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Roar­ing its mantra ‘beyond re­al­ity’ over the noise of snarling V8 su­per­cars, sin­gle-seaters and even karts, Project Cars wants to move hard­core mo­tor­sport sims away from PC petrol­heads and bring real-life han­dling and physics to all plat­forms. Yep, even the Wii U.

In its aim to be on the grid ahead of Forza and Gran Turismo, Project Cars scraps the ‘grind’ model of hav­ing to earn pots of cash in a Dae­woo Matiz be­fore you get to drive a car you ac­tu­ally want. This switches the em­pha­sis away from win­ning for cash and puts it back where it should be: on com­pet­i­tive spirit. Th­ese are lofty tar­gets for a company whose last race was Shift 2 (which, while pretty, some­what missed its brak­ing point and ran wide into con­sole cor­ner). But Slightly Mad Stu­dios was also in­volved in the GTR se­ries, and that’s the par­ent Project Cars nat­u­rally runs to.

The han­dling is solid and pro­gres­sive, and gives you enough faith to es­tab­lish rou­tine brak­ing and turn-in points, and that com­bined with breathtaking depth-of-field is cen­tral to de­liv­er­ing driver trust. Once the weather model comes into ef­fect, it’s hard not to ad­mire the pud­dles that form or track droplet trails on your vi­sor, but it’s best to keep one eye on the road – han­dling de­grades in the wet.

With ev­ery­thing from gen­tle warm-up laps to 24-hour races, over 70 car li­cences and 80 tracks, PC support for 12K graph­ics (us­ing three 4K mon­i­tors) plus Ocu­lus Rift and Sony’s Project Mor­pheus, Project Cars is vy­ing for pole on our most-wanted list.

Si­mon Strang

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