"Head-to-head racing action for one or two players, Grand Prix Simulator lets players race each other in top-down, arcade-style action around 14 tracks. Pick up point bonuses to boost your score and watch out for the oil slicks."
What the press said
We were inspired to write Grand Prix Simulator after turning up at Codemasters to deliver the master for Ghost Hunters when we saw Richard and David Darling's new sports cars, a black Toyota Celica and a red MR2. We said to each other we could buy a car like one of those if we made another hit game. Perhaps we could even write one about sports cars since they were very desirable. We then remembered a game we had started to write in the previous summer holidays that we had abandoned about driving a car around a safari park with a top-down view. We thought we could change the background to a race track and race cars around it. We’d seen Richard Darling’s BMX Simulator a month before and not only did it play quite well, it was selling extremely well, so this convinced us it was a good idea, it also inspired the obvious name.
We started with the code from Safari Madness and set about changing the code and graphics. We decided to leave it in graphic mode 0 (160×200 pixels with 16 colours), which we knew was incompatible with the Spectrum and because we felt we needed the larger range of colours. Especially since each car could have its own colour and be easily identifiable.
The game was hugely successful and Codemasters asked us to port it to the Spectrum, but we were concerned that players wouldn’t be able to identify cars well enough given the colour restrictions of the Spectrum. As a result, they outsourced the work to Serge Doseng and Mervin James, whilst the C64 version was produced by Adrian Sheppard, Steve Day & David Whittaker. We were also very keen to crack on with our next game which we’d been designing towards the end of Grand Prix Simulator, it would become Dizzy.
Activision sent a legal threat to Codemasters requesting they withdraw the game from sale since they had licensed Super Sprint from Atari to make home computer versions and felt this game was too close and was clearly inspired by it. It actually wasn’t, so Codemasters made publicity out of this, which increased the sales.