GT4 A-License Guide

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A1 License

Track: High Speed Ring, turns 3 & 4

Car: '94 Mitsubishi FTO GPX

Tires: N2 (all-season radials)

My Time: 30.609

Welcome to my A-license guide. For the first test, we'll be piloting a Mitsubishi FTO thru two turns that form a giant "S" at High Speed Ring. The test car is equipped with tires equivalent to real-life all-season radials (my opinion), which don't offer much grip beyond highway driving. The TCS traction control system is activated, which makes the FTO difficult to drive. In reality, this car is actually very easy to drive with better tires and no TCS.

1). Work your way over to the left side of the track. You should be in 3rd gear. Make sure you've got a manual transmission instead of an automatic (go into OPTIONS menu if you need to change this). This will prevent the car from slipping into lower gears at the wrong moment, which will slow the car down.

2). Keep the FTO in 3rd gear. Drive from left to right as you near the turn (out-in-out), and brake down to about 62 mph. Since this car is front-drive, you'll want to be as far "into" the turn on the right hand side as posssible (without driving over the red & white rumble strip). Drive thru the turn, only giving enough gas that the FTO doesn't understeer.

....You'll notice this car really wants to understeer.

3). As you leave this turn, work your way from the right over to the left side of the track as you approach the 2nd turn. You'll want to go 1, 2, then 3 lanes over by the time you're nearing the middle of this turn. Don't go all the way left, though.

4). If you've got the "cheater" line activated (by pressing R3) you'll notice it tells us to brake into the 2nd turn. The demo also brakes into the 2nd turn. IGNORE this. Instead, once you're nearing the left side of the track, release the fuel a tad. It's possible to brake and still gold the test, but it's not necessary. If you brake, all that's needed is literally a tap.

5). Make sure you're (again) only giving enough gas that the FTO isn't understeering heavily. Light understeer, on the other hand, is okay as you leave the 2nd turn. The car can touch the curbing (before the tunnel) on the right side of the track as it exits. But don't drive so aggressively that the car rolls into the grass. This part takes a lot of practice if you're new to GT4.

6). When it's safe, straighten the steering and accelerate towards the finish line. Upshift into 4th if necessary.


License A2

Track: High Speed Ring, turns 3 & 4

Car: '04 Lotus Elise 111R

Tires: N2 all-season radials

My Time: 27.735

Same track, same turns, but now we're driving a lightweight mid-engine/rear-drive Lotus Elise.

1). The interesting thing about this test is we can lightly slide the Elise thru these turns to gain a bit of speed. TCS is off, so it's time for some fun. Start off rolling down the left side of the track. Shift into 3rd gear.

• In the first test, as we approached the inside of the first turn, we wanted to have the FTO as far over to the right as possible, to get extra leeway when the car understeers later on. For the Elise it's different.

2).Work your way 2 to 2½ lanes over to the right (instead of 3). Brake lightly so the tires start to squeal. Downshift into 2nd gear. As you release the brakes, the car should be in a mild slide, going no slower than about 62 mph as it nears the middle of this turn.

3). When you kick-in the throttle out of this first curve, the car will recover from any slide that's been created, if let the gas in lightly. Accelerate and shift into 3rd.

4). Approach the 2nd turn. You should wind up in the left-most lane, but try not to drive over the red & white fumble strip on the inside. The brake indicator will start to flash, and it tells us we should be in 2nd gear. It lies to us! IGNORE.

5). We want to be in 3rd gear for the duration of this turn, not 2nd. Instead of braking, release the throttle as necessary. Here's the pattern: give some gas, back-off, give some, back-off...try to maintain 69 to 71 mph at the slowest.

6). As the Elise leaves this curve, it's okay if it's understeering lightly. It's okay to drive over the red & white curb on the right hand side, it's okay to still be on this curb as you drive into the tunnel. Just don't drive onto grass.


License A3

Track: Deep Forest, turns 12 & 13

Car: '03 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GTS

Tires: N2 all-season radials

My Time: 11.803

This is an easy one for those of us who've cruised hundreds of laps around Deep Forest. Semi-sloppy cornering can result in a low silver, and gold isn't too far off. But we're driving another front-drive with TCS on, so for n00bs it's still a tricky test.

1). As the test starts, we're rolling down the 2nd big hill of Deep Forest. The first turn is a gentle left. It's okay to cruise thru the middle of the track (rather than all the way to the left side). Shift into 4th gear as the tach strikes redline.

2). You want to be as far over to the right as possible as you approach the 2nd turn, which is a sharp, high-speed left. The car's right tires can be slightly in the grassy area. You may notice there's actually a bit of concrete under this grass just before the red & white curb. We're gonna perform yet another out-in-out, but going at a much higher rate of speed.

3). As you drive past the red & white curbing on the right side of the track, the brake indicator starts to flash. Ignore it.

• As we approach this 2nd turn, notice the skid marks on the track. This is the area we're aiming for.

4). Drive & steer towards the inside of the turn. Don't steer too hard. You don't wanna wind up in the grass on the left side. And don't give too much gas: the Eclipse will understeer if you do, and you'll wind up in the grass on the right-hand side.

5). Brake hard momentarily just before you drive over the left curb. You'll be down between 87 to 89 mph.

6). Accelerate carefully as you leave the inside of the turn. As I said, if you give too much gas now, you'll be in the grass and FAIL, so modulate the throttle. It's okay to drive over the curbing on the right-hand side, just don't touch the grass.


License A4

Track: Suzuka Circuit

Car: '03 Subaru Legacy B4 3.0R

Tires: N2 all-season radials

My Time: 21.995

1). This test starts us rollling up a long straight section in 3rd gear. You wanna shift into 4th eventually, and inch over to the right side of the track.

2). This course is one of those tricky "technical" ones, with no curbing down the straight, so it's easy to wind up getting sideways after a minor clip into the grass. Don't do this.

3). Ignore the brake indicator when it flashes. There is a small white sign on the right side of the track that (I think) says "50". Start braking as you pass it and downshift into 3rd.

4). Steer just enough so that the left tires touch the curb on the inside of the turn. You'll be going about 98 mph.

5). As you leave the turn, keep steering cuz the track sharpens up quickly. During actual races, it's okay to drive onto the wide paved area off-track, but if we do this during the test it'll FAIL us. Modulate the car's fuel so it doesn't understeer. Accelerate safely out of the turn.

License A5

Track: Grand Valley East (full course)

Car: '03 Audi A3

Tires: N2 all season radials

My Time: 1:29.939

Grand Valley East appears in both GT1 and GT2, and the full course appears in all GT games. So if you're experienced, this test shouldn't be too hard. The thing is, Polyphony Digital has changed the track in a few areas, so you may want to learn these changes before tackling the test for gold.

• Again, we're following a pace car. In this test (unlike the full-course B tests), we'll be going fast enough that aerodynamic drag factors in, so it's advisable to follow the pace car. You'll notice wind noise vanishes when we follow it. You'll be going slightly faster, so follow as much as you can.

1). The TCS if off, and since this Audi has all-wheel drive and a potently-wide torque band, you can launch from any RPMs, and it'll pull out in 1st gear with no wheelspin. I find that launching from about 2,500 produces the best results (zero clutch or tire-slippage), but it doesn't matter where you start.

2). Shift up into 3rd and 4th while angling the Audi towards the right. Cruise from the right hand side of the track to the left side as you go thru the left-hand kink.

3). As you pass the 50m mark (it's an overhand sign on the left) hit the brakes partially, and steer into the corner. As you near the corner, push brakes fully. You may start to slide sideways a tad, and this is okay, just don't understeer too much. This is called "trail-braking", and produces better results for this car/test than if you just brake heavily in a straight line, and turn later.

4). Shift into 2nd as you nudge into the hairpin. We're now going about 49-50 mph at the slowest. Accelerate out of the turn with partial gas (to avoid understeer) and follow that Skyline!

5). The track skews a bit to the left. Follow the car. You don't have to be all the way to the left..there is a bit of leeway here.

6). As you see the track veer from left to right, start steering early. Now the brake indicator starts to flash. This time, pay attention to it and start braking. You'll find out why in few seconds. Shift down into 3rd gear as you near the crest of the small hill.

7). Turn 4 is blind at first. As you drive over the hill, you should be going no faster than about 78 to 80 mph. It is okay to drive slightly into the grass on the right hand side, but not okay to give too much gas and/or not steer enough. You can easily wind up in the grass on the left hand side. FAIL. Also, do not hit the cones coming up on the left. FAIL.

• This next part is tricky, and much different from Grand Valley in previous GTs. The turns are sharper.

8). Shift up into 4th before you pass the cones. Carefully give just enough gas as you drive into the next right-hander, and brake just a bit. You can drive over the red & white curbing at about 83 mph.

9). The Audi will want to swing to the left, so brake more heavily just before you drive near the concrete pad, down to about 70 mph. You don't have to downshift right away. Instead, downshift from 4th to 2nd just at the end of the braking zone. Start making a hard right while braking. You'll slow further to about 50 mph as you enter the middle of this odd area.

10). Accelerate out of turn 7 in 2nd gear. Do not shift up to 3rd. The Audi will start to redline. You should acclerate to about 60 mph before braking into the next left-hand elle.

11). Slow to 40 mph before accelerating out of this turn. Watch out. If you hit the gas too hard, you'll understeer, and may risk running into the tunnel entrance.

12). Accelerate into 3rd & 4th gear. Work your way over to the left side of the tunnel. Just as you leave the tunnel, start braking & turning right. You'll want to slow to about 64 mph and downshift into 3rd before giving some gas. Again, try not to understeer.

13). Accelerate out of this turn. You'll want to be on the left side of the track now. Shift into 4th momentarily.

14). When the brake indicator starts to flash, wait a half-second or so, then brake fully down to about 62-64 mph.

15). As you leave this final corner, it is crucial you draft the pace car, to pick up that last bit of speed.


License A6

Track: Twin-Ring Motegi

Car: '98 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor

Tires: N2 all-season radials

My Time: 30.430

Twin-Ring Motegi is similar to Suzuka Circuit. Both courses are tight, and offer little leeway for cornering. So as you drive this test, you must be rather precise. Good news is: the TCS is OFF. This test has us rolling thru another S-turn, down a short straight, and around a tight curve that I'll describe as a "hair pin that's been left open". :lol:

1). Rolling in 3rd gear as this test starts. You'll wanna be on the right-hand side of the track.

2). The brake indicator will start to flash. This time, pay attention to it and brake hard as soon as it flashes. Coincidentally, the Merc will be passing the 50 meter mark on your right. If you're not so experienced, you'll wanna get most of the braking done in a straight line before turning into this first curve. If you are good with trail-braking, it's possible to brake while turning-in, instead of braking in a straight line. Either braking method is useful for gold.

3). As you enter this curve, give gas cautiously, but let-off the gas if you feel understeer taking over in the slightest. There is no leeway for this test, unlike the S-curve tests of High Speed Ring.   You'll go about 58 mph at the slowest.

4). DON'T BRAKE into the 2nd curve. Instead, release the gas a few moments. You'll be going 60 mph at the slowest. Give just enough gas to exit this corner (without excessive understeer). You don't need to get all the way to the left while leaving this 2nd curve. If you are far left, you've gone too far and lost too much time.

5). Next corner is a sharp one. It's the open hairpin I was talking about. While approaching it, you will again need to obey the brake indicator when it starts to flash. Since this portion of the test has us not going as fast as before, it's best to also  turn-in cautiously while braking.

6). Cut sharp into this turn. This is a classic "out-in-out" corner, so for maximum speed, you'll need to (perhaps) have your left tires roll over the curb on the left hand side, and by then you should already be giving full gas towards the finish line.


License A7

Track: Nürburgring Nordschleife

Car: '05 Volkswagen Golf GTi

Tires N2 all-season radials

My Time: 17.066

This test doesn't seem that hard to me now, but it took me awhile when I first tried it.

It's our first test at "the 'Ring". A bit of advice for those of you who are having trouble learning this long, difficult course: doing the license tests that appear at Nürburgring can do wonders at helping you learn how to tackle the entire track. When you get to these areas later on during races, you'll find them much easier because you already know them well.  

1). Start rolling in 3rd gear. When you see the red & white curb on the left, work your way over in that direction. It's okay if your left tires run slightly over the curb. You'll be doing about 96 mph.

2). Careful now. The track bends left at a tighter angle. Your first instinct will be to brake. But if you want gold, release the throttle instead, while traveling at high-speed. As you pass this bend, the GTi will understeer lightly towards the right side of the track (which has a small concrete grid to  safely drive over). You've slowed to about 90 mph.

• The demo car drives slightly into the grass, and for my gold time, I found myself doing this too. It's okay.

3). Now we're approaching the second bend. There will be another red & white curb. Slam the brakes down to about 55 mph while steering, driving onto this curb for maximum efficiency.

4). The track suddenly veers to the right as we approach turn three. Get on the left hand side, driving slightly over another curb (if needed). Braking can be firm into this curve, but not too excessive.

5. Maintain speed. Hit the gas as you leave this turn. The finish line up ahead.


License A8

Track: El Capitan, turns 13 thru 15

Car: Mazda RX-8 Type S

Tires: N2 all-season radials

My Time: 15.626

This is another easy one if you've already driven around El Capitan dozens of times as I have. If not, then you'll be dealing with one of this track's blindest curves.

1). The test starts rolling in 2nd gear. As you pass under the start banner, immediatly work your way over to the left side of the track. You don't need to be driving on the curb, tho.

2). Swing around to the left as this curve continues. There is some leeway here, and you can even slide a bit. The main rule is maintain speed.

3). The brake indicator starts to flash, and says we should be in 2nd gear. Ignore all this. Instead, release the throttle just enough that the car don't understeer. It'll be going about 62 mph at the slowest.

4). Get to the right hand side of the track as you leave that last turn. Floor the gas for the remainder of this test! The next corner comes up fast. This is the blind one I was talking about.

5). The finish line is just before the bridge, meaning all you have to do is turn-in towards the left side of the track as you see it. The car may even SMACK into the bridge itself. It won't matter, you'll still get your gold!

Note: To truely learn how to take this corner (without smacking the bridge), approach it just as fast, but turn-in earlier, backing slightly off the gas so that the Mazda's left tires run over the inside curb. You'll eke just inches away from the bridge during actual races, and the RX-8 should also miss the bridge during the end of this test. But if it doesn't, no harm/no foul.


License A9

Track: Suzuka Circuit, turns 3 thru 5

CAr: '04 Honda Civic Type R

Tires: N2 all-season radials

My Time: 17.125

Now it gets tricky again. What we have here are a series of S-turns, or what race-drivers often call "esses". The way you set yourself up for the first turn influences how you'll need to tackle the following turn, and so forth. And we've got 3 esses in a row.

1). The Civic is on those average tires, with TCS on again. Ugh. The test starts rolling in 3rd gear, and we'll remain in 3rd for the entire test. Get over to the right side of the track, as far over to the right as comfortable. 

2). A split second after the brake indicator starts to flash, start turning left into the first turn. Tap the brakes a split second (by "split second", I don't mean an actual entire second, I mean perhaps a tenth of a second). Anyways, tap the brakes. You'll have slowed to about 70 mph.

3). You can drive slightly over the curb on the left-hand side now. Give gas cautiously. As the Civic nears the next right-hander, let-off the gas.

• Brakes are optional for this upcoming right. I've golded this test with or without them. When I used them, it was literally just a blip.

4). You'll slow from 80-ish mph to about 68. Instead of giving full gas, cautiously release it further as you leave this turn.

• Remember what I said about one turn influencing the next? This is why it's important to release the gas instead of nailing it; for if we gas-up in that last turn, we won't have the proper leverage needed to tackle the final (3rd) curve.

5). The track goes straight for a very short while, and then immediately cuts left. You'll want to be on the left-hand side of the track as it cuts because it sharpens up quickly (Suzuka is one of those tracks).

6). Drive over the red & white grid on the left, giving just enough gas to be safe (@ 66 mph at the slowest). Floor it as you see the finish banner up ahead. The Civic will naturally be on the right side of the track now, understeer or not, so be careful not to give too much gas too early.


License A10

Track: Suzuka (Full Course)

Car: '03 Honda Integra Type R

Tires: N2 all-season radials

My Time: 2:47.069

It's time to follow that pace car again. And again, I recommend (for best results) that you learn this course by driving around it lap after lap, preferably in an Integra with N2 tires with TCS on 5. Watch the demo. Follow the pace car.

Sorry, but I won't do a corner-by-corner description this time. I know this is lame, but I just don't feel like it. Suzuka is a tough course, but the test itself isn't actually all that hard to score gold, once you know this track well. And by now (after golding 25 tests in a row), you should have a feel for the challenging physics engine Polyphony has created...and you should know how the Integra will handle. You should know what to do to kill this one and move on to the next....

One tip I will give tho: the brake indicator is more reliable for some corners here. Use a manual transmission, and you can let the Integra's engine go past the redline; it will still gather useful speed since it's got that VTEC technology.


License A11

Track: Grand Canyon

Car: '91 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione

Tires: D (off-road)

My Time: 12.606

This test is harder than it looks. Believe it or not, I actually FAILED twice in a row as I wrote this guide! I then proceeded to make 4 bronzes and 8 silvers in a row before things "clicked" for me.

There are some moving distractions as we do this test. Crazy photographers run in the middle of the track, creating visual distractions. Unfortunately, we can't hit any of them, no matter how hard we try. And I've tried.

1). A11 starts us rolling in 1st gear, and we'll shift to 2nd momentarily before starting in to the curve.

2). As we shift into 2nd, aim the Lancia somewhat towards those rocks on the left. As you by drive them, the brake indicator starts its thing. Obey it.

3). Hit the brakes BRIEFLY, and shift into 1st gear while making the sharp right turn. You'll have to cut this corner tight....and as you do all this, you'll now be heading towards the people on the right hand side of the track, cruising in the mid-30s.

4). The Lancia will now be in a mild slide. It's okay if it taps the red mesh behind it, but don't SLAM into this mesh or you'll fail.

5). We're still in 1st gear. Cut over to the right (like you're about to hit the dudes on the side of the road) and carefully give gas as you leave this turn.

6). The Lancia's fantastic 4-wheel drive system pulls the car with tenacity, but you'll need to make sure you don't hit the side of the road, because it will start to understeer as it goes from sliding to gripping. Light understeer is okay. Hoards of it is not.


License A12

Track: Tahiti Maze

Car: '02 Subaru Impreza WRX STi sedan

Tires: D (off-road)

My Time: 29.121

This is (perhaps) the toughest A-license test of all. The Impreza is like the Lancia Delta, since both cars are completely at home on the dirt and love to get sideways. It is important you learn the intricacies of off-road drifting NOW or you'll never gold this test. But still, it seems there's a bit of leeway in A12. I've golded it 4 times in the last few months, and each time I notice I've taken a slightly different route.

1). The test starts us rolling in 2nd gear. The track immediately bends slightly to the right, and then sharpens-up into the actual 1st turn. You can be anywhere from the right-hand side of track to the middle as you approach.

2). The car starts to redline. You can shift into 3rd gear if you want, but it's possible to leave it in 2nd as it enters this first curve. I'll leave it in 2nd for the rest of the test, even tho it keeps saying we should downshift into 1st. The Impreza's flat-4 engine will bounce off its rev-limiter momentarily if you choose to leave the gearbox in 2nd, and this is okay.

3). Slam the brakes full and turn hard, so that the Subie is now in a slide. DO NOT try to perform WRC-style full slides if you're not that good at them yet...instead, let the car slide just enough to carry any necessary momentum. The demo slows the car down to 12 mph. I found myself doing 28 at the slowest.

• This is the tough part. You'll need to modulate fuel and steering moment-by-moment. The Impreza will want to slide. Then it'll want to understeer. Then you'll back off on the gas, and find yourself face-to-face with a wall as the understeer goes away, but the car retracts to a different cornering path. This whole process of getting the Impreza up the hill thru these hairpins safely calls for lots of intuition, stuff I can't really describe in this walkthru. The driver basically must make snap decisions the entire time A12 is in progress.

4). Anyways, now you're charging up the hill, towards a left-hairpin. The brake indicator will flash and you'll ignore it. Notice there's a bunch of trees on your right. As you pass them, start turning-in, and give enough brakes so that you're in another slide. Don't mash the brakes till you're crawling,'ll want to maintain some speed, letting momentum carry the Impreza thru. Get as far into the inside of the turn as possible, without rolling into the AUTOBACS/POLYPHONY banner that appears on the inside. Again...the amount of gas, steering, and brakes you'll need calls for pure intuition that I can't accurately describe.

5). Continue rolling up the hill (duh..). Now we're approaching turn 3, which is another hairpin. There's a tree on the right-hand side just before the turn. Start turning-in just as you pass the tree. Give some brakes, but (again) not an excessive amount. Maintain speed as the car gets sideways. You'll want to leave this corner on the right side of the track (not the left side). In other words: out-in-in. Here's why:

6). This next part can make or break our gold time. As the Prezzy rolls up this final portion of the hill, the brake indicator starts to flash. The demo obeys, but we're not going to. Instead, notice there's another stand of trees on the right hand side. As you pass them, flick the steering left. You'll go from the outside of the turn to the inside rapidly, so be careful not to smack the mound of dirt that's on the inside/left. Brakes should not be needed at all.

7). You can give full gas as you approach the mound. The Impreza will try to slide, so correct this if you need to. You may or may not touch the red mesh fence at the right side of the road before the finish line....


License A13

Track: Trail Mountain, turns 4 thru 9

Car: '94 Nissan Skyline GT-R Vspec II

Tires: N2 all-season radials

My Time: 44.440

Remember when I said A12 is the toughest test? I lied. This next one (A13) is a cruel joke to those of us who've been doing license tests since GT1, becasue the "Skyline GT-R at Trail Mountain" test has appeared in all four games. Thanks PD. If you've been following this guide relentlessly for hours, I recommend you stop now, as this one can be frustrating. It helps to take a break from the game before you try for gold here, unless you're fully confident you won't wind up smashing your dual-shock or wheel.

1). We've got a "standing-start" beginning (rather than a rolling start). Rev the Skyline at 6,000 rpms. As the test starts (3.....2......1...BEEP!) Hit the gas fully on the beep, so that the tach needle lands somewhere between 7 and 7,500 rpms. Trust me on this: you'll instantly be going faster if you rev the engine and zap it mid-range instead of redlining it, because redlining causes the clutch to slip. Or perhaps it merely lands the tach in an area where power isn't as strong. Either wa, you'll thank me for the tenth of a second you've just saved as you're tackling those rocky curves later on, struggling from bronze to silver to gold.

2). Rolling up the hill. Skew slightly to the right before turning left into the tunnel. This will give the car a bit of leverage. Just before you enter the tunnel, back-off the gas a bit. Feather it back on when the car feels ready to handle it without excessive (or even moderate) understeer.

3). As the GT-R runs thru the tunnel, get to the left-hand side. The tunnel curves blindly. The car will most-likely roll over a bumpy pad on the inside of this curve. Maintaining fuel while traveling over this pad will cause understeer because the Skyline's tires will probably lose grip, so as you go thru the tunnel, release the gas when you feel the Skyline start to understeer.

4). You don't wanna veer over to the right side of the tunnel at all, or you won't be able to properly take the next right. Instead, try to wind up in the center of the road as the car starts down this hill.

5). Now get from center to the left side of the track as the GT-R rolls down the hill. Stay in 2nd gear. Just after passing the red & white grid on the left, you'll want to quickly start cutting right. Hit the brakes momentarily till you're doing about 52 mph. Ideally, you'll now drive your right tires over the right curb on the inside of this turn without tapping the rocky surface. You'll need to get thru this turn TIGHT to maximize your speed. It's tricky....I'm not gonna lie! Before you know it, you'll either find success or a FAIL message.

6). Leave that dreaded one behind! Don't give too much gas too early, or you'll wind up understeering into the rock wall on the left side of the track.

7). The track veers to the left, and you'll need to shift into 3rd. As you drive this way, stay on left-hand side. The brake indicator goes off and says to downshift into 2nd for some ungodly reason. Ignore ignore.

8). Just after passing under the huge branch with the monkey sitting on it, start inching towards the right carefully, so that you're sort of heading towards the rock face on the right side. Don't hit it, tho. Brake fully just before reaching the red & white curb on the right side of the track.  Downshift into 2nd.

9). You've now gone from the left to the right, and have braked down to 59 mph. You may or may not touch the curb here, but the trick is not to understeer too much. You don't want to cut over too far to the left here because the next turn requires us to be on the right. (confused?)

10). Drive into the tunnel. It may be possible to stay in 2nd gear all this time, but I've found it safer to upshift into 3rd momentarily. Just as the brake indicator does its thing, pay attention to it. Brake, downshift into 2nd, and start veering to the left while you're about halfway thru the tunnel. Don't wait till the end of the tunnel. 

11). You'll brake down to maybe 62-65 mph. There's a bunch of yellow lines on the left side of this next sweeing turn as we leave the tunnel. You're gonna cut hard over these lines without bumping the rock that juts out. One little bump WILL drop your perfect gold time to a silver.

12). Phew! If you cut that last left properly, you can now give full gas without fear of excessive understeer. Upshift into 3rd gear and leave this curve behind. Use 3rd on the straight as you cross the finish line. An upshift into 4th costs a small amount of speed (literally a mph or two), which can make you lose by literally a hundreth or a thousandth.


License A14

Track: Nürburgring

Car: '00 Audi TT Coupe 1.8T ..."Quattro"

Tires: N2 all-season radials

My Time: 32.345

After Trail Mountain, Nürburgring doesn't seem half bad, now does it? :) No more dumb rock walls. Just in case you don't know, Polyphony Digital goofed. The Audi TTs in both GT3 and GT4 are supposed to be all-wheel drive Quattros, but they're actually front-wheel drive. This makes the TT extremely understeer-friendly unfortunately. And we've got TCS on again. Great.

1). The test starts us rolling in 3rd, and we'll shift into 4th just after the start. You'll want to be on the left-hand side of the track as the red & white curb approaches. It's ok drive over this curb with your left tires. Take this turn (and the next one) full-blast with max throttle.

2). The first of four curbs quickly appears on the right, so work your way over there; you may drive your right tires over it even tho it's a major lift. The track itself is so bumpy, it won't matter if there's an extra bump or 2.

3. Okay, you're now about to experience so much understeer it's not even funny. As the brake indicator flashes, go ahead and brake, but leave it in 4th gear. The next 3 curbs are on your right, and for this long turn, you'll need to NOT give too much gas or you'll be in the grass soon. Instead of using full gas, feed it sparsely as needed.

4). Once that's over, speed down the hill. Work your way somewhat to the right side.

5). Another tricky part. The brake indicator flashes like mad long before we enter this next chicane/hairpin area, and we're gonna ignore it.

6). Cut over to the right. You'll be doing almost 100 mph. The red & white grid approaches fast. Just before you drive by or on it, brake heavily. Keep braking till you're actually in the hairpin, and downshift down to 2nd. You'll be doing about 39-40 mph.

7). As we leave the hairpin, TCS interferes like mad. Don't give full gas, or the Audi will overcompensate by understeering into the grass, and even then, TCS won't save you. I suspect that if this "Quattro" actually was a Quattro, this part would be alot more manageable. As we leave this hairpin, let go of the steering as much as you can so the TCS shuts off, and acceleration returns in full.

8). Upshift into 3rd & 4th (just past redline) as the finish approaches.

License A15

Track: Trail Mountain (full course)

Car: '03 Mazda 6

Tires: N2 all-season radials

My Time: 2:04.824

Again, I'm gonna be lame and not give a detailed description. Come on, guys, it's Trail Mountain! Most of you already know this track. And the test itself isn't that hard. Follow the pace car, brake when you're supposed to, turn when you're supposed to. Not to brag, but I personally have a tough time earning anything less than gold here, and that's with what I'd consider sloppy driving. Anyways. Next...


License A16

Track: Nürburgring

Car: '02 Mazda RX-7 Spirit R Type A

Tires: N2 all-season radials

My Time: 53.580

The "Graduation" test is held appropriately at Nürburgring. The series of corners you're about to face will teach you a difficult part of the course, whether you go for gold or just bronze. Again, I recommend (if you've been slaving away, earning gold after gold) that you step away from your PlayStation for a while. Take a break before this one, it requires a different sort of concentration. I find that if I try and tackle A16 when I've had some time away, gold strikes much easier.

• Normally, the RX-7 Spirit A is a nimble, sporty car, but the fact that we're rolling on (again) N2 tires, needing to push to those absolute limits, ruins everything. These tires make the RX-7 extremely nervous. No traction or stability controls are on, but this car has what feels like a rather weak differential, which means an unwanted pivot is always mini-seconds away, which can ruin your cornering path before you know it.

• Believe it or not, precise driving is not required to gold this test. I originally got 54.096 for gold (after many tries) yet my driving was what I'd consider extremely sloppy. Too much understeer here, too much play into the grass there. That sort of thing. So I felt I had cheated a bit, and did the test over with tighter driving. You don't have to be as anal, of course, I'm just letting you know perfect driving is not required for gold in A16.

1). We're rolling off the Karussel in 3rd gear. As the test starts, you should be over towards the right side of the track. For a little extra time saved, you can let the RX-7 redline a bit before shifting into 4th. It's got a high-revving rotary engine, and the useable power band goes a bit past the redline area.

2). A curb shows up fast on the left. Take this at full speed, turning slightly-in towards the curb itself. You don't need to actually drive on it, though.

3). The brake indicator starts to flash. Let it go for now. Just ahead is a bit of chalk on the's a bunch of words, and I'm not sure what they say. Anyways, as you drive over this area, brake, steer slightly towards the curb on the left coming up fast, and downshift into 3rd just before you reach the curb. You're gonna stay in 3rd for awhile, now.

4). You're down to about 90 mph. I realize you'll be going too fast in this test, having lots of issues controlling this wild car, so you won't have time to see exactly how fast you're going...but I gotta write this guide proper-like.

5). As the Mazda leaves the curb on the left, it's now in an S-turn situation, so release the throttle (or tap the brakes) while turning to the right slightly.

• You don't wanna steer too hard. The RX-7 will "grab" the road and find itself in the grass. On the other hand, I've found you can actually drive over the curb itself so that a substantial portion of your car IS in the grass....just not all 4 tires. this is what I meant about it's possible to be "sloppy" in A16 and still gold.

6). As you leave the turn, don't hit the gas too much. A guardrail comes up on the left-hand side real fast. On the other hand, in my first gold (the sloppy one) I actually tapped this guardrail and it didn't FAIL me. Go figure.

7). Almost immediately after you pass the guardrail area, brake down to about 65 to 67 mph while turning slightly right. Start feeding the gas soon after braking. Don't give full-throttle, give just enough to steer with the throttle. Once you've straightened out, you can hit full gas again.

• You'll notice that in some corners, you can "steer with the throttle", a technique that can be used in some rear-drive cars. This means: if you hit the gas in the middle of a corner properly, it will actually help the car not to understeer; it will also help it "steer" thru the turn, by pivoting the entire car from the rear. This is a technique employed by professionals of all kinds: race-car drivers, magazine car-reviewers...even cops. You'll find that again and again, you too can do this in the game during races, especially in rear-drive cars with little to no differential action, and no traction or stability controls either.

8). Keep on the left hand side of the road, there's a curb on the left. Eventually it ends. The brake indicator starts to flash. There's a bit of leeway here, as you can you obey the indicator, or ignore it for a split second. You can also stay in either 3rd or 4th gear, or downshift into 3rd from 4th gear! It all depends on what you're comfortable with.

9). And speaking of the next 3 turns...we've got more esses. As the curb on the right presents itself, brake slightly and stay on the right hand side. You'll be doing about 90-92 mph.

10). As soon as you see the next turn show up (a red & white curb will be on the left) brake again slightly (literally a tap). You may drive onto the curb, but this isn't mandatory. Give full gas for a moment but careful because...

11). The 3rd part of the S comes up fast, and this one is sharper. Brake more heavily (the brake indicator reliably acts here to tell us when). Downshift into 3rd if you're still in 4th. Feather the throttle rather than smashing it, as this turn gets attacked. Don't wanna wind up understeering into the grass, or even on the curb on the left-hand side.

12). As we roll out of this right, we start going slightly uphill. The brake indicator screams at us. Ignore it. Also, the RX-7 will start to redline. You can shift into 4th, but I prefer to leave it in 3rd.

13). Just as the curb on the left side of the road ends, brake hard to about 75 mph.

14). The turn that's coming is a bit blind. I usually wind up driving into the grass, which annoys me, but the test doesn't FAIL unless all four tires are off-road.

15). Feather the throttle again. Be intuitive about this. Too much gas will put the car in grass, so give just enough. Steer carefully, back off, etc. As you leave this turn, you're now up to 79 mph. There's a "safety pad" of concrete on the left side of the track in case you get too far over.

16). Almost immediatly, the turn esses again; this time to the left. The brake indicator flashes. You can wait a tad, because if you brake too early, you'll need to speed up later which is awkward.

17). There's a dark green sign on the right side of the track. It kind of blends in with the trees. You can start braking just before you pass it. Brake hard & turn-in to this left-hander. Down to about 66 mph. Try to stay off the curb on the left (it will lift the RX-7 and possibly screw up the next situation).

18). The final right-hander is sharp, and hasn't got much area to drive onto if the car understeers. Obey the brake indicator and brake hard while steering. Don't shift down into 2nd, but do feather the throttle carefully so the car doesn't understeer.

19). There's another small concrete "safety pad" on the left. You might need it as you rocket towards the finish.




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