Motorsport Manager 3 review: streamlined and intuitive

Mobile strategy game casts you as a plate-spinning race team boss

Not everyone aspires to be Batman, you know. Some people are satisfied being Alfred the butler; running things from behind the scenes and, when Bats gets back from a hard night punching crime in the face, waiting there with a cup of tea and some talc so he can wriggle out of his rubber suit. Motorsport Manager 3 Mobile is for the Alfreds of this world.

Available now for iOS and Android devices for less than the cost of a pint, MSM3 puts you in charge of your own race team. As team principal, you’ll be dabbling in everything from setting up supply chains across the world to making under-pressure strategy calls during the race.

You’ll even have to massage the egos of your star drivers and if they feel they’re not receiving equal treatment, their sour mood can affect performances and stall contract negotiations. We now feel a deep, personal kinship with Red Bull Racing’s Christian Horner.

If all this sounds a bit too much like having an actual job but minus the paycheck and dental plan, then worry not. MSM3’s clean, intuitive interface and streamlined structure ensures that even the most complex elements of race team management can be tweaked with a few taps of a thumb from the main home screen. It’s a far less involved game than the PC version of Motorsport Manager, better suited to bus rides, train journeys and studiously ignoring your family by the pool on holiday.

The only area where this mobile version slightly overreaches in terms of micromanagement is putting you in charge of your KERS deployment during the race, but sensibly you can choose to leave that to the drivers via an option in the settings menu. Because otherwise, what are you even paying those multi-million dollar salaries for?

We particularly like the way chasing a fast setup in qualifying is represented, playing out like a game of Blackjack. You pick cards that represent setup changes, but that consume a mystery number of your setup points. Go bust and you’ll have to send the car out for a run before you can come back in and try again. It turns a deeply technical part of the sport into a comprehensible game of risk and reward. It’s also much cheaper than a trip to Vegas.

New for this third mobile edition are GT and Endurance championships, previously seen in updates to the PC version. The endurance events in particular offer the sort of nightmarish strategic plate spinning that comes with three drivers per car and longer, timed races. The variety and sense of occasion is welcome, particularly given that you can rattle through an entire race weekend in other modes in a matter of minutes.

Motorsport Manager 3 Mobile is necessarily light touch and maintains a breezy pace – don’t expect to turn into a pale, atrophied Football Manager casualty like that one mate everyone has. As an entertaining racing game you can play on public transport without having to tilt your phone and elbow the person next to you, though, it’s perfect. Just leave the talc at home, yeah?