The Mitsubishi FTO LM. A name that will be etched into the minds of many players of GT since the original in 1997, and has appeared in every GT since (albeit in different disguises in more recent versions). So, what is the story behind this GT classic?
In the original GT, a wide variety of LM cars made up fictionally by the great minds of PD were placed into the game (alongside a variety of real life racers at the time). All kinds of different LM car were around, whether they be TVR Cerberas, Honda CR-X del sols, Mitsubishi GTOs, Nissan Silvia S14s, Mazda RX-7s and so on.
The Mitsubishi FTO was one of these cars that got the LM treatment. And when it did, god did it make a change.
First, the original FF drivetrain was taken out and put in for 4WD. Then the engine was taken to some 540hp, and weight was reduced to just 930kg. Add that together and you had probably the fastest car in the game you could actually control. Not the fastest period, but perhaps the best all-round LM in the game back then. Small wonder I still consider it my personal favourite in GT1 – which I do still play, mind you!
Unfortunately, from there, in newer GT games, the FTO LMs general rating was taken down rather badly.
In GT2, the FTO LM was exactly the same car, but because of the way that PD decided to set up the prizes in the game, it was next to impossible to actually get. All gold in the IA license is what you needed to get your own FTO LM in GT2 – and if you’ve tried, you’ll know it is hugely hard. So much so that I haven’t even bothered, and in fact, have never even tried the FTO LM in GT2 form. Two of its fellow LM comrades – the GTO (renamed 3000GT in outer-Japan form for this game) and the CR-X del sol, suffered identical fates, with their respective licenses – the IC and IB licenses – also proving to be tough challenges to gold. Shame, really, as you had to go back to GT1 to feel what they were like – and the similarity in physics with GT1 and 2 is very little to be honest.
In GT3, PD decided to bring back the FTO LM very well and truly. It was nowhere near as hard to get in this game, with just a win in the Amateur OR Professional Dream Car Championship, or even the Mistral 78 lap race (that’s three races to win it in! Compare and contrast, really) required this time. It was also a prize car alongside some of GTs new LM racers – the S2k Turbo-obsoleting (seriously!) S2000 LM, the brand new Impreza LM and another GT3 updated LM, the RX-7 LM. The FTO LM was still going strong here, and was given a new livery, slight updates to the body kit, a small upgrade to the engine, now making 560hp and capable of pumping out 900 with a full mod (such was GT3s tuning capabilities, really ) and a few new colours as well, complete with different racing numbers. The FTO LM then really should have been even better than the original in GT3. Except it wasn’t. Because to me, there’s just something missing from the original. The original was at least somewhat loose, where as the FTO LM here felt glued too much to the road. It didn’t stop it from being great, just it wasn’t as good as the original.
Unfortunately, come GT4 however, things were looking down not just for the FTO, but for the majority of the LM cast from the last game. Literally all of them took a hit in stats. The S2000 LMs HP was literally cut in half from its last appearance, the Altezza LM had also taken a big knock and the Impreza and RX-7 had been reduced to decently lower levels than the 600s they could easily pull off in GT3. The FTO suffered likewise – while it still kept the 980kg weight it was now limited down to a 450hp engine when stock. This could be rectified with modification being able to bring it back to close-on 700hp but stock is where it lies in this review. It also had undergone a name change as a result, along with its Impreza cousin (of similar spec, mind you), and was now being referred to as a ‘Super Touring Car’ by PD.
Unfortunately, the FTO really wasn’t as super as could be. GT4s physics mainly seemed to be the problem, but it didn’t really stop the FTO STC from being not great to drive without a set of RSS tyres. So, PD, having uncannily replaced a large majority of its previous original LMs out for new blood (pretty much the only one that had remained unchanged was the Camaro originally in GT3 as well), such as Ford GTs, Nissan Zs and the like, had left said previous LMs down in the dust with slower cars, and they really didn’t deserve such treatment.
Of course, this being GT5, the situation didn’t change here either. However, with the new physics engine, many of the cars were now given a new opportunity to show their moves. I took it the FTO STC would certainly be one of those cars, and since I was feeling about a ton of nostalgia from GT1s late, great original FTO LM, I thought I’d go out and find the most recent of PDs still longest standing LM of them all.
However, the FTO STC is still a Standard Car, and therefore, requires UCD searching if you are looking for it in particular. However, the FTO STC…really is not an easy one to find.
Many of the race cars that are Standard in this game do often tend to be reasonably rare among others. The FTO STC is certainly a particular definer of how painful this course of action can be.
Case in point, it took me 10 hours of nothing but cycling through license tests, advancing UCD after UCD to try and find it, and when I finally did find one in dark blue, I instantly snapped it up without a moment of hesitation for the price of about…964,000-ish credits. And no, for the last time, for anyone looking for it on the marketplace, it is NOT tradeable. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have spent 10 hours of game time trying to find one, right?
So, anyway, after the quick restorations and all, I went in the FTO STC and hit the Grand Valley Speedway – the spiritual home of the original GT, and as a result, a great place to make a tribute for a car like this that is perhaps the spiritual car of the original GT.
And after driving said car around said track, I can only simply say one thing: the FTO LM is back.
I am not gonna joke here – everything about this FTO Super Touring Car is nearly absolute perfection. Whether it be the acceleration, the speed, the handling, the sound…I am very much struggling to find a flaw with this thing.
Of course, since it is still 4WD, has a turbo, has a 6-speed and all that, the FTO is not short on acceleration in the slightest. It is still a good, fast car off the line that would certainly be a rather excellent car for the average drag, I’m sure. Now, if anyone from the drag racing forum is reading this, don’t hate on me for saying that…just an idea.
When you get higher up the numbers the FTO still has speed to compete. 450bhp may not be very much in comparison to other cars of similar PP but it’ll still hold its own relatively well.
And the handling…my god, the handling.
This car almost immediately established itself into my mind as probably the best car at cornering in the game in stock form, the moment I turned the wheel into the last corner on Grand Valley Speedway to set up for the straight. The 4WD is a great contribution obviously, as is the low weight, but even so there isn’t much out handling this thing in GT5. Unlike the FTO LM from GT1, which does let you slide about and feel very free, this is truly and surely glued to the road, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to drive. The cornering is so rapid that you can drive about at such speed that you won’t even be able to remotely care about the rest of the world around you – it is that good. Handling makes a lot of cars performance overall, and this does not disappoint at all.
The sound is also a big hit. The sound bite used in this car is identical to that of the HKS CT230R of similar amazing levels, and we know how good the sound on that thing is. Essentially, through all of that, what you can definitely consider the FTO STC to be in this game is a CT230R with an FTO shell, a few parts taken off the engine, some new parts added to it and little else different. Of course, the FTO was probably better pre Spec II, but now the CT230R has had its handling problems fixed when stock there’s not much to separate the two when stock now. Though I haven’t tried a CT230R on RH yet, when stock, after the Spec II update.
So then…what to say of this all new FTO STC? Well, it’s genuinely a masterpiece. It brings spirits of the original FTO LM back, while proving a new experience as well and also proving to be a truly amazing one as well. If Mitsubishi could make something like this in real life, I would be all over it like a bear would be if it had honey planted all over the back of it. I will honestly say, with my own words, that the FTO STC is quite possibly the best car in the whole of GT5, and I don’t see it being beaten any time soon. And as for the whole FTO LM/STC saga? The best car to have made it through all 5 GTs so far. And if GT can keep this going on to 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, I wouldn’t leave it behind for a second. Get this. Now.