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Sunday, November 27, 2011

GT5 Specials: AMG Driving Academy

John B. Marine | 11:31 PM | | |
The Nürburgring Nordschleife isn't called "Green Hell" for marketing purposes. How else do you define a 12+ mile track with mostly two lanes of racing and well over 50 corners? Many purists define it as racing Heaven. To me, it's Hell. I even call it the "Nürburgring Nightmare." I could troll online about how bad I am at this track, or I could learn how to race it so that I don't get on the bad side of other fans of this course. This Special will help you to understand how to race this course effectively.

--- AMG Driving Academy at a Glance ---

Gran Turismo 5 AMG Driving Academy
^ "Green Hell" can be a bit more heavenly once you master racing this tricky and diabolical course thanks to the AMG Driving Academy.

"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.

AMG Driving Academy Briefing.

To learn how to race the Nürburgring Nordschleife effectively, this track has been divided into four parts. Each level of racing here features five events. The first four feature this massive course in four parts that are raced on separately. In the final challenge of each level of competition, you must run one complete lap around all 12+ miles of the Nürburgring Nordschleife against other cars sharing the same track. This entire Special can be taken casually (you can crash and go off-road without penalty), and Bronze in any test is not meant to be difficult for any of the 20 events. Just putting out a decent drive in each of the events is enough to earn at least Bronze. This will allow you to go through these events rather quickly. The main point is for you to learn the course across the individual stages followed by the cumulative test at the end of each difficulty level. To master this course, you will need to learn how to take it on in two different conditions- dry and wet. The first two levels test your ability to race this course under dry conditions; and the other two require you to race the same track, but in the wet.

You will only be racing on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. While the Nordschleife is featured on two different configurations, you will only be racing the Nürburgring Nordschleife, and not any of the other configurations that utilize the Nordschleife. This Special is designed for you to learn the Nordschleife to prepare you for racing around this course proper in proper races.

• 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.

• Sector 1: Start/Finish line to Aremburg
This section has a good rhythm to it. The very first corner will throw you off. How you manage to take on the next series of corners will determine how well you get through this sector. Elevation changes and blind corners on the high-speed second half of this sector will really test your limits.

• Sector 2: Aremburg to Bergwerk entrance
It can be too easy to make a mistake here. More elevation changes and blind corners will throw you for a loop. This section is very difficult and critical to get right because overshooting any of the corners in this sector can lead to disaster. The sector begins from the underpass at Aremburg to the northernmost part of the Nordschleife, characterized by an uphill banked hairpin. The end of this section leads to a long stretch of road with plenty of left-hand kinks to keep you honest. Keep to the road and try to make as few driving errors as possible.

• Sector 3: Bergwerk to Brünnchen
This part of the course rides like a rally course with its many sudden corners. It starts out fast with a series of bends and kinks to enjoy high-speed driving. As you enter the first turn where you'll need to do heavy braking, however, the section gets serious. It is a severely taxing part of the Nordschleife that must be taken properly to deliver the best time through this sector. The section features one of the two concrete-patched corners. How specifically you handle the second half of this course will play a huge role in what times you'll turn in at sector's end.

• Sector 4: Brünchen to Start/Finish Line
Of all the sectors, this one is the easiest because it involves the super-long backstretch. This sector can actually be broken down into three parts- the continuation of the rally course-like section, the high-speed blasts, and the series of progressively sharp corners leading to the Start/Finish line. When you reach the concrete-patched corner, that is your cue to think about making that high-speed romp down to the Start/Finish line. You still have some tough corners to slow you down and bring you back to Earth after clearing the bend down the backstretch. The final few corners will really determine your time. Slow down just enough in the final corners to safely bring your car home with a great time.

Use all of these sector cues to help prepare you for each full lap you will do.

It is now time for you to practice your skill around this massive course.

--- AMG Driving Academy: Beginner (Level 6) ---

Before you can go pretend being master of the Nürburgring, you must start small. So you will start with one of my all-time favorite sports cars- the gorgeous 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL coupe. This car is fairly nimble around this course. Since it is not extremely powerful or seriously fast, you will be learning this course with a very good car.

Beginners Class: 300SL Coupe '54, Sector 1/Dry.

Learn the very first part of this course by taking your 300SL around the first sector of the Nürburgring Nordschleife. This part of the course starts out with a good set of corners. Find a good rhythm early on to properly weave your way around each corner. Then as you approach the faster parts of this sector, watch your speed and drive carefully so you stay on the road. It is especially important to stay on the road as you approach the final corner. Cross the Finish area to conclude this sector.

Bronze: 2:00.000
Silver: 1:43.000
Gold: 1:36.000

Beginners Class: 300SL Coupe '54, Sector 2/Dry.

The next section requires you to go from under the underpass at Aremberg to just before Bergwerk. Along the way, you will encounter various blind corners and various elevation changes. These two elements combine for a ride that will be anything but pleasureful. Don't try to be a high-speed hero here. Just take it easy and adapt on the fly.

Bronze: 2:53.000
Silver: 2:31.000
Gold: 2:21.00

Beginners Class: 300SL Coupe '54, Sector 3/Dry.

Take this section smoothly early on. The real determinant in how your lap times shape up depend entirely on how you handle the second half of this section. Drive fast enough and consistent enough to have a fairly hefty top speed for the first half of this section.

Bronze: 2:39.000
Silver: 2:16.000
Gold: 2:07.000

Beginners Class: 300SL Coupe '54, Sector 4/Dry.

After three sections, it's time to bring your car home. Doing that requires taking on the other of the two carousel corners and that super-long backstretch. You will have time to think about the final part of your attack as you reach this car's top speed of 135 mph (or about 217 kph). Most important part of this course is to attack the final set of corners safely to finish strong.

Bronze: 3:08.000
Silver: 2:41.000
Gold: 2:30.000

Beginners Class: 300SL Coupe '54, Full Lap/Dry.

Take all of your skills from the four sectors and apply them all in this test. Other cars (all Mercedes-Benz cars) will share the track with you. You must learn to properly overtake vehicles while still maintaining a decent racing line. Here is a brief review of what to remember as you attack this course. Remember that Sector 1 has some of the toughest corners thrown at you first. The racing transitions to high-speed before a decisive right-hand corner leads to the overpass. The second sector has many blind corners hindered by various elevation changes. Careful driving is a must here. The third sector, while starting off with high speed in the first half of the sector, transitions to a rally course-like second half of this section. The madness ends with a balanced attack of high-speed and precise handling as you bring this car to the Start/Finish line.

Bronze: 11:02.000
Silver: 9:27.000
Gold: 8:49.000

You did good if you managed to clear all the lessons and got trophies for them. Remember- this Special is all about learning a massive race course. There is nothing to feel terrible about unless you just don't know how to race this course properly and fast enough.

--- AMG Driving Academy: Intermediate (Level 12) ---

In the previous set of tests, you were given a glorious car from Mercedes-Benz's past. Now, you are bestowed the present (and maybe its future)- the beautiful Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. It is the cover car for Gran Turismo 5, and it is also an impressive sports car. A tuned version of this lovely car will be your set of wheels for this set of lessons. This more modern car is obviously faster and much more capable than the 300SL you raced earlier. Nothing has changed about the course- you are racing the same Nürburgring Nordschleife as you did in the previous lessons, and you are doing the same sectors as you did previously. The key to passing these lessons is to apply your knowledge of the 300SL and put it (and adapt) with the SLS AMG.

Intermediate Class: SLS AMG '10 tuned car, Sector 1/Dry.

This car will get up to speed very well, much more so than the vintage 300SL. Remember to always take your learning from one car to another as you transition to new muscle. You may need to slow down more often in this car if you are taking these corners too fast. Control your pace and hit your marks- (at least) silver is not hard with this car and this section.

Bronze: 1:43.000
Silver: 1:28.000
Gold: 1:22.000

Intermediate Class: SLS AMG '10 tuned car, Sector 2/Dry.

This same section is even more of a fussbudget with your modern sports car compared to the 300SL. Remember that this car has more grip, power, and top speed than the 300SL you were using previously. Take advantage of this modern car's capabilities to get through this section quickly. Keep the car under control to obtain the quickest time through this sector.

Bronze: 2:27.000
Silver: 2:06.000
Gold: 1:57.000

Intermediate Class: SLS AMG '10 tuned car, Sector 3/Dry.

Do Mercedes-Benz proud and furiously take on this sector with your SLS AMG. It can take on the third sector with great power and performance. Remember that the key to a great time lies in your ability to properly take on the deceptive corners in the second half of the course. After getting out of the carousel (the banked left-corner with concrete patches on the inside), the course gets tricky and troublesome. Go easy here.

Bronze: 2:10.000
Silver: 1:52.000
Gold: 1:44.000

Intermediate Class: SLS AMG '10 tuned car, Sector 4/Dry.

The SLS AMG has seven gears and can go north of 180 mph (or an estimated 290 mph). Use that top speed capability that this car has to take on this sector of the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Remember that this car has great performance and great handling. It is obviously much more powerful than the 300SL, so continually adjust your driving to clear this section effectively.

Bronze: 2:35.000
Silver: 2:13.000
Gold: 2:04.000

Intermediate Class: SLS AMG '10 tuned car, Full Lap/Dry.

A powerful car like the SLS AMG means you can lay down some quicker lap times around any track than you could in any older car. Adjust your speed and pace using the SLS AMG. This track has the ability to really deceive you, and if you fall for its traps, you and your car will pay the price. Control yourself and this car properly to land a solid time.

Bronze: 8:52.000
Silver: 7:35.000
Gold: 7:05.000

Congratulations! You may now move on to the Advanced races once you reach Level 18.

We're halfway done! Hey, are you reading the full post or not? Please make sure you're reading the full blog post to see all of what it has to offer. After the Jump Break, you will be taking on this same course, but in wet conditions. So to continue reading, click on "Read More" to continue. Disregard this entire section (but do subscribe and follow) if you are reading the full blog post.

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--- AMG Driving Academy: Advanced (Level 18) ---

As much as the Nürburgring Nordschleife can be a nightmare to race, it is even more so when this German racing playground is soaked in rain. The 300SL returns to take on this course under wet conditions. Two evils are working against you- a vintage car and a wet race track. These two usually do not add up to a pleasureful experience. On the other hand, the 300SL is not super-fast. Going easy with this car in conjunction with the wet roads will help you to race this track properly. Do not try too hard unless you feel truly ready to lay down some awesome times for each sector.

By the way, the Driving Line is disabled for all tests here in this level. Yep- the training wheels are off. Time to be a big kid now!

Advanced Class: 300SL '54, Sector 1/Wet.

You are already bound to fail if you disregard that the road is wet. With wet roads comes a loss of traction. This loss of traction will make you unable to grip the road as you normally would with dry roads. When you consider you are driving an older car, the ability to properly grip the road is even tougher. Remember these things as you plan your attack on this course. The same strategies from the Beginner level sectors apply here- just have to adjust your driving style to meet racing on wet roads.

Bronze: 2:17.000
Silver: 1:57.000
Gold: 1:49.000

Advanced Class: 300SL '54, Sector 2/Wet.

The already brutal second sector of this track is even more so with the falling rain. Your beautiful 300SL will have an ugly ride around Sector 2 if you can't keep the car stable all the way around. Be mindful of the traction you will lose both in the corners and under braking. Make the needed moves and adjustments to adapt to the wet conditions.

Bronze: 3:22.000
Silver: 2:53.000
Gold: 2:41.000

Advanced Class: 300SL '54, Sector 3/Wet.

Your 300SL must now take on the tough Sector 3. Remember from the previous set of tests that Sector 3 starts off with mostly high-speed sections followed by some tough corners afterwards. Those tougher corners become more numerous as the lap progresses. All the while, remember to stick to your racing line while adjusting to wet roads. Do not try to push this car's limits too far under these settings. Just work to your skill level and try to power your way around the track as best as you can. Silver is attainable here.

Bronze: 3:00.000
Silver: 2:35.000
Gold: 2:24.000

Advanced Class: 300SL '54, Sector 4/Wet.

On one hand, this should be easy because you don't have to worry about too many super-slow corners. However, remember that you

Bronze: 3:32.000
Silver: 3:01.000
Gold: 2:49.000

Advanced Class: 300SL '54, Full Lap/Wet.

Put all of your skills together from the four sectors and run a full lap in the wet. You are racing with an old car on wet roads. Do not think this is going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination. It takes a different level of skill to pass as many cars as possible on this wet track while delivering a fast lap time. If you manage to land a lap time lower than ten minutes, you deserve incredible praise.

Bronze: 12:09.000
Silver: 10:24.000
Gold: 9:43.000

One more remains. If you did these races in a 300SL in the dry and the wet, all that remains is being able to do these same tests... in the wet, with your fancy pants SLS AMG. Get up to Level 24 and get ready for the final five challenges!

--- AMG Driving Academy: Expert (Level 24) ---

Consider this one your Final Exam. Use your modern SLS AMG to race around the same course under wet conditions. Since this is a modern car, expect modern levels of performance in taking on wet roads. Take advantage of this car's power and performance to put together some impressive times in each sector. Take your mastery of the course and apply it in one full lap when you've gone through all the other sectors.

Oh, and don't forget- the roads are wet. The Driving Line is also disabled for this course.

Expert Class: SLS AMG '10 tuned car, Sector 1/Wet.

When you had the 300SL, you had a capable car that was fun to drive and slightly forgivable. Now, you're given the SLS AMG. Getting on the throttle too early and too hard will lead to you spinning out and losing control. So take it easy and try to run a balanced drive here. Learn the car's tendencies to spin out as you try to grip the wet roads. Just because you have a modern car doesn't mean this test is going to be any easier. If anything, you're being tested on trying to keep the car stable in this very rhythm-based sector of the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

Bronze: 2:05.000
Silver: 1:47.000
Gold: 1:40.000

Expert Class: SLS AMG '10 tuned car, Sector 2/Wet.

The Nürburgring Nordschleife's second sector is back one last time for you to race on. Try not to go too fast in any one set of corners. The car wants to go faster and faster while you are trying to keep the SLS AMG planted to the tarmac and away from the grass. You will be doing more ice skating here than trying to keep to the road. Only difference is, you're not being judged on style points. It will take a valiant effort to control this modern sports car on the wet and twisting roads of the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

Bronze: 3:00.000
Silver: 2:35.000
Gold: 2:24.000

Expert Class: SLS AMG '10 tuned car, Sector 3/Wet.

Up now is a trip around Sector 3. The wet roads will make the first half of the course seem rather easy since there aren't a lot of intense corners early on. The expression "frying pan into the fire" definitely applies here as you take on the second half of this sector. Keep the car stable while maintaining as precise of a driving line as possible. The rain is just going to make accomplishing this task even more difficult. You might be able to luck out if you manage to produce a solid drive through the entirety of this section.

Bronze: 2:42.000
Silver: 2:19.000
Gold: 2:09.000

Expert Class: SLS AMG '10 tuned car, Sector 4/Wet.

As you enter Sector 4, you pretty much know this one is about speed and power. Give the SLS AMG the lead foot, and it will sing at speed. Just be ready to slow her down when the times call for it. It helps to have brief applications of the throttle when coming out of corners rather than try to floor the gas. Remember that you are trying to keep a car stable coming out of corners on a wet track. High speed sections will only just make the car that much more difficult to handle high-speed corners as well as

Bronze: 3:07.000
Silver: 2:40.000
Gold: 2:29.000

Expert Class: SLS AMG '10 tuned car, Full Lap/Wet.

Have you mastered driving all four sections of this wet course with this car? If so, put all those skills together and run one complete lap around this course with traffic on the road. This is the ultimate test of both endurance and skill. Concentrate for as long as you can to deliver the most solid lap time around this track even with the other cars and the rain.

Bronze: 10:33.000
Silver: 9:05.000
Gold: 8:30.000

That's it for this one! Congratulations if you cleared all five tests!

Keep coming back to the AMG Driving Academy to practice racing the Nürburgring again and again. Gran Turismo 5 does a great job segmenting this track for you to learn it piece-by-piece. Do the Silver Arrow of Mercedes-Benz proud by bravely taking on the challenges of the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Thank you for reading!

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