Yes, as far back as 1997 there was an Indycar game out, make that CART which existed before the current era. Now, 23-years-later (!) RaceSimCentral have dug this gem out of their video archives for some old-timer deja vu!
This is what Microsoft and CART had to say about their race sim at the time:
Redmond, Wash., Dec. 3, 1997 — Your heart pounds as you check the cockpit gauges of your Indy car … your engine growls in anticipation … the flag drops … you slam the accelerator to the floor and fly from zero to 220 miles per hour in the blink of an eye – all from your personal computer.
Automobile racing fans can finally be part of the action of real CART racing as Microsoft Corp. introduces the CART Precision Racing Ô game, now available on store shelves across the country. An Official Licensed Product of Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc., CART Precision Racing lets players experience the thrill of racing the world’s most spectacular race tracks against the world’s top open-wheel race car drivers – and they don’t even need a sponsor.
“Most auto racing games are missing one key ingredient: realism,” said Robbie Bach, vice president of the learning and entertainment division at Microsoft. “How will you attack the elevation changes of Laguna Seca’s famous corkscrew? How is Zanardi or Rahal going to react when bumped around the turn? CART Precision Racing is more than a game. It’s a total interactive racing experience.”
“In CART racing, we strive to make the experience of the fans as near as we can to the real thing,” Andrew Craig, CART president and CEO said. “CART Precision Racing is about as close as most people are ever going to get to real Indy car racing.”
To create the game, Microsoft called upon CART drivers Mauricio Gugelmin, Max Papis and Bobby Rahal along with their teams. True-to-life driver views, advanced vehicle and independent tire physics, and photorealistic cockpits are just a few of the enhancements perfected with the aid of the drivers.
To maximize realism, each of the 17 racetrack venues in CART Precision Racing have been recreated using data taken from global positioning system surveys, providing track accuracy of up to 10 centimeters. Now players can feel the bumps, dips and turns unique to each course. Players can also monitor and set functions such as tire wear, fuel consumption, temperature changes, suspension, wing angle, crash damage and other “garage” settings to recreate all kinds of real racing situations.
In addition, advanced 3-D graphics, cutting-edge sound effects and the game’s artificial intelligence (which offers the computer-controlled cars access to the unwritten rules of racing, including rolling starts and aggressive passing) add to the total racing experience. In final testing, the game’s realism impressed actual CART drivers.
“CART Precision Racing is the best Indy simulation I’ve ever seen,” said Rahal, three-time PPG Cup champion. “The graphics are unbelievable.”
“The people who get this game are going to have Indy cars in their living rooms,” CART champion Gugelmin added.
CART Precision Racing is available through most major PC software retail outlets for approximately $54.95. The game offers multiplayer support for up to eight players to go head-to-head via local area network or up to four players via the Internet through the Microsoft® Internet Gaming Zone Web site is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers.
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Microsoft and Precision Racing are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
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All logos and marks of CART, its Teams, Drivers, Tracks and Sponsors are the property of CART and its respective Teams, Drivers, Tracks and Sponsors and may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of CART Licensed Products, L.P. Ó