Home | Here are the Reviews | GT2 Racing Guide | GT3 Racing Guide | GT4 Racing Guide | GT5 Racing Guide | GT6 Racing Guide | GT Videos | Links to other GT sites

GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

GT5 Expert Series (A-spec)

purpl_evo6-goldrims.jpg

Tuning Car Championship

rating: ***
participants: 12

Level: 15 

-Sports Car Class-
Suzuka Circuit
(1,400) 4.57 - 306 hp
(2,500) 6.58 - 380 hp
(3,000) 7,57 - 396 hp
(3,500) 8.49 - 412 hp 

Daytona Road Course
(1,400) 6.06 - 231 hp
(2,500) 7.20 - 337 hp
(3,000) 8.52 - 352 hp
(3,500) 9.54 - 367 hp

Grand Valley Speedway*
(1,400)  5.81- 241 hp
(2,500) 8.25 - 303 hp
(3,000) 9.49 - 316 hp
(3,500) 10.60 - 330 hp

Special Stage Route 5*
(1,400) 5.69 - 246 hp 
(2,500) 8.77 - 285 hp
(3,000) 9.67 - 310 hp
(3,500) 10.45 - 335 hp

Tokyo Route 246
(1,400)  4.28 - 327 hp 
(2,500) 6.04 - 414 hp
(3,000) 6.91 - 434 hp
(3,500) 7.69 - 455 hp

-Tuner Class-
Suzuka Circuit 
(2,400) 6.06 - 396 hp 
(3,000) 7.06 - 425 hp
(3,500) 7.81 - 448 hp
(4,033) 8.10 - 498 hp

Daytona Road Course
(2,400) 6.43 - 373 hp
(3,000) 7.85 - 382 hp
(3,500) 8.84 - 396 hp
(4,033) 9.16 - 418 hp

Grand Valley Speedway
(2,400) 6.28 - 382 hp
(3,000) 7.28  - 412 hp
(3,500) 8.12 - 431 hp
(4,033) 8.88 - 454 hp

Special Stage Route 5
(2,400) 6.43 -
373hp
(3,000) 7.63 - 393 hp
(3,500) 8.68 - 403 hp
(4,033) 9.14 - 441 hp

Tokyo Route 246
(2,400) 5.15 - 466 hp
(3,000) 6.31 - 475 hp
(3,500) 7.26 - 482 hp
(4,033) 7.59 - 531 hp

There are three classes of AI that can show up: Groups A, B, and C. Study the lists below in the Opponents section to get a clue. In most cases, I recommend keeping some of Group A off the grid entirely, while including as much of B as desired. Group C is slowest, and usually not a problem, but some of its members can occasionally make a good showing if they start on or near Pole.   
 
The above ratios assume Group B is present, and starts at least on 3rd place.. If the grid in front includes only lesser autos on Pole, 2nd, and 3rd, remove up to 40 horsepowerThe maximum of 40 should only be removed if your car is super-confident with handling.
 
On the other hand, there are plenty of grids which feature Group B talent up front, including Pole. Let's say you want to compete against one of these?  This is okay, but try adding some power. Up to +10 to +15 hp per position is okay. So if a B starts on Pole, and you've got something requiring 362 hp,, now 382 to 392 hp is the new power rating. For those who take this option, make sure there is more than one Group B machine up there, so challenge remains constant.    
 
For those who want a "soft" grid, one which barely has any Group A or B up front at all, this can be found as well. Remove 10 hp per position below 3. So if the first Group B car starts in 6th place, 30 hp can get hacked.. Problem with deducting power is driving will now need to be even more flawless. Any mistakes (any off-track moments, especially) and there's a chance that gaining back positions may now be impossible.      
 
I recommend starting Group A as low as possible, which creates a more even-paced set of races. One of its members (the Amuse S2000 GT1 Turbo) should be banned from this set of races entirely, in my opinion.     
 

Description
5 laps apiece, no more of this 2 or 3-lap nonsense. Born during the days of GT4, the TCGP has become even bolder than it was, each car given hundreds more horsepower than before. GT4's line-up brought forth a mixture of RUF Porsches, tuner house sports cars, and a few actual racing cars, which created a rather lopsided-feeling set of events. The same odd mixture of cars still exists, but things have improved for the better overall.

I rated this a 3-star event. It's got the drama, it's got the excitement, and an occasional race will actually rate at 4 stars, since some grids portray a solid set of autos competing with one another from start to finish. The problem is this sort of competition is not always guaranteed. There are plenty of TCGPs that feel just as one-sided as they did during GT4's days. 

But search for that perfect racing grid, and you'll have yourself a ball.  
 
As seen above in the Ratios section, there are presently two classes: Sports Car and Tuner, and the above ratios were made soley with 90's-era or New Millenium cars, but some older classics might also be able to participate here and there, without any extra power.  

Sports cars often feature two seats (or 2+2), and have race-ready handling when stock. This means that full-custom parts may not be needed to enhance their handling. They also have a naturally aerodynamic shape which helps them glide down straight areas with greater speed than Tuners. Think NSX, S2000, Corvette, 350Z, weaker Ferraris, weaker RUFs, some Lotuses, weaker Tommykairas, TVRs, and so on...your sports car should have a range (possibly) from 230 to 440 horsepower without power-limiting, depending on how much it weighs.

Tuner cars are those coupes, sedans, and wagons which may need a bit of help in the handling department, and/or have not got an aerodynamically-sound shape, therefore they also need more power down those straights. Think Mustang, Camaro, Challenger, Skyline, Evos, STis, some BMWs and Benzes, Audis, Astons, Jags, Nissan ZXes, even some front-drives like the Dodge SRT4.... your tuner should possess an expected range of 380 to 530 horspower, without power-limiting, depending on how much it weighs.              
 

Opponents:
Unlike GT4, the top guys won't always jump to the front to dominate the entire series. Sometimes they won't even make it to the front-lines, but keep in mind that they certainly can. In general, the entire series is a bit more even than it used to be, whether or not RUFs or any other jackrabbits are included. Only the rear-engine RUFs (Yellowbird, BTR, CTR, etc.), certain S2000s like the '04 Amuse S2000 GT1 and S2000 GT1 Turbo, and a handful of others should be watched. 

Group A
'86 RUF BTR
'87 RUF BTR "Yellowbird"
'04 Amuse S2000 GT1 Turbo


  Overall, none of these guys will absolutely kill the series (except the Amuse GT1 Turbo). I am finding that if they've got some traffic to contend with, they'll sometimes wind up mostly just contending with it, but this depends which track and situtation we are talking about, so be careful when including these. The RUFs have some problems with stability at a couple tracks (see below). Including these RUFs can be interesting, since they may dominate at some tracks, but suck at others.

Group B

AEM S2000
'04 Amuse Carbon R
Amuse NISMO 380RS Super Leggera
'04 Amuse S2000 GT1
(non turbo)
'08 HKS CT230R
'07 HPA Motorsports F565 Twin Turbo TT
'00 Mine's BNR34 Skyline GT-R
'06 Mine's BNR34 Skyline GT-R V-spec N1
'03 Nismo Fairlady Z Z-tune
'04 Opera Performance 350Z
'96 RUF CTR2
'00 RUF RGT

 
Group B will only do well (and perhaps jackrabbit a bit) if they start on 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place. Sometimes 4th or 5th, but only if the cars at the very front aren't so dominant. I like including as many of these folks as possible, for maximum challenge. Group B is much more diverse than Group A. Some members of B only do well if they start near (or on) Pole, while others can creep up from behind us, to eventually challenge us. But Group B often hasn't got the extra speed advantages that A cars do.  
 
All of these cars (Groups A, B, and a few Cs) are defined more fully below.
  
AEM S2000: Careful: sometimes the Tuning Car Grand Prix will present this car simply as an "S2000" on the grid, leading the racer to believe it's an ordinary dealer's car. It is anything but. Decorated with some flashy decals, wing & spoiler kit, and a handsome red wine body, the AEM seems to be a middle-range S2000, without the Top Power of the GT1s, but it is still a threat. The AEM doesn't appear too often, and if it starts down on the grid it'll need to fight its way to the front. But it can also make it to the front, sometimes with ease, so watch out.
 
'04 Amuse Carbon R: This is an R34-era Skyline. It looks dark and menacing, yet is a mid-range competitor. It's not entirely a threat, unless you find a grid where it starts near Pole. Then you'll need to cautiously catch it, as it can sometimes get a sizable lead over others.  

Amuse NISMO 380RS Super Leggera....: A good middle-range Z car to battle against, though sometimes I've also seen it lag. Scrumptious handling, decent power, this one (and all the other Nissan Z cars) carries a bit more weight than the S2000s. This makes it challenging to race against, without becoming a 1-sided event.   

Amuse/Opera Performance Gr: One of the weaker Nissan Zs. This one lags behind the others for some reason. Probably because it's underpowered. I really like its body-kit, though!   

'04 Amuse S2000 GT1 Turbo: This one puts the 'jack' in 'jackrabbit'. If it shows, it'll usually make its dominance known. Even if it's started (sometimes) way at the back of pack, it'll still wind up on the front lines by Lap 4 or 5.  

There is also a non-turbo version of this car. The non-turbo is a bit slower than the GT1 Turbo, but this is mostly only seen during longer straight portions, where the Turbo suddenly will leap far ahead of the non-turbo.
 
'60 Art Morrison Corvette: The sole classic. Just 'cause it's old doesn't mean it's not a threat, though. I've seen this ancient 'vette  put up a decent fight early in many races, but usually by Laps 3, 4, and 5, it's settled into its comfortable mid to late-pack position, and tends to stay there. The AMC is not quite the puddler I'd assumed it would be, though.       

High-End Performance G37: A really wild-looking Infiniti (or perhaps it's yet another Nissan Z-car, I can't really tell). Good job with the style on this one, guys! The G37 is not such a great race car, though; it tends to lag towards the rear. Could be due to too much weight.
 
'08 HKS CT230R: This car is one of the faster Group Bs, so if it's included, make sure it's nowhere near Pole, or even 3rd place, or you'll need more power. The CT230R has a few lacks though, which keeps it from being classified as Group A. It is decked out with racing livery, and happens to be one of my favorites to include on the grid. Lightning fast down those straights, it sometimes slows a little too much in the turns, but it also makes these turns solidly, and with a lack of sloppiness. At Daytona, its 5-speed tranny keeps it from pushing all the way, unfortunately, at 167 mph it's already redlining, with no extra gear to shift up to. But the driver also won't just redline it to death. He releases the throttle appropriately.

...Think of the S2000 GT1 as the sort of enemy you wind up loving to hate, but the HKS Evo as the sort of enemy whom you eventually can't help but admire.  

HPA Motorsports Stage II R32: This is a Volkswagen Golf, not a Skyline. The HPA is one of the originals from the GT4 TCGP, though it rarely made a showing in the grids. It's not a dominator in GT5, but it can make a strong appearance here and there due to its flawless AWD traction & decent handling. Its main problem is it weighs too much in comparison to the others.  

'07 HPA Motorsports F565 Twin Turbo TT: Again, this car (like the HKS CT230R) is one of the faster Group Bs. Don't put it anywhere near pole, unless you want a huge game of catch-up. The HPA F565 is a 2nd generation Audi TT, tuned for victory. It pulls down some good moves, and can make it to the front, but if there are any stronger jackrabbits present it'll usually give way to these. If you can get this car and the Lancer Evo with the confusing name (the HKS CT230R) on the same grid, TAKE IT!  These two balance each other perfectly, with the odd Z-car or weaker S2000 also making a good match up.

RE Amemiya FD3S RX-7: I found myself disappointed by this one, but only because I expected greater things. The Amemiya sometimes seems as if it's going to be on the top seat, but it never quite makes it there, even if it starts on Pole.. Great handling, but (perhaps) it's underpowered.   

'06 Mine's BNR34 Skyline GT-R N1: There is also a Vspec version, and both N1 and Vspec can show up in the same grid. In GT4 this one (along with all the other Mine's vehicles) mostly stunk, but it does okay at a couple tracks here in GT5, especially if the grid is packed with Skylines and other mid-weight tuners. I've seen it pull from the rear to the front of the pack at Route 246, but at tracks with more twists & turns, it normally never performs such a feat. Don't count this Mine's out completely, though >  if it starts on Pole, then it can sometimes maintain its lead from start to finish, at any of the tracks. It doesn't corner as well as most others in Group A or B, but seems to have just enough speed to keep them from overtaking down those straights.      

'00 Mine's Lancer Evolution VI: Lol. Again, this Mine's vehicle didn't ever make podium in GT4, and it's still a third-rate competitor now. Class D, for Dummy. Is Mine's upset by this? Or do they not really care? What do you think?  

'01 Nissan Gran Turismo Skyline: Ha! .. the famous Skyline we followed during all those GT4 license tests is now racing amongst us. You'd think this car would be choice (being a rolling GT advertizement) but it's a bit of a loser. I've never seen the Nissan GT Skyline do much else than act as a placeholder towards the back of the pack.  

'04 Nissan Option Stream Z: Here's the 600+ horsepower Z car, yet it's sometimes getting blown away by those with a hundred less horses?  I originally put this one on the jackrabbit list up above, but (seriously) it rarely shines. If it's really got 637 hp, what the hell is it doing with it? 
    Well, taking a ride during a replay, we can observe what's going on. This one seems poorly-tuned underneath; maybe it's got its toe or camber set wrong, or something. The Option Z doesn't understeer, but this seems only because the driver is constantly taming this car's throttle to keep it from doing so. In comparison, I took a ride-along with the weaker Option Z, only to find it zooming through the same corners at Route 246, and often at fuller-throttle.   

'96 NISMO 400R: This was a car we could win in GT4, but I don't think it ever made an appearance as A.I. The Nismo packs some power, but unfortunately doesn't ever make it as a top dawg, not that I've noticed anyways. Problem is it's got a super-tall transmission. Even at tracks with long straight areas, the 400R remains crunched into 4th gear at best.  

'03 Nismo Fairlady Z Z-tune: like a few other Zs, the Z-tune does well, and puts on quite a show during those replays. It'll blow the doors off a RUF, and handle better than one, too.  

'00 Nismo Skyline GT-R S-tune: Meh.   
Not that it's a sucky car, but the S-tune is one of those that the A.I. can't seem to get its shit together. It never rises to any sort of greatness. It can pose a mild threat sometimes at Daytona and Route 246, assuming it starts on or near Pole. But otherwise, no worries about the Skyline.   

Nismo Skyline GT-R R-tune: As above.  

'04 Opera Performance 350Z: On the grid, this will be simply called an '04 350Z. It is another middle-of-the road sort of Z-car. The Opera Z can either make a strong showing, or sometimes it'll lag a bit, winding up in 4th or 5th place. Rarely will it just plain suck, though.

'86 RUF BTR: Everything usually gets heavier in the automotive world as years go by, so I am assuming the earliest RUF is also the lightest? It certainly is just a little bit faster than the others.  

'87 RUF CTR Yellowbird: A Porsche 911 clone, rear engine/rear drive. The Yellowbird (and all other CTRs and BTRs) does great at three out of five tracks, but starts screwing up at Grand Valley and Route 5. Such a shame. At Tokyo, this car (and all the other rear-engine RUFs) starts to sometimes downplay its prowess, even down some straight areas.  

'00 RUF RGT: As above. The RGT is a fancier shape than the earlier 911-based models, since it's not a 911, it's actually based on the Porsche 996. Again, it does well at Suzuka and Daytona (with a little bit of slipping here and there) but gets a "D" or even an "F" on its GT report card at Grand Valley and Route 5. This depends on its driver though. Sometimes the RGT will do better than other times..         

'00 RUF 3400S: This is the 'chick car' Porsche. :) It's a mid-engined auto, handles better than the stronger RR Porsches, but hasn't got the power to make its efforts known.

If a car is not mentioned above (or does not appear in the A or B lists), it's because it's not anything to worry about, and this is what I like to call Group C. There are plenty of laggards in this series, just like any other in GT. Also, keep in mind that nothing is set in stone. Group C usually loses to Group B, which usually loses to Group A, but this is not always the case, especially once we begin reading some of the descriptions of each car.
 
Now for the tracks.
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Suzuka Circuit
The earliest S-curves (left, right, left right, etc.), along with Suzuka's hairpin, Casino Triangle, and a few other key areas wind up being the  best passing zones, as everybody slows down just a little too much. Traffic isn't too boisterous, which means it's rare to find any AI punting or other such nuisances. On the other hand, they really take off down the straights, and during longer curves like the Spoon.  

Daytona Road Course
..surprised me. I expected my fully-powered 515 hp Lancer Evo VI to barely be able to keep up here in Florida. Turns out 515 is way too much!  After many trials, this mega-power got dumbed down almost 100 horses. I'm not sure why they drove Suzuka so well, but now all a sudden they seem so timid. Go figure. Even down some straight areas, I've seen some of our opponents mysteriously release their throttles or even apply some brakes, far away from the actual braking zones. 

On the other hand, once our power is reduced we begin to see our opponents begining to take a more agro approach. They're not afraid to get alongside us as we steer into the daring, super-sharp Turn 1, for instance, or into the track's two hairpins. They'll often stay alongside us too, really fighting for track space! ... But one thing they won't do (thank god) is punt us from the rear. I don't believe in God, but I thank him or her or it anyways. No punting. Unless you brake way too early or something, and somebody behind hasn't got enough time to react.     

Grand Valley Speedway
I really didn't know what to expect here, after the massive caffeine withdrawl of Daytona. Should I power up? Or power down?

Turns out, we go up if we are in the Tuner Class. :) But down if we're talkin' Sports Cars. Grand Valley is an odd track because all a sudden, the rear-engine RUFs start driving really badly. They take GV's longer curves way too hot: sliding a bit here, doing a bad drift there. I've even seen them fully washing out into some sand traps!  How long has it been since we've seen this sort of action?  Everybody else tends to drive up-to-par, though; taking decent cornering lines and showing their true colors.    

S.S. Route 5
Here's the first instance of SSR5 in GT5's A-spec, so I took the time to learn this track well beforehand, doing some Arcade and One-Make races, and so should you if you haven't been here yet.

Once again, I am noticing the Porsches (the RUFs ... whatever) really screw up at this track, taking many turns too hot, and often making grandiose rear-engine slides at the big Turn #2 into the tunnel. They obviously never paid much attention to the standard Porsche 'slow in, fast out' lectures during racing school. It's pretty much a guarantee that if these guys are leading in points during a championship series, they'll start to lose their lead during GV and SSR5, even if they start on Pole.

The rest of the A.I. drives mildly sloppy, they just never get loose enough to slide. But notice: they'll often take turns too wide, cut their throttle on-exit, and sometimes still wind up tapping a guardrail. While the Porsche crowd was texting & Twittering during 'slow in/fast out', the rest of the drivers were dozing off during their 'in-out-in' chapters. This is why (sadly) S.S. Route 5 requires less power than Grand Valley. It's easy to snake in and out of their lazy cornering lines, sometimes gaining multiple positions during the same turn.
 
Despite this, there is some GREAT racing to be had here. SSR5 is a mostly wide track, which means a Z car, a weaker S2000, and perhaps a full racing car may all be vying for the lead you've just stolen, as you travel at high-speed down Route 5's long straight section. The drama can be intense! 

Note: Some of you may need even less power than I'm recommending. I've only set the power as I did as a sort of compromise between cakewalks and true challenges.        

Tokyo Route 5
Ahh Tokyo. Good. I feel Tokyo is a fitting track to finish this series. High speed. Lots of spectators. Dangerous walls we'll have to inch by to survive. I assumed this would be an exciting final showdown, and am finally not disappointed.

Certain cars that haven't been tops so far may start to become so, including some of those fancy Skylines. Their extra weight won't keep them from dominating against some lighter sports cars, since Route 246 features mostly high-speed action. The RUF teams seem to have got a serious talking-to from their crew chiefs. "...slow in, fast out SLOW IN FAST OUT! Get it down guys!!!!" It's (all a sudden) very obvious how much more cautious they've finally become.  


Parts:
Hard Racing tires

Aerodynamics package of some sort. For civilian cars, this will mean spoilers and wing kits.

Brake Balancer

Suspension can vary. Some with phenomenol handling when stock will only need a height-adjustable sport suspension just to get a more-perfect fit. Others will need to go full-custom. If you're blowing away some others too easily during initial races, you can try using lesser parts.  

Transmission can also vary, although it's best to choose full-custom for the majority.
 
Drivetrain parts can also vary of course. Twin clutch for most, along with whatever flywheel and/or driveshaft combination is appropriate. Keep in mind that lightweights and those with traction problems shouldn't be getting the very lightest parts, and may also need a Adjustable LSD. But since racing tires are used during these, lots of cars can survive just fine without traction-enhancing parts.  

Cars used:
'00 Tommykaira ZZ-S (1,400, Sports Car)
'03 Nissan 350Z (2,500, Sports Car)
'02 Nissan Fairlady Z Version ST (3,200, Sports Car)
'96 Chevrolet Corvette G.S. (3,500, Sports Car)
'99 Subaru Impreza Sport Wagon WRX STi (2,400, Tuner) 
'99 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI TM (3,000, Tuner)
'00 Ford Mustang Cobra R (3,500, Tuner)
'02 Audi RS 6                    (4,033, Tuner)
 
*Note: the '96 Corvette doing the 3,500 pound category for Sports Car Class is new, and untested by cars which are more modern. Chances are a newer 3,500 pound car from the 2000s might need less power at Grand Valley, Route 5, and Tokyo.   


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

schwarzwald-a.jpg

Schwarzwald League A
 
Rating: ***
 
Participants: 12
Level: 15
 
Nürburgring GP/F
(1,500, Historic Class) 9.32 --- 161 hp
(1,700, Historic Class) 10.18 -- 167 hp
(3,000, Historic Class) 14.15 -- 212 hp
 
 
(2,000, Modern Class) 14.49 -- 138 hp
(3,000, Modern Class) 17.04 -- 176 hp
(3,500, Modern Class) 19.02 -- 184 hp
 
Tokyo Route 246
(1,500, Historic Class) 8.38 -- 179 hp
(1,700, Historic Class) 8.85 -- 192 hp
(3,000, Historic Class)12.66 - 238 hp 
 
(2,000, Modern Class) 11.90 -- 168 hp
(3,000, Modern Class) 14.78 -- 203 hp
(3,500, Modern Class)  15.84 -- 221 hp
 
Historic Class includes older models without ABS brakes.
 
Opel Speedsters (turbo and non-turbo) are the most dangerous to have around. These can be started far downfield at either track, and may (or may not) get to the front lines, but most of the time, they will. Include extra power (I am guessing +10 hp for each position above 11th, unless you've got a sports car of your own) or face the consequences.
 
There are a few others (Audi S3, BMW 1 series, BMW 2002, VW Golfs, Lupos, and Beetles) that may require us to add some extra power, but only if these start on 1st or 2nd place, and only If your car happens to really suck with handling!  If this is the case, +5 horsepower per position can be tried.
 
And if you've got one of these better cars, and one of the five up above shows up, but starts on less-than-pole position, remove 5 horsepower per position.
 
At Tokyo, if you've got a heavier car in the Historic Class which is not front-drive, and no Speedsters show, remove up to 20 horsepower, even if one of the cars mentioned above (BMW, VW Lupo, etc.) starts on Pole.     
 
Description
 
"A fierce competition between the veterans of German racing" is how PD describes these two races. *snicker snicker*. something like that. I dunno about you, but can an untuned VW Polo, a dainty VW New Beetle, or a fully-weighted '82 Audi Quattro really be described as a group of 'fierce veterans?'
 
Well, let's find out. Off we go to Germany!!!  And .. err.. Tokyo! The Schwarzwald (which means black forest) is a lot of things apparently, and this word can be used not just for racing, but also for tourism, hiking, dog sleds, you name it.
 
Remember Schwarzwald Liga A in GT4? Here are some examples of what I wrote during my GT4 days.
 
If you want to race A-spec fairly, you'll need to seriously hold back. A baby 1-series BMW or a used Mercedes SLK 230 Kompressor can do it. So can some front-drives. Golfs are perfect. But no matter what: it won't take much power.

The Ai drives with what I'll describe as a lack of passion, rarely will there be a mid-race battle for instance, despite the fact that they are all similarly powered. They drive with horribly safe, generic cornering lines and take few risks. Schwarzwald Liga A makes the K-cup races look exciting in comparison.
 
And that was during GT4, a game which was much more challenging (overall) than 5. Right? ...
 
Opponents
Uh oh. Two words we're not wanting to see during this racing guide, right?, especially when we're just getting the Expert Series warmed up!  Uh and oh.
 
It's not the two tracks, and it's not the 3 laps of racing... "Uh oh" is the reaction I first had when looking up how much power our opponents are rating at. I see an Opel Speedster (a formidable opponent, surely) rating only at 177 horses. A Speedster Turbo with just 20 hp more. A VW Golf R32 ... with its stock power of 237.
 
During GT4, I entered the race in an over-powered Audi, and then dumbed my car way down. So this time, I made sure to try something sub-par: a front-drive 2001 VW Golf with its virgin 147 horsepower rating. The drones are all on Hard Sport tires, so I made sure to go with soft comforts. Keep in mind that ... WE ARE IN THE SO-CALLED EXTREME SERIES, HERE!!     
 
Well the good news is I got my ass whupped by these Kraut-mobiles during the first trial at GP/F. Cool! While the racing isn't at the level of challenge I was hoping for, 147 is apparently not enough. Another bit of good news is I have seen some mild in-fighting between the enemy. Some vying for position, and some moments when positions also got changed. According to my GT4 description, these moments were extremely rare back in that game. Another cool thing about this series is: very often during the Beginner, Amateur, and Professional Series, we've been using less power (sometimes much less) than the Ai. The Schwarzwald are the first to require power which may not be exactly what 'they' are using, but it's getting pretty close.  
 
As noted up in the pre-warnings, Opel Speedsters are usually the ones to watch for, at either track. No surprises, eh? There are several grids which sort this team near the back of the pack. In some cases, they will get stuck somewhere mid-pack, and won't get a lead, and in others they will (of course) do what we expect them to do. So include these guys carefully. Any position higher than 10, and you'll typically need to add some power. They have less power than the hatches, sedans, and coupes that populate the rest of the grid, so they won't always blow others away during straights.
 
There are also some really good front-drives (and the rear-drive BMW 1 series) which can get an early strong lead if they start on 1st or 2nd place. Some front-drives to watch are VW Beetles, VW Lupos, and the '05 VW Golf V GTI      
 
Parts Needed
Hard Sport Tires
 
Fixed Sport Suspension for some, especially at high-speed, understeer-heavy Tokyo. Some classics may need better parts than this.  
 
Close-ratio gearing for some at GP/F
 
Drivetrain parts (mostly clutch / flywheel kits) for those that need a little extra help.
 
Cars Used
'98 Mini Cooper 1.3i (1,500, Historic Class)
'66 Volkswagen Beetle (1,700, Historic Class)
'82 Audi Quattro (2,900, Historic Class 
 
'01 Volkswagen Lupo GTI (2,000, Modern Class)
'01 Volkswagen Golf Mk IV, '04 BMW 120i (2,900, Modern Class)
'02 Audi S3             (3,500, Modern Class)
 
--------------

gt5-mrcup.jpg

MR Sports Cup
 
rating: ***
 
participants: 12
Level: 16 
 
Deep Forest
(1,400) 4.51 -- 310 hp
(2,500) 6.00 -- 416 hp
(3,200) 6.97 -- 459 hp
 
High Speed Ring II
(1,400) 5.18 -- 270 hp
(2,500) 6.20 -- 403 hp
(3,200) 7.71 -- 415 hp
 
Circuit de la Sarthe 2009
(1,400) 4.20 -- 333 hp
(2,500) 5.62 -- 445 hp
(3,200) 6.20 -- 516 hp
 
There are a couple classes of Ai included below in the Opponents section. At Deep Forest it's recommended to try and keep Group 1 off Pole Position, instead starting in 2nd place at best, unless your car is super-confident and/or has some significant power-limiting. At High Speed Ring, Group 1 can be started in 2nd or 3rd place.
 
Only exception to these placement-rules above is if your car happens to be one of the super-exotics found in Group 1; a Saleen or a Pagani, etc,      
 
At Sarthe some Group 2 vehicles can also wind up being a threat, especially down those long, long straight areas. Group 1 vehicles can be started in any position here, since drafting comes into play
 
Description
This set of races began long ago in the first GT, so this is yet another series that's got some history.
 
GT5 provides the most challenging MR Cup of all. Our opponents are not cakewalks to be walked over as in GT3, nor are we still able to use our long list of cheap mid-engine cars (or more expensive ones), as we did in GT2 and 4. In GT5, what we've got are some really top guys to race against. Very often they'll have somewhere over 400 or 500 horses. This seems odd to me, given the fact that the MR Cup used to be a lower-powered set of races, often very challenging if we chose the right car, since mid-engine cars can be tricky to direct and pilot in and out of turns.
 
Why does GT5 use so much more power than before?  Who knows. I've just about given up on PD's odd sense of logic in this game. Races which used to be challenging are now too easy. Races which used to be super easy, or at least mid-grade, now require top performance.
 
It can also be difficult trying to find just one car to do all three of these races fairly. For instance, the NSX I used initially could do the first two races without under or overkill, but at Sarthe, this car is now underpowered by at least 15 or 20 horses. If we could buy just one turbo for it, all would be grand. The Ford GT I tried about a month later starts with 550 horses, and with this power it blew through that first race at Deep Forest so easily, I had assumed a 3 second lead by the end of Lap 3.
 
I had to dumb that Ford's power down an entire 100 horses before finally getting there. On the other hand, there are some cool thing going on during the MR Sport races: FIVE laps at Deep Forest, and FIVE at High Speed Ring, as well. Assuming I find that ultimate car for all of three races, I'll be in GT heaven. The two laps at Circuit de Sarthe seem not enough at first, but (trust me) by the end of this run it's guaranteed your thumbs, hands, and/or wrists will be somewhat sore.  
 
Opponents
Once again, a lot of cars are on the same page, so far as classifications go. Other than the McLaren F1, it's hard to single out one example which is vastly superior to the others.
 
In some cases, we can get a clue by glancing at the variety of Group 1 versus Group 2 mid-engine sports cars which appeared during the Supercar Festival, but using those classes doesn't always work here in the MR Cup (where no FR or RR models appear) so I've written an entirely new set of Group 1 and 2 grids. You may notice that some which were Group 2 during the Supercar Fest have now graduated to Group 1, and vice versa.
 
As mentioned, only '94 McLaren F1 is superior than anybody else, and this car does not appear in the lists below. Keep it off the grid, or start way behind. There's a chance that it won't make any headway, especially at Deep Forest, but this is a huge dice-roll.  
 
Group 1
'02 Ferrari Enzo (this car lags at Deep Forest. Can be started on Pole here)
'98 Nissan R390 GT1
'92 Jaguar XJ220 (can be started 2nd place at Deep Forest)
Pagani Zonda C12S and C12S 7.3
'02 Saleen S7
'01 Volkswagen W12 Nardo Concept  
 
Group 2
'01 Cadillac Cien Concept
any Ford GT
'76 Ferrari 512BB
'09 Ferrari 458 Italia
92 Ferrari F40
any Lamborghini Countach (at HSR, these can jump far ahead if they start on Pole)
Lamborghini Miuras
'98 Nissan R390 GT1 (at Deep Forest, the R390 rates between G1 and 2, so careful) 
2000 Pagani Zonda C12
 
Deep Forest can be super-challenging, especially in a super-swivelly MR machine, so get those limited-slips, chassis reinforcements, and suspension tunings down pat before tackling this one. A couple key areas to beat the opponents haven't changed from earlier games. Turn #1 (the hairpin) can often be used as an area to out-brake other cars, or slyly get by them from the inside or outside. The final turn (the high-speed lefty) is also a great place to get some exit speed going down that straight. Very often the Ai slows to the low 80s, so maintaining a speed of 90 to 100 (maybe more!) out of this area is a great way to catch up, draft some others, and gain position by the end of the  straight.
 
High Speed Ring II: this is the reversed version, just like we raced during the Supercar Fest. The Ai still drives faster than it did in GT4 at this same track, but very often it'll slow down at odd moments, sometimes right in the middle of a long banked curve. On the other hand, it is possible to see two or more cars begin to draft one another during Laps 2 through 5 during grand portions of this track, making the downplayed horsepower I'm recommending very risky!
 
Circuit de la Sarthe 2009: Ugh. Yeah. Not really excited about this one, and there are times when several cars will crowd into the same area (especially down the Mulsanne straight) which can cause some difficult moments. But this race aint all that bad, all things considered. If this race were a standalone, chances are I'd rate it at 4 stars (easily) instead of rating the entire series at 3. As we have seen in the past, key areas to get by them are (obviously) down those straight areas while drafting, and any sections where everybody needs to slow down, especially chicanes.
 
Parts Needed
Soft Sport Tires (those with super-confident handling can go with mediums here)
 
Brake Balancer
 
Close ratio gearbox for some at Deep Forest and/or High Speed Ring. Some other extreme cases may need full-custom gearing.
 
Drivetrain parts as needed. Some will need limited-slip tuning to survive.
 
Suspension tuning (whatever your car needs). Some may need no tuning here, while others may need full-custom parts. A rather diverse crowd can be entered into this set of events, and it can be difficult to satisfy everyone.
 
Aero Kit (this includes spoilers, baffles, and wing, NOT full-body racing kits). Not all cars will need this. If you're easily making 1:22s while practicing at Deep Forest, your car won't need these parts.
 
Engine Limiter (unfortunately) for most of the high-credit exotics that can be entered here. Most cars using a limiter won't need any of the parts mentioned above (except soft tires and maybe the brake balancer) since their flattened-out power will now be giving them an otherwise unfair advantage. If power winds up super-flattened, you may have to remove even more!      
 
Cars Used
'00 Tommykaira ZZ-S (1,400 pounds / flyweight)
'91 Acura NSX, '98 Nissan R390 GT1 (2,500 pounds / middleweight)
'98 Lotus Esprit V8 (3,200 pounds / heavyweight)
 

historic_racing_car_cup.jpg

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Historic Racing Car Cup
 
Level: 16
Participants: 12
 
Rating: ***
 
-Full Aerodynamics on Race Cars-
Deep Forest
(2,200) 4.40 -- 500 hp
'69 Camaro [RM]: 550 hp
 
Cote d'Azur
(2,200) 4.27 -- 515 hp
'69 Camaro [RM]: 555 hp
 
-Hybrid aerodynamics on Rear Wing only cars-
Deep Forest
(2,000) 3.76 -- 531 hp
(2,800) 4.84 -- 576 hp 
 
Cote d'Azur
(2,000) 3.72 -- 539 hp
(2,800) 4.81 -- 582 hp
 
There's a magic trio of three cars which dominate here: Toyota 7, Chaparral 2J, and Chaparral 2D. Start the Chaparrals no higher than 2nd place at Deep Forest, or Cote d'Azur. The Toyota 7 is a super-lightweight, and should be placed back even further. 
 
At Cote d'Azur the Chaparral 2J is the one to watch for, it will fly around those low-speed corners, clearly dominating everyone else, which is why the thing was banned long ago!  The 2D and Toyota 7 can be started at 3rd place, but the 2J should be limited even further back.
 
If you're trying to win with something which does not have full aerodynamics (front and rear) on an actual racing car those dominant alphas will need to be placed even further back. There is a grid which start a Chaparral 2J on 5th at best but it takes awhile to find.   
 
 
Description
Let's return to a time when Lexan and fiberglass were all the rage, fuel-injection was just becoming a reality, safety was always an afterthought. The world of car manufacturers were just making that leap from 4 speeds to 5-speeds, and fuel cost less per gallon than milk.     
 
GT5's Historic Racing Car Cup is one of the toughest to finance and accomplish, if you haven't already got a historic supercar in this post-online world. A full racing car can be impossible to afford, even this deep into the game. Muscle cars can NOT be used, not without a hybrid program such as GT5 Garage Editor 1.3.1, or GT5 Hybrid Editor 1.6. If you use one of these, aerodynamics can be enhanced, which is most important.  
 
A couple other options are to race-modify a Chevrolet Corvette or Camaro, or the '70 Dodge Challenger. Some sports cars (Ferraris and Lamborghinis) can also be used without hybrid aerodynamics, but easier grids will be necessary.    
 
Opponents
As usual, some of these fiberglass-bodied monsters are better than others, as PD attempts to place them all awkwardly into one race. I shall list only the best below. Other cars which show up are usually placeholders.
 
'70 Chaparral 2J
'70 Toyota 7
'67 Chaparral 2D
 
The reason those three are the best is due to the enormous amount of horsepower they're blessed with, as well as the fact that they were also cutting-edge technology for the times, and this technology clearly sets these apart from the '63 Corvette, '66 Jaguar XJ13, and others who make an appearance. Keep those three as far away from Pole as you can, unless.... well, you know.... 
 
The Ferrari, Jaguar, and either of the Ford GT40s can make some good secondary competition if the top 3 screw up, which they sometimes do at Cote d'Azur, crashing into a couple key areas as they get over-eager.
 
Parts
Medium Racing tires
 
Soft Racing Tires can be used for those which are not actual Race Cars, with in-game racing livery.
 
Full Racing Suspension
 
Twin Clutch + other assorted drivetrain parts. Limited-slip Device too.
 
ABS brakes (Camaro and any other race-modified street cars will also need some Brake Balancing action, but prototypes won't).
 
Wing/Spoiler kit -- if the car doesn't automatically have these parts. Note that not all historic cars will be able to survive, even a wing installed. Those which have frontal aerodynamics, or a truer sports cars, will be okay. As mentioned, it is also possible to modify aerodynamics with a hybrid program 
 
 
Cars Used
'67 Ford GT40 Mark IV (2,200 pounds, full aerodynamics)
'69 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 RM
 
'68 HKS-Mazdaspeed 110S (2,000, hybrid aerodynamics)
 
'76 Ferrari 512BB       (2,800 pounds, standard aerodynamics)
 
 
 
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

japanese_championship.jpg

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Turbo Cup
 
Level: 17
participants:
 
Rating: ***
 
High Speed Ring
(1,500) 6,75 = 222 hp  
(2,000) 8.20 = 244 hp
(3,000) 11.53 = 260 hp
(3,500) 12.54 = 279 hp
 
Monza Circuit
(1,500) 6.63 = 226 hp
(2,000) 7.66 = 261 hp
(3,000) 10.71 = 280 hp
(3,500) 12.03 = 291 hp
 
The above ratios include Class B and C cars only, with Class A started way down on the grid (see below for a description of all classes).
 
--Class B can be started any position at High Speed Ring if your car is competent with handling.
--Class B should start no higher than 3rd place at Monza for most races
 
--Cars which have "Competent" handling can easily do 2:17.5xx or less around an empty High Speed Ring.
 
If Class B does not appear on the grid at High Speed Ring in front of us, remove 10 horsepower or more.  
 
If Class B starts on Pole or 2nd place at Monza, you can add +5 hp for each position over 3rd.   
 
If Class A shows and starts in front of us, more power may sometimes be needed at High Speed. It will definitely be needed at Monza. If they start behind however, they probably won't be much of a threat at either track, although sometimes they can be.`
 
Vehicles with more extreme amounts of frontal area (vans, SUVs and the like) can receive extra amounts of power if they also have trouble out-cornering others. Add 15 horsepower up against a field of mostly Class C at High Speed Ring, and 20 horsepower if a Class B starts at least on 3rd place. Monza requires more45 and 50.
 
Description
Say PD, what happened to the NA Cup? We've got a set of turbo races, why ditch the naturally-aspirated ones?
 
Again, this is a race series which has been around for awhile, and seen many variations. Those of us who plodded through the first three Gran Turismos can remember those ultra-daring top-speed races at the Test Track, and overall, lots of turbo madness was here for us to fathom. Those days are gone, but maybe it's a good thing. Since PD doesn't bother to tune transmissions, there would be lot of cars (Subies and Mitsus, especially) that wouldn't get a fair trial down the Test Track's (or even Daytona's) long straight areas. As it is, half the grid can barely make it down the long straights at either track before they're running out of top-room on their tachs.
 
So here in GT5, there are just two tracks: High Speed Ring and Monza. But don't get bummed. These (as usual) can both be highly-challenging, and it all begins with whatever choice you've made for a ride. The Ai can possibly drive some 500+ horsepower Nissan GTs, for instance. If you choose to follow this path, get ready for one heck of a borefest.
 
I started with a Dodge SRT4. That's right, a front-drive sedan, and a rather low-powered one, at that. If it weren't for the Class A Lotus Esprit sitting in 2nd place, this race woulda been mine. Easily.
 
Opponents
There are three Classes to take note of here. I'll call them Class A, Class B, and Class C. Class A includes most 2-seater sports cars, and any new-Millenium Nissan GT-Rs. Class B includes a smattering of JDM and European talent, and Class C is everyone else.
 
Class A isn't very large, and if it shows up only a car or two will make placement. Including Class A is like rolling dice; even if they're started in last place. Sometimes they won't matter at all, but sometimes they will matter, and crawl all the way from last place to the very front; impossible to catch. 
 
Classes B and C, however, tend to run a close race with one another, and generally fill the rest of the grid. B is slightly faster than C. B will often pull ahead of C (giving you some definite challenge) if B starts on 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place. If B is started lower than this, chances are it won't make a huge difference.  
 
CLASS A
'00 Lotus Esprit Sport 350
'02 Lotus Esprit V8
'05 Nissan GT-R Proto
'07 Nissan GT-R
'09 Nissan GT-R SpecV
 
CLASS B
'09 Audi TTS Coupe
'07 BMW 135i Coupe
'89 Nissan 300ZX
'98 Nissan 300ZX
'98 Nissan 300ZX TT
'98 Nissan Fairlady Z Version S TT
'01 Mazda RX-7 Type R Bathurst
'02 Mazda RX-7 Spirit R Type A
'99 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI GSR
'03 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII GSR
'05 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX GSR
'07 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR P.P.
'98 Subaru Impreza Coupe Type R Sti Version V
'99 Subaru Impreza WRX STi Version VI
'00 Subaru Impreza WRX STI (sedan)
'00 Subaru Impreza Sport Wagon STi
'02 Subaru Impreza WRX STi
'97 Toyota Supra RZ
 
CLASS C
'01 Audi RS-4
'02 Audi RS 6 Avant
'05 Mazdaspeed Atenza
'04 Mercedes Benz SL600
'96 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV GSR
'98 Mitsubishi Legnum VR-4 Type V
'95 Mitsubishi GTO Twin Turbo MR
'98 Mitsubishi GTO Twin Turbo MR
'98 Nissan Stagea 25t RS FOUR S
'91 Nissan Skyline GT-R
'97 Nissan Skyline GT-R
'97 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-spec 
'00 Nissan Skyline GT-R
'02 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-spec II Nür
'91 Toyota Aristo 3.0V
'96 Subaru Legacy Touring Wagon GT-B
'98 Subaru Legacy B4 RSK
'00 Subaru Legacy B4 Blitzen
'03 Subaru Legacy B4 2.0GT
'94 Subaru Impreza WRX STi  
'96 Subaru Impreza WRX STi Version III
'98 Subaru Impreza 22-B Coupe
'88 Toyota Supra 3.0 GT Turbo-A
'90 Toyota Supra  2.5 GT Twin Turbo
'97 Toyota Soarer 2.5GT-T
 
Note that any Skyline GT-R will generally pull ahead if they start on Pole or 2nd place, and should be treated as Class B in such situations.
 
The cars above won't necessarily all be on the exact same page. Heavier models (like the Benz SL600) and wagons, for instance, might lag behind those more capable; however, they won't lag that much. For the most part, we can consider Class B to be solid. You won't be seeing anybody falling way behind the others. Those Mitsubishis and Subarus in Class B will also not to as well at High Speed Ring, because their aerodynamics are not as slippery as some others. They can therefore be started on or near pole at this track, but will do better at Monza.    
 
High Speed Ring
It's been somewhat of a tradition for opponent cars to drive poorly here since GT4. Oddly, they didn't used to be this timid in the two earliest games. It's not so much the smaller, flat turns, but all the banked ones. They'll sometimes be braking into Turn 1, for instance, as well as the final banked turn. Uh ... why?  
 
 At this track, I was tuning my Dodge, and added all parts external to the engine itself (filters, manifolds, exhaust, computer). At 330 hp, I decided to stop. Yes, I was a hundred horsepower (or more) lower than the others, but it doesn't matter. If it weren't for the Lotus starting on position two, 330 would actually have been too much. Without the Lotus (check this out) I wound up deducting 60 entire horses before I felt this race was fair!     
 
Monza Circuit 
Now here we are in Italy, and at a much more daring track. Do some practicing if you need to. Overall, this race is much easier than the lunky Muscle Car race we did at the beginning of the Pro league. Going from a GTO (or even a Mustang) to something modern makes a lot of difference. Braking distances shorter, turning-lines much sharper, that sort of thing. The Ai drives here confidently, but not as well as they could. But what else is new?   
 
I have tried to make sure this race is tough though, it certainly is tougher than High Speed Ring. Key areas here at Monza are Variante del Rittifilo (the very first super-slow chicane) where we can out-brake the enemy. Variante della Roggio and Variante Ascari are a couple other key areas (translation: the next chicane, and the S-curve area at the end of the backstretch). The rest of the time, I've tried to calculate so that you'll need to be doing some drafting, yet you'll not always be able to pass them on those straights. Because what fun would that be? :)  
 
Parts
Soft Sport Tires
 
Medium Sport Tires can be used at High Speed Ring if you can do an easy 1:17.500 or less on softs.  
 
Sport suspension (fixed or height-adjustable, and only if needed).
 
Brake Balancer for those who need some help with stopping, especially at Monza. An example here is anything which actually requires all 200 meters (or more) to slow into Monza's Turn 1, even without drafting anybody. Many cars with reputably decent handling won't need this system, but some definitely will.
 
Transmission as needed. Most cars won't need fully-customized gears, which should be reserved.    
 
Drivetrain parts as needed.
 
 
Cars Used.
'01 Nissan MM-R Cup Car (1,500)*
'90 Honda Civic CR-X (2,000)
'04 Dodge SRT4         (3,000)
'03 Volvo S60 T-5 Sport (3,500)
'03 Honda Odyssey    (3,500)
 
* Since the Nissan MM-R has enhanced aerodynamics, it required 5 horsepower less than the 222 total up above.
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

gallardo_challenge.jpg

Gallardo Trophy
 
Rating: *  
 
Level: 17
participants: 12 
 
No power or power ratios this time. If you want to make this race more challenging, simply enter a Gallardo, then dial in the power-restrictor.   
 
Description:
"Want to race some Italian cars?  Sure, go ahead," Kaz says proudly. "We no longer have to deal with those sh!theads over at Electronic Arts, we finally got the cars you've been waiting for." PD really hammers home the message now: WE HAVE ITALIAN SUPERCARS FINALLY!!!
 
Unfortunately, this race is somewhat of a dud, not really all that. And if you don't have a Gallardo already, guess what? You'll now have to drop 253,000 credits just to open the door. Ouch. We're at Rome once again, just as we were during the Lamborghini Exclusive, so there's no real surprises to this race. The main difference is now we're doing 5 laps instead of 3.  
 
Opponents:
What makes this event rate at just one star?  Simple. There's no real challenge here. After racing at Rome several times now, we all know how the Ai is going to perform, what tricks (if any) they'll try to pull. And they don't pull many tricks. It's easy to out-brake them over and over and over again, to the point that it's possible to be leading this race after 2 out of those 5 laps. Yeah.
 
Parts Needed:
Soft Sport Tires
 
Lesser tire types, in combination with the throttle restrictor, can be tried if for some reason you really want to make this race more challenging.
 
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Japanese Championship
 
rating: *** 
 
participants: 12 
Level: 18
 
-CARS-
Tsukuba Circuit -- 10 Laps
(2,000) 10.53 = 190 hp
(3,000) 13.11 = 229 hp
(3,500) 13.61 = 257 hp
 
Fuji Speedway F -- 5 Laps
(2,000) 7.90 = 253 hp
(3,000) 10.90 = 275 hp
(3,500) 12.11 = 290 hp
 
Grand Valley Speedway -- 5 Laps
(2,000) 9.30 = 215 hp
(3,000) 12.19 = 246 hp
(3,500) 12.77 = 274 hp
 
Monza Circuit --- 5 Laps
(2,000) 9.13 = 219 hp
(3,000) 11.57 = 257 hp
(3,500) 12.28 = 285 hp
 
Suzuka Full Course --- 5 Laps
(2,000) 8.97 = 223 hp
(3,000) 11.48 = 263 hp
(3,500) 12.19 = 287 hp
 
-Trucks, Vans, MPVs-
Tsukuba Circuit -- 10 Laps
(3,500) 11.21 -- 312 hp
 
Fuji Speedway F -- 5 Laps
(3,500) 9.85 -- 355 hp 
 
Grand Valley Speedway -- 5 Laps
(3,500) 10.14 -- 345 hp  
 
Monza Circuit --- 5 Laps
(3,500) 10.26 -- 341 hp  
 
Suzuka Full Course --- 5 Laps
(3,500) 10.14-- 345 hp
 
 
PD has tried to arrange the horsepower in these cars, allowing some sports cars (NSX for sure) less hp than coupes, sedans, and wagons. The NSXes are still the ones to watch for though. Even if they start low on the grid, they can make it to the front at any track. Therefore, it's best to start them low for the above ratios to work, or void them from the grid altogether.
 
Other familiar sports cars (MR2, Z33 generation or later Z cars, RX-7, etc.) can usually be started on any position if your car is competent.  If it's not so competent,  it's better to start them low on the grid. That's how the above ratios have been arranged. Competent?  Any position. Not so? Keep 'em low.
 
If the car being entered is competent, avoid grids that feature typical laggards on Pole, like the Mitsubishi GTO, Toyota Soarer, and Mitsubishi Legnum. This is a good way to make these races as edgy as possible. Others will bottleneck behind these guys, creating a situation in which we can get to the front too easily.
 
For those looking for an easier grid, one does show up after about six or seven reloads. This includes the '88 Supra on Pole, '98 Mitsubishi GTO on  2nd, and a Mazdaspeed Atenza on 3rd.
 
For the Trucks, Vans, SUVs class, I have arranged power so that the best cars can be started on Pole and wins can be achieved, though this is not going to be easy! Your driving will need to be right on the edge of perfection if they're started on Pole. For better results, look for grids which feature some of these better cars start no higher than 2nd. If they start lower than 2nd though, -5 hp per position can be removed.       
 
Description
Here's one with a bit of mystery. I can't read Japanese, and so before clicking on the icon for this race series, I was all like mystified and stuff. But one of the things I like about this race is we can enter a wide variety of cars here, and the money starts getting pretty good, too.
 
The Japanese Championship first appeared in GT4 I think, and all five races were done in Japan. The GT5 version also features 5 tracks, which can be done as a sequential series or individually, yet only three of them are in Japan. And one of them (Fuji) is at a track we haven't touched since the Beginner's League. So do some practicing if needed. The competition is much faster now than those Vitz & Yarismobiles we drove way back when. 
 
 
Opponents
The good news: the opponents we're up against haven't got slogs of power, which means that a lot of those JDM cars which have been collecting dust (Integras, Civics, Mirages, Miatas & MX-5s, etc.) are now getting roll call.
 
The bad news: the opponents we're up against haven't got slogs of power, which means if you enter a car with more than about 220 to 290 horses, depending on weight, guess what? 
 
So, we can pretty much eliminate entering an entire list of vehicles, including many Evos, STis, the Soarers, the S2000s, RX-7s, some Skylines, Caldinas, Supras, Aristos.... the list goes on and on. Show up with a car ranking more horsepower than I'm recommending, and you WILL demolish the JC too easily. And unfortunately, this means that most JDM cars can't be included, unless you aren't very good with driving, or use some crappy tires.
 
But hey, at least we're not sinking to Kei car levels!
 
The cars we're up against have finally been stacked more appropriately. I am noticing PD rates the NSX Type R at 310 horsepower for instance. The rest of the cars appearing here (Imprezas, Lancers, Z cars, etc.) rate 20 to 30 horses higher than this. In GT4 it was the NSX team (Type R and Type S Zero) which dominated the rest. So PD has tried to fix this.
 
However, NSXes can still make it from the rear to the front of the pack, and they often do. It's possible more than one of these can show up, too.  
 
Other cars to watch for are Mazda RX-7s, Mazda RX-8s, Toyota MR2s, and Nissan Z cars from the Z33 generation. These can pull a head of others, but this assumes they start near the front. Some Nissan Skylines, Subaru Impreza STi sedans, and Mitsubishi Lancer Evos can also do well if they start on or near Pole at twistier tracks, like Tsukuba and Grand Valley, but they will usually fall behind the sports cars just mentioned at Fuji and Monza. 
 
With the ratios for this championship series, it is possible to include these faster cars (except the NSX) on pole or 2nd place, and still expect a shot at winning, assuming the car you enter is competent. This will not be easy, but it is possible. Another option is to have one (or several of these) starting no higher than 3rd, 4th, 5th (etc.) and go for an easier, but still winnable, set of races. This works for those who enter something with bad handling, or some other such problems.    
 
The drivers in these races are mildly agro, which I like. They won't punt us around like they might in GT4, but they will get involved in plenty of fender-rubs with us AND each other. They aren't afraid to get alongside and try to outwit us (or each other) in and out of turns. 
 
Tsukuba
Don't get lazy at this track. We've seen some pretty horrible races at Tsukuba, too many to mention in GT5. If you assume the Ai's going to give you an easy time, think again. It's advised to steal as many early positions as possible during Laps 1 and 2, even if it means taking some unorthodox racing lines. As the successive 8 laps unfold, the sim cars will begin giving this race their B game.*  
 
 
Fuji Speedway F
This track had me nervous, since it's literally been over a year that I've been here, even with B-spec drivers. But it doesn't take long to get the hang of it. No more Killer Yarises to contend with. The Hairpin areas (Turns 1 and 4), 100 R (Turn 3: the lazy-to-sharp right-hander), Dunlop (super-sharp right-hand chicane at the end of the backstretch, and the tight curves that follow Dunlop are the best places to get some positions. Cars may pass us down Fuji's long straight, but this gives us the opportunity to draft them, and also out-brake them into Turn 1. 
 
Grand Valley
We now go back to a track we're all familiar with, unless you're new to Gran Turismo. Power gets downplayed, but handling becomes more pertinent. If you're doing well so far, you won't need to worry. But if you've got a car that's having problems, now's the time to really dig in, and hope the right decisions get made with suspension and/or limited-slip tuning especially.    
 
Monza        
It's a good thing we just raced here for the Turbo Cup; this set of races will help us now. The same areas where the Ai screws up during the Turbo Cup can still be expected during the J.C. They all downshift into 1st gear during the very first chicane, for instance. Meanwhile, this is a typical 2nd-gear venture for us. While they are shifting awkwardly from 1st to 2nd, we can get some good distance. But since Monza has lots of horsepower areas, chances are the best of the best will eventually catch us.
 
Suzuka Circuit
Totally appropriate that we should end at this course. Again, during the S-curves, hairpin, and Casino Triangle (final chicane) we can hopefully gain some positions, while during horsepower moments our opponents will try to gain this all back.
 
 
*There is no such thing as an A-game when it comes to GT5 AI, let's be honest! But B is still a step up from C or D, which is where they're usually at... 
 
 
Parts Needed
Soft Sport Tires (lesser tires can be used to create more challenge, if needed, but the ratios for the JC have been created with soft sports).
 
Close-ratio gears for some cars at Tsukuba. Those with super-tall gearing might need this at Grand Valley and Monza too.
 
Full-custom gears for some at the rest of these tracks, esp. if your car can't make it down one of the longer straights at Fuji, Suzuka, GV, or Monza without redlining. In general, most cars can go stock at these tracks, though.    
 
Single-plate Clutch and any flywheels needed. Carbon driveshaft for FRs and AWDs, assuming they need some bits of extra acceleration.
 
Brake Balancer only if your car has ABS, yet isn't so great with slowing down. After that first race at Tsukuba, you'll know if you need to use this or not, assuming you don't already know.   
 
Limited-slip perhaps for some members of the Classic Car lots, and no ABS brakes.
 
Fixed or Height-adjustable sport suspension in most cases for cars from the '90s until now. Older cars may need more suspension work than this, esp. (again) if there is no ABS. 
 
Cars Driven
'90 Honda Civic CR-X SiR (2,000 / Lightweight)
 
'01 Acura Integra Type R (2,700 / Mid-weight)
 
'03 Acura CL 3.2 Type S (3,500 / Heavyweight)
'98 Nissan 300ZX Ver. R TT 2+2 (3,500 / Heavyweight)   
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

gt_allstars.jpg

Gran Turismo All Stars

 
rating:****

Level: 19

participants: 12

Aerodynamics above 40
Trial Mountain
(1,800) 3.16 = 568 hp
(2,000) 3.39 = 589 hp
(2,600) 4.04 = 642 hp

Grand Valley Speedway
(1,800) 2.88 = 625 hp
(2,000) 3.12 = 641 hp
(2,600) 3.61 = 720 hp

Nürburgring Nordschleife
(1,800) 2.94 = 612 hp
(2,000) 3.13 = 637 hp
(2,600) 3.56 - 745 hp

Cape Ring
(1,800) 3.06 = 588 hp
(2,000) 3.26 = 613 hp
(2,600) 3.61 = 720 hp

Tokyo Route 246
(1,800) 2.45 = 732 hp
(2,000) 2.68 = 744 hp
(2,600) 3.09 = 840 hp

Aerodynamics = 15 to 35
Trial Mountain
(2,500) 3.89 = 642 hp
(2,900) 4.08 = 711 hp

Grand Valley Speedway
(2,500) 3.57 = 700 hp
(2,900) 3.90 = 744 hp

Nürburgring Nordschleife
(2,500) 3.62 = 690 hp  
(2,900) 3.69 = 785

Cape Ring
(2,500) 3.75 = 666 hp
(2,900) 3.89 = 745 hp

Tokyo Route 246
(2,500) 3.10 = 805 hp
(2,900) 3.49 = 830 hp (to be revised)

 Note: there are two classes we can enter (as seen above), which can compete against a total of three groups we'll possibly race against: Group 1, Group 2, and 3. I have outlined these groups below in the Opponents section.

If your entry has aerodynamics rating 15 through 35, the above ratios have been made with Group 2 opponents starting no higher than 5th (except the '98 Nissan R390 GT1, which is heavier than the others, and can be started on 3rd). Some Group 1 (Pescarolos) can also be started on 5th, but for best results, the rest should be started lower than this, usually behind us. See Opponents section below for more details. This rule also applies if you've entered something from Group 3, below.
 
If your entry is from Groups 1 or 2 (Mazda 787B, for instance), you'll have the best aerodynamics by default. Lesser Group 2 cars (such as the Peugeot 905) can be started anywhere, even on Pole, though at some tracks this means they can get an uncatchable lead, especially if we bottleneck early behind some slug.  
 
Group 3 are the slowest, and generally it won't matter where they start, though there are a couple exceptions to this. The '98 BMW/McLaren F1, and the AMG Benz CLK-GT1 can be strongly dominant if they start on or near Pole.   

If your car is from the lesser aerodynamics class, and you choose to start Group 1 or 2 higher than 5th place, add 35 hp per position above 5th. This is especially true if your car has torque ratings which are well below horsepower ratings. For instance, the Oreca Dodge Viper, which has torque almost equal to its horses, probably won't need this additional power. The Corvette C5-R, which has torque roughly 100 less than its horsepower, probably will. Be careful here. You may quickly run out of available power, so make sure the car you've entered will stay competitive as the races roll forward.

At Tokyo, if you've been struggling for points, yet are still on the front lines, ignore the math, and just add as much power as you can. The ratios here are only for those who are first place in points.  

There are no grids that feature only lesser Group 3 cars, and yes, I've tried to find them. There is often a Group 1, or several Group 2s, siting somewhere.

One of the best, early grids to find which is less challenging is Grid #4. It starts the '98 Nissan R390 GT1 on 3rd, with a Pescarolo starting behind us. If you miss this one, a similar grid will show up a few tries later. There is another one featuring a Peugeot 905 starting right in front, with the '98 Nissan R390 GT1 starting just behind.   

A final "lesser" grid I've found starts the '97 McLaren/BMW F1 GTR on 3rd place, with the '92 Peugeot 905 on 6th, Pescarolo Courage-Judd GV5 on 8th, '98 Nissan R390 GT1 on 9th, and '91 Mazda 787B right behind the Nissan. This grid takes awhile to find. Though the Pescarolo is Group 1, and all the others (except the McLaren) Group 2, oddly it'll be the McLaren/BMW which might put up the better fight during initial tracks. The Pesky, which would usually slaughter all the others in this series, tends not to do so 100%, for some reason. You can use recommended power above without any downplays if you go up against this grid.  

 
Description:
Welcome to a set of brief, intense races, all of them 5 laps apiece, except for the Nurburgring. "Who is the fastest?  It's time to find out once and for all," quips the caption for the GTAS, and so let's find out if we fall into this category.

The GTAS features Gran Tuismo's usual mix of mismatched classes, and we can also choose to compete against something which might be found from FIA's defunct Group C or GT1 classes (faster, full-styled racing cars), or from the DTM, JGTC, SCCA's Can Am, Le Mans series, Japan's Group 7, or an LM fantasy machine, which did not exist in real-life, but is competent for this series.

If we enter something from a lesser class of cars (for instance, if you enter something which is not a 'real' race car, like the VW Nardo W12 I initially tried), this will require that we spend some time looking for "lesser" grids to compete against, which are difficult to find, honestly. It helps a lot if the car you've entered starts with at least 600 horsepower if it's not a full race car, or can be tweaked toward (and possibly above) this sort of power, along with a full aerodynamics package, meaning that both front and rear aerodynamics can be tweaked.

* Aerodynamics are important for the GTAS. Do not even bother entering anything with less than 15 or 20 up front. In some cases (like with that VW Nardo) we won't be able to tweak the front at all. This is okay though, since it's got 20 up there by default. Beware though: those with lower numbers won't be guaranteed to win every single race, unless they've got an easier grid to compete against, and even then you'll need to be driving your best at every moment.    

Since GT5 has been taken offline long ago, and there are no more Seasonal races (which means no more chances of earning ridiculous amounts of money in huge chunks, for comparatively little work), entering the GTAS can be difficult. This assumes you can't afford something which will be able to keep up with the others, and also assumes you haven't got something worthy in your garage. In these cases, your best bet will be to jump ahead to the Extreme or Endurance sections, which award lots more money. Keep an eye on that used car lot too; you never know when something affordable might pop up.   

GETTING STARTED
There are currently two classes of cars being structured for us to race. Those which have fuller frontal aerodynamics (higher than 40, with a max of roughly 50), can survive these events with less power. These are the sorts which are closer to being full racing machines, yet might be somewhat based on the sort of cars which can be found on our streets. So think '00 Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, '97 McLaren F1 GTR, Team Oreca Dodge Viper, Jaguar XJ220 LM, and so on.
 
Absolute prototypes such as the Peugeot 905, Toyota 2SO20, and Pescarolos can also be entered, especially if a hybrid program is used to give them weaker engines.   

There is also a lesser aerodynamics class which includes frontal aerodynamics rating from 15 to 35. These are often even closer to real-life street cars, but still raceable. So this might be a Premium Corvette with a racing kit attached, it might be a concept like the Cadillac Cien, a VW Nardo W12 Concept, or one of GT5's more powerful Touring Cars, or lesser LMs.  

There is a bit of a grey area between these two classes, so some judgement calls will need to be made on occasion!  In general, those toward the upper end of this spectrum will mostly require medium tires. Use softs for those whose aerodynamics are less.

Opponents:
First thing I noticed about the GTAS was that 2.5 out of 5 races are held at tracks which the AI doesn't drive very well, since they have a habit of holding back in those turns. Trial Mountain, Cape Ring, and half of Grand Valley  aren't as tough as the races at the 'Ring and Tokyo. Still though, the Gran Turismo All Stars do not have the same problems which they did in GT3 and 4. For instance, they won't take pit stops like they used to. AT ALL. So we'd better be on our game. 

There is a huge list of classifications our opponents can be found in, but to make it easy I've put them into my own classification system. Group 1 and Group 2 form the bulk of our actual competition. Group 1 and 2 opponents are the fuller-bodied racing cars; the ones which don't resemble anything found on our streets, while Group 3 are mostly those which are supposed to resemble everyday civilian vehicles (for real-life racing qualification purposes), or are simply too slow to be part of 1 or 2.

Group 1 are the ultimate jackrabbit-types, often because they've got a virtual mountain of extra power. They will clearly dominate the rest of the field, unless they get held back. So ban them from your races, or put them as far back on the grid as you can, unless you're driving something with lots of aerodynamics & confidence. If they are started low they will usually bottleneck at all tracks except Route 246.

Group 2 are also fast, sometimes have the extra power of Group 1, but for whatever reason cannot keep up with Group 1. They can sometimes be uncatchable if they start on or near Pole. Start them no higher than 5th or 6th, or include more power so you can catch up to them.   

GROUP 1
'01 Audi R8 (Race Car)
'xx Audi R8 (PlayStation Team Oreca) 
'06 Audi R10 TDI
'89 Sauber Mercedes C9
'89 Nissan R89CP
'92 Nissan R92CP
'04 Pescarolo Courage-Judd GV5
'05 Pescarolo C60 Hybride-Judd
'89 Minolta Toyota 88C-V 

GROUP 2
'03 Bentley Speed 8
'88 Jaguar XJR-9 LM
'91 Mazda 787B
'98 Nissan R390 GT1
 '92 Peugeot 905
'03 Pescarolo Courage Peugeot C60
'99 Toyota GT-One


GROUP 3
'01 Audi R8 LMS
'01 Audi R8 LMS (Team Playstation)
'98 BMW V12 LMR
'63 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
'00 Chevrolet Corvette C5-R
'00 Dodge Viper Team Oreca
'00 Ford Falcon XR8
Ford GT LM
Ford GT LM Spec II
'67 Ford GT40 Mark IV
GT by Citroen
'04 Gillet Vertigo
Jaguar XJ220 LM
'66 Jaguar XJ13
'99 Lister Storm V12
'70 McLaren 2J
'97 McLaren F1 GTR
'98 Mercedes Benz CLK-LM
'93 Calsonic Nissan Skyline GT-R
'07 Dunlop ER34 Nissan Skyline GTR
'06 Xavani Nismo Z
Pagani Zonda LM
'98 Panoz Esperante GTR-1
'70 Toyota 7

Group 3 are obviously the slowest. Ironically, they make the best cars for us to drive. As stated, it is impossible to find a grid which includes only Group 3 cars, but there are some lesser grids you can search for.
 
Trial Mountain
At this corner-heavy track, it is easy to get up to the front lines early, even if some Group 2s are started as high as 3rd place. They will eventually catch up though, of course.
 
Grand Valley
Grand Valley seems to be the most popular track in all Gran Turismos, does it not? And here we are again. This track presents a mix of tight curves, bumpy areas, longer curves, and straight sections. The best machines tend to deal with this track with mixed results, sometimes making a strong showing and passing us with ease, other times bottling behind slower cars, and getting nowhere near the front.  
 
Nürburgring Nordschleife
A lot of power gets added here, and in some cases it may seem too much. We may get far ahead of the competition during the first third of the track. But if any of those faster, lighter cars begin to catch up (especially down straighter areas) suddenly that extra power gets appreciated.
 
Cape Ring
This is the full version of this course, and it can be aggravating to deal with since it is mirror-smooth, not pocked with bumps and/or curbs like the previous three. This means that top racers can use their aerodynamics more effectively during longer curve areas, without worrying as much about bumps & rumble strips messing up their cornering. Note that finally during the actual ring part, they'll be going flat-out more often (rather than slowing down massively as we've seen so often in other race series). Typically they will just catch up to us during the end of the opening straight, so be prepared for some clever out-braking here.  
 
Tokyo Route 246
The final showdown, and it's at a track which is mostly about horsepower. Even during this track's turns, the faster autos will still be using their aerodynamics to greater effect, and it's easy to wind up with a 4th or 5th place finish here if the smallest mistake is made, even if we've been doing well so far. As stated above, go ahead and add as much power as you can (ignoring the math) if you've been struggling to keep ahead, points-wise. The math should only be used if we're way ahead of everyone else in points.
 
The AI make a small mistake of their own here. Down the main stretch toward the Start / Finish line, there's a high-speed right/left kink, which barely makes a difference in slower cars, but at 150 mph+, we need to be precise as we go in here, aiming inward because we're about to be outward. The AI always brakes here. We don't have to. So that's a small area where our high-horsepower engines can keep on walking, while the competition hesitates.             
 
Parts:
Medium Racing Tires

Soft Racing tires can be used on those who need some help, especially those whose aerodynamics can't be pushed into the 30s, and higher. Or if full power cannot be attained.   

Full custom suspension, transmission, differential (etc.) assuming you've got a choice of not equipping any of this stuff.

Your car should have frontal aerodynamics which can be tweaked into the 30s, though it's possible there are a few which can get away with lower numbers. Those with lower numbers won't be guaranteed a win at every track, though.

Cars used:
'91 Mazda 787B (1,800, Aero 40+)
'97 BMW McLaren F1 GTR (2,100, Aero 40+)
'98 Mercedes-Benz CLK-LM (2,600, Aero 40+)
Chevrolet Camaro LM    (2,600 Aero 40+ (2,600, this car couldn't make the power quoted up above every time, but others have been driven that could).

'01 BMW M3 GTR (2,500, Aero 15 to 35)
 Nissan GT-R Touring Car (2,677, GT2 - proactive development car)
'01 Volkswagen W12 Nardo (2,900, Aero 15 to 35)

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

sideways_legacy.jpg

 Polyphony Digital Cup
 
rating: ***
 
participants: 12:
Level: 19
 
Circuto de Madrid (Mini Track)
(2,500) 8.83 = 283 hp
(3,000) 9.87 = 304 hp
(3,500) 10.90 = 321 hp
 
-Trucks, SUVs, & MPVs-
(3,500) 9.72 = 360 hp
 
Trial Mountain
(2,500) 9.80 = 255 hp
(3,000) 11.02 = 272 hp
(3,500) 12.03 = 291 hp
 
-Trucks, SUVs, & MPVs-
(3,500) 10.48 = 334 hp
 
Grand Valley
(2,500) 8.53 = 293 hp
(3,000) 9.83 = 305 hp
(3,500) 11.16 = 314 hp
 
-Trucks, SUVs, & MPVs-
(3,500) 9.57 = 367 hp
 
This race features three separate classes of drivers who can show up: A, B, and C. Study the Opponents section below to get an idea of how to structure grids.
 
Currently, the above ratios feature Class A's Lotus and Nissan GT-R set as far back on the grid as possible (or absent entirely), with some of the better Class B starting no higher than 2nd place. Grid #2 (which features an Audi S3 on Pole, with the '07 Nissan Fairlady Z on 2nd, and no Class A at all) is the quickest grid to find. Beyond this grid, it can take a very long time to find another one similar to #2. Most of the racing I've done for this guide featured this second grid.   
 
 Add 5 to 15 hp per position if you include Class B on Pole. Less power should be added if one of the lesser Bs sits up there.
 
So in other words, if the Mazda RX-7 RS-R is on Pole, try adding 15 hp. If the Lexus IS F starts on Pole, add 5, and if some car in the middle of the Class B pack (the BMW M3, for instance) starts on Pole, you want to add somewhere between 5 and 15.     
 
 
Some rare grids feature a slew of Class C (and lesser Class Bs) up front, with only a smattering of top-tier Class B, and NO Class A. Try removing 20 horsepower or more for these sort of grids. Those with mediocre handling should get 20 hp less, those with better handling should have more than 20 removed. Maybe 25 or 30.
 
For the Trucks, Vans, SUVs class's lower end weight of 3,500 pounds, power should only be added if your entry is something which will really need help. For instance, the Infiniti FX45 I initially drove, which weighed 3,500 pounds, could survive these races with typical car-powers of 321, 291, and 329, because it is more of a performance-oriented SUV. The Honda Odyssey I later tried needed  extra power though, as well as help in the drivetrain, brakes and suspension departments.       
 
 
Description:
Ahh, back to reality. Gaahhh just three races????  One thing you may notice about the PD Cup in GT5 is that all the cars we're racing against are Premium. I realized this during one replay, when I noticed I could see into each car's interior. Real seats, real steering wheels, etc.  
 
 The PD Cup was first found in GT4, and featured a set of 10 races, not 3. Truthfully though, there is more overall challenge in GT5's version, and lesser cars get a better shot now. If some higher-powered rear-drive showed up in the previous game (and one usually showed up), the entire set of events would become incredibly one-sided. This isn't always true for GT5.  
 
Each race is 5 laps. And I wish there were more tracks to drive at, because the PD Cup can be very fun and intense. We can use more power than we did during Schwarzwald Liga A, the Turbo Cup, and the Japanese Championship, which means even more cars which have been collecting dust get to see action.     
 
Opponents:
Another cool thing about the PD Cup is how PD programmed these guys. Although we're not talking ToCA here, I am still pleased to see them make mistakes. They don't drive like robots, they don't drive like they're half-asleep. They smoke their tires occasionally, and take chances. It's something which has been missing during a lot of GT5's slower events. I just saw an RX-7 take a curve at Grand Valley, getting too hot into this turn, smoking its left tires in the process. The thing is, the RX-7's driver didn't just back off the throttle like some sissy, no, he kept on it, as though he was much more interested in pushing his car to its very limits, just like I often do.   
 
If we look at our "typical opponents" list (the in-game list), we can see that PD has attempted to level the playing field a bit. The Ford GT for instance (the very fastest machine in GT4) had 550 horsepower back then. Now, it's only got 412, way less than the most powerful car, the Mercedes Benz SL 55, which has 482. Though the Benz has the most power, it is actually slower than the Ford, due to its massive weight. 
 
Still, the Ford (and others listed below) will be the ones to watch for. They simply outhandle some others, and can crawl from rear to front. So here comes the classification system, complete with car, power, weight, and weight / power ratio. I have tried to arrange these guys from most to least threatening.
 
> Class A autos will often dominate. They can sometimes make it from rear to front, so we can start them as low as possible, or keep them off the grid entirely, unless more challenge is desired. The Lotus and Nissan can be included more successfully if they start at least a couple positions behind us. The Ford, on the other hand, is best eliminated from competition.    
 
CLASS A
'05 Ford GT                                412 hp           3,199 lbs.      7.76
'02 Lotus Esprit V8                     395 hp          3,041             7.70
'07 Nissan GT-R                         431 hp          3,835              9.90
 
> Class B autos are middle-ground. They usually pull ahead (sometimes far ahead) if they start  on or near Pole. Those toward the top of the list will be more successful at this than those at the bottom. I try to arrange B no higher than 2nd place for the ratios above. The second grid we come across as we're searching for opponents, which features the Z-car starting on 2nd place, is what I've used most often. There are other grids we can dial up, but they take forever to find.      
 
CLASS B
'97 Mazda RX-7 Type RS-R       394 hp          2,821            7.16
'06 Honda S2000                       380 hp           2,755             7.25
'07 NIssan Fairlady Z Ver. S      395 hp          2,711            6.86
'90 Mazda RX-7 Infini III              370 hp         2,710            7.33
'99 Mitsu Lancer Evo VI GSR     391 hp          2,997          7.67
'05 Subaru Impreza WRX STi     396  hp          3,063          7.74
'04 BMW M3
'69 Chevrolet Camaro SS
'07 Lexus IS F                              415 hp          3,577          9.62
 
> Class C? They get pwned every time, not just by us, but also by their own trackmates. We can start them on and near Pole if our car is not so confident, or we can place Class B up there for a tougher experience. In some cases, Class C will dominate Class B, but in general they won't exceed overall.     
 
CLASS C
'03 Honda Integra Type R
'02 Audi S3
'03 Audi TT Coupe 3.2 Quattro
'05 Volkswagen Golf GTI                 
'02 Mercedes Benz SL 55 AMG  482 hp          4,309          9.93
'06 Aston Martin DB9 Coupe       422 hp          3,769          8.93
 
Note that there are a couple sleepers in Class C: the Mercedes Benz SL and the Aston Martin DB9. These guys are clumsy, but they pack lots of power. If these start on Pole, they can wind up being tough to catch and fight.  
 
*Again, note that those at the top of each Class should be faster than those at the bottom, theoretically, and I have placed them this way after much observation during replays. So even though the Mazda RX-7 and Chevy Camaro are  both in Class B, the Mazda will be faster than the Chevy, overall.
   
Madrid Mini
This is one of those tracks we haven't seen for awhile; not since the Beginner's League, if I remember correctly. Laps 1 and 2 feel like a group of people have shown up all at once at a subway depot, everybody trying to cram into the train before those doors close!   As the race rolls from Laps 3 through 5, we'll begin to see those Class A vehicles (if any showed up) get closer in our mirrors, while Class B (if they started in front of us) may or may not creep slightly ahead down Madrid's straights. Hurry hurry!!
 
Trial Mountain
Traditionally, the Ai doesn't drive this track too well, especially through those large, sweeping turns & close-walled bends. So a lot less power will be needed here. Trial Mountain only features three or four "horsepower" areas. The rest of the track, we'll need to outcorner 'em.
 
Note: if you dominated too easily at Trial Mountain, make sure you use 10 to 20 horsepower less at Grand Valley, or swap those soft tires for mediums.
 
Grand Valley
For the record, I really wish this final event was held at the Nurburgring (yeah, roll your eyes Clarkson) :-/ Power gets bumped, and Class A (if any of them are here) will be much more of a threat than they were at the two previous tracks, since GV's straights allows them to stomp their power most effectively. We've all raced at Grand Valley dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of times by now, yet I can't help but enjoy this final event anyways.    
  
 
Parts Needed:
Soft Sport Tires
 
Medium Sport Tires can be used for those which are known to have better handling, especially if Madrid or Trail Mountain has been won a little too easily, and some more challenge is desired. Note that going this route is a huge dice-roll. You may win one race too easily, then find yourself struggling for a win at the next!   
 
Close-ratio gears for many. A wide range of cars can be entered into the PD Cup though, so some can use their original gears, while others will need full-custom, especially some classics with short boxes.
 
Single-plate clutch, flywheels (either one), and carbon driveshaft in some cases.
 
Most from the 1990s or newer won't need limited-slip tuning. Only some older models, or some rare newer ones with really bad traction / handling will need this
 
Fixed or height-adjustable sport suspension for most. Good-handlers can go stock, and this includes those who are in the Trucks, Vans & SUVs class. The need for full-custom tuning will be rare.
 
Brake Balancer for those who can't handle that last turn at Madrid in less than 100 meters, without excessive understeer or sloppiness. Do some practicing before the PD Cup on an empty track to get a clue.       
 
Cars Used:
-2,500 / Middleweight-
'00 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0
 
3,000 /  Middle-heavy-
'96 Subaru Legacy Touring Wagon
 
3,500 / Heavyweight-
'01 Acura CL 3.2 Type-S
'05 BMW 330i
 
Trucks, SUVs & MPVs
'03 Infiniti FX45 (3,500)
'03 Honda Odyssey (3,500)


Back to GT5 A-spec Links