#10: Top Gear Test Track
Now I might be a bit bias an am slightly cheating in this list as I am a MASSIVE fan of the show. But despite that in all honesty it is a good track in it's own right.
Now this track is 1.75 miles long so is a decent length, all be it a bit too short, to race around. While this track may be boring for some it is great for a Top Gear fan like me. You have some tight corners like Chicago and Hammerhead as well as the fast run up through the tyres in the follow through. And bearing in mind that this tack is designed by Lotus on a old airfield in the England (being an English person myself) makes it fantastic.
It is great fun to watch the show and then try to beat the Stig's time while dressed in the Stig's racing overalls in the same car. Or if you do't fancy that then you can go and free roam and do a top speed run. Or if you do do a race on it because it is a figure of 8 you might end up having a massive crash which makes it fun. And is probably why it never held many offline races.
The only downside is that this track was only used for some license tests and a special event only in Gran Turismo 5. I would love to see this track return and be used better. Although I know that is unlikely due to Forza having the stronger partnership with the show. And at least when they had the track they used the correct camera angles.
But this is still a good track and is worthy of 10th on this list.
This is an iconic, 3.1 mile, track to the series and has been the staple track for Gran Turismo for a long time.
It is similar in layout to Fuji Speedway as they both have a long straight, tight hairpin first corner and the top down view is similar. However what this has that Fuji doesn't is walls close to the track a S section and 2 tunnels and a bridge high over a lake to add scenery to make an otherwise bland looking track look a lot better and they even did it on the PS1 games which is just spectacular.
Grand Valley is also one of the few tracks that is on all of the games and has the most common endurance race in the franchise. The Grand Valley 300 km/ The race is a staple to the franchise but isn't the best race ever but is still fun to play due to the scenery and the fact it is easy to make a mistake on the track. And if the track is too long or difficult for you then you can use the east version which is a lot shorter but still as fun.
This all makes this track a great all rounder and I am glad to still see this iconic track still used even with HD Gran Turismo 6 graphics. That is why it gets 9th on this list
This is one of the new tracks that is featured in Gran Turismo 6 and is one of my favourites. It may only be just over a mile long but it is good and dramatic to race around. If you don't know about the goodward festival of speed then you should look it up as this is the main event.
The first time you race on it you would have just received a letter from Lord March allowing you to drive around, just like in real life, (as after all it is his grounds). While this may only be a minor detail it does add a lot more personality to the event and track.
This track is great to race around despite it's short length. It is fast paced, narrow and is great fun to master as it is short and easy to learn but still fast paced and difficult to race around for a long time
Now this is where some of you might not like this track; you don't race other cars on it, it is a time trail event and not a 'racing' area. But that doesn't take away from it. The track is barely wider than a car and sometimes you are scraping up against a wall just to get the racing line. But if you go off then you are out. Making this track very annoying to some. It is also daft to do this in a faster car (even though the last goodward event is with a Red Bull x2010 prototype car i.e. one of the fastest in the game.) due to the chlostraphoic nature of the track.
But if you can string together a good lap in a car like a Ferrari Dino then there is no better racing experience out there.
#7: Brands Hatch GP
Ah yes Brands Hatch. One of the jewels on the crown of British motorsport. Sure there is also Silverstone but that is a bit too easy and is mainly straight lines (well I suppose it is an ex airfield). But brands hatch is better. Now I am talking about the whole 'GP' track and not just the shorter version.
This track is 2.4 miles long and starts with a corner which you will likely have to brake for after the main straight on a steep descent. So instantly it presents a challenge to you. After that it has more ascents and descents, some straights as well as some medium speed sweepers and even tighter low speed corners. It isn't something you can really fully describe but the way the track flows and how it feels to drive around is fantastic.
It also has a great real life history from various sports including Formula 1 which adds to the track. Also Gran Turismo 6 has a start game tutorial in which has you drive around, you guessed it, Brands Hatch. Showing just how loved this track is not only from a British persons perspective (me) but even by the Japanese developers.
#6: Rome Night
This track is a perfect example of how good Gran Turismo 2 is and is exclusive to it. This is also a different track to the normal Rome Circuit.
This track is 2.6 miles long so is a very good length to race around. It is set at Rome at Night. It is a very tricky track and has some tight hairpins as well as having some fast but very tricky sweepers. There is rarely a chance to rest on this track as there is never a large straight line.
But despite this it isn't an extremely difficult track as they have encoreperated forgiving run off areas to give you a bit of lee way.
However the typical proper darkness of the older PS1 Gran Turismos limits the visibility quite badly. But the city is still georgeous to look at.
However it is a shame that this is in no race or championship and is only in Gran Turismo 2. It is only in 1 license test and in the random track generator and that's it. Such a shame there weren't more opportunities especially in some of the actual series to race around it. But still this track is still good enough and is exclusive to my favourite game in the franchise to get it 6th in my list.
This track is quite famous both in game and outside of the game. Yes this is a real track and is based in California. It is also famous in the franchise as it was the first real world track in the franchise in Gran Turismo 2.
This track is 2.2 miles long so is a decent length. Not too short or too long. It also does challenge you. At some points there are little run of areas and the walls close to the edge of the track and so it feels almost like a street circuit. Another thing that makes it difficult is the elevation changes. The difference from the bottom (turn 2) to the top (turn 8) is 300 feet. You might be wondering why it makes the track difficult but for your initial braking point down to turn 2 is lets say 200 metres away then you get used to that. But when you get to brake for Turn 8 and you brake again 200 metres away you will end up stopping before you get to the apex. Or you will go straight off track if it is the other way around. Finally the last thing that makes it tricky is the corkscrew. The corkscrew is a legendary corner and is even listed as corner 8 and 8A on the track map. It is widely regarded as the hardest corner in the world and to the unexperinced will probably fly straight off into the previously unseeable wall. It doesn't look too bad but you try it for the first time and you will probably fly off.
This track is also home to the Laguna Seca 200 miles endurance race which I enjoyed as it wasn't too long and it was one of the last decent endurance races before the wave of ridiculously long Gran Turismo 4 endurance races.
Overall it is a solid and well done track and definitely deserved of the 5th space.
This is a track that was once again introduced in Gran Turismo 2 but sadly isn't real. It is 2.4 miles long so once again is a decent length. Where this track shines is in the track layout. The sheer variety in the track is fantastic especially as it was only done by some enthusiastic game developers and not by a architect and track designers who spent millions of pounds on it.
It has 2 long straights, an S section, 2 long sweepers as the first and last corners and an extremely tight chicane at the end. This track presents difficulty as you have to have a good line and braking points as a bad one could cost you several seconds or even send you flying off the track. But it isn't a harsh track like the Nürburgring or Côte d'Azur it is just a track you need to get used to and get a good line together.
It also has an interesting background. In Gran Turismo 2 it is a lot of trees with a city in the distance. However weirdly in every other game it has less trees and a mountainous background.
It is also home to the apricot hill 200 km race in Gran Turismo 2 which is one of my favourites. All of this making Apricot Hill worthy of the 4th spot.
#3: Pod Race Track
Now this is an unusual track to pick and most of you probably don't even know what it is.
This track is exclusive to Gran Turismo Concept 2002 Tokyo - Geneva. This track is very weird. It is only in one game, in one unlockable race, with only one car allowed to go on it, in no set location,with no measured distance and has no name. So why does it get 3rd on my list. Because it is very unique for more than just the reasons listed above
You have to unlock it and it is a special "prize" in the game. It is home to the Toyota Pod Race which is very unique. It is in the very cute and very bleepy Toyota Pod. All the track is is a 90 degree hairpin turn then a short (but seemingly long in these slow cars) with another 90 degree turn and then a stop zone. This is the best bit. You have to stop dead then put your handbrake on, lower the car then raise it back up and set off. You then have to go over a small "hill" and that is a lap.
The fun comes in the stop zone if you want to catch up then you just ramp someone who hasn't quite stopped them to make them lose time. But if you stop in the start centre of the stop zone then the AI will always ram into you. Making it fun and have some challenge to it.
Plus driving around at night in the cute, slow, colour changing and cutely bleeping Toyota Pods which makes this rather unique race absolutely enjoyable.
And rather oddly this unknown track gets 3rd place on my list.
This is from the games Gran Turismo 2, 3 and 4 and it is such a simple track there isn't even a lot to say about it.
It is only 2.2 miles long so is a very good lap to race around. And while the track is only basically a figure of 8. But so are most if the greats. Like Special Stage Route 5, Côte de Azur and even the amazing Top Gear Test Track.
But this has some very long corners which can be very difficult to master. As well as some straights to blast along. It has high and low speeds as well as challenge without brutality. It is amazing how such a short and simple track can be one of the best.
This is specifically the first version on Gran Turismo 1. The Gran Turismo 3 version is ok but it doesn't have the same atmosphere to it which I will explain later. Now ironically my favourite track in Gran Turismo used to be one I hated as a kid. This track is 3.1 miles long so it is a bit too long to get around even in some of the faster cars. However it more than makes up for it in terms of track design.
Firstly it is at night time. In Gran Turismo 3 it is quite dark but it is a lot darker in Gran Turismo and can make this track a bit trickier. It has a massive start - finish straight which can make for an epic race to the finish. But the key features which are only in the first version of Route 11 are what sets it apart from others. The first is that the back straight goes underneath the start finish straight. I don't know if this is just me but I think that is fantastic. But it has a very hit or miss couple of turns you have to make under there. If you turn too late, go too fast you will smash straight into the barrier and stop dead in an instant. This is made more treacherous due to the high speed you are naturally going at. But aside that the whole track is great and even has a pit entry that has a minor elevation change and some tunnels in it and on the whole is a solid track all be it with no medium speed corners.
It is also the only track to have 2 proper different endurance races (in Gran Turismo 1 that is). One with race cars permitted and is 40 laps long and going around the forward route. And one with no race cars permitted and 30 laps long but going around the reverse route. Both of which are fantastic endurance races.
It is a shame that this track hasn't returned since Gran Turismo 3 as it was a proper challenge especially in the Gran Turismo 1 IA license and was a great and different addition that stood out in the track list for all the good reasons and is definitely the best just for being challenging and difficult even in a time when the developers were inexperienced and only had the PS1 hardware to do something with.
Suzuka Circuit; all around great track and nice to see a real F1 legendary track in Gran Turismo.
Trial Mountain; decent length, good track design very nearly made the Top 10 and hosts my favourite race in the whole franchise.
Red Rock Valley; A great Gran Turismo 2 exclusive and while it may be mostly full of circles still fun to race on and has a massive straight.
Rome; different to Rome Night. It has all the good points as Rome but only with better views and nicer weather as well as it is in more races. This is the Gran Turismo 2 and 3 version and not the later changed version.
Deep Forest; It is very short and still has some slow speed sections on a very high speed track.
Tahiti Road; It is a simple track but still has some challenging corners on this simple and high speed track.
GT Arena. A great little go kart track. It's best feature is the fact it is shaped as a GT Logo which is good as it is in a game (Gran Turismo 6) which is the 15th anniversary for the franchise
Thanks for reading this and I hope all you petrol heads enjoyed it.
List by lutonrules (03/10/2014)
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