How Funselektor Went From Driving To Management With Golden Lap

How Funselektor Went From Driving To Management With Golden Lap.jpg
When Golden Lap was announced in March, few saw a pivot from rallying to strategy for developer Funselektor. It turns out, this was the idea all along...

When Golden Lap was unveiled last month, it was seen as quite the departure for genial driving title developer Dune Casu and his diminutive Funselektor team.

Synonymous with top-down driving games – see 2015’s power-sliding Absolute Drift and 2020’s off-road racer art of rally – its next project is a... management game set in the 1970s. Erm, right.

It turns out, however, that Golden Lap’s genesis was before art of rally with a prototype called The 107% Rule.

“In 2017, there was a free weekend for Motorsport Manager,” explains Casu to OverTake.

“I ended up getting pretty addicted and thought a minimalist version would be interesting, so I made a prototype for a new game in my van.

“It was a small pet project at the time and one I wanted to revive and flesh out to be developed in parallel with Funselektor’s next main game after art of rally, so that was the origin of Golden Lap.”


Published to Itch.io, you can still download the original testbed. Rudimentary, weighing in at a paltry 62MB, you can see the kernel of the idea, covered in the now signature minimalist aesthetic.

That prototype was paused until recently, with rallying taking priority.

Even recently, however, it nearly didn’t see the light of day.

Turbulent Air​


“I actually cancelled the game last August as we kept having trouble finding UI/UX designers, which was holding up development,” explains Casu.

“It was pretty sad, but I felt we were spread too thin, and the project was taking too long.

“A little while later, my friend, Pietro de Grandi (Strelka Games CEO) and I were talking.

“They were in-between projects and I jokingly suggested that they should revive the development of Golden Lap.

“So, after a lot of strategizing to see if it would make sense, we decided to restart development in January 2024. The team at Strelka Games are based in Italy, and all are big motorsport fans, so we knew they’d be an invaluable partner to have on board for this game.”

Golden Lap On The Way To PC In 2024.jpg


Once the project has survived the initial cull, the Strelka team will be working on the main technical development of the game, while Funselektor is still involved with QA and the overall game direction – a dramatic shift in philosophy for the erstwhile van-based studio.

Perhaps, significantly, it also marks the debut for FunCore, a Unity architecture the team has created (supported primarily by developer Friedel Verpoort) to make commonly used systems work across multiple projects.

Consequently, there is a lot more to Golden Lap than initially meets the eye, and according to Casu, the same is true of the gameplay, too:

“[In total], development has about two years so far.

“We underestimated the complexity of this game from the original prototype, as it really is a full-blown simulation under the hood, with loads of stats, spreadsheets and formulas that all need to work in harmony.

“The entire game is entirely UI too, which has required a different development style to what we’re used to.

“The team was still supporting art of rally with content updates and new features during the development of Golden Lap, so it’s been quite a challenge to work on parallel projects with such a small group.”

A New Direction​


While conceptually the upcoming management game, set for a PC release sometime in 2024 and currently accepting alpha sign-ups, there are some parallels to Funselektor’s previous releases. You just need to look a little deeper.

If Absolute Drift was inspired by one of Ken Block’s earlier Gymkhana videos and art of rally by the sport’s lionised 1980s era, Golden Lap’s progenitor is 1970s grand prix racing. There’s a red thread of evocative motorsport eras in each.

“The ‘70s and the surrounding decades were a time of experimentation,” he enthuses. “More flexible rules, danger and a wild culture. People involved in the sport were very passionate, dedicating their lives to it regardless of the risks.

“Drivers were more like war pilots where they’d strap in and put their lives on the line every weekend, and surviving a season was like doing a tour of duty.

“The successful drivers weren’t necessarily the finely honed athletes of today either with strict training regimens and would instead stay up late smoking cigarettes and getting up to no good before, during, and after a race weekend.”

Art of Rally, Start Screen.jpg


With this appealing to Casu and the band of fellow indie developers, this sets the scene for their next release.

For now, production on art of rally has halted, with last year’s Australia DLC and the recent Android launch completing that chapter.

art of rally exceeded expectations and due to its success, we were able to hire more people at Funselektor for a few years after the original launch.

“We’ve finished our planned content updates and will be focusing on new games.”

Golden Lap, then – it may not directly involve driving, but it is set to carry on the studio’s legacy of moreish, almost transcendent, experiences that tickle the inner motorsport historian.

Would you like to know more about Golden Lap? Let us know in the comments below, or on X: @Overtake_gg. You can discuss this in our Golden Lap forum too, and we've even set up a user-generated content database, should that be useful post-release.
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About author
Thomas Harrison-Lord
A freelance sim racing, motorsport and automotive journalist. Credits include Autosport Magazine, Motorsport.com, RaceDepartment, OverTake, Traxion and TheSixthAxis.

Comments

This could be a fun phone game and a good time waster at work for many people...

I just don't see myself being one of them... If they had art of rally style graphics for the cars as they went around the track I'd be more inclined to check it out...
 
Premium
This could be an interesting game, but it will depend very much on how in-depth and complex this seemingly simple simulation will be. If the strategy and management part is right, your head and imagination will do the rest.
 
What puzzles me the most is that it's a management game about races in the 70s, and one of the images features a fictional "not-the-Monaco" track, which suggests it's based on f1 from that era. And the screen shots also focus on race simulations.

But... there wasn't much management going on during the f1 races from that era AFAIK. There was no pit stop strategy for instance. There was a lot management off the track. Getting money to support the team, developing innovations, managing driver's personalities, etc.

But I haven't seen screen shots about this.

So I am not sure what this game will really be about.
 
Last edited:
Club Staff
Premium
But... there wasn't much management going on during the f1 races from that era AFAIK. There was no pit stop strategy for instance. There was a lot management off the track. Getting money to support the team, developing innovations, managing driver's personalities, etc.

But I haven't seen screen shots about this.

So I am not sure what this game will really be about.

This is where many racing management games go wrong these days imo. Very many games go with a "Racing Engineer" game with some random management-esque features.
Where you used to get proper Manager games, where you could do a bit race-wise, but it was indeed about being a team principal and managing the team, resources etc. this isn't a priority in many modern "manager" games. So I would see that as a very positive step. Moving away from a race engineer game to a manager game.

With that being said. Like me and @Davide Nativo wrote about in the announcement article. It doesn't look like a 70's era game either. There are so many modern elements to it. That might be the biggest issue for me. It's neither historic nor modern.
 
This is where many racing management games go wrong these days imo. Very many games go with a "Racing Engineer" game with some random management-esque features.
Where you used to get proper Manager games, where you could do a bit race-wise, but it was indeed about being a team principal and managing the team, resources etc. this isn't a priority in many modern "manager" games. So I would see that as a very positive step. Moving away from a race engineer game to a manager game.

With that being said. Like me and @Davide Nativo wrote about in the announcement article. It doesn't look like a 70's era game either. There are so many modern elements to it. That might be the biggest issue for me. It's neither historic nor modern.
Yeah, I think you are right.

I just noticed that one of the screenshots suggests intermediate tyres, lol. Those things were invented after 2000 if I am not mistaken.
 
I must admit I'm very excited to see this project, I'm a big fan of this kind of games and with so many hours of playing Motorsport Manager, I wonder what more this game could bring?

At the same time, I think it's an excellent idea.
Now, the period in which the adventure takes place wasn't conducive to racing strategies, but why not?

The fact that these are small dots on the circuit map doesn't pose a problem for me, as long as the game brings real novelties and is fun to play.

I'm with you all the way, I'm looking forward to what's next and I'll be following the project closely.
 

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