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Your car begins to turn a corner, finally achieving 7th position, when you grievously slam on the brakes. The turn was tighter than you thought and now you slip back into the old familiar 8th spot, a.k.a. last. Can't get much worse, right? Uh-oh! What's that? Oh, no, it's thunder, lightning and rain! Good luck with those worn out tires!
Test Drive Le Mans is the officially licensed game of the 24 Heures du Mans and yields the world famous Le Mans circuit (plus seven other tracks). The game is divided into three basic modes of play: Le Mans, Arcade and Championship.
Le Mans mode is, of course, the world famous 24 Heures du Mans. To win just one race, you need to complete more laps than anyone else in 24 hours. The speed at which 24 hours passes relative to game time is entirely dependent on the real-life time period you choose. The rate you consume fuel is also proportionate to the time period, so planning is a factor. To establish your starting position, you must initially run a qualifying race (you can skip this but, if you do, you are automatically placed in the last starting spot on the grid). When you qualify, the race begins with a rolling start from whatever position you achieved.
Arcade mode in Test Drive Le Mans offers three options. First, Challenge allows you to compete in one of six challenge cups (GT2, Prototype and GT1), each with individual tracks. Each type has a professional and amateur setup with different cars from which to choose. If you finish in first place in a race, you gain access to another car and racetrack. The next option in arcade mode is Time Attack. Here you race against the clock and opponents by racing to checkpoints and setting fastest lap records. If you don't make the checkpoint, the race is over. This option will also unlock new cars if you are successful. The last aspect of arcade mode is the practice feature. This simply allows you to drive without competition using any of the cars and tracks you've unlocked.
The final option of gameplay is Championship mode that consists of a season of pre-determined races. You begin the season with a GT2 and can use the other classes of cars only if you succeed. Each race awards a certain number of points and to win you must have the most points by the end of the Championship. This mode of play has two other options that slightly alter gameplay. The first, endurance, allows you to unlock cars for any other modes in the game. The second is a qualifying mode where the race begins with a static start at the end of the qualifying session.
Test Drive Le Mans has over 45 cars with up to 24 on the track at one time! Real world problems like fuel shortages and tire wear force you to make strategic pit stops from time to time. Once in the pit, the game offers customization options such as down force, steering, traction control and brake assist. Each option will alter the game's controls to reflect your preferences regarding control of your car. Damage to your car can also be sustained during the race and will affect your speed as well as cause under steer. Repairs to car damage automatically take place in the pit.
Test Drive Le Mans allows you to challenge the world's best drivers without leaving your house! The advanced AI of the game is designed to produce realistic results from the computer-controlled drivers you compete against. Twenty-four hours is a very long time to sit in the seat of a sports car but now you can race the 24 Heures du Mans in under a half an hour while sitting in your comfortable computer chair if you so desire. Buckle up! ~ Nick Woods, All Game Guide