Grand Prix Legends

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Grand Prix Legends
Grand Prix Legends Coverart.jpg
North American boxart
Developer(s)Papyrus Design Group
Publisher(s)Sierra Sports
Director(s)Matt Sentell
Designer(s)Randy Cassidy
David Kaemmer
Brian C. Mahony
Matt Sentell
Richard Yasi
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
Genre(s)Racing simulation
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Grand Prix Legends is a computer racing simulator developed by Papyrus Design Group and published in 1998 by Sierra On-Line under the Sierra Sports banner. It simulates the 1967 Grand Prix season.[2]


The game offers several modes in which the player can race alone or against AI opponents. The game also features multiplayer via LAN. Many parameters affecting the skill and aggressiveness of the AI drivers can be specified.


The game was in development for three years.[3]Inspired by the 1966 film Grand Prix, the developers chose to base the game on the 1967 Formula 1 Grand Prix season because during that period tracks were narrow and lined with trees, houses, and other elements that in a video game can serve as backgrounds to enhance the sensation of speed.[2] In addition, the more primitive suspension of cars of the time meant that the car physics could be more visually dramatic.[2]

However, the amount of time that has passed since the 1967 Grand Prix season meant that some of the tracks the designers wanted to recreate no longer existed in their original form. The team visited town halls to get blueprints for defunct tracks.[2] Licensing could also be difficult. Papyrus co-founder Dave Kaemmer commented, "It's not a pleasant thing to call someone on the phone and say that you want to license their dead son's name, but people have been very helpful."[2]


Critical reception[edit]

The game received "favorable" reviews according to the review aggregation website GameRankings.[4] GameSpot said, "Grand Prix Legends will reward you with arguably the most intense racing experience ever seen on a personal computer."[11] Next Generation said of the game in its January 1999 issue, "Overall, there aren't enough adjectives to describe how excellent this is. If you're willing to make the investment it takes to become good, you'll be rewarded with what is perhaps the most exciting and engaging racing game we've ever had the privilege to play."[13] An issue later, the magazine ranked it at #47 in its list of the Fifty Best Games of All Time, saying, "Not only does it have the most realistic physics model yet in a racing game [...] a brilliant premise, and the best drive AI we've seen, but GPL enables players to do something they simply never could in the real world. Many, if not most[,] games do that, but few do it as convincingly or compellingly."[17]


The game was a commercial failure;[18][19] Andy Mahood of PC Gamer US described its sales as "abysmally poor".[18] In 2003, writer Mark H. Walker reported that "the game sold only a few thousand copies" in the United States, which he attributed to the general unpopularity of Formula One racing in the country. He noted that its "steep learning curve kept many fans away" in European markets.[19] GameSpot's Gord Goble attributed its performance to the "combination of treacherous gameplay, sometimes glacial frame rates, and esoteric subject matter". It ultimately totaled 200,000 sales by 2004.[20]


The game was the runner-up for Computer Gaming World's 1998 "Best Driving" award, and for GameSpot's 1998 "Driving Game of the Year" award, both of which ultimately went to Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit.[21][22] The staff of the former said of the game, "Arguably the most ambitious and realistic driving simulation to date—modeling the thrills and difficulties of Grand Prix racing circa 1967—it is also perhaps the toughest to play. It's an awesome game for those who can handle it."[21]

The game won Computer Games Strategy Plus' 1998 "Sports Game of the Year" award. The staff wrote, "Racing games are always popular, and there are a lot of them, but few if any approach Grand Prix Racing's level of sophistication and uncompromising detail."[23] It also won the Best Racing Game award at the 1998 CNET Gamecenter Awards.[24]



  1. ^ Gentry, Perry (October 6, 1998). "What's in Stores This Week". Gamecenter. CNET. Archived from the original on August 17, 2000. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e "NG Alphas: Grand Prix Legends". Next Generation. No. 29. Imagine Media. May 1997. pp. 66–69.
  3. ^ "Grand Prix Legends Interview". October 25, 1998. Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Grand Prix Legends for PC". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on June 2, 2019. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  5. ^ Mahood, Andy (October 29, 1998). "Grand Prix Legends". Gamecenter. CNET. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  6. ^ Bauman, Steve (October 28, 1998). "Grand Prix Legends". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Strategy Plus, Inc. Archived from the original on May 23, 2003. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  7. ^ Goble, Gord (January 1999). "Blast From the Past (Grand Prix Legends Review)" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 174. Ziff Davis. pp. 340–41. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  8. ^ Edge staff (November 1998). "Grand Prix Legends". Edge. No. 64. Future Publishing. pp. 82–83. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  9. ^ Morris, Daniel (1999). "Grand Prix Legends Review for PC on". GamePro. IDG Entertainment. Archived from the original on June 23, 2004. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  10. ^ Cooke, Mark (December 1998). "Grand Prix Legends Review". GameRevolution. CraveOnline. Archived from the original on October 12, 2015. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Poole, Stephen (December 17, 1998). "Grand Prix Legends Review [date mislabeled as "May 1, 2000"]". GameSpot. CBS Interactive.
  12. ^ L'avis de lightman (October 21, 1998). "Test: Grand Prix Legends". (in French). Webedia. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Grand Prix Legends". Next Generation. No. 49. Imagine Media. January 1999. p. 100. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  14. ^ Klett, Steve (January 1999). "Grand Prix Legends". PC Accelerator. No. 5. Imagine Media. p. 90. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  15. ^ McDonald, T. Liam (January 1999). "Grand Prix Legends". PC Gamer. Vol. 6, no. 1. Imagine Media. Archived from the original on December 22, 1999. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  16. ^ Hill, Steve (November 1998). "Grand Prix Legends". PC Zone. No. 69. Dennis Publishing. pp. 104–5. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  17. ^ "The Fifty Best Games of All Time (#47)". Next Generation. No. 50. Imagine Media. February 1999. p. 73. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  18. ^ a b Mahood, Andy (December 2000). "Staying Ahead of the Game". PC Gamer. Vol. 7, no. 12. Imagine Media. Archived from the original on August 27, 2003.
  19. ^ a b Walker, Mark H. (June 25, 2003). Games That Sell!. Wordware Publishing. p. 194. ISBN 155622950X.
  20. ^ Goble, Gord (July 24, 2004). "History of Papyrus Racing Games [date mislabeled as "June 8, 2005"] (Page 6: A Daring Move)". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on August 5, 2004. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  21. ^ a b CGW staff (April 1999). "Computer Gaming World's 1999 Premier Awards (Best Driving)" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 177. Ziff Davis. p. 100. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  22. ^ GameSpot staff (1999). "The Best & Worst of 1998 (Driving Game of the Year - Nominees)". GameSpot. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on October 1, 2000. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  23. ^ CGSP staff (February 11, 1999). "The Best of 1998 (Best Sports Game)". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Strategy Plus, Inc. Archived from the original on February 9, 2005. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  24. ^ Gamecenter staff (January 29, 1999). "The CNET Awards for 1998! (Racing Winner)". Gamecenter. CNET. Archived from the original on February 10, 2001. Retrieved August 28, 2021.

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