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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

GT5 Specials: NASCAR School

John B. Marine | 12:59 PM | | |
Whether you love or loathe NASCAR, Gran Turismo 5's inclusion of NASCAR includes NASCAR stock cars. While they are not the only stock car racing series, it is by far the most popular; and the premier class of NASCAR are the Cup cars. Piloting these cars takes some getting used to. In an effort to educate and challenge you, nine challenges spread across three levels of difficulty await you. You can race the NASCAR Series when you reach Level 21. Before you can get there, though, it's best you try out the individual challenges put in front of you to challenge your racing ability prior to trying to wrestle these stock cars around various tracks.

This blog post continues my look at the Special Events of Gran Turismo 5.

--- Jeff Gordon NASCAR School at a Glance ---

Gran Turismo 5 Jeff Gordon NASCAR School
^ Learn how to pilot a stock car in Gran Turismo 5 in nine different challenges.

"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.

Jeff Gordon NASCAR School: Briefing.

There are three levels of difficulty with unique challenges. All of these challenges take place either at Daytona International Speedway or Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While NASCAR also runs road races, your NASCAR experience in the Jeff Gordon NASCAR School takes place on ovals in Gran Turismo 5. Here are the fixtures for this Special:

• 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.

The Beginner class requires you to know how to pass cars on the track by mastering the art of drafting. To test this, you must complete two challenges designed to teach you about drafting in a stock car. In the Intermediate events, you are faced with a more technical set of tests utilizing the inside and outside grooves of Daytona and Indy. The Advanced events put you in racing situations with only two laps to go. Pass as many cars as you can.

Now that you've been briefed, it's time for you to shine. So let's do it!

--- Jeff Gordon NASCAR School: Beginner (Level 2) ---

Consider this as Basic Training for controlling a NASCAR stock car. Your track is Daytona International Speedway. The first thing you must learn is how to pass cars. To do that, you will need to learn how to draft. Drafting is all about engaging in slipstream battle against cars you're trailing. Cut down on wind resistance from the leading cars and use your own car's momentum and speed to make passes. Practice drafting to clear these tests.

Using Drafting to Get Ahead.

Pass the only car on the track by getting into a slipstream battle. Drafting is about getting into the slipstream of a leading car. Try to cut down the leading car's turbulence to give yourself an edge in pulling a pass. If you can successfully pass the leading car through effective use of drafting, you will win this challenge.

Drafting With Multiple Cars.

Instead of one car, you must now try and pass through a pack of cars. You will be using half of the oval configuration at Daytona International Speedway against four other cars. Smooth steering and effective drafting will allow you to pass all the cars without fail. Even Bronze should be attainable here.

• Bronze: Finish 3rd.
• Silver: Finish 2nd.
• Gold: Win the race.

That's it for the Beginner difficulty events. Get up to Level 9 and take on the next series of events.

--- Jeff Gordon NASCAR School: Intermediate (Level 9) ---

As important as learning to controlling a stock car is, it is equally important to learn how to control a stock car at speed into corners. There are three specific parts of an oval usually called "grooves." You have the far inside of the corners (the inside groove), the middle of the corner (the middle or center groove), and the outside of the corner (the outside groove). Mastery of using especially the outer and inner grooves will help you to win races. This set of challenges will prepare you for these tasks. You will be tested on your ability to control a stock car to ride the inside and outside grooves. You can't ride the center because that groove will be blocked off with cones. And just like in license tests, if you hit any cones, you will be disqualified. So make sure to learn how to pilot a stock car on the inside and outside. These challenges will prepare you to take on this vital element of stock car racing.

Inside Driving - Daytona.

Ride the inside groove of Daytona for this test. All you should be concerned with is making sure not to let the car walk up the race track while trying to keep the car in the inside and while riding the banking.

Inside Driving - Indianapolis.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is what I call the "world's fastest road course." The course somewhat rides like a road course while still being very fast. Therefore, you might agree with me that completing this inside-riding task is actually easier here than at Daytona. Treat the inside like a road course. Without any significant banking in the corners, you should be better able to carve a better line to help you get through this test successfully.

Outside Driving - Daytona.

This is where things start to get tricky. Rather than ride the car around the inside, you now must learn to keep the car between the cones and the outside wall. You must learn how to ride the outside groove of Daytona in this test. This is not easy because the corner is so smooth as you try to balance high speed while not taking out the cones or scrubbing the outside wall. In addition, you have to contend with the high banked corners. This one requires some practice to eventually get it right.

Outside Driving - Indianapolis.

The final challenge requires you to ride the outside groove of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and like before, you must make sure not to take out any cones on the inside. Try to keep your car away from the cones to your left and the wall to your right. You can afford to let off the gas at Indy a bit while still not sacrificing loads of speed.

You've completed both the Beginner and Intermediate events. If you're ready for one more set of challenges, then get up to Level 21 and enter the Advanced events.

--- Jeff Gordon NASCAR School: Advanced (Level 21) ---

The Advanced races require you to pass as many cars as possible with so little time left. These are not tests- you are piloting these cars in racing conditions. All you have learned in the past is now put to the test in an intense series of challenges. The opportunity to become a hero/heroine is at stake here. Can you pass all the cars in just two laps to get Gold, or are you going to settle for any position lower than 1st? Nothing beats first place, so go for the win if you can!

Raceday: Exiting Pit-Lane.

From pit lane at Daytona, you have to pass as many cars as possible after giving up the lead during your pit stop. You have only two laps to pass as many cars as you can.

• Bronze: Finish 5th.
• Silver: Finish 2nd.
• Gold: Win the race.

Raceday: Indy, Last Two Laps.

Who DOESN'T want to win at Indy? This is your Brickyard 400 (or pretend it is) moment right here- a green-white-checker is about to happen, and it is up to you to be a hero/heroine in just two laps. You must go from 11th place (bringing up the rear) to finish at least 6th to clear this challenge.

• Bronze: Finish 6th.
• Silver: Finish 2nd.
• Gold: Win the race.

Raceday: Daytona, Last Two Laps.

Are you ready to be a hero/heroine at the Daytona 500 (or let's just pretend it is the Daytona 500)? You are faced with the same green-white-checker scenario like from the previous challenge. You must go from 11th place to finish in a qualifying position to clear this challenge. This one has caused me more frustration than any of the other challenges. I basically adjusted the Controller Steering Sensitivity to make the most of my car's handling.

• Bronze: Finish 5th.
• Silver: Finish 2nd.
• Gold: Win the race.

Do your best in each one, and you will have cleared all of the challenges here!

I hope you were able to clear each challenge. There are more Special Events to complete, so there is no way I am done here. Thank you for reading!

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