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Friday, November 19, 2010

The Importance of Tuning

John Marine | 11:54 PM | | | | | | |
Your car is only as good as it came out of the factory. To turn your car into a winning machine, one must spend Credits at the Tune Shop to take a car from factory stock to race car rock. Over the years and over the various iterations of Gran Turismo, performance tuning makes the most of any car. There are some people who are good with stock cars. If you REALLY want to build that dream machine, you need to tune your car as best as you can. You have what it takes to take a car from good to great. In addition to buying parts for cars in Gran Turismo titles, you need to tune those parts to make the most of your car as well as to tune to the given tracks you face. These items alone can make the difference between winning and losing.

Tune Shop Insight from Past Titles.

Gran Turismo 1 offered the basic eight menu items for tuning cars. There were eight key areas: Muffler and Air Cleaner, Brakes, Engine, Drivetrain, Turbo, Suspension, Tires, and Others. They were basic menus that meant the best opportunities to upgrade your car. Mufflers and air cleaners gave your car the performance edge by boosting power. A car that has a better way of breathing yields more power. Plus, your car sounds more like a race car. Going fast is cool, but you need to slow her down a time or two. So make sure to purchase brake upgrades. Brakes are more effective when you purchase a Brake Balance Kit. This will allow you to make better use of your car under braking. The various engine upgrades actually help make the most of your car's engine performance. Normally-aspirated cars can be equipped with NA upgrades. The car can have some permanent engine upgrades like Full Engine Balancing and Port and Polish. Only so few cars can have their displacement improved. Through my playing, most old Nissan Skylines could have displacement upgraded. Of course, there is no replacement for displacement. The Drivetrain options fielded lots of options to improve your car's delivering of power. Most critical is the transmission. However, don't forget about the flywheel (improves engine performance), the clutch (more efficient usage of shifting), and the driveshaft (improves power delivery especially in RWD and 4WD/AWD cars). Give your car a lift on the turbo side by purchasing turbo kits and intercoolers. What good is a powerful car if it rides like crap? Change this by going with a suspension kit. In GT1, you purchased suspension kits along with your choice of stabilizers. The tires you purchase in GT1 are either semi-racing or full racing. Finally, you can perform other tasks like weight reduction (very important for making the most of an already-tuned car) and Racing Modifications. It was these elements that would continue to evolve the tuning formula for Gran Turismo games.

Gran Turismo 2 took many of the options from GT1 and added a few new items. The least of which include the debut of LSD (limited-slip differential) tuning, dirt tires, the infamous Simulation Tires (cars with a severe lack of grip designed to simulate real-world handling), yaw control system, active stability controller, and TCS controller. There are more options also to tune up your car in addition to purchasing these upgrades. Racing Modifications are available again, but not every car can receive these modifications. A non-essential element introduced was that of being able to change wheels. You can do this to adjust the wheels for all four tires.

Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec didn't really change much in the tuning department, but it was pretty much the same as past GT titles. The really different aspect in GT3, however, was that race cars can actually be tuned now to include more parts (mostly horsepower upgrades and tire choices). This game also included more racing tire options. You had race cars already equipped with Medium tires, but you could select a few other variations to suit certain cars and tracks. Many of the "For Professionals" options from GT2 are gone, and so were Racing Modifications. Also, TCS and ASC are equipped on all cars. While not essential to tuning up your car, GT3 debuted GT Auto. GT Auto allowed you to wash your car, change the oil (a big horsepower element), and change the wheels.

The first GT to introduce something really new tuning items was Gran Turismo 4. Gran Turismo 4 included some options to shake up the tuning element scene quite a bit. One of the first new additions was Nitrous. While many of you think of nitrous like in street racing games, the boost just provides a real temporary boost that isn't seriously noticable. Also new was the ability to add a Supercharger to cars, which gives normally-aspirated cars turbo-like tuning power. GT4 was the first GT to offer more options for Standard tires. Options for Economy, Road, and Comfort tires were offered in addition to three grades of Sports tires (Soft, Medium, and Hard). This game even debuted Snow Tires to take on the snow and ice courses. Among the new Other options include options to Increase Rigidity and even a Rigidity Refresher Plan. This will help keep your car's chassis sturdy and fresh even after lots of racing. There are actually nine different items in the Tune Shop, but many of them don't have Full Models available. Also new to GT4 was that of some original upgrades from the all-new Tuning Village. For certain cars, a fifth turbo and an original suspension kit were offered. So few cars could be equipped with these original parts, though. I will say this- you can use the most recent Mazda Miata models for the Tuning Village. A non-essential element of tuning is in changing the wheels for various tires. You can change wheels for street tires, racing tires, dirt tires, and snow tires. Also, you can equip a car to have a rear GT wing. This will allow you to tune for downforce.

Tuning Itself from Past Titles.

This is a brief overview of tuning aspects of past GT titles.

Gran Turismo 1 began the whole tuning deal with a deal of options to tune your car. There are options for suspension tuning, engine tuning, transmission tuning, and aerodynamics tuning. Perhaps what I liked most was being able to adjust turbo boost. It helped make the most of my turbo cars' power. In Gran Turismo 2, the tuning aspect was upgraded to include other options like a new auto-setting to seamlessly set the gear ratios. Options for the other tuning parts are not as detailed as things were in GT2. You could even tune things like TCS and ASM among others. The tuning in Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec was not only more detailed, but also included a scrolling marquee that gave you advice on what you are tuning. This provided a big help in giving you tuning advice. Gran Turismo 4 offered up more advice and many more tuning options. You can even tune the Nitrous if you have Nitrous installed for your car. You can also adjust the ballast for your car to give your car a little weight. Certain racing series add ballast to weigh down cars as penalty weight. You can use this to weigh down your car yourself.

Final Thoughts.

Having the ability to race as hard as possible is an essential tool. A car is capable of only so much. You must spend Credits and time to tune your car. The more time you spend tuning and perfecting your car, the more of a complete racing weapon you will create. You must spend money. You must spend time. You must think about how to set up your car. If you are to stand any chance, you need to make the most of the car you are racing to make it as complete of a track car as possible.

--- Gran Turismo 5 Tuning Preview: Car Parts ---
By seeing some YouTube videos, here is a look at some of the tuning elements of GT5 that you can buy for your car. So here are some of the various elements you can purchase for cars in Gran Turismo 5:


* Chassis Weight Reduction - Stage 1
* Chassis Weight Reduction - Stage 2
* Chassis Weight Reduction - Stage 3
* Rigidity Improvement
* Window Weight Reduction
* Carbon Bonnet
* Carbon Bonnet (Body Color)


* Engine Tuning Stage 1
* Engine Tuning Stage 2
* Engine Tuning Stage 3
* Sports ECU

Intake System.

* Sports Intake Manifold
* Sports Air Filter
* Racing Air Filter


* Sports Exhaust
* Titanium Semi-Racing Exhaust
* Titanium Racing Exhaust
* Sports Exhaust Manifold
* Catalytic Converter: Sports

Turbo Kits.

* Low RPM Range Turbo Kit Turbocharger
* Mid RPM Range Turbo Kit Turbocharger
* High RPM Range Turbo Kit Turbocharger
* Supercharger


* 5-Speed Close Ratio Transmission
* 6-Speed Close Ratio Transmission
* Fully Customizable Transmission


* Single-Plate Clutch
* Twin-Plate Clutch
* Sports Flywheel
* Semi-Racing Flywheel
* Carbon Propeller Driveshaft
* Torque Distributing Center Differential
* Fully Customizable LSD


* Fixed Sports Kit
* Height-Adjustable Sports Kit
* Fully Customizable Kit


* Comfort Tires - Hard
* Comfort Tires - Medium
* Comfort Tires - Soft
* Sports Tires - Hard
* Sports Tires - Medium
* Sports Tires - Soft
* Racing Tires - Hard
* Racing Tires - Medium
* Racing Tires - Soft
* Dirt Tires
* Snow Tires

GT Auto Options.

Here are some of the options for cars in GT Auto:

* Car Wash - give your car a good washing.
* Oil Change - change your car's oil.
* Paint Car - give your car a new coat of paint based on cars in your possesion.
* Paint Wheels! - change the color of wheels for your car.
* Change Wheels! - give your car a new set of wheels.
* Aero Parts - purchase aero parts for your car.
* Overhaul Engine - rebuild an old engine to be new again.
* Increase Chassis Rigidity - like in GT4, restore's a car's chassis to new.
* Racing Modifications - while not for every car, this gives cars a permanent racing makeover.

! = not available for Standard cars.

In addition, there are a host of other options to help make the most of your car in GT5. Racing Modifications return for Gran Turismo 5. Both Standard and Premium cars can have colors changed based on cars you own. However, you can not change wheels on a Standard car, nor can you change the color of the wheels on a Standard car. To say the least, tuning will be every bit as important for Gran Turismo 5 as it has been for the past four GTs.

Speaking of Gran Turismo 5, you can order it on Amazon by clicking on this image below and placing an order on Amazon:

^ pre-order for now, available proper on November 24, 2010. Available in both Standard and Collector editions.

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