Gran Turismo World Series' Beginner's Guide
The World Series Showdown 2023 Amsterdam will begin on August 11. In this guide, we will review the characteristics of each race, things to look out for and more. Whether you're tuning in to a GTWS event for the first time or are a seasoned viewer, this guide will cover everything you will need to know!
What races will be held?
The World Series Showdown features two tournaments: the Nations Cup and the Manufacturers Cup. The Manufacturers Cup is a contest between the world's biggest automobile manufacturers. A total of 12 manufacturer teams will be competing in the Showdown selected from the Online Series' top-ranked manufacturers and the official World Series partners Toyota, Genesis, and Mazda. Each manufacturer will be represented by a team of three drivers in races that require driver changes.
The Nations Cup is a race in which drivers represent their home countries or territories. A total of 12 countries/territories will be competing at the World Series Showdown, including France, Belgium, and the host nation, the Netherlands. Previously, the Nations Cup was an individual competition, but it will switch to a team race with three drivers, in the same manner as the Manufacturers Cup, meaning we can expect some unpredictable and exciting races.
What cars will be used?
Two types of cars will be used at the World Series Showdown. They are grouped by Gran Turismo 7 classifications.
Gr.3 Cars (Group 3 Cars)
Cars in this category consist of race cars based on regular road cars, and this is the category that will be used in the final race of the Manufacturers Cup. The cars are rear-wheel-drive (RWD) and are designed to weigh between 1200 kg and 1300 kg. With 500 to 600 horsepower produced by their engines, they are very powerful and lightweight compared to regular road cars. They are also equipped with various aero parts such as large rear wings that provide powerful downforce (the force that pushes the car onto the track surface), making them far more agile than road cars. You may find that a model you might see being driven on the road is competing as a race car! Look for one of your favorites!
The X2019 Competition is a single-seat, futuristic race car that was born from a fan car project between Red Bull Racing and Gran Turismo. Belonging to the Group X category (extreme vehicles that do not fit in any existing race category), this car will be used in the final race of the Nations Cup. This model has been modified specially for the Gran Turismo World Series to provide closer racing and enable drivers to display their true ability. A high-performance car that weighs just 650 kg with 800 horsepower, the X2019 is an absolute monster of a machine that requires talented drivers to handle it.
What kind of circuits will be used?
The tracks serving as the stage for these races will be made up of two types. There are real-world circuits such as Suzuka and Spa-Francorchamps, both of which are very familiar to motorsports fans. If you watch a lot of real-life races, then you will probably recognize some of the tracks that appear during the event.
Then there are the Gran Turismo 7 original tracks. These are completely original circuits from fictitious locations that include multiple layouts. The main difference to real-world circuits is that the width of the track has been expanded in the original tracks, allowing for more head-to-head battles in races.
Things to look out for: Race tactics
Auto racing is a sport in which you try to get past rival cars to raise your position and finish in the highest place possible. That being the case, how do drivers improve their position in a race?
Overtaking is one of the most thrilling aspects of car racing. You will most likely see overtaking moves on long straight sections (straights) where drivers can get close to the car in front to benefit from a reduction in drag and gain speed. This maneuver is known as using the slipstream or being towed. Drivers must keep a close eye on both the car in front and behind through these sections. When watching a race, you will notice the gap between cars shrinking rapidly on long straights, resulting in plenty of chances to set up a pass.
Passing on corners is also something to look out for. As they go into a corner, drivers will typically try to delay their braking as long as possible to take the inside line from their opponent before accelerating out of the other side. Yet, attempting to set up an attack or a defensive stance on a corner also carries the risk of a collision, which makes for exciting drama. Expect to see some top-level battles when the world’s best drivers push each other and the cars to the limits on these corners.
Overtaking through pit stop strategies
Overtaking rivals through pitstop strategies is a key tactic used in long races. Drivers must give careful consideration to the most optimal pitstop timing to ensure they will return to the track in front of their opponents. In a real race, this is a decision that would be made by the race team, but in Gran Turismo, it’s a judgement call that the driver must make. In other words, speed alone isn’t enough to win a race, drivers must consider a range of race factors and make decisions just like that of a team principal in real racing.
Why do cars need to take a pit stop in the first place? Well, it’s often a matter of refueling and changing tires. When a car stays out on the track, its tires will wear, making them less effective. This means that they lose their grip, resulting in a gradual drop in lap times and worse still, being overtaken by other cars. This is why drivers must plan when to pit and change tires and carefully calculate tire wear for the entire race. In Gran Turismo 7, the fuel consumption and tire wear rate can be much higher than in real life, so a good pit strategy becomes even more necessary the higher the tire wear and fuel consumption rate is set.
Tire compounds and characteristics
There are many different types of tire compounds. For race cars, three types of tires are used in dry weather (Soft, Medium, and Hard), while there are two for wet conditions (Intermediate and Heavy Wet). Soft tires have the most grip out of the dry tires (followed by Medium and then Hard), so they are the fastest, but the softer tire will also degrade quicker, which means you will need to pit earlier. Therefore, choosing the right tires at the right time is a vital aspect of the race and can be the difference between winning and losing.
That being said, the rate at which tires degrade is not the same for everyone. Tire tread wear will differ depending on the characteristics of the car or the driving style used by the driver. Drivers who drive smoothly and avoid placing unnecessary stress on their tires will experience less tire wear and as a result, their tires will last longer. It’s not uncommon for tire usage to have an impact on the outcome of a race, especially during the latter stage, so keep an eye out for which tires a driver chooses.
Soft: Fast but degrade quickly
Medium: Good balance of speed and durability
Hard: Durable but slow
Rain is a common occurrence during races. When it rains, the driver must decide when to switch to wet tires. This decision can dramatically affect the outcome of a race. The two options available are Intermediate tires, which are designed to perform in damp or light rain conditions, or Heavy Wet tires that are the most effective in heavy rain. In Gran Turismo 7, there is also a weather radar that drivers can check to see which direction the rain clouds are approaching from on the track, but it requires a tremendous amount of skill to be able to assess the rain conditions on a radar and determine when to change tires, all while driving at high speed.
Intermediate: Used in light rain
Heavy Wet: Used in heavy rain
Long races require pitstops to refuel. Yet, this can result in a huge loss in time, so generally, making a pitstop to just refuel isn’t recommended. Most drivers will instead refuel when changing tires, hoping to manage their fuel while also balancing tire wear. One tool that drivers have at their disposal to monitor fuel use is the Fuel Map. With the Fuel Map, a driver can adjust the concentration of fuel going to the engine with six different power settings. Setting this meter to Level 1 will give them the most power, but it will also use more fuel so getting that perfect balance between speed and fuel consumption is key. Some drivers will look to go fast early in the race using Level 1 or 2, while others may opt to play the long game with Level 5 or 6. Keep an eye out and see if you can spot these strategies in play during a race.
GTWS Showdown, a strictly regulated competition
While the Gran Turismo World Series Showdown races take place in a virtual space, there are clear rules and regulations in place, and competing drivers are expected to show respect to one another when competing. Race stewards are also on standby to monitor any incident during the races.
Infractions such as deliberately knocking an opponent off the track or persistently blocking another driver are considered unsportsmanlike conduct and will incur an instant penalty, while collision infractions are reviewed using replay footage and dealt with after careful consideration. Penalties are typically issued in the form of a time penalty, and there is a section on the track in each race where the cars will automatically slow down to serve their penalties.
Penalties may also be applied for other reasons including Track Limit Violation for exceeding track limits. Even in a virtual race such as the Showdown, sportsmanship plays a prominent role.