Lining up on the grid alongside the likes of Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo, Project CARS sets out to deliver a realistic driving simulation that takes in everything from an SMS Kart 125cc to the 245mph W Motors Lykan Hypersport that wowed petrol-hedz with its appearance in Fast & Furious 7.

Unlike those other games, however, Project CARS doesn't restrict access to its myriad cars and tracks, forcing gamers to unlock them as they play. Instead, every car is available from the start, waiting for you to take them for a spin. Nor are you expected to win upgrades that will allow you to improve the vehicles. Instead, in true racing simulation style, the focus is on tweaking the existing setups of each vehicle to find the one that best suits each of the 110 different courses on offer.

By stripping away all of the unnecessary fat that has built up around the genre over the years, this stunning-looking game lives or dies purely on its racing. And for the most part it really delivers, providing a white-knuckle driving experience with an impressive physics engine and handling model that punishes you for the tiniest mistake. Rather less impressive (but often unintentionally funny) are some A.I. bugs that really should have been ironed out before release – thankfully software patches to fix them have been promised by the developer.

Project CARS, Namco Bandai, Xbox One/PS4/PC, £50 Approx
HCC VERDICT: 4/5