The game attempted to realistically simulate car driving, with the car jumping up and down, turning back and forth, and spinning up to 180 degres, with an emphasis on acceleration, breaking, and gear shifting, along with the need for counter-steering to avoid spin-outs. It also featured a day-night cycle, accurately simulated courses approved by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, and force feedback to simulate road vibration in the form of a vibrating steering wheel that reacts to the driver's acceleration and off-road bumps.
The hydraulic deluxe cabinet was unique, rotating on a central spindle as the player's vehicle in the game speeds around corners, in order to simulate the feel of driving in an actual car, being hurled from one side to the other. The results were highly effective and immersive, though some considered it a little disorienting at the time. The cabinet was considerably expensive for its time. In the UK, for example, it cost £7000, equivalent to over $13,000 back then, or nearly $28,000 today.
The game was released just months after the popular OutRun, which it was often compared to and eventually overshadowed by. WEC Le Mans was a more realistic alternative, demanding more from the player, but providing a more rewarding experience for patient and skillful players. This is when a distinction began to emerge between arcade-style and simulation racing, with OutRun establishing the arcade style of racing, while WEC Le Mans laid the foundations for the simulation style of racing. It received positive reviews in its time, with some critics even preferring it over OutRun, such as one critic claiming WEC Le Mans to be the "game of the decade." Most critics, however, preferred the faster-paced arcade gameplay of OutRun.