F355 Challenge: Passione Rossa was one of the most realistic racing sims up until the early 2000’s. It focuses solely on the Ferrari F355 and provides some car set-up options such as cambers, right heights, toe, stabilisers, LSD, and wings. The game was developed by Sega-AM2. It was originally released into arcades in 1999, then in 2000 it was ported to the Dreamcast and in 2002 to the PS2.
It was considered the most accurate simulation of the Ferrari F355 possible up until that time; its focus on realism was considered unusual for an arcade game at the time. The realism was further heightened by the sit-in cabinet, with a simulated Ferrari dashboard, force feedback, and three screens increasing the field of vision.
Some versions of the arcade cabinet were noteworthy for having three display monitors allowing the player to look through the side windows as if they were in a real car. The 3-screen cabinet version also featured an H-shaped gear stick and 3 foot pedals. The cabinet itself was comprised of 4 SEGA NAOMI units, 3 of which drove the display monitors, and the other to drive the synchronization between the units. The game and cabinet was reportedly so realistic that Rubens Barrichello installed one to practice driving on.
The Dreamcast version had a link cable play for direct competition, however as of Jan. 2006, the online servers for F355 Challenge are now offline.
The arcade version of the game includes six circuits:
- Motegi (Oval Circuit)
- Suzuka (Short Configuration)
- Monza (1998 configuration)
- Suzuka (Full Configuration)
- Long Beach
In addition, the home console versions of the game include five extra unlockable circuits. Depending on the version of the arcade machine, these tracks may also be selected:
- Fiorano (Ferrari-owned track located in Italy and used to test their cars)
All these circuits can be unlocked by either finishing in certain positions in a certain race or championship, driving over a certain cumulative distance in the game, or by entering a password.