Tuesday, April 6, 2010

ToCA World Touring Cars/Jarrett and LaBonte Stock Car Racing

John Marine | 4/06/2010 03:17:00 AM | |
(UPDATED: November 2, 2017)

I HATE its American name- "Jarrett and LaBonte Stock Car Racing." I'll tell you why later in this blog entry. Before Codemasters set out to conquer multiple forms of racing in their ToCA Race Driver series of games, there was this game from 1999 game, perhaps the swan song for this series on the PlayStation 1. This game allows you to race in many fictional championships in races around the world. The racing teams are all fictional as well. Races take place on a variety of courses. Get ready for a worldwide thrill ride in the realm of take-no-prisoners touring car racing!

Jarrett and LaBonte Stock Car Racing cover
^ from: photobucket.com - Jarrett and LaBonte Stock Car Racing (American Version) cover.

ToCA World Touring Cars cover
^ from: calshop.biz - ToCA World Touring Cars (PAL Version) cover.

Now to answer an important question...

Why I HATE Using This Game's American Name

Why do I hate referring to it by "Jarrett and LaBonte Stock Car Racing?" Two reasons (one especially for this blog).

• The first reason is that I don't want people visiting this blog entry expecting to find something about the Jarretts and LaBontes in NASCAR, only to be disappointed. I always want people to visit my blog entries knowing that they want to find something about some topic and be able to have their questions answered.

• The second reason? How the hell can you draw a parallel between touring car racing and stock car racing? The "stock" cars that race in various stock car racing series aren't stock at all. "Stock" cars are purpose-built race cars that are nowhere close in performance and handling characteristics to their road-going counterparts. They are basically silhouette race cars that only resemble their road-going counterparts. Touring cars (traditional ones, anyways) are purpose-built race cars that actually resemble their road-going counterparts in almost every single aspect. So I become offended when someone draws a parallel between stock cars and touring cars because they are completely not alike.

Now on to my own overview of this game.

ToCA World Touring Cars (or Jarrett and LaBonte Stock Car Racing) at a Glance

This game features various race tracks from around the world with a variety of real-world cars from around the world. American, European, Japanese, and even Australian cars are represented in this game. Doing a quick race allows you to quickly compete on any of the 20+ tracks in the game. Each track comes with various weather settings you can set. You can do races in the daytime, at sunset, at night, and in three or so different rain conditions. The many cars you choose from all come from various ficticious championships. The teams may not be real, but the cars definitely are. Various cars include the (this game is from 1999) Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Vauxhall Astra, Lincoln LS, Holden Commodore, and Ford Falcon among MANY others. There are also street cars you can race with, including everything from compacts to sports cars. You can even change the color of the street cars (and only the street cars) to whatever colors you choose. You can even put your name on the car. In the manner of FirstName LastName, It would be nice to go with F. LastName. What I put in as the name is "J. Marine." That name appears on the rear windshield of your car and maybe some other places.

The Time Trial mode is self-explanatory. Practice any course in the game with any cars in your collection. If you post a fastest time, you get a password that you can somehow use on Codemasters' website or something.

If you want to earn more cars, you'll need to race in the Championship. All the basic cars are available to you from the very start, but extra cars can be unlocked through the Championship mode. The American version has you picking between Jason Jarrett and Justin LaBonte, who probably have absolutely no TOURING CAR experience whatsoever even to this day. The Championship mode has you competing in various series around the world. There are three levels of competition- National (regional racing), International (international region racing), and World (a World Championship of racing). You start on the National Level and have to work your way up to the International and World levels. When you start out, you just pick a team you want to race for and for a championship you want to race in. Some teams require you take a test drive, where you run one lap around a course to race for that team in the championship. You will join the team if you beat that lap time. For each team that you race for, they are certain small objectives you must clear. Clearing these challenges can unlock cheat codes for the game. For example, you may have an objective to win a certain number of races in the season, finish ahead of a rival team in the points, and things like that.

Playing the Game

The game features some licensed music from artists. My favorite is "No Big Thing" by Lit. The music isn't really anything special to me. The graphics and gameplay are smooth and very nice. It's not Gran Turismo fast, but it's pretty fast for what it is. You can damage your car in this game. Windshields get busted out, bumpers drag on the ground, and you can even suffer great engine damage. In fact, in the American advertisements for "Jarrett and LaBonte Stock Car Racing," a BMW actually gets beaten up to show the impact of damage in the game. You can even hear the damage your engine takes. From the inside of the car, the driver view is amazing. You can actually see your driver's hands work the steering wheel and even shift up and down. If your driver gets hit or passed, the driver actually shakes his (or her) fist at whomever made the hit or pass. Windshield wipers even work when you race. There are about seven or eight camera views you can choose between.

In the Championship races, pay attention to whether or not the race requires pit stops. This is important because you MUST make a pit stop at some point of the race. If you don't make a pit stop, you'll finish dead last. A recommendation is to pit either when badly damaged or at some point midway in the race. You may even pit on the first lap or second lap just to get it out of the way. You still need to make a pit stop in races that require a pit stop. You'll even see a notice saying "You Must Pit This Lap," or something similar.


ToCA World Touring Cars is an outstanding racing game. It's a must-play. I believe it is also available for PC.

Opinions on "Jarrett and LaBonte Stock Car Racing."

The only deterrent to this game- it's American name. I think this was a strategy by Codemasters to sell this game in a way that only use Americans can understand. I figured that if Codemasters used Steve Soper or somebody, no one here in the States would know who the bloody hell Steve Soper is. So they use two of the biggest family names in NASCAR to market a game about touring car racing. NASCAR Hall of Famer, Ned Jarrett, even supplements his voice for commentary. I'm pretty sure Ned Jarrett probably doesn't even know about big time touring car racing even if his life depended on it (and I have great respect for Ned Jarrett).

Get this game on Amazon if it interests you:

Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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John B. Marine said...

A testiment to longevity..?
the Touring car game (Jarrett and Lebonte) still holds true..as a viable form of racing enactment games
years have gone by since this game first appeared..and many new Race games have come and gone.
However..there is something about this game that still seems to connect the player with a level of competition.
or better stated...connection to the performance of the cars...a surreal car and driver connection.
I have driven many forms of real race vehicles on tracks and in competition....and this game seems to capture a real close feel to that reality..
maybe its because todays games are HYPER sensitized to every feature..they spent Way too much time..
making the explosions over the top..or body damage look realistic this must be the Drama factor.?
These give a false sensation of speed thats over the top and not in any way a reflection of reality..
this old tried and true turing car game however..
Still contains the simplicity to the, feel of the car. This game...still gets it..
not too fast in acceleration...to not feel real...the braking responds very similar..
recovery from a slide or over or under steer seems realistic..
something that is completely lost in a game today...
Either way i find my self returning to this game to get my fix....
see what you think...?

John B. Marine said...

Wow its been a while since I've seen these games, nostalgia.

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