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GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Extreme Series

schwarzwald-liga-b.jpg

Schwarzwald Liga B
 
rating: ** 
 
participants: 12
Level: 20
 
Cape Ring (full course)
(2,100) 8.04 = 261 hp
(2,400) 8.76 = 274 hp
(3,500) 10.54 = 332 hp
(4,300) 11.35 = 380 hp
 
Nürburgring Nordschliefe
(2,100)
(2,400) 7.94 = 302 hp
(3,500) 9.67 = 362 hp
(4,300) 10.72 = 401 hp
 
Drivetrain doesn't matter much in these races, though front-drives should receive more extensive tuning (better suspension, drivetrain, and brake tuning) than rear or all-wheel drives.
 
There are a few to watch for, located in the Opponents section below. Start the Audi R8 no higher than 3rd place, and the above math should work just fine. Only the 570 horsepower 2010 AMG Benz SLS should be started as low as possible, or kept off the grid entirely, although grids without the SLS are hard to find. 
 
Anybody else can be started anywhere else, including BMW's Ms. BMWs are faster than the rest of the grid, but not as fast as the Audi and AMG.     
 
Description
Finally, we make it to Extremes! Here we are in the Extreme Hall. First race, we get shoved off to wherever Cape Ring is supposed to be (I prefer to think it's in South Africa), and then to Germany itself.  
 
Power gets amped upwards, as it should, but this doesn't mean the SLB is going to be super-tough. This is not really an "Extreme" set of races, in my opinion. The trick is to keep the fastest cars away from top positions at the beginning of the race. If you don't do this, then you WILL have an Extreme set of races!  You'll need a lot more power, too.   
 
Opponents
A lot of these guys are on the same page; they're all heavy coupes, sedans, wagons, and a couple sports cars. The Audi R8 and AMG SLS are the fastest, and can be conceived in the same manner as the Opel Speedster and Opel Speedster Turbo during Schwarzwald Liga A.
 
Only the AMG is an ultimate threat, one which could spoil both races, The Audi will only do so if it starts on Pole or 2nd place. So start the Audi no higher than 3rd, and the AMG as low as you can. The others listed below (the BMWs) can be started on any position, even Pole. They are faster than others, but won't pull way ahead like the Audi and AMG.
 
         Das Auto                    HP      Wgt.    Ratio
2010 AMG Benz SLS      570       3,570    6.26
2007 Audi R8 4.2 FSI R   439       3,438   7.18
2005 BMW M5                 501       4,088   8.16
2008 BMW M5
2003 BMW M3 GTR        412       2,975    7.22
2007 BMW M3 Coupe    465        3,648   7.84
 
Anybody not listed won't really matter much, at either track. Both races (Cape Ring and the Nürburgring) are long enough that the AMG SLS will eventually pass everyone else, no question, even if it's started in last place. As mentioned, it's a good idea to start the Audi R8 no higher than 3rd place, with the AMG as low as possible (12th place is a nice start for that guy).
 
CAPE RING
Most of this track is too narrow or awkward for the faster Ai to make a pass, assuming we get ahead of them. And if they do get ahead of us again, we can easily pwn them around the 'ring' part. They don't seem to have realized that it's possible to take most of the ring flat-out, with full-throttle. Or actually, I believe they're all using traction controls which slow them down. Whatever. Since they slow down here so much, this is the reason why we won't need much power. If the 2010 AMG SLS shows up at Cape Ring, it will become a constant threat during latter laps, except during the ring part. If it manages to get ahead of us and get a good lead, we can pretty much kiss our precious win goodbye.
 
Nürburgring    
Again, a vast portion of this track is narrow and tight, and our enemy won't be able to get ahead of us; they'll need to wait for straight sections. Or straiter sections. I have calculated for significantly more power here than at Cape Ring, because even if we get a strong lead, multiple seconds ahead, there's still that chance the AMG will catch up to us.
 
BE CAREFUL with slacking here, too. I've done some races in which a not-so-obvious car (like the '04 Mercedes Benz SL600) stated on Pole, and got a lead so strong, it was impossible to catch. It's a good idea to use unorthodox racing lines to get around the AI at Nürburgring as early as possible.
 
Parts Suggested
Soft Sport Tires
 
Fixed or Height-adjustable Sport Suspension (and as usual, those with stellar handling can go with stock parts).
 
Brake Balancer, for cars which can't handle braking into the first hairpin at Cape Ring, starting at the yellow-colored Agip banner, located on the right wall. If your car can't do this without excessive understeer once it's in the turn, do some brake balancing.
 
Close-ratio gears for most at Cape Ring. Stock or full-custom gearing might be more appropriate at Nürburgring. 
 
Drivetrain parts as needed. Most lower-powered autos will need twin clutch, flywheels, and carbon driveshaft. Limited-slip tuning is often optional, since we don't necessarily need loads of power at either track.      
 
Cars Used
'98 Mercedes-Benz A160 Avantgarde (2,100)
'00 Volkswagen New Beetle 2.0 (2,400)
'05 BMW 330i            (3,500)
'00 Mercedes-Benz SL 600 (4,300)
 
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likethewind.jpg

Like the Wind
 
Level: 21
 
participants: 12
rating: *** 
 
Daytona Road Course
(1,800, GT1) 3.13 = 575 hp
(2,200, GT1) 3.67 = 599 hp 
 
(2,100, GT2) 3.36 = 625 hp
(2,500, GT2) 3.78 = 660 hp
(2,700, GT2) 3.97 = 680 hp
 
(2,700 GT3) 3.70 = 729 hp
(2,900 GT3) 3.84 = 755 hp
 
 Indianapolis Speedway
(1,800, GT1) 3.19 = 568 hp
(2,200, GT1) 3.45 = 637 hp   
 
(2,100, GT2) 2.74 = 765 hp
(2,500, GT2) 2.97 = 840 hp
(2,700, GT2) 3.13 = 861 hp  
 
 
There are three classes of cars used for the ratios above, based partially on old real-life rules from the FIA.
 
GT1 are top-notch winged cars, never to be found upon our streets. These are all the cars we'll be competing against, basically: '91 Mazda 787B, Pescarolo Courage, '89 Sauber Mercedes C9, and so on. If we choose to enter one of these beasts, we'll need to seriously limit our car's power.    
 
 GT2 are often based on real-life autos, but have been heavily modified with wings, spoilers, and such. These have  frontal aerodynamics which can be set up to 50 at best.  
 
GT3 includes those which are closer to everyday street cars (even if they're never seen on actual streets) and these include lesser aerodynamics, less than 20 so far. If you enter one of these cars, you'll only be able to finish the first race at Daytona. 
 
Daytona: Group 1 (the very fastest opponents) can be started 4th place at the highest, unless we drive a car competent enough that Group 1 can be started on 3rd. 
 
One exception to this is if we enter a GT1 (fully-winged prototype racer) of our own. If so, start these better cars no higher than 2nd. They can be started higher than this (or use less power) if your car is competent, or power can be added if it's not, assuming there is power to add.  
 
Indianapolis: add +50 hp to those with lesser aerodynamics (topping at 35 up front) and/or blockier shapes. A lot of these automobiles won't be able to accept this sort of power, of course. 
 
Grid placement doesn't matter as much at Indianapolis, since drafting comes much more into play. Including too many Group 1 types can get obnoxious though, as they'll start constantly punting and rubbing up against us.
 
A good grid to try for those who're having trouble shows up about reloads in. It starts a C60 Hybride-Judd on pole, with the '98 Nissan R390 GT1 on 2nd, '70 Toyota 7 on 3rd, and so on.   
 
 
Description
Time to buckle up into your favorite rocketship-on-wheels. Like The Wind is a set of races which originated back in GT3. The original had us doing something like 20 laps around the Test Course, and in GT4 this got cut down to 5 laps, I think. Thankfully the races we're doing now allow some more variety, and more driving challenge. Not that 20 laps around a giant oval can't be considered "challenging" in its own way.
 
The difference between GT3 and 4, compared to 5, is that now we have to do more than set a tall gearbox, and catch some drafts. GT5's Like The Wind requires that we spend some time tuning our entire car: brakes, tires, aerodynamics, suspension, drivetrain, maybe even traction controls for those who need them. We'll be needing to deal with turns that are much more sharp than those two giant curves around the Test Course. All of this is truer for Daytona than it is of Indy, since Indianapolis won't require as much attention to handling. Still, if you don't show up to Indianapolis with something that's got worthy aerodynamics, you won't win this race.
 
Money starts to get really sweet now, as it should for the caliber of racing we're finally dealing with. 70,000 credits for 5 laps is nowhere near GT2 money, but compared to what we've been earning so far, it's definitely an improvement.
 
Fact of interest: most race series in GT5 have seen cutbacks--3 races during the Clubman Cup instead of 5, for instance. Like the Wind is perhaps the only set of races which has seen PD add a track!  
 
 
Opponents
We've got a similar cast of characters to the grids found in Gran Turismo All Stars, except only the very best are now represented: FIA/GT1s, LMPs, and Group Cs. But then PD has gotten cute, and also added one of the most famous cheater cars of all time, that's right, the Excuseo is here, with all 929 of its horsepower.
 
Well here, let's look at the two groups involved in Like The Wind. I have tried to find out their very fastest speeds at Daytona, as well.  These speeds are not absolute, and some cars may be able to go faster than posted. But this is what I've observed.
 
Group 1
'08 Audi R8 Playstation Team Oreca        233 mph (RPM Limit)
'04 Courage Judd GV5            220 mph
'89 Nissan R89C                      209 mph
'92 Nissan R92CP                   232 mph (RPM Limit)
'03 Pescarolo Courage C60       212 mph
Pescarolo Courage Judd             208 mph  
'88 Minolta Toyota 88C-V           233 mph (RPM Limit)
'92 Peugeot 905                      202 mph
'xx Sauber Mercedes C9        232 mph (RPM Limit)
 
 
Group 2
'99 BMW V12 LMR                                   228 mph
'04 Gillet Vertigo                                        196 mph (RPM Limit)
'91 Mazda 787B                                       221 mph (RPM Limit)
'98 Nissan R390 GT1                              196 mph
'98 Suzuki Escudo Dirt Trial Car             194 mph
'70 Toyota 7                                              194 mph *
 
As usual, nothing is set in stone, especially at Daytona. The fastest Group 1 can sometimes bottleneck behind that stubborn, clumsy Escudo, for instance
 
Daytona
I've recommended starting Group 1 no higher than 4th place here, unless you've got something which can excel. In some cases, we can wind up getting an early lead  simply because (as usual) the Ai slows down too much during certain parts of this track, like hairpins and the Bus Stop dual-chicane. The faster cars will also get stuck behind slower ones. But even if we do get an early lead, there's still a chance that the best cars might get by whoever is slowing them down, so stretch that lead as much as you can!
 
Indianapolis Speedway
Unlike Daytona (and unlike all the previous versions of Like The Wind in earlier games) Indianapolis will require something better than the VW Nardo I initially drove. I remember entering the Saleen S7 at the Test Curse of GT4, fer crissakes!  This is possible in that game, since aerodynamically-derived downforce is not as much of a factor at that giant track. Now it is. You'll need something worthy, or you won't win here, and might not even break the top seven.
 
The AI does it all wrong at this track. Those of us who aced Jeff Gordon's tutorial know how to take those turns. By getting down low onto them (inwards) we'll be able to scramble to the top within that very first lap. The AI always goes too wide, and then must wait to re-attack its throttle because of this. 
 
Cars that get underdogged down those straights, a lot of GT2 machines, for instance, can try waiting until Lap 5 to make that ultimate move. Let a car or two get in front down the backstraight, and then out-brake 'em into Turn 3. Keep speed above 190 during turns 3 and 4, and hopefully you'll wind up getting enough of a lead across the finish.    
 
Parts
Hard Racing Tires
 
Medium Racing Tires can be used for those who have poor aerodynamics, can't quite make the recommended power, etc.
 
Some oddities (like the Nissan GT-R R35 Touring Car) can use hard tires at Daytona, but mediums at Indianapolis. Their extra traction makes them stellar at the first track, but their blockier shape (and lesser aerodynamics) hurts at Indy.
 
Transmission set for over 250 mph, whether this is a default unit, or fully-customized part.  
 
Full Aerodynamics at Indianapolis; the higher the better.
 
Brake Balancer
 
Cars
'91 Mazda 787B        (1,830 pounds, GT1)
'89 Nissan R89C      (2,200 pounds, GT1)
 
'97 BMW McLaren F1 GTR (2,100 pounds, GT2)
'09 Pagani Zonda R         (2,500 pounds, GT2)
Nissan GT-R R35 TC  (2,700, GT2)
 
'02 Cadillac Cien          (2,700 pounds, GT3)
'01 Volkswagen W12 Nardo (2,900 pounds, GT3)
 
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daytona_series.jpg

 
NASCAR Series
 
Level: 21
Opponents: 12
rating: ***
 
Indianapolis Superspeedway: 680 hp
 
Grand Valley Speedway675 hp
 
High Speed Ring: 652 hp
 
Laguna Seca: 665 hp
 
Daytona Speedway: 835 hp (or whatever the car maxes at)
 
Description
So here it is, the NASCAR Series. One of the more controversial moves added by Polyphony Digital back in 2010 was to go all-out for NASCAR, which features a group of cars built to the same specifications, the same weight, the same engines and gearboxes, etc. And most of the time, these cars aren't even road racing; they're going around oval-shaped tracks like Daytona.
 
A lot of us had mixed feelings about the inclusion of these 3,400-pound tanks, which barely resemble the cars they're supposed to represent. In the earlier days of NASCAR (up to the 1980s), each car had its differences: a Ford Thunderbird had a different shape and engine size than an Oldsmobile Cutlass, and each of these cars at least resembled the shape of their civilian versions, sometimes with engines of comparable size. Nowadays, all these cars are the same, except for their paint schemes. I scoff whenever I see the name "Camry" in particular, since no Camry has ever been released on the streets with rear drive, or a V8 engine. 
 
But hell, I'm enjoying the NASCAR Series. These "Sprint Cup" autos are fun, and the fact that they're all the same means everybody's on the same page. We can still easily outdrive 'em though, unless we limit our power. At 500,000 credits apiece, it is also a relief to know we're not going to go bankrupt to finance this set of races. We'll leave the championship with a profit if we do it right.    
 
Opponents
One of the things that's awesome about this set of races is we won't have to hunt for that perfect grid. ;-) Everybody here is the exactly the same; I doubt PD even bothered to tweak each car's settings differently.
 
Each track also presents its own sort of challenges. Real-life Sprint Cup cars are made for ovals for instance, and don't do particularly well if any sort of braking or intense cornering is involved. So it's fun taking one of these to a course like Grand Valley or High Speed Ring. From track to track, we'll need to alter our strategy, to survive and win.  
 
Indianapolis Speedway -- This first race features NASCAR in its prime, yet there's not much to it, since the AI drives rather timidly, braking into turns and not really giving their "all" like we can. Those who aced Jeff Gordon NASCAR School will have no problems getting far ahead of everyone else.
 
On the other hand, one of the things they do right at this track is they know how to follow our draft once we're in the lead. They will move left to right (and so on) if we try to keep them from catching up to us.  
 
Grand Valley Speedway -- Here is our first road circuit, and now we get a chance to see how really BADLY these "stock cars" do on an actual twisty course. Real-life Sprint Cup cars occasionally do race road circuits (like Mosport and Infineon) and they always look out of their element while doing so.
 
Now we can see why. 700 horsepower going through 4 gears feels great on a big oval, but awkward at slow/fast course like Grand Valley. Nextel sprinters are in their element once they're at speed, but incredibly clumsy during Grand Valley's slower turns. To be fair, it's the mandatory stability control which makes them feel like high-speed hippos. As our car's ASC twitches and re-calculates, it actually makes our job tougher, not easier. The drivers we're up against also aren't afraid to bump into us, and rub against us and each other!  But of course, that's what these virtual tanks are made for. Banging into each other, cock-blocking, and other such nonsense which gets frowned upon during GT racing is completely acceptable for NASCAR.
 
BIG HINT: make sure to tune 1st gear for Grand Valley, and also Laguna Seca. Since we've only got 4 speeds to choose from, we're gonna need a good 1st!
 
High Speed Ring --  Power falls even further for this track. They do drive with more confidence than they did during many GT races, but it's still way too easy to take certain turns at higher speeds, not braking like they do, and passing multiple cars if they bottleneck each other. On the other hand, I've calculated power so that we won't be able to also pass them down straight areas. Following somebody else usually will allow us to hold our position, nothing more.
 
Laguna Seca -- Now we really need to pay attention, as the Sprint Cuppers start feeling more like something from a roller coaster. This, so far, was my least favorite track to race my M&Ms Camry around. The bulk of the grid is super-easy to get by during those first few turns, and the stability control which constantly causes my car to wobble and unnaturally twitch is super-annoying. Ugh. But then there's...
 
Daytona Speedway -- The final showdown, and now we get to stretch our legs at 200+ mph again. Finally, here is a race in Gran Turismo 5 which requires all of the power our car can put out.  Every race so far has ranged from downright easy to mildly challenging so far, but at Daytona, the AI finally gives their all. So hang on, and remember the rules Jeff taught us so long ago.  
 
Parts Needed
Hard Racing Tires
 
Power limiter
 
 
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gt5_eurochallenge.jpg

European Championship
 
rating: *** 
 
participants: 12
Level: 22
 
 
TUNER CLASS
 
Rome
(2,000) 9.01 = 220 hp
(2,400) 10.04 = 239 hp
(2,700) 10.84 = 249 hp
(3,500) 12.82 = 273 hp
 
Deep Forest
(2,000) 11.11 = 180 hp
(2,400) 11.82 = 203 hp
(2,700) 12.56 = 215 hp
(3,500) 14.52 = 241 hp
 
Monza Circuit
(2,000) 7.84 = 255 hp
(2,400) 8.66 = 277 hp
(2,700) 9.47 = 285 hp
(3,500) 10.90 = 321 hp
 
HISTORIC CLASS
 
Rome
(1,400) 6.66 -- 210 hp
(2,500) 9.37 -- 267 hp  
 
Deep Forest
(1,400) 7.86 -- 178 hp
(2,500) 10.77 -- 232 hp    
 
Monza
(1,400) 6.19 -- 226 hp
(2,500) 8.74 -- 286 hp   
 
Tuner Class represents typical Euro hatchbacks, sedans, mostly front-drives, and weaker rear-drives, all of which usually demand some modest tuning to succeed.  
 
Historic Class is any car typically older than 1990, or models which would not have ABS brakes in real-life. When entering this class, search for easier grids, comprised solely of Class C opponents, and/or slower Class Bs.  
 
A third class (Sports) might possibly get made someday, although not very many sports cars have the lack of power this class would demand. 
 
I have broken the Ai into three classes: A, B, and C. There are a few jackrabbits to watch for, most of them are obvious sports cars: Lotuses and TVRs top this list, and fall under Class A. Start these folks behind you at Rome and Monza, and no higher than 3rd place at Deep Forest. If they begin higher than this they can still be caught, but this becomes harder (sometimes impossible) to do. If you enter a car which is super-confident, this is the only situation you might want to have Class A start in front at Rome or Monza, maybe on or near Pole, without changing power. 
 
There is also a lesser Class B. These can be started anywhere from Pole to 4th place, depending which car we're talking about. Some of them won't be catchable if they start on Pole, for instance (see below).
 
At Rome and Monza, we can remove power according to how low Class B starts on the grid. After calculating power up above, additional power can be removed by following the instructions below in the Opponents' Class B section. This is a work in progress at the moment, though some results have been posted.     
 
In some cases at Deep Forest, middle-grade Class B (Ford Focus, Alfa GT) can be started as high as 2nd place, yet we'll still need to deduct up to 25 horsepower to make things fair for most cars. This assumes Class A is not much of a threat, of course.  We can remove more than 25 if we're driving a great-handler.     
 
Very rarely, we'll be dealing with a grid almost entirely full of Class C, the slowest of all. It is easy to find one of these grids though, it'll be the very first one which shows up after the PS3 has been turned on.  Subtract up to 50 horsepower for cars with confident handling (not applicable for the Historics). Less can be subtracted for those with some sort of issue, or issues.
 
There is one grid which is entirely C, though this one takes a long time to locate.  
 
Description
Off we go to Europe, after our stay in America. Boy we're just whirling around the globe, right?  And the best thing is our money really gets sweeter: over 80,000 credits per win!  
 
 The European Championship is a 3-system deal: Rome, Deep Forest, and Monza. It's possilbe to use the same German we used during Scwharzwald Liga B, although we won't need the same power. The EC requires less, actually. Actually, you might want to think "Schwarzwald Liga A", not B. 
 
Opponents
We've really got a hodgepodge of goofballs against us now. Front-drives, rear-drives, all-wheel drives, sedans, coupes, hatches, sports cars, and even one bona fide SUV, the Range Rover Stormer, The rear-drive sports cars are the ones to watch for most of all, and we can further break up our opponents into three different classes.
 
Class A are the very fastest. They can make their way toward the front of the pack, even if they start at the rear. Keep them as low as possible at Rome and Monza, unless you've got something which can keep up, okay?  
 
CLASS A
'94 TVR Griffith 500        340 hp   2,336  6.87
'02 TVR Tamora               345 hp  2,336  6.77
'09 Lotus Evora             324 hp   2,931  9.05
'02 Lotus Esprit V8         353 hp   3,041  8.62
'98 Lotus Esprit V8 SE   353 hp   3,041  8.62  
 
 
Now we have Class B. These folks can be a threat mostly if they start near the front of the pack: Pole, 2nd or 3rd place. There's a chance they may still be dangerous if they start lower than this, but we can usually get ahead of them during initial laps, and keep them at bay during later ones. So start them no higher than 3rd or 4th if they're toward the top of the list. Those toward the bottom (Peugeot, Ford, Volvo, Audi S3, etc.) can be started anywhere. Generally, the lower on the list below, the less of the problem.
 
The horsepower number next to each car represents how much should get removed IF that car starts on 4th place. Remove an additional 2 hp for each position below 4th place. So if the Lotus starts on 5th place, -2 hp get removed. If it starts on 6th, -4, and so on. 
 
CLASS B
'87 Lotus Turbo HC           ?        2,521                    0 hp
'91 TVR V8S                    296         2,314  7.82         -2 hp
'03 BMW M3 CSL                                                     -2 hp  
'03 Renault Clio Sport V6 (and V6 Phase 2)              -2 hp                    
'08 BMW Z4 M Coupe 
'02 Ford Focus RS
'04 Alfa Romeo GT 3.2 V6   ?         ?       ?
'85 Peugeot  Turbo 
'09 Audi TTS Coupe
'84 Ford RS200                   ?         ?         ?
'02 Audi S3                                                            -18 hp
''02 Alfa Romeo 147 GTA                                       -18 hp 
'03 Volvo S60 T-5 Sport                                         -20 hp
 
*note that the BMW M3 CSL in Class B is NOT the regular M3. There's a difference, though the M3 is one of the better Class C's.
 
CLASS C is any car not listed. They are unlisted because they rarely excel, and are mostly unimportant. Class C, ironically, makes the best cars for us to race. Class C includes a few sleepers though, mostly heavier luxury cars with big engines. An example is the '02 AMG Benz CLK 55. If this one starts on pole position, it can be hard to catch. It is heavy, but its powerful engine will help it launch far ahead of the others. There might also be some Jaguars or other Benzes which can get a huge lead within a couple laps, so watch for these sort of grids.  
 
ROME can be a tricky race, especially if it's got some Class A and B. Class A can be started pretty low on the grid, you'll get ahead of everyone else during Laps 1, 2, and 3, yet it'll be that Lotus or TVR (maybe something lesser) which crowds your mirrors all the sudden during Laps 4 and 5.
 
DEEP FOREST is the odd track here, since most of it is off-camber turns, bouncy grids, and hills. The Ai doesn't like this very much; all of this causes their traction controls to go haywire during much of the track. And this makes it easy for us to get an early lead, even if some Class A and/or B started in front. It can be a gamble now...sometimes you'll remain way up front, your opponents getting bottlenecked behind an Audi, perhaps. Other times, they will manage to get by these roadblocks, catch you, pass you, and now you've got yourself a race! 
 
....Because of this, it can be difficult to calculate power here. Downplay it further than I'm recommending, and there's a chance a Class A (or faster B) will get a strong lead over you, impossible to catch. 
 
MONZA is the final race, and again, horsepower becomes much more important, though we still won't need globs of it. That Ferrari in your garage will still be collecting dust. Monza can be a tricky track because sometimes it's hard to gauge how well our car will do here. If Class A (and some faster Bs) show up, they will usually catch up to us after they get past any traffic. Sometimes one of these will get ahead of us, and be impossible to catch, other times it'll be us that's impossible to catch.
 
But most of the time, I find that Monza is a track with some very close finishes. I'm usually able to get by them during those chicanes and curves, but they always catch up during straights. During the main straight I am usually neck-and-neck with them during Laps 4 and 5, sometimes earlier. If they win, it's often because of a tiny mistake on my part. Maybe too much of an understeer moment during one particular turn, for instance.    
 
Parts
Medium Sport tires (Hard Sports can be used for some extra challenge, especially if you enter a sports car type with top-notch handling traits).  
 
Fixed Sport Suspension (go stock if you need to) for Tuner Class 
 
Height-Adjustable Suspension for Historic class
 
Close-ratio gears in most cases. though some cars won't be able to make it down longer straights, so these can have their factory boxes. A need for full-custom gearing is going to be extremely rare. Only for historics, possibly.
 
Single-plate clutch for most. Flywheels and carbon driveshaft can vary.
 
Limited-Slip Device, mostly for Historic Class autos. I set my Lotus Elan rather aggressively, like 25-30-20 
 
Brake Balancer for some. Those cars which can't brake into Turn 4 at Rome (the sharp right kink) at 100 meters might need a balancer, but this depends. Some poor-brakers might have other advantages elsewhere.      
 
Cars
'01 Volkswagen Lupo GTI (2,000, Tuner)
'00 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0 (2,400, Tuner)
'04 BMW 120d              (2,700, Tuner)
'03 Volvo S60 T-5 Sport (3,500, Tuner)
 
'62 Lotus Elan S2       (1,400, Historic)
'61 Jaguar E-Type Coupe (2,500, Historic)  
 
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German Touring Car Championship
 
Level: 22
 
Participants: 12
rating: *
 
All Tracks
(2,200) 6.39 -- 344 hp
(2,500) 6.73 -- 372 hp
 
 
Description
This race packs a bunch of cars which participate in the DTM: Deutche Tourenwagen Masters. Note that not all who appear in this race are German though. There are 5 laps of Cape Ring, 8 laps of Nurburgring GP/D, and 1 lap of the big version of the BIGGEST ring, Unfortunately, we cannot enter something of our own, like an ordinary, highly-modified street car; an Audi S3 or whatever. Here is why...
 
The reason this race gets just one star is because of how ridiculously easy it is. I'm removing power to the point that the horsepower graph is as flat as a board on its right side, yet I'm still winding up with a huge margin by the time we're at the ring. That's just not right.  
 
One of the things I did to make the first race more challenging is I removed all that power, and then I slowed to a crawl at Cape Ring's beginning. Once my car was in last place, NOW is my green light. The AI drives the other two tracks better, but it's still way too easy to blow them away. This sucks. Sometimes winning sucks.
 
Opponents:
As usual, our friendly opponents drive nowhere near to the edge of madness like we can. It's all too easy to destroy them during turns, so that by the time a straight shows up they're so far behind. I can't conceive of using anything less than racing tires on an actual racing car, and so this means lots of power-limiting shall be in our engine's future.
 
On the other hand, as a highly-regulated racing series, all the cars in this race are balanced for speed and handling, and nobody ever rushes far ahead of the others. Limit your power, and some tight racing can be had.
 
Parts:
Medium Sport Tires at Cape Ring
 
Hard Racing Tires at other two tracks
 
No Brake Balancer
 
Power Limiter!
 
Cars Used:
'00 Vauxhal Astra Super Touring Car (2,200)
'02 Abt Audi TT-R Touring Car (2,500)
 
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supergt.jpg

 
Super GT
 
Level: 22
 
Participants: 12
rating: ***
 
 
Super GT, JGTC
Suzuka Circuit, Weather Change
(2,500) 6.70 -- 373 hp
 
Fuji Speedway F
(2,500) 6.29 -- 397 hp
 
Tokyo Route 246
(2,500) 6.03 -- 414 hp
 
Race-Modified (RM), Tuning Cars, .20 or less
Suzuka Circuit, Weather Change*
(2,400) 5.35 -- 451 hp
(3,000) 5.92 -- 507 hp
 
Fuji Speedway F
(2,400) 5.13 -- 468 hp
(3,000) 5.34 -- 562 hp
 
Tokyo Route 246
(2,400) 4.55 -- 527 hp
(3,000) 4.93 -- 608 hp
 
 
Rear Wing Only (RWO)
Suzuka Circuit, Weather Change*
(2,400) 5.09 -- 471 hp
(3,000) 5.63 -- 532 hp
(3,500) 6.27 -- 558 hp
 
Fuji Speedway F
(2,400) 4.60 -- 522 hp
(3,000) 5.61 -- 535 hp
(3,500) 6.22 -- 563 hp  
   
Tokyo Route 246
(2,400) 4.44 -- 540 hp (estimated)
(3,000) 5.03 --596 hp
(3,500) 5.79 -- 609 hp   
 
 
NASCAR CAMRY
Suzuka Circuit: 535 hp
 
Fuji Speedway F: 576 hp
 
Tokyo Route 246: 600 hp
 
 
Three classes are structured here. The first one is easy, these are the actual Super GT and older JGTC racing cars, many of which appear in this series. Frontal aerodynamics run up to 35 at the most.   
 
The second class is for cars which have full wing and spoiler kits from GT Auto, or which possess mild front aerodynamics of .20 or less. So examples here are the '05 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX GSR [RM], or the Amuse S2000 GT1.
 
The final class includes those which can only accept a rear wing from GT Auto, or no aero parts at all. Since these don't have the benefit of better front aerodynamics, they get more power to survive.
 
Not every car in those two lower classes will be able to do all three tracks though. A lot of JDMs won't be able to make the necessary power at Fuji and/or Tokyo, so do a little research.  
 
Honda NSXs are slightly faster than everyone else, with Nismo GT-Rs and Z-cars being secondary. Here is how they've been arranged to create the ratios above...
 
Suzuka: Honda NSX no higher than 5th. Nismos: No higher than 3rd
 
Fuji Speedway: Honda NSX: no higher than 4th, Nismos: No higher than 2nd
 
Tokyo (full aero): Honda NSX: no higher than 4th, Nismos: No higher than 2nd
 
Tokyo (RWO): Honda NSX: no higher than 5th, Nismos: no higher than 2nd.
 
Nismos can be started on Pole at Tokyo, if you add 10 horsepower. This won't work against Hondas, though.
 
 
(note: need to reset the ratios for RM/3,000 pound class, starting NSX on 5th and GT-R 3rd at Fuji and Tokyo. All other weight classes have been set)    
 
* At Suzuka, there's the possibility of rain, which causes everybody to drive much slower. Remove 50 to 70 horsepower if rain is 100% or close to it. Those with fuller aerodynamics should get more removed than those which have fixed front aerodynamics which can't be adjusted higher than 0.10. If your car has all-wheel drive, remove an additional 25 horsepower
  
 
Description
Now we have what used to be called JGTC: Japanese Grand Touring Championship. Super GT is pretty much the same thing with a new name. Three races, 10 laps each. And some super-intense action.  
 
 Best part: unless entering an actual full racing car, there is usually little worry about tweaking down that power limiter in many cases. We won't run into a situation similar to what happened during the German Car Championship, unless we enter one of the cars which appears in this series.
 
Another advantage: ever tried to have GT Auto rebuild the engine of an actual racing car?  Or rebuild a (let's say) Denso Sard Supra, or any full racing machine?  Yeah, that gets expensive quick. In comparison, rebuilding something from the everyday driver's level, like the Subaru Impreza Wagon I just entered, is relatively painless. At this point in our Extreme-level careers, we should have a decent bank account going, and it's easy to destroy this if we keep tearing apart one of the top racers.         
 
Opponents
Like the German Touring Car and NASCAR events, everybody is evenly paced, since real-life regulations cause this to happen. Still, there are some opponents who do go faster than others. NSX teams are top of this list. They are slightly faster than the others, probably due to their super-slippery shapes, but this is mostly true at Suzuka. At the other two tracks, you'll notice them getting ahead of others, but then getting dogged by them too.
 
Suzuka Circuit
There is a new situation facing us at this very first track: the possibility of bad weather. There's a chance it'll be sunny as usual, but it can also be drab and overcast, or it can be rainy. Weather rarely changes drastically during this 10-lap melee. So if it's grey and looks like it'll rain, it won't actually do so if it isn't already raining at the start. Or if it starts to rain, the race is rarely long enough to cause everybody to change tires.
 
Rain can be at 100%, which is difficult to drive through. Visibility will be next to nil while drafting some other car(s), if you're using the in-car view, so some of you may get around this by using the behind-car, roof, or bumper views. Traction and grip will also be diminished, even if we've got full rain tires equipped. Note that if rain isn't so heavy, visibility will be easier to deal with, as well as drivability.
 
Notice also, if it's raining during the entry menu (where we can choose to tune, or watch replays) it'll be raining during the race. If it's sunny during this menu, it'll be sunny during the race. Once we're in the race, the little oval icon which is toward the top left of your screen further defines what is going on. Like I said though, any drastic changes during these 10 laps are rare.
 
We can reset the weather which shows up by entering the race, and then backing out of it (returning to the start menu). This allows us to equip different tires as well; so if there's some light rain going on, we can try using Intermediate tires, and if a monsoon is going on, obviously we'll go for Rain tires.
 
The AI drives as typical: slowing down a little too much during key areas, like the S Curves, Hairpin, and Casino Triangle. But they'll fly during other areas, especially larger curves which allow them to use their aerodynamics to fuller advantage.
 
Fuji Speedway F
Here we are at the track which reminds me of a giant lo mein noodle. I have calculated power so that they're slightly faster than we are down the main straight if they're drafting, but can just keep up if they're not. There are a few areas, like the very first turn, and then the entire section from the 100R curve (turn 4, the giant righty) to 400R (Turn 9) during which they've got their aerodynamic advantage. They will usually catch up. 
 
But they don't try hard enough, as usual. They should be slaughtering us into Coca Cola (Turn 3, the sharp left) for instance. They'll only do so if we screw up, allowing them to catch up.
 
Note that sometimes at Fuji, one random driver will destroy everyone else, and it's impossible to predict who this will be....he'll just get so far ahead on that very first lap. Could be an NSX starting near Pole, or it could be a GT-R starting downfield. Nothing we can really do about this except reset a different grid, add more power, or better tires.  
 
Tokyo Route 246
Though 246 is more about horsepower than the other two, there are some key areas where the Ai tends to also do better than us because of their aerodynamic edge. Tokyo, unlike the other two tracks, cannot be finished by most "ordinary" JDMs, which start their lives around 276 horsepower at best, so we may need something with higher horsepower to win here.
 
Tokyo is like Fuji though: the Hondas and Nismos won't just destroy the Lexus; SC430s can occasionally keep up with these faster GTs. Anybody other than NSX, GT-R, and SC430 will usually fall behind, though.
 
 
Parts
Hard Racing Tires for most cars that can keep up with these races, even Standards.   
 
Medium Racing Tires for those exceptions that need help. Some Rear Wing-Onlys will need mediums at Fuji for instance, and most will need them at Tokyo. It is difficult to say which will need them when, until you're in the race. If your car can't make consistent 1:42s at Fuji, and high 1:43s at Tokyo (without drafting), that's a good sign that mediums are needed.         
 
GT Auto Wing/Spoiler Kit (some cars come with tweakable aerodynamics, and therefore won't accept these).  
 
Full-Custom Suspension (lesser parts can be used if your car's got super-confident handling and/or traction).
 
Full-custom transmission, if needed.
 
Dual-clutch, and other drivetrain parts as needed.
 
Brake Balancer
 
Ballast for JGTCs and Super GTs that weigh less than 2,500 pounds (1134 kg)    
 
Cars Used
'06 Lexus BANDAI DIREZZA SC430 (2,500 pounds, Super GT)
 
'03 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. IX GSR [RM] (2,400 pounds, RM)
'07 Lexus IS F [RM]            (3,000 pounds, RM)
 
'99 Subaru Impreza Sport Wagon WRX STi Version VI (2,400 pounds, RWO)
'99 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-spec N1                  (3,000 pounds, RWO)
'10 Lexus LFA                           (3,500 pounds, RWO)
 
#18 Kyle Busch Toyota Camry
 
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gt5_americanchampionship.jpg

 
American Championship
 
rating: ***
 
Participants: 12
Level: 23 
 
Indianapolis Speedway
(2,600, fully-winged) 4.18 -- 622 hp
 
(2,700, partially-winged) 4.09 -- 660 hp  
(3,200, partially-winged) 4.57 -- 700 hp
 
NASCAR:  632 hp
 
Laguna Seca
(2,600, fully-winged) 4.88 -- 532 hp
 
(2,700), partially-winged) 4.25 -- 634 hp  
(2,800), partially-winged) 4.33 -- 646 hp  
(3,200, partially-winged) 4.81 -- 665 hp
 
NASCAR: 597 hp  
 
There are ratios for fully-winged cars (full racing kits, with front aerodynamics adjustable, anywhere from 0.35 to 0.50), partially-winged cars (only rear wing, maybe front spoiler from GT Auto, with a max of 0.20 up front), and NASCAR automobiles.
 
In some cases, the partially-winged cars will be successful at Laguna Seca, but fail at Indy. Those with slippery shapes, and actual adjustable front spoilers (or a fixed number up front, such as 0.18) will have a better shot at Indy than those that don't have any aerodynamic info up front at all.
 
There are a very few exotic sports cars (such as the Saleen S7) which can survive Indy, even though aerodynamics are not numerically listed in their parts menus. These sort of cars will need the best tires, brake, and suspension tuning though.       
 
The above ratios assume the best cars start no higher than 3rd place at Laguna Seca, especially if your car is partially-winged. Fully winged cars can have the best started higher than 3rd, if you are desperate for some extra challenge.   
 
The best (Chaparrals, Ford GTs, and Dodge Viper) can be started anywhere at Indy, but if two (or more) of them start drafting early, and you aren't there catching their drafts, even by the end of Lap 1, it might be impossible to catch up. This is truer for partially-winged cars than it is fully-winged ones.
 
Description
As is expected by now, we're not only going fast, we're also making a lot money; almost 100,000 credits per win, which is pretty sweet. One thing we're going to need during this series, in comparison to the Muscle Car Cup from the Professional League? Power. You got that right. Power, and lots of it. Fortunately, a lot of American cars have this, or can attain it.
 
Unfortunately, not all Americans can compete here. Even if they can make the numbers, they'll be nowhere at Indy if they haven't got some slippery aerodynamics, and the ability to hold a line around Indy's slightly-banked curves. Plymouth Super Bee? I don't think so.  
 
But don't get bummed. You won't need a super-expensive Ford GT40 to win, a regular Ford GT will do, and it doesn't have to be an LM. The raciest Corvettes and Vipers from the used car lot can also be tried, although pay attention to how much ultimate power these guys make. There might also be a few cars (a few Camaros or Mustangs, etc.) that can possibly win at Laguna Seca, since there are a few which can make over 600 horses.
 
 
Opponents
 At either track, one of our biggest concerns will be who is up front. Even if power is suitable, Indianapolis can see the top cars draft one another, getting far ahead of the others. If they get a strong lead early, good luck catching up to them. At Laguna Seca (where drafting does not come into play, but handling does) those who handle this track's 11 turns well can also get an early, impossible-to-catch lead, which is why I recommend starting them slightly behind Pole.    
 
There aren't very many cars which can appear in this race, and the main ones to worry about are the Chaparral 2J, or any Ford GT LM, at either track. The Dodge Viper can also be a problem at times, yet is secondary to the others. Some others can make a showing here and there, but it's generally the Chappys and the Fords. Start these guys no higher than 3rd place at Laguna Seca.   
 
Below are their top speeds at Indy. Note that despite the fact the Chaparral's top-end is not ultimately the highest, it manages to keep its average speed up there, so that it'll be on the front lines most of this race. And so will everyone else, except the Chevys.  
 
Ford GT LM                           222 mph
Ford GT LM Spec II                 221 mph
Panoz Esperante GTR-1       221 mph
Dodge Viper GTS-R              206 mph
'70 Chaparral 2J                   205 mph
'67 Ford GT40 Mk. IV           203 mph
Chevrolet Corvette C5-R     196 mph
'63 Chevrolet Corvette Z06  191 mph
 

Parts
Racing Hard tires
 
 
Racing Medium or Soft tires can be used if your car doesn't have suitable front aerodynamics, especially at Indy. Some cars with weaker aerodynamics will also need these tires at Laguna, while others can safely go on hards. Usually, "supercar" types can use hards at Laguna Seca, while cars which are more ordinary should be on mediums.  
 
Height-adjustable sport suspension for most cars with numbered front aerodynamics.
 
Full-customized suspension for cars with poor or unnumbered aerodynamics up front.  
 
Gearing can vary. Most cars can go factory-stock at Indy, but use close gearing at Laguna Seca. Make sure your top gear is set somewhere between 220 and 240 at Indy.   
 
Twin clutch, flywheels, and driveshaft of your choice.
 
Limited-slip for those who need it (especially at Laguna Seca).
 
Brake Balancer.
Cars
'00 Chevrolet Camaro LM (2,600 pounds, fully-winged)
 
''02 Cadillac Cien        (2,700 pounds, partially-winged)
'97 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 (2,800 pounds, partially-winged {Laguna only})
'05 Ford GT (3,200 pounds, partially-winged)
 
'11 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet Impala (NASCAR)  
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Formula GT
 
Level: 23
 
 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Dream Car Championship
 
Level: 24
 
Participants: 12
Rating: ****
 
-FIA GT2 (0.50 max front aerodynamics)-
Indianapolis Speedway (10 laps)
(2,100) 4.29 -- 490 hp
(2,600) 4.77 -- 544 hp
 
Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Weather Change (10 laps)
(2,100) 4.51 -- 466 hp
(2,600) 4.92 -- 535 hp
 
Tokyo Route 246 (10 laps)
(2,100) 3.92 -- 535 hp
(2,600) 4.39 -- 592 hp
 
Circuit de la Sarthe 2009, Weather Change (3 laps)
(2,100) 4.00 -- 525 hp
(2,600) 4.11 -- 603 hp
 
Nürburgring 24H (3 laps)
(2,100) 4.29 -- 490 hp
(2,600) 4.60 -- 565 hp
 
-FIA GT3 (0.35 max front aerodynamics)-
Indianapolis Speedway (10 laps)
(2,500) 4.37 -- 592 hp
(2,900) 4.54 -- 639 hp
 
Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Weather Change (10 laps)
(2,500) 4.51 -- 551 hp  
(2,900) 4.91 -- 590 hp
 
Tokyo Route 246 (10 laps)
(2,500) 3.85 -- 648 hp
(2,900) 4.39 -- 660 hp
 
Circuit de la Sarthe 2009, Weather Change (3 laps)
(2,500) 3.93 -- 636 hp
(2,900) 4.46 -- 650 hp 
 
Nürburgring 24H (3 laps)
(2,500) 4.40 -- 567 hp
(2,900) 4.75 -- 610 hp
 
 
Start the best Dream Cars (Ford GTs and Pagani Zonda LM,) no higher than 4th place. They can be started on 3rd, but then there's a chance not every race will be winnable. Route 246 becomes especially tougher.
 
There is also the '88 Jaguar XJR-9, but I choose not to include this monster along with all the others. It does not belong.
 
It helps to save between each race, especially since Polyphony Digital never allows practice laps. Arrgh.    
 
At the three 'weather' tracks, follow these rules for removing power IF track wetness is higher than 40%. If so, the rest of the field will be on Intermediate or Rain tires, driving slower than usual. These power deductions are for all-wheel drives and mid-engine / rear drives only. Front-engine / rear-drives can go with their normal power.
 
           Monza    Sarthe       Nurb
AWD:  - 60 hp   -30 hp     -50 hp
MR:     -30 hp    -10 hp     -30 hp   
 
I am going for a dual-class system of cars we can enter here, derived from some old FIA rules. FIA GT2 includes models which are closer to being prototypes, while FIA GT3 includes models which are closer to being everyday sports cars. The main difference between these classifications from our perspective is downforce. Those with lots of downforce (esp. tunable front spoilers that can get over 30) are in a different league than cars which have less of this, let's say 20 or less up front.
 
I am not including FIA GT1 because these guys (many of which can be found in GT All Stars) would simply destroy the Dream Car Championship. It would be like if we were the ones who entered that '88 Jaguar.        
 
The ratios above assume the absolute top jackrabbit, the '88 Jaguar XJR-9, is kept OFF the grid. Ban this car (with its ridiculous 300+ extra horsepower) or suffer the consequences.
 
  
 
Description
Here it is, the final bang of Gran Turismo 5's sprint races, and Polyphony Digital has certainly tried to offer it up.
 
We might not need the very best to survive, and our actual "dream car" may or may not work here. Let's be real: some guy's dream might be to hop into a Mitsubishi Minica. If you share this sort of dream, you'll never win this series. So to keep it simple....
 
Look for something with somewhere close to 500 horses, for those with fully-tunable, sharp aerodynamics, and anywhere from 550 to over 600 if its aero parts are weak. Either way, this car will need to have some sort of aerodynamic edge. This could be an actual real-life race car, it could be one of PD's fantasy LM machines, it could be a prototype, it could be a very powerful sports car, one which is buyable in real-life by anyone who's got the cash.
 
The best thing to do if there's any question mark is enter whatever you think might be your dream car, try the first 10 laps at Indianapolis as an individual race (rather than a full championship). If you're unable to keep up during this race, you can probably forget about doing the rest of them.           
 
Opponents
Top cars to watch for are Ford GTs (and up to three of these can show up per race), and also the Pagani Zonda LM. Start these no higher than 4th. 3rd can be tried too, although the chances of winning all five races goes down substantially.  
 
Some secondary machines are the GT by Citroën, Jaguar XJ220 LM, Nismo GT-R Concept LM, and Honda NSX Concept LM. These four can keep up with the leaders sometimes, especially at Indianapolis, Sarthe, and Route 246.   
 
The Dream Car Championship is one of PD's more bizarre efforts, and mostly this has to do with the list of opponents which show up, half of which are one level (very fast), while the other half are on a completely different page (much slower). It's as though somebody threw a list of car names into a hat, and then picked them out at random. More than half the cars which appear in this series won't even matter.
 
And I think I know what PD was going for: the feel of a dual-class system of competition. In other words, when we watch many real-life GT-type race series, there are often more than one class of autos out there, right?  One class is usually slower than the other.
 
For our purposes, we're not going to bother competing against that lower class; we want to win. And to win means to beat the very fastest. The list below details who's fast and who's not. It includes each car's top observed speed at Indianapolis Speedway.
 
Jaguar XJR-9 LM: 226 mph
 
Ford GT LM Spec II: 223 mph
 
Pagani Zonda LM: 219 mph
 
Jaguar XJ220 LM: 205 mph*
 
GT by Citroën: 203 mph*
 
Nissan 350Z Concept: 196 mph*
 
Mazda RX-7 LM: 191 mph*
 
Honda NSX-R Prototype: 190 mph
 
Chevrolet Camaro LM: 190 mph*
 
Mazda RX-8 Concept LM: 188 mph*
 
Mitsubishi FTO Super Touring: 185 mph
 
 
*If a car has an asterisk next to its top speed, this means it reached its absolute RPM limit during my observation.
 
In general, those at or near the top will be the fastest at other tracks too. Note that the Jaguar XJR-9, the car that sits at the very top of this list, is the main jackrabbit, the one who's got roughly 300 horsepower more than anybody else. Whoever threw those names into that hat didn't do enough research, apparently.
 
The best we can do to steal this Jag's thunder is to not include it at all, and not feel guilty about this. There you go.
 
 
Indianapolis Speedway
A group of top cars will compete here equally, once that Jag is gone. Problem for them is: they tend to take an out-middle-out line during all four turns of this track, while we can get down low on those inner curbs, out-braking them every time. Depending on the car, we might not even need brakes, once we're ahead of traffic!  Drivers will occasionally bump-draft one another for extra speed. Sometimes this seems intentional, other times, it's as if they tried to pass somebody but got their timing wrong!   
 
Monza
The tricky thing about this track is that sometimes it can rain. If you're doing an individual race and don't feel like dealing with some weather, this is easy. Just  keep entering and exiting the parts / tuning menu until the track is nice & dry.  
 
On the other hand, if you want it to be sloshy and rainy, follow these tips, especially if your car is a Standard.
 
Most cars in this game are Standard, not Premium, and this means no windshield wipers. This assumes you are like me, and prefer to use the in-car camera. If so, and somebody's in front, this means you'll be almost completely blind as water sprays all over the place. This is especially true if track-wetness is high!  But even once the driver gets ahead of traffic, visibility is still rather poor.
 
One option is to try switching to roof cam, bumper cam, or behind-car cam. Another option is to finally turn on that Braking / Gear Change indicator, the one which flashes red when it thinks we should start braking. Yes, this is cheating, but dude, I'm driving a very fast auto without windshield wipers against a bunch of computer cars that apparently can see just fine. And it turns out the indicator works perfectly at this track, especially into the first chicane area. If it starts flashing, this means it's time to brake, period. I tried not braking once when it displayed its warning, only to find the nose of my precious Nardo faceplanting into some concrete.
 
Traction control is also a good idea, especially for some 2-wheel drives. Finally, taking out-in-out still works for some turns, but sometimes it's also safest to do a middle-in-middle or some other unusual racing line. This sort of cornering arc leaves some leeway, in case we don't brake enough or give a little too much gas (easy to do in something with 500 to 600 horses, or close to it).
 
Keep in mind that rain only becomes a major concern if it's at or near 100%. If it's significantly less than this (say, 40% or less) there'll be plenty of visibility, and most cars will have plenty of grip & traction.   
 
Tokyo Route 246
Of all five tracks, Route 246 is the toughest, in my opinion, because of those damn walls. The AI also tends to get pretty agro here, tapping bumpers and trying occasional nose-dives, as though they're trying to pit-maneuver us. If one of the top cars gets a lead early at this track, and then manages to stay in the lead for a couple of turns, chances are good the race will become impossible to win if this car can't be drafted down those front straights.  
 
Circuit de la Sarthe 2009
This is another track which includes weather, so yeah, it helps to do a few practice races at this track if you need to. Not sure why PD is now including weather, now that we're doing some of the very fastest races in the entire game. Whatever.
 
The main thing about the 2009 version of this track, in comparison to the track we've been racing at up til now, is some of its turns are shaped differently. These changes are subtle. The sharp bend where the Mulsanne starts has a later braking zone, for instance. Nothing is drastically different, but it helps to know what's coming, if you've never driven this version of Sarthe.
 
It also helps to really learn how to tackle Sarthe's curvy areas too. All too easy to slow down a little too much, after so much blinding speed down straight sections. As usual, it's the mastery of those turns that'll help us stay up front down those straights!   
 
Nürburgring, 24H
The Dream Car Championship concludes at Nürburgring, but it's at the full version of this course, not the shorter GP/F or Nordschleife versions, and (again) there is the possibility of different weather types going on. Hooray. Again, if you're like me, and have never tried the 24H version of this track, it helps to get acquainted with it because there are some differences, especially to the southern (D and F) parts of the track.
 
This final race is an appropriate end to what amounts to the main bulk of this game, before the endurance races start. Bravo, PD.      
 
Parts
Aerodynamics, especially up front. Cars with some sort of number up there are recommended, even if this number can't be adjusted. 10 is the lowest recommended number I have tried.   
 
Soft Racing Tires for those with weak aerodynamics (below 15) and/or handling issues, mostly understeer issues.
 
Medium Racing Tires for those with intermediate aerodynamics (15 to 30).
 
Hard Racing Tires for those with top aerodynamics (above 30, max of 50), and top higher-speed handling traits.
 
IF you somehow find yourself still blowing away the competition at the first race, try downgrading your tires a step for Monza. In other words, if you're using soft slicks, try mediums for the next race.
 
Note that the AI occasionally uses "Super Soft Sport" tires. Apparently, they have access to a tire-type which we do not have, not that it matters from our perspective.
 
All other parts can be whatever the car needs. In most cases of course, full-custom parts are best, but it's still very possible to mix 'n' match sports parts, and even factory parts.
 
Cars Used
'97 BMW McLaren F1 GTR (2,100, GT2)
Chevrolet Camaro LM       (2,600, GT2)
 
Amuse S2000 GT1 Turbo  (2,500, GT3)
Volkswagen W12 Nardo (2,900, GT3) 


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