Nigel Mansell
By Martech
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Computer & Video Games #77

Nigel Mansell

Well poor old Nigel Mansell didn't make it as the Formula One World champion last season. But Nigel Mansell's Grand Prix is certainly a winner.

It's a game you've certainly got to work at to get the most from it. The programmers have done their utmost to make this game as accurate as possible. Try and remember that you're in the cockpit of a Canon Williams Honda Formula One mean machine and these babies need careful handling. Get them too hot and bothered and then they break down on you. Treat them right and you're in a dream machine.

I made this mistake at first, ignoring the controls and just driving. You soon learn to pay a little more attention to the cockpit controls.

Nigel Mansell's Grand Prix

The cockpit display is rather overwhelming. There's a lot to monitor and I found it a little confusing at first. While studying the controls, I sometimes forgot to steer. Bang! Keep your eyes on the track.

So here's a rundown of the cockpit controls:

  1. Rev Counter
    This shows the speed of the engine, but not how fast the car is moving on the track. If the revs are too low the engine labours and power could be lost, too high and there is a danger of the engine overheating.
  2. Fuel
    This is a pretty obvious gauge.
  3. Oil Temperature
    If the oil temperature in the sump gets too much then there could be mechanical problems.
  4. Water Temperature
    Water keeps the engine cool. If it overheats, there again could be mechanical problems.
  5. Turbo Temperature
    The turbo charger boosts the pressure of the air/fuel mixture which is forced into the inley manifold of the engine. The effect of this, put simply, is to increase the car's engine power.
  6. Turbo Boost
    This shows the pressure of the fuel/air mixture entering the engine. Although it's very useful to suddenly be able to boost the power of your engine, there is a drawback which you must consider carefully. Using the turbo boost - of which there are four settings ranging from minimum to maximum - it is very heavy on fuel consumption. It has to be used very carefully end with a great deal of thought. It's no good zooming into the lead only to run out of fuel before the finishing line.
  7. Gears
    The car has six forward gears.

The onboard computer displays additional information transmitted to your car from the pits. It consists of speed (in MPH), lap time, average speed, your best speed, fuel reserve (your car carries 195 litres which should be enough to complete a race of 190 miles), fuel consumption, range on fuel (the distance you could go on fuel reserve), distance to race finish and a radio link with the pits.

There are sixteen race tracks for you to select from or you take them one-by-one to try and become world champ. Apparently, the circuits are accurate. So you can rev up around the world from Brazil to Japan and Monaco to Detroit.

I'm no Nigel Mansell when it comes to racing but this sim gives you a taste of life in the fast lane.