Virtua Racing

From Sega Retro


  • Model 1
  • Mega Drive

Virtua Racing Title.png

VirtuaRacing MD TitleScreen.png

Virtua Racing
System(s): Sega Model 1, Sega Mega Drive
Publisher: Sega
Sega Mega Drive
SF Interactive Media (SE rental)
Sound driver:
Sega Mega Drive
SMPS Z80 (banked)
Peripherals supported:
Sega Mega Drive
Six Button Control Pad,
Sega Saturn
Saturn Backup Memory
Genre: Racing[3][4], Sports[5]

Number of players: 1-2,
Release Date RRP Code
Arcade (Model 1)
¥? ?
Arcade (Model 1)
$? ?
Arcade (Model 1)
£? ?

Sega Mega Drive
¥9,8009,800 G-7001
Sega Mega Drive
$99.9599.95[10] 1229
Videogame Rating Council: GA
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
£69.9969.99[13][14] 1229
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive

Virtua Racing (バーチャレーシング) is an arcade racing game developed by Sega AM2 and published by Sega in 1992. Virtua Racing was the first game released for the Sega Model 1 arcade platform, and also the first to use the name "Virtua" in its title (something which would be followed by numerous Sega arcade games, including Virtua Fighter, Virtua Cop and Virtua Tennis. It was a milestone in 3D graphics and the racing genre, and acts as a foundation for most modern racing games. It was ported to the Mega Drive (with the Sega Virtua Processor chip on the cartridge), 32X, and Saturn.


Virtua Racing is a 3D racing game, where players drive formula one-esque cars around one of three tracks against 15 other vehicles (either computer or player controlled). Like earlier Sega games, it is time-limited, with checkpoints dotted around the track to extend play.

The game was Sega's first foray into 3D graphics, following over a decade's worth of pseudo-3D offerings (starting with Turbo) with 2D sprites scaling in real time. Almost everything in Virtua Racing is rendered with flat-shaded quadrilateral polygons, which means track designs are more complex than in prior Sega racers. The physics model, however, is not dissimilar to earlier games such as Power Drift - it is impossible to destroy your car, and the only penalty for driving off-road is a significant speed decrease.

Crashing into an obstacle or opponent at a high speed causes one of two animations to play out, both of which simply slow progress for a short period of time (that is to say, the angles and forces of impact have very little bearing on the result of a crash). Crashing will also force the vehicle to face forward, so while it is fully possible to turn 180 degrees and drive in the opposite direction (unlike many previous Sega outings), the game makes every attempt to stop you from doing so. The simplified collision also means it is impossible to run over your pit crew (although you can still drive through them).

In multiplayer modes, Virtua Racing implements a crude "rubber banding" system, in which cars behind the leader have better performance.[16] Every player drives an identical car, save for differences in colour scheme.

Virtua Racing features multiple camera angles which can be selected on the cabinet itself. It also has a seven speed manual mode, the "manual" car being faster than its "automatic" counterpart if driven correctly.

Unlike Sega arcade games both before and since, Virtua Racing is very light on music, with only one of a dozen jingles playing each time the player crosses a checkpoint. Unusually for the era, cabinets also support 16:9 widescreen displays - originally intended for the "deluxe" model, this gives the player a more expanded look of the playfield (although the internal resolution of the game remains the same).


The original release of Virtua Racing has the player race around three different tracks divided into difficulty:

VirtuaRacing BigForest.png

Big Forest
"Beginner" track.

VirtuaRacing BayBridge.png

Bay Bridge
"Medium" track.

VirtuaRacing Acropolis.png

"Expert" track



Main article: Virtua Racing/Development.


The game was a commercial success in the arcades. In North America, RePlay's coin-op charts in April 1993 listed Virtua Racing as the highest-earning deluxe video game arcade cabinet.[17] It remained the highest-earning deluxe cabinet in the May 1993 charts.[18]

The hardware was revolutionary at the time of release, but Virtua Racing was later outclassed by its successor, the Sega Model 2 board, which debuted towards the end of 1993. There are no textured polygons in Virtua Racing, as Model 1 did not support them in hardware. There is one vehicle, and when linked together it is offered in several colours, but the stats never vary. Crashing slows the car down, but there is no damage model. There are differing surface types, with anything not on-road slowing the car down, but it does not affect handling, which would be pioneered by Sega Rally Championship several years later.

There are a few music tracks: during races, and jingles of several seconds play as the user crosses checkpoints and the goal line for laps; this is likely stylistic.

Virtua Racing was succeeded by its logical successor, Daytona USA, which brought the genre further forward. It would also take home systems several years to "catch up" to Virtua Racing in terms of 3D resolution and polygon counts.


Virtua Racing was available to arcade operators as single or twin cabinets. Four of the twin units can be linked up to create an eight-player experience.

Virtua Formula

Main article: Virtua Formula.

Special mid-size attractions, usually only seen at Amusement Theme Park locations and other large amusement facilities, used a modified version of Virtua Racing to create a higher-end hydraulic multiplayer experience, Virtua Formula.

Mega Drive version

See Sega Virtua Processor for details on cartridge chip

Virtua Racing was an arcade success, and though expected to avoid home consoles for quite some time due to the complexity of the Model 1 arcade board, saw an initially surprising port to the Sega Mega Drive in 1994. The Mega Drive version utilizes a custom made Sega Virtua Processor (SVP) chip, allowing the game to render significantly more polygons than the Super FX chip within Star Fox for the Super NES, as the SVP is a great deal more powerful than the Super FX. The Mega Drive port is surprisingly accurate.

Though the Mega Drive Virtua Racing is one of the more technically advanced Mega Drive games in the library, the unusual specifications of the cart mean that it is often one of the first games to not be supported by cost-reduced hardware (for example, it won't work with the Genesis 3). The Mega Drive version also takes a hit in terms of graphics and sound, displaying fewer polygons at a smaller resolution with a restricted palette and lower frame rate (around 15FPS, as opposed to the arcade's 60FPS (but double that of the Super FX-powered StarFox and Stunt Race FX on the Super NES)). However, it and all of the other home ports include two-player modes, time trials and options usually only available to arcade operators.

32X version

Main article: Virtua Racing Deluxe.

Mere months later, Virtua Racing was released as a launch title for the Sega 32X, in the form of Virtua Racing Deluxe. Deluxe adds two extra tracks and due to the increased power of the 32X, has a greater resemblance to the Model 1 release.

Saturn version

Main article: Time Warner Interactive's VR Virtua Racing.

A Sega Saturn version of the game, officially titled Time Warner Interactive's VR Virtua Racing was brought to the console by Time Warner Interactive in 1995, sporting seven extra courses (on top of the three arcade tracks), four new cars and a grand prix mode among other additions.

Virtua Racing -FlatOut-

Main article: Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol.8: Virtua Racing -FlatOut-.

More recently, the game has been released as Virtua Racing -FlatOut-, part of the Sega Ages 2500 series on the PlayStation 2. This version includes an extra three new courses and four new cars to the Model 1 version.

Mobile version

Main article: Virtua Racing (mobile).

In 2008, a mobile version of the game was released through the Puyo Puyo! Sega service. This version takes after Virtua Racing Deluxe, featuring the same cars and tracks, in addition to four new cars.

Switch version

Main article: Sega Ages Virtua Racing.

In 2019, a version was released for the Nintendo Switch as part of the console's Sega Ages series. This version was developed by M2 and runs at 60 frames per second in 1080p in docked mode or 720p in handheld mode.

Sega VR version

A version of the game was also planned for the Sega VR, a virtual reality headset accessory for the Mega Drive/Genesis that was planned to release in fall 1993. (Electronic Gaming Monthly, Video Game Preview Guide, 1993) However, the game, along with the accessory, was later cancelled.

Game Boy Advance version

A Game Boy Advance adaptation from Dream On Studio was prototyped and pitched in 2005. However, the project wasn't greenlit due to "the arrival of the Nintendo DS and changes in SEGA corporation".[19]

Production credits

Main article: Virtua Racing/Production credits.

Digital manuals

Magazine articles

Main article: Virtua Racing/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Main article: Virtua Racing/Promotional material.


Photo gallery

Physical scans

Model 1 version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
{{{{{icon}}}|L}} Division by zero.
Based on
0 review
Sega Retro Average 
Publication Version Score
Electronic Gaming Monthly (US)
MegaTech (UK)
Supergame (BR)
Arcade (Model 1)
Based on
3 reviews

Virtua Racing

Model 1, US (upright)
Model 1, US (twin)
Model 1, US (deluxe)
Model 1, JP (upright)
Model 1, JP (twin)
Model 1, JP (deluxe)
Model 1, UK (twin)
VirtuaRacing Model1 UK Manual Twin.pdf

Mega Drive version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
89 №17, p32-34
92 [23]
Sega Mega Drive
Based on
2 reviews
Sega Retro Average 
Publication Version Score
1700 igr dlya Sega (RU)
Beep! MegaDrive (JP) NTSC-J
Consoles + (FR)
Computer & Video Games (UK)
Computer & Video Games (UK)
Edge (UK)
Electronic Games (1992-1995) (US) NTSC-U
Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) NTSC-U
Famitsu (JP) NTSC-J
GameFan (US) NTSC-U
Game Players (US) NTSC-U
GamePro (US) NTSC-U
Gamers (DE)
Games World: The Magazine (UK) PAL
Hippon Super (JP) NTSC-J
Hobby Consolas (ES)
Hyper (AU)
Joker (SI)
Joypad (FR) NTSC-J
Joypad (FR) PAL
Mega (UK) PAL
Mega Force (FR) NTSC-J
Mega Force (FR)
Mega Fun (DE) PAL
Mega Power (UK) PAL
MegaTech (UK) PAL
Magazina Igrushek (RU)
Mean Machines Sega (UK) PAL
Player One (FR)
Play Time (DE)
Power Up! (UK)
Power Unlimited (NL)
Score (CZ)
Sega Magazine (UK) PAL
Sega Power (UK) PAL
Sega Pro (UK) PAL
Sega Zone (UK) PAL
Sega Force (SE)
SuperGamePower (BR)
The Official Sonic the Hedgehog Yearbook (1994) (UK) PAL
Sega Saturn Magazine (JP) NTSC-J
Supergames (AR)
Todo Sega (ES)
Tricks 16 bit (RU)
Video Games (DE) PAL
VideoGames (US) NTSC-U
Sega Mega Drive
Based on
48 reviews

Virtua Racing

Mega Drive, JP
Virtrac md jp cover.jpg
VirtuaRacing MD JP CartTop.jpg
Virtua Racing MD JP Cart Back.jpgVirtua Racing MD JP Cart.jpg
VirtuaRacing MD jp manual.pdf
VirtuaRacing MD JP pcb.jpg
Mega Drive, US
Virtrac md us cover.jpg
Virtrac md us cart.jpg
Virtuaracing md us manual.pdf
VirtuaRacing MD US pcb heatsink.jpg
PCB (heatsink)
Mega Drive, EU
Virtrac md eu cover.jpg
Virtua Racing MD EU Cart Back.jpgVirtua Racing MD EU Cart.jpg
Virtua Racing MD EU Manual.jpg
VirtuaRacing MD EU pcb.jpg
VirtuaRacing MD EU pcb heatsink.jpg
PCB (heatsink)
Mega Drive, PT
VirtuaRacing MD PT cover.jpg
Mega Drive, GR (Zegetron)

Virtua Racing MD EU Cart Back.jpgVirtua Racing MD EU Cart.jpg
Mega Drive, SE rental (SF)
VirtuaRacing MD SE Box Rental.jpg
Mega Drive, SE rental (ALT)

Mega Drive, AU

Mega Drive, BR
VirtuaRacing MD BR Box.jpg
VirtuaRacing MD BR Cart.jpg
Virtuaracing md br manual.pdf
Mega Drive, KR
VirtuaRacing MD KR cover.jpg
VirtuaRacing MD KR cart.jpg
Mega Drive, Asia
Virtua Racing MD Asia Cover.jpg
VirtuaRacing MD AS cart.jpg
Virtua Racing MD AS English Manual.jpg
Mega Drive, SG/MY/BN
Virtrac md SG MY BN cover.jpg
Virtua Racing MD JP Cart.jpg
Mega Drive, SG/MY/BN (alt)

Virtua Racing MD EU Cart.jpg

Technical information

Main article: Virtua Racing/Technical information.


  1. ', "" (; ), page 38
  2. RePlay, "Volume XVIII, No. 4: January 1993" (US; 199x-xx-xx), page 75
  3. File:Virtrac md jp cover.jpg
  4. 4.0 4.1 (Wayback Machine: 2020-07-20 09:51)
  5. File:VirtuaRacing MD SE Box Rental.jpg
  6. Sega Arcade History, Enterbrain, page 125
  7. RePlay, "Volume XVIII, No. 4: January 1993" (US; 199x-xx-xx), page 125
  8. GamePro, "April 1994" (US; 1994-xx-xx), page 76
  9. 9.0 9.1 Game Players, "Vol. 7 No. 4 April 1994" (US; 1994-0x-xx), page 36
  10. GamePro, "April 1994" (US; 1994-xx-xx), page 160
  11. Computer Trade Weekly, "" (UK; 1994-05-23), page 6
  12. File:DailyExpress UK 1994-05-27 41.jpg
  13. Computer & Video Games, "December 1994" (UK; 1994-11-15), page 134
  14. 14.0 14.1 Sega Power, "May 1994" (UK; 1994-03-31), page 28
  15. SuperGamePower, "Maio 1994" (BR; 1994-0x-xx), page 11
  16. File:GameOn US 06.pdf, page 10
  17. Electronic Games (1992-1995), "June 1993" (US; 1993-05-11), page 14
  18. File:ElectronicGames2 US 10.pdf, page 14
  20. Electronic Gaming Monthly, "November 1992" (US; 1992-xx-xx), page 54
  21. MegaTech, "December 1992" (UK; 1992-11-20), page 16
  22. Supergame, "Abril 1993" (BR; 1993-04-xx), page 32
  23. Sega Mega Drive Advanced Gaming, "June 1994" (UK; 1994-04-28)
  24. 1700 igr dlya Sega, "" (RU; 2001-xx-xx), page 259
  25. Beep! MegaDrive, "April 1994" (JP; 1994-03-08), page 19
  26. Consoles +, "Juin 1994" (FR; 1994-0x-xx), page 159
  27. Computer & Video Games, "May 1994" (UK; 1994-04-15), page 50
  28. Computer & Video Games, "July 1994" (UK; 1994-06-15), page 107
  29. Edge, "May 1994" (UK; 1994-03-31), page 82
  30. Electronic Games (1992-1995), "August 1994" (US; 1994-0x-xx), page 84
  31. Electronic Gaming Monthly, "June 1994" (US; 1994-xx-xx), page 33
  32. Famitsu, "1994-03-25" (JP; 1994-03-11), page 1
  33. FLUX, "Issue #1" (US; 1994-xx-xx), page 78
  34. GameFan, "Volume 2, Issue 7: June 1994" (US; 1994-xx-xx), page 26
  35. GamePro, "June 1994" (US; 1994-xx-xx), page 38
  36. Gamers, "März/April 1994" (DE; 1994-03-04), page 36
  37. Games World: The Magazine, "July 1994" (UK; 1994-05-26), page 17
  38. Hippon Super, "April 1994" (JP; 1994-03-03), page 61
  39. Hobby Consolas, "Junio 1994" (ES; 1994-xx-xx), page 60
  40. Hyper, "March 1994" (AU; 1994-xx-xx), page 22
  41. Joker, "September 1994" (SI; 1994-xx-xx), page 29
  42. Joypad, "Avril 1994" (FR; 1994-0x-xx), page 126
  43. Joypad, "Mai 1994" (FR; 1994-0x-xx), page 60
  44. MAN!AC, "05/94" (DE; 1994-04-13), page 36
  45. Mega, "April 1994" (UK; 1994-03-17), page 22
  46. Mega Force, "Avril 1994" (FR; 1994-0x-xx), page 8
  47. Mega Force, "Mai 1994" (FR; 1994-0x-xx), page 96
  48. Mega Fun, "04/94" (DE; 1994-03-23), page 44
  49. Mega Power, "May 1994" (UK; 1994-04-21), page 42
  50. MegaTech, "May 1994" (UK; 1994-04-21), page 4
  51. Magazina Igrushek, "5/1995" (RU; 1995-xx-xx), page 78
  52. Mean Machines Sega, "May 1994" (UK; 1994-03-xx), page 49
  53. Player One, "Mai 1994" (FR; 1994-0x-xx), page 51
  54. Play Time, "5/94" (DE; 1994-04-06), page 142
  55. Power Up!, "Saturday, May 21, 1994" (UK; 1994-05-21), page 1
  56. Power Unlimited, "Jaargang 2, Nummer 5, Mei 1994" (NL; 1994-04-27), page 28
  57. Score, "Říjen 1994" (CZ; 1994-10-01), page 53
  58. Sega Magazine, "August 1994" (UK; 1994-07-15), page 97
  59. Sega Pro, "May 1994" (UK; 1994-04-21), page 44
  60. Sega Zone, "May 1994" (UK; 1994-04-xx), page 54
  61. Sega Force, "3/94" (SE; 1994-03-29), page 18
  62. SuperGamePower, "Maio 1994" (BR; 1994-0x-xx), page 34
  63. The Official Sonic the Hedgehog Yearbook (1994), "" (UK; 1994-xx-xx), page 35
  64. Sega Saturn Magazine, "September 1995" (JP; 1995-08-08), page 85
  65. Supergames, "Ano I, Numero I" (AR; 1994-xx-xx), page 6
  66. Todo Sega, "Junio 1994" (ES; 1994-0x-xx), page 32
  67. Tricks 16 bit, "Tricks Sega Gold 800 igr" (RU; 1998-03-20), page 219
  68. Video Games, "5/94" (DE; 1994-04-27), page 91
  69. VideoGames, "August 1994" (US; 1994-0x-xx), page 86

Virtua Racing

Virtua Racing Title.png

Main page | Comparisons | Credits | Hidden content | Development | Magazine articles | Video coverage | Reception | Promotional material | Region coding | Technical information

Books: Virtua Racing Hisshou Kouryaku Hou (1994) | Virtua Racing: Official Racing Guide (1994)
Music: Virtua Racing & OutRunners (1993) | Yu Suzuki Produce G-LOC/R360/Virtua Racing (1998)
Videos: Virtua Racing: Virtua Video (199x)

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Virtua Racing series of games
Virtua Racing (1992) | Virtua Formula (1993)
Sega Mega Drive
Virtua Racing (1994)
Sega 32X
Virtua Racing Deluxe (1994)
Sega Saturn
Time Warner Interactive's VR Virtua Racing (1995)
Sony PlayStation 2
Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 8: Virtua Racing FlatOut (2004)
Nintendo Switch
Sega Ages Virtua Racing (2019)
Virtua Racing related media
Virtua Racing & OutRunners (1993) | Yu Suzuki Produce G-LOC/R360/Virtua Racing (1998)
Virtua Racing Hisshou Kouryaku Hou (1994) | Virtua Racing: Official Racing Guide (1994)
Virtua Racing: Virtua Video (?)