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GT4 Beginner Events


Are you ready? A long, long racing career awaits.....

Parnelli's GT4 rating system

These ratings vary from 1 to 5 stars and are an attempt to describe the amount of close-racing you may face, as well as how dramatic each race series is and the amount of skill you may need. They are not a measure of skill (or speed) alone. For instance, a race in which 2 or more Ai cars battle it out for first place with you will get your blood flowing and your senses focused. How will you tackle corners when all these other cars are fighting with you for track space? This sort of event will rate higher than one in which a single car "jackrabbits" ahead of everyone else, leaving you competing with that single car.

Often in GT4 it is possible to create some challenge if you pay attention to the starting grid (the way the 5 Ai cars are arranged at the start). Sometimes you may need to reset the race to find such a grid, but it willl be worth it!

A very uncompetitive or pointless event. Or a boring one.

Typically a 2 star race is one in which the 5 Ai vehicles follow each other like robots, with no passing and few moments of true drama.

An average GT4 event. A 3-star race often has some unpredictability & drama. Reset race for a mixture of good opponents and maximum playability.

A 4 star race is the best GT4 has to offer. Lots of interplay between you and the Ai. Multiple lead changes, mid-race dueling and pumped adrenaline guaranteed. You may still need to reset the starting grid, though.

Sunday Cup

rating: ***

20.00 (1,400) = 70 hp 
18.48 (1,600)  = 86 hp
20.49 (1,800) = 88 hp
21.22 (2,300) = 108 hp
22.03 (2,600) = 118 hp
28.68 (3,700) = 129 hp
(twisty tracks)
24.34 (3,700) = 152 hp (Hi Speed Ring, Route 5 & Motegi)

*Use the 2nd ratio for Heavyweight (3,700) class vehicles at HSR and R5 only if an MGF, Mazda Miata, or Eagle Talon shows up. But use the lower ratio at Twin Ring Motegi East against any vehicles.  

B-spec: add 30 to 40 hp

Here we are back at the Sunday Cup; those sleepy events designed for green drivers.

Unlike previous GT games, there are now five races to finish instead of three; and the higher-paced Clubman Cup is at the "professional" level instead of the beginner's. In earlier GTs (GT1, 2, & 3), each race paid a few thousand credits, which at the time seemed meager. Well guess what? YOu'll be earning just 600 credits per win in GT4. But one thing hasn't changed: we're still going real slow! There are plenty of POS beater cars that will enter here competitively...PD made sure of that.

GT4 starts off with a more advanced feel from the get-go, with higher realism programmed in even the slowest of cars, making the Sunday Cup challenging so long as you keep your power low. If you're just beginning GT4, I recommend switching between the Practice, Track Meet and Family Cups before racing at the Sunday Cup. Keep practicing these races with the W2P ratio calculated above. Do this at faster and faster difficulty levels and at the appropriate tracks (Autumn Ring Mini reversed, for instance). The reason is the Sunday Cup (and other sprints) dont allow any practice laps and it's important to get a feel for how your car drives as well as how the AI reacts. GT4 is a whole different game from GT3 or anything else currently on the gaming market.

In the Sunday Cup (and many other races) the computer cars aren't adept at braking. They constantly brake too early and too much, as if they haven't been schooled at cornering yet. You'll be out-manuvering them with brakes and cornering paths (if you're good), in some cases you may even get a bit of a lead. In any event, it's rare you'll need a car with over 120 hp to win the Sundays. I've won these in a nearly stock Scion xB for instance, which sports just 104 horses. I also used an '87 Nissan Be-1, using anywhere from 69 to 80 horsepower.

• At Hi Speed Ring, Route 5, and Twin Ring Motegi, kei cars (particularly the vans, RVs, and taller hatches) may need 5 to 10 extra horsepower. So add this power after calculating from the ratios above.

• Medium-grade sports (S2) tires can be used here. For most cars, you won't need suspension parts, but for emergencies, a sports suspension can be used. One thing good about the Sunday Cup is you don't need to spend lots of money to win, unless you've got yourself a real slug.

͸ If your car's pound to power ratio is naturally lower than what's above, or if you find you're “just too good”, use N3 (road tires) instead of sports. You can go with or without a sport suspension as well, to put your car at different capabilities. 

• On the other hand, if you're still having trouble keeping up, don't increase your power; instead try close ratio gearing, single-plate clutch, and/or a lighter flywheel. Assuming you can afford all this stuff.

• The MGF and MG TF are without a doubt the fastest Ai cars of the Sunday Cup. The '89 Mazda Miata, Eagle Talon, '83 Honda CR-X 1.5, Renault Megane, and any Peugeot may also make waves but are not quite as fast. Try and choose races in which any of these cars start in 3rd place or 4th place. It's also possible to find races in which both MGFs show up, or ones that will have an MGF starting in a lower spot, but (let's say) an Eagle Talon on pole position. It is important to find the best grid in GT4 for the reasons stated below:

You'll notice in many GT events you'll be able to get a close race between multiple cars if you make the faster cars start downfield, forcing them to deal with slower traffic ahead of them, thus making the game more exciting for us.

GT2 often made almost every car on the grid possibly within the same capability. The game actually did this by "rubber-banding" the Ai, which is why they'd surround us no matter how fast or sometimes how slow we went. In GT3, there was typically one or two cars which were way more capable than the rest of the grid. PD got rid of rubberbanding-effect, though. GT4 grids also feature Ai cars which do better than others, but it's possible (as I said) to start them at a lesser spot.

So many gamers online complain about how boring GT4 is, then you start looking at what car they've been driving. Usually, it's something overkillish, like an R32 Skyline in the Sunday cup. And it's like: NO WONDER you're so bored with the game. Things get better if we use a car that fits more realistically.

Cars used to create Sunday Cup ratios:

Flyweight: '87 Nissan BE-1 (1,400)
Lightweight: '90 Fiat Panda Super 1000S (1,600)
Bantamweight: '98 Suzuki Wagon R-RR (1,800), '87 Honda Civic 1500
Middle-light: '03 Scion xB (2,300)
Middleweight: '91 Infiniti G20 (2,600)
Heavyweight: '88 Volvo GLT (3,700)

FF Challenge

rating= ***

Midfield II, Hong Kong II

11.11 (1,500) = 135 hp
12.86 (1,800) = 140 hp
14.69 (2,300) = 156 hp 
16.25 (2,800) = 172 hp
16.81 (3,750) = 223 hp

Suzuka East

15.53 (1,500) = 98 hp
16.09 (1,800) = 112 hp
17.33 (2,300) = 133 hp
16.46 (2,800) = 170 hp
17.52 (3,750) = 214 hp

G. Valley E., T Ring East

10.79 (1,500) = 139 hp
12.83 (1,800) = 140 hp
13.94 (2,300) = 165 hp
14.59 (2,800) = 192 hp
16.23 (3,750) = 231 hp 

B-spec: add 25 to 50 hp depending how bad your car handles.

The game is stepped up a bit. Time to get more horsepower! :biggrin:

The autos we're up against here aren't super-aggressive, but we're still starting in 6th place, so you'll need to soup your engine above Sunday Cup levels. At times you may find yourself rubbing doors with the enemy; as the FF Challenge is certainly more competitive than the Sunday Cup. Despite this, these events are still very winnable, even with lowish power, despite the understeer that's inevitably faced. There is no need to push cars into walls like some losers suggest...it's totally possible to race 'clean', even while low-powered, even though the Ai doesn't always race clean.

Unlike GT3 in which the VW Polo Cup Car would always lead, GT4 has thankfully pushed some boundaries since the list of competitive AI is longer. Certain automoiles tend to shine above the rest: the Alfa Romeo GTV 3.0, Peugeot 206 S16, MINI Cooper, and Mitsubishi FTO are some examples, but as we go from track to track we'll notice the competition varies a bit.

Keep this in mind as you do the FF Challenge (and some other subsequent events): in some races the Ai drives poorly, and in others a car will jackrabbit far ahead. Sometimes, you'll find the Ai screws up its cornering so bad you'll be bottlenecked behind a slew of cars, in others you'll discover an opening between them and find all a sudden you've spontaneously become a jackrabbit yourself. There isn't much we can do about this (so far as setting power goes). The above ratios represent a compromise between races that feel way too easy and those that are more challenging.

One trick to avoid jackrabbits try is putting obviously heavier 4-door front-drives (like the Mazda 323F, Nissan Primera, Renault Avantime, and Scion xB) on or near pole position. It's also possible to put lighter 'hot hatches' on pole to create more challenge. Neither of these solutions works 100% of the time, though.

•  Medium sport tires (S2), sport suspension, and maybe a 1-way differential are good purchases here. Some tracks like Hong Kong might be best with close gearing, too.

͸ If you're blowing away the field with seconds to spare, try using lesser tires (N2 or N3).

͸ Don't worry about buying brake upgrades in the FF Challenge, FR Challenge, and most other Beginner's League races, unless your car has super-bad braking action and truely needs it. For many cars, even a racing brake kit (no controller) offers way too much advantage over the competition.

FR Challenge

rating: **

Seattle, Tsukuba, Route 5, Laguna Seca:

8.14 (1,000)  = 123 hp
9.38 (1,800)  = 192 hp
10.86 (2,300) = 212 hp
11.76 (3,000) = 255 hp
13.91 (3,700) = 266 hp

Beginner's Course: Motorsport Land

8.48 (1,000) = 118 hp 
10.59 (1,800)  = 170 hp
12.17 (2,300) = 189 hp
13.10 (3,000) = 229 hp
14.45 (3,700) = 256 hp

B-spec: add 50 to 75 hp

*Modern 2-seater sports cars (Miatas, Z4s, S2000s, etc) and other autos with exceptional handling may need to be on N3 or S1 tires. Everybody else should typically be running S2s

GT4's caption for the FR Challenge says: "Experience the magic of rear-wheel drift", which is totally ironic since it's very difficult to get any cars in GT4 into a true drift, especially during actual low-powered races such as these.

The computer cars range from roomy sedans to stylish sports coupes, yet a quick glance at how they drive reveals we're still in the Beginner's League. Again, they're using too much brakes and taking turns as if they're just learning how to race! You'll probly spend most of your time making the usual lines thru corners only to find yourself about to SMACK into one of them. Can't they drive with a little more confidence? I miss qualifying :-(

Unlike the FF Challenge, there are rarely any surprises in the FR Challenge. Certain cars like Nissan Silvia K's and Sil80s tend to dominate here with a radically lower pound to power ratio than the other AI, but these cars also don't show up as often in the line-up. Chryslers also take a strong lead if they're sitting on pole postion, but don't do so well when they start downfield. Other than this, there will rarely be any passing or in-fighting between the sim cars. Most of the time, it's just five cars following one another like a bunch of robots.

• Again, S2 sports tires and suspension seem most appropriate here. N3s (road tires) can be used if your car is too strong. Use close ratio gearing if you need it at smaller tracks. Light drivetrain parts, too.

͸ Some older cars with slippery rear-ends may need a differential...typically a 1-way works best.

MR Challenge
rating: ***

Beginner Course & Autumn Ring II

7.93 (1,600)  = 202 hp
8.71 (2,100)  = 241 hp
10.00 (2,500) = 250 hp 
12.40 (3,300) = 266 hp

New York II

9.99 (1,600)  = 160 hp
10.90 (2,100
) = 208 hp
11.57 (2,500 =
216 hp
12.04 (3,300) = 249 hp

Fuji '90s

10.25 (1,600) = 156 hp
10.24 (2,100) = 205 hp
11.57 (2,525) = 216 hp 
12.89 (3,300) = 256 hp

El Capitan

12.76 (1,600) = 125 hp
14.00 (2,100) = 150 hp
14.45 (2,500) = 173 hp
13.15 (3,300) = 251 hp

B-spec: add 80 to 100 hp

Definately the best Beginner's-league drivetrain races for usre. Doing 5 laps at the Beginner's Course sucks, but the races at the other four tracks feel more competitive than the FF, FR, and 4WD Challenges. The MR Challenge occasionally has surprises, too. This is not just five cars following one another without multiple lead changes or mid-race duels.

Unlike GT3, there are lots of mid-engine cars that we can use to compete with...everything from cheapie MR2s to the pricey RUF 3400S. We can use prizes like the Lotus Europa or '80 Renault 5 Turbo, and those which can be bought at any time like the NSX, Renault Clio Sport V6, ASL, and dozens of Lotuses. Don't forget to hunt in the used car lots--some cheaper mid-engine cars lurk about here, too. Unlike GT3, we will need to spend at least 50 grand to get a car rolling in these--it is no longer possible to buy a stock MR2 and blow the sims away.

But it is possible to find a great batch of sprint races so long as the right line-up of Ai is found. Lotus Elises and NSXes are quicker opponents, and there's usually several cars of each team to spar with. Don't rule out the '87 Lotus Esprit or ASL, either.

• As a general guideline, have Honda/Acura NSXs sitting downfield, as these are definately the fastest Ai. At New York, Fuji, and El Capitan, try and have them start no higher than 3rd place; they'll almost always work their way to the front. Almost is the key word here! I've seen events where a Toyota MR2 or an ASL blew away an NSX, for instance, especially at twistier Autumn Ring or El Capitan. That's the cool thing about the MR Challenge, there is a bit of unpredictability. But generally, follow the guideline below...

͸ If there are no NSXs on the grid, Elises should be watched at the small, twisty tracks like Beginner's Course and Autumn Ring, while others (usually the Lotus Esprit or ASL) do better at larger tracks. A bit of power can be removed (10-15 hp or so) in either case. If neither NSX nor Elises are present, even more power can be removed. I suggest removing 15-20 hp for each team that is absent.

• Use S2 medium sport tires (S3s for poor-handling emergencies) and sport suspension. Some models naturally pack too much power for some races and may need lesser tires (usually N3/road tires).

͸ In most cases at El Capitan, you'll want to use N2 or N3 tires (and with a stock suspension if you're still too fast). The Ai drives way too cautiously and if we don't limit ourselves somehow, we'll simply blow them away!

Many cars can use close or super-close gearing at Motorland and Autumn Ring. Full-custom or fixed differential also needed in some lightweight mid-engine beasts (especially older models).

• Racing brake kit also recommended for lighter cars...PD screwed up the braking for alot of these (even modern Elises) so that they brake very poorly.

In any event, these guys drive a bit better than in other Beginner's races, and corner with accuracy. But (again) they brake too early, so it's possible to win after some clever out-braking of your own.

4WD Challenge

rating: ***


G. Valley East: 
9.78 (1,800) = 184 hp
14.16 (2,900) = 204 hp
14.60 (3,550) = 243 hp

Autumn Ring II: 
12.00 (1,800) = 150 hp
15.76 (2,900) = 184 hp
16.73 (3,550) = 212 hp

Suzuka East:
13.14 (1,800) = 137 hp
17.81 (2,900) = 165 hp
17.74 (3,550) = 200 hp

El Capitan II: 
12.59 (1,800) = 143 hp
16.02 (2,900) = 181 hp
15.49 (3,550) = 229 hp

'90s Fuji Speedway: 
9.78 (1,800) = 184 hp
12.14 (2,900) = 241 hp
13.80 (3,550)  = 257 hp


G. Valley East, A. Ring II, Suzuka East:
13.77 (3750) = 290 hp
14.71 (5,250) = 357 hp

El Capitan II, '90s Fuji Speedway:
12.93 (3,750) = 290 hp
12.84 (5,250) = 409 hp

͸ Use the ratios above if a speed demon such as the Hyundai Clix, Subaru Impreza STi, Peugeot 205, VW Beetle RSi, Audi S3, Audi S4, or Audi RS4, or a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo show up, starting in 2nd place at some rolling-start tracks, or 3rd place at standing-start ones. If these guys aren't a threat, (or if they sometimes start in 4th or 5th place), you can safely drop 30 to 40 horses.

͸ The '84 Ford RS200 rarely shows up, but is disproportionately faster than anybody else. You'll need to add power to keep up with it if it starts on or near Pole. On the other hand, if it starts in 4th or 5th place, sometimes the RS200 will get bottlenecked behind others and won't be much of a threat.

For those who went thru GT3's Beginner Leagues, you oughta remember how easy all the drivetrain events were. Well, the 4WD Challenge is definately the easiest of the drivetrain races in GT4. I managed to smoke these in my Audi S4, which (other than a sports suspension) was completely stock. My B-spec driver also had an easy time. It's a shame PD didn't create Professional-level drivetrain races like they did for GT3.

Most 4WD or AWD cars we can enter are like this. They'll blow away the field with minimal tuning efforts. We'll really have to search to find those which can potentially be challenging.

For instance, I finally tried a Dodge Ram 1500, unsure if a truck could actually do these. The Ram needed a bit more help--about $19,000 in parts, but could  manage wins AI trucks only dream of. I also got a used Celica GT-Four from the Historic lot, which was underpowered and ready for upgrades. Finally, I got a real challenge: a Daihatsu Storia X4 starting with just 120 hp! This car needed the most work (somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 grand), but managed wins, even a -0.099 win at Fuji!

• Cars: use S2 medium sport tires and sports suspension. If you're too fast, put some N3 road tires on, and nix the sport suspension if needed.

• A truck will take the N3 tires as well, but at faster-paced El Capitan and Fuji Speedway it's better to switch up to S3 tires,

• Some trucks are in need of better drivetrain parts (carbon shaft, lighter flywheels and maybe close-ratio gearing) to enhance their shifting.

• Underpowered cars like the Celica mentioned above will need close gears at some tracks, and sometimes full-custom gears at Fuji or Grand Valley East.

Lightweight K Cup

rating: ***

Motorland :
14.11 (1,200) = 85 hp
20.54 (1,500) = 73 hp
24.36 (1,900) = 98 hp

18.65 (1,200) = 64 hp
21.42 (1,500) = 70 hp
23.75 (1,900) = 80 hp

Beginner Course:
22.22 (1,200) = 54 hp
21.73 (1,500) = 71 hp
25.67 (1,900) = 74 hp

--FR, MR, & AWD--
24.21 (1,550) = 64 hp
28.98 (2,000) = 69 hp

24.21 (1,550) = 64 hp
30.30 (2,000) = 66 hp

B. Course:
22.46 (1,550) = 69 hp 
27.02 (2,000) = 74 hp

add 20-30 hp (any drivetrain)

Here are what seem the most inconsequential events of the entire game...emphasis on the word "seem". In reality these can be challenging, the drivers a bit confusing as well, as they zip about the pavement from side to side; erasing any racing-lines you had in mind as you approach corners, particularly at the two Driving Park tracks.

The miniature sports cars (Suzuki Cappucinos, Honda Beats, Mazda AZ-1 etc.) can cause major damage to your ego if you're not prepared, yet I've seen others like the Mitsubishi MINICA and Suzuki Alto Works try and take my name, too. Races in which two or more of these devils sit downfield make for the best play at Motorland and Tsukuba.

At the Beginner's Course, it's better to have several faster machines sitting near pole position (rather than downfield) since this race is an incredible 7 laps!!!

> IN all cases, if multiple rear-drives show up, Beats and AZ-1s should start ahead of Cappucinos. The Cappies are slightly superior with speed and handling. Putting them behind the mid-engine Beats and AZ-1s will usually cause a multi-car duel at some point.

• Use sport suspension and S3 sports tires for cars that are unusually understeer-happy. More pompous or well-behaved machines may need lesser S2 medium sports to keep them in check; in fact, when i drove a Suzuki Cappucino (and later an Autobianchi) i finally equipped N3s. Even with stock power, sport tires are sometimes overkill.

• Some of these motorized golf-karts may need close or full-custom gearboxes (depends if their gearing is too short or too tall).

Cars I used to get ratios:

FF class: Nissan Be-1 (1,200) // Autobianchi Abarth (1,550) // Daihatsu Move SR-XX 2WD (1,900)

FR, MR, AWD class: Suzuki Cappucino (1,550) // Honda Beat (2,000) 

Ballast was added or weight reduction(s) subtracted to get exact weights

Spiders & Roadsters

rating: ***

10.98 (1,900) = 173 hp
11.70 (3,000) = 256 hp

*Cars that handle extemely well may need 10 to 20 horses less at Trail Mountain.

7.17 (1,900) = 265 hp
8.07 (3,000) = 372 hp

Old favorites like MX-5 Miatas, MR2s, and the Fiat Coupe populate here, along with some newer faces.

It is difficult to predict what the results will be. Toyota MR2s, the Opel Speedster, Nissan 350Z, and Lotus Elises make the best sparring partners. But don't rule out the MGFs and even some MX-5s; they can do damage, too.

--In general you should seek A-spec races in which an Elise sits downfield and the others listed above sit near pole. You should avoid B-spec races in which these guys sit in 1st or 2nd (sometimes 3rd) place.

You are about to have a great battle on your hands; A-spec or B-spec, but to win in B-spec mode will usually cost a lot of cash.

• Use sports suspension with S2 tires. For a challenge, you may want to use N3 road tires on some vehicles when racing A-spec. Close ratio gears also recommended on some cars at some tracks. Racing brake package can be used in rare cases, but most cars will do fine with stock brakes.

• If the Lotus isn't present but the MR2 and/or Speedster are, drop 10 hp. And if these 2 are absent you may need to drop another 10 to 40 hp to get some close-racing!

͸ The Ai brakes unnecessarily at Trail Moutain in a couple spots, meaning you can use 10 to 20 horses less here and still win with a close race, unless your car is a front-drive or poor-handling in some way. This subtraction of power can be used in addition to the subtractions you made if the above set of cars (Lotus, MR2, Opel Speedster) are absent.


Sport Truck Races

rating: *

Fuji Speedway '90s:
14.94 (3,750) = 251 hp
12.42 (5,250) = 422 hp

Laguna Seca & Seattle II 
14.94 (3,750) = 251 hp
14.51 (5,250) = 362 hp


Fuji '90s: 10.45 (4,150)

Laguna & Seattle: 9.26 (4,150)
* I used a Toyota Tacoma with a few pounds of ballast added to get the 3,750 pound category above. At Laguna Seca and Seattle, I had to resort to using S1 tires to make the above ratios work since I couldn't lower my power any more. I used a Dodge Ram to get the 5,250 pound category.

Here are some of my least favorites. Not that I have anything against truck-racing, just...something is lacking at the Sport Truck events. These coulda been so much more fun if they had been run at the Grand Canyon or Swiss Alps for instance. Bouncing around at Seattle is mildly fun; but otherwise, something about driving a truck against other trucks at a paved course doesn't quite jive. Another problem: we can race only pickup trucks. Why can't we race truck-like SUVs like the Land Rover Stormer or Mitsubishi Airtrek?

So far as the Ai goes, the Chevy Silverado Concept has a huge upper hand in these. If the Silverado doesn't show, drop 50 or more hp. For B-spec races, try and make sure the Silverado sits in no higher than 3rd place otherwise it'll immediately jackrabbit! Since there is only one opponent that can dominate (the Silverado, assuming it shows up) this entire series feels like something from GT3...

S2 medium sports is what the Ai use, so that's what I used. S3 (soft sports) may be better for b-specing, though. Sport suspension is also good. Some trucks will also benefit from major drivetrain overhauls (carbon shaft, twin or triple clutch, etc.)

͸ In some cases, the Sport Truck events may feel too easy. Substituting a stock suspension and S1 (hard tires) may be necessary if you want more of a challenge (chuckle).  





Parnelli's GT4 Racing Guide

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