Project CARS or Community Assisted Racing Simulator is a motorsports racing simulator game developed by British developer Slightly Mad Studios with distribution by Bandai Namco. The game was released early May 2015 in Europe and late May 2015 in the US PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Wii U and Linux releases have been delayed to an unspecified date later 2015. Slightly Mad Studios intended to release Project Cars to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox360 consoles but later announced that these versions had been shelved.
Project Cars was developed using a unique crowd-sourced funding model where the community and the developers contributed the financing of the project without a major publisher. Tool Packs could be purchased to allow players to contribute directly to the development of the game including content creation and marketing. Contributing members would be awarded various special premiums depending on the level of Tool Pack purchased. They would also receive a royalty share in the game profits for the first three years following release to be paid quarterly.
The game was designed to represent a realistic driving simulation but with more of a sandbox focus to separate it from industry leading racing titles like Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsports. This approach allows players to choose from a wide variety of motorsports to participate in and grants immediate access to all tracks and vehicles. The game is capable of simulating multi-day racing events including progression and qualifying runs leading up to the race itself with dynamic changes to the weather and lighting in between to simulate changes to the driving conditions in a more realistic fashion.
Project Cars contains 74 drivable cars and over 30 real world and fictional driving venues with at least 110 courses making up numerous racing circuits. In addition to the racing circuits there are two fictional point-to-point road races inspired by the Côte d’Azur and the California Pacific Coast.
The game was released to generally positive reviews, however there have been some complaints about bugs and driving mechanic glitches as well as complaints that the graphics fail to compare to other racing simulator games available. Players have also sighted the lack of proper sponsorship deals and budget concerns as detracting from the realism that the player is participating in a racing career.