturer-specific racing video games.

Porsche Challenge

This title which was released on the PlayStation 1, received acclaim for its driving physics, with some reviewers even saying the experience of controlling the Porsche Boxster in-game was almost indistinguishable from the real thing. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise though, as the game designers worked closely with the employees from the German sports car company to model the performance and handling of their car accurately. The game was a showcase for the Boxster, so it was the only car that players could control, but how the developers offset the disappointment of not having more choice of vehicle was to introduce six opponents to race against, with differing traits, which came out in the interaction with them. However, it didn’t seem to have much of an impact on their driving style, it has to be said!

Ferrari Virtual Academy

This one went under the radar for many people as the game wasn’t feature-packed like many more games released in 2010, but if you managed to get your hands on it, you’d soon realise why it was a decent title. It allowed PC owners to step into the seat of the Ferrari F1 car of the era, the F10, which legendary driver Fernando Alonso called the best car he’d ever driven. The game fell a little short in its game modes, as only free practice and hot lap we available, making it more like an F1 qualifying simulator. But the online element to the hot lap mode, with its leader boards listing all those who were split seconds quicker than you, was very addictive indeed. Later updates added Mugello and Nürburgring circuits to the Ferrari test track, Fiorano, and the iconic Ferrari 458, which Hotcars call the best modern mid-engined V8 Ferrari.

Mercedes Benz Truck Racing

As the title suggests, this game was racing on a massive level, and it didn’t disappoint. Like Porsche Challenge, this game was built in association with the factory that endorsed the game, with particular attention paid to the damage system, which was modeled from prototype racing trucks. It received praise from the gaming press and players alike for its exciting one-off races and championship mode, which unlocked more tracks as you worked through it. While it offered a good experience playing with the keyboard, to truly get the best out of Mercedes Benz Truck Racing, you had to use a steering wheel that elevated things to another level.
hings to another level.

About The Author


An eclectic mix of roadtrips, motorsports for the poor, banger rallies and an appreciation of modern & retro classic cars.

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