Australasian Representation in Gran Turismo

(UPDATED: March 11, 2012)

To all of my Australian and New Zealand friends, you all represent the most misrepresented region in the world in Gran Turismo. It was GT3 to debut Australia to the GT world with Tickford. That lone Ford Falcon XR8 represented the first-ever Australian car in any Gran Turismo game. The first ever road-going Australian cars were introduced to Gran Turismo 4 as Holden and FPV (Ford Performance Vehicles) debuted in GT4. The Ford Falcon XR8 V8 Supercar returned, but under the Ford Australia namesake. Gran Turismo 4 was the first Gran Turismo to feature an Australian car as part of a License Test when there was a test around the chicane of Apricot Hill in a Ford FPV GT. With just about all (I'm saying it like there's many of them) the Australian cars basically ported over to Gran Turismo 5, it's sad that there is not much for most Australian and New Zealand GT fans to feel represented about.

This blog post is hopefully some insight in possibly adding some sort of support for racing in a future GT with Australian (and perhaps New Zealand) venues, even if fictional.

NOTE: I will use "Australasia" to mean Australia and New Zealand. Australasia, however, also includes the South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea. I will mostly mean Australia and New Zealand, however.





--- Australia and New Zealand: Why So Misrepresented? ---

Gran Turismo Australia
^ Will future Gran Turismo titles EVER offer better representation of Australia and New Zealand?

For Gran Turismo, Australia and New Zealand seem like the last frontier in representing machines and venues for Gran Turismo games. There has never been a Photo Mode location or any proper race track in Australia and/or New Zealand through the entirety of the Gran Turismo franchise. Some people have had their own opinions as to why this part of the world is so misrepresented to some racing fans.

Among one of the reasons some people give is that Australia and New Zealand seem to be too far away from the rest of the world to be significant. If you're following this logic, then it seems ludicrous that Gran Turismo would feature Tahiti in French Polynesia, but not those other two popular South Pacific islands- Australia and New Zealand.

This international region has produced racing talent of many disciplines such as David Brabham, Bruce McLaren, Peter Brock, Mark Webber, Craig Lowndes, Steven Richards, Garth Tander, the Millen racing family, Casey Stoner, Mark Winterbottom, Jamie Whincup, Paul Radisich... I can go on. The big automotive rivalry here is that of Holden vs. Ford Australia. This is essentially Australia's version of Chevrolet vs. Ford. And while the United States has tracks like Daytona and Indianapolis, Australia's proving ground is the Mount Panorama Circuit, better known as Bathurst. Maybe some people can argue that many of Australia's race tracks aren't as interesting to feature as actual tracks. That is, unless you're talking about Adelaide, Albert Park, Eastern Creek, Philip Island, and Surfers Paradise.

Yet still, it just seems like motor racing in Australasia (or its cars) don't bear too much weight to be featured in a Gran Turismo game. Kazunori Yamauchi once mentioned that he wanted an extra two years to develop Gran Turismo 5 to feature the FIA GT1 World Championship and DTM in the game. However, both plans were axed for GT5. I don't know... does Australia and New Zealand seem like insignificant and far away places for the Gran Turismo franchise to feature cars and/or venues?


"John's Gran Turismo Space" doesn't get a lot of views like my primary blog, but I hope to drive some traffic here by mentioning more about this region of the world and its representation in GT.



--- Australasian Representation in Gran Turismo: How to Make it Happen ---

I wish there was more representation of Australia and New Zealand in Gran Turismo games. It has to be done in two (maybe three or more) ways.


Cars.

To me, it was sad that GT4 featured Ford Australia and FPV, but no HSV (Holden Special Vehicles) to compliment Holden. There has also NEVER been a Holden V8 Supercar featured in any GT game. In fact, there hasn't been ANY racing Holden in any GT game. There have never been any utes featured in the franchise either. Only thing I like more than Australian cars is just hearing the roar of an Australian V8 engine. Talk about sweet music! Here is a look at Australian cars. If you see any hypertext in this part of this post, those are links to the official websites of car companies featured in this blog post. These links will help increase the insight on Australian cars in this post.

* Holden - My knowledge of Holden is... okay at best. I only know the Commodore best because that's the car Holden uses in the Australian V8 Supercar Series. Only other Holden I'm familiar with is the Torana, and especially the Holden Torana. I have even recalled the Torana that the late Peter Brock used in racing Bathurst. Holden also has some very cool utes, but I don't know many of them except the Commodore ute. There is even the V8 Ute Racing series in Australia. I think it's better known as Brute Ute, but I'm not sure. One of the best-looking concept cars from Holden is the Efijy concept This is just a car company that, as its slogan suggests, go better.

* Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) - "I just want one" is the slogan to Holden Special Vehicles. These HSV models are Holdens taken to new heights, offering more impressive performance and looks to base Holden models. Some of their many machines include the Maloo, the Senator, the Clubsport, the GTS... all among other HSV models. HSV would be great to include along with Holden.

* Ford Australia - I am using "Ford Australia" to denote the Australian division of Ford. The Ford Falcon mostly comes to mind for me. The first Falcon I was introduced to was the Ford Falcon AU when I first saw Australian V8 Supercar action back in 2000. The FG Falcon is a beautiful Falcon. I do wish some more Ford Falcon V8 Supercars shown up in Gran Turismo to compliment the 2000 Ford Falcon XR8 Race Car.

* Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) - Like HSV to Holden, FPV is the performance vehicle range to Ford Australia. I enjoyed using the FPV GT (mine is in Blue Pearl) in Gran Turismo 4. I don't know too much more about FPV except the two lovely FPV machines in GT4.

* Elfin - Elfin is kind of like Australia's Caterham or Australia's Lotus. Maybe their most popular car is their Type 5 Clubman. Equally popular is their quirky MS8 Streamliner. That's all I know about Elfin.

* JOSS - The JOSS JP1 (long known as the JOSS Supercar) is Australia's first-ever supercar. It packs a V8 engine with 550 horsepower. It's 0-60 mph is told to be under three seconds and reaches a top speed of about 211 mph. If this car was included in a future GT, this wouldn't be a bad car to win as a Prize Car.


That's all I really know about Australian cars. I even read about a supercar called the Hulme CanAm NZ, but since I don't know too much about it, I won't waste my time (and yours) by attempting to professionally discuss something I am inexperienced with. More Australian cars can be viewed courtesy of ultimatecarpage.com at: Australian cars on ultimatecarpage.com.

Another thing to note is the domination (and apparent banning) of the Nissan GT-R and Mazda RX7/RX-7 going up against Australian Touring Cars back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Some of those can also tie into the motorsports side of Australasian motorsport. An important part of including cars in a Gran Turismo game is in including cars for historical purposes. So PD will have to read into some Australian motor racing history to find a few classics.


Tracks.

On the track front, there are two ways to make a statement- real tracks or fictional tracks in real locations. One of the most recent Australian tracks is Homebush Park. What would be really interesting is if Oran Park Raceway (now a housing development zone) was included for nostalgic purposes. I think if anything, Bathurst is can't-miss to establish an Australasian presence in Gran Turismo. Here are some other race tracks in Australia and New Zealand besides Bathurst (Mount Panorama Circuit). Click on the links to visit their official websites (if offered). This, like with the cars section, will show you more insight on racing venues in both Australia and New Zealand:

--- [Some] Australian Tracks ---
* Sandown Raceway
* Phillip Island
* Eastern Creek
* Surfers Paradise
* Barbagallo Raceway
* Symmons Plains
* Hidden Valley
* Winton
* Adelaide Street Circuit
* Albert Park
* Queensland Raceway
* Calder Park
* Townsville Street Course (Reid Park)

--- [Some] New Zealand Tracks ---
* Pukekohe Park Raceway
* Hamilton Street Course
* Taupo Motorsports Park
* Teretonga Park Raceway


These would provide real-life insight. Both Australia and New Zealand each have rally racing events. The World Rally Championship races in both Australia and New Zealand (or has raced in both). The only non-WRC rallying and off-road racing I know of are Targa New Zealand and the Taupo 1000. I am not sure how you come up with a good rally series in either Australia or New Zealand for a future GT. When I think of this international region and rallying, I think back to those epic jumps Colin McRae (rest in peace...) in the 1998 Rally Australia.

What if PD wanted to try fictional street courses? DEFINITELY consider Sydney or Melbourne. I love both cities (Sydney just a little more than Melbourne). PD could even try a street course around Perth. On the New Zealand front, fictional street courses around cities like Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch would be great.


Other Material.

Both Sydney and Auckland would make great Photo Mode locales. Imagine a picture of a beautiful car with the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge in the distance. I can imagine a Photo Mode location in downtown Melbourne with some of Melbourne's lovely buildings downtown. Or as an alternative for Melbourne, perhaps a Photo Mode location similar to Ponte di Rialto, whereas a car is on a ferry or a boat with the Melbourne skyline in the distance. Auckland, New Zealand is the only city I truly know of in New Zealand. A Photo Mode setting utilizing Auckland's beautiful watery views along with the city's skyline would be great for Auckland.

I just want to see better representation of Australia and New Zealand in Gran Turismo games. Hope these suggestions help.



--- Will ANY of This EVER Materialize? ---

This depends on if PD actually wants to bring Australasia properly into the Gran Turismo universe. I just think it's sad Australia and New Zealand are seldom represented proper in Gran Turismo. It used to be that the United Kingdom was ill-represented until the London street course and Top Gear Test Track were introduced even after 10+ years of the GT franchise. Australasia needs some sort of representation (or better representation).

Other racing games and game series have done a (to be honest) better job of featuring Australian venues and cars than the Gran Turismo series has. The ToCA Race Driver series, the Forza Motorsport series (with Blue Mountain Raceway in FM1 and the V8 Supercars in FM3), and Project Gotham Racing 2 (including Sydney) have offered their featuring of Australia. Gran Turismo, however, can do a better job of including more Australasian material than just six cars and no Australasian venues to speak of. At least a few more Holden and Ford Australian V8 Supercars will spice things up.

Australia and New Zealand can use some better representation in the Gran Turismo series than what has shown up since Gran Turismo 3. Will it ever happen? That remains to be seen. I just hope PD can expand their horizon to include a lot more content of Australia and/or New Zealand to enhance its international representation withing Gran Turismo.



--- Bathurst Coming to Gran Turismo! ---

(ADDED: March 11, 2012)

In a recent update posted on GTPlanet, rumors have surfaced that Bathurst was scanned. Don't get your hopes up to see Bathurst in GT5, though. It will (or could) be coming to Gran Turismo 6 whenever GT6 comes along. So that's something to be pleased to see. I hope we can also see more V8 Supercars besides the 2000 Ford Falcon XR8 we've raced since Gran Turismo 3.

Read the full article here: "Bathurst Circuit Scanned for Gran Turismo 6" - GTPlanet.





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About the Author: John B. Marine

My name is John Marine. Nice to meet you! I am a blogger born and raised in Houston, Texas, USA. Besides blogging, I make digital art, sometimes make music, and I sometimes even do a little programming. The mantra for my online work is "anything and everything." In other words, my topics and my commentary regards almost anything and everything that crosses my mind while still remaining relevant to the topic(s) at hand. Equally as important to me as publishing content for the Internet is in providing a positive space for discussion. Even with the most difficult topics, I try to avoid spewing negativity and hate online- there is already enough negativity in this world to begin with, so why contribute to more negativity? If you enjoyed this blog post or any of my other online work, please feel free to Follow my material so you keep up with the latest material of mine and so that you help support my work any way you can. Having said this, thank you for reading! Get social with me by visiting the different social profiles of mine online.

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