Car: 2001 Hyundai Tiburon GT
N2 All-Season Radials
My Time: 14.427
Well the A-license is done. The
first thing to notice about the IB tests is this: no more cheater line. Press the right analog mushroom (R3) and nothing
shows up. We're totally on our own and if you were in the habit of relying on the cheater line, you may have serious difficulty
gauging when to slow, turn, and accelerate safely.
In this test, we are driving a front-drive Hyundai Tiburon. The
tires are crappy all-seasons, and we're starting with TCS ON.
1). IB-1 starts with a rolling start down the first
short straight at Tsukuba. Immediately shift into 4th gear please.
2. It is very difficult to explain when to start
turning into this hairpin. The best i can say is this: there's a yellow tire barrier on the far left hand side past the grass.
Take notice of it. It is the only yellow barrier in this turn. The brake-indicator will start to
flash while we are still far from the turn. We're gonna ignore it for well over a second.
3). Just before the yellow
tire barrier starts to go off-screen, steer into the turn carefully, and start braking heavily. You're gonna go from as far
left as you can be to as far inwards as you can be without running over the red & white grid.
4. As you
near this turn, stop braking. Coast for a moment thru the inside of this hairpin, allowing the car to slow further. If you
keep braking heavily, you'll wind up going too slow so this is important. You'll be going from 80 mph to about 34 at the slowest.
5). Roughly halfway thru this turn, push the gas fully while still keeping your steering very tight. It is okay now
if you happen to run over the red & white grid, but any grass is a no-no.
6). As you leave this turn, you can switch
from analog steering to d-pad tapping to maintain your steering but also help get the TCS to stop its interference.
Accelerate at will. Shift into 3rd gear and pass the finish line.
Car: 1998 Mercedes Benz SL
Tires: N3 Summer Radials
My Time: 25.088
In the previous
test, we were braking while turning on a safe, wide, flat surface. Now we're at Nürburgring: a bumpy, narrow track, and we're
about to tackle a tight L-shaped turn at high speed. The test car is a heavy rear-drive coupe. TCS is on, but thankfully it
won't interfere too much if you keep your cornering line proper.
1). The test starts us rolling in 3rd gear. Get
to the right-hand side of the track. You don't have to be all the way on the right...just skew over enough to the right so
you have room for this first slight curve.
2). On the right-hand side is a guardrail. On the left will be a red &
white curb. As you near this curb, steer slightly to the left. It's okay if your left tires scrub the curb a bit...we want
to be over towards the left as we pass the curb at full-throttle.
3). After we pass the curb, the brake-indicator
starts flashing. And ignore it.
4). You should still be on the left-hand side of the track, but you don't have to be
near grass. There is some leeway here. On the right hand side is a green sign. Just as you
pass it, jam the brakes fully while turning ever-so-slightly. Don't turn heavily yet or you'll understeer.
5). As you
brake, downshift into 2nd gear. You'll slow to about 70 mph. Now STOP braking and coast thru this turn. You can also start
steering more severely into this turn as you coast.
6). The brake indicator will stop flashing
mid-corner, and when it does, immediately jump on the gas while still keeping your steering tight.
7). Do not drive
over the red & white curb on the inside of this turn...it has screwed me up more than i can say. Instead, try and stay
on the tarmac. It is okay if you happen to understeer slightly onto the outside curb (where that little shack sits on the
left hand side), but by now, you should be safely able to accelerate fully. We don't wanna be tasting grass.
the Benz redline slightly to save a slight bit of time before shifting up into 3rd gear and rolling across the finish line.
Car: 1998 Honda Prelude Type S
Tires: N2 All-season radials
Now we are at one of the far sides of Suzuka Circuit in a front-drive
with TCS on. Like the first test in that Hyundai, you'll encounter lots of understeer. Let's get to work.
start rolling in 3rd gear thru a gentle right-hand sweeper. You can let the car redline a moment if you want before shifting
2). The track straightens out briefly. You should be anywhere from the middle of the track to middleish-left.
But you don't wanna be on the right.
3). Now the track bends slightly to the right again. Steer into this
curve by tapping the d-pad or feathering the analog stick. The less steering input the better; this way, we avoid activating
the TCS system and can gain an extra mph or 2. If you have the ghost on, you'll soon be able to see yourself going thru this
portion a tad faster the less that damn TCS stays off.
4). On the right hand side is a red & white curb. Steer
into this area. You can run your right tires over this curb, but you don't have to. Just keep the throttle on full and try
to not to steer too much. Keep the Prelude on the right hand side.
5). As we pass the curb, the brake
indicator does its thing. And we ignore.
6). There is a small service road on the right side of the
track. As you pass it, start braking fully. This is tricky: at first you'll be braking in a straight line, but as you near
the upcoming left bend, you'll want to start steering in ever-so-slightly.
• Take notice of the darker area on the track. This has been caused by previous drivers braking and turning into
this portion and laying down rubber. It's a good idea to use this darker area as a guide as to where you should be as you
tackle this first heavy turn.
7). Slow to about 75 mph. Let off the brakes and downshift into 3rd. Steer into the curve more dramatically. It is
okay if you roll over the red & white curb on the inside, but i've found it not necessary.
8). Keep coasting from
the inside-middle of the track to the outside where the red & white grid is. The brake indicator will be going crazy during
this entire time, but we won't be braking or downshifting for the remainder of this test.
9). You should wind
up just running over the red & white curb on the right slightly. When the brake indicator stops flashing, we can hit the
gas momentarily & straighten out our car.
10). Just before the red & white curb stops on our right, crank the
steering hard to the left. Pay attention once again to the "rubber smear" on the road. This is where you shoud be.
DO NOT downshift into 2nd or brake. As you near the inside of the next left curve, alternate between coasting, feathering
the throttle, and coasting again. Keep your speed somewhere in the high-60's. It is important that you not give too
much gas or you'll understeer into the sand or grass. This is an intuitive process. Eventually you'll learn just how
much gas to give.
11). As the track straightens up, jam the gas fully. Straighten out the Prelude's steering as early
as you can so the TCS stops activating. Shift into 4th and pass finish.
Car: 2003 Audi S4
Tires: N3 summer radials
My Time: 28.000
Now it's time for a lesson in Advanced Cornering #2.
1). This test starts us
rolling in 2nd gear. As we roll under the start banner, we are now in the first tunnel of Deep Forest. It's a short, straight
• Notice that in the demo, the S4 brakes multiple times. I found i only had to brake once for the
entire test! But it is safe if you brake more than once...i think i just got lucky.
2). Under the tunnel, it's safe to have your left tires rumbling over the red & white curb.
first few times i did this test, i experimented by driving fully on the left-hand concrete pad in the tunnel. This was an
effort to get a better cornering angle, but it only proved to be complicated and added time so don't do this until you're
doing sim races and possibly need to pass someone.
3). After you leave the tunnel, stay over on the left briefly. Do
not shift into 3rd gear.
4). As the brake indicator shows up, ignore it. When it starts
to flash, steer carefully inwards. The demo brakes here, but i found it unnecessary. Instead, i just steered hard, coasted
while letting the front tires "grab into" the turn, and then alternated between feathering the throttle and letting this all-wheel
drive car coast. Understeer is our worst enemy as usual.
5). We've slowed to about 57 mph at the slowest. The grass
can pass slightly under our right tires, but try not to drive on it fully. As i said, you can tap the throttle, but don't
jam it otherwise you'll wind up smacking the upcoming tunnel wall.
6). As we enter the 2nd tunnel, you'll be heading
towards the left wall. This is naturally going to happen so back off from the throttle if you need to. Again, brakes are not
needed and we're still in 2nd gear.
7). You'll most likely wind up with your left tires driving over the red &
white curb in the tunnel. This is okay. Just before you leave the tunnel, straighten out, hit the gas, and upshift into 3rd
8). We're in a gentle S-curve now, so work your way from the left towards the right of the track. As we pass
the inside of this curve on the right, the brake indicator will start to flash just as our tires
drive slightly into the grass on the right. Don't brake yet.
9). Immediately start steering to the left. As we pass
the giant BRIDGESTONE tire banner on the left, start braking and keep steering into the curve as far left as you can
without driving too roughly on the curb itself.
10). You should have slowed to about 75 mph at the slowest as you
drive thru the left-curve. The track now starts its tricky downhill decent.
11). Carefully modulate throttle as you
drive downhill. The track looks as though it will straighten out, but keep steering. The grass on the right-hand side has
claimed many a driver, so careful!
12). Maintain about 75 mph, fluctuating from 74 to 78 mph as you drive downhill.
You can straighten out the steering for just a moment if you have to, but as you pass the giant GULF ad on the right,
you should start steering hard into the upcoming left-hand curve.
13). Keep modulating throttle. You can drive slightly
over the red & white curb on the left-hand side. Do not force the gas too hard or you'll wind up understeering into the
huge rocky outcrop on the right!.
14). When it's safe, give full-throttle, straighten out, shift into 4th gear, and
Car: 2003 Peugeot 206 RC
N2 All-season radials
My Time: 2:44.603
Here we are in sunny Costa di
Amalfi--home of the famous Capri Rally, where it's possible to win alot of money from selling the prize car in the Beginner's
Special Event held here.
I've said this before and i'll say it now. It's best to buy or use a front-drive with about
175 hp and N2 tires equipped. Leave TCS on its default setting but turn the ASM off. Go find Costa di Amalfi over in the "City"
tracks and do laps here over and over with the ghost on till your lap times fall considerably and you've smoked your own ghost.
Pay attention to braking as late as you can.
Sometimes, there will be some dude standing by the side of the road before
some corners with a flashbulb camera taking pictures. As you pass this guy, you can start braking & turning into the corner.
As you can tell, i don't feel like writing up this test...you have no idea how long each one of these tests takes
to describe. Don't worry...IB-5 isn't that hard once you learn the course.
One final warning. As you go downhill for
the test, the stupid Skyline pace car brakes several times inappropriately and it's all too easy to smack into his rear and
FAIL the test. So don't drive too fast during these times; instead, you can simply follow him at a safe distance and brake
when he does and still manage a great gold time.
Car: 2003 BMW Z4
Tires: N2 all-season radials
My Time: 17.604
The Cone Slaloms. Ugh, i hate these. Some folks online will tell you the cone slaloms are
easy and they claim they can earn gold here at will. I hate these people, too.
1). In this first test, the BMW
roadster has TCS activated, so it's safe to launch at high rpms. I find that about 6,000 rpm is safest.
2). Drive towards
the first set of cones while steering slightly to the right. And then of course we'll be veering left, right, left right.
No surprise...it's a friggin slalom.
• If you watched the demo, notice it accelerates thru the cones till it shifts into 3rd gear. From then on, the
driver slowly accelerates faster and faster from cone to cone till he's going about 70 mph. I have managed to do this some
times, but other times i accelerated up to 3rd gear, maintained a near-constant speed by keeping my gas analog steady, and
then rushed at the end.
Towards the end as the demo passes the last 3 sets of cones he jams the gas fully. I've found
it's important to take this cue. Modulate your throttle..backing off when you need to, and giving just enough.
3). Here's some useful tips.
A. Use the bumper view in this test. I find i can see the cones better with
this view, and since we'll be driving inches from each set of cones, it helps to be able to slip by them. So the bumper view
is my personal favorite, though it might not work for you.
B. KEEP YOUR THUMB NEAR THE STEERING MUSHROOM AT ALL
TIMES. If you're in the habit of taking your thumb off like i am, you won't have the extreme steering control this test
requires. This, i found, was the hardest thing for me to get used to.
C. Turn the ghost off if you need to.
I usually have the ghost on for most tests, but after doing IB-6 over and over, i instantly earned gold after i got rid of
the ghost. This helped me psychologically as much as it did physically.
My Time: 17.408
is basically the same slalom test in the same car, only difference is now the TCS is turned off. This will mostly affect your
launch, but if your steering & throttle control are tight during the test, you shouldn't notice the lack of TCS
as you round the cones.
1). Launch at lower revs with partial throttle (about 3,000 rpms). As the test starts, give
about 90% throttle instead of full, otherwise the rear tires will slip too much. After about a second, you can hit the gas
full (still in 1st gear) before starting past the cones and shifting into 2nd.
2). From here on, everything else is
basically the same as in the previous cone test. If you lose control and the back end starts to slip, TCS won't be there to
save you..but you shouldn't be slipping in the first place anyways...you really gotta keep your cool for IB-7.
Car: 2004 Chrysler Crossfire
N2 all-season radials
My Time: 43.063
Maybe it's me, but i found IB-8
to be incredibly easy. Got gold on my 2nd run.
1). The test starts us rolling in 3rd gear.
Just before you pass under the 50 m marker, brake heavily, and gradually turn in to the right corner. All the corners in this
test are 90° angles; perhaps that's why i find it so easy.
2). As you near the inside of the corner, downshift into
3). It's okay to run over the red & white curbing on the inside of this turn, even though technically it's
supposed to be a sidewalk.
4). You can start accelerating as soon as it feels safe. Careful not to give too much gas
or you'll smack the concrete barrier on the left.
5). Upshift into 3rd. On the right-hand side are several arrows on
orange construction signs. Pass all of these. Now, there's a metal fence with barbed wire just after that last arrow-sign.
Just as you pass this fence, start braking fully.
6). Downshift into 2nd and coast by this left-hand corner. Start
giving gas again just before you pass the inside of the corner.
7). Keep the Chrysler in 2nd and accelerate. Just when
it starts redlining, hit the brakes down to 45-ish mph. Again, you can give full gas before you've even passed the inside
of this turn. As we leave this right-hander, the street we're on is now 4 lanes wide, so modulating throttle shouldn't be
necessary. Still, you shouldn't need to use up all 4 lanes to corner out of here...i found myself just crossing over the double
line in the middle of this street before heading back to the right side of the track.
8). Again we have several construction
arrows. Pass them all as you shift into 3rd. The brake indicator will start doing its thing. Wait
a moment before starting to brake.
9). As you brake and downshift into 2nd, note the dual flashing orange light on
the inside of this next left corner. This is a rather dark area...difficult for me to see where the curb is since it's so
small....so that light helps alot.
10). Slow to about 46 mph, and then gas it carefully....don't speed out of here,
we've got another left-hand 90° corner coming right up. Modulate throttle as you pass by it. You shouldn't need brakes and
keep it in 2nd gear.
11). Keep it slow...around 37 or 38 mph. We've passed that delicate left corner, now make your
way carefully towards the upcoming right kink.
12). As we pass this one by, you'll naturally wind up somewhere in
the center of the street. There's a grandstand of fans over on the right hand side.
13). Now there's another immediate
90° corner with a dual-orange light flashing. Pass by this one while giving throttle carefully. As you leave, the finish line
is just ahead so it's safe to speed off. If you want to shave off slightly more time towards the end, don't upshift into 3rd
as you pass under the finish.
Car: 2001 Volkswagen Bora V6
Tires: N2 All-season radials
My Time: 21.748
we're in scenic Citta di Aria for City Street Challenge #2. Buckle up.
At first, this test looks intimidating. The
walls are so narrow, the speed so high...how can anyone gold this? I thought at first. But for a couple reasons, IB-9 is actually
a rather easy and safe gold. You might wanna pick a car (any car) with 200-ish horsepower, drive around Citta di Aria a bunch
of laps, and learn this area well before tackling this test. Citta di Aria is actually used in 3 IB tests (one of them is
full-course) so it's a good idea to practice & learn this course like the back of your hand.
1). We start off speeding
at about 90 mph in 4th gear. Immediately get yourself center-leftish.
2). Now we pass into a plaza-looking area. On
the right-hand side, they've barricaded off an area, so if you're too far to the right you're already screwed.
Run thru the plaza. Get over as far to the right as you can without rubbing the wall. Up ahead is a yellow Pirelli
banner. You're gonna need to aim for this area at full speed.
4). Just as you pass under the Pirelli banner, give full
brakes a try, and then downshift into 3rd. I hate to say this, but you can't smack any walls without FAILing, but you CAN
rub onto them. In fact, with those crappy tires and the speed this test demands, it's near-impossible not to.
Up ahead is another barrier with a bunch of red arrows pointing like this: <<<<<<<<<
as you near it, brake again till you're in the low-50's. In my gold time, i wound up hitting this barrier but it didn't
6). We're still in 3rd gear. There is a slight right-hand curve. Accelerate out of it for a moment.
Now we're approaching another sharp left-hander. The brake indicator starts flashing and ignore
it. On your upper right is another yellow Pirelli banner. Just as it's going off-screen is when you should brake. Brake heavily
before the left-hander and steer in. As you near the turn, stop braking and just let the VW coast.
8). You'll be going
about 35 mph as you pass the inside of this narrow area. Give about half-throttle as you approach the next right. Brakes are
not necessary for the remainder of the test.
9). Modulate throttle and choose your racing-line carefully thru the next
few slight right turns by alternating from the middle of the street to the inside of each turn. You'll be accelerating now
and those walls look more intimidating than ever, but we're almost done with the test. Speed out of the remaining blind turns
and hop down the hill. Up ahead is your finish.
Car: 1997 MGF
Tires: N2 all-season radials
Track: Hong Kong
My Time: 1:53.798
The MGF is a mid-engine car. With crap tires
and TCS on, it manuvers just as bad as some of the front-drives we've encountered, but in a different way. Instead of understeer,
now we're dealing with massive amounts of oversteer. To combat this, you must become aware of what the back-end of
this vehicle is up to.
Many times as you exit corners, you'll have to "countersteer" (turn the steering in the opposite
direction of the corner you are in) even before oversteer shows, and in many cases, the oversteer will still show up,
but it won't be as bad.
....it's funny how in the info for this test, GT4 tells you none of this.
1). We have a standing start. Rev up to about 6,000 rpms. The clock ticks down: 3...2......1..BEEP. On that "BEEP",
give a push on the gas. If you do this correct, the tach needle will wind up just hitting redline and you'll have the best
launch. This isn't 100% necessary for gold, but it'll give you an edge.
2). Shift into 2nd. Pass the 50M marker that
hangs overhead. This time, we can use the brake indicator as a good place to start steering into
this first hairpin.
3). Steer, brake down to about 31 mph, and accelerate out. Here, you'll encounter your first bit
of oversteer as you exit. Note you can avoid it somewhat if you don't crank your steering all the way like you would with
a front-drve car. We don't want excessive amounts of oversteer as we leave this (or any) corner at Hong Kong, otherwise the
TCS will activate and *boom* there goes all your precious exit-speed. Feather the steering once you're deep in the turn (rather
than cranking to max) and countersteer as you leave if you have to.
• In the next section of track, you can
gain alot of time but it's tricky.
4). Follow the pace car thru the next slight right bend. Shift into 3rd gear when
5). The brake indicator starts flashing. Note there are tire-marks on the track.
For a super-low time, we're actually gonna ignore these. Instead, start turning early (there are a number of lamp-posts
here on your left. I like to steer in as i'm passing the 3rd lampost from the end).
6). Brake fully but momentarily
as you skew the MG slightly right. Do not downshift into 2nd. You'll be slowing slightly from about 83 mph to 72 mph. This
is tricky. You're gonna aim for the inside barrier on your right as you do this. Feather the throttle and steering
so that you just miss this barrier. Try not to smack (or even touch) the upcoming guardrail on your left as you exit.
Keep it in 3rd gear. As you exit that curve, TCS will activate, so do your best not to steer too much in any direction. Speed
up to about 78 mph. The next right bend is approaching.
8). In this next bend, i found myself braking & turning
in just a split second before the brake indicator told me to! Go figure. Again, this
next curve is tricky and you'll be slowing from 78 mph to about 66. Don't give too much brakes. Don't give too much gas, and
feather the throttle & steering as you need to.
• As the mid-engine skews us sideways with lift-off oversteer, there's not much we can do. You will most likely
get a little slide going. This is okay...just don't let it get too excessive.
9). Keep it in 3rd gear....keep feathering the throttle thru this right-hand curve and the next slight right-kink.
Keep the car on the right-hand side as you pass the kink.
10). As you pass under the 50M marker, start braking till
you almost reach the 90° corner up ahead. Downshift into 2nd. You've now slowed to about 40 mph.
11). As you go thru
this 90° bend, it's okay to give gas before you reach mid-point. It is also okay if you drive slightly over the red &
white curb...just don't smack the guardrail...and don't give TOO much gas cuz you don't want to oversteer and lose time via
• About halfway between the 100M and 50M markers on this short straight (near where the double-decker busses
are parked) the test allots its first time indication. As you do subsequent tests, you can use this indication as to how you're
doing...in other words, if it says +.500 as you pass here, that's bad and you should start the
test over (unless you're going for bronze or silver). If it says -.500, that's good. Eventually
if you do this test over and over you can start making judgement calls at this area as to whether you should start the test
over or not. No sense in finishing if know you're not doing so well.
12). Shift up into 3rd. It's possible to leave
it in 2nd and let the engine reach its limit, but i personally found this was screwing with my cornering sometimes.
Start braking into this next 90° right bend, downshift into 2nd (unless you're already in 2nd) and accelerate out. Again,
feather your steering and countersteer early to avoid TCS getting in the way.
14). Follow that pace car! Catch a draft
from him so you speed rises slightly.
15). This is the longest straight at Hong Kong. Shift into 3rd and 4th gear
16). As we near the end, there are 200M, 100M, and 50M markers. Pass the 200 one, and pass the 100M.
You should be justified to the right-hand side of the track. About halfway in between the 100 and 50M markers, there's a red
& white barrier that juts out into the street slightly. AS you pass this, start braking heavily in a straight line.
Your right tires can pass over the red & white curb on the ground. You're gonna need all the track space you can get to
manuver thru this track's tightest hairpin. Let off the brakes and coast if you need to as you enter this hairpin. I found
myself braking heavily, coasting for a moment, steering in, and then braking again as i got into the turn. DO NOT hit
the daft pace-car. DO NOT shift into 1st gear.
18). Leave it in 2nd as you carefully accelerate. It is possible (but
not necessary) to take this next short straight area completely without shifting into 3rd. The MGF engine will redline and
possibly hit max revs....this is okay.
19). Just after you pass the 50M marker, brake, steer in, and downshift (if
you need to) into 2nd. Accelerate out. Like in other tight corners, give yourself some room as you exit so you don't steer
too heavily and activate the TCS. Shift into 3rd.
20). Now we're approaching a 90° right corner with loads of people
staring at us from the sidewalk. Just before you pass the 50M marker, start braking, but you DO NOT have to downshift into
2nd..you can leave it in 3rd. I downshifted anyways...better control.
21). This next area is nice and wide, so use
the entire track width to gain speed as you exit.
22). Now we're cruising down a short, wide straight lit by sodium
lights. Again, start braking & turning in to the left 90° corner ahead just after you pass under the 50M marker.
Take this next corner tight. You don't wanna get too far to the right as you exit because you're gonna need to manuver over
to the left as you take the next 90° right.
24). Take the next right and left 90° turns. You should be in 2nd gear.
I found myself braking before the right turn, but didn't need brakes before the left. Instead, i carefully modulated throttle.
25). As you exit this final lefty, the track widens out again so you can give full gas and finish. Phew.
Car: 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. VIII-MR GSR
Grand Canyon turns #
My Time: 18.108
Here is our first IB experience with
an off-road adventure. In my opinion, this test isn't too hard, although squeezing out that last .50 of a second can get nerve-racking.
1). The Lancer is rolling at the start and heavily redlining in 2nd gear. So let's shift it into 3rd ASAP. I usually
start tapping my upshift button before the test starts. (Note to automatic-drivers: it will take a while before your transmission
will shift up; yet another reason why it's best to shun autos for the license tests.
2). Notice how the center of the
road looks different from the sides? This is because many cars have been driven down the center, and the dirt has been tamped
down. On the sides, the dirt is typically softer, and more uneven, and this is where you don't want to be otherwise
you'll be slower.
3). You'll bounce over several hillocks. Only advice here: keep it steady. You newbs out there might
find yourself about to do a pizza-spin if things don't go right.
4). Shift up into 4th as you fly over the 2nd mound.
Or is it the 3rd mound? i forget. Just do it when appropriate, Mr. or Mrs. Golddigger.
5). As you pass under the second
Michelin banner, your brake-indicator starts to flash. Ignore please.
you can start braking a moment after you pass the Exxon billboard on your left. Wait till it just goes offscreen and
then start braking fully in a straight line.
7). While still braking, downshift into 3rd and then 2nd gear. As you'll
do this, you'll need to follow the road, which means you'll need to steer. At first, your steering can be gradual. Follow
the road. But as you slow to the 30's you can safely CRANK it harder to initiate a controlled-slide. You will basically find
yourself getting almost completely sideways for a few moments.
• Don't wait too late here. If you don't brake or steer soon enough, you'll wind up in the wide area of soft
dirt beyond the inner-part of the road....and you might as well restart if you want some gold. If you crank your steering
too fast / too early, your slide will be too wild, and you'll lose control in a slide and find the Lancer will start "see-sawing"
as you try and countersteer excessively...
8). As you're sliding sideways hit the gas while steering right to get yourself lined up for the next curve. Gas will
need to be modulated here: from moment to moment, it might be maxed to throttle, cut to half-throttle, further cut to no-throttle,
maxed to full-throttle etc. This is a judgement call and depends on minute differences in the angle you've made for yourself
as you enter and slide thru this curve.
9). On your left are 2 bushes that are taller than the usual scrub-grass. As
you pass the first bush, you'll be accelerating and getting reasonably straight. As you pass the 2nd bush, you're doing about
57 mph and you'll need to brake suddenly while simultaneously changing direction with hard right-steering.
a group of photographers on your right with flashbulbs going even though it's broad daylight. This next curve is so fast...the
directional change so sudden, that you're gonna need to try to act like you're steering in the direction of these clueless
photographers. But by now the Lancer Evo has too much momentum built. You'll coast under zero throttle for a second as you
crank the steering and get sideways again.
11). Just a moment after you pass and can't see the photographers anymore,
give full throttle and keep it on full. Modulate steering to keep the car going in the direction you want. Don't steer
too hard...you may wind up running into some sagebrush. On the other hand, keep your steering tight...feather it if you need
to...but keep it tight. Just in front of the finish there's another patch of sagebrush and it's all to easy to let off on
the steering and find yourself running into this patch instead of across the finish.
12). Shift into 3rd just moments
before crossing the finish so the engine doesn't bounce off its RPM limiter and add extra time..
Car: 1991 Toyota Celica GT-four RC
Tires: Off-road / Winter
My Time: 23.940
Got your hot cocoa brewed & ready? Here
we are in the snow and ice. Brrrrrrr. It's cold out.
1). The test begins with a standing-start rather than a rolling
one. Launch by holding the revs at about 4,000 rpms. As the clock tolls 3....2.....1...BEEP!, slam the throttle on the BEEP
so that the tach needle lands anywhere from 5,000 rpms to redline. You'll get a slightly better launch this way than if you
take off at high revs.
2). The brake indicator starts flashing as we shift into 2nd gear.
Ignore completely. There's a kink in the path on your left....barely a turn. Drive the Celica slightly towards the left as
you pass it.
3). Immediately steer slightly right as you head towards the next "kink" where the orangish-red mesh
fence stands. You may need to back off on throttle momentarily as you snap the steering from left to right.
brake indicator starts flashing. This time, we'll obey it and brake just as we pass a group of
fans on our left. Snap your steering slightly left to set-up for the next turn.
5). This lefty hairpin is the first
tough one and we're gonna need to slow way down to 20 mph. Brake in a straight line momentarily, and keep braking as you steer
into this turn and downshift into 1st gear. Steer tighter and tighter as you brake. YOu want to stay close-in to this one.
• Unlike pavement driving, which typically calls for out-in-out hairpin attacks, it's best to get inside early
at this snowy track.
6). There are now 3 tents in our vision straight ahead. GRADUALLY re-introduce throttle as you leave
the hairpin. Too much gas on pavement will cause understeer. In the snow, you'll typically get oversteer instead.
As you leave the 1st hairpin, you'll be steering and giving about ¾ throttle. Keep the Celica far inside this curve...as it
straightens out, you can finally hammer the gas. Shift into 2nd gear.
8). Try and get in the middle of the track as
it stays straight for just a moment. The brake indicator starts flashing but we're not gonna brake
till we pass a small whitish-yellow box on our right. Sorry, i have no idea what it's supposed to be....i'll just call it
a box. Anyways, brake heavily but steer carefully. Downshift into 1st gear as you're steering braking.
• Your first impulse in this low-speed turn may be to get a slide going like you'd do in the dirt. DO NOT do
this. Instead, carefully follow this hairpin, keeping all 4 wheels in a racing-line with as much traction as possible.
9). As you pass some cones and the black Valvoline banner on your right, gradually re-introduce gas. You'll be in 1st
gear, giving anywhere from ½ to ¾ throttle. Traction is extremely important here, so don't hammer it yet.
Just as the orange cones on your inside-right go off-screen, give full gas and keep steering cranked right. The motor will
redline so shift up into 2nd.
11). During this upshift, straighten out your steering. Give full gas for a moment. Move
towards the center of the track.
12). You'll accelerate to about 46 mph. As you enter this final curve (which is thankfully
not so tight), start steering in hard while releasing the gas till about half-throttle. DO NOT brake.
13). Act like
you're trying to steer into the snow-embankment on your left while giving full gas and steering hard. What will happen
is you'll (instead) understeer slightly and wind up heading towards the opposite side of the track on your right. This is
okay...you're about to cross the finish.
Car: 2002 Ford Focus RS
Tires: S2 medium-grade sports
El Capitan curves 14 to end.
My Time: 29.470
IB-13 (Undulating S-Bends)
is one of the easier tests in my opinion, especially if you've done multiple laps around El Capitan. Not to brag, but i struck
gold on my 2nd try as i wrote this guide. The test car is a front-drive model with TCS on, but
it is also equipped with sport-grade tires instead of the standard radials found on most other test cars. Still, understeer
is highly present so here's what to do.
1). The test has the Focus rolling down a hill that curves to the left.
By the time it starts officially, the computer has just shifted us into 4th gear and we're heading towards a right curve.
2). Make your way to the left side of the track as you blast straight for a moment. The brake
indicator flashes. Ignore.
• In this test, i've found you can attack this first curve with a variety of braking points, and it's difficult
to give an indication of exactly when to start braking. Perhaps this is due to the improved tires? I don't know.
3). So for my best gold time, i braked early while i was still on the left hand side of the track. Brake down to
about 61 mph while downshifting into 3rd gear as you steer towards the red & white curb. You can give ½ to ¾ throttle
before you run your right-hand side tires momentarily over this curb.
4). Since the track straightens out briefly
now, your first impulse may be to straighten your steering. Don't do this. Instead, keep steering as you need to while you
head towards a 2nd right bend. TCS will be activating while you give partial-throttle.
5). Give full throttle about
halfway between the dual-right curves. Keep steering so that your right-hand tires run briefly over the red & white curb.
You may even run slightly into the grass, too. This is okay.
6). You'll leave this curve in 3rd gear. Now there's
a lefty curve up ahead so steer in. Shift up into 4th. There are 2 lanes on the road....try and stay in the inner lane on
the left as you accelerate.
7). The track keeps bending left. Eventually the brake indicator
starts flashing, which is ridiculous because nowhere along here should you be braking.
8). The track now bends right
up ahead. We can start making our way to the right early...i usually start while i'm still on the left-hand side. As you cross
the track, release the throttle (instead of braking) when you are about halfway across the track.
9). We're still in
4th gear. Steer in tight so your right-hand tires roll across the red & white grid. Again, it's okay to be slightly in
the grass as well. The car rises over a lump. As it does so, you'll start veering left.
10). A few moments after leaving
that lump and you're veering left, give a tap on the brakes. This is important...it gathers the front-drive Focus so that
understeer isn't as severe later.
11). We're still veering left. As you do this, give some full throttle until the
Focus understeers. Then back off a tad till it stops. Full throttle....back off. I did this 3 times. By now, the long left
curve has broadened out and there's a blue & white curb on our right. You can gradually head towards this curb while you
acclerate. You can even run your tires on it, which makes that cool rumbling noise.
12). Shift into 5th gear, cross
Car: 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL 600
Tires: S2 medium-sports
El Capitan turns 2 thru 9
My Time: 36.093
Still at El Capitan, this time
in a rear-drive luxury convertible on the opposite side of the track. Again, TCS is on and so are those sports tires. Unfortunately
the Mercedes loves understeer just as much as the Ford we just piloted.
Like the previous test, i found i had more
leeway than usual. Gold can be struck after using braking and steering points that vary from one
another as you do this test over and over.
1). We begin with a rolling start. Follow the track as it curves left and then right. Shift into 3rd when appropriate.
Here, it's possible to attack this next lefty curve from a variety of points that begin anywhere from the left side of the
track to the center. In any event, let go of the throttle a tad, steer in, and accelerate fully, letting your left tires run
slightly over the red & white curb.
3). You'll be going fast..the heavy Benz will naturally want to understeer
to the right, but you'll need to fight it to the left side of the track while giving full throttle.
4). The brake
indicator starts flashing. I've found it's possible to obey it immediately, or ignore it for a moment or 2....again
there is some leeway. Just don't wait too long or you'll understeer into an upcoming guardrail!
5). Brake heavily while
turning right...downshift into 2nd.
6). This right curve is odd....it starts with an area of sand and concrete on our
right, and then juts out with a larger sand trap enclosed by a red & white curb. I've found myself modulating throttle
thru here in 2nd gear tilll i can safely drive by. It's actually possible to drive slightly into the sand trap! It
doesn't slow us down much.
7). Steer out of this area, shift into 3rd and then steer hard again while accelerating.
Watch for the upcoming tunnel. Again, you may be understeering slightly as you steer left under hard accel-action. Just try
not to rub or hit the tunnel wall as you enter...this will FAIL you or at the very least, scrub off some speed.
Blast thru the tunnel.
• Later on when racing, you'll notice this next area is where the Ai gets it all wrong.
9). The brake indicator starts to flash just as we leave the tunnel. The Ai usually
brakes here for some reason. We don't have to. Climb the hill while keeping to the left side of the track.
we get to the top, the Benz will "hop" and get all skittery & nervous. Perhaps this is why the Ai freaks out. Anyways,
don't panic. Don't hit brakes. Instead, coast over the entire top of the hill. No gas. No brakes.
11). Work your way
over to the far right of the track as you go down the hill, but try not to touch the huge rock boulder on the right. The car's
tires will be protesting and screaming the entire time! This is the coolest part of the track if you ask me. Eventually as
you roll down the hill, re-introduce some throttle as you feel safe.
• There are a number of ways you can get down the hill from the middle of the track to the far left. The main
thing is to keep speed happening while making sure the car doesn't go into a collosal slide!
12). This next right bend is a long one that starts to go downhill. Try and steer right as you tackle it without rubing
onto the wall on the left side or the embankment on right. Again, the Benz will understeering like mad, so back off the throttle
when you need to.
13). Cross finish in a blaze of glory.
Car: 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA 1600
Tires: N2 all-season radials
Citta di Aria (full-course)
My Time: 2:20.328
Remember earlier when i
told you it's a good idea to practice this track in full lap after lap? Well now your practice is about to pay off.
test car is a low-powered vintage rear-drive Alfa on cheapie tires, but TCS is OFF. For this write-up, i'm not going into
super detail with racing lines, brake-indicator areas and stuff. I assume if you've made it this
far, you're doing pretty good with the golds and by now you should have a generally intuitive idea about how to tackle this
1). At the start, rev that puny 1600-cc engine at about 4,000 rpms. Since TCS is off, it's
a good idea not to give full-throttle as the test begins. Instead, let it go to about 80%. The rear tires will still slip
a bit; not much we can do about this, they're cheap. As the car builds speed, you can give full throttle near the end of this
first-gear launch. You'll be doing anywhere from 26 to 29 mph.
2). Shift into 2nd. Follow the pace car as it meanders
thru these narrow city avenues. Shift into 3rd. You can shift into 4th as you drive, but this is not entirely necessary.
As i hinted, i left the Alfa in 3rd gear. It'll redline heavily but will not max revs. The first major curve to comprehend
will be a right. Brake early, turn in, keep the Giulia over on the right hand side as soon as you navigate this bend.
Now there's a jumbled 3-way intersection approaching which basically translates as a left-right chicane for us. I braked really
early here (well before the banner overhead). You can shift into 2nd as you drive thru this area, but i found it just as simple
to keep it in 3rd.
5). Now we can give full-throttle again for a few seconds. It's advisable to get on the right-hand
side of the track (don't follow the pace car exactly) so you get a better angle before attacking this downhill left curve.
As you near it, lower the throttle momentarily and steer in tight towards the sidewalk. You don't need to drive on the sidewalk,
6). The Alfa may start to slide. This is okay. Just keep it in control. Just before you pass under the Gran
Turismo banner, give some brakes. The Alfa now may on the verge of a slide again....a mixture of understeer and lift-off oversteer
threatening. Keep it cool.
7). As you near the tight off-kilter hairpin, brake again, coast in, and get your steering
ready. I've found that in this area, it's also possible to give a tap on the e-brake to get a tighter angle before accelerating
out of here. This is fine and won't hurt our lap time.
8). Again, follow that pace car as it meanders from left to
right. Shift into 3rd gear. You may find yourself briefly cruising over the sidewalk. To get a better angle for more speed
into that right curve, take the right-hander wide (again, don't follow the pace car exactly). Shift into 4th.
things get interesting. As you drive under the first arch, the game will give us our first time posting. As you do this test
over and over, hopefully, this will be a negative number! Follow the pace car more exactly so you can catch a draft for more
10). Drive under the 2nd arch. Now we're in the plaza area that we drove that VW Bora in a previous IB test.
Follow the pace car. Just after you drive under the blue MAGNET MARELLI banner, start braking and try to justify the
Alfa leftish. As in the previous IB test, it is possible (tho not recommended) to graze the wall and still pass the test.
Follow the Skyline as it weaves thru this confusing left-right-left-right area after braking and such. You'll need to brake
at least once heavily, but the rest of the time you should be navigating while giving full or partial throttle in 2nd gear.
That heavy braking point comes before a sharp left. Your braking point will be an orange door that flashes by on your right.....think
of this entire confusing area as a walled slalom. As you attack the tight corners, you can use more and more acceleration.
Eventually, you can give full-throttle and shift up to 3rd while you're still in these crazy avenues, eventually blasting
down a small hill with a hop. Follow the Skyline and catch its draft down this next straight avenue. Shift up to 4th. You
can shift into 5th gear, but this (again) is optional and not necessary. As you near the end of this street, the Alfa will
13). Now, as you pass under the Gran Turismo banner, start braking partially. Brake more fully and
downshift into 3rd and then 2nd as you pass under the arch. Just as you pass under the arch, stop braking, hit the gas, and
steer sharply right.
14). We're now confronted with a S-bend that weaves uphill like a contortionist. Navigate behind
the pace car without smacking any walls. Keep it in 2nd.
15). Brake before entering the hairpin, and CAREFULLY accelerate
out of here early. The Alfa Giulia apparently hasn't got any sort of a limited-slip device, and if you lay the power too much,
the inner-rear tire will slip and you'll lose time. As you straighten out and drive under the next arch, you can give more
16). Watch now on the right-hand side. There's a gutter or something on the street; i've been caught here by this
nuisance so skew left to avoid it.
17). As we climb the hill, the poor Alfa 1600 motor starts to struggle. To gain
just an extra bit of speed, let it redline fully into 2nd gear before upshifting. Follow that pace car as it weaves up this
• Now comes the hardest part of the entire track. And the thing is it looks like it should be rather
18). There's a left-curve indicated by a concrete barrier with alot of red & white arrows on it
like this: <<<<<<<<<<<<. You'll need to drive by it with no brakes and partial throttle
at about 70 mph. Don't hit any walls, don't even graze any. Veer left.
19). As you pass under the Castrol
banner, brake and steer, avoiding another barrier with arrows on it, and avoiding walls on both sides of the street. This
has to be done PRECISELY and without slowing. At the slowest, you'll be going about 51 mph. Do not shift into 2nd gear or
you'll lose speed. Chances are, the Alfa will suffer a bit of fishtailing as you drive off, which is okay....just don't hit
20). Phew. Well that's the hard stuff. Now you can push up the hill in 3rd gear, veer left as you enter
the finish-plaza, and that can of worms is tossed.
Car: 2002 Lotus Esprit V8
S2 medium sports
Track: Citta di Aria
My Time: 18.927
Now we're driving a 353 hp Lotus in one of the tougher portions of Citta di Aria, but thankfully not that final
portion. Still, this test is really tough; like trying to fit a square block into a round hole. Everything has to be super-precise...here
1). The test starts with us cruising at 120 mph in 4th gear. Get over to the right-hand side of the street,
but as you drive, skew slightly left. By the time you're nearing the Gran Turismo
banner, you should be on the left side of the street.
2). As we roll under the Gran Turismo banner, start looking
at the shadows on the ground. I'm not kidding. Just after the banner there is what looks like the shadow of a tree's branches.
THIS shall be our braking-point, folks. No more, no less.
3). Brake heavily. Do not downshift until you've passed
the last major shadow on the ground, which happens to be another tree-top. If you downshift too early, the Lotus won't
slow-down as stable as its rear tires try to lock.
4). As you do all this, you need to be skewing the car ever-so-slightly
to the right. As you pass under the arch, you'll therefore be on the right side of the street, but not so far right that you'll
hit the arch.
5). Now you're in 2nd gear. Just after you pass under the arch, keep veering right, and give a full
gas, modulating as you cruise up the hill. Steps 4 and 5 happen so fast, you'll barely have time to think about them as you
6). After that blinding right, youll need to avoid a small wall on the left while keeping to the
left. You'll hurl up this small hill and immediately brake.
7). Turn right sharply, but not too sharply. Keep it in
2nd gear while giving about 25% throttle. You can modualte the gas here; stabbing the engine with full-throttle momentarily
as you round this hairpin.
8). If you've managed all that, the last bit is relatively easy. Just give full gas as you
pass under the arch. Veer left to avoid the small curb just in front of that orange utility truck. This curb can snag you
and ruin the entire test so please avoid it.
9). And we shift into 3rd as we climb the hill.
Congrats on your
Back to GT4 GOLD Links
GT4 Racing Guide
Back to Car Reviews