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Saturday, November 27, 2010

High Speed Ring

John Marine | 11:19 PM | | | | |
(UPDATED: April 11, 2012)

Shaped like Fuji Speedway of the '90s and run in reverse, High Speed Ring is the first challenge for most Gran Turismo racers. This track was very simple to learn while also enjoying high speed racing. High Speed Ring has appeared in every major Gran Turismo game except Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec. The first two Gran Turismo titles featured this track as a high-speed road racing playground. It was simple in nature and great fun for beginners to learn racing in Gran Turismo. This blog post takes a look at High Speed Ring.

--- High Speed Ring ---

High Speed Ring
^ (picture from Gran Turismo 2)
High Speed Ring is perhaps the simplest track to learn in the Gran Turismo series.

High Speed Ring.

High Speed Ring is not hard to figure out. The only real challenging areas are the S-bend and the final section. The rest of the track is essentially hammer-down fun. In the reverse direction, however, you are faced with this track's toughest sections first. You exit the tunnel being faced with the tough S-Bend. Once it is cleared in the reverse direction, the rest of the track is a high-speed ride to the finish with minimal or no braking. In fact, the reverse configuration of High Speed Ring is Polyphony Digital's imagination of the old Fuji (after Hermann Tilke decided to make the track more like stop-and-go traffic than the high-speed road course it was in the past). Even through the Gran Turismo titles, this track still remains great fun to race in almost any car.

Here is a look at High Speed Ring over the past major GTs.

High Speed Ring: GT1 and GT2.

This was the High Speed Ring as many Gran Turismo gamers were about to be accustomed to. The banking makes this track ride more like an oval. There were some trees and some grandstands to one side. There were a few extra banked corners, especially as you headed into the S-Bend. You had to attack the corners hard, and the banking helped you do just that. Another high-speed blast followed with trees on either side of the road. The final corner had some sufficient banking. A strong entry set you up for a strong finish. It was tough to imagine pit road where it was. Then too, you didn't have to pit here since there was no endurance of any kind here.

High Speed Ring: GT4.

(dry video)

For GT4, High Speed Ring got a serious makeover. No more is there a close wall on the outside on the front stretch. Instead, this track feels more like (no disrespect) a proper circuit. You're still going to pay dearly if you drive on the grass on the outside. The banking in the first corner is still fairly unchanged. The rest of the track, however, has changed drastically in appearance and in flow. Between the second corner and the S-Bend used to be just straight road with some grandstands on the outside. For GT4, there is now a short bridge you cross over water leading into a significantly less banked S-Bend. The banking is less dramatic in GT4's version of High Speed Ring compared to the first two iterations. There was much more forest coming out of the tunnel in GT1 and GT2's versions. In GT4, however, there is a big hill on the outside and a dip in the earth on the inside. Personally, I find the pit entrance to GT4's version of High Speed Ring to be much more useful and realistic than in GT1 and GT2's versions. The negative to this, however, is that you don't have as much inside to use to carve into the corner. You probably don't need so much anyways since you can still ride the far outside or middle groove to clear this corner safely. As a whole, High Speed Ring in GT4 looks and feels more like a proper circuit than GT1 and GT2 provided.

This track looks the same for Gran Turismo PSP.

High-Speed Ring: GT5 Prologue and GT5.

(dry video)

(wet video)

The beauty of GT5 is that this track can be raced on in the rain. This track looks even more like a proper Grand Prix racing facility with the various facilities around the track. There are now grandstands on the far inside heading into Turn 1. Turn 2 has some extra grandstands as well. Anyone who has played or seen this track in GT5 knows there is now much more water to cross along with a second bridge. The bridge that makes up the actual race track is now a nice looking, cable-stayed bridge. The water view is spectacular and even more so in replays. Its challenge heading into the S-Bend, however, is unchanged from GT4. The tunnel is a bit more fancy now compared to GT4. The entrance to pit road is after the tunnel now, and to the outside, there are more grandstands. What was a dip in the earth on the inside is no more. More hills and trees make up the far inside heading into the final corner. This course is infinitely more beautiful than ever.

This is a classic facility in Gran Turismo lore. Enjoy your racing to the max when you challenge High Speed Ring!

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