You can try your hand at all of them in Codemasters' classic racer.
Starting out as an amateur driver in a new team, you are tasked with bringing in the money by first racing for other teams in order to bring a Mustang back to life as your first team car. After that, the world opens up to you and you will begin racing for your own team and start catching the eye of sponsors. This is where the customisation comes into play.
Rather than allowing the player to upgrade the car's parts, you are only given the option to create your own paint job from existing designs and customising the colours to suit your own preferences. Then you name the team, add sponsors (all of which come with objectives to fulfil in order to receive the cash bonus) and later add a team mate, once you have earned enough to hire one.
There are three territories to race in: Europe, Japan and USA. Every territory comes with its own distinct racing events and courses, all with varying degrees of difficulty and sense of identity, brought to life by breathtaking visuals. Through winning races, you will gain reputation points that will eventually unlock licenses to race in the higher tiers and, eventually, race in the Global championships – six events that mix and match courses from around the world.
|Grid's, erm... grids offer up to 20 racers at once!|
It is the racing itself that takes first prize though, with fantastic physics that convey a real sense of connection between driver and car, tyres and road, offering the most direct control of any racer and then coupling it with the best AI. The computer-controlled racers will fight for position, yield the racing line and, though rarely, they will play dirty.
From casual beginnings through to fierce competition in later events, the difficulty is customisable via AI level, Pro Mode (turns off race restarts) and various handling assists that can be turned on or off, making it an extremely accessible racer for everyone.
And that is why the unconfirmed sequel still sits at the top of my 'most wanted' list.