TX-1 by Tatsumi, an arcade released in 1983 (Atari distributed in the West).
Now, HERE was a game. If ever I have enough money to have a house with a basement full of arcade games, this is one that I would easy shell out the money for - it made a big impression on me in my childhood, and still looks so cool today.
TX-1 basically took what Namco did with Pole Position and one-upped it. Not only was this a sit-down cabinet with the usual steering controls/break/gearshift setup, but it used three consecutive monitors to truly make you feel immersed in the experience. There was truly nothing else like this at the time. Finding this in the dark corner of the arcade back in 1983, with no anticipation of it's arrival - this was like manna from heaven!
The game itself played a very familiar race, though it used branching paths (sort of like OutRun, though TX-1 did it first) which was extremely unique at the time.
This is a game which can't really be appreciated through emulation - if you are fortunate enough to come across a cabinet, you'd better sit down, strap in, and get ready for what was once the best ride in the whole arcade! Here's a couple of (gnarly quality) YouTube videos to get an idea of the experience. 1 2