Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gran Turismo 5 Special Events

John Marine | 9:46 AM | | | |
Gran Turismo 5 features Special events meant to challenge your racing skills in a variety of challenges. A good thing is that some of them do not require you to have a certain car to race with. This blog post is mostly general thoughts on each Special. In later posts, I will provide some Resources on each event. For now, this is a general commentary piece on the Special Events of Gran Turismo 5.

About the Label: "Special Events".

Blog posts under the "Special Events" label feature resources on each of the Special Events in Gran Turismo 5. They may not necessarily involve clearing each one with the best results, but they do feature a general look at each Special Event.





--- Gran Turismo 5: Special Events ---

Gran Turismo 5 Special Events
^ From go-karts, to NASCAR, to rally racing, and all the way up to insane racing machines (like the Red Bull X2010); you will definitely have your hands full racing all the different Special Events!

Have a look at each header. I will share general thoughts on each featured event. I have decided rather not to update this blog post each time just to link you to each Special I do a blog post for. Instead, I will ONLY update this blog post with links to each specific Special when ALL of the individual posts are completed. There are a total of eight Special Events.

NOTES:
• Special Events which require you to bring your own car will be in braces. Example: {Special Event}
• The minimal level you must be at to compete in each event will be listed in parentheses.



{Gran Turismo Karting Experience (Level 1)}.

"Experience the first step on the road to professional race driving in specially designed Gran Turismo karts."

The cat was out of the bag at one game show when Gran Turismo 5 featured karts racing on a track. It was an Italian temporary course called Piazza del Campo. Gran Turismo's inclusion of kart racing shown me that PD was being more serious in featuring a proper racing model for GT5. While many people see kart racing as boring and slow, this is actually the first step to becoming a proper racing driver. This Special features kart racing across three different difficulty levels. You will need to have a kart to compete. Go to Gran Turismo in the Dealerships to purchase a kart. You can choose the color of your kart as well as give it a number to help identify it.

No one said GT5 was going to provide the most realistic kart racing of any racing title. However, one can make good money and receive sufficient experience early on by winning in these events. It is a great way to enjoy racing early on. I do kind of wish there were some more kart events to enjoy besides the featured ones, though.

FIXTURES:
• All races require you to have a go-kart.
• You must be at Level 1 or higher to compete in the Beginner events.
• You must be at Level 7 or higher to compete in the Intermediate events.
• You must be at level 17 or higher to compete in the Advanced events.


Jeff Gordon NASCAR School (Level 2).

"Learn the secrets behind NASCAR racing from four-time NASCAR Series champion, Jeff Gordon."

NOTE: This Special has a video you can watch. When you play it for the first time, you get to see this video play. You can see it again by highlighting on the image in the bottom-left hand corner of your screen when you access this Special.

When NASCAR was brought into Gran Turismo 5, many people met with this news either with loving embrace or with detest. In an effort to educate people on NASCAR, my personal favorite NASCAR driver, Jeff Gordon, is featured. You will be racing his #24 car in three different sets of challenges featuring a number of different scenarios and situations. Learn various techniques to help you get ahead and master racing stock cars. Each of the challenges help you become better adjusted to stock cars, both in handling and in racing.

Say whatever you want about NASCAR. I'm no fanatic, but I do respect NASCAR as an unconditional lover of motorsport. NASCAR is featured for an important reason- it is every bit as distinct as any other motorsport. Maybe the cars aren't as capable as F1 cars or sportscar racing machines. Maybe the action is more like a demolition derby than actual racing. Thing is, NASCAR is its own distinctive motorsport. It has its own character and style that sets it apart from any other form of motorsports.

FIXTURES:
• cars will be provided for you- no need to purchase a certain car beforehand.
• You must be at Level 2 or higher to compete in the Beginner events.
• You must be at Level 9 or higher to compete in the Intermediate events.
• You must be at Level 21 or higher to compete in the Advanced events.
• If you go off-course, crash hard, or knock over any cones, you will be disqualified.


Top Gear Test Track (Level 4).

"Unique and exciting challenges on the world-renowned Top Gear Test Track."

NOTE: This Special has a video you can watch. When you play it for the first time, you get to see this video play. You can see it again by highlighting on the image in the bottom-left hand corner of your screen when you access this Special.

It used to be that there has NEVER been a real-world track in the United Kingdom in Gran Turismo's history. That all changed in "Gran Turismo 5: Prologue" when the streets of London were featured. The Top Gear Test Track blew away many motoring fans with its inclusion into Gran Turismo 5. While there may not be polygon representations of Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond; you do still get to enjoy going all out on the Top Gear Test Track. This Special features three racing challenges for you. Your goal is to try to finish high enough to complete each stage.

It may be sad that there could be more diversity among racing events, but what this Special provides is fun. I'll put it this way- you will be racing with two different oddball Volkswagen vehicles in addition to the lovely Lotus Evora. The challenges are all meant to be fun and engaging. It will take some effort on your part to get Gold for each event. I would even have liked maybe some Time Trial challenges to spice things up. I'm not saying "Beat the Stig's Time" time trials, but some more different items to make the experience more interesting.

FIXTURES:
• cars will be provided for you- no need to purchase a certain car beforehand.
• You must be at Level 4 or higher to compete in the Beginner event.
• You must be at Level 8 or higher to compete in the Intermediate event.
• You must be at Level 19 or higher to compete in the Advanced event.
• If you go off-course, crash hard, or knock over any [all-red] cones, you will be disqualified.


AMG Driving Academy (Level 6).

"Learn the techniques and rules necessary to take on the hallowed Nürburgring safely."

Not everyone can master racing the Nürburgring Nordschleife. So as a service for Gran Turismo racers, you will learn how to race the Nürburgring Nordschleife in a segment-by-segment basis. I personally loathe racing the Nürburgring Nordschleife or any configuration utilizing the Nürburgring Nordschleife. I have always been terrible at trying to master and race a 12+ mile course with two lanes of road and 70-something corners. The cars you will be using are from Mercedes-Benz, and you will even race against other Mercedes-Benz cars. There are four different levels of competition each with five different challenges. The first two require you to race on the Nürburgring Nordschleife under dry conditions, and the other two require you to race the same course but under wet conditions. Each of the individual challenges feature the course segmented in four different places. In the final challenge to each level, you must complete one full lap around the Nürburgring Nordschleife (that's right- all 12+ miles) while also navigating your way through traffic. Consider this your racing school for conquering one of the world's most grueling racing tracks.

This is an invaluable service for Gran Turismo racing. The way the track is segmented is a big help in trying to master this course. It helps you to understand how the course flows. Since you are not racing anything extremely fast, you are able to take on this course at a comfortable, almost casual level. Just remember to cross the line. It doesn't take much just to get even Bronze. Just pace yourself and learn the nuances of each segment of the track. Then for the final, just go all out while dodging other cars on the track. One other good thing about this Special- there are no penalties for crashing or going off-road.

FIXTURES:
• cars will be provided for you- no need to purchase a certain car beforehand.
• You must be at Level 6 or higher to compete in the Beginner events.
• You must be at Level 12 or higher to compete in the Intermediate events.
• You must be at Level 18 or higher to compete in the Advanced events.
• You must be at Level 24 or higher to compete in the Expert events.
• There are no penalties for crashing or going off-road.





Halfway through this blog post. I will include a Jump Break here for performance reasons. Read on (if you are not reading this specific blog post) after the Jump to see the remaining four Special Events and my commentary on each. If you are or are not reading the full post and like what you've read so far, please show me your support! Here's how:

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{Gran Turismo Rally (Level 10)}.

"The fastest overall time through all of the Special Stages will win in this realistic rally event."

Gran Turismo's best attempt at rallying was exhibited in Gran Turismo 5. Gone are the rallycross-type courses that have defined GT rallying since its Gran Turismo 2 debut. You will be racing on generated rally stages. Early on, the courses are pretty weak sauce. Just wait until you do the Intermediate and (especially) Advanced courses, though! Realistic weather and time changes also help make these events fun to race. Each event is a one-day rally with a different number of stages. The Beginner rallies feature three stages of competition. The Intermediate rallies feature five stages of competition. Finally, the Advanced rallies feature eight stages of competition. Three cars will all drive away from the starting line while you make your own way to the starting line. As you race away from the starting line, pay attention to your co-driver, as he will give important notes on upcoming corners and straights. You do not need to win every stage to win the individual rallies- you just need to have the best overall time to win. Each level of the Gran Turismo Rally requires your ability to successfully drive on three different surfaces- dirt, snow, and tarmac. You must have Dirt tires for the gravel rallies and Snow tires for the snow rallies. The tarmac rallies require Sports Soft tires or less for Beginner and Intermediate racing. However, Racing Soft or less are required for the Advanced tarmac rally. One last word of warning- collisions and going too far off course result in penalties.

The rallying gets more interesting as you compete in the tougher rally classes. You encounter more intense and longer roads in tougher stages as opposed to in the basic Beginner rally. I think if there was more variety in the surroundings and character of each generated course, the rallying would be much better. It's still very good for what it is.

FIXTURES:
• You must have Dirt tires for Gravel rallies and Snow tires for snow rallies.
• You must be at Level 10 or higher to compete in the Beginner rallies, and your car must have no more than 246 horsepower to compete. Sports Soft tires (or less) are required for the tarmac rally on this level.
• You must be at Level 15 or higher to compete in the Intermediate rallies, and your car must have no more than 345 horsepower to compete. Sports Soft tires (or less) are required for the tarmac rally on this level.
• You must be at Level 20 or higher to compete in the Advanced rallies, and it requires any proper rally car. There are no horsepower restrictions.
• Penalties will be enforced for collisions or wall-riding.


Grand Tour (Level 13).

"Go on tour and take part in a series of events stretching from Bern all the way down the Italian peninsula to Rome."

Of all the Special Events, perhaps the most fun and creative Special Event is the Grand Tour, taking you on a tour through mostly central and southern Europe. You begin in Switzerland at the Eiger Nordwand Short Track. Afterwards, you head into Italy. Along the way, you will unlock more Photo Mode locations and compete in a number of different challenges. It is a very fun and well-executed Special Event series. Challenges range from time trials to races. Best of all, no car is needed for any of the given challenges.

I think this is perhaps the best-executed of the Special Events. I want to blog more about the concept of this Grand Tour in a future post or two. This one is a lovely Special Event.

FIXTURES:
• cars will be provided for you- no need to purchase a certain car beforehand.
• You must be at Level 13 or higher to compete in any event in the Grand Tour.
• You will be disqualified in the time trials (first and fourth events) if you have a hard collision at any point of the races.


Sebastien Loeb Rally Challenge (Level 16).

"Learn some skills from 7-time WRC World Champion Sebastien Loeb."

NOTE: This Special has a video you can watch. When you play it for the first time, you get to see this video play. You can see it again by highlighting on the image in the bottom-left hand corner of your screen when you access this Special.

The rally racing is much improved in Gran Turismo 5 than in any other Gran Turismo, and you're going to learn this in the most intense way with this Special Event. Being at Level 16 will get you into this challenge. Three of the game's off-road courses will be made available to you. Your job is to try to drive fast enough to clear each prescribed time. These challenges can be pretty intense, so take your time and learn as you go. You will be racing the 2008 Citroen C4 WRC rally car in all three challenges.

I can say that this is very hard because I am not familiar with any of the featured courses. You run on Toscana, Eiger Nordwand Full Course, and Chamonix (not the GT4 version). The real challenge is in adjusting to these new courses and driving them as fast as you can.

• cars will be provided for you- no need to purchase a certain car beforehand.
• You must be at Level 16 or higher to compete in any challenge in this Special Event.
• You will be disqualified if you have a hard collision.


The final featured Special Event must be unlocked. Here it is...


Sebastien Vettel X Challenge (Level 30).

"Take on Sebastien Vettel in the X2010 - Red Bull and Gran Turismo's jointly-created dream machine."

NOTE: This Special has a video you can watch. When you play it for the first time, you get to see this video play. You can see it again by highlighting on the image in the bottom-left hand corner of your screen when you access this Special.

Get ready to race the most ridiculously capable race car ever conceptualized- the Red Bull X2010. Formula One racing requires a great level of fitness and performance to survive a basic Grand Prix weekend. Formula One race cars are built to a certain specification. Basically, F1 is a challenge of what a great race car should be like, and it is the job of every other F1 team to build cars to a certain specification. It is simply one of the most rigorous and most rewarding forms of motorsport in the world. But what happens (or what WOULD happen) when there are no rules or guidelines to adhere to in building a race car? The answer is with this car and this series of Special Event time trial races. You are asked to take the X2010 around three different Formula One race tracks while completing two laps around each. Each challenge begins in pit lane. From the pits, you must complete the rest of the first lap followed by completing a full lap in your second tour around each track. You will clear each challenge if you can clock lap times within the prescribed times. The X2010 takes some getting used to. Your reaction time and control of the car will be magnified when you do these challenges. According to my friends over on GTPlanet, you can have much better lap times if you race with a steering wheel rather than with the standard DualShock 3. This challenge will NOT be easy. My advice- learn the car's tendencies, take your time, and don't go all-out until you've mastered both the car and the given tracks.

And you thought video games were not capable at providing intense experiences... the mark of a great game (let alone racing) is to provide an exclusive experience only one specific game can offer. That exclusive experience is with the Red Bull X2010. As of this post, the X2011 was unveiled not too long ago for Gran Turismo 5. The insane racing originates with this X2010. The X2010 was offered as a free download as Sebastien Vettel recently clinched the 2011 Formula 1 World Championship. Racing the X2010 may be the scariest experience I've EVER had in any Gran Turismo game.

FIXTURES:
• cars will be provided for you- no need to purchase a certain car beforehand.
• You must be at Level 30 or higher to compete in any of the events in this Special.
• If you go off-course, crash hard, or knock over any cones, you will be disqualified.





And that will do it! Good luck to you in all Special Events!





Remember that I will post individual blog posts on each specific event as resources. So make sure to stay tuned to John's Gran Turismo Space for more on these events. Are you subscribed yet to JGTS? If not, you are invited to subscribe by clicking on the links below (including visiting my other blogs)! Thank you for reading!

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