GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

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National A Series

500 PP Clubman Cup
 
rating: ***
Participants: 10
 
Matterhorn Rotenboden
(1,500) 13.76 -- 109 hp
(2,000) 14.49 -- 138 hp
(2,500) 15.62 -- 160 hp
(3,000) 16.57 -- 181 hp  
 
Circuito di Roma
(1,500) 11.02 -- 136 hp
(2,000) 12.99 -- 154 hp
(2,500) 14.12 -- 177 hp
(3,000) 14.45 -- 207 hp  
 
Mount Panorama Motor Circuit
(1,500) 9.78 -- 154 hp
(2,000) 11.97 -- 167 hp
(2,500) 13.46 -- 186 hp
(3,000) 14.22 -- 211 hp
 
 
Start these cars no higher than 2nd place
'08 BMW Z4 Coupe
'90 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1
'96 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport 
'97 Mazda RX-7 Sprit R Type A 
 
Start these cars no higher than 5th place
'03 BMW M3 CSL
'03 BMW M3 GTR
'00 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
any Honda NSX 
any Lotus Elise
any Lotus Esprit
'09 Lotus Evora
 
Grids which do not include any of these starting 2nd and/or 5th can have a small amount of power deducted: -5 horsepower. Careful though, this can get risky! An NSX which starts 8th place for instance might still claw its way toward the front.
 
Tall models with iffy handling may need +5 to +10 horsepower at Rome and Mount Panorama if the cars mentioned above start on 2nd or 5th. If none of these show (or if they start below 6th), don't add power.
 
B-spec: +150 horsepower at Matterhorn, and +100 at the other two tracks. Soft Sport Tires as well.
 
Description
Unlike National B, National A starts off with a lot of welcome changes. First and foremost, TEN cars per race, instead of the usual 6. And we start in last place! Theoretically, this makes GT6 more challenging than GT5. In the previous game there may have been up to twelve cars per race, but there were never more than 6 cars to pass, since we often started at 7th place.
 
More power is needed. In comparison to the 400 pp Clubman, I am using roughly 50 horsepower more, comparing an equivalent amount of weight.  
 
Two 500 pp tracks are completely new to the Gran Turismo series.
 
Matterhorn is interesting because it is not a real-life track as I assumed; it is a PD original creation. Once again it is located in the Swiss Alps area, along with Eiger Norwand and GT2's Grindelwald. Matterhorn is not as visually interesting as Eiger or Grindy...there are no cows grazing just off-track, no colorful ski chalets to whiz by. In fact, Matterhorn's scenery is rather bare. What Matterhorn lacks in charm though, it makes up in challenge. The entire track is narrow, with a dizzying array of high and low-speed turns,   
 
I am already thinking there's no way the AI can drive this track well!
 
Rome is nothing new for most of us. I have tried to make this particular race as nerve-racking as possible because of this. I am guaranteeing some really close finishes. ;)   
 
Mount Panorama, on the other hand, is a real-life track. It is located in Australia, making this the first Aussie track used in a Gran Turismo game. Like Matterhorn, Panorama is tricky, but not overly difficult to learn. A half-hour (or so) of slow-driving followed by three or four hot laps is all it takes before you'll be able to skool the AI.
 
Though I am rating this series with 3 stars, Mount Panorama occasionally rates an extra star in my book, meaning that occasionally three or more cars will be ganging up for the lead toward the end of the race! This is especially true if small mistakes get made after the lead gets taken by us. All the sudden those half-doofusy drivers seem to get REALLY angry their comfortable lead has been stolen.       
 
 
Opponents
 The 500 pp  Clubman Cup also changes that cast of characters. Faster cars, and better cars, to race against. Fortunately, there aren't too many jackrabbits to discuss, and they've all been listed right under the math ratios section.
 
Though the cars are faster, the drivers are still operating on a Freshman Cup level. They drive as though it's their first or second time around each track. Reaction times are slow, and they rarely take chances in those turns. So (again) it's all about those straighter sections, for them. And it's all about those curves, sweepers, twisties, and hairpins for us.
 
Note that everybody has switched from hard sport tires to soft sports. I made a mistake when starting this portion of the guide, thinking everyone's on hard sports, which is why I'm recommending hard sports for this series. Truthfully, even with these harder tires, many cars will simply eat up the competition during those turns, as they "grandma mode" their way through most hairpins, chicanes, and even high-speed sweepers.      
 
Parts Used
Hard Sport Tires
 
Racing Suspension
Racing Brakes
 
Close-ratio Transmission is most popular choice. Some will need factory or full-customized.
 
Twin-Clutch Kit, with other drivetrain parts as needed 
 
Cars Used
'97 Daihatsu Mira SR-XX (1,500 / Flyweight)
'03 Scion xB                    (2,000 / Lightweight)
'95 Honda Civic SiR-II     (2,500 / Middleweight)
'00 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0 (3,000 / Middle-Heavyweight)
'05 Volkswagen Golf V GTI (3,000 / Middle-Heavyweight) 
 
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Night Masters
 
rating: ***
Participants: 10
 
Mount Panorama
(1,500) 11.11 -- 135 hp
(2,500) 13.74 -- 182 hp
(3,000) 14.92 -- 201 hp    
 
Matterhorn  Rotenboden
(1,500) 17.44 -- 86 hp
(2,500) 18.52 -- 135 hp
(3,000) 20.42 -- 147 hp    
 
Willow Springs - Big Willow
(1,500) 12.96 -- 121 hp
(2,500) 15.71 -- 159 hp
(3,000) 17.44 -- 172 hp
 
B-spec: +100 hp at all tracks. In some cases, the maximum pp rating of 450 will be met, so go with this instead.  
 
 
Though there are a few jackrabbits in this series, they only become dangerous if they start downfield, oddly. If they are started on pole, the  game seems to automatically rubber-band them, allowing slower cars to catch up (including us).
 
Still, it's a good idea to start the Toyota FT-86 Concept, Honda NSX, Renault Clio Sport V6, and Volkswagen Scirocco R no higher than 5th place at Mount Panorama, and 3rd place at Matterhorn and Willow Springs.
 
If none of the faster cars show up at Matterhorn, -10 horsepower can be used. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. This is the most unpredictable track.  
 
 
Description
Here's a Polyphony Digital first: a series of races held only at night. Each race begins at the very end of a day, but beware: night falls fast in the world of Gran Turismo 6. Within a minute or so, each car's Automatic Headlight Module triggers. Full darkness envelopes the land!
 
Remember: Almost all vehicles have the ability to switch between low beam headlights and high beams, including Standards. Switching to highs really becomes necessary sometimes, especially at Big Willow.
 
Two of the Night Master courses were just featured during the Clubman. Everyone expects Route 5 might also be an obvious choice, but oddly, nether Clubman Stage Route 5 or Special Stage Route 5 get used.    
 
Opponents
A similar grid of enemies to the previous Clubman race are hosted now (Lancer Evos, Skylines, Fairlady Zs, and so on), with a few new faces, such as the Renault Sport Clio and 2011 Scirocco. The previous top cars which frequently were showing: the C5-era Corvette and Lotuses, no longer do so. The Honda NSX is the only one left, and is now the only jackrabbit.
 
As expected, many try their darndest to destroy us down those straights, but take many turns too cautiously, despite being equipped with soft sport tires. What else is new though, right?     
 
Parts
Medium Sport Tires
 
Soft Sports can be used for cars with poorer handling.
 
Racing Suspension (Hard or Soft)
 
Racing Brakes for some
 
Transmission as needed. Many cars will be using factory parts at the first two tracks, with full-custom boxes only for those with short stock gears.
 
Twin Clutch Kit. Drivetrain parts as needed.
 
 
Cars
'97 Suzuki Alto Works RS-Z (1,500 pounds)
'91 Nissan Silvia Q's             (2,500 pounds)
'00 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0   (3,000 pounds)
 
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Gornergrat League
 
rating: **
Participants: 10
 
Matterhorn Rotenboden
(1,500) 12.50 -- 120 hp
(2,000) 15.38 -- 130 hp
(3,000) 18.87 -- 159 hp   
 
Matterhorn Riffelsee
(1,500) 8.33 -- 180 hp
(2,000) 10.15 -- 197 hp
(3,000) 12.66 -- 238 hp   
 
Matterhorn Dristelen
(1,500) 9.04 -- 166 hp
(2,000) 10.64 -- 188 hp
(3,000) 13.21 -- 227 hp      
 
For those who are having trouble, try keeping those famous Group B machines off of Pole position. Group B includes most every car from the mid 1980s.    
 
More power can be removed for those who want an even more intense Gornergrat experience. I like to add slightly more power than absolutely necessary, mostly to allow for occasional derp moments, when enemy drivers take turns too slow, and we get stuck behind them!
 
 
Description
According to Wikipedia, Gornergrat is a "rocky ridge" which is specific to the Swiss Alps region of Zermatt. There are three tracks to race here, all three of them are variations of Matterhorn, and all of them are three laps apiece.  
 
This league features the first appearance of real-world racing cars in GT6, all of them are built for rallying. I am still entering ordinary models though, and thankfully, Polyphony Digital allows this. To race a real-world racer of our own means to severely limit its power, which creates inconsistent mathematical results sometimes. Severely-limited engines will be making the same power between thousands of RPMs, and I try to avoid this.
 
Matterhorn Riffelsee is a vaguer version of the Matterhorn complex of tracks. Its turns are mostly gentler, and aren't as memorable as those found during Rotenboden. However, many of them are blind, high-speed, downhill slaloms! Roughly one-quarter of the track includes turns and straights found during the Rotenboden version of Matterhorn. The main difference is a greater portion of the track is taken at higher overall speeds.   
 
Matterhorn Dristelen: this is the "fun" track, with one very sheer cliff off into the valley below, with only six inches of concrete guardrails to protect from falls. As usual, take the time to really learn this track in detail. Dristelen hasn't got as many passing zones compared to the other two courses. Despite this, it requires less power than Riffelsee.
 
Rally Suspensions are recommended at those final two tracks, to get firmer springs while not sacrificing longer spring & shock extensions. There are some areas at these two tracks where losing grip with the road can become a real problem.         
 
Opponents
Don't let their competitive liveries fool you; the drivers inhabiting those heavily-sponsored automobiles are the same idiots who've been showing up all along. They may have some very slight advantages during high-speed turns (due to altered aerodynamics) but it's still very easy out-brake them, out-corner them, and blast out of turns, many positions ahead.
 
Some cars sometimes manage to get very far ahead of the competition, usually three or four way up front will do this. But it doesn't matter; I always manage to catch up. Is this due to rubber-banding? Unseen computer decisions which cause front-running jackrabbits to temper their speed? Those dirty words keep showing up in this racing guide, don't they?
 
Good news is, once again it seems PD has managed to get a vast library of autos onto the same page, meaning that it's rare for any one particular model to totally destroy the pack.   
 
 
Parts
Soft Sport Tires
 
Rally Suspension
 
Racing Brakes with Brake Balancer
 
Transmission as needed
 
Twin Clutch Kit with drivetrain parts as needed 
 
Cars
'97 Suzuki Alto Works RZ-R (1,500 / flyweight)
'97 Toyota Starlet Glanza V (2,000 / lightweight)
'00 Nissan Silvia Varietta     (3,000 / middle-heavyweight)   
 
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Clubman Kart Cup 100
 
rating: ***
Participants: 8
 
Description
Gran Turismo 6 really takes this karting thing seriously. For instance, we're supposed to buy a go-kart for this Clubman version. That's right, there are more than one type of kart available in this game!  Was this true in GT5? I don't remember. Racing Kart Junior is what was raced during National B, but Juniors have now become obsolete.
 
Next issue: where the heck are karts sold? Turns out, they are in the Japanese Dealership section, under "Gran Turismo." At 6,500 credits apiece they are easily affordable.
 
There are two types of karts to chose from: the Racing Kart 100, or the Racing Kart 100 SPL. I am not sure what the difference is between them, and the game's Car Info button doesn't say. They have twice the power though, compared to Junior karts.
 
Opponents
Autumn Ring Mini, 3 laps: is definitely easier than the previous kart trial during National A. Maybe because there are three laps to beat 'em instead of two. Even so, I was leading the back halfway during Lap 2, with a whole lap and a half left to strengthen my getaway.
 
Kart Space I, 5 laps: This is the place which looks like a miniature golf course, and Kart Space II (which was used during National B) is the easier variant, compared to Kart Space I. It seems the drivers who show up have actually practiced hard, they are tougher to beat.
 
Gran Turismo Arena (Layout A), 5 laps: Somehow, karting has now become a spectator sport, as thousands pack the stands just to watch. Polyphony Digital gives a break here, since GTA Layout A is the same track raced during the Karting Jr. league. 
   
 
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NA Sports Series
 
rating: **
 
Participants:  10
 
Silverstone Grand Prix
(2,000) 11.69 -- 171 hp
(3,500) 12.19-- 287 hp  
 
Suzuka Circuit
(2,000) 10.87 -- 184 hp
(3,500) 11.33 -- 303 hp   
 
Brands Hatch Indy Circuit
(2,000) 11.98 -- 167 hp
(3,500) 12.37 -- 283 hp   
 
Start these no higher than 3rd (Silverstone and Brands Hatch)
;93 BMW M3 CSL
'03 BMW M3 GTR
'08 BMW Z8 Coupe
'03 Shelby Series One Super Charged
 
Start these no higher than 5th (Silverstone and Brands Hatch
'04 Acura HSC
any Honda NSX
'09 Lotus Evora
'00 RUF RGT
 
At Suzuka Circuit, places can be changed up a notch: 2nd and 4th at this track, instead of 3rd and 5th. In some cases, the '3rd place' starters can even be placed on pole.  
 
Nothing is set in stone. It is possible to have an NSX start on 3rd place for instance, yet this car won't ever manage to challenge for the lead. But the opposite is also true. I have seen that NSX start on 5th, get an early lead, and now it's barely catchable.   
 
 
Description
Here's another restrictied race series: Cars without turbos or superchargers. Unlike the days of GT2, those to try to sneak a turbo under that hood after entering the race without one will quickly get slapped. 
 
500 pp or less, and over 18,000 credits per win. Although only three cars are listed in the entry sheet, thankfully a lot more than three models show up. And it's time to show them all how it's done, once again.
 
But first, how exactly is the Shelby Series One able to appear, if it's truly supercharged? Oops.
 
 
Opponents
There's a wide range of cars which show up, Some have been with us since the 500 pp Clubman, while others are new as challengers: Holdens, the Hyundai Genesis, and so on. All of them are rear or all wheel-drives. Once again, it looks as though we're about to get our asses handed.
 
But, have a look at that pp rating of "500" again. Mm hmm.
 
It's not that the enemy hasn't got some decent weapons to fight with. No, it is (once again) the fact that it doesn't seem like they try hard enough. We might spar a bit once we're trying to pass them, and sometimes they do catch back up down longer straight areas. But once the door has been firmly shut in their faces, it's like they seem to give up. Develop engine misfires, or something. Fall waaaay behind.
 
Oddly, once the race is in its final lap will some drivers finally get a clue. All the sudden they're actually racing. But this assumes they're way up front, and we've already passed them, or are about to do so. Because of this, I did a little experiment for the first race at Silverstone. I entered a 2005 Mustang with 499 pp, almost exactly the max power allowed. My aim to was to truly see if the game would rubber-band the AI, making that final lap tougher than the rest. Thankfully, this was not the case. A Shelby Series One started on 2nd place, and this car was in the lead firmly by Lap 2, yet my 'stang blew by the Shelby like it was a postal carrier, and won by over two seconds at the very end.
 
So that's comforting news I guess, for those who are out there wondering why anybody would choose to enter a Scion hatchback. I still say there's some form of rubber-banding in this game. How else would an 18 second lead at the start of Lap 3 dwindle down to a split second by the end of Lap 3?
 
Because of this, I rate the NA Sport Series a mere 2 stars. It could have been so much better. Such a disappointment, in the long run.   
 
Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit: by now this track should be familiar to all, it's  been used so many times in GT6.
 
Suzuka Circuit: Here's the first instance of the full Suzuka track showing up in this game. This circuit should be well familiar to anyone who's raced any of the previous Gran Turimos from the last two decades. The AI drives really badly at this track, almost depressingly bad.
 
Brands Hatch Grand Prix: This track hasn't been touched since the beginning of the game, so beware. Some turns which previously required little or no braking now demand some heavier stoppage. Those faster AI cars (Lotus, NSX, etc.) also do a better job at stealing back lost positions, and claiming new ones, than they did at Suzuka.
 
 
Parts
Medium Sport Tires
 
Racing Suspension (Hard or Soft)
Racing Brakes for cars which haven't got race-ready handling
 
Transmission rated for 140 mph at highest
 
Twin Clutch kit. Other drivetrain parts as needed
 
 
Cars
'03 Scion xA            (2,000 pounds / lightweight)
'05 Ford Mustang GT (3,500 pounds / heavyweight)
 
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Turbo Sports Series
 
rating: **
Participants: 10
 
Deep Forest
(2,000) 15.62 -- 128 hp
(3,000) 19.11 -- 157 hp   
 
Trial Mountain
(2,000) 13.79 -- 145 hp
(3,000) 15.96 -- 188 hp  

 
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
(2,000) 11.36 -- 176 hp
(3,000) 14.02 -- 214 hp  
 
At Deep Forest and Trail Mountain, start the Lotus Esprit, Opel Speedster, and 1980 Renault 5 Turbo no higher than 4th place for closer competition, or higher than 4th for more challenge. The Opel and Renault be started 5th at Spa-Francorchamps. The Lotus on the other hand, can claw all the way from 8th!   
 
Mazda RX-7s and Toyota MR2s also play minor jackrabbit roles, these can be started as high as 3rd at the first two tracks, 4th at Spa.
 
Keep in mind: trying to find that perfect grid can take a long time. Thankfully, there are a lot of average grids for those who don't wish to wait.   
 
 
Description
Turbocharged or superchargers only, please. 550 pp is now the maximum power rating. "Enjoy the explosive acceleration only a turbo can deliver!"  quips the game's entry caption for this series.
 
Odd, because these races are even easier than the Natural Aspirated Sport Series. In past games (GT2, GT3, and GT4) the turbo races always required more power than the naturally-aspirated ones. Now they definitely do not.
 
Oh, each lap is TWO laps apiece. Not three.     
 
Opponents
Very few opponents stand out when placed one against the other, and they've all been noted above. As long as they are placed appropriately, none of them ever storms way ahead of the pack like the NSX, Acura HSC, and a couple others do during the NA Sport Series; instead, it's the lesser cars of the Turbo Sport Series which can sometimes do so on their own.
 
Only exception is the Lotus Esprit. Be careful including this guy, sometimes it can gain to the front, even if it's started 7th or 8th place.  
 
And come prepared. I have tried my darndest to provide some tight competition at these three tracks.
 
Deep Forest: Not much to report here. The racing remains rather "bleh" with a few inspired moments during some final laps. They still take the final downhill turn onto the straight with too much braking. Time your exit right, and it's easy to destroy them down this straight.   
 
Trial Mountain: beware at this track. Sometimes a couple rogue racers manage to get far ahead at this track, impossible to catch. There aren't any particular cars that are more prone to this behavior than others; It seems to happen when one car is able to draft another, way up front (an Impreza and a Lancer Evo, for instance). Fortunately, these jackrabbit moments are infrequent.
 
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps: Located in Belgium, this is the first instance of Spa appearing in Gran Turismo's main series. I do believe there was a GT2 license test devoted to the downhill / uphill sweeper section after Turn 1, and it's possible Spa appeared in Tourist Trophy, but I've personally never tried that game. Not into bikes. Spa is a scenic course, with mostly gentle turns mixed with a few benders, and several long straight sections.
 
I am glad Spa is appearing in the game now, since not much power is demanded. Makes it easier to learn, satisfying to conquer. Again, sometimes there will be a couple drivers way up front who stomp far ahead of everyone else. Add more power if you want to avoid this, but also keep in mind that this can lead to a boring race if that lead is taken too early.  
 
Parts
Comfort Soft Tires
 
Racing Suspension (some can go with factory parts)
 
Transmission as needed. Top speed of 130 mph is possible at Spa in particular.
 
Twin Clutch Kit 
 
Cars Used
'03 Scion xA           (2,000 pounds)
'00 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0 (3,000 pounds)
 
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MR Challenge
 
Description
 
Opponents
 
Parts
 
Cars Used
 
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4WD Challenge
 
Description
 
Opponents
 
Parts
 
Cars Used
 
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Electric Circuits
 
Description
 
Opponents
 
Parts
 
Cars Used
 
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