Atari is no stranger to the racing circuit, but its ongoing financial hardships have placed it far from the lap leader. As part of the publisher's efforts to get back in the black by ending its internal development operations, Atari traded in its Driver franchise to Ubisoft's dealership in July 2006. In November 2007, the publisher licensed out its Test Drive franchise to Infogrames, a move that has lost its significance in light of the France-based parent company signaling its intent to take Atari private earlier this year.
Now, Atari is jumping back into the driver seat, revealing today that it would be publishing SimBin's simulation-style racer Race Pro for the Xbox 360. Today's announcement follows a rash of reports last month that claimed that SimBin's Racer would be published for Microsoft's console by THQ, possibly stemming from a deal announced between the two parties in 2006 that has thus far borne no fruit. No stranger to the sim-racing scene, SimBin is best known for its critically well-received Race 07 - The WTCC Game and GTR2 for the PC.
True-to-life plays paramount in Race Pro, and SimBin promises a physics-based racing experience with realistic vehicle models as well as licensed FIA championships and tracks. However, sticking with Atari's shift to accessible gaming, Race Pro will feature difficulty levels that span from pick-up-and-play to gearhead-only. Also central to Atari's ethos, Race Pro includes online connectivity for up to 12 racers.
Although Atari did not give an exact vehicle count, the publisher did say that cars from a variety of classes will be represented, with horsepower ratings that range from 200 to more than 1,000. A sampling of these vehicles includes GT models from Aston Martin and Saleen, production cars such as the Audi R8 and Dodge viper SRT10, and all World Touring Car Championship series vehicles from Alfa Romeo, BMW, Chevrolet, and Seat. With these vehicles, racers will be able to cruise on 13 tracks, including arenas from Macau, Porto, Pau, Laguna Seca, and Road America.
Race Pro is slated to arrive exclusively for the Xbox 360 this fall.