Simbin's GTR 2, the latest offering from a firm with a history of producing finely crafted simulations, is one of the most eagerly anticipated racing titles to grace the PC.

Catering thoughtfully to the tastes of playboy petrolheads, GTR 2 allows you to enjoy 34 variations of real-world tracks at the wheel of fully licensed exotic cars, including Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Maseratis.

With detail bordering on the obsessive, every nut, bolt and spoiler of these thoroughbred beauties has been painstakingly reproduced. This title stands out as one of the PC's best-looking racers to date.

But it's not just the visuals that have been given some serious production time – sounds are equally impressive. Every car has been individually sampled, with each beastly snarl and clunk of the engine and gearbox captured beautifully. Unfortunately, the menu music isn't quite so inspiring, comprising the sort of dull, synthesised rock tracks likely to be found on Jeremy Clarkson's iPod.

The handling has been notably refined, with much of the knife-edge twitchiness of the previous title toned down. GTR 2 eases beginners in with a driving school, which should reduce the number of unplanned trips into the trackside scenery.

While newcomers to the series may find it easy to get to grips with the latest version of GTR, modestly equipped PCs certainly won't. System requirements are hefty. With the settings ramped up and a full grid of cars, GTR 2 can sometimes reduce frame rates into the teens – even on high-end PCs. Thankfully, there are a wealth of visual options to tinker with, making the game fairly scaleable.

GTR 2: Specs

  • 1.8GHz Intel Pentium 4
  • Windows XP
  • 512MB RAM
  • 1.7GB hard disk space
  • DirectX 8.1-compatible graphics card with 64MB RAM
  • DirectX 8.1-compatible sound card
  • 1.8GHz Intel Pentium 4
  • Windows XP
  • 512MB RAM
  • 1.7GB hard disk space
  • DirectX 8.1-compatible graphics card with 64MB RAM
  • DirectX 8.1-compatible sound card

OUR VERDICT

Flirting with the pit-lane girls and glugging champagne on the podium are all that's missing from GTR 2, the most realistic racing experience around.

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