Released in 2011, Race: Injection is the final expansion to sim racer Race 07. The original Race 07 launched in 2007 to mixed reception. Most critics agreed that it didn’t do much to innovate sim racing. Developer SimBin Studios continued to support the game and added several expansions.
With a final total of six expansions, it was getting expensive to access the full package. Race: Injection followed, sold as the definitive edition packaged with the core game and all its expansions.
On paper, Race: Injection looks as though it offers more content than just about any other racing sim out there. There’s an impressive 66 unique cars and 68 unique locations, but these numbers don’t tell the full story.
Many of Race 07’s expansions didn’t actually add new content but rather add varieties of existing content. There’s 2006, 2007, and 2010 versions of Brands Hatch that all feature very minor changes. It’s much the same for Curitiba, Valencia, and Monza. When variants and duplicates are considered, the track list is cut down to just 32.
There are some significant omissions from the track list that I was particularly disappointed in. Most notably, there’s no Laguna Seca, no Nürburgring, no Le Mans, and a tragic lack of Indianapolis. A modding community does exist which can help alleviate this issue, but it’s not an optimal solution.
A total of 25 race series covered isn’t too bad until you realize that nine of them are just variants of Radical and Caterham CSR racing.
Race: Injection does do an excellent job if it’s touring cars you like. Possibly the best in the industry. Despite this, I can’t help but feel that, at least in the content department, Race: Injection is slightly below average. Even after six expansions, other racing games of the time, such as TOCA Race Driver 3, offer a more complete package.
Race: Injection’s driving mechanics are strong, if unremarkable. It lacks the controller feedback of Forza Motorsport or the skill curve of Project CARS, but still offers a pleasant enough experience.
One thing Race: Injection does have over its competitors both past and present is very impressive controller support. Most racing simulators feel like they punish you for using a controller, but that’s not the case here. In fact, this might be the only sim racer I’ve ever played that feels better on a gamepad than racing wheel.
The A.I. is very impressive for 2007’s standards. More recent racing games try to avoid perceptions of the A.I. being too soft by having them aggressively take space instead. The result is usually a lot of unfair crash-outs where you’ve done nothing wrong, but the CPU has still obliterated your backend. Forza Motorsport 5 with its first-generation Drivatar system was especially guilty of this.
Race: Injection has its A.I. both take space on the track and give it away in an incredibly human-like manner. If they feel like they have right of way, they won’t budge but if you’re making a legitimate move, they’ll go wide to give you room.
Single-Player and Multiplayer
Race: Injection does however follow the trend that has become increasingly common in racing game in recent years. It offers a very limited, non-expansive single-player, but its multiplayer options are very fun. For some people this is a deal-breaker, while for others it’s an automatic sale.
Classic single-player-focused racing games like Gran Turismo 4, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and Burnout 3 are still top tier in my mind. Even though I once played Forza multiplayer competitively, a great single-player experience still wins every time.
All Race: Injection’s single-player comes down to is picking a car and picking a track. This game has zero progression, which is disappointing, although sadly expected at this point.
If you’re considering getting into Race: Injection’s multiplayer scene, be prepared to dedicate some serious time to getting good. Like many older games, there’s a skilled and passionate community at the heart of most multiplayer lobbies.
Not many newer players are going to come by often, so to have any real success you’ll have to compete against title veterans instead. If you’re up for the challenge, it’s not too hard to get a race together. There’s usually someone on the Steam forums or in various Discord communities who’ll arrange them for people to sign up. Just be ready to go toe-to-toe with people who have far more experience than yourself.
Realistic-looking games don’t tend to age well over time and Race: Injection is no exception. Many critics didn’t think it was a particularly attractive game for 2007’s standards, so 12 years later it can be a sore sight at times. The cars themselves hold up okay but interiors, environments, and background details all look extremely out-of-date.
Also, not only do weather effects not look good, they don’t do much either. I found heavy rain in Race: Injection to be a relative non-factor compared to many newer titles.
The core issue is that while this is a 2007 game, it runs off a 2005 engine that prioritizes realistic physics over visual fidelity. Image Space Incorporated’s rFactor, which shares this engine, suffers from a similar problem but in its case the driving feels truly world class.
I’m not convinced that Race: Injection’s core driving mechanics are good enough to justify how mediocre it looks. Today, the ISImotor engine has effectively ceased being used and has been replaced by superior alternatives like the Unreal Engine.
Race: Injection was a good option in 2007, but is by no means a timeless classic of the racing genre. Meanwhile, I still enjoy playing Race Driver: Grid, Burnout Paradise, and Test Drive Unlimited — all titles from a similar era that remain fantastic racing games even today.
Race 07 and its expansions struggle to do the same. Some may look back at Race: Injection with nostalgia, but to me it’s yet another slightly-above-average racing game the world should forget about.
If there’s one saving grace, it’s the price. Considering there’s still a respectable level of content available, G2A and Kinguin’s offerings at around $5 is appealing. Unfortunately, the current Steam price of $12.99 is too steep when more modern titles like Project CARS are often on sale for less.