Alright! I played the game for about an hour now. So far it’s a surprisingly smooth experience. But pretty darn hard in the highest difficulty setting.
Either touching an opponent or over-revving your engine puts you out of the race, and over-revving happens fast if you don’t pay attention to the tachometer because you’re trying to avoid other cars.
So far I was unable to finish a single race in highest difficulty setting, even though I usually qualify in the top 3.
Comparing the game to other formula one racing games of the time shows some strengths. For one, the game plays a lot smoother than for example Super Monaco GP on the SEGA Master System, which was released two years later and had similar hardware specs as the IBM PC that GPC was aimed at. Driving in GPC feels much more like driving. That might be caused by the third person view, but in SMGP driving never felt very good.
The game doesn’t have a whole lot of cars to choose from, but that actually makes it easier to learn the differences and get used to the cars.
Yeah, the game is surprisingly hard to get into (on the highest difficulty level at least) because it’s quite unforgiving. As you say, touching someone else or over-revving for a short while will mean the end if your race immediately.
But now that I’ve been playing for a while, I’m getting quite used to it. The key is concentration, I think. If you play the game casually while not paying attention, it’s very easy to make a mistake. But if you really focus, it’s actually quite doable 🙂
Also the fact you can freely save/load during a championship is a massive help. And of course you don’t have to win all races in the season to end up on top, so all in all it’s not as hard as you might think it is at first.