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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: November 29, 1999
Many fascinating and exciting international car racing circuits are virtually unknown in the United States. Although we Americans fashion ourselves as globally sophisticated fans of this sport, we miss out on an awful lot of fun driving competition. A perfect example of this pattern is our ostrich-like ignorance of the British Touring Car Championship. The BTCC is one of the most exciting motor racing competitions in the world, involving a series of intense races among mass production four-door two-liter cars.
Touring Car Challenge from the British Codemasters provides us with the most extensive reenactment of the BTCC to date. The sequel to TOCA Racing, this offering is also known as TOCA 2 in Europe, but does not use that name in North America because of our lack of familiarity with its predecessor. This is unabashedly a simulation title, with no explicit nods to the arcade racing crowd.
Compared to the original TOCA Racing, there have been several improvements. Among the most notable are better suspension, handling, and weight shifting among the vehicles, as well as faster draw times, fully modeled car interiors, higher definition wheels, more trackside objects, and an extended viewing distance. While the first TOCA release supported only 640×480 as its highest resolution, the sequel can go much higher. Overall, though, it is clear that this new version is evolutionary rather than revolutionary in terms of its refinements.
The cars authentically replicate their real-life counterparts. They include the Honda Accord, Audi 44, Vauxhall Vectra, Volvo S40, Ford Mondeo, Nissan Primera, Peugeot 406, and Renault Laguna. The tracks are also the real thing and include Thruxton, Silverstone, Donington, Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Croft, Snetterton, and Knockhill. The 17 drivers available are the actual human racers, mostly British and not well-known to the world at large. Although bonus tracks and cars are available, the range of choice in drivers, tracks, and cars is a bit smaller than in most offerings of this type.
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