GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

National A License














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License A-1
 
Car: '13 Ford Mustang Boss 302
 
Track: Apricot Hill Raceway
 
My Time: 17.561
 
The description for this test explains: "the white boards located on the side of the track show you the distance to the corner entry. Use these markers to help you judge when to start getting on the brakes..." However, they don't actually tell us when to start braking. I am about to do so. 
 
 
1). The Mustang starts rolling down a gentle slope, headed toward Apricot Hill's hairpin. The car gets autoshifted into 4th gear. Nose the car to the left side of the track. Shift into 5th as the car nears redline (which is just before rolling under the bridge).
 
2). Pass 200 meters, 150 meters, and 100 meters at full speed.
 
3). About halfway through 100 meters and 50 meters, get off the gas. Start braking fully just before passing 50 meters. Downshift from 5th to 4th to 3rd.
 
4). While continuing to brake, steer the Mustang inwards. Aim its front so that it's heading inward, but does not touch the red & white rumble strip.
 
Note: this Stang really loves understeer. My gosh. So if it's braked too late, it will do nothing but plow toward that sand trap for excruciating seconds.
 
5). There are a couple of orange & white cones on the inside of the turn. Just before passing these, feed that throttle back in, but not all at once. It might need to be feathered a bit. When the car feels like it can handle more, now give full throttle.
 
It's okay if the 'stang gets a little wide, and runs its outer tires on the outer rumble strip. Keep the car in 3rd gear as the finish gets crossed.
 
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License A-2
 
Car: '11 Lotus Elise
 
Track: Brands Hatch Indy Circuit
 
My Time: 14.260
 
License A-1 was tougher than anything from the B licenses, but still not nearly as tough to gold as some legendary tests from earlier games. We're at an advantage here with A-2 too, since Brands Hatch has been raced several times already, most drivers should already know what to expect.
 
Honestly, the hardest thing about A-2 is going from the lunky block-faced, understeer-happy Ford to this ultra-nimble Lotus. It can take a few tries just to get used to the Elise's better braking and Krazy-glue front-end. 
 
 
1). The car gets shifted into 3rd gear, and that's where it will stay, as the Lotus is steered slightly through the remainder of Turn 1. Get on the left side of the track.
 
2). Drive up the hill with full throttle. Pass under the bridge ... at full throttle. Note that this bridge makes an excellent braking zone indicator for lots of lesser autos. If the Lotus gets braked this early though, it will then be crawling toward the hairpin a couple seconds later.
 
3). Aim the car inwards. On the inside of this hairpin there are a couple of cones, just like there were at Apricot Hill. I usually start braking as soon as I see these cones. Brake fully, while carefully turning inwards.
 
Those who have done Brands Hatch many times (as I have) will already have a "feel" for how much steering input is needed. Typically, even less steering is required in this Lotus, however. Like I said, it can take a few tries.  
 
4). Downshift into 2nd while letting off the brakes. Trade those brakes for some throttle. Feather that gas if needed, but eventually it can be planted down fully, while exiting the turn.
 
5). Upshift into 3rd gear, just before crossing the line.
 
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License A-3
 
Car: '08 Honda Civic Type R
 
Track: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
 
My Time: 16.954
 
Uh oh. Here's a track which is not only new for this game, but new for me! Unlike Brands Hatch, Spa-Francorchamps has not been used as a racing venture at all during the Novice or National B halls.
 
Despite this, I managed to silver this test on my very first try. And it was a low silver too.  
 
 
1). Scream down the hill at full speed, keeping to the right of the track. Shift to 4th gear at redline, and also 5th at redline.
 
2). Pay attention to the inside of the track. There is a small orange marker just beyond the inner guardrail. Brake solidly just before passing this marker. Steer inwards all the way, going from the right side to the left side of the track, just like that. It's okay if the inner rumble strip is contacted.  
 
3). Downshift into 4th. This can be done just after braking, or some time while steering inward. By the time the Civic is all the way inwards, it should be in 4th.
 
4). Carefully add throttle, as much as the car will handle, as the car leaves the inside of the turn. Yes, it will understeer like mad. The idea is to let this happen though, so that it's now on the outer part of the turn, just like that. Contacting the outer rumble strip is okay. Knocking into a cone is not okay.
 
5). Straighten the car briefly, then gently turn inwards toward the next left. This second turn is not as drastic as the first, and full throttle can be mashed the entire time.
 
6). Get toward the outside of the second turn, shifting into 5th eventually.
 
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License A-4
 
Car: '12 Subaru BRZ-S
 
Track: Twin Ring Motegi Road Course
 
My Time: 16.784
 
Yeah dude, these tests are only slightly harder than the B License ones. I guess I shouldn't complain really. I'm earing gold after gold, doing wonders for my gaming ego, while not wanting to smash my PS3 controller into the nearest wall. Challenge? Go ahead and try an earlier game, with actually difficult license tests, if you want more challenge. 
 
On the other hand, Twin Ring Motegi is probably my least favorite course in the entire repertoire of Gran Turismo games. It took me six tries to gold A-4 instead of my usual two or three, probably because due to that.     
 
 
1). Upshift into 4th gear, at or near redline. Keep to the far right.  
 
2). Ignore the white markers on the right side of the track. Instead notice there is a service lane on the the right of the track, just after passing these markers. Start braking just before passing this service lane.
 
3). Steer inwards semi-heavily, downshifting from 4th to 3rd to 2nd, all while steering and turning. This car is another understeer-lover. Nothing much can be done about this, except to make sure to steer all the way in toward the blue & white rumble strip.
 
4). Even if the car is properly aimed, it'll still be understeering heavily!  It's important to start giving full throttle before reaching the opposite side of the track, though.
 
5). Straighten the Subaru, giving full throttle. Let it redline a moment, if you wish.
 
6). As the second turn approaches, upshift to third, while keeping that fuel planted the entire time. Again, this second turn is not as dramatic as the first one, so the car can be steered more lightly as it exits.
 
 
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License A-5
 
Car: 'xx Mazda Roadster Touring Car
 
Track: Apricot Hill Raceway
 
My Time: 30.891
 
Back at Ape Hill. This test lasts longer than two turns, and we're in an actual racing machine, this time. The entire first third of the course is going to be driven.
 
This is the test which really is tougher than the others. Mostly because it's night. But also, we've been shoved into a roadster with dazzling visual inputs. Those dash lights look amazing.  
 
 
1). First step is to make sure those high beams ON. By default they are off, sometimes. It's important to be able to see where the inside of that next turn is.
 
2). Note the tachometer. It's okay to go deep into its redline area, there's definitely some extra power up there. So let it go deep into 3rd gear before shifting to 4th.
 
3). Pass 200, 150, 100, and 50 meters, all while staying on the right side of the track.
 
4). There are (again) two cones on the far inside of this first turn. Start heading inwards as soon as these are seen. KEEP FULL THROTTLE. No braking or coasting is needed into this first turn.
 
5). Get to the middle-right of the turn, straighten briefly, let it coast a moment while turning inwards, then brake heavily for just a moment while still heading inwards.
 
6). Shift into 3rd gear well before the next set of cones get passed. Now give throttle. It can be full for a moment, but some feathering might also be needed, as the car's inner tires begin rolling on the inner rumble strip.
 
7). Blast out of Turn 2 with full throttle, but keep on the left side. Keep it in 3rd gear.  
 
8). Look to the inside of the next righty (which is coming up FAST). Again, there are two cones. These can barely be seen, yet it's important to take note of them, because (again) this is there the inside of the next turn lies.
 
9). Nose inward carefully. Feather that throttle, as needed. NO brakes will be used during this turn, or any of the others which follow. 
 
It's important to get as far inside this third turn as possible, because as soon as Turn 3 begins to straighten, the MX-5 will have so much momentum, it'll automatically be on the opposite side of the track.
 
10). Keep on the left side of the track as Turn 4 approaches. This turn is being taken in-in-in, oddly. Full throttle!
 
11). Turn 5 immediately shows up next, and this turn's cones are the hardest to see, especially for those who use the in-car view. This turn is done out-in-out, all at full throttle.
 
12). The car will automatically be to the outside of the track again, while Turn 6 comes flying towards us. This turn is another in-in-in (or in-in-center, at worst). 
 
13). Upshift into 4th gear as the car runs out of tach space. Finish is right there.
 
 
     
















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