In 1994, I purchased a PC racing simulation called WORLD CIRCUIT The Grand Prix Simulation™ by
MICROPROSE™. It was one of the best racing simulations at the
time and best of all, it was modeled after Formula One Grand Prix racing. The simulation had the 16
circuits and all of the cars and drivers who competed in the 1991 season. A driver could just practice hot
laps or compete in a Championship season at full race distances. There were five different levels of
difficulty in the simulation ranging from Rookie to Ace.
In the summer of 1995, I had some time on my hands and decided to compete in the Formula 1 World Championship. I was going to compete at the Ace level, the most difficult. This level offered no driver aids such as automatic transmission or the valuable "indestructible mode." I didn't have a steering wheel or pedals, so I decided to use a Gravis Analog Pro joystick. It had a wide, flat base with two buttons on the left side. I configured the top button, the one nearest the screen, as the upshift and the other was the downshift button. I also decided to set the simulation for 10% race distance. This would produce races averaging five to seven laps and take about 10 minutes to run. There was no way I was going to try and sit there with a death grip on a joystick for a full 90 minute Grand Prix! The simulation did have something called "steering help" which was a feature for joystick users. This feature slowed down the side-to-side transition of the car at high speed and I used it.
I selected the McLaren-Honda team and set up my best friend, Bob Mikels as my team-mate, even though Bob himself wasn't actually doing any driving. It was going to be Bob and me against the best of the 1991 Grand Prix field! I competed in four seasons for a total of 64 Grands Prix. This translated to clutching a joystick (I broke several) for about 10 hours! I diligently kept notes of my lap times, finishing positions and other data. While the lap times, results and incidents are factual, I have taken liberties in some of the comments, such as the times when team manager Ron Dennis wasn't too thrilled with my performances!
Each season consists of 16 events starting in the United States and ending in Australia. I used 30 minute qualifying sessions. The starting grid in a Grand Prix is a staggered 13 rows of two and of course, Grand Prix racing uses a standing start. Points are awarded 10-6-4-3-2-1 for first through sixth in the final race classifications.
Let the quest begin!
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