I also wondered about the fact that the only life-form you ever actually see any sign of is Atomica. I hated that there was NO ONE in your car if you broke out the windshield to look inside of it. Though, you know you could have adjusted the view if you didn't like the default, which I saw you noted at the end. I found the default camera much better so you can judge if you will be able to squeeze past somewhere or if you can turn sharper or something. Also, I really enjoyed it just because of how smoothly it ran at those insane speeds. I am really not a fan of most racing games, but it felt enough like Midnight Club 3 that I bought it. Also, you better have it on 360 so you can listen to your own in-game music, because the game's soundtrack is pretty bad. Avril Lavigne? Hell no!
Racing games are all the same to me and like MMORPGs i play one once a few years. I haven't gotten my driver's license yet either, we are less sheep than the rest i would say. I would love to see how you would rated a true AAA game like GTA3 or what you would consider one