Well, out of curiosity I tried this game out to see just how bad those infamous controls and handling are and...I seriously don't really see what everyone is whining about regarding the controls.
It took me basically 2 minutes to get the hang of how the 2 starting cars handled and after that, I had no problem AT ALL clearing all of the single race tracks in 1 go..well okay, I DID have some minor problems, but those were actually the crapload of other cars that got in my way on the road, but the handling itself of the cars didn't cause me any problem, not once did I spin or slide out of control.
I played it on the standard joypad, not on a racing wheel, so I don't know how that would behave, but with the DC joypad, it's playable just fine.
I think what tricks a lot of people and causes them problems (at least this is what I experienced in the first 2 minutes trying the game), is that it (visually) SEEMS that that car is starting to slide out of control, and seeing that they immediately start countersteering (or whatever it's called) to avoid loosing control, and actually THIS is what causes the problem. Trying to constantly countersteer slows you down, you slide left and right and lose time. When in reality the car is NOT sliding out of control, and after you release the analog stick to stop turning, the car automatically goes back into heading in a straight line, without you having to do anything (except holding down the gas pedal/trigger).
Whether the feeling of the handling is to your liking or not, that's up to you, but the cars (well, the 4 I tried so far) handle just fine right from the start, ONCE you figured out how they work of course.
I actually had WAY more problems getting used to how cars in Daytona USA 2001 handles, that took me HOURS to figure out, and I don't see people complain much about THAT game..when in reality cars in that game could literally slide all over the place.