F1 2011 Race Diary: Season 1, HRT, Monaco (16th, Q20)

Monaco is, of course, the hardest real-life circuit to master in any video-game. I rate it as harder than the Nurburgring Nordschleife. Every mistake, no matter how small, is punished harshly, hopefully, just through a bit of lap time. Not qualifying last (on a well-matched difficulty level) and finishing the race are always my objectives, regardless of what the game wants. So qualifying 20th not 24th was a good result for me and the race. Well, the race usually goes better than qualifying. A muscular start (and my single flashback) saw me capture and solidify a massively satisfying 13th. After emerging from my pit stop, I was just behind my team-mate Liuzzi and the next opportunity was if he left the door open at La Rascasse. He did and I dived up the inside but I hadn’t reckoned on him going a bit slow there because he was going in the pits. Even as my engineer reminded me to be careful overtaking him, my wheel was in his side and a harsh but legitimate drive-through penalty was mine. As I was by the pits, I followed Liuzzi in and hoped that, even though the engineer and on-screen messages hadn’t had time to complete telling me about my penalty, the game would recognise my prescience and not punish me for it. Thankfully, it didn’t and I emerged way down in 20th place having served my penalty, someway behind my official objective of 16th. Still, my real objective is finish Monaco and so I settled in for the remaining 10 laps and was delighted to see people coming back toward me. A couple of typically ugly overtakes later and I’m in 17th with Perez a good way up the road and out of reach. With just a few laps to go, though, Perez pits and I sneak by. By this time, it being Monaco, I’ve dinged my front wing enough times that my engineer has offered me a pit stop if I can’t handle it but track position is king at Monaco. I just hold on, beating Perez by a tiny fraction of a second. So I didn’t qualify last, I finished the race at Monaco and, as a bonus, met the team objective of a 16th place finish. Great race and happy result.

F1 2011 Race Diary: Season 1, HRT, Malaysia (11th, Q19)

The Sepang circuit is another one I don’t really like because I am rubbish at Turns 5 and 6 and, especially, Turns 13 and 14.

Still, a solid qualifying gave me confidence that I should be able to meet my career objective of finishing 18th or higher

A tidy start and a refusal to back off the throttle out of Turn 2 got me all the way up to a very pleasing 7th. That set me up for the race even though I realised that there were a number of faster cars behind me. A surprisingly smooth pitstop saw me out in 12th and, after the Prime boys stopped later, left me in 11th with four cars close behind and four laps to go. I didn’t make any mistakes but the racing was superb. Sometimes they would slip by and I would outbrake them into the next corner. In the end, I held 11th and was delighted.

F1 2011 Race Diary: Season 1, HRT, Australia (19th, Q24)

Melbourne is a circuit I don’t like because races always seem to go badly and it rains just way too much in games. Qualifying therefore took place in torrential rain. AI cars, of course, require no practice to go full speed in the rain and after half-a-dozen laps I’m still several seconds off my team-mate and have earned myself a broken front wing. Repairs cost the entire remaining time so I’m at the back of the grid. The race is in the dry and an excellent start sees me get up to 15th without damage, three places above my objective. An excursion into a sandtrap on the pit-in lap sees four cars go streaming by and from then on it’s an uphill battle to get back to 18th. Though I did make it, unfortunately, the much faster Rubens Barrichello emerged from a pit-stop just behind me and whooshed by without problem. Starting the season with Australia and Malaysia are always an exercise in damage-limitation for me and, to be fair, I’m pleased I’m not last and that I finished.

Gran Turismo: The Real Driving Simulator 3: A-spec (2001, PS2 exclusive) – 9/10 racing game review

AmazonBuy Gran Turismo: The Real Driving Simulator 3: A-spec at Amazon

Cast / crew
Game Designer: Kazunori Yamauchi

Gran Turismo Gran Turismo: The Real Driving Simulator 3: A-spec (2001)

1 or 2 players offline.

Starting with a small number of credits, purchase cars and upgrades till you’ve won every race and championship available.

9/10

While Gran Turismo 2: A-Spec may have been a more accurate, if mean, title, this game offers reference-quality graphics (not matched by any other PlayStation 2 game for about five years), an astonishing number of challenges and mildly improved (though still dull) A.I. but it takes significantly longer to get its addictive hooks into you. For me, the main reason for this is that there is no longer a racing modification available for ordinary cars and so you have little motivation to keep upgrading your car because it will just look the same even if it goes like stink.