Ok gentlemen... thanks for the links.... now I know wtf is going on.
The small 60mb version that many of you linked to seems to be the overall best version. The differences between all the versions are very minimal (been switching back and forth) but I'll try to list the pros/cons.
Has crisper in-game textures.
Properly uses a 4:3 aspect (might be a con for some of you oddballs out there).
Supports analog axes and rumble.
Hud appears crisper.
Game only supports X, Y and Z axis on the joystick... so if your wheel defaults to RX, RY and RZ for the pedals, you'll have to use the digital ones.
Menus use lower quality textures.
Translucency effects don't seem to be there.
No split-screen multiplayer (irrelevant on a racing cab).
Some slight differences make me think it might be running on a slightly different engine than the arcade and DC versions.
I think overall this is the version to use. I could still enhance it though when I take a notion.
What about the other games in the MAT collections? I don't want to work on ones that already have a good pc port.
p.s. To jump you release the gas, hold the brake and press the turbo button while holding. Or at least that's what worked for me.
Could we start a list of pc ports along with the best version to use? I know we can't link to them, but we could list the overall image/archive size and some of the files in the archive so people know if they are using the correct version. I've found this ordeal enlightening as to why some people say "port X" is horrible while others say it's great. They might be talking about completely different ports.