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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gran Turismo 4 License Tests - International

John B. Marine | 11:19 PM | |
(ADDED: March 19, 2012)

The National tests are done. Now, it's time to think Internationally. An International-grade license shows that you are ready to challenge in more difficult races. You need International licenses in your development towards becoming a World Championship race car driver.

Because Gran Turismo 4's repertoire of license tests is massive, I will divide this into three parts. When all have been posted to JGTS, you can visit any number of the blog posts to help you in acquiring whatever series of licenses you aspire to earn. Here is my series on GT4's license tests:

PART 1 of 3: Gran Turismo 4 License Tests - National
PART 2 of 3: Gran Turismo 4 License Tests - International (YOU ARE HERE)
PART 3 of 3: Gran Turismo 4 License Tests - Super License


MAR 19 2012 - updated look of post

--- Gran Turismo 4 License Tests at a Glance ---

You need a license to go racing in Gran Turismo. Where you can race and what you can race depends on your license. You need to acquire all licenses to be eligible to compete in all events. This remains unchanged since the very first Gran Turismo. You may loathe these license tests, but you have no other choice but to take part in these to clear the game. If you have run out of ideas on how to run each course, follow the included demo runs to get some inspiration as to how to clear each license test. Take notes from the video and apply those techniques to your own driving style. I play with a DualShock, but many recommend racing with a steering wheel to get the most overall bit of performance out of your driving. Racing with a steering wheel assembly can offer you a little extra advantage in your racing. So invest in getting a steering wheel to have a little extra edge and control in your racing.

The best thing about Gran Turismo 4's license tests is that they aren't as difficult to clear each test as long as you drive consistently. This makes the license tests more along the lines of "easy to learn, difficult to master." You will find this to be refreshing in the later license tests because some of these can be very tough to score Silver or better. All you have to do is drive consistently and properly to clear most of the later license tests to pass. It may not sound very rewarding to GT veterans like myself, but consider that not every player of Gran Turismo is of the same caliber of the Gran Turismo elites and veterans. On the other hand, the Bronze scores aren't terribly easy to where you can drive like an idiot and still pass.

New to the variety of license tests are one-lap trials and Coffee Breaks. Every five license tests (excluding for the Super License) for each set of tests is a one-lap guided run around a certain track with a Pace Car. These are meant for you to learn some of the many courses of Gran Turismo 4.

When you reach the Super License tests (get all four licenses), your attention turns from lessons to applied tests. You will be racing various cars on some of Gran Turismo 4's finest tracks.

Now, here is some extra information you need to know about License Tests in Gran Turismo 4:

Info on 1 Lap Guide Runs.

On every five License Tests between National-B and International-A, you will take on a One Lap Guide Run. The 1 Lap Guide Run is a new concept to Gran Turismo license tests. In these tests, you learn every inch/meter of each track with a Pace Car ahead of you. The Pace Car will auto-adjust to your skill depending on how hard you want to take the course. Follow the racing line set by the Pace Car driver to know where to drive on the track. When the Pace Car brakes, you do the same in the area he/she brakes. The point of guided runs is to learn each track. If you hit the Pace Car, you will automatically fail. Almost pretend the Pace Car is not there and just go race the track as competitively as you can. When you complete one of these, you will not have the luxury of following your ghost to try to improve your time. So therefore, you will have to continually adjust your driving style to try to lay down the best lap time. Each license test (except the Super License) category features three of these one-lap guide runs. At least a Bronze for each One Lap Guide Run is certainly attainable as long as you race smart and try to complete each course within the specified par times. Take your time and learn each track as you go around each of them. A prize is easily attainable for just driving consistently enough around the track. If you want to score better marks, be more aggressive and put together a solid driving effort.

Coffee Breaks.

Also new are Coffee Breaks. These are driving mini games meant to provide a little diversion from the intense license tests. Clearing these (for what I know) are not required to clear. Gold and Silver times apply for these, but just finishing the course is more important than trying to lay down a mystifying time around the Coffee Break courses. All of the Coffee Breaks take place on the Gymkhana Course.

Start Types.

Standing Starts and Rolling Starts are featured for License Tests in Gran Turismo 4. If a race is part of a Standing Start, it is important to note that getting a strong launch from your starting position can make a great difference in shaving off a few extra seconds. You need not worry about good launches if a test is part of a Rolling Start. If a license test begins with a Rolling Start, you will see the certain launch speed you will go at. They are purely estimates based on what speed you are at by the time you cross the Start gate. I have run every License Test to examine the closest-possible top speed once you start the test.

This said, let's begin!

--- GT4 License Tests: International B-License ---

Gran Turismo 4 International license
^ You have arrived by way of getting your National licenses! Now, it's time to arrive proper with your International Licenses.

"This license covers the more advanced aspects of driving in race conditions, including mastering variations in road elevation and the challenges of street courses."

-IB License Test scrolling information in GT4
The International-B License shows that you have mastered more advanced racing techniques than you have learned in the B-License and A-License tests. You will be introduced to racing on temporary street courses in this set of license tests as well. When faced with city street races, you must understand what makes a street course different from a traditional permanent road course. One of the biggest differences is that many street courses don't give you the luxury of extra grass or runoff areas in case you overshoot a corner or miss a braking point. You have to master racing a car through much tighter space. While many against street courses think they are slow and lack any real fun, one advantage to these courses is that (and let's face it) it's cool seeing race cars go around city streets faster than average traffic on those streets. Part of the allure of city street races is the ability to go full speed through cities and city streets as buildings fly by. While this is a visual thrill, city streets can also be quite bumpy. Street courses can be immensely physical to race on.

While not all courses in the IB category are street courses, you still have a great deal to learn and master before even going for your IA license. Allow me to share some advice in your quest for your IB license.

IB-1: Braking During Turns 1
IB-2: Braking During Turns 2
IB-3: Advanced Level Complex Corners 1
IB-4: Advanced Level Complex Corners 2
IB-5: 1 Lap Guide Run (Costa di Amalfi)
IB-6: Cone Slalom 1
IB-7: Cone Slalom 2
IB-8: City Street Challenge 1
Coffee Break: Knock over the cones laid out in a spiral (2)
IB-9: City Street Challenge 2
IB-10: 1 Lap Guide Run (Hong Kong)
IB-11: Competition Dirt Racing 1
IB-12: Driving on Snow 1
IB-13: Tackling Undulating S-bends
IB-14: Tackling Corner Sequences over Undulating Surfaces
IB-15: 1 Lap Guide Run (Citta di Aria)
IB-16: Graduation Test

IB-1: Braking During Turns 1.

Car: 2001 Hyundai Tiburon GT
Course: Tsukuba Circuit
Start: Rolling Start at 78 mph

At about 78 mph, you will race your Hyundai around the first corner of Tsukuba Circuit while practicing trail braking. This is where you start braking into corners while turning the steering wheel. Tsukuba's first corner is slow and a bit blind. You have to brake hard to avoid going into the outside tire wall. Then, you need to find a good line to get as much speed exiting the corner to post the fastest time. The Tiburon is a pretty powerful FWD car with great performance. Make the most of its power and performance to clear this test with a good time.

• GOLD: 14.440
• SILVER: 14.870
• BRONZE: 15.570

IB-2: Braking During Turns 2.

Car: 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL 500 (R129)
Course: Nürburgring Nordschleife
Start: Rolling Start at 77 mph

You will be racing the northern section of Nürburgring Nordschleife in a trail braking exercise. Here, you will need to do so in a heavy Mercedes-Benz sports coupe. The goal here is to practice high-speed trail braking. This track is a bit easier because you are heading downhill, and also because this one is a bit more simple in scoring a quick time. Use the green sign on the far right as a braking reference. Brake HARD into the corner while turning. Get the right amount of speed upon exit to power towards the finish line. I pulled a 25.768 in one demo run, but then pulled a 25.202 run... 2 thousandths away from Gold! You can probably do better than me here. Give it a shot!

• GOLD: 25.200
• SILVER: 26.000
• BRONZE: 27.300

IB-3: Advanced Level Complex Corners 1.

Car: 1998 Honda Prelude Type S
Course: Suzuka Circuit
Start: Rolling Start at 88 mph

Spoon Curve is your nemesis in this license test. Your weapon to take on Spoon Curve is a Honda Prelude Type-S from 1998. You have to brake fairly early to set the car up to properly tackle this corner quickly. Spoon Curve is a two-part corner. The first half is a smooth entry, followed by a sharp second half. It must be cleared properly to get a great exit towards the Finish gate. While the Prelude Type-S is a powerful FWD car, you still need to harness its power and capabilities properly to get a great time.

• GOLD: 27.600
• SILVER: 28.430
• BRONZE: 30.230

IB-4: Advanced Level Complex Corners 2.

Car: 2003 Audi S4
Course: Deep Forest Raceway
Start: Rolling Start at 47 mph

Any Audi that boasts an "S" in its name is an upgraded performance version of a base Audi. Therefore, you are racing the performance version of the A4, the S4. You will take on the second half of the interior portion of Deep Forest. It begins from exiting the first tunnel of the full course. You go through another tunnel before ending up on the backstretch to the Finish gate. A lot of required out of you to get into Silver range, as a difference of 8 tenths of a seconds determines the difference between Gold and Silver. It is very tough to think of this section as two long corners, but you have to treat this track like two long corners. Between the corners and exiting the corners, you need to keep the S4 stable on the undulating roads. Beware of understeer as you exit the final corner. Be EXTREMELY proud if you get a time at or below 27.999 because that equals Gold for this course.

• GOLD: 28.000
• SILVER: 28.840
• BRONZE: 30.600

IB-5: 1 Lap Guide Run (Costa di Amalfi).

Car: 2003 Peugeot 206 RC
Course: Costa di Amalfi
Start: Standing Start

Welcome to your first license test on city streets. This is your first look at the challenges street courses provide. What makes street courses challenging are blind corners and high walls. You have to properly trace a driving line that allows you to clear it effectively. As for racing these courses, there is no margin for error as you don't have the luxury of runoff road or lots of grass in case you get it all wrong. You will race the very fun Costa di Amalfi course in a Peugeot 206 RC. Costa di Amalfi will allow you to turn your car loose as you go for speed. Trying to suppress your high speed rush are narrow roads with some tricky tight corners. Don't begin to trail the Pace Car until after you clear the first kink. The rest of the way is a challenge to properly navigate the winding roads of Assisi while keeping the car as stable as possible.

• GOLD: 2:46.000
• SILVER: 2:50.000
• BRONZE: 3:02.500

IB-6: Cone Slalom 1.

Car: 2003 BMW Z4
Course: Fuji Speedway '80s
Start: Standing Start

This is a slalom test utilizing the long front stretch of Fuji Speedway. The course is marked off by cones as you race a BMW Z4, a powerful convertible BMW. Active Stability Management (ASM) has been enabled to help make sure your car doesn't spin out of control wildly as you clear this slalom. Control your throttle input as you weave around the cones.

• GOLD: 17.700
• SILVER: 18:660
• BRONZE: 20.890

IB-7: Cone Slalom 2.

Car: 2003 BMW Z4
Course: Fuji Speedway '80s
Start: Standing Start

ASM has been disabled on your BMW Z4 as you take the same course as in IB-6. Or really, I take that back. ASM is still enabled for your car because... YOU are are the ASM for the car! Experience much more raw handling in this test. It will be tougher to keep the BMW stable weaving around cones, but not impossible. The same license times from the other test are the same for this one. So if you are somehow able to clear the first Cone Slalom without fail, this game pretty much believes you can do the same test times even without ASM enabled. This one is going to be tougher, so don't be overaggressive on the throttle.

• GOLD: 17.700
• SILVER: 18:660
• BRONZE: 20.890

IB-8: City Street Challenge 1.

Car: 2004 Chrysler Crossfire
Course: New York
Start: Rolling Start at 84 mph

This is your first proper license test (not a time trial) on a city course. You will have to deal with a series of 90° corners in the Big Apple. This is a more traditional street course with walls lined by barrier walls and catch fences. You have blind corners to contend with as well. So you have two challenges as you attempt to navigate the streets of New York City- find the best racing line around all seven turns. All seven are blind, and you are trying to make sure not to tag any walls. The first corner can use a little trail braking as you attack the apex of the first corner. This is critical because improper entry will send you right into the outside wall. Brake hard going into Turn 2 and power out of the corner from the apex. Next, swing your car out to the outside heading into Turn 3. Attack it just right to get ready for Turns 4-7. Turns 4 and 5 are like a double-apex corner. Turn 6 is a switchback that leads to Turn 7. Your car is the RWD Chrysler Crossfire. It will be your stylish car to take to the streets with. It has no problem staying on the streets and out of the walls. The streets of New York City can be tough, even for Gran Turismo racers. How will YOU handle your tour around NYC? Don't let the walls and barriers intimidate you. I got a 43.532 in my best demo run, better than my previous best- a 43.666.

• GOLD: 43.200
• SILVER: 44.440
• BRONZE: 46.800

IB Coffee Break: Knock over the cones laid out in a spiral (2).

Car: 1994 TVR Griffith 500
Course: Gymkhana - SPIRAL REVERSE
Start: Standing Start

You will perform the same 100-cone Coffee Break as in the A-License Coffee Break. This time, however, in the opposite direction and with a much more powerful and capable car. The previous Coffee Break allowed you to increase a certain top speed you set. This Coffee Break is the opposite. Set a certain speed limit for your car that progressively decreases. The closer you get towards the center, the more you have to consider slowing down. Since this is a twitchy RWD car, you have to be careful keeping this car stable. Control your speed, and you should be able to clear this one effortlessly.

• GOLD: 31.500
• SILVER: 33.333
• BRONZE: (just finish)

IB-9: City Street Challenge 2.

Car: 2001 Volkswagen Bora V6 4Motion
Course: Citta di Aria
Start: Rolling Start at 87 mph

From the streets of New York City to the Italian town of Assisi, you must navigate the extremely narrow roads of Citta di Aria in this City Street Challenge. The course runs from the backstretch to the super-slow downhill chicane. The fact that you will be running this course very fast (90 mph on a one-lane road with buildings on both sides!) makes this even more challenging. The WV Bora is a pretty fast four-wheel drive car, so make sure to slow the heck down as you navigate through this torturous set of roads. How well you are able to properly control the car through the corners equals the difference between pass and fail. Control your speed, find the correct racing line, and at least a Bronze is attainable. Do what you did for Bronze faster and more precisely if you want Silver or Gold.

• GOLD: 22.000
• SILVER: 22.660
• BRONZE: 24.000

IB-10: 1 Lap Guide Run (Hong Kong).

Car: 1997 MG MGF
Course: Hong Kong
Start: Standing Start

This is the first license test performed under evening conditions. You will be racing on the festive streets of Hong Kong for this 1 Lap Guide Run. You will use an MG MGF to tame the streets of Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region, China. This mid-engined convertible with rear-wheel drive is probably better suited to mountain roads than tight street courses. Still, you will enjoy open-air driving as you take in the sights of Hong Kong. This is no sight-seeing tour, though. What makes Hong Kong challenging are its high walls and deceptive corners. The depths of this course are tricky. What you think you can take at full speed or limited throttle may require some (at least) light braking. This track is not too difficult to race (wait until you race a much tougher street course later in the IB licenses!). The MGF is actually very fun to race around Hong Kong. It's like a rally car in the corners. You can swing the tail end loose and be able to gather it back up for a sweet drift around the corners. You will have to be quite crafty to secure a Gold around here.

• GOLD: 1:55.200
• SILVER: 1:57.420
• BRONZE: 2:05.180

IB-11: Competition Dirt Racing 1.

Car: 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII MR GSR
Course: Grand Canyon
Start: Rolling Start at 57 mph

Now, let's take a break from city street courses and head back off-road. After clearing a big jump, your Lancer Evo. VII MR GSR will cross the Start gate to take on two more jumps. What follows is a smooth left-hand corner, followed by a switchback that leads to a sharp right. This test isn't too difficult as long as you maintain a smooth line and come along with a solid drift through the corners.

• GOLD: 18.200
• SILVER: 18.800
• BRONZE: 19.800

IB-12: Driving on Snow.

Car: 1991 Celica GT-FOUR RC (ST185)
Course: Ice Arena
Start: Standing Start

Welcome to the first-ever license test in snowy/icy conditions! Never before has racing in Gran Turismo been done on snow or ice until now. Racing on snow or ice is much different from racing on dirt. Racing on snow/ice is different from racing on dirt because there is much less traction gained by racing on such conditions than on dirt. Snow tires usually have studs on them to help aid in handling on icy surfaces. With this test, you are asked to clear a portion of Ice Arena that includes two hairpins. Most of the road is dominated on either side by high snow banks. Don't even think about braking or letting off the throttle for the first two corners. At the first hairpin, start braking hard and let the car drift to the left as you take on the corner. Do the same thing for the second hairpin, only drift to the right. Attack the inside as best as you can and get a good-enough jump out of the final smooth corner to deliver a great time. My demo run time was a 24.454, which is better than my previous best of 24.708.

• GOLD: 24.000
• SILVER: 24.720
• BRONZE: 26.450

IB-13: Tackling Undulating S-bends.

Car: 2002 Ford Focus RS
Course: El Capitan
Start: Rolling Start at 73 mph

The American El Capitan course will be negotiated by a front-wheel drive European hatchback. Your Focus RS will go up and over the undulating roads between the finish of the A-8 test and the entrance to pit road of the El Capitan course. It will be a challenge to keep the Focus on track while properly navigating the course. However, at least this will be better than the Undulating Corners test of Gran Turismo 3 (if you've played it). Your rally-spec Focus can take on these roads nicely, but to make the most of its performance, you need to have great car control all the way around this course.

• GOLD: 29.700
• SILVER: 30.860
• BRONZE: 33.170

IB-14: Tackling Corner Sequences over Undulating Surfaces.

Car: 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL 600 (R230)
Course: El Capitan
Start: Rolling Start at 61 mph

After clearing the first hairpin of El Capitan, it is up to you to pilot this 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL 600 around the roads between the first hairpin and the second hairpin. I can tell you from experience that you are truly tempted to go fast around here. This course isn't all that intimidating to try to go full speed or have limited throttle. However, you need to do some hard braking to keep the car stable through sections. You can take the first few corners at full throttle heading into the bus stop chicane that leads to the tunnel. Your car will get all kinds of unstable as you head uphill out of the tunnel. It is important you brake to avoid flying off the road and into the outside sand trap. The most important element of this license test is in your ability to keep the car stable despite the violent elevation changes you will encounter here. A very important lesson in car control can be mastered by taking this test.

• GOLD: 36.350
• SILVER: 37.000
• BRONZE: 40.200

IB-15: 1 Lap Guide Run (Citta di Aria).

Car: 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA 1600
Course: Citta di Aria
Start: Standing Start

I personally hate racing Citta di Aria with a passion. It's fun in Tourist Trophy on a motorcycle, but not with a car. I even remember seeing a video of Gran Turismo 4 Prologue where a BMW McLaren F1 raced around Citta di Aria flawlessly. I'd much rather stick to slower cars for Citta di Aria. Citta di Aria is a beautiful course, don't get me wrong. It's just not fun. You will have the honor of driving a beautiful 1965 Alfa Romeo through this old city in a one-lap guide run. This classic Alfa Romeo GTA is more than decent in handling. The one thing to be careful of is in making sure that you don't get on the throttle too early exiting corners going downhill. The car can, and will, slide away up under you, inducing a spin. Another thing to be careful of is in going too fast down the backstretch. I hit the Pace Car in my demo run, but I wasn't disqualified (because I didn't hit the Pace Car hard enough). Just take it easy and bring it to the Start/Finish line in one piece.

• GOLD: 2:11.000
• SILVER: 2:14.930
• BRONZE: 2:23.550

IB-16: Graduation Test.

Car: 2002 Lotus Esprit V8
Course: Citta di Aria
Start: Rolling Start at 103 mph

One last time around Citta di Aria in order to gain your IB License. From the very fast backstretch, you will negotiate a very tight right-left chicane followed by a tight right hairpin. The uphill trudge to the finish consists of a snaking and challenging road to the Finish gate. As I mentioned, I don't like Citta di Aria, and I'm not really a fan of the Lotus Esprit. Two evils working against me.... but that's what you have to contend with. You need to be fearless (and a bit reckless) to score a fast time here. This test is almost unfair. If you want a braking point, look to your left. You will see what looks like the entrance to one building. The moment you begin to approach this white-walled building to your left, start braking hard. Or another way to view the braking point is to start braking when the downhill road begins to flatten. Use your visual cues to make this unfair license test a bit more fair.

• GOLD: 19.000
• SILVER: 19.700
• BRONZE: 21.300

That covers your IB License. IB is good, but IA is better. Let's get after the IA License!

--- GT4 License Tests: International A-License ---

"This is the starting point for becoming a skilled driver. The curriculum has been specifically designed for race cars."

-IA License Test scrolling text in GT4
With an IA-License, you will demonstrate your abilities to enhance your IB-License skills and apply them to tougher challenges. You don't get an IA license by asking nicely, though. You'll have to earn it and earn it by taking some challenging tests. All of your skills from National-B to International-B will all come in handy as you take on the most intense 17 lessons of your life. These are the final lessons before you can pursue your S-License. With these IA license tests, you will have your first license tests using race cars. Not all of the tests involve race cars, but just know that race cars will be part of the cars you will use in this set of tests.

IA-1: Tackling Complex Corner Sequences 1
IA-2: Tackling Complex Corner Sequences 2
IA-3: Guide to Chicanes 1
IA-4: Guide to Chicanes 2
IA-5: 1 Lap Guide Run (El Capitan)
IA-6: Tackling Complex Corner Sequences 3
IA-7: Tackling Complex Corner Sequences 4
IA-8: City Street Challenge 3
Coffee Break: Cones - Gymkhana
IA-9: City Street Challenge 4
IA-10: 1 Lap Guide Run (Fuji Speedway 2005)
IA-11: Competition Dirt Racing 2
IA-12: Driving on Snow 2
IA-13: Tackling Complex Corner Sequences 5
IA-14: Tackling Complex Corner Sequences 6
IA-15: 1 Lap Guide Run (Nürburgring Nordschleife)
IA-16: Graduation Test

IA-1: Tackling Complex Corner Sequences 1.

Car: 1992 Jaguar XJ220
Course: Mid-Field Raceway
Start: Rolling Start at 87 mph

The Jaguar XJ220 starts out at 87 mph for this test, but can really go much faster than that. This test is a combination of two Midfield Raceway tests. It is a combination the Long Corners test from Gran Turismo 3 along with the A-License Final of Gran Turismo 3. You're doing both tests in a 500+ horsepower, mid-engined, exotic supercar. The first half of the course seems fairly simple- just don't veer too far off course. But the way the cars handle (especially the supercars), it can be tough to have them properly handle the course. Try to attack the inside of the corners without losing too much speed. Try going full-speed into the chicane if you're ambitious.

• GOLD: 32.200
• SILVER: 33.166
• BRONZE: 35.680

IA-2: Tackling Complex Corner Sequences 2.

Car: 2001 Alfa Romeo Spider 3.0i V6 24V
Course: Suzuka Circuit
Start: Rolling Start at 57 mph

Most of Suzuka's West circuit will be used here for this test. You are in another front-wheel drive car around Suzuka. This time, it's an Italian FWD car- an Alfa Romero Spider 3.0i V6 24V. You will race out of the first corner, through the Esses, into Degner Curve, the following corner, and under the overpass. Car control is important here as well as maintaining a solid racing line throughout. The degrees of separation in license times means you don't have to do too much to get even a Bronze. If seeking anything north of Bronze, however, you'll need to be near perfect to deliver a solid time.

• GOLD: 52.000
• SILVER: 53.150
• BRONZE: 58.000

IA-3: Guide to Chicanes 1.

Car: 2000 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II (R34)
Course: Fuji Speedway '90s
Start: Rolling Start at 110 mph

This is the good old Fuji Speedway configuration of the 1990s before Hermann Tilke badly ruined the second half of the course. In it, you will race down the backstretch to negotiate an abrupt hairpin. The braking markers come early because you have to stabilize your Skyline substantially before attempting to properly clear the corner. It's a double-apex corner that needs some proper handling to be able to drive through here properly. First, stabilize the car so that you don't end up veering off road trying to clear this corner. Carve a good line into the corner while setting yourself up for the second half of the chicane. With a good enough exit through the second part of the chicane, power your way through to the Finish gate.

• GOLD: 17.350
• SILVER: 17.700
• BRONZE: 19.800

IA-4: Guide to Chicanes 2.

Car: 2004 FPV GT
Course: Apricot Hill
Start: Rolling Start at 48 mph

For the first time ever, you will be racing an Australian car as part of a License Test in Gran Turismo 4. This is the GT from Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV). This vehicle from 2004 is one of two FPVs you can buy in Gran Turismo 4. As you exit the hairpin after blasting down the backstretch, you will be asked to clear the section ranging from the hairpin to the final corner in your red FPV GT. No braking is needed for the first two sections. The part you do need to brake for, though, requires just enough braking. After that corner, you must take on the dreaded right-left chicane that follows. Take it just right to get enough speed to power through the section. All that remains afterwards is a smooth uphill into the final corner and through to the Finish gate. Let off the throttle mid-turn in the final corner to prevent from sending the car off the track.

• GOLD: 34.270
• SILVER: 35.298
• BRONZE: 37.000

IA-5: 1 Lap Guide Run (El Capitan).

Car: 2004 Seat Ibiza Cupra
Course: El Capitan
Start: Standing Start

From the first-ever Australian car in a license test, you now race the first-ever Spanish car in a license test. Maximize the depths of El Capitan in Gran Turismo 4's only Spanish car- the SEAT Ibiza Cupra. SEAT is a Spanish subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group. You will be using this SEAT to go around El Capitan. Remember that an important part of this course is in your ability to remain in control at all times around here. You are tempted at points to go faster than the course will allow. However, you need to keep all four tires on the track while taking a cautious line around the track. This car is pretty good staying stable on the track, so it won't take too much to stay out of trouble here.

• GOLD: 2:28.000
• SILVER: 2:32.400
• BRONZE: 2:42.980

IA-6: Tackling Complex Corner Sequences 3.

Car: 2000 Honda S2000 Type V
Course: Autumn Ring
Start: Rolling Start at 43 mph

A silver (or white?) Honda S2000 Type-V will be your test car as you take on the first half of Autumn Ring (a track I personally dislike except for Autumn Ring Mini). The test course begins after the first hairpin and goes past the Start/Finish line of the Autumn Ring Mini course. The S2000 is a fun car to send into the turns with. While it's fun to drive, you need to be proper and precise facing down these corners. Autumn Ring can (and will) unnerve your car. Be very careful not to exploit the limits of the S2000's performance too far on this deceptive circuit.

• GOLD: 30.700
• SILVER: 31.724
• BRONZE: 33.600

IA-7: Tackling Complex Corner Sequences 4.

Car: 1987 RUF CTR "Yellow Bird"
Course: Trial Mountain
Start: Rolling Start at 104 mph

Let's get one thing straight right now- this test will NOT be easy. Part of the reason... or the real reason, to be honest, is that you are asked to drive (or at least try to) a 1980s RUF through the second half of Trial Mountain. The test begins over the crest at Trial Mountain's forest. You go through a series of tricky corners before eventually going onto the straight that leads to the final chicane and eventually, the Start/Finish line. The "Yellow Bird" is tough to keep stable. Being asked to keep a car like the "Yellow Bird" stable through a track like Trial Mountain is a tall order. It is a rear-engine car with rear-wheel drive. On the other hand, it accelerates very quickly and is quite fast. Once you get the hang of its handling character, it is actually pretty fun to drive. I somehow managed a Silver in the past with a time of 34.951 in my best run (not my demo run). However, I managed a 34.948 in my demo run. As long as you are not overly passive, silver shouldn't be too hard to pick up. You need to be truly adept to clock a time south of 34 seconds, though. My best advice- study the car's handling characteristics and adjust to the track to deliver a decent time.

• GOLD: 34.000
• SILVER: 35.020
• BRONZE: 37.000

IA-8: City Street Challenge 3.

Car: 1998 Alfa Romeo 156 2.5 V6 24V
Course: Hong Kong
Start: Rolling Start at 51 mph

You will return to Hong Kong for IA-8. Your car is an Alfa Romeo 156 2.5 V6 24V, and you will be asked to navigate all the roads from the beginning of the backstretch to the Start/Finish line. Daunting task? It should be. However, this FWD Alfa Romeo can take what Hong Kong dishes out. This car is fairly nimble and accelerates quite well. The toughest part of the course is the hairpin. None of the other corners are easy, but how you handle the hairpin can adversely affect the rest of your run around Hong Kong.

• GOLD: 1:06.200
• SILVER: 1:08.570
• BRONZE: 1:14.900

IA Coffee Break: Cones - Gymkhana.

Car: 2003 Nissan 350Z Roadster (Z33)
Course: Gymkhana - ADVANCED
Start: Standing Start

Are you ready for an Autocross challenge? That's what you're faced with in this Gymkhana challenge. The Nissan wants to go fast. Don't let it. The course begins with a slow slalom. The red cones are all right turns, and the blue cones are all left turns. After this slalom is a long left-hand corner. Next, a 90° complex marked off by cones consist of five corners that go right, left, left, right, and left. Another 90° section follows by two sharp kinks, one right, one left. A long right-hand corner follows after that. Finally, go full speed down the impending stretch. Try to put your car in the absolute center to avoid knocking over the cones accidentally. As you approach the finish, your car must come to a complete stop in the finish zone to clear the Coffee Break. The Nissan gets up to speed quickly and wants to spin out. Again- don't let it. This is an autocross-style exercise sure to drive you mad if you try to overstep the Nissan's boundaries.

• GOLD: 41.000
• SILVER: 42.230
• BRONZE: (just finish)

IA-9: City Street Challenge 4.

Car: 2003 Citroen Xsara VTR
Course: Opera Paris
Start: Rolling Start at 57 mph

The twisty, narrow streets of Opera Paris are yours to race in a French car. Every corner is slow on this course. So this is one of those "go fast by going slow" exercises. The best way to do so in this Citoren Xsara is to drive cautiously while carving a good racing line. Remember that this is a City Street Challenge, so you will have to press like mad to find a proper racing line with all the blind corners. It's really the second half of this course that determines success or failure. This is a difficult and narrow course. Take your time and steadily improve your run as you go along. Bronze isn't difficult, but Silver or better will take a lot out of you.

• GOLD: 42.550
• SILVER: 43.827
• BRONZE: 45.760

IA-10: 1 Lap Guide Run (Fuji Speedway 2005).

Car: 2002 Toyota Caldina GT-FOUR
Course: Fuji Speedway 2005
Start: Standing Start

What makes this course challenging is that there is no racing line to follow. So therefore, it is VERY important you follow the Pace Car to find the preferred line around this course. It was the course raced in 2007 or so when Formula 1 raced at Fuji for the Japanese Grand Prix (remember that monsoon rain there?). You will not have the "luxury" of a racing line to help trace the proper line around here. Most of the first half of the course remains classic to past Fuji layouts. The second half, however, will be completely new to you. You must quickly adjust to the new layout to make the most of your lap here. My only word of warning- it can be VERY easy to miss the chicane after the backstretch and go straight into the wall. Only the 2005 GT version of the track does not feature the chicane after the backstretch. Your ability to learn and master a new track will be tested here. Just follow the Pace Car's lead and adjust to the new track with your driving style. Your four-wheel drive wagon/estate is pretty capable in taking on this course, so make the most of the Caldina's performance here.

• GOLD: 2:13.000
• SILVER: 2:16.300
• BRONZE: 2:25.000

IA-11: Competition Dirt Racing 2.

Car: 2003 Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution Rally Raid Car
Course: Swiss Alps
Start: Rolling Start at 75 mph

For the first time in Gran Turismo 4, you are using a race car for a license test. It's the first pure rally "car" you will be using in a GT4 license test. You will be asked to pilot the heavy (1800+ kg) Dakar rally "car" through the gate of Intermediate 3 on to the final corner leading to the Start/Finish line. This machine is quite powerful. Make good use of its power while also properly handling the two long corners in succession. The first long corner is a sharp right followed by a switchback leading to a long left. Heading to the finish gate, a long right awaits. Proper car control is the difference between pass and fail here.

• GOLD: 29.800
• SILVER: 30.694
• BRONZE: 33.000

IA-12: Driving on Snow 2.

Car: 1995 Toyota Celica GT-FOUR Rally Car (ST185)
Course: Chamonix
Start: Rolling Start at 37 mph

Get ready for your first drive around Chamonix. This course is NOT easy. The course is mostly dominated by snow banks on a very narrow road. The best advice I can recommend is to practice going into the walls without hitting them hard enough to automatically fail you. Also, don't put down too much power too early when going through the turns. Too much throttle will induce a spin. That is the LAST thing you want when you're rally racing on a surface where traction is at an absolute premium.

• GOLD: 59.000
• SILVER: 1:00.770
• BRONZE: 1:04.800

IA-13: Tackling Complex Corner Sequences 5.

Car: 2005 BMW M5
Course: Nürburgring Nordschleife
Start: Rolling Start at 120 mph

While you may be in a long and lean executive car, you will be asked to take on the western end of the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The 2005 BMW M5 is your ride. It has a seven-speed gearbox. You will be flying at 120 and eventually get up to 150+ mph. Your task? Try to keep the big BMW on the narrow roads and out of the grass. Fortunately, the M5 decelerates as quickly as it accelerates, so it doesn't take too much to keep the BMW planted to the road. The first cue to brake should be when you approach the second piece of curbing on the right-hand side. Brake hard enough to properly take on the following 3rd Gear corner. After that, two 2nd Gear corners await. If you put down the power effectively, you should be able to get a strong launch to the finish line. This will be a very fast license test mixed in with high-speed car control.

• GOLD: 25.580
• SILVER: 27.030
• BRONZE: 28.500

IA-14: Tackling Complex Corner Sequences 6.

Car: 2002 TVR Tamora
Course: Twin Ring Motegi - Road Course
Start: Rolling Start at 54 mph

The final leg of Motegi will be raced on in a convertible TVR. The corners are sharp with modest elevation changes to give you an assist. Be thankful if you get even Bronze here. It is NOT an easy test. You may need to watch the demo a couple of times to find out how to properly attack this course.

• GOLD: 14.200
• SILVER: 14.472
• BRONZE: 15.340

IA-15: 1 Lap Guide Run (Nürburgring Nordschleife).

Car: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5 - 16 Evolution II
Course: Nürburgring Nordschleife
Start: Standing Start

I'm going to make myself unpopular by saying... I HATE racing the Nürburgring Nordschleife! Or as I call it, the "Nürburgring Nightmare." It's 12+ miles of over 170 corners. Trying to memorize how to attack all of the corners while driving each one proficiently is insane. Part of why I hate racing this is because one mistake on a 10+ mile long course ruins your entire lap. My only advice- learn as you go. Don't go for the home run trying to lay down a Gold-worthy lap. Just learn the track and adjust your style. Also, make time to complete this track. If you don't have about 10 minutes to spare when you race this course, don't even bother racing it. The car you will be using for this test has great handling and performance. It goes very fast and is quite capable. I'm sorry- I don't like racing this track. I'll leave it up to you to take on this course strong. Remember- it's a 1-Lap Guide Run. Just follow the Pace Car's lead and learn the track as you go along.

• GOLD: 9:02.600
• SILVER: 9:23.000
• BRONZE: 10:00.000

IA-16: Graduation Test.

Car: 1992 Nissan R92CP Race Car
Course: Circuit de la Sarthe II
Start: Rolling Start at 135 mph

After that excursion around the narrow Green Hell, you'll be in Heaven as you race the powerful and fast Nissan R92CP around most of the first half of Circuit de la Sarthe II. This is the version of Le Mans that does not include the two chicanes that were dsigned to slow the cars down. You are asked to clear the roads between Tertre Rouge and Arnage. So yo will be racing at incredible speeds before heading into the Mulsanne Kink. Tetere Rouge is tricky to get right. Once you clear it, though, you will reach speeds of up to 235 miles per hour! You will feel the thrill of racing 200+ miles per hour on bumpy roads. Keep in mind that 15/16 of the Circuit de la Sarthe consists of public roads closed off for racing. So therefore, you'll be feeling the bumps and all of racing a tough and rough track like this one. You'll enjoy racing well north of 200+ for the majority of the run, but you will mostly spend most of the test at 233 mph down the 4 mile (6 km) backstretch. The key in clearing this course is how you handle the Mulsanne Kink, Indianapollis, and Arnage. The car is VERY powerful both accelerating and braking. In fact, it was this test that helped me to appreciate the R92CP's amazing racing capabilities. That's why I was proud to get this car when I won (a certain endurance in GT4).

• GOLD: 1:43.400
• SILVER: 1:47.00
• BRONZE: 1:52.300

Enjoy your IA-License (and your new car(s))!

This concludes the International license tests. The next post in this series concerns the Super License. As a preview- no more lessons! No more Pace Car laps! It's just you, your car, a track, and your skills pushed to the limit. I broke these posts in this series to decrease the workload on preparing these posts and also to improve the performance of my blog. So stay tuned for my next post in the series of GT4 License Test posts. Thank you for reading!

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