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GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

GT5 Beginner's League (A-spec)

SUNDAY CUP

autumn_ring_sundaycup.jpg

rating: ***

Level: 0


No. of participants: 8


*The ratios below can be used with front or rear-drives


**PD has apparently started a new trend with DLC. The original game (before update 1.06) featured standing starts for all A-spec races, the way B-spec currently is. Now, they've changed this to rolling starts. The ratios below are currently calculated for rolling starts, but if PD changes this again, things might not work anymore. Unfortunately.

Autumn Ring -- 3 laps
(1,200) 21.05 - 57 hp
(1,800) 28.57 - 63 hp
(2,200) 29.72 - 74 hp
(2,900) 31.65 - 92 hp
(4,200) 35.59 - 118 hp

Grand Valley East -- 2 laps
(1,200) 14.63 - 82 hp
(1,800) 20.45 - 88 hp
(2,200) 23.91 - 92 hp
(2,900) 26.09 - 111 hp
(4,200) 27.81 - 151 hp

Tsukuba -- 2 laps
(1,200) 17.39 - 69 hp
(1,800) 30.00 - 60 hp
(2,200) 30.13 - 73 hp
(2,900) 29.79 - 97 hp
(4,200) 31.58 - 133 hp


* Some taller vehicles like the VW Bus or any of Japan's Kei vans may need a small amount of additional power at Grand Valley East and Tsukuba, where aerodynamics can limit their straight-line speed. I'm guessing about +10 hp at the most.


The ratios above are suggestions more than absolutes. Personally, I can sometimes blow away the field with this sort of power, low as it is, so the ratios above are simply a way to start the game. The Sunday Cup is unpredictable, as I'm finding many of GT5's races tend to be. Sometimes I lose, sometimes I get so far ahead, I wonder if I've got my math right! But to any followers of my racing guides, please do not consistently expect extreme competition from these ratios like was found during GT4's Sunday Cups.


Description
The Sunday Cup is back! This is where it all starts, assuming you don't start GT5's sim mode in a kart. But why is it called "Sunday Cup?"

My dad has described to me what it was like when he was a kid back in the 1940s and early 1950s. World War II was over, and America's public started delving into leisure time more often, taking advantage of all their new toys.

But television was not common yet, so people did other things for entertainment (imagine that!). Jobs were plentiful, gas was cheap, and many middle-class families had sedans or wagons. 

In America, some were demure, inexpensive autos (Nash, Hudson, Ford, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Dodge, and Studebaker), while others were costlier (Buick, Cadillac, Lincoln, Mercury, Chrysler, Plymouth, and Packard). Some were mid-size while others were gigantic. I'm thinking the Japanese and Europeans also had their versions of Sunday drives (as they also had emerging middle-class families), although not in monumentally large automobiles as us Americans drove.

Anyways, every Sunday, the entire family would pile into the car and go for a Sunday drive. They would spend time together, explore the countryside, and maybe go somewhere they had never been before. These Sunday drives were typically slow. The family would motor around at a leisurely pace as they took in the sights, dad (usually dad) at the wheel.  

Perhaps this has something to do with the slow pace of the Sunday Cup. :) Or perhaps our infamous Sunday Cup opponents are men and women who work all week, finally getting in their commuter cars and making an attempt at racing in our game. On Sunday.
 

The Opponents
There's a lot of punks out there saying GT5 sucks. "Just look at how they drive in the Sunday Cup!" they note.

The Ai drives pretty badly to be honest, but they're supposed to be Sunday Cup drivers, which means they're all beginners. And they certainly drive like beginners. They're unconfident and make plenty of mistakes. Yes, they're bad drivers, but they also seem more human because of this.

(Edit: Update 1.06 has sterilized some of this "bad" driving. I'm noticing some Ai cars now have TCS installed.   

As they get sideways and smoke their tires, fling off-track and lose their cool, it's our job to navigate around them, to do the best we can with the least power possible. (Edit: again, Update 1.06 has killed a lot of this). It's very possible to win with very low power if you're already skilled at seeing spontaneous racing lines as you navigate thru their messy traffic jams.

In GT4, certain cars like the MGF, MG TF, Mazda Miata, Eagle Vision and a couple others were the strongest. In GT5, it's hard to say who's the best. If an MGF shows up on the grid for instance, there's a chance it won't get anywhere near the front. Why is this? It's because GT5's Ai drivers (including B-spec) must now deal with cars which handle with more variety than they did in GT4. So a Miata or a TF might not be a slam-dunk if it shows up; matter of fact, front-drives sometimes outshine rear-drives.  

But bottom line: no cars really shine above the rest, not in a massive jackrabbit/predictable manner like GT3 & GT4 featured. If there are any to watch for, they might be the...

Citroen C4 Coupe

some Peugeots & Honda Civics
 

Nissan Silvias

Mazda Miata/Roadsters

Mazda 6 5-door


Toyota MR-S.  

You might only have worry about these guys if they sit on pole or in 2nd place...maybe 3rd. Otherwise, there's a chance they might not make it to the front lines, especially at Autumn Ring Mini.

͸ All the computer cars are driving on Hard Sport tires. But we can use whatever we like, even racing tires if we feel like cheating.  In GT4, the Sunday Cup (and many other races) limited us to only sports tires. But sports tires aren't necessary during the Sunday Cup, for those of us who are skilled, and need more challenge. I've been managing wins with Comfort Soft or Medium tires.

There are some races, however, A-spec races, where it doesn't seem to matter what tires are used. I'll make my car as stock as possible, lower power as far as I can, yet still manage wins seconds ahead of the competition. This is true at Autumn Ring Mini most of all. At Grand Valley and Tsukuba, the Ai has a tendency to catch up and even pass on those straights, but don't worry. They're usually pretty easy to pass again in the corners.


Recommended Parts:
Comfort Medium for cars with overconfident handling, or Soft tires for those with trickier handling.

* Softer tires can also be used if the race's faster opponents (mentioned above) sit on or near pole, while mediums can be reserved for grids on which they sit further back

Hard Sport tires for the occasional emergency, especially at Grand Valley East. Older cars without ABS, for instance.  

Sport Suspension, possibly, for some cars with really difficult handling (Subaru 360 comes to mind). 

Some cars may require light drivetrain parts at certain tracks, just to give them an edge. Single plate clutch, a lighter flywheel, etc.  


Cars used to get ratios:
'98 Daihatsu Midget D Type II (flyweight - 1,200)
'76 VW Golf I GTi (lightweight - 1,800)
'05 Fiat 500 1.2 Lounge SS (1 ton - 2,200)
'09 Toyota Prius G (middle-heavyweight - 2,900)
'88 Volvo 240 GLT (ultra-heavyweight - 4,200)

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black_79civic_front.jpg

FF Challenge

rating: **

Level: 0


Suzuka East--3 laps
(1,400) 22.58 - 62 hp
(1,700) 25.75 - 66 hp
(2,500) 29.41 - 85 hp
(2,900) 30.75 - 94 hp

Clubman Route 5--3 Laps
(1,400) 17.07 - 82 hp
(1,700) 20.98 - 81 hp
(2,500) 22.12 - 113 hp
(2,900) 24.22 - 120 hp

Deep Forest--2 Laps
(1,400) 18.18 - 77 hp
(1,700) 20.98 - 81 hp
(2,500) 22.12 - 113 hp
(2,900) 24.57 - 118 hp


Description
A set of three races featuring all front-drive models (duh). First time I tried the FF Challenge, I entered my tricked-out '88 Honda Accord Coupe and raced several events. Found myself using less and less power, till I was about 80 hp less than the Ai on average, and still blowing them away! Therefore, it doesn't take much to win here.   

Opponents
Still in the Beginner's League we certainly are. The drivers we're up against seem even worse than they did in the Sunday Cup at times, as they take corners way too cautiously, braking for no reason, crashing into barricades, and making puzzling half-moves that go no where. They'll finally let loose down those straights, but by then you may be far gone.

Even the infamous Civic Type R seems to be driven by somebody who literally just got his driver's license...and I don't mean his racing license...I mean his civilian driver's license!

The Civic Type R and Mazda Kusabi, by the way, can wind up being the two most likely jackrabbits of the FF Challenges, although in some races they screw up and don't get too far ahead of the others. Other cars may duel a bit, but rarely will one of them get a true lead. The Honda Integra, Citroen C4, and Ford Focus sometimes also can put a good fight on the front lines.

* Update 1.10 has made this above group of cars a little more likely to expand their lead over the others. Consider this at Route 5, especially if you're driving a Kei or some other weakling, you may want to start these faster cars downfield..    

Secondary to those four are the usual crowd of coupes and hot-hatches: non Type R Civics, Preludes, Golf GTIs, FTOs, 107s, 307s, Meganes, Celicas, etc. I've even seen Infiniti G20 sedans rocket towards the front! There's a chance one of these may wind up jumping far ahead of the others, but these moments will be rare.      

Be careful when following the Ai in these races. As mentioned, they have a terribly annoying habit of slamming on their brakes mid-corner, as if an imaginary dog just jumped in their way. If you're following them too close, it can cause an unecessary accident! Instead, it's best to take cornering paths which (at first) seem unnatural. Practice taking turns from the outside, rather than in a typical out-in-out manner. Just do whatever you can to avoid them, unless you don't mind playing bumper cars. 

Parts Recommended
>Comfort Medium or Soft tires

>Fixed Sport suspension for cars that suffer the most severe understeer. Go with stock parts otherwise.

> Some cars (like Japanese keis) may need transmission work of some sort. 

Cars used for ratios:
'79 Honda Civic 3-door EX (flyweight / 1,700)
'88 Honda Accord (middleweight / 2,500)
'09 Toyota Prius G (middle-heavy / 2,900)

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World Compact Car Cup

wccc.jpg

rating: ***

Participants: 8

Level: 1


London
(1,100) 20.75 - 53 hp
(1,700) 23.61 - 72 hp
(2,700) 27.55 - 98 hp
(4,200) 33.33 - 126 hp

Circuito de Madrid - Mini
(1,100) 16.42 - 67 hp
(1,700) 18.88 - 90 hp
(2,700) 23.48 - 115 hp
(4,200) 28.76 - 146 hp

Cape Ring Inside
(1,100) 22.00 - 50 hp
(1,700) 26.15 - 65 hp
(2,700) 27.83 - 97 hp
(4,200) 33.60 - 125 hp

* The above ratios can be used for the majority of average front-drive (FF) cars. FFs with above-average handling may need some power removed, if possible.

** The above ratios can also be used for the majority of older rear-drives with mediocre handling. Those FR or MR machines which rarely get upset during cornering may need power removed, if possible.

*** Finally, these ratios should only be used if the MGF, Citroen C4, MINI Coopers {especially the S version}, Ford Focuses, any Honda Civics 1990 or newer, Honda CR-X del Sol, and any Peugeot {206 thru 307} start
slightly in front or behind you, in positions 3 thru 6. Power will need to be added if they start on or near pole (1st or 2nd place)
. I'm guessing +5-15 hp depending how well your car handles, how good its traction is, etc.

After applying this 5 to 15 hp bonus, do the first race at London. If you're blowing away the Ai here, you probably won't need this bonus at Madrid and Cape Ring.  

**** Conversely, if none of the faster hatches show, a little power may need to be removed. Anywhere from -5 to 10 hp.

***** Cars that have CVT gearboxes (Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, etc.) may need additional 5 to 10 hp removed

****** Taller Kei MPVs like the Daihatsu Move should be given 5 extra horsepower at Madrid and Cape Ring.    



Description
Now it's time to tackle the WCCC, our first Level 1 events in the A-spec league. These are three races which can be done as a series or individually. There are still 7 opponents per track.  

Unfortunately, we cannot practice or qualify once we're actually in the series, which really sucks. To get some practice time, it's recommended you go into Arcade mode or use the practice area of the game. All three of these (London, Madrid, and Cape Ring) are new to most gamers, which makes it very important to take some time to learn these tracks in detail before we race. But in truth, the WCCC isn't very demanding. As usual, I found myself using less and less power to gain the above ratios.

To go off-topic for a moment, here are the official international compact car size classifications, which should help settle the confusion of which cars should be entered and which can't. Truthfully, any car in GT5 apparently can be entered in this race (from Volkswagen to Veyron), but for those trying to stick to a bit of realism, there are some guidelines below.
 
Each classification represents the maximum length a car can be to be considered a "compact", as per real-life international 2010-2011 regulations.


Hatches: 175" (4,450 mm)


Sedans, wagons, coupes, roadsters: 187" (4,750)


Compact MPVs: 177" (4,500 mm)


Crossover SUVs: 185" (4,700 mm)   

  

Opponents:
It says our opponents are all hot-hatches, but this is untruthful. The MG-TF (a roadster) makes an appearance on occasion. I've also seen older classics like a '65 Skyline show up. We can also enter many cars other than hatches. I just raced my '79 Nissan Bluebird (a coupe), for instance.

The WCCC drivers drive with a little more tenacity, a little more confidence than they did in the Sunday Cup and FF Challenge, but they're still slow and occasionally stupid. There can be some position changes and lots of dueling in these races. Both city tracks can be tricky to race since there's walls, curbs, narrow areas to drive thru, but Cape Ring was surprisingly easy. I was shocked to be blowing away 170+ horsepower BMWs, Peugeots and the like in my 70 horsepower Mitsubishi i at Cape Ring.  

So far as the Ai goes, it seems the MG TF, Peugeot 206s, Honda Civics (1990 and above) including the del Sol, Citroen C4, Ford Focuses and MINI Cooper S hot hatches are usually stronger than others, but (as usual) nothing is written in stone. But generaly, put these guys downfield for the closest race, or start them on or near or on Pole position if you want more of a challenge.    

Parts used
> Comfort Medium tires (front or rear-drives). Comfort Softs can be used for poorer-handling vehicles.

> Close ratio transmission for some cars at some tracks, but at times this unit is actually overkillish.

> Full-custom transmission for cars with screwy gearboxes that are way too tall or too short for some tracks. Reserve this option only for those which truely need it. 

Cars used for ratios:
'70 Honda Z ACT (1,100 flyweight category)

Toyota Yaris, '79 Honda Civic (1,700 lightweight category)

? (2,700 middle/heavyweight category)
'88 Volvo 240 GLT Estate (4,200 ultra-heavyweight category)

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lightweight_kcup.jpg


Lightweight K Cup

rating: ***

Level needed: 1

Participants: 8 

Autumn Ring Mini & Suzuka East Circuit
(1,100) 28.95 - 38 hp
(1,850) 33.03 - 56 hp

*The above ratios should be used mostly if rear-drives show up (see below for details) and start in front of you. If they don't show, power may need to be removed, which is sometimes impossible.

**The 2,400+ pound Mitsubishi i-MiEV can also be raced successfully despite the fact that its power-to-weight ratio is much higher than typical and it can't accept power upgrades higher than its stock 61 hp.



Description

After World War II, many Japanese families struggled to buy a full-size or even a medium-sized family car. A new class of vehicles was officially created by the Japanese government in tamdem with various Japanese manufacturers so that those who couldn't afford to get a suitable road car could at least drive something other than a moped, bicycle, or scooter. That's pretty much how the infamous Subaru 360 first saw pavement. 

Kei (or "K") cars were restricted in size (nowadays to 133.66 inches in length), and have an engine displacement no larger than 360 cc. Power would rate no more than 64 ps (63 hp). Gran Turismo got interested in keis in 1998, putting these tiny runabouts into GT2, which must have been a first for any videogames. Sure, Mario Kart has tiny runabouts, too, but they're all fictional. ;) All the keis in GT5 are real! We cay buy, drive, and possibly race them in some countries.

Every Gran Turismo except the very first one has had its version of the K cup, but rules haven't been so strict as to what could be entered. In GT2, for instance, we could enter anything which fell under certain horsepower limits. Therefore, a Mazda Demio (compact wagon much bigger than a kei) with slightly less than 100 hp could be used to blow away the K-Cup in this game. In GT4, one could enter any vehicle, as long as it was less than 3,400 millimeters in length.

GT5 has enforced stricter rules, so that now we can only enter vehicles which are actually Japanese Keis. This bummed me out for awhile, as I was looking forward to using an Autobianchi or a Fiat 500, but I can see the reason PD implemented this rule.  

Opponents
Just like in GT4, the ones to watch for are the miniature rear-drive sports cars. Honda Beats, Suzuki Capucinos, and Mazda AZ-1s top this list. The Daihatsu Midget Type II also puts up a surprisingly good fight at Autumn Ring Mini if it starts on or near pole position. Occasionally, some front-drives like the Daihatsu Copen convertible can also make a good showing.

But the reason I'm giving the K Cup a 3-star rating is because of its utter unpredictability. I just did a race in which a Suzuki Wagon R-RR held the lead at Autumn Ring Mini, and continued to keep 2nd after I passed it. It managed to keep a couple Cappys at bay behind it. Basically, you never know what's gonna happen next during the K Cup.   

͸  It is recommended to start the regular toughies (Cappy, Beat, and AZ-1) in 3rd place or less if one wants to see a close race between several Ai vehicles, but it's okay to start them on pole if more overall challenge is desired. Depending on what vehicle you enter, you may need such a challenge.    

͸͸ Every Ai vehicle in this race is restricted to 63 hp, just like in real-life. We are not. This makes it easy for the multitude of cheaters out there, unfortunately.

Parts needed
> Comfort Medium or Comfort Soft tires 

> For an extra challenge, attach some Hard Comfort tires! Some of you may need such a challenge, as it's possible to be in 1st place at the end of Lap 1 at either track, full power-reductions included. 2 more laps to go. Let's see if hard tires can solve the boredom issue.   

> Some models may need a full-custom transmission, especially those which can't make Suzuka's straight without hitting their RPM limit.

Vehicles driven for ratio classes:
'70 Honda Z Act (1,100 lbs.)
'98 Suzuki Wagon R-RR (1,850 lbs.)

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japanclassics.jpg

Japanese Classics

rating: ***

Level: 2

Participants: 10

Suzuka East
(1,250) 19.53 - 64 hp
(1,700) 21.49 - 79 hp
(2,300) 24.21 - 95 hp
(2,700) 27.00 - 100 hp
(3,000) 29.41 - 102 hp

Tsukuba
(1,250) 14.88 - 84 hp
(1,700) 19.31 - 88 hp
(2,300) 22.33 - 103 hp
(2,700) 25.47 - 106 hp
(3,000) 27.52 - 109 hp

Grand Valley East
(1,250) 13.58 - 92 hp
(1,700) 17.35 - 98 hp
(2,300) 18.81 - 122 hp
(2,700) 21.09 - 128 hp
(3,000) 23.07 - 130 hp
 
The above ratios assume Class A is absent from the races, or in some cases starts nowhere near pole position. Power (10 to 20 hp) may need to be added if some Class A autos are included, see the Opponents section below for a full description of Class A.

Some Class A can be started on or near pole (for more challenge) and some (like the Dome Zero and Mazda Cosmo/110) should not be, unless you want the unfairest race possible! (unfair to YOU, that is)  

If your car happens to be one of the better-handling models (Isuzu Bellet, Nissan Skyline GT-R, etc.), you may only need to apply the above bonus if the Dome Zero shows up.  


Description
Here we have all the junior sports coupes, roadsters, hatches, and even some sedans from the '50s, '60s, and '70s to play with. There's a broader selection of cars to choose from (YES!) when compared to GT4, since GT4's '70s Japanese Classics only allowed cars from the 1970s.

The level of excitement really rises now; all a sudden the Beginner's Hall comes alive. The Ai still makes some odd decisions here and there, but overall they're driving with more confidence and passion, occasionally taking some risks. There's often multiple battles taking place, this is NOT just a bunch of cars robotically following one another with a predictable outcome (as in GT4's Japanese Classics). Watch the replay. You'll see battles for 1st place, but also a battle for 4th or 7th place, perhaps. Cars overcooking corners and sliding out. There's always something going on somewhere.  

The only reason the Japanese Classics is not a 4-star race is that it does have a few jackrabbits, which I've termed "Class A". Depending where these cars start, what track they're at, and apparently what sort of driver is at the wheel, these guys will sometimes predictably steal the show. But at least there's often several of them sparring for the win. Let's discuss these cars now.      


Opponents
It's looking as if these events are pretty tight, as evidenced by the fact that all 10 participants (including me) were crammed into a 9 second window at the end of my first race at Tsukuba. This is good. Part of what makes some of these races so challenging and fun is that there is a lot of traffic to fight! I don't miss earlier Gran Turismo's habit of 6 cars per track at all.


I mentioned Class A vehicles earlier. These cars are somewhat faster than the others, and possibly include:

'78 Dome Zero

Nissan's Z cars (especially the '71 Fairlady 240ZG) 

'68 Nissan Fairlady 2000

'68 Toyota 2000GT

'73 Mitsubishi Lancer 1600 GSR 


'67 Mazda Cosmo and Mazda 110S as well.


* I'm really wanting to add the '71 Nissan Skyline GT-R to the list since it was such an important car in racing, but the truth is it hardly ever shows up, and when it has, I haven't seen it do anything spectacular. Anyways, let's discuss those that are known to be strong contestants.

>>The Dome is a mid-engine prototype which weighs less than most of the others. It also has slightly more power. It has some advantages at Suzuka and Tsukuba where overall speed is low, but can get too skittish, losing it occasionally during Grand Valley East's fastest sweeper curves. Truthfully, it can also wash out at the Suzuka and Tsukuba, but these moments will be rare. Starting the Dome on or near pole position can be a gamble. Sometimes it'll be impossible to catch, other times, you'll wonder why it's included in Class A (especially if it spins out and wrecks).

If it's included at all, make sure to start the Dome as far downfield as possible, and apply that 10 to 20 hp bonus. Chances are it'll still catch up, no matter how much of a lead you've got.   

>>Nissan's Z cars include the '71 240Z G and '78 280Z-L. These can spring to the front (from the rear of the starting grid) at Suzuka and Grand Valley, but they don't do so well if they're downfield at Tsukuba. This mostly depends on what competition they've got in front of them. The Z cars are a bit heavier than the others, which could possibly a limitation at times.

>>The '68 Nissan Fairlady 2000 was one of the stonger small cars during GT4's 1,000 Miles! events, and can possibly do better than others in the Japanese Classics, assuming it doesn't get bottlenecked behind slower cars. Basically, it does well if it gets out front, but has trouble getting thru traffic at times. It is safe to start the Fairlady near pole position.

>>The '67 Toyota 2000GT also does well if it manages to get a lead, especially at Tsukuba, sometimes Suzuka East. Like the '68 Fairlady, the '68 2000GT has problems getting to the front. But if it makes it up there, watch out!

>>The '74 Mitsubishi Lancer 1600 GSR is also another likely competitor at Tsukuba, not so much at the other two tracks where its top-end gets squashed. I've seen the Lancer spar with a Z-car (and win by a longshot) at Tsukuba. But down those longer straights at Suzuka East and Grand Valley East, it often gets outgunned by other Class A autos.      

>>And most of all, watch for the Mazdas, either the 110S or the Cosmo, with their mean little rotary engines! I just did a race at Tsukuba in which a Cosmo started in 8th place, yet it fought its way thru traffic, passed me, and won the race. This doesn't always happen, but just be aware that it could.

The rest of the cars which can possibly appear (including Skylines and those nifty miniature Honda sports cars) rarely take the lead, although it's possible they could. There is some unpredictabilty in the Japan Classics. I've seen the Isuzu 117 Coupe, '79 Honda Civic, and a few others leading the pack. Usually, they get nowhere near the front, though.    

Truthfully, none of these autos (Class A or not) really gets that far ahead of the pack, not like in GT4 anyways, where the Nissans clearly would blow everyone else away. I tried starting the Dome on pole position at Tsukuba for instance, and it was barely one turn ahead of the rest of the Ai, rather than halfway around the track.


Parts needed:
Comfort Medium Tires for those who have superior handling. CMs can also be used on lesser cars if no Class A shows up (or starts far downfield).

Comfort Soft tires for those with more serious handling issues, and for grids heavy with Class A.  

Try to run everything else stock if you can. Everything but the tires and possibly the power, that is. Only exception to this is at Tsukuba. Cars with really tall transmissions should get a close-ratio or full-custom unit here.

Settings recommended:
Try driving with ABS off for a greater challenge. Remember, none of the vehicles in the Japan Classics would have had ABS installed.

>Dumb the Brake Balance down to 0/0 as well. This keeps non-ABS brakes from locking up too early.

> Some cars may need a full-custom transmission to keep them rolling competitively down Suzuka and Grand Valley's long straights. This should be used only as a last resort for those cars which max out of revs. Otherwise, stock trannies should be used at all 3 tracks.


Cars used for ratios
1,250 pound (flyweight) = '65 Toyota Sports 800
1,700 pound (lightweight) = '79 Honda Civic 1500 CX
2,300 pound (middleweight) '79 Nissan Bluebird 1800 SSS
2,700 pound (middle/heavy) '78 Datsun 280Z-L
3,000 pound (heavy) '62 Prince Skyline


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Vitz / Yaris Race

rating: ***     

Participants: 16 

Level: 2

Fuji Speedway F (3 laps)
(1,700) 20.00 - 85 hp
(1,875) 21.80 - 86 hp
(2,075) 21.84 - 95 hp


*The power being recommended above is for the extremeists out there. Feel free to use up to 10 hp more than suggested if you want an easier time with less bumping and grinding amongst the Ai.

Description
Here's what seems to be one of GT5's only Manufacturer's events. There used to be tons of these 1-make events, but now most of them are going to be in the Seasonal area.

But that isn't the shocking part. The shocking part happens when we come to the realization of just now many Vitz and Yaris hatches we have in our new game! Sheesh, just look at that Regulations list...the one that shows which cars we're allowed to race. There are ELEVEN of these we can possibly choose from, and this doesn't even include the real-life sedan versions! Yikes.

But to those who think they shouldn't have to run this event at all, do not despair. There is only one race at one track to accomplish. And it's not a walkover. The racing itself is somewhat fierce. The Ai punts, the Ai cock-blocks, the Ai does whatever it can to make sure you do not win. I have never seen Ai in a Gran Turismo game quite like this (at the Beginner level, anyways).

...Granted, GT2 had some pretty intense drivers early on, but they're all being rubber-banded in this game. This means no matter how fast (or sometimes how slow) you drive, they'll generally swarm around you. GT5's Ai seems to be using its wits to some extent. There is no invisible logarithm in place modifying their power, grip, and traction during the race; they're actually driving their cars now. As long as we limit our power and parts, there is some decent racing to be had.   

I gave this one a 3-star rating because it's pretty much guaranteed you're gonna get stuck in traffic with those recommended power-restrictions up above. Stuck in traffic, and rubbing fenders with multiple cars. The Vitz races are actually not as competitive as they were before Update 1.06, because as a standing-start race, the entire field would possibly gang up on you, but they're still pretty tough.   


Recommended Parts:
Comfort Soft tires

Everything else stock, except maybe an oil change and light power-ups for some models.
 
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euro_classics.jpg

European Classic Car Championship

Rating: **

Participants: 10

Level: 3

---------------------------------Cars--------------------------
Circuito de Madrid - 3 laps
(1,200) 14.29 - 84 hp
(1,800) 18.95 - 95 hp
(2,100) 19.27 - 109 hp

Cóte d'Azur - 2 laps
(1,200) 16.00 - 75 hp
(1,800) 21.69 - 83 hp
(2,100) 22.10 - 95 hp

-------------------------Trucks & Buses--------------------
Circuito de Madrid
(2,500) 17.36 - 144 hp

Cote d'Azur
 (2,500) 19.08 - 131 hp


* These ratios can be used if the Lotus Europa Special or either Alpine (A110 or A310) starts no higher than 4th place at Madrid, or 3rd at Cóte d'Azur. Power may need to be added if any one of them starts on or near pole.
 
** For every grid placement higher than 4th or 3rd at Madrid or Monaco, add 5 horsepower.  So if your Autobianchi requires 90 horsepower at Madrid, and an Alpine starts on 2nd place, give your car 100 horsepower instead of 90. This only works with Alpines; if the Lotus starts up there, you'll need to add even more power.  

*** A small amount of power can also sometimes be docked if they start behind you. This is only true at Cóte d'Azur, where the three jackrabbits listed above sometimes have trouble getting thru traffic. Remove no more than 5 horsepower here.  



Description:
All European classics here, which (again) means 1979 or earlier. One thing that really sucks is we can't enter any vehicle older than 1960. Why the hell not? I really wanted to race my Beetle, man. Spent about 75,000 credits customizing it before I discovered this stupid rule.  

Otherwise, these races are kinda fun, and the prize is very unique. If you don't like or want the prize (an ancient VW Kubelwagen or something) you can sell it for a lot of credits. But unlike the Japanese Classics, the European version is also very predictable, hence there's the second 2-star rating of the Beginner's Hall. Often there is no "up in the air" feeling. Often, you know exactly who you'll be competing with even before the race has begun.  

Opponents:
The ECCC is packed with 2-seaters and 2+2 coupes, targas, and convertibles. There's the occasional hatchback ('76 VW Golf GTi) or city car ('79 Autobianchi Abarth). There is also an incredible array of drivetrain types: front-engine / front-drive, front-engine / rear-drive, mid-engine rear-drive, and rear engine / rear-drives. It's the MR and RR cars which are to be feared.

Circuito de Madrid
Watch out for the super-light Lotus Europa, Alpine A310 1600VE, and Alpine A110 1600S. It's these three which dominate the others without question at Madrid. So far, the mantra of the Beginner's Hall is "...but this is not set in stone", right? Well this rule is not true for the ECCC. These three cars always appear (or at least one or two of them does), and I have yet to see a race in which they don't become top dog at Madrid. Doesn't matter if they start in 1st place or last place, they'll make their way to the front eventually, and there's always at least two of these cars present per race.

Cóte d'Azur
At Cóte d'Azur the three jackrabbits sometimes make it to the front, but sometimes they get too eager going into those tight corners and slide out of control. Cóte d'Azur often has an element of humor and surprise due to these moments. I'm finding that often, a lesser car (other than the Alpine team or Lotus) can wind up competing with you towards the front.         


Parts Recommended:
Comfort Medium Tires for the majority of 2-seater sports cars with fairly good handling

Those with tricky handling can go with Comfort Softs.

Single-plate clutch for those with laggy upshifts, only if you need it.

I try to run everything else (tranny, suspension, etc.) stock, although there may be an odd car here or there that really needs help.  


Cars used for ratios:
'70 Mini Marcos GT (1,200 flyweight)

'68 Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia & '76 VW Golf GTi (1,800 /  ightweight)

 

'73 Alpine A310 1600VE (2,100 /  lightweight)


'62 Volkswagen Samba Bus (2,500/middleweight)



-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

world_classic_cup.jpg

World Classic Car Series

rating: ***

Participants: 12

Level: 3

-------------------------------Cars---------------------------
Circuit de la Sarthe 2009 (no chicane)
(1,250) 13.44 - 93 hp
(2,000) 17.69 - 113 hp
(2,900) 19.20 - 151 hp

Eiger Nordwand Short Track
(1,250) 11.90 - 105 hp
(2,000) 16.36 - 122 hp
(2,900) 16.96 - 171 hp

Autumn Ring
(1,250) 12.88 - 97 hp
(2,000) 17.23 - 116 hp
(2,900) 18.95 - 153 hp

---------------------Trucks & Buses-----------------------

Circuit de Sarthe
(2,500) 18.38 - 136 hp

Eiger Nordwand
(2,500) 17.36 - 144 hp

Autumn Ring
(2,500) 18.38 - 136 hp


* There are two classes of opponents we can face during these: Class A and Class B (see below in Opponents section).
 
 
Class A can be started on any position at Sarthe (including Pole). Drafting and cornering tends to help us catch them, even though this is just a 1-lap race.

 
* The above ratios assume faster Class A autos are on the grid starting in front of you, no higher than 3rd place at Eiger or Autumn Ring..The only exception is the Ginetta G4 at Eiger. It's advisable to start it no higher than 5th, otherwise it WILL jackrabbit.  

Note: it's looking near-impossible to find any races without these faster cars present. They always show up, starting in at least 6th place, and there are often three to five of them on a grid. Try removing 10 to 15 horsepower if you happen to find a grid without any Class A cars. I'm not sure they exist yet.


Description 
The World Classic Car Series (WCCS) first appeared in GT4's Professional hall. In the GT4 WCCS, we were only allowed to race cars manufactured in 1970 or earlier. In GT5, this rule has now been amended to 1969 or earlier. Despite this, there is a HUGE number of cars we could use in GT4, and even more now. Some players may opt to use some old muscle, destroy the entire series, and then complain how "easy" it was. Others (like us) will choose one of GT5's many underdogs.

There are three tracks in the WCCS, all of which require different strategies. Have a look at the chart below the next paragraph to get an idea of which cars I'm going to call "Class A". These would be the fastest ones on the grid.

Circuit de la Sarthe (1 Lap)
Many classics will need a full-custom transmission to survive here; that's the first step. The second is to employ drafting as a racing technique, just as Jeff Gordon teaches us during the NASCAR tutorial. With the lowish power I'm recommending, you're gonna need to draft & dodge!

None of the Ai mobiles have FC gearing ... they're all stock. Therefore, sometimes more than half the Ai winds up falling behind as they toil down Sarthe's long straights, their rev limiters bogging their speed back! Those that don't suffer lost speed usually drive Sarthe's Porsche Curves and various other chicanes and sweepers too conservatively, which is where we can hopefully catch up to them.
 
Eiger Nordwand Short Track & Autumn Ring
Both Eiger and Autumn Ring are tighter circuits, of course. In many cases, stock trannies can be used, but some slugs might still need full-custom work.

>>At Eiger, Class A autos almost always make it to the front of the pack...like 90% of the time. 

>>At Autumn Ring, I'm finding Class B vehicles (also on the chart below) can also become front-runners, although this assumes they also start towards the front (on or near pole position). These slower cars can often keep faster Class A from passing them at Autumn Ring.          


Opponents
It seems many of them are possibly given top power, as many of our opponents rate somewhere near 200 horsepower. This puts a lot of cars on the same page theoretically, since everybody is rated about the same. Some cars are heavier than others, of course, while others have goofy transmissions (like the 2-speed '53 Corvette) which limit their track abilities. Now, let's meet the enemy!  

*Cars with their name in red ink are Class A

*Cars with their name in blue ink are Class B

*Cars which are listed in black ink or are not listed at all are not usually a threat, though keep in mind that in some cases (maybe 10% of races) they can hold their own towards the front.

Vehicle
Power
Weight (pounds)
Weight / Pwr Ratio
Top Speed (MPH)
'68 Mazda Cosmo Sport
186
2,116
11.38
155+
'68 Mazda 110S
186
2,116
11.38
155+
'64 Ginetta G4
?.
1,001 .
.
143
'68 Nissan Fairlady 2000
196
2,050
10.46
148
'67 Toyota 2000GT
202
2,469
12.22
135
'68 Isuzu Bellett 1600 GT-R
197
2,138
10.85
125
'68 Isuzu 117 coupe
197
2,314
11.75
120
1962 Lotus Elan S1.
.
.
.
111
'67 Mazda Cosmo Sport
187
2,072
11.08
109
'67 Mazda 110S
187
2,072
11.08
109
'65 Nissan Silvia
197
2,160
10.96
103
'66 Alfa Romeo Spider 1600
187
2,116
11.31
?
'54 Chevrolet Corvette
207
2,885
13.93
102
'67 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-B
197
2,414
12.25
101
1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint
.
.
.
130
'62 Nissan Skyline Sport Coupe
?
.
.
139.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

* Note: I wasn't sure how much power some cars (like the '62 Lotus Elan) have, since GT5's Opponents list doesn't show each and every car which could possibly appear in the WCCS. I have noted their weight and top speed, though.

The chart goes from fastest (top) to slowest (bottom), which should be especially helpful for setting up grids at Sarthe. At the other two tracks, sometimes these faster cars make it to the front (assuming they start towards the rear of the pack) and sometimes they don't.

The dynamic Mazda duo: Mazda Cosmo Sport and the 110S, along with the '68 Nissan Fairlady 2000 and super-aerodynamic '67 Toyota 2000GT are the absolute fastest at Sarthe. There are a few others which will be able to struggle towards the front, but generally it's the Mazdas, 2000GT, and Fairlady to watch for. Sometimes there can be several Mazdas on the grid, too!

At the other two tracks, the super-lightweight Ginetta G4 tends to be King, especially at Eiger. Note: the G4 doesn't slide around and lose its prowess constantly like it did in GT4's 1,000 Miles! events.

Lesser "Class B" can sometimes keep up towards the front lines at Autumn Ring, but this assumes they start towards the front. At Eiger Nordwand, Class B almost always concedes to Class A.

The Ai tends to drive these races a bit conservatively. There are none of the spins and foibles of the Sunday Cup or Japanese Classics; they're keeping their full performance reigned back in an effort at control. They've also got TCS on (NOT recommended for us!) Real-life historic racing also tends to be conservative, mostly because: who wants to wreck an antique? Lol. Because of this conservativeness, power rates much lower than the Ai is carrying. 

The only criticism I have of the WCCS is that it's more predictable than several other Beginner's races, mostly due to those Class A autos dominating, hence there's a 3-star rating here instead of 3-1/2 or 4 stars. But, at least they're not as predictable as the European Classic events.   

 
Parts Recommended
Comfort Soft tires

Comfort Medium tires
can be used for those cars with superior handling ('66 Alfa Spider or '65 GTA, for instance) especially at the two "handling" tracks: Eiger and Autumn Ring.

No ABS or Brake Balancer

Full-custom transmission
at Sarthe for most classics, possibly at the other two tracks for some cars which have really short gearing.

Full-custom Differential for some super-squeamish rear-drives, especially at Eiger Nordwand.


Cars used for ratios:
'65 Toyota Sports 800 (1,250)

'69 Nissan Bluebird 1600 (2,050)

'62 Volkswagen Samba Bus (2,500)

'54 Chevrolet Corvette (2,900)


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FR Challenge

rx-7_burnout.jpg


Rating: ***1/2

Participants: 10

Level: 4


------------------------Cars / Historic-----------------
Grand Valley East
(1,000) 6.25 - 160 hp
(2,000) 11.23 - 178 hp
(2,700) 12.73 - 212 hp
(4,200) 16.66 - 252 hp

Tsukuba
(1,000) 6.37 -  157 hp
(2,000) 10.93 - 183 hp
(2,700) 12.33 - 219 hp
(4,200) 16.53 - 254 hp

Trail Mountain
(1,000) 8.20 -  122 hp
(2,000) 14.18 - 141 hp
(2,700) 14.43 - 187 hp
(4,200) 20.79 - 202 hp


-----------------------Cars / Modern-------------------
Grand Valley East
(2,000) 12.05 - 166 hp
(2,900) 13.74 - 211 hp
(3,500) 14.89 - 235 hp

Tsukuba Circuit
(2,000) 12.42 - 161 hp
(2,900) 13.94 - 208 hp
(3,500) 15.22 - 230 hp


Trial Mountain Circuit
(2,000) 14.92 - 134 hp
(2,900) 15.60 - 186 hp
(3,500) 17.50 - 200 hp


--------------------------Trucks---------------------------

Grand Valley East
(3,800) 13.42 -- 283 hp

Tsukuba Circuit
(3,800) 14.13 -- 256 hp
Trial Mountain
(3,800) 17.27 -- 220 hp

8/11/12: the FR Challenge now includes Historic and Modern categories for cars. Historic cars are older models which would not have ABS installed, so think of those from the 1980s and older. Historics also don't have modern-car tire technology, and therefore require more power to succeed. 

** If the Shelby Series 1 shows up, anywhere from 20 to 40 horsepower will need to be added, depending on how confidently your car handles and how far back on the grid the Shelby starts. This hp bump might not be needed if the Shelby starts on 9th or last place.

*** BMW M3s (any model), the Toyota Supra RZ, Mazda RX-8s and some late-model Mazda RX-7s (like the Spirit R type A and the '97 RX-7 Type RS) can also jackrabbit mildly at Grand Valley East and Trial Mountain. If you're driving a more difficult car, these models can be started behind us, which usually evens things up, so that power will not need to be added.  


Description:
Front engine / rear-drive cars only. Three laps per race, and some really good competition. GT5's version of the Beginner's League FR Challenge puts GT3 & GT4's versions to shame. The racing is so good at times, and requires all our attention. What a way to end the Beginner's League. 

There's often an "up in the air" sort of feeling in GT5's Beginner's FR Challenge, from Lap 1 to Lap 3. Who is going to win? Who is going to wind up competing with you for top spot? Oftentimes, four or five potentials can sit on the same grid, any one of them possibly becoming top dog. I've done some races in which a couple cars battled it out with me, while another car manages to make it to the front, upsetting the race entirely!

For this reason, I'm finally recommending Sport tires for some cars during some races. Usually, Grand Valley East requires Sports (Hard or Medium) while the other two tracks require Comfort Softs on newer cars (1990s and newer), or Hard Sports for older models. There is some leeway here, and unfortunately, you may have to do some "pretend" races to find which tire type suits the car vs. competition you're facing.

Some cars you'll drive will require Comfort-level radials at all three tracks. A good rule of thumb is: if you're driving a car with lots of power that needs to be lowered via the power-limiter, and which corners with extreme confidence (minimal understeer & oversteer) this is an auto that will most likely need cheaper tires, especially if it's a modern sort with ABS brakes.    

Opponents:
Notice how the enemy is driving with a superior sort of confidence, as if they're preparing for the Intermediates.  

Although there are moments when certain cars jackrabbit over the rest, they're not always a sure thing. I'm noticing that many automobiles are virtually on the same level. Skylines, Z-cars, RX-7s, RX-8s, BMW M3s, newer Corvettes (C4 generation or later), Silvias, TVRs, S2000s, and other obvious sports cars are all pretty much on the same page. Only some older models, like the '63 Corvette, are guaranteed losers. Muscle cars like the '87 GNX, or heavier sedans like the Lexus GS300 or Jaguar XK can also be counted out. But everyone else is game. 

Only the Shelby Series 1 seems to be a true jackrabbit. If it shows up, you'll need to add power. The only possible exception is if the Shelby starts in 9th or 10th place.  

Parts:
> The FR Challenge is the first set of races that are difficult to recommend just one or two tire types for a huge cross-section of cars. I'm finding that some cars which have typical FR fishtailing / oversteer / understeer issues do best with Sport tires, while others that have better all-around traction and grip may need Comforts. Some cars may need Comfort Softs at Tsukuba, but Hard or Medium Sports at Grand Valley East. 

> Using Sport tires is actually fair (should you need them) because the Ai is using Medium Sports. But keep your mind open. Recently, I took an Infiniti G35 to Grand Valley East, a typical Sport tire venture, but this particular car nearly slaughtered the competition on comforts! (...then again, the G35 also requires lots of power restricting of its torquey V6, and therefore is not really a great choice for the FR Challenge).   

But the bottom line? experiment with tires if you want the closest FR Challenge experience possible.

Closer gears for some models at Tsukuba, sometimes Trial Mountain. Usually, this unit is good for those with lowish torque.

Fixed Sport Suspension. Most newer sports cars (newer than 1990) won't need this, but there are some older cars with difficult handling qualities that could use this cheapest aftermarket suspension.

Limited-slip differential for those with poor or iffy traction.


Cars used to get ratios
'64 Ginetta G4 (1,000 pounds--flyweight, Historic)
'71 Datsun 240Z G (2,000 pounds--lightweight, Historic)
'78 Datsun 280Z-L (2,700 pounds--middleweight, Historic)                                   
           

'88 Volvo GLT Estate (4,200 pounds--heavyweight, Historic)

 

 

'95 Mazda MX-5 VR-Limited (2,000 pounds--lightweight, Modern)
'00 Nissan Silvia Varietta (2,900 pounds--middle/heavy, Modern)
'96 Nissan 240SX (2,900 pounds--Modern)
'97 Chevy Camaro Z28 (3,500 pounds--heavyweight, Modern)

'03 Chevrolet SSR     (3,800 pounds--Trucks)

------------
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