It might seem like an innocuous title (and a bit of a Daytona clone), but Kalisto Entertainment and MicroProse‘s Ultimate Race Pro was a great, early pioneer of multiplayer online racing games.
It was one of the first Windows games to feature 16-player network gaming, including a brilliant, all-action, funny-as-hell “battle mode” in the “Ultim@te Aren@”… Hate those extra ampersands… Anyway, in battle mode you can ram the hell out of each other in a gladiatorial arena, which also has stunts in it (ramps, for jumps, et cetera). With four to eight players it is amazing fun.
Ultimate Race Pro was also one of the first PC racing games to use 3D graphics acceleration. If I remember correctly, the game came free with every Power VR card sold, and Power VR cards were quite popular in the very early days of 3D graphics acceleration.
I remember spending many hours in 1997 playing Ultimate Race Pro in the PC Zone offices with the staff. It was a big hit with everyone.
Playing Ultimate Race Pro now, though, is not particularly easy, but still possible in Windows. No one has yet re-released it, although there are old discs floating around on eBay.
Ultimate Race Pro is still fun as a single-player racer, but getting a network game together is a bit of a challenge, and that is where the real fun is.