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GT4 Japanese Events

GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

You have much to learn, young grasshoppa...

red_silviaks.jpg

Ai rating system

(*) = A very uncompetitive, pointless, or boring race/event.

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

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

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

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Japan Championship
rating: **

Cars that Handle Well

Fuji 90's: ````7.70 (2,650)

Tsukuba: ````8.75 (2,650)

Tokyo Rt 246: 9.17 (2,650)

Twin Ring: ````8.01 (2,650)

Suzuka: ````````7.53 (2,650)

Cars that Handle Poorly

Fuji 90's: ````7.90 (2,750) /// 9.25 (3,450)

Tsukuba: ````7.90 (2,750) /// 10.52 (3,450)

Tokyo Rt 246: 6.99 (2,750) /// 8.89 (3,450)

Twin Ring: ```` 6.70 (2,750) /// 8.89 (3,450)

Suzuka ```````` 6.25 (2,750) /// 8.50 (3,450)


Notice that I have divided these ratios into 2 groups: cars that handle well and those that handle poorly. If you find yourself braking into corners and then being able to immediately jump on the gas with little or no drama, you've got a good-handling car. But if your lap times are hurt by understeer, fishtailing, butcher-block aerodynamics, needing to brake excessively, etc., then your car is one that handles poorly. Poor-handling cars include some older models, front-drives, and some all-wheel drives as well.

In these, the '02 Honda NSX Type R is the one to watch for, along with a '97 NSX type S zero. These 2 demons usually get ahead of the rest of the Ai--and it's possible to have both NSXs on the grid, which is fun.

In some cases there is a secondary car that keeps up; usually the '02 Mazda RX-7 spirit R type A. I've also seen one of the Impreza STi's keep pace, but much less frequently. Skylines can seldom win...perhaps one race out of 50. So try and get the dual NSX team along with an RX-7 and/or Skyline to show up cuz sometimes the RX-7 can out-gun the NSX (especially at curvy tracks) and occasionally a Skyline will beat them all.

In any case, pay attention the the race grid you start with. This is a series of events in sore need of some drama. :-/

Even though the sim cars pack about 400 horses, we don't have to. This has the benefit of being cost-effective since many Japanese cars won't need much more than a stage 1 turbo & accessories. In fact, in some races my '99 Impreza WRX STi sedan was running stock power (290 hp). Yup. That is how got the middle-weight class ratio for better-handling cars (2,650 pounds).

--Drive hard. You may out-qualify the Ai by several seconds but in some races (10 laps at Tsukuba, for instance) the sim cars put their best laps in towards the end and they may catch you! By the time we're at Twin Ring Motegi and Suzuka, the Ai seem absolutely determined to put you behind in the points war!


• S2 sport tires with semi-racing suspension
seems to be the way to go. Many will need close gears and/or full-custom gears. Racing brake package and an assortment of drivetrain parts may be needed. too.

• If you've got a rear-drive or all-wheel drive car and no NSXs or RX-7s are in the grid, remove 30 to 40 horsepower. Try to make it so that the grid is one containing Impreza STi(s), Lancer Evo(s), the Infiniti G35, and/or Mazda RX-8. The all-wheel drive cars and rear-drive cars battle it out at times with such a grid.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
All Japan GT Championship
rating: ***


Production Cars with GT Auto Wing kit

with qualifying:
Tokyo Route 246 (5 laps) 
6.74 (2,900)

Suzuka East (12 laps) 
7.00 (2,900)

Seoul Central (10 laps)
7.09 (2,900)

Fuji Speedway '90s (6 laps)
7.53 (2,900)

Twin Ring Motegi--Super Speedway (12 laps)
6.25 (2,900)

Laguna Seca (7 laps)
7.99 (2,900)

Hong Kong (9 laps)
7.69 (2,900)

Twin Ring Motegi--Full Course (6 laps)
7.28 (2,900)

Fuji Speedway 2005 GT (6 laps)
7.28 (2,900)

Suzuka Circuit (5 laps)
7.28 (2,900)


without qualifying:

Tokyo Route 246 (5 laps) 
5.86 (2,900)

Suzuka East (12 laps) 
6.74 (2,900)

Seoul Central (10 laps) 
6.88 (2,900)

Fuji Speedway '90s (6 laps)
7.29 (2,900)

Twin Ring Motegi--Super Speedway (12 laps)
6.08 (2,900)

Laguna Seca (7 laps)
7.17 (2,900)

Hong Kong (9 laps)
6.97 (2,900)

Twin Ring Motegi--Road Course (6 laps)
6.71 (2,900)

Fuji Speedway 2005 GT (6 laps)
6.82 (2,900)

Suzuka Circuit (5 laps) 
6.44 (2,900)

*The ratios above assume Supras, NSXes, and some GTRs are present, but the Nissan Motul Pitwork Z and Xavani Skyline GTRs (both '01 and '03) are not.


There are two ways to race the AJGT: qualify or don't qualify (i.e., start in 6th place). It's possible to run production models with a wing kit, or use full racing cars in these events. It all depends which Ai show up, and which type of car you've brought to the competition. I've currently arragned two sets of ratios as seen above.

Some of the JGTCs in these events are jackrabbits. If you can find a line-up in which these jackrabbits start in 4th or 5th, you might want to NOT qualify, to enjoy a more intense racing experience where two or more cars wind up competing on the front lines. Or you can do races that don't include jackrabbit cars, for which qualifyng is okay. 


Description
It's ironic that in the "All Japan" GT Championship, I finally found a place to competitively race my winged Viper GTS. :) These events are very intense at some tracks. After that first race at Route 246, I was worn out! Collapsed back in my chair with a win of just -0.036 seconds!


Ignore the name of this series; it is not "All Japan". In fact, it is possible to enter European, American, and Australian cars here, which adds variety and makes things not so one-sided. The Ai is strictly Japanese, however. What we've got as Ai are the same batch of JGTC cars we've seen so much of in GT2, GT3, and some GT4 enduros. Raybrig NSX, Castrol Supra, Calsonic Skyline, etc...

Do some research before you enter a production-type car. Some races require extreme endurance, despite the fact that none of them is over 12 laps. A good way to test your car is to do 12 laps at Suzuka East. If it can last all 12 laps on R2 (hard racing) slicks without those tires turning red, you've got a winner. It is possible to enter a car on R1 tires, too, for these events, but more power will be needed than I've suggested. For convenience sake, I just do these races on R2 and R3 racing slicks, since the Ai is all running on R3s.

These are very predictable events (in a good way) because some of the same battles we fought before in GT2 and GT3 can be relived. Another nice touch? It seems as if a different team of programmers worked on the AJGT, because the Ai definately isn't as punt-happy as it is in many other events. It's rare (and usually my fault) if a sim car bangs into me. Fuji Speedway is the one exception to this rule. All a sudden, they start getting very agro, as if they've been holding back their anger 'til now. Thankfully, they cool off after this. 

The main thing that ruins these races are the jackrabbits, of which there are several. From fastest to slowest, we have the Nissan Motul Pitwork Z, 2003 Xanavi Nismo GT-R, and 2001 Xavani Nissan GT-RThese are the ones I've identified so far as jackrabbits. If you include any one (or all) of these rabbits, put them behind the others. Personally, I don't include any of these, as I like a bit of mystery as to who I'll be competing against.

Tip: In each race, the starting grid will be exactly the same if you don't qualify, which means it's possible to save your game without the grid shuffling. But you'll still be knocked back to 6th place if you qualify, and then try to save.

The Ai NSX has advantages in endurance races like the Grand Valley 300KM, but a disadvantage in some of these sprints, since its mid-engine layout means its front tires haven't got so much weight over them (when compared to front-engine Supras, Nissans and Nismos), and this means some of these races aren't long enough for the NSX's front tires to reach optimum temperature as quickly. This is not a set in stone rule, though! At corner-heavy Suzuka and Lagnua Seca, for instance, the NSX stands a better chance, especially if it gets an early lead and remains somewhat ahead of the pack for 4 or 5 laps. It can make a good showing at some other tracks, too. I won't spoil, though.


>You'll need medium racing tires (R3) or racing hard tires (R2), full-custom suspension, fully modified brakes, and in cars you bought from the dealer that weren't already race-modified, you may need a wing kit. Full weight reductions, too, in most cases.

>Heavier winged, production or concept cars will need R2 tires at corner-heavy tracks (Suzuka--both versions, Laguna Seca, and maybe Hong Kong) since there are no pitstops taken by the Ai, but generally you should be using R3s as much as you can. Do test-qualifying before each race to determine what tires you'll need. If you want to start in 6th place, make sure you save your game first.

>Limited slip (fixed or full-modifyable), close, super-close or full-custom gearing might be needed by some cars at some tracks, along with an assortment of drivetrain parts.

> If you've brought a used model to the AJGT, you might also want to consider a chassis refresh for those cars that need them. A rollcage is highly optional, and will make some cars handle worse than they did originally.

> Don't forget to do regular maintenance on your vehicle in between races. Some of these are long enough to start the degrade of power for certain cars.


* An '03 BMW M3 CSL, '03 Nissan 350Z and '99 Dodge Viper GTS were used for middleweight (2,900 pound) category.


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Japanese '70s Classics
rating: *

Fuji 80's & Autumn. Ring=13.33 (2,160) /// 18.62 (2,700)

Tsukuba Circuit``````````````````11.55 (2,160) /// 16.36 (2,700)

T. Mountain & Motorsport= 14.90 (2,160) /// 18.62 (2,700)


Description
In the early '70s, Japan's sportiest models had puny engines typically no larger than 3 liters; yet were trying to mimic the look of American muscle or European sports cars. Hence, the '70s classics are full of cars low on power but high on personality.

It seems the "classics" in this race are bone-stock so far as power goes, which means it's possible to buy a cheapie from the Historic Lot, then do some racing with just a few credits spent.

Unfortunately, prize money is low at $2,000 apiece for a first-place win. PD neglected to power up slower machines so instead of a close 6-way match, the Nissan Skylines and Nissan Z cars get far ahead of the Celicas, Civics, and Colts...Nissans basically blow everyone else away. Which really sucks in my opinionated opinion. This repetition of Ai behavior and near-complete lack of tension in these events baffles me. To try and create some drama, try and get as many Skylines and Zs to show up for a moderately exciting race.

• Use a sports suspension but N3 (road tires) on rear-drive cars. In some cases, you may get to the point that you'll need to limit your ride even more: equipping a stock suspension, drivetrain, etc.

• Front-drive models can use S2/medium sport tires, or a combo of S2 and S1's with a sport suspension.

• Since the cars you'll be racing are mostly front or rear-drive lightweights, a 1-way or 1.5-way differential is also recommended if you want to eliminate wheelspin, yet keep that lightweight agility. Some cars won't need these parts, though.

• Some models may also need close-ratio gearboxes at Autumn Ring, Tsukuba, and Motorland. And others with short gearing will need a full-custom gearbox at Fuji.
----------------------------------------------------------------
Japanese '80s Festival
Rating: ****

El Capitan:
14.49 (1,800) /// 15.61 (2,625) /// 18.40 (3,000)

SS Route 5 II:
9.98 (1,800) /// 13.96 (2,625) /// 15.00 (3,000)

Tsukuba Circuit:
11.37 (1,800) /// 12.68 (2,625) /// 14.36 (3,000)

Apricot Hill II:
9.45 (1,800) /// 12.32 (2,625) /// 13.33 (3,000)

Suzuka Circuit:
9.45 (1,800) /// 12.32 (2,625) /// 13.33 (3,000)


The ratios above were calculated for rear-drive cars when faster Ai like the MR2 and Trueno are present (see description text below). Add 10 to 15 horses to front-drive cars if these guys show up. This FWD hp bonus is for extreme cases only, so use it only when you absolutely need it to keep up..


Does anyone else feel weird that that Fuji 80's is absent from the list of above tracks? :-)

Description:
Time to get out those skinny ties and crank up the Depressed Mode! We're going back to the '80s!!!  

Usually, either of the '86 Toyota MR2s (G-limited SC or 1600 G) will dominate. At tracks with standing-starts (El Capitan, Apricot Hill, and Suzuka) put MR2s no higher than 4th place. At tracks with rolling starts (Route 5 and Tsukuba), you can put an MR2 in 3rd place. Putting them any higher can easily create a jackrabbit situation. They might still jackrabbit with the guidelines I just explained, but you should be able to keep up with them.

But the beautiful thing about the '80s series? The reason it's often a guaranteed 4-star race? It's because MR2s are not the absolute dominant vehicles which can show up. The '85 Mazda RX-7 GT, '88 Nissan Silvia K's, '81 Toyota Celica (Supra) 2800, '91 Celica GT-R, some Skylines, and Corolla/Truenos can also put up a good fight. Races in which the RX-7, a Corolla/Trueno, or a Supra (or any mentioned above!) are near pole postion with an MR2 downfield usually make for some tasty battles.

͸  If none of the above shows up (no MR2s, RX7, etc) or if the faster cars mentioned above (but no MR2) start far downfield, try removing 30 to 50 horsepower. Remove up to 30 for front-drives, and 50 for rear and all-wheel drives. Don't blow off these slower events, they can be just as action-packed as the fastest ones!

Keep in mind there are many cars that can show up as sims, and you can't always predict how each race will shape up. I've even seen such econoboxes as the Honda City Turbo and CRX put up a good fight at the front lines!


• S2 medium sports (S3 soft sports for FWD cars) and sport suspension, and racing brakes (without brake controller) are recommended.

• Some cars may need one of the cheaper differentials: 1-way, 1.5-way, or 2-way. The 1-way diffs work best (if you need them) for front-drives, while 1.5 and 2-ways may be needed for difficult, swivelly MR2s. None of these units are completely necessary for all situations tho. Depends on your skill level, usually.

͸ Close gearing at some tracks, too, as well as assorted cheaper drivetrain parts.


* I used an '81 Toyota Celica 2800GT with +127 kg (279 pounds) of ballast for the heavyweight (3,000 pound) category. Not sure what I used for light & middleweight classes. 
------------------------------------------------------------------
Japanese '90s Challenge
rating: ***

Apricot Hill:
12.13 (2,150) // 11.57 (2,750) // 13.94 (3,500)

G. Valley East II:
10.96 (2,150) // 12.69 (2,750) // 15.91 (3,500)

Twin Ring East:
11.89 (2,150) // 12.69 (2,750) // 14.83 (3,500)

SS Route 5 II:
10.96 (2,150) // 12.69 (2,750) // 16.20 (3,500)

Fuji '90s:
10.96 (2,150) // 12.87 (2,750) // 15.07 (3,500)

Front-drive: add @25 to 35 horsepower
...+25 hp for most coupes & hatches, and +35 hp for FWD sedans.

All-wheel drive and mid-engine cars: remove 10 horsepower or more at Apricot Hill, and Fuji if you need to. These tracks feature standing-starts, which means AWDs and MRs can get an early advantage which must be squashed.

If you are doing front-drive-only races (all 5 Ai cars are FWD, and so are you) don't add or subtract any power--instead try using the ratios above with no modifyers.

Description
Hey. Put away those skinny ties and break out the grunge & flannel...it's the '90s all over again! Those of us who originally owned Gran Turismo 1 may feel a bit of deja vu, as many of the same cars we competed against in the first game (and only those cars) are here.

Again, it doesn't take much power to win since the Ai posseses anywhere from 240 to 245 hp. Very nice not to have to always break the entire bank account over my knee. :-) The ensuing melees are heavily populated with front-drive cars, while an occasional rear-drive, all-wheel drive, or mid engine/rear-drive also makes its way into the mix.


• For the best challenge, try and make sure at least two FR or MR machines are present and sitting (typically) no higher than 3rd place at rolling-start tracks. The all-wheel drive '92 Lancer GSR is a bit average and rarely gets a lead, so it's safe to have it starting in 1st place.

• At standing-start tracks like Apricot Hill and Fuji, the Lancer and MR2 get an advantage over front-drives and FRs. Make sure the MR2 starts no higher than 5th with a front-engine (FF or FR) car sitting in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd at Apricot Hill.

͸ At Fuji, there's a bit of leeway. I've done races in which the MR2 started as high as 3rd place, yet failed to make it to the front lines. But try to keep it off of 1st or 2nd place at the start or it WILL jackrabbit.

͸ If there's no MR2 at Apricot Hill or Fuji, a rear-drive car should sit no higher than 3rd place, with front-drive models holding 1st and 2nd place...unless you want a jackrabbit situation.

• Finally, do not underestimate the front-drives! They can duel with surprising tenacity. PD seems to have treated the '90s Challenge the way real-life GT racing organizations do; by giving front-drives some tuning advantages, in an effort to make a more-equal playing field. For instance, I just entered a sporty rear-drive '96 Nissan 240SX, yet got skewered by a front-drive Infiniti G20 at Apricot Hill. Not at all what I'd expected.

...Of course, most of the time FWDs lose as expected. They sometimes get too eager and understeer right off-track. But there are plenty of times they drive all thier laps flawlessly. If you've entered an underpowered or dis-advantaged front-drive car, it is possible to do FWD-only races...they are just as fun and competitive, or at least they can be.

....In general you never know what'll happen next in these 5 events. They are not predictable. Try a race, and then try it again with the exact same line-up. A Miata may lead the first one but a Prelude may take the 2nd one. You may find yourself falling far behind in one race, but could also finding yourself needing to use way less power than I've suggested for another race because you've managed to become a jackrabbit yourself. Predictability is low, drama can be high.

• Use S2 medium sport tires or a combo of medium & hard sports. Sport or semi-racing suspension and racing brake kit may also be good buys. Again, the brake controller is not needed.

͸ Close-ratio gears with an assortment of cheaper drivetrain parts (single-plate clutch, sports flywheel, carbon shaft) can be used if your car lacks adequte power after calculating from the race's ratios.



I used a Mazda Miata for lightweight, Nissan 240SX for middleweight, and Mitsubishi 3000GT SL for heavyweight classes.


------------------------------------------------------------------
Japanese Compact Cup

rating: **

FF Cars with conventional gearboxes

18.00 (1,800) // 19.30 (2,200)

FF Cars with CVT gearboxes

22.43 (2,350)

B-spec: add @15 bhp (after qualifying in 1st) or 50 bhp w/o qualifying.

• Please note that I have created 2 classifications for what we'll be driving: cars with a conventional gearbox (featuring multiple gears that shift automatically or manually), or cars with "CVTs" like the Honda Fit, Toyota Prius, etc., which have just "one" gear. CVT vehicles demand special rules (see below) since they are configured to stay in their prime horsepower RPMs at all times.


Description
A set of 5 races in this series. Depending on which car you use and how determined you are, you may find these either mildly challenging or completely dull.

The Toyota Vitzs tend to dominate at some tracks, but will rate 2nd place occasionally to a lesser car like the Honda Fit. Oddly, the AI cars seem to drive good at certain tracks but will lack at others, as if they're having a bad day. One hell of a lot of fun these can be, if you don't mind some slowness. Actually...if you don't mind ALOT of slowness!

Careful--I've noticed the AI drives a bit cautiously during the first lap, but will try and catch up as their tires warm! It is very possible to lose a race to what seems to be at first a sleepy driver on your tail.

Use road tires (N3) if you qualify and medium sports (S2) if you don't. In other words, if you qualify, use N3s during qualifying AND the actual race. Use S3 soft sports for B-spec driving.

͸ Sports suspension too for all cars (A or B-spec) unless they have some sort of huge advantage despite minimal horsepower.

͸ In many cases, these slowboats can also use close-ratio transmissions with light drivetrain parts. Brake upgrades should only be used for poor-handling emergencies.  

• cars used to get ratios:
'83 Honda CR-X Ballade Sports (1,800 conventional tranny)
Honda Fit for the 1 ton+ (2,350 pound CVT).

To get a fair race, I had to added 79 kilograms of ballast (175 pounds) to the Fit's weight by going into Settings-> Weight Balance, and then +79.

....Drive hard no matter what. You may get far ahead of the Ai in some races but have some eager competition in others.

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