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GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

ENDURANCE SERIES

NOTE: With any endurance race in GT5, we no longer have to call a friend to come over, or leave our PS3 cooking all day while we go to work. Just press the "Suspend" button while your car is pulling into the pits. The game will save, and we can come back to it later.
 
The only drawback with this method is the replay cannot be watched or saved after the race is over. Replays only compile if the entire race is done without suspending the race.

gv300km.jpg

Grand Valley 300km
 
rating: **1/2
Opponents: 12
 
Level: 25
 
-SPORTS Class-
Racing against Class 2
(3,000)
 
Racing against Class 3
(2,000) 12.19 -- 164 hp
(2,600) 13.68 -- 190 hp
 
-TUNER Class-
Racing against CLASS 2
(2,500) 9.52  -- 252 hp
(3,500) 12.41 -- 282 hp
 
Racing against CLASS 3
 (2,100) 9.54 -- 220 hp
(3,000) 12.59 -- 239 hp
(3,500) 13.25 -- 264 hp
 
 
Sports Class includes those models known to be excellent with cornering, and will generally survive this event with very little tuning. This class includes those which do not suffer as many lost seconds as tires wear out. If 2:16s were the norm for instance, they'll be making 2:20s with about 75% front tire wear. Choosing this class means fighting within inches down the main straight, losing the lead at times before the first pit stop.   
 
Tuner Class includes models known to have some issues with cornering, and will generally need some tuning (suspension, drivetrain, brakes, etc.) to make better lap times. As their tires wear below 25% or so, lap times will begin to suffer more severely. Choosing the Tuner Class means  maintaining a slight lead during most of the race.     
 
The above ratios should be used when racing against the best car of its class. So if racing against Class 2's Toyota MR2 for instance, use  the power above. If racing against a lesser car of Class 2, some power gets removed. See below in the Opponents section for more details.
 
For a comprehensive list of grids, Performance Points (pp) requirements, leaderboards (etc.) click this link. Though I don't go by pp, I'm already noticing how my results are similar to what other "fair" gamers have come up with.
   
 
Description
Now to do one of the first endurance races in the history of Gran Turismo. Enduros used to be held at Trial Mountain, Special Stage Route 5, and Rome in the past, but none of these tracks sponsor endurances anymore, mostly due to the inclusion of real-life tracks.  The 300 km is a great race because it's not going to wreck your entire day, you don't have to plan to have your buddy come over and take shifts or anything such. It is realistic to get this one done in just over two hours, assuming at least one break.
 
On the other hand, have a look at the power requirements up above. Ugh. Yeah. This is going to be a pretty slow race, not the action-packed malaise it used to be, no matter what class gets chosen. But there's a huge list of cars in our garages, maybe even including some front-drives, which have been waiting for their chance to shred. When was the last time we've been able to endurance-race a front-drive in Gran Turismo?  Probably not since GT2, I'm guessing.  
 
One of the most pertinent things about the 300 km (and other enduros) will be tire wear. This has not been a factor for us so far at all, even during the Extreme Series. For the entire game so far, tire wear has actually been off!  Only during the Extremes has PD turned it on, and notice how minimal that wear was, compared to GT4. It's because PD made sure that tires last longer now, and are more consistent with in real-life. During GT4, a set of hard slicks might last anywhere from 10 to 15 laps, depending on how heavy our car is, its weight distribution (mid-engine cars will cook their rear tires faster than front-engine ones), driving style, and driving aggressiveness.
 
In GT5, tire wear is not as much of a problem, PD has basically nerfed this factor a little too much in my opinion. We can drive harder for longer, without fear of suddenly winding up on a set of smoking, red-hot shoes. But it's still a good idea to plan ahead for what's to come.   
 
 
Opponents
First rule of thumb for any enduro is that opponents in GT5 have an adaptive strategy, which means their lap times will improve initially, but they will also decrease as tire wear sets in more seriously, starting at about lap 20.   
 
I have found there is plenty of close-racing to be had, no matter how hard I drive! I might still get ahead of the entire field early on, and might be multiple seconds in front of them during those first few laps. This happens especially if the best opponents start downfield. If so, don't restart the race with less power.
 
The field you've chosen to race against, whether it's Class 1 or 2 or 3 will catch up. They tend to drive early laps rather timidly, or sometimes they bottleneck behind slower machines. Usually after a half-dozen laps or so, they'll begin to lower their times, assuming they've managed to break free of any traffic. And then after their pit stop, they'll begin driving even harder!!!  It's those latter laps which will sometimes be the most nail-biting.  
 
Unfortunately, this race is a lot like the Japanese Championship from the Expert Level, if an NSX shows up, that is who you'll be competing against. But the good news is there are plenty of grids without any NSX on them. These grids will feature all the "lesser" sports cars from that championship too: Z-cars, MR2s, GT-Rs, STis, Evos, RX-7s, and RX-8s. At this level of competition, the racing is tighter, and not as one-sided.
 
On the other hand, it is possible to race against two NSXes too!  
 
After looking at GTSail's Grand Valley 300km Competition thread, I've come up with four different classes of cars, which are listed below. I'm sure Mr. Sail won't mind if I just copy/paste the info he's got up at GTPlanet.
 
AI Pit Stops and Lap Times 
The first number following each car's name & year is the approximate lap that car will pit. Next to this is each car's best observed lap time, but keep in mind that they'll be averaging roughly a second and a half slower than this. As their tires wear, these lap times can fall even further. As they get into laps 20 and beyond, their times will keep falling, to the point that they'll be averaging roughly 4 seconds slower than what's posted below.
 
Before doing the GV 300 km, it's important to do a few practice laps around Grand Valley Speedway on an empty track. Tires and settings should be chosen so that you are achieving roughly a second to 1 1/2 seconds slower than what the AI can do at best, if you are interested in a closer race. So if you're entering a race in which the Toyota MR2 shows up, you'll want to build a car that can do roughly 2:13.000 with your best driving, not 2:12.510.
 
I have also tried to configure power subtractions for when the top cars of classes 2 and 3 do not show up. After doing the math above, look at the cars below. See which one will be the top dog you'll be up against. And remove power according. 
 
Class 1
Honda NSX Type R '02---------------     41       2.10.498
Honda NSX Type R '92---------------     40       2.11.088


Class 2 
Toyota MR2 GT-S '97---------------     31         2.12.510
Mazda RX-7 Spirit R Type A-------    48        2.13.689 (-12 hp)
Impreza Sedan WRX spec C '04-----   42     2.13.778 (-12 hp)
Honda S2000 '06                                         2:13.836  (-12 hp)

Nissan Fairlady Z Z34 '08----------     36       2.14.019  (-12 hp)

Subaru Impreza WRX STi (1.8i...) '07*         N/A

*The "1.8i" Impreza does not show up on GTSail's lists, yet is one of the faster cars on the track. This is basically the premium '07 Impreza 5-door hatchback. I have observed this car during B-spec keeping up with both NSX cars, so it should at least go in Class 2.  

Class 3
Nissan Skyline GTR R34 '00-------- 41      2.14.686
Mazda RX-8 Type S '07-----------    46       2.14.703
Mazda RX-7 Type RS '98------------   45     2.14.738
Impreza Sedan WRX STi Vers VI '99 45    2.14.997

Subaru Impreza Sedan WRX STI '02 46   (Lap time N/A, but 2:14-ish)
Sub Impreza Coupe WRX typeR STi---  45    2.15.925
Impreza Coupe 22B-STi '98---------     46       2.15.950
Fairlady Z Version ST '02----------     46           2.15.973
Fairlady Z Version S '07-----------      41           2.16.111
Mits Lancer EVO X GSR PP '07----- 41          2.16.236
Fairlady Z Version S '02----------- 46            2.16.318

Class 4
Nissan Silvia spec-R Aero--------- 44           2.16.442
Nissan Skyline R33 GTR '95---------     42      2.16.758
Nissan Skyline Coupe 350GT--------      40     2.17.129
Mits Lancer EVO IV GSR '96------- 45           2.17.482
Impreza Sedan WRX '94----------- 46          2.17.270
Nissan 350Z Gran Turismo 4 Ltd '05 45     2.17.300
Subaru Legacy B4 2.0GT spec.B-----     45   2.17.411
Fairlady Z 300ZX Ver.S TT 2seater   38      2.17.818
Toyota Supra RZ '97--------------    40         2.17.621
Nissan Skyline GTR R32 '89-------- 44     2.17.777
Mits Lancer EVO IX '05------------ 43      2.17.779
Subaru Legacy B4 2.0GT spec.B '03 46   2.17.870
Mits Lancer EVO IX GSR '05------- 44      2.18.300
Nissan 300ZX 2seater Z32 '98------      39  2.18.483
Nissan 300ZX 2by2 Z32 '98-------- 36      2.18.546
Toyota Soarer 430SCV '01-------- 32       2.18.400
GTO Twin Turbo MR '98----------- 40     2.18.622
Nissan Stagea 25t RS FOUR S '98-- 43 2.18.536
Honda Accord Coupe EX '03------- 40    2.19.438
Mits GTO Twin Turbo MR '95------- 40    2.19.666
Subaru Legacy B4 Blitzen '00 -----   45   2.19.700
Subaru Legacy Touring Wagon------- 45    2.19.725
Toyota Celica GT-FOUR '98----------  46       2.20.036
Mazdaspeed Atenza '05------------ 44           2.20.4xx

Toyota Supra 3.0GT Turbo A '88...??        2:20.956
Infiniti G35 Coupe '06--------------   44      2.21.830

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo GSR '92      ??    2:22.201

Class 1:
Grids # 3 and #7 are good ones to choose. Class 1 only includes two cars (both of them Honda NSX) but there are plenty of grids which feature both of these. 3 and 7 will start both NSXes in front of us.
 
Grid #29 also has both cars showing up, but in this case they're both started downfield instead of in front of us.  
 
Class 2:
There aren't as many choices: grids 2, 4, and 5 are some early Class 2 grids, but in any of these we'll only be racing one car from this class, for the entire race.
 
Grid 12 has a nice assortment of Class 3, but also one Class 2: the Honda S2000.   
 
 
Between 5 and 18 are a few grids: one starts a '07 Impreza on 3rd, and the '04 Impreza Spec C on 9th. There are also a couple grids with Toyota MR2s on them, but I have found these mid-engine cars will mostly dominate unless they're started very low, so I avoid these.. 
 
Grid 25 seems to be the best, featuring the '08 Z-car, '02 Mazda RX-7 Sprit R, and  the Honda S2000. Though the Honda is slower than the others, it also starts on 2nd place, getting a nice early jump in lap times!  Sometimes, others (like the '98 Subaru Impreza) will join in with these leaders.
 
Class 3,
Grid 11 features a total of four Class 3 members, though we'll only be competing against maybe two of them: the '98 Mazda RX-7, and '02 Subaru Impreza sedan. 
 
Grid 16 has three, though only two of them matter: the '99 Subaru Impreza sedan, '07 Mazda RX-8, and '07 Nissan Fairlady Z. The Z-car tends to bottleneck early, unfortunately, and probably won't catch up.
 
Class 4
Unfortunately, there are no pure Class 4 grids to be found.  
 
 Parts

NO OIL CHANGE! Unless you want to lose power mid-race for some reason. Otherwise, bring a car that you know has already broken down its engine oil.

Another option is to enter a zero-mileage car, or one which is still breaking in its engine, as long as you know how much power this engine will end up with.. Such a car will gain power as the race progresses, so it's possible to start the race slightly underpowered, then wind up with recommended power toward the end,  

Hard, Medium, or Soft Sport tires (note: the competition always uses softs)

Whatever tire type gets chosen, try and keep that same type of tire after pit stop, especially if the race has been close so far. If the car's been on mediums, try to stay on mediums, unless you've fallen drastically behind the leader(s). If the race has been close, but softs get chosen, chances are the car will now be too fast during the second half, especially if it's less than 3,000 pounds.
 
Conversely, if the race is too easy, hard tires can be tried to create more challenge. Some folks over at GTP have even shod Comfort tires!   
 
GT5 Version 2.08 (the latest version of this game) has some wonky tire-wear results. No matter which grade of tire, soft, medium, or hard, at least one pit stop will be needed; taking two during a close race usually means death. Problem is, the AI also takes just one pit stop. Excessive tire wear is not really an issue the way it was in GT4, but handling is. If your car handles poorly, yet is less than 3,000 pounds, soft tires might be the answer. Those with some mild handling issues can go with mediums, and those with top traits (and slippery aerodynamics) can be on hards.    
 
Stock or Close Gears. Full-custom gears should be reserved for those that truly need them. Stock gears (whatever box the car came with) will be able to get slightly better fuel economy, in theory. Close gears will burn more gas, because engine revs will be kept closer to redline at all times, but they will also provide better acceleration. In theory.
 
Drivetrain parts as needed. Single-plate clutch, one of the flywheels perhaps, and any other parts that are needed.  
 
Fixed or Height-adjustable Sport Suspension for the majority. Full-customized parts can be used for those tuners that really need some help (especially for latter laps when tires are worn). Standard dealer's parts will only be needed for those with the absolute best handling.
 
Cars Used:
SPORTS Class
'02 Ford Focus RS    (2,000 pounds / Class 3) 
'04 Honda Integra Type R      (2,600 pounds / Class 3)
 
TUNER Class
2000 Chrysler PT Cruiser          (2,500 pounds / Class 2)
1997 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Coupe (3,500 pounds / Class 2)  
 
2002 MINI Cooper (2,100 pounds / Class 3)
1996 Subaru Legacy wagon (3,000 pounds / Class 3)   
 
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roadster_enduro.jpg

Roadster 4-Hour Endurance
 
rating: ***
 
Opponents: 12
Level: 26
 
 
(2,000) 13.79 -- 145 hp
(2,200) 14.47 -- 152 hp
 
 
The ratios above include an oil change, which means during early laps you'll have more power than you will for the bulk of this race, when the oil's viscosity begins to break down. Don't worry, the race can still be won with this method. If you don't want to get an oil change and deal with this shift of power, subtract 7 horsepower. The problem with not getting this done beforehand is you may have trouble catching up to any early leaders, who manage to break away from the pack.
 
The above ratios do not include any engine rebuilds.  
 
There are two generations of MX-5: NA and NB. NA cars have their headlights hidden, while NBs do not. Newer NBs (from 2000 and up) are generally faster than the others, though I've seen some earlier '90s-era NBs do well too. Make sure to start any NBs as far downfield as you can. They will hold their positions for a long time, whereas if they are started near or on Pole, they will become uncatchable unless you add power.  
 
If no faster NBs show up, some power should be deducted, I'm guessing 10 horsepower.
 
 
Description:
The Roadster 4-Hour first appeared in GT4, and is one of the many enduros I never got around to doing. Tsukuba is one of my least favorite tracks, and let's face it, racing a low-powered rear-drive around for 4 hours in a game that didn't properly portray oversteer characteristics doesn't sound like very much fun to me.
 
But things have changed, and here I am. One of the best things about this race is that we don't have to plan too heavily. The same car we drove long ago during the NR-A Roadster Cup can be chosen again, and although this endurance requires more power than that 5-lap sprint, our budget will barely be impacted by any parts we'll need.
 
Strategy
I have found that my best driving yielded an average of 1:11.xxx, with 1:11.214 as my fastest lap in a 2,200 pound car, and 1:11.319 in the lighter 2,000 pound '93 V-special. I was able to manage those lower 1:11 lap times for longer though, than I was in the heavier '89. than the heavier one did. 
 
In the heavier car, lap times began to fall into the 1:12s, and a few 1:13s if a minor screw-up occurred, starting at about Lap 40, whereas I was able to sustain 1:11s deep into the 70s and 80s in a lighter car. In all cases, this will happen because each car's engine lost some power as oil broke down, and also tire wear becomes a factor starting at about Lap 80 or so. No matter what though, even if you get a strong lead early during this race somehow, chances are the Ai will never leave your mirrors, this I can guarantee.
 
At least one pit stop will be required, anywhere between 2 hours and 3:20. I took mine at 2:40 / Lap 133 in the heavier car, and at Lap 118 in the lighter car.
 
The Roadster endurance surprised me, because by Lap 80 or so (in the heavier '89 MX-5), my lap times had fallen firmly into the 1:13s, with an occasional 1:14.xxx, no matter how hard I tried. The race had become sleepy, as I predicted. An NA-series car was roughly 4 seconds behind, which was getting followed by an NB. The NB stayed behind the NA for multiple laps, probably 15 or so. Finally, it passed the NA. No problem. It's still 4 seconds back there. But then it began to catch up. By Lap 105, it was right behind; I could hear its tires going over rumble strips. A second NB joined in, but neither of these guys attempted to pass me. It was as if they were waiting for me to screw up instead!  When I did a second race in the lighter '89, this same pattern repeated (sleepy race, with one NA holding its position for multiple laps), except that two NBs crept up from nowhere this time!
 
This is PD's twist apparently: the Ai isn't super aggressive; instead, they're super patient, waiting until I made a wrong move and munched some grass, so they could pounce all over my 1st place spot. The pressure was on. It's stuff like this that surprised me, and here's the reason the 4-Hour Roadster event is a 3-star race instead of the 2 stars I was predicting.
 
Everybody began to pit just after 3:20.xxx, (again) as I predicted. I was still in 1st place, with a huge 30+ second lead. But then I noticed the NBs began catching up. Lap by lap, no matter what, they'd deduct roughly a second or so from my gap. The last 20 minutes were me ... trying not to screw up, trying to keep my lap times consistent (they were back to 1:12.xxx again in either car). Trying to keep cool.  
 
A couple of things that help in this race, just as they may have helped during the 300km
 
1). You won't need a full tank of gas. As you pit, your crew will want to know how much you'll be needing, but they'll try to fill your tank by default, You won't need this much. I've found that taking somewhere between 20 to 30 liters is good. The Ai on the other hand is forced to take a full tank, and this means they'll be sitting in those pits for an entire lap or so. We can save time by taking only what we need.  
 
2). Make sure you slow down massively into Tsukuba's pit lane. If you don't, the game will kick you out of the lane, as though there is some regulatory speed we're not supposed to surpass. Yeah, that happened to me.
 
3). I am recommending soft comfort tires for this race, even though the Ai is on soft sports. This is because I find that comfort tires offer more of a sporting drive than sports do, especially in such a low-powered environment. Despite my recommendation, it's still a good idea to buy a full rack of sport tires too (hard, medium, and soft), just in case. If for some reason you're falling behind while using comforts, switch to sports during the pit stop.    
 
Opponents
 Our opponents have shown up with somewhere between 143 to 165 horsepower, which is the same as they had before. Nothing to fear. During the Roadster Cup, power was low, and we needed to wring all we could get from our Roadster in just 5 laps. Now, we're looking at somewhere over 200 laps. Youch.
 
One of the main differences between this race and the 5-lap sprint we did long ago is now we've got a standing start to deal with. And once we're rolling, notice that the Ai isn't as timid with their lap times. This is because they're using soft sport tires, whereas during the NR-A Roadster Cup they were using hard sports. 
 
The Ai seems to have an adaptive strategy with their driving, too. During early laps they'll be slow, and now's the time to get up front if we can. From laps 3 through maybe 40, their lap times will improve, with barely any fluctuations. We'll need to be doing our best to catch up with them, especially with the crappy tires I'm recommending.  
 
Parts
Soft Comfort tires, with a set of Hard, Medium, and Soft Sports for backup.  
 
Fixed Sport Suspension 
 
Close-ratio transmission is optional. Personally I like choosing one so I have more to do during those 4 hours. :-)
 
Single-plate clutch + lighter flywheel (either one), carbon driveshaft
 
ABS Brakes optional, though if you go without ABS it's best to use sport tires instead of comforts.
 
 
Cars Used:
'93 Mazda MX-5 Miata V-Special II (2,000 pounds)
'89 Mazda MX-5  (non-premium version, 2,200 pounds)
 
 
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Laguna Seca 200 Miles

 Sports Car Class
(3,000) 11.41 -- 263 hp
 
Tuned Car Class
(2,400) 9.30 -- 258 hp  

 There are two classes being structured above. Most cars that (sane) drivers choose will fall under the Sports Car Class, and keep in mind that this class does not include just 2-seaters, it merely includes those which can survive with minimal tuning. In this case, ratios have been set to compete against the very best.  
 
Tuned Car Class includes those vehicles which really are being more tuned extensively. These will be the ones who really have some handling or drivability problems, many which can't be solved entirely by full-custom tuning. VW Beetle, Mazda Protege, Opel Vectra, and probably many of the worst muscle cars. Most entering this class should not go up against the very best. In fact, I wouldn't include anything better than the '69 Corvette Convertible if you go this route. Many in this class will need more than one pit stop, because they'll be going through tires more quickly than those in the Sports Car Class.         
 
Similar to the Muscle Car Championship, the above ratios currently include the very best possible: the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS, and the 2004 Chevrolet Corvette. If neither of these are included, less power will be needed.
 
The very first grid we can dial up does include both of these cars, by the way, starting behind us, and there are other grids which put them in different places.   Click this link for more details on grid placements, and also read the more-detailed descriptions below in the Opponents section. 
 
For extra challenge, start yourself at the very back of the pack, in last place, by slowing down just as the race starts!          

 Description
The first step to getting started in the Laguna Seca 200 is to dial up a good grid to race against. In this case, we want to have the best grid possible, for whichever class we choose to enter. We've got 200 miles ahead of us (321.86 km). Are we interested in running all these miles, all these kilometers, without any challenge? Of course not.
 
Step One is to have a look back at the Muscle Car Championship from the Professional League. The same cars which showed up in that set of races is going to show up again now. Everything from pushovers like the Ford Taurus SHO (along with a few of the more cantankerous '60s-era muscle cars) to the ultra-powerful Dodge Vipers, late-model Corvettes, and so on. The difference between the Laguna Seca 200 and the Muscle Car Championship though, is that there will always be somebody competent who shows up to race against us. It is more difficult to find a grid full of slackers, now that there are 200 miles to separate everybody instead of 11.2.   

...Which is a good thing for us. Bring on that challenge! And if you're like me, you want as many of those better cars to show up as possible, so the challenge will be guaranteed for as long as possible. They may not all compete against us at the same time, but then again, maybe they might. It all depends.

 The second step is to have a look at the Opponents section below, written up by axeltramp over at GTPlanet. It is similar to the Grand Valley 300 km list from GTSail, and lists all the autos which can possibly show up, the approximate lap they will pit, and their fastest observed lap times. We can use the lap time part to do a little homework, driving around an empty Laguna Seca in the practice section of GT5, and getting our car running laps which are  one to three seconds slower than what's posted.
 
Note: Unlike the Grand Valley 300km, many cars which show up to Laguna Seca will be able to consistently drive these faster times, lap after lap. The "one to three second" rule is a way of making our race vary in difficulty: from mildly challenging, to aggravatingly nerve-racking! If your car is three seconds slower than what's posted, and somebody gets by you, good luck winning after this. OTOH, you might still have the option to equip softer tires in such a situation. The AI also has a habit of getting slowed down by larger blocks of traffic, which you WILL wind up seeing, by the way.    
 
Step three: buy all three sport tire types (soft, medium, and hard) if you haven't already. And select the tire which will get you those target lap times. If you want to do a race in which the 2010 Camaro SS shows up, and your car is easily running 1:38s with soft tires (an entire second faster than the Camaro), try putting some mediums on there. If you're still too fast, try replacing that aftermarket clutch / flywheel kit with factory parts, and so on. We want to be hitting somewhere between 1:41.5xx to 1:43.5xx consistently, if we want to go against this guy.      

 Opponents
Let's have a look at our opponents. Right off, you may notice that during the Extreme-series American Championship, Fords were usually the fastest, and Chevys were always losers. But things have changed. The Ford GTs are overqualified for this event, and have apparently been ousted. Now it's Chevrolet who's got the upper hand. In fact, the ratios above were created with the very fastest Chevrolets showing up. Less power will be needed if they're not around.
 
Again, here is that link over at GT Planet. Like GTSail's page, this one includes an abundance of information: leaderboards, grid assignments, stories, race reports, pit stops & lap times...and more. axeltramp allowed me to copy/paste the info below to make things even more convenient.    

 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (C5) '04 ----------------------------- 53 -------- 1:39.840
Chevrolet Camaro SS '10 ------------------------------------ 50 -------- 1:40.557
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray L46 350 (C3) '69 -------------- 47 ------- 1.40.696
Dodge Viper GTS '02 --------------------------------------- 34/68 ------- 1:40.845 *pre v2.08
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible (C3) '69 ---------- 51 ------- 1:41.430
Chrysler 300C '05 -------------------------------------------- 46 ------- 1:41.750
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (C5) '00 ---------------------------- 55 --------- 1:41.789
Dodge Viper GTS '99 ----------------------------------------- 49 -------- 1:41.430
Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z Concept '88 ---------------------- 50 ------- 1:42.347
Dodge SRT4 '03 ----------------------------------------------- 47 ------- 1:42.710
Chevrolet Corvette GRAND SPORT (C4) '96 ---------------- 53 ------- 1:42.852
Dodge Challenger R/T '70 ------------------------------------ 47 ------- 1:42.956
Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Coupe '97 ---------------------------- 52 ------- 1:43.117
Chrysler Prowler '02 ----------------------------------------- 51 ------- 1:43.797
Chevrolet Camaro SS '69 ------------------------------------ 48 ------- 1:43.832
Mercury Cougar XR-7 '67 ------------------------------------- 49 ------- 1:44.129
Dodge Challenger SRT8 '08 ---------------------------------- 50 ------- 1:44.363
Chevrolet Camaro SS '00 ------------------------------------- 55 ------- 1.44.732
Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R '00 ------------------------------- 52 ------- 1:44.788
Shelby GT350R '65 -------------------------------------------- 57 ------- 1:45.114
Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 (C4) '90 ---------------------------- 49 ------- 1:45.171
Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 '70 ------------------------------- 44 ------- 1:46.118
Pontiac Tempest Le Mans GTO '64 --------------------------- 50 ------- 1:46.128
Dodge Charger Super Bee 426 Hemi '71--------------------- 44 ------- 1:46.146
Pontiac GTO 5.7 Coupe '04 ----------------------------------- 51 ------- 1:46.259
Buick GNX '87 ------------------------------------------------- 51 ------- 1:46.754
Plymouth Superbird '70 --------------------------------------- 48 ------- 1:46.863
Chevrolet Corvette Coupe (C2) '63 -------------------------- 55 ------- 1:47.679
Ford Mustang GT '05 ------------------------------------------ 52 ------- 1:48.063
Ford Taurus SHO '98 ------------------------------------------ 57 ------- 1:48.447
Ford Mustang V8 Coupe GT Premium '07 -------------------- 55 ------- 1:49.131
Plymouth Cuda 440 Six Pack '71 ----------------------------- 64 ------- 1:49.726

Wow. That's a huge list, and the thing is, a lot of these cars seem like they'll make good sparring partners. Unfortunately, there are a lot of grids which include a bunch of medium-level or slower cars, but one superstar, meaning we'll eventually be competing with only that one superstar.
 
Again, Grids #1, #10, and #15 are good for getting both top cars (2010 Camaro and 2004 Corvette) on the board.
 
#1 might only feature the Corvette as a competitor. Technically the Camaro is nearly as fast, but it bottlenecks early sometimes, and will never catch up if it does so.
 
Grid #5 might be a good one to choose. It features a '00 Corvette on Pole, with the '02 Dodge Viper and '10 Camaro SS up front as well. Will these three compete for long time? Untested as of now.    
 
Grid #10 has both cars, but starts one of them on Pole, and the other on 2nd place. You may need more power to catch these guys if you choose Grid #10 instead of #1.
 
Grid #15 seems to be the best, since it starts the Camaro SS on Pole, and the Corvette downfield. For sure, both you and the Corvette have a super game of catch-up ahead of them.
 
During the one race I did (with Grid 1), it seemed as though the Prowler, '00 Corvette, and '70 Challenger were running closely.    

 Parts
NO oil change
 
Hard, Medium, and Soft sport tires
 
Factory transmission in most cases, for those interested in better fuel economy, which saves time during the pit stop. Close-ratio units can be used for those with super-tall gears, and full-custom gears should be reserved for those who can't solve some sort of problem with fixed boxes.

 Drivetrain parts as needed. We can use clutch, flywheel, and driveshaft parts to fine-tune our lap times as we practice. Limited-slips should be reserved for cars with real traction issues, of course.    

 Fixed or height-adjustable suspension for most in the Sports Car Class. Cars with the absolute best handling can go with stock parts.
 
Full-custom suspension for many within the Tuned Car Class.     

 Brake balancer only for those with super-horrible handling issues (excessive understeer, for instance) that can help lessen these issues with better braking.  

 
Cars
'03 Audi A3 3.2 Quattro (3,000 pounds, limited 11 hp, med. tires)  
'07 BMW 135i Coupe (3,000 pounds, limited 57 hp, med. tires)
 
'00 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0 (2,400 pounds, soft tires, full-custom suspension)  

 

 

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

Indy 500
 
rating: **** 
participants: 12
 
Level: 28
 
(2,100) 2.84 -- 740 hp  
 
Description
Indianapolis was built in 1909 and has the distinction of being the highest-capacity sports venue in the world, with the ability to seat 400,000. So we'd better please all these people with our skillz.
 
One of the main differences between this endurance race and all the others so far is the track itself, which allows everyone to always move fast. At a track with actual corners, esses, hairpins, and so on, certain cars will have advantages that the Ai might not. For years, they've sucked with braking, for instance. They've been putting their transmissions into 1st gear out of hairpins while we've been choosing 2nd. They've been burdened by traction controls. Because of all this, many fair racers all over the world have been running cars which are sometimes powered much lower than the competition. Well...none of this is true here at Indianapolis.
 
Now, the idea is not to severely underdog our car with power, the idea is mostly to keep up. Though I am still underdogging the cars I enter, it's not by much. On the other hand, PD makes a lot of odd decisions for this 500 miler. They still haven't tuned anybody's transmission appropriately, which means throughout the entire race, they never can attain as high a speed as we can down those straights.
 
And once you get good at this track, it's possible to take all four turns mostly flat-out with fuel, not braking or slowing down much at all, only lifting off the gas sometimes as the right rear tire wears down to 25% or so.     
 
 
Opponents
Not very many top racing cars compete in this series, surprisingly. The game features lots of Group C, GT1, and LMP full racers, yet only seven of them actually show up to compete. Where is the very dangerous Sauber Mercedes? The Jaguar XJR-9? The Bentley Speed 8? Where are all the Japanese?  
 
As seen in other Gran Turismo 5 races, not only are their transmissions tuned too short, not only are they constantly hitting their rev-limiters as they draft, the AI still does not know how to corner properly. They're still in the habit of slowing down a little too much, brake-tapping into most turns, and taking all four curves with mostly out-middle-out lines while we get further inwards. Because of this, again and again they might blow by us down some straight areas, but it's always possible to out-steer them into Indy's four curves.  
 
By the way, "out-middle-out" does become a viable racing line, but only later in the race, when we're free of traffic.
 
They also have a habit of driving initial laps harder than latter ones. During the first 25 laps or so, it can be hard for us to break away from traffic. We can out-corner them, but they'll typically catch up during straights, even if we succeed in keeping them from drafting. Then... all the sudden they begin to fall behind.
 
This is because they've chosen medium tires. Starting about 30 laps in, these tires begin to lose their grip apparently, and need to slow down. During my first try at the Indy 500, I accidently chose hard tires, yet this turned out to be the better decision, because hards tend to keep their adhesiveness even as they've worn almost all the way.   
 
Let's meet the enemy!
 
'01 Audi R8                                   230 mph *
'01 Audi R8 (Team Playstation)       233 mph *
'06 Audi R10 TDI                           234 mph *
'99 BMW V12 LMR                       235 mph * 
'05 Pescarolo C60 Hybride-Judd          231 mph *
'04 Pescarolo Courage - Judd GV5:    209 mph *
'03 Pescarolo Courage C60-Peugeot 209 mph *
 
* An asterisk means the car hit its absolute top speed during replay. 
 
Though the Audi R8s are slightly slower than the Audi R10s and BMW, they are the biggest threat overall during the long term. At least three of them typically show up. Part of the reason they are do better is because they don't downshift as often into lower gears during turns. Some other cars do this regularly, amazingly.
 
Pescarolos burn through slightly more of their fuel, compared to all the Germans. The fastest Pescarolo, the C60 Hybride-Judd, also destroys its tires at a significantly faster rate than any of the others. Don't be afraid of the Hybride's claim of 905 horsepower. The Hybride-Judd never gets any advantage from its extra power.      
 
Strategy
In real-life, the fastest around the Indy 500 was in 1996. Arie Luyendyk got a Reynard/Ford-Cosworth XB up to 237 miles per hour. I only mention this because in the game, we can regularly go a little faster while drafting. My record so far is 242 mph.
 
So far as pitstops go, they usually start coming in after Lap 40, which is about a half hour into the race. A total of four stops are taken by them.
 
Fuel: it is recommended to drive until just a sliver is left. Go ahead and take a full tank, everyone else does. It's more important to be staying out there ON the track instead of having to come back in because not enough was taken. There aren't really any advantages to gain with partial-fueling until the final laps of the race.
 
Tires: again, there isn't much to worry about. Typically, the right rear tire will wear out faster than the others, but even when almost fully-worn, there aren't many adverse handling effects. The car you've chosen won't have quite as much finesse mid-turn, but it will also never just suddenly lose it all. I was able to keep my speeds into Turns 1 and 3 over 190 mph at all times, while the AI tended to slow into the 170s and 180s once tire wear set in.
 
Parts Needed
Full rack of racing tires. Hards will be used most of all, though lighter cars can switch to mediums if needed.
 
Aerodynamics keyed between 45 and 50 up front. If a car cannot make these sort of numbers, don't even bother.
 
Transmission geared so the car can comfortably cruise over 240 mph without rev-limiting.
 
Cars Used
'97 BMW McLaren F1 GTR (2,100 pounds) 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Suzuka 1000km
 
rating: ***
participants: 12
 
---Group A---
(2,700 ) 5.74 -- 470 hp
 
---Group B---
(2,700) 5.51 -- 490 hp
 
"Group A" includes those Premiums which can accept a race kit [RM] with adjustable aerodynamics, which can be pushed to 35 up front.
 
"Group B" includes those with lesser aerodynamics. Typically, this includes Premium cars which can't accept a full RM kit. Their front spoiler (if we can install one at all) won't be adjustable, and it may or may not have a low number. Lower than 20, usually. This group also contains Standards as well, though Standards should only be raced on dry days.  
 
If you can push your car's front spoiler past 35 (for instance, if you're using one of the Super GTs or JGTC racers which appear in this series) chances are you'll need less power than shown above for either class.
 
Oil change and engine rebuild are okay, if you want to get an early edge on traffic. Just make sure that when the oil degrades, your car's power will wind up where it should.
 
It is best to keep any NSX away from pole position, starting no higher than 5th place. There are plenty of grids which make this happen.  
 
The ratios above assume a dry track has shown up. Some cars (like the Subaru I used first time) will be near their very limits if the track is dry, but will suddenly trounce the field if any rain starts to seriously fall. So it's hard to predict how much we should ultimately use. To be safe though, just go with what's up above. This is a long race, and one serious mistake can make a huge difference.    
 
Description
Now we go off to Suzuka's full circuit, to drive a grand total of 1000 kilometers, which is roughly 621 miles. Suzuka Circuit is located in Suzuka City, and is owned by Honda.
 
I drove the Super GT in a couple of somewhat-modified street cars: and today am attempting the same feat, because driving one of the Super GTs which appear in this series (or even an older JGTC) would make for all-too-easy of a fight, unless the engine limiter were heavily used. And I don't like using engine limiters. Thankfully, the folks who made Gran Turismo 5 happen to agree with this. We don't have to drive a Super GT, we aren't even limited to Japanese cars. An ordinary (but highly-modified) car can handle the Super GT, and this is also true for the Suzuka 1000km.
 
The big, major thing about this race which is different from all the other enduros so far is that rain can fall, and we have a choice to make this happen or not, by entering and exiting the Parts/Settings menu repeatedly, and seeing whether the track is anywhere from 0% to 100% wet. Though I used a Subaru during my first try at the Suzuka 1000km, and this car would slay the others if rain was falling, you won't need an AWD to make this happen. The AI slows down so much if it is raining, it's easy for rear-drives to also get around them as well.
 
Opponents
As noted above, it's the Honda NSX teams that'll be the most deadly here, and I recommend starting them no higher than 5th place. Though some others will do well on occasion, for some reason it's the NSX which is much obviously quicker. And this is despite the fact that NSXes are sometimes rated with the least power, compared to a few other Super GTs.
 
Unfortunately, this makes the 1000km rather 1-sided. On the other hand, the AI still has its habit of being 'patient' once they catch up to us, meaning that they won't try to pounce over our lead once they get into our mirrors. Instead, they'll just hang back there, waiting for us to screw up. Because of this, sometimes if one car bottlenecks behind us in this way, another might catch up. And another. I've seen as many as six cars forming a train behind me at times, sparring one another back there.
 
Strategy
Though we should show up to the race with a full range of racing tires, note that the cars we're up against will be using medium slicks at best, if there is no rain. While practicing for this race, make sure your car can do somewhere between 2:07 and 2:08 reliably on fresh medium tires, and on a dry track.     
 
Soft tires should only be used during some sort of emergency. Most of the time, we'll be on mediums ourselves, if we want that mixture of lap times + tire longevity. Hard tires might be okay if we've got a car with a full aerodynamic kit, but otherwise, go medium.
 
And about that rain. I have done several mock races and a few real ones, and have come to these conclusions. If the sky is bright and colorful (0% Rain), chances are the entire race will be done on a dry track. If a race features a full downpour (100% Rain), I have yet to see any variation from this.   
 
It's those times when there's an intermediate amount of rain that we'll see some sudden, unexpected changes, which is the closest thing the game will ever get to a yellow flag, since these changes will cause the entire field of GTs to go for unscheduled pit stops as the track dries and gets wetter. Each race is different if you choose to go this route.   
 
For instance, a day which starts with 43% rain might have even more rain as the laps get higher, or maybe it'll have less rain. We cannot predict what will happen, which adds extra layers of suspense and strategy. I did one race which started with rain, and once the rain went away, it never came  back. On my second try, it started at 43%, dropped to 0% for roughly 80 laps, but then picked up again on Lap 99. By the end of this race, the track was 64% wet.   
 
If you notice that the rain has stopped, and the track continues to get dryer, now's the time to begin planning that pit stop for slick tires. Especially as the track gets somewhere between 30% to 20% wet, you'll start to notice other cars beginning to come into the pits. It's a good idea to get in there, as well. The reason is that Rain and Intermediate Tires wear out extremely fast once the track is drying.
 
If it begins to rain after a period of dryness, but the track doesn't accumulate (it stays at 0%), this seems to be caused by a glitch. If we're wanting rain to accumulate, we can press the Suspend Race button the next time we come into the pits. When we reenter the game later on, this seems to kick-start things. It may take a few laps, but rain should begin to gather onto the track eventually, assuming it keeps falling down.  
 
One final thing about rain. While it's coming down, we won't be able to turn off our windshield wipers, which is annoying and distracting. Don't worry though, as the track dries, they will automatically turn off by themselves.
 
Other than rain, fuel is the one area where things will change the most, compared to earlier races: Grand Valley, Laguna Seca, and the Roadster 4-Hour Endurance. Virtually any car powerful enough for the Suzuka 1000km will also be thirsty enough to require frequent fueling. My Subaru Impreza Sport Wagon, for instance, would go through a 1/4 tank of gas about every 8 laps.
 
We can shave small amounts of time perhaps, by taking a few liters less than our pit crew suggests, but taking extremely low amounts of fuel, as some may do during slower races to save time, is a stupid idea here at Suzuka. 23 to 25 lap stints are what most of us will be aiming for. In general, that right there will drain roughly 75% of our tank!  
      
 
Parts
Full assortment of Racing Tires
 
Brake Balancer
 
Full-custom suspension. We might not need this to win, but tweaking a car's handling just as we'd like can make driving it so much more satisfying!   
 
Transmission can vary. Again, go with full-custom transmission if you want that perfect, custom fit. But this is not 100% necessary.    
 
Twin clutch, and other assorted drivetrain parts. Go for the best, if you have that sort of option.
 
Wing / spoiler kit, or RM kit from GT Auto, assuming your car's body is not already modified for extra downforce. Some Standards can also be  entered into the 1000km, but it's not recommended to race them on rainy days.   
 
Premium car (not Standard) for those who use the in-car view. This way we've got those windshield wipers if we need 'em.  
 
 
Cars Used
'07 Lexus IS F [RM]               (2,700 pounds, Group A)
'07 Subaru Impreza STI WRX (2,700 pounds, Group B)
 
------------------------------------------------------------

Nürburgring 4-Hour Endurance
 
rating: **
participants: 12
 
Level: 32
 
Sports Car Class
()
 
Tuner Car Class
(2,800) 7.27 -- 385 hp
  
The above ratios include Group B and C cars only (see Opponents section). If Group A is included, add +TBA.
 
A grid of lesser cars (B and C) shows up with just four reloads, but the reload after #4 is even better. If we're wanting to go up against faster Group A automobiles though, these grids are more plentiful than pure B and Cs.
 
Description:
Welcome to the track once known as the "Green Hell." Win this race, and you'll be earning nearly a half-million credits. Today we're going to be doing a lot of laps around the Green Hell, and personally I am looking forward to every one of them. Well, maybe most of them, okay?
 
For this 4-hour event, GT5 gives us Nürburgring Type V, which is one of the mixed versions of this track. We won't have to worry about weather or time changes, but we will need to know the full Nordschleife, along with Sudschleife Version D, which we drove a few laps on during the Extreme-level German Touring Car Championship. Those of us who've concentrated on the AMG Driving School, going for golds or at least silvers, and then have done those Extreme Series races several times, already know what's coming. Now we just need a little more practice on the full version perhaps, and the right car to tackle it.
 
And once again, we can enter any car in the game, literally from Subaru 360 to Formula GT. Even if we narrow this list down to more accurate competitive levels though, we're still possibly looking at a rather large portion of our garage. Now we can narrow our list down even further once we begin to factor in weight, drivetrain type, handling characteristics, and so on. We don't want to enter anything too big and goofy, too heavy, too quirky with odd handling traits, etc.
 
Good news is, we don't need mountains of power to compete here, even if we choose a grid which features the very best. Tuning can also vary quite a lot. Some cars (sports cars usually) won't need much tuning at all, while others will require full-custom parts all over. I have even heard it's possible to take a front drive to this race, although of course, only the best FFs will survive.   
 
Opponents:
It's like going back to the Tuning Car Grand Prix! The exact same template of cars  is being used from that series, with a few new faces like the Audi R8 LMS, and Infiniti Racing Concept. Again, we can pick and choose from the lists below, finding grids which will work best for us, competitively and safely.
 
Unlike the TCGP, one huge difference our opponents will be dealing with is tire wear. And tire wear gets increased by weight. Unfortunately, a lot of the cars which did well during the Expert Series (most Skylines, for instance, along with some sleepers who dominated like the Amuse Carbon R and all of Nissan's Z-cars) are going to be left behind.
 
Other than that, we can stick to the same rules we used during the TCGP. Some grids are much easier than others, and here's the list of cars which can show.
 
Group A 
'04 Amuse S2000 GT1 Turbo
'86 RUF BTR
'87 RUF BTR "Yellowbird"
'08 HKS CT230R

Both the RUFs suffer from the same problems they did during the TCGP; in effect, they'll occasionally take turns too hot and slide out, and there's a lot of turns for them to screw up in. But when they're on their game, they'll catch up quickly. It's the lightweight HKS, and the Amuse S2000 which are most dangerous here, but the rear-engine RUFs can't be discounted entirely either. The HKS was in Group B during the TCGP, but now it's firmly in A, since its transmission won't limit its speed except during a couple of longer straight areas.   
 
We can do races with Group A present, or we can opt for a grid entirely full of B and C cars. Note that Groups A and B are much smaller than they were for the Tuning Car Grand Prix. With lots more distance and laps to cover, only the strongest now are tops. 

Group B.
AEM S2000
'04 Amuse Carbon R
'04 Amuse S2000 GT1
(non turbo)
'08 Audi R8 LMS
'07 HPA Motorsports F565 Twin Turbo TT
'03 Nismo Fairlady Z Z-tune
'96 RUF CTR2
'00 RUF RGT
    
 
If a car is not mentioned above, it is in Class C, which means it won't be anybody's sort of threat. Class C can sometimes hold up faster cars during that first lap or two (while we get a sizable lead if we happen to break through traffic), but otherwise C is nothing to fear.
 
A lot of Class B will defer to one another, too, so the list above is mainly a guideline, not a rule. For instance, if an Amuse S2000 GT1 and a RUF CTR2 show up, they may battle for multiple laps. It'll be the Amuse (with its full-racing bodywork) which will wind up leading though.   
 
Strategy:
Tire Wear. Most of the AI will be coming for a pitstop every 5 laps. So in other words, when you get to the end of Lap 5 (going into 6) that is when most of them will be coming in, and that is when we should be thinking of heading in ourselves, unless we're driving something super-light, which doesn't burn its rubber as quickly.
 
Unlike earlier endurance races, our opponents won't go all the way till their tires are nearly bald. In fact, they tend to come in when their rubber is just over 50% worn, and still making decent lap times. If we stay out there, we'd better make sure we've got some good tread left, otherwise the faster cars in the pack will quickly destroy any sort of positions we've gained. At this point, roughly 45 minutes will have gone by, which is about typical for some real-life GT racing.
 
Fuel consumption is one area where we can gain some advantages. Again, we won't have to fuel up all the way to full capacity every single time, yet this is just what our competition will do, even if they've only got two laps to go!  Still though, our gas situation is similar to the way it was at Suzuka -- do not skimp too much on fueling. Try to do some math at some point, so you know how much you'll really need to stay out there at full speeds. Nothing sucks more than running out of fuel just when things are getting good, and then having to crawl back to the pits at a snail's pace.
 
On the other hand, there are races which can be won simply through fuel strategy. During my first full stint of 4 hours, an Amuse S2000 GT1 nearly caught up to me at the very end. It would have probably won too, had it not spent so much time taking unnecessary fuel, with just two laps to go.   
 
Sometimes, the 'shape' of the entire race can begin with that very first turn. This means that as we leave Turn 1 for the very first time, if we manage to get on the front lines, generally this is where we'll stay. This assumes no drastic mistakes are made throughout the next four hours, of course. On the other hand, if we don't get on the front lines after those first few turns, if we're still mid-pack (or worse) by the time (let's say) Fugplatz is being navigated, we're going to have a hell of a time catching up. Catching up is possible, but it also can be aggravating!
 
This rule doesn't just apply to us; sometimes some of the faster cars can remain far behind if they don't make positions during that first minute or so. Difference is, they rarely screw up, and eventually will catch up to us if we're leading.          
 
Parts:
Full assortment of racing tires (though mediums are what's being used most often by 'them').
 
Full-Customized Transmission tuned just over 200 mph if you're racing against Group B, and 225 if you're racing against Group A.
 
Twin Clutch. Flywheel can vary, carbon drive shaft if applicable. Limited-slip action if you need this. A lot of cars which have survived up till now without LSD might benefit from it here, even all-wheel drives.
 
Full Custom Suspension. Not 100% necessary to win, but it's good to have that perfect feel as we're bouncing all over this track.
 
Brake Balancer
 
Wing & Spoiler kits aren't 100% mandatory, but they help get into the spirit of making ordinary cars look more "racy!" >:-D~      
 
Cars Driven:
'03 Subaru Legacy Touring Wagon 2.0 GT spec B (2,800 pounds)


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