The 10 hp Junior karts, the slowest.
Every champion in racing got there because they started to do it. These are the vehicles they usually started it in. Karts.
The Spec II Racing Kart 100s.
Karting was announced to be arriving in GT5 with one type, the Racing Kart 100. It would come with a track at the Piazza del Campo, as well as two course creator themes designed primarily for karts.
Sadly, legal disputes ruined the chances of the Piazza del Campo kart track. God damn those Italians. Why didn’t they just kindly offer the actual flags to PD for usage? Or maybe, why didn’t PD simply replace them properly? Either way, it remained a still-born track in the GT series, only playable on some demos.
The karting came about though and it turned out to be a welcome addition…or was it? Indeed, they seemed way too difficult to drive in any way…but thankfully PD went and eased them up a bit quite soon afterwards.
The water-cooled 125.
Spec II would prove to be a far bigger gallop forward for the karting game in GT5 though. Three completely new karts were to be introduced. As well as the very light-spec Jr. model, the 100 was being reconfigured and replaced at the top by the new and unique 125, which came with a different water-cooled engine and a sweet display on the wheel.
But the big news for karting was, finally, a dedicated track for them, Kart Space. This slippery indoor night-life track was super short but super fun and a whole new challenge, which was even available for the full monty cars if you dared. Usually, only 4WDs got round it.
The karting game, though, remained somewhat questioned as to its purpose. The ever ignorant crowd of fan-boys wanting for something else ‘more worthwhile’ than karting (usually an E30 M3), not realising that if something is added into the game without compromise to it, it shouldn’t really be complained about. It’s there. So why complain about them not adding something else instead of karting?
The 125 featured a new display to differentiate it from the other karts.
Besides, karting is a very important part of motor racing. Many champions will start with it, and they do it from a young age. Indeed, for youngsters, even such as myself at this point, karting is the only experience of driving themselves they can access. Sitting down low gives them a feel of real speed no matter what. All youngsters love it. It encourages them to really buy the fast stuff when they grow up to get the proper wheels for their own garage.
In GT6, the karting game was shifted again. The addition of the Gran Turismo Arena came as another perfect kart track, but there was now a new, much demanded kart to take it out on…the shifter kart.
The speed freaks of karts – the shifters.
The power of these was already way more than the other karts before it, but the 6-speed gearbox and front brakes added to the new machine added a new type and realm of speed to the game. Indeed, the shifter kart has proven a surprisingly fun addition to the game for me. The shifter race series also provided a more difficult challenge than much of the rest of the game, for sure.
It also proved to be a surprisingly good looking machine. The front bodywork is almost formula inspired, and does add a different view to the karts that would normally have been overlooked prior.
The stunning bodywork of the shifter karts really does provide some surprising inspiration.
But the shifter kart would not be all to the karting scene. Indeed, the original Racing Kart 100 returned as well as the 125 SPL., which came with special chromed paint and no light. But what did come as a surprise, given the situation, was the introduction of the Red Bull Rcing Kart 125 in light of the Red Bull X Challenge’s arrival.
The Red Bull kart put the 125’s mechanics into a newly formula-inspired body.
In some ways, the first event proved to be rather a nice warm-up to the eventual events that will, as of this write-up, be coming soon. But sadly, not on January 1st. It’s gone an awfully long time since then, I’m afraid.
Karting does deserve a place in the Gran Turismo series, and I’m certainly fine with its presence. The mindset required for them is a completely different one to that of the myriads of other cars in Gran Turismo, and their speed and cornering ability defies their low power.
The original 100 karts.
Indeed, even the Jr. karts, while fundamentally quite slow, still provide one with a collected drive, but crucially one that can easily lead a driver into the different driving style of a kart. It can be quite useful in that sense.
The middle-ground 100 also proves a perfectly fine drive, with enough speed to be called fun for sure. But with the 125 karts, the tempo really picks up.
No matter what form – chromed SPL, coloured 125 or liveried Red Bull, the 125 really does provide a challenge to drive, but a fun one and plenty of speed to go with. Its clear differentiation can also provide interest over the two slower karts.
The chromed 125 SPL. karts.
For me though, it’s the shifter that’s the big winner. Way more unique than the other karts obviously, and in a different league of speed, they prove to be the most fun for me, as well as the best looking and a drive that really does manage to appeal to me.
But really, all of the karts do have their rightful purpose in the game, and I can’t really go too far against any of them. And of course, crucially, they are all as cheap as chips.
So for the love of god, why would you want karting out? It’s a concept that works perfectly fine in the GT series. Wish for your other cars of course, but for the love of god do not slag off other features because they are there instead. That’s poor form.