Grand Prix Circuit (video game)

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Grand Prix Circuit
Grand Prix Circuit cover.jpg
Developer(s)Distinctive Software
Random Access (CPC, Spectrum)
Designer(s)Brad Gour
Don Mattrick
Programmer(s)Frank Barchard
Rick Friesen
Brad Gour
Amory Wong
Artist(s)John Boechler
Tony Lee
Composer(s)Krisjan Hatlelid
Amstrad CPC
Apple IIGS
Commodore 64
ZX Spectrum
Genre(s)Sports, Racing

Grand Prix Circuit is a motor racing game developed by Distinctive Software and published by Accolade for the MS-DOS in 1988. It was ported later to the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple IIGS, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum.


Qualification screenshot

Players can choose from three different cars in the game. They are:

The McLaren-Honda turbo is the most powerful car in the game but is also the most difficult car to control. This is the 1988 combination that won 15 out of 16 Grands Prix (along with 15 pole positions) in the hands of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.

The Williams-Renault is the next most powerful and the car is relatively neutral to control. The Williams-Renault is the 1989 combination but the Renault engine was in reality a V10, not the V8 that is in the game. The FW12C (with the V10 engine) was driven by Thierry Boutsen and Riccardo Patrese in 1989.

The Ferrari is actually the 1988 turbo car's chassis with the V12 engine. This version did appear in public in 1988, but only as the test mule for Ferrari's 1989 engine and was never raced. As the slowest of the three the Ferrari is also the easiest to control. The test car was driven by the team's 1988 drivers Michele Alboreto and Gerhard Berger, as well as Ferrari test driver Roberto Moreno.

There are eight tracks used in Grand Prix Circuit. They are:

There are five difficulty levels and three playing modes: practice, single event and championship circuit and the game is accompanied by music written for the Commodore 64 by Kris Hatlelid. The high score/end of game music is based on "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" from 1969 by Paul Leka, Gary DeCarlo and Dale Frashuer.

As stated in an interview with BBC's Top Gear in 2010, Kazunori Yamauchi, the creator of the Gran Turismo (series) racing franchise for the PlayStation, was initially introduced to the genre of racing simulators by Grand Prix Circuit.[1]


A Computer Gaming World review had mixed feelings about the game, noting the controls, which governed steering, acceleration, and shifting all at the same time, took so long to get used to that the reviewer ended up asking a friend to do shifting for him. The review did note the game was quite good after getting used to the controls.[2]


  1. ^ Top Gear talks to Kazunori Yamauchi - BBC Top Gear.
  2. ^ Ardai, Charles; Werger, Barry (March 1989), "Once Around The Block", Computer Gaming World (57), pp. 45–46

External links[edit]