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Formula Motor Racing
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Store:  Family Games, Card Games
Edition:  Formula Motor Racing
Series:  GMT European games
Theme:  Automobile Racing
Genre:  Racing
Format:  Card Games

Formula Motor Racing

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Ages Play Time Players
8+ 20 minutes 3-6

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Publisher(s): GMT Games

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Product Description

Gentlemen (and ladies), start your engines! Overtake the polesitter. Take advantage of cars on the wrong line. Push your equipment to the limit with a hard charge, risking engine or gear failure. Outduel the other crews in the pits. Avoid race-ending crashes and costly spins. Stay in the slipstream as you stalk the leaders. Score points for finishing positions. Shuffle the cards and do it again. Can you accumulate the most points over the course of the racing season?

Formula Motor Racing is a fast-paced card game in which each player maneuvers a two-car team in search of the Constructors' Championship. You control the fate of your cars and those of your opponents through the timely play of cards. The player whose team scores the most points over a series of races wins the championship.

Each race takes 20 minutes or less to complete. Play just a few races for a quick game, or simulate an entire season, including the Driver's Championship and variable race lengths. You decide how many races will constitute the season at the start of play to fit the playing time you have available.

The Formula Motor Racing action cards are used to change the relative position of the cars in the race. Some cards are played to help your own team, others hurt your opponents, and some benefit several teams at once. In this manner, your card play fosters racing rivalries, as well as tacit alliances of opportunity.

You can play it safe, trying to preserve your car to the end of the race, or you can take a chance, playing a risky card that could backfire. Don't worry if you slip toward the back of the pack. You can find a drafting opportunity to help you overtake the leaders. You don't have to win every race, or even any of them-but you have to keep your cars steadily "in the points" (the top six positions) to stay in the championship hunt.

Formula Motor Racing is the quickest-playing auto racing game in existence. It has very few rules to master and is easy to teach. For 3 to 6 players of ages 8 and up.

Product Information


  • 12 Plastic cars (two each in six colors)
  • 6 Team pit crew cards (one in each of the six colors)
  • 54 Action cards
  • 1 12-sided die
  • 1 Rulebook

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.8 in 31 reviews

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Simple, Evil - and is it a race?
September 15, 2003

I like racing games, especially Formula De. However, one problem I have with Formula De is that it takes a good bit of time, especially if the race is more than one lap. Then I heard about Formula Motor Racing, which claimed to be the quickest-playing auto racing game in existence. I was intrigued, and even more so when I saw that the designer was the great Reiner Knizia (Modern Art, Lost Cities), and that the company who made the game (2001) was GMT games, who are usually known for their war games. (Paths of Glory, etc.)

So was Formula Motor Racing the ultimate short racing game? The response is that while not exactly an accurate racing simulation (or even close) Formula Motor Racing is an extremely fun card game that everyone will enjoy. Quite easy to learn, with a lot of hit your neighbor fun, its one that folk of all ages would like.

An explanation of game play follows:

Each player (three to six) picks one of six colors and takes two small plastic cars of that color. A deck of fifty-four cards is shuffled and placed in the middle of the table, along with a twelve-sided die. One player takes six pit crew cards and shuffles them. These cards are then drawn to determine initial car placement. The first color drawn has its cars put in first and twelfth place, the second in second and eleventh place, etc. Even if no one is playing that color, the cars are still placed on the table, because its possible, although unlikely, that a neutral car could win the game. Each player is dealt five cards, and the game begins. The player who controls the car in pole position goes first, with each player going clockwise.

On their turn, a player plays a card, then draws a card. They must complete both actions. The action cards have various effects.

- Overtake cards are the most common. They are of three types: +2, +3, and +4. Each overtake card is color coded, and can only be used on a car of that color. The indicated car and the car directly behind it move the amount of spaces up in the line, with the rest of the cars adjusted accordingly. Cars cannot move beyond 1st or 12th place.

- Wrong line cards move any car back one space.

- Off Circuit cards move any car back two spaces

- Lose Control cards move any car back three spaces

- When playing a Pit Stop card, the player selects one car (of the matching color, or any color if the card is black) and rolls the die. On a 1-6, the chosen car moves that many spaces backwards in the line, while 7-12 does nothing.

- Tailender Turbo cards move one of the last three cars in the race forward three places.

- Charge (Lose Gears) cards can affect a car of any color. The die is rolled. On a 1-9, the car moves forward one. On a 10-12, the car goes to last place. If the car is the same color as the current player, they may roll again, and continue moving until they wish to stop, or until the car goes to last place.

- Charge (Engine Blows) cards are the same as Lose Gears, but the penalty for a 10-12 is that the car is out of the race!

- When a Spin Out card is played, the player rolls the die. The car in that position must move to last place. The player may re-roll the die once, if they choose, but must accept the re-roll.

- The Spin Last card is the same as Spin Out, except the car is out of the race.

- The player playing the Crash card rolls the die. The car in the position rolled is out of the race, as well as the car before or behind it (players choice).

When the last card is drawn, the race is almost over. Each player plays one last card, and then points are scored. Only the first six cars score points for their owners (10,6,4,3,2,1). Several races can be raced, with points totaled from the races. The player with the most points after a predetermined amount of races wins the game!

Some comments on the game:

1.) Components: The cards are of very good quality, and are nice and bright, and easy to distinguish. Color-blind players may have some trouble telling the cards and cars apart, as the only thing differentiating them is their color. The cards have nice diagrams and text, explaining what the function of the car it. The cars themselves are nice little plastic models (I may use them in other games), and the die is a very good quality 12 sided die. The box is a good, sharp looking small box that has a plastic insert, holding everything well, and comes with a small plastic bag for the race cars. Some score sheets also come with the game to keep track of each cars points. For the price, the game components are top notch.

2.) Rules: The rules are printed on seven pages. They certainly dont need to be that long, but its nice to see a description of each card and a detailed statement of how that card works. There is also a score sheet on the back of the booklet that can be photocopied when a player runs out of score sheets. The game is very easy to teach, and once the players learn what each card does, runs very smoothly.

3.) Grandiose strategy: It isnt here. Formula Motor Racing isnt the most strategic of games every played. Rather, it feels like Battle Cattle or Guillotine, as each player plays cards that help them and/or hurt others. Of course, one can maximize their car position, but with luck of the draw, and powerful cards, cars can go from last to first quickly, and vice versa.

4.) Fun Factor: But it doesnt matter too much, because the game is a lot of fun! Its fun to move your car up, and others back. I really enjoy the Charge cards, where I try to move my car up in line as far as possible (even though I never succeed). The game is a blast, and even though the cards and die add quite a bit of randomness, it isnt a big deal, as long as all players are in a proper frame of mind.

5.) Theme: Well, its not Formula De, or any other racing game. The theme, while existent, is only barely so. But with proper players (I mean the ones who like to have fun), the theme can be felt, and everybody can feel as if they are jockeying for position in a high speed race. The crash cards especially add to the flavor.

I think this is a game that should be added to many collections. Its very inexpensive, with good quality components. Its fun and easy to learn and play, and only takes a short time (fifteen minutes a race). Its a fantastic game for both children and adults, and can provide a lot of laughter and shouting. GMT may be known for their war games, but Ill always be thankful they made this little gem.

Tom Vasel

Fun Formula, but a No-Brainer.
November 11, 2002

Formula Motor Racing is a fun, light-weight card-game that doesnt require lots of brain power and can be played in just about the same time that it takes to read the 4 page rules. The game claims to be 'The quickest playing auto racing game in existance' and it probably is, unless you just want to pick numbers out of hat. A single race can be run in under 20 minutes, perfect for the lunch time crowd or as a quick late-night filler.

The game isnt a full blown racing simulation; its more just a representation of how cars shift and sway as they jockey for position. There is no race track; instead, plastic cars are used to maintain your position in the race. As for realistic auto-racing decisions, there arent any; there are no pits stops to make, no pit crews to train, no qualifying to be done, no hairpin turns to handle, no oil slicks to navigate, no gears to grind, no brakes to hit, and no fuel to burn. All of those things have been abstracted into a set of cards which you randomly draw into your hand. Since the cards are random, you dont feel as if you have any deep control over what your driver does. I'm sure this has some truth in it, but the odd thing is, sometimes you can actually control what the OTHER cars do. Weird.

In general, strategy isnt very complex; get into first and try to stay there; slow down the other guys when you can. It just boils down to the cards you hold. I'd rather play a game like Formula De which has more of a 'racing' feel to it and a greater sense of control. Still, FMR is fun and cheap, and in this respect it finishes in first place. But if you want something more realistic and more challenging, then FMR is just 'crash and burn'.

by Fez
Fun, Light game that could use...
November 03, 2002

The reviews above and below cover the basics of the game. It really is a fun game. The theme does get a bit old after a few races. This is a nice game to play at the beginning or end of the evening. It won't keep your interest the whole night. But for racing fans it is a MUST.

It would be even more fun if GMT got a license for NASCAR or even CART or the IRL. NASCAR fans would love this game if they could play w/ teams composed of their favorite drivers. There could be expansion packs w/ new teams each year to reflect changes and folks could buy their favorite teams as well. Finally a practical use for all those 1/64 die-cast NASCAR replicas that your Uncle Jack collects.

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