My small team had won the European Championship a couple of times, building up funds for an eventual promotion to the Asia Pacific Championship. My team started well, splashing a fair amount of cash on the car design so I had a fairly upgradeable chassis for the season ahead. I had recruited a good upcoming driver to partner my Euro Champion in the other car and a top designer who would help me develop some great upgrade parts over the season, keeping my car in contention. What followed was a fantastically exciting season where I got off to a brilliant start - bringing my cars home in high finishing places and podiums so I was firmly second in the constructors championship. Unfortunately, as I was a new team that season I did not carry the best sponsorships on my car - and my overspending on salaries and car part development had depleted my cash reserves. Infact, I was starting to lose money every race no matter how well I finished - my new aim was to try to hold onto second place in the championship, first was completely out of my reach, and hope the prize money would be enough to pull me out of the debt hole I’d dug for myself. So each race suddenly became very important - I could only improve the current parts of my car in terms of performance and reliability, so I was in a similar situation to Brawn GP in Formula 1 in 2009 where they made a strong start but were being out developed and caught by their richer rivals. My main driver would manage to drag her car into the points a couple of times but we struggled in the dry races. The wet races provided an opportunity though - race strategy was key - determining how long to stay out on a drying track and timing our pit stops was crucial. I could make up a few places if I saved my tyres and fuel or jump a few if I blitzed what I had left - these are some of the exciting decisions and gambles that need to be made in Motorsport Manager.
Motorsport manager is a racing management simulation game. The game was originally a popular iOS game produced by a 1 man studio, I played it a lot on my commute so was already a fan when I heard it was coming to the PC & Mac. It managed to successfully recreate managing the strategy of a motor race, but felt very light on the other aspects of the simulation - managing the team, facilities and development of a racing car. Strategy mostly focused on timing pit stops and deciding on how much your drivers should push or try to preserve their tyres.
The PC game benefits from improved now 3D graphics and further depth in all aspects of the simulation. You can design your car and develop parts - different bonuses are available depending on the skills of your designer. Unfortunately, PlaySport Games & SEGA don’t have the official FIA licence so all of the teams and drivers are look-a-likes but “legally different”. Hopefully they negotiate a licence for a future installment.
I think the game has struck a good balance between depth and accessibility - it will be still too light for some hardcore enthusiasts, and perhaps races can be long for more casual gamers, but I think they’ve done a great job. Race strategy still mostly consists of finding the best setup for your cars in practice sessions then during the race telling your drivers when to push faster or slow down on both your tyres and engine. Pushing too hard will result in higher degradation so may require a pit stop to change the tyres or a more time costly repair on broken parts.
I’m still getting used to qualifying - the lowest championship doesn’t have it - it requires micromanaging between pushing and backing off on your car’s out lap so your tyres and brakes are the perfect temperature and not too cool or overheated. I can see what they’re trying to do with a sort of mini-game but it’s probably the weakest part of this game for me.
I didn’t encounter any bugs whilst playing Motorsport Manager but have read about a couple that seem to have been fixed. There have been a couple of updates since launch back in November - The most recent added in Steam Workshop support which should allow clever modern out there to create some good F1 mods or add in some crazy fun stuff. There is an option to switch to only 2D mode which makes it viable to play the game on older laptops.
Motorsport Manager gets a thumbs up from me - the PC version is great and is a good base for the start of hopefully a Football Manager style franchise. The iOS version is lighter, but still highly recommended.