Grand Prix (1982)

by Christopher
5 minutes read


Grand Prix (1982): The Classic Formula One Time Trial

Grand Prix is a Formula One racing game released in arcades in 1982. It was developed and published by Atari, Inc. and was one of the first racing games to use a top-down perspective. Grand Prix is a time trial game, and the player’s goal is to complete each of the four race tracks as quickly as possible.


The player controls a Formula One car on one of four race tracks. The tracks vary in length and difficulty, with the most difficult track featuring a longer course, more cars and oil slicks on the track, and more bridges to cross.

The player’s car can only move on a vertical axis, and loses a little speed when it does so. The joystick’s button is the throttle: Depressing it accelerates, and releasing it decelerates. Pressing the joystick leftward applies the brake. The transmission audibly shifts as the player’s car accelerates and decelerates.

Grand Prix is a time trial, and the competing cars are obstacles rather than competition for the finish line. The player’s car can easily outpace the other cars, but if it collides with one, its speed drops lower than that of the impacted car. Driving over an oil slick causes the player’s car to skid slightly sideways, but does not slow it down. Once every scale mile, the player crosses a narrow bridge over blue water. Colliding with any wall of the bridge stops the car, and the player must slowly gain speed to continue.


Grand Prix was developed by Atari’s coin-operated video game division in Sunnyvale, California. The game was designed by Dave Theurer, who had previously worked on the arcade games Asteroids and Missile Command. Theurer was inspired to create Grand Prix after seeing a Formula One race on television. He wanted to create a game that would capture the excitement and challenge of Formula One racing.

Grand Prix was one of the first racing games to use a top-down perspective. This perspective gives the player a clear view of the track and the other cars, and makes it easy to control the player’s car.


Grand Prix was released in arcades in 1982. The game was a critical and commercial success, and helped to popularize the Formula One racing genre. Grand Prix was ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, and Atari 8-bit family of home computers.


Grand Prix is considered to be one of the classic racing games of all time. The game’s simple but addictive gameplay, challenging tracks, and innovative top-down perspective have made it a favorite of racing fans for over 40 years. Grand Prix has been cited as an influence on many later racing games, including the Need for Speed series and the Gran Turismo series.


Grand Prix is a classic racing game that still holds up today. The game’s challenging tracks, addictive gameplay, and innovative top-down perspective make it a must-play for fans of racing games. If you’re looking for a classic racing game to add to your collection, then you need to check out Grand Prix.

Additional Information

  • Grand Prix was the first racing game to feature a Formula One license.
  • The game’s four tracks are based on real-world Formula One circuits: Monaco, Monza, Silverstone, and Watkins Glen.
  • Grand Prix was one of the first arcade games to use a microprocessor.
  • The game’s music was composed by Brad Fuller, who also composed the music for the arcade game Missile Command.
  • Grand Prix was ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, and Atari 8-bit family of home computers.
  • The Atari 2600 port of Grand Prix was one of the best-selling games for the console.
  • Grand Prix has been re-released on several compilation albums, including the Atari Anthology and the Atari Vault.


Cover Art


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