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Monday, December 20, 2010

Tokyo R246

John Marine | 7:15 PM | | | | |
Tokyo Route 246 is based on a bus route in Tokyo. Let it be known that Tokyo is one of my favorite cities in the world, so I was more than pleased to see this track featured in Gran Turismo starting with Gran Turismo 3. It is a three-mile stretch of city streets starting in the Akasaka District of Tokyo starting on Aoyama-Dori street. It can be thought of as a signature race track of Gran Turismo because you can see the Sony Computer Entertainment building going down the front straight. This blog post is a look at Tokyo R246.

--- Tokyo R246 ---
Tokyo R246
(original picture credit: IGN)
Whoever would have thought that a bus route would make a great race track?

The streets of Tokyo give you some of the toughest bits early, then gets a little faster. The most important aspects to remember in tuning is that there are a lot of high-speed sections along with some slow and off-balance corners. So a little of everything has to go into planning an attack on this course.

The very first corner is the corner that will unnerve you the most. It's best to pay attention to the signs hanging on the left side to get you to find out where you need to brake to get the best possible exit out of Turn 1. You head down a tree-lined street with the National Diet Building in the distance. The next corner is a very abrupt two-turn complex that consists of a sharp left followed by a sweeping right. When you clear this chicane, you find yourself on a high-speed section that seems more like a short oval. In fact, I sometimes imagine if this oval part of Tokyo R246 could be its own track. A very long right follows once you get past the baseball stadium to your left. After the long right, you need to get ready to take on a technical double-apex left-hand corner. Get up to speed quickly as you blast down the tree-lined street. Depending on how fast you're going, you may be daring enough to take the chicane at full speed or just letting off the throttle. The next corner is a sharp right-hander that's VERY easy to screw up if you completely miss your braking point. The road ahead snakes around as you prepare to eventually go underneath a highway. The only thing separating you from the Start/Finish line is a super-slow right-hand hairpin. No excuses after this hairpin- FULL speed down Aoyama-Dori. Don't let the little high-speed chicane force you to slow down. Just go full speed all the way to the Start/Finish line!

Lap times usually last between 1:35 to 1:55. Much faster cars can do this course south of 1:30, and especially in really fast cars or Formula 1 cars, times well south of 1:30 (try 1:18 for instance!) is possible. Here is a VERY old video showing you what Tokyo R246 is like WITHOUT the guardrails:

--- Tokyo R246 in Videos ---
Let's take a video look at Tokyo R246.

Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec

In Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec, this course could be raced on a mostly sunny day (Normal) or on a mostly cloudy day (Reverse). This one is the normal layout:

Gran Turismo 4.

The only difference between GT4's version of this track and GT3's version is how much less saturated the colors are for this track. The same strategies still apply for tackling this course. You can even race this track in Tourist Trophy against three other riders.

Gran Turismo 5.

Glorious sunshine and sunny skies make up GT5's version of Tokyo R246. The challenge still remains as intense as ever.

It is a great race track and an invaluable asset to Gran Turismo. Maybe it isn't the street version of Grand Valley in terms of complexity and challenge and appeal, but it is a great track for racing.

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