Are you the type to shout at the television while watching sporting events? Are you self-aware enough to know that you’re probably not, in fact, better at these sports than those paid millions to partake in them? Do you like spreadsheets? Are you an EVE Online player that also likes open-wheel racing? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, Motorsport Manager might be the game for you.
Joking aside, the simulator genre is big business—particularly for ones that shift the focus away from the usual glory-hogs and action stars. Consider that Farming Simulator ‘17 consistently has more players on Steam than this year’s Call of Duty entry. Read that again and take a moment to let it all sink in; I’ll be over here with the rest of the review when you’re ready.
Motorsport Manager is exactly what you might expect: players take on the role of a race team manager/ owner. They’ll dictate driving strategies, pit strategies, direct research, seek out sponsors for drivers to disappoint, take all the blame when things go wrong, and get sidelined for credit in place of those playboys they employ to go to work and sit down all weekend. In essence, it’s everything being a real team lead is if you are, in fact, the type to shout at your TV. It essentially distills out all the thrill of racing, leaving behind only the tedium—which for a simulator is spot on target. I may joke, but it’s addictive and relaxing in equal measure.
Sure, there are some weird things, like being able to do patchwork repairs on vital car components during pit stops (and without incurring FIA penalties), but on the whole, Motorsport Manager is a pretty robust experience. Players can choose between three classes of open-wheel racing, which are vaguely analogous to BRSCC F3, GP2, and Formula 1, each featuring their own challenges and rewards. Likewise, players choose which team they’ll buy to start, because that’s also exactly how it works in life. Ah, to be rich, eh? Anyway, each of the teams on offer has its own history, thus determining its starting budget, as well as the pressures and expectations for performance. Think of it as a method for choosing difficulty without actually making things easier or harder—clever.
It’s quite a great time waster if you’re so inclined, and the little details like researching parts that fall into rulebook grey areas at the risk of failing scrutinizing checks is a nice touch. As is the inclusion of race-rigging through team strategies without the fear of penalty. Certainly, I’m anxious to see where the franchise might go with future iterations, but even for now, Motorsport Manager is a perfect opportunity to sit down, fiddle, meddle, and otherwise feel like you’re accomplishing something, all while someone else does all the real work. I sure as hell found myself getting sucked into it. Hey, maybe I really can do this.