PD’s Formula cars
The closest PD came to actual Formula racing was the Espace F1 that I brought up as a GT2 legend. In GT3 they went one step further and put players pretty much right in Formula One cars.
The six Formula cars put into GT3 were each based around (read: looked near identical to) some of the greatest F1 cars of the 80s and 90s. The five they chose were the Williams FW11, the Lotus 99T, the McLaren MP4/4, the Williams FW16 (which formed the base for two of the cars) and the McLaren MP4/5B. As you can tell, some of the liveries got awfully close to their real-life counterparts as well.
PAL players didn’t get quite the luxury of six different cars. Instead, they only got two…but one was different to all the others. The Polyphony 001 was based off the Williams FW18. The Polyphony 002, meanwhile, was the same as the MP4/4 copy. But that was all they got.
For GT4, PD brought one single Formula car in that was rather more up-to-date. The Formula Gran Turismo was instantly the game’s fastest car, and while it has been surpassed since – by real life F1 cars, no less – it remains in the game with that rarest of things, a Standard car cockpit.
Is there another modern Formula Gran Turismo to come? Well, perhaps not. But with the premise of GT Sport it might well cross their mind.
Minolta Toyota 88C-V
Gran Turismo 4 opened the floodgates for the title of fastest car with a massive selection of Group Cs and LMPs. Those expecting one of the Le Mans winners to be the obvious fastest were in for a shock.
This, the Minolta Toyota 88C-V, was GT4’s defining car. Already at a statistical advantage thanks to its weight advantage, what really pushed it over the edge was the ease of accessing it in GT4. I have to say, I was very excited when my younger self won this after the El Capitan endurance.
But what actually made it best on the track was the fact that, inexplicably, it had 6 gears, one more than its closest rivals, the Nissan R92CP and Sauber C9. This simple change is what ultimately elevated it to being the game’s most useful car. In fact, enough set-up work could quite possibly put it ahead of a Formula GT and make it the game’s outright fastest, in every relevant aspect.
Today, the 88C-V remains a top-tier pick. Whilst it’s possible some cars might just have caught it up, it still remains one of the game’s ultimate speed freaks.
In GT4, Cadillac’s Cien concept was to road cars what the 88C-V was to road cars. That is to say, not only was it the fastest, but it was also easily accessible.
The only hard part about Umbria Rally Easy is the track. Citta di Aria is unforgiving to put it kindly but if you already had the Toyota RSC Rally Raid Car – another seriously easy car to get – then it was a cakewalk. And this was your reward.
The Cien actually debuted in GT Concept where it was also the fastest road car in the game. I used the hell out of it and it didn’t disappoint. In GT4 it remains a go-to road car…except the events where it’s not allowed. Unless the AI is entering, where suddenly it is legal.
It wasn’t invincible by any stretch, but damn was it cool to use in my young mind. It has been surpassed since; the Bugatti Veyron is in the game after all…it remains a cool blast from the past, though.
Whether you love or hate them, Red Bull’s X cars are worth talking about.
This fantasy car, quite simply, blew the wheels off anything in any sim game ever. Even if you couldn’t drive it, and, let’s be honest here, a lot of people couldn’t. I drove myself to madness trying to do the Sebastian Vettel Challenge too.
The X cars carried on after the original and remain as untouchable as they did before. At least, that’s what you’d think. But I’ll bring up its new rival in another place, at another time.
Not one of the original LM cars from GT1 remains intact quite as it was. The vast majority were cast off after GT3. Only two that would resemble something like one of the LM Editions remains now; the RX-7 LM, same name but vastly different car. And the FTO ‘STC’, different name and vastly different car.
This FTO is not nearly as powerful as the FTO LM it originated from. The FTO LM name actually survived into GT3 with the same power and vaguely similar looks, but then this is what it has now become.
Surely it isn’t anything near as special as the original. Wrong. It might even be better actually. This remains the single best car I’ve driven in any Gran Turismo game, so utterly perfect it is. It corners faster than you would ever think, and totally without fault. Nothing can shake it from its grip. Nothing. If you find anything better to drive, let me know…
GT by Citroen
Before the modern day Vision GT malarkey, Citroen beat them all to the punch with the GT by Citroen.
Originally an electric insanity of a machine when introduced into GT5, that concept remains one of the game’s fastest road cars today. But they changed it up for GT5 and made not just a more conventional supercar of a road car, but also a race car.
The concept retains an aura of real coolness about it, what with being an actually fast electric car and all. It and the road car both look very dramatic, especially in red. But not as dramatic, by any stretch, as the race car. That remains one of the best-looking cars I know. That big wing is just insane. It’s also pretty nifty too.
But importantly, compared to the modern VGTs, they actually sold one of these. Some VGTs have been modelled in real life, but they aren’t getting sold. This is, by one example, a real car.
The Chaparral 2J was a late-comer to the party of greatness, having been in GT4 and generally amusing people with how much of a washing machine it looked. But it wasn’t just for show. There was genuine speed within, enough to put it close to the very top tier of the game’s race cars.
But it wasn’t until a certain point in GT5’s history that it got its big break. Thanks to the bizarre decision to give the clearly fan-boosted aerodynamics recognition on the track, but not the settings screen, and the ludicrous physics of wet weather and Sports: Soft tyres, the 2J was briefly the most sought after car in GT5. Why all this? Because one B-Spec Seasonal Event at Le Mans favoured all of these conditions. With the 2J 70PP down on the Le Mans racers it was able to now beat, the monetary rewards were immense.
If I recall, it also turned out to be utterly broken in a lot of Seasonal Time Trials. I don’t know if this is still the case, but if it is, do tell me about it.
By the way, it manages all this despite having three gears. That sums it all up, really. But to its credit the Chaparral is a lot of fun for all the right reasons.