Ab Initio Games & Software Simulations

Interactive Sports, Historical & Sci-Fi Games

Online & Postal Play - Running Since 1986

Raceplan - F1 Grand Prix Motor  Racing

Season 2008 Offer - Free Internet Startup before June 2008.
Contact Danny McConnell for more details.

Your chance to be an armchair  F1 Grand Prix Team Manager

Raceplan is a simulation of Formula One Motor Racing. You control your own F1 team as if you were a team boss, making decisions over designing and developing your cars, signing drivers, recruiting sponsors and instructing your drivers on tactics for testing, practice and race days.

In Raceplan we try to make the game work the same way as in real life, with realistic decisions and strategies. The choices you make are the same as you’d have to make in real life. Sometimes you’ll have to make tough decisions, whether to hire better drivers, or develop your cars, or invest in sponsors to improve your future income.

Just as in real life, the best combination of car and drivers in Raceplan will not always win. You’ll need to find a balance between going as quickly as possible (or as quickly as necessary) without breaking the car or crashing, and your judgement of the tactics and performances of your drivers and your competitors will be critical when you decide what risks you need to take during the race to win.

Raceplan runs all year round - the game isn't a "fantasy game" based on the performances of real life teams in F1 - it's a simulation of how real life Formula One works - much more involved, and we think, much more fun. Turns are normally run every two weeks to give you plenty of time for planning and analysis.

How It Works

Race Orders

Development

Rating Cars and Drivers

Practice and Qualifying

The "Silly Season"

Game Reports

Raceplan Grand Prix

Games and Turnfees

Writing Orders/Play by email

Non-UK Players

How To Join

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How it works

Your objective is to win the World Championship (drivers, constructors, or both) against teams run by other players drawn from all over the country (and around the world). Each turn is one round in the championship and takes place in the same order of  the schedule and circuits used by the real life F1 circus. There are twelve teams in each game. Each team enters two drivers for each Grand Prix, for a total field of twenty four drivers. 

The first part of the turn is final qualifying, followed by the actual race. Development and testing to follow, and then practice and qualifying for the next race. This is so that you can look at the results of testing and practice when you write your orders for final qualifying, which determines your setup and fuel strategy on race day (since 2003 F1 cars are not allowed to change their setup from final qualifying to the race). Essentially the turn begins at the start of final qualifying for a Grand Prix, and ends with the conclusion of the Friday qualifying for the following race.

Raceplan runs all year round - the game isn't a "fantasy game" based on the performances of real life teams in F1 - it's a simulation of how real life Formula One works - much more involved, and we think, much more fun. Turns are normally run every two weeks to give you plenty of time for planning and analysis.

Race orders

For the race you have to give orders to your drivers as to how hard to race their cars. You don’t want them to drive so hard the car breaks down (or crashes) but you do need to push enough to be competitive. You give them detailed instructions about how fast to go, and where on the circuit to push their cars to the limit. The more risks you take the quicker your drivers will be, but the greater the chances of them spinning off the circuit or causing a mechanical failure.

You’ve also got to decide on pit strategies; how many stops to make, when to stop, how much fuel to take on board and what sort of tyres to use during the race (softer tyres are quicker, but don’t last as long). Each pit stop will lose your driver 20-30 seconds of time (depending upon the circuit), but allows him to run lighter fuel loads, allowing him to lap more quickly and reducing wear on tyres. Most of these orders will be based on feedback from practice and qualifying run at the end of the previous turn, all of which you receive in detailed reports.

You may even have to decide whether to change your engine if a new one isn’t due under the new “two race engine” regulations.

Development

Between races you have to decide about improving your team. You can improve your cars, test new developments and even change drivers if you feel fresh blood is needed. Once per season you’ll need to have an expensive major redesign of your cars. You can copy other teams superior developments (making it easier to catch up), hire better designers (who improve developments) and better mechanics (who improve reliability, and perhaps allow your drivers to push that bit harder as the mechanical parts of their cars can sustain a little more punishment).

You can even spend money on recruiting new sponsors, a short-term expense which will increase your longer-term income. Some drivers (usually not very good ones) may even bring sponsors with them, so you may be able to find a driver who brings in extra money, rather than costing you to pay him.

Rating cars and drivers

Cars are rated according to seven "major" specifications (Engine Power, Engine Torque, Gearbox Efficiency, High Speed Downforce, Low Speed Downforce, Race Tyres and Brake Efficiency) and another dozen minor specifications. These are the areas of the cars you can develop between races to improve your competitiveness.

Drivers are rated similarly, with one major skill (Race Speed) and a number of minor skills such as Control (very important in wet conditions) and Aggression (important when overtaking). The cost of signing a driver at the start of a season is based both on his abilities and his reputation. Established drivers often cost more to sign and unproven drivers may provide better value for money. 

Drivers' skills can be improved, but usually this happens between seasons - each driver has a "potential" rating which is converted into improved skills as he gets older. Once a driver's potential has reached zero then his skills start to fade, though experience is still a valuable commodity for a driver. 

Practice and qualifying

After development and testing, practice and qualifying are run for the following race weekend. For the practice sessions you have to choose between running various race setups (testing tyre compounds, fuel loads or downforce settings). Working on race setups will give you more information upon which you can plan race strategy. The Saturday qualifying session, in which cars have to run in their race setups is not run until the start of the following turn, immediately before the race.

The "Silly Season"

Towards the end of each championship there’s also the "Silly Season" (so called in real-life because all sorts of rumours and stories go around the press) where teams scrap over which drivers to sign for the following season. You have to balance how much to spend on drivers with what other teams are prepared to offer and what you want to be able to spend on improving your cars (if you sign a couple of cheap drivers then you've more money to spend on improving your cars!). You may resign your own drivers (unless they choose to retire, which is unusual as long as they’re winning), make offers for other teams drivers or pursue unsigned up and coming young drivers. Much will depend upon their wage demands (which are usually connected to their success) and your perception of how effective they'll be the following season.

Raceplan Grand Prix

Raceplan also has a "quick" version, Raceplan Grand Prix. The original version of the game is Raceplan Advanced, and includes all of the features detailed above. Raceplan Grand Prix is a streamlined version of the game, which is easier to play (with lower turnfees) but has less detail and you don’t have as much control. When you send in your application to join the game you can ask for both rulebooks, so you can look through them before deciding which version will suit you best.

Games and turnfees

There are over twenty games of Raceplan already running in the UK, the oldest in their eighth seasons. All run with two week deadlines (so you've fourteen days between turns). We have positions available in most of these games that will allow you to start play immediately (as in real-life, you take over a team and try to turn their fortunes around). 

Turnfees in Raceplan Advanced are £3.00 for one, £12.00 for four, £27.00 for ten or £48.00 for twenty. Turnfees in Raceplan Grand Prix are £2.00 for one, £8.00 for four, £18.00 for ten or £32.00 for twenty. Click here for more details of turnfees

We welcome players from outside the UK. Click here for more details of overseas players.

There are further discounts available if you play in more than one game. You can always change from one version of the game to the other once you've started playing.

Game Reports

Each turn you receive a dozen pages of reports. The race itself is reported lap-by-lap, with all of the key events detailed along with regular time gaps. There is a further breakdown for each team of their own drivers' performances during the race with additional pages for practice, qualifying, championship standings, messages, team details and everything else that happened in the game during the turn.

Normally reports are sent to you by email, so you'll have your result within minutes of the game being played, but players can receive their results by post if they wish. For more details on play-by-email click here.

Sending Orders/Play by Email

Your instructions are normally sent through our active website, but can also be sent by post or fax if required. Click here for more details on play by email

How to join

To join Raceplan you'll need to send £5.00 (payable to Ab Initio Games) along with your name and address, which covers the cost of your rulebook(s), team setup and first two turns. 

If you know whether you wish to play Raceplan Advanced or Raceplan Grand Prix please state which you want to play and give a name for your team (team names may be real-life teams, or names of your own choosing), and we'll be able to start you playing immediately. 

If you aren't sure then we'll send you both rulebooks and you can decide when you've had a look at them, though this will mean a delay in starting to play the game.

To join the game immediately just click here to pay your startup fee by credit card via our secure server website. When you send us your payment please also email Danny McConnell with your team name then we'll be able to get you started in a game even more quickly. If you'd rather submit your application by post, please print off the form below and include payment when you send it to us.

Raceplan is run by Danny McConnell of Ab Initio Games. Click here for details of waiting lists.

Please print, complete and return the details below, indicating the option you require: 

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YES, I’d like to join a game of Raceplan Advanced/Raceplan Grand Prix/Wait until I've received the rulebooks before deciding (please delete as applicable)

I’ve enclosed a cheque/postal order for £5.00 (payable to Ab Initio Games).

Team Name:

Name:

Address: 

Email Address if you're happy to be contacted this way:

Where did you first hear about Raceplan?: 

For more information please contact: Danny McConnell, 49 Westpoint, Shortlands Grove, Bromley, Kent, BR2 0ND, United Kingdom. Email: danny@pbmsports.com

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