Well first, I don't like racing games besides Wipeout Essentially. And Mario Kart if you count that. I liked GT3 cause the package was so polished. But other than that no.
At novice I found it quite easy... but i played Wipeout Pure first... So can't comment there.
It's a somewhat hard game... as in, at the later stages you can't mess up or you're not going to get gold.
But it's like other wipeout games. If you don't like wipeout, you won't like this.
Wipeout HD's a gimped version of wipeout pure with better controls and graphics, but less content.
With Wipeout HD Fury it's my favorite racing game ever. Despite not enough stages.