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    First Cars Guide by Wolf Feather

    Version: Final | Updated: 02/21/03 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Jamie Stafford/Wolf Feather
    Initial Version Completed: January 26, 2003
    FINAL VERSION Completed:   February 21, 2003
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    Spacing and Length
    Initial Car Selection
    Going Racing: The First Car
    Going Racing: The Second Car
    Going Racing: Major Money, Fast Cars
    Tuning Basics
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    There are A LOT of people new to the Gran Turismo series and
    wondering just where to start in this massive game -
    especially now that Gran Turismo 3 is a Greatest Hits title
    in North America and a Platinum title in Europe.  I routinely
    read and post on the Gran Turismo 3 message board on GameFAQs
    (http://www.GameFAQs.com/), and there are A LOT of repeated
    questions by newcomers to the series.  The main questions I
    have been seeing lately are variations of 'What car should I
    use to start the game?'
    This guide presents the cars which can be used to start the
    game with the 18,000Cr granted to the player, as well as how
    to get beyond the initial car and into the higher-paying
    races in the game.  Basic information on car tuning is also
    included, for those players who are not accustomed to playing
    simulation-style racing/driving games.
    Please note that this guide is based upon the North American
    version of Gran Turismo 3.  Therefore, those in other areas
    of the world may have differing price values and car names in
    their versions of the game.
    When first starting in Gran Turismo 3, players have 18,000Cr
    with which to buy an initial car; any money remaining could
    immediately be used to buy parts, or saved for later use.
    There are many opinions from GT3 veterans as to which cars
    should be considered for a first purchase, but it all really
    comes down to player preference in drivetrain (based upon
    experiences in Arcade Mode, in previous Gran Turismo games,
    and in other driving/racing games) and - to a lesser extent -
    what is aesthetically pleasing.
    Here is a list - alphabetical by manufacturer, then by model
    - of the cars players can purchase with their initial
    18,000Cr (note that - except the Chrysler PT Cruise - ALL of
    these 'affordable' cars are from Japanese manufacturers):
    Chrysler     PT Cruiser                      FF    17,980Cr
    Daihatsu     Mira TR-X Avanzato R            FF    11,140Cr
    Daihatsu     Storia X4                       4WD   13,900Cr
    Mazda        Demio GL-X                      FF    14,660Cr
    Mazda        Miata MX-5                      FR    16,900Cr
    Mazda        Miata MX-5                      FR    17,000Cr
    Suzuki       Alto Works Suzuki Sports Ltd.   4WD   12,220Cr
    Toyota       Sprinter Trueno GT Apex         FR    13,550Cr
    Toyota       Vitz Euro Edition               FF    12,880Cr
    Toyota       Vitz RS 1.5                     FF    14,530Cr
    Volkswagon   New Beetle 2.0                  FF    15,930Cr
    For strategy purposes, players may wish to buy a relatively
    cheap car, such as the Suzuki Alto Works Suzuki Sports
    Limited (12,220Cr) or Toyota Vitz Euro Edition (12,880Cr), as
    this would leave a good amount of money to immediately buy
    parts or services to improve initial race performance.  In
    this case, a good place to begin tuning would be
    Lightweight/Stage 1 (Tune Shop -> Stability Control &
    Others), which costs about 5000Cr, depending on the car.
    Just a little reduction in weight can make a noticeable
    difference, especially when cornering.  Changing the oil
    immediately can also help by giving an initial boost in
    horsepower, generally ten percent of the car's rated
    horsepower; changing the oil costs 250Cr.
    Another strategy is to begin with the Toyota Vitz RS 1.5; the
    advantage of selecting this car is that it can be upgraded to
    eventually participate in the Vitz Races in both Beginners
    League and Professional League, thus providing extra venues
    to gain more money without requiring the purchase of
    additional cars later in the game (saving money in the long
    run).  Similarly, the Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT Apex may be a
    good starting car, as it can be upgraded to race in the 80's
    Sports Car Cup in Beginners and Amateur Leagues.  Likewise,
    the Chrysler PT Cruiser can be upgraded to race in the Stars
    and Stripes Grand Championship in Beginners and Amateur
    Another strategy - one which is likely to create extreme
    frustration for many players - is to first attain Gold Medals
    in ALL the tests for any one License.  Achieving this
    difficult feat results in a bonus car which should have an
    inherent advantage over any of the CPU cars in the initial
    races of Beginners League; should this happen, all of the
    initial 18,000Cr can then be used to buy parts and/or
    services, thus creating a significant advantage over the
    competition from the very beginning of a driver's Simulation
    Mode racing career.  Alternatively, upon winning a bonus car,
    the initial 18,000Cr can be set aside and combined with the
    initial race earnings to purchase a new car sooner.
    There is, however, one caveat to all this.  Obtaining ALL
    Gold Medals in ALL the tests for any one license will reward
    the player with a bonus car which should be able to take the
    player fairly deep into Beginners League with only minor
    parts upgrades.  The beauty of this approach is that the
    initial 18,000Cr can then be used exclusively to upgrade the
    bonus car's parts, which makes winning races MUCH easier at
    the beginning of the game.  However, whereas it was fairly
    easy to obtain Gold Medals on the license tests in Gran
    Turismo 2, it is rather difficult in Gran Turismo 3.
    Once a car has been chosen and any upgrades and/or oil
    changes performed, it is time to hit the pavement!!!  Many of
    the events in Beginners League have no license requirements,
    but ALL events in Beginners League will be available to those
    who have attained at least the A License.  Here is a list of
    the Beginners League events, along with their license
    Sunday Cup                             None
    Clubman Cup                            None
    FF Challenge                           None
    FR Challenge                           None
    MR Challenge                           None
    4WD Challenge                          None
    Lightweight K-Cup                      None
    Stars and Stripes Grand Championship   None
    Spider and Roadster                    None
    80's Sports Car Cup                    B
    Race of NA Sports                      B
    Race of Turbo Sports                   B
    Tourist Trophy                         B
    Legend of Silver Arrow                 B
    New Generation Sports Altezza Race     B
    Vitz Race                              None
    Honda Type-R Meeting                   None
    Mitsubishi Evolution Meeting           None
    New Beetle Cup                         B
    Gran Turismo World Championship        A
    Of the Beginners League races, A LOT of time is likely to be
    spent in Sunday Cup and Clubman Cup, racing the same venues
    over and over and over and over and over and over and over
    and over and over and over and over and over and over and
    over and over and over and over and over and over and over
    and over and over and over and over and over and over and
    over and over and over and over and over and over and over
    and over and over and over and over again.  This is the most
    frustrating part about starting in Gran Turismo 3, as the
    initial races do not pay very well for the winner due to the
    extremely low entry requirements.  However, winning all races
    in Sunday Cup and Clubman Cup results in one bonus car per
    series, which can then be sold to gain additional money (or
    held in the Garage for use later in the game).
    As money accumulates, there are two strategies which come
    into play.  One strategy is to keep upgrading the current car
    (especially if it is a Vitz, Trueno, or PT Cruiser, as these
    cars can enter car-specific events in the latter half of
    Beginners League) to increase the likelihood of winning, thus
    gaining more money for more upgrades, and moving on to other
    races which provide a higher payout; when the chosen car can
    go no further in upgrades and cannot be viable in new races,
    save money to buy a second car, or upgrade a car won in
    earlier series.  The second strategy is to NEVER perform
    upgrades, and buy a second car as soon as possible; this is
    really only a viable option for those who won a car by
    attaining all Gold Medals in the tests for any one License -
    otherwise, drivers can expect to spend A LOT of time reracing
    the same low-paying events.
    Eventually, the initial car cannot enter new races and be a
    viable contender to win, and cannot handle any more upgrades.
    Fortunately, by the time this occurs, a driver should have
    received multiple bonus cars for winning various series.  One
    of these cars can be selected and upgraded, then taken to new
    events; or, if a driver has enough money, a brand-new car can
    be purchased from the dealerships (again, Gran Turismo 3 does
    NOT include used cars).
    If possible, the second car should be able to handle Dirt
    Tires.  With possession of a Rally License (one of the easier
    licenses to acquire), the second car can then be taken to
    Rally Events.  If upgraded enough, the second car can sweep
    through Rally Events, thus amassing 350,000Cr and a total of
    eleven bonus rally cars - which can either be kept in the
    Garage or sold to gain more money.  For this purpose, I
    almost always use the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII GSR(J)
    as my second car; this 4WD car costs 29,980Cr from the
    dealership and is available in seven colors.  Please see my
    Gran Turismo 3: Rally Guide for more information and for car
    set-up for the Lancer Evo VII GSR(J).
    Even if the chosen second car cannot handle Dirt Tires, Rally
    Events can still be a good place to race.  The final two
    events in Rally Events are wet-based events: Super Special
    Route 5 Wet (run counterclockwise) and Super Special Route 5
    Wet II (run clockwise).  While a Rally License is still
    required to participate in these events, Dirt Tires are not
    used, so ANY car in the game can compete here - even the F1
    cars.  Winning all three races in each of these two events
    results in two bonus rally cars - which automatically come
    with Dirt Tires, so they can be upgraded to compete in any of
    the other events in Rally Events (rally cars also come with
    Medium Tires as standard equipment, so they can also compete
    in the many pavement-based events in the game).
    One of the keys to success in Gran Turismo 3 is earning a lot
    of money.  Money can be used to buy cars, certainly, but most
    of the cars a driver is likely to use in the many races can
    be won from various events; therefore, money may be best
    spent on upgrading the cars in the garage.
    As alluded to previously, Rally Events is a great place to
    gain money.  Sweeping through Rally Events results in
    350,000Cr total and eleven rally cars, including the
    insanely-fast Suzuki Escudo.  Here are the rally cars which
    can be won (listed alphabetically by manufacturer), along
    with their resale values should more money be needed later in
    the game:
    Citroen Xsara Rally Car                    87,500Cr
    Ford Escort Rally Car                      87,500Cr
    Ford Focus Rally Car                       87,000Cr
    Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI Rally Car   75,000Cr
    Peugeot 206 Rally Car                      87,500Cr
    Subaru Imprezza Rally Car                  75,000Cr
    Subaru Imprezza Rally Car Prototype        87,500Cr
    Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak Version           250,000Cr
    Toyota Celica Rally car                    75,000Cr
    Toyota Corolla Rally Car                   75,000Cf
    Another tip for fast money as well as fast cars is to tune a
    car in the garage to complete laps at Super Speedway with a
    maximum time of forty seconds.  Then, add Super-slick Tires
    (approximately 10,000Cr) and go to the Super Speedway 150
    Miles Endurance Race.  This 100-lap event requires an IA
    License, and results in 200,000Cr for winning, plus one of
    four good bonus race cars: F090/S, Chevrolet Corvette C5R,
    Renault Clio Sports Race Car, or Tickford Falcon XR8 Race Car
    (remember that the bonus car is assigned at random).  Of
    these four, the F090/S is the best, as are ALL the F1 cars in
    the game (see my Gran Turismo 3: F1 Guide for further
    information).  The reason this race is suggested is because
    it is one of the shortest Endurance Races in the game,
    requiring approximately fifty minutes to complete with a
    REALLY fast car (any F1 car, Toyota GT-One Race Car, Mazda
    787B, etc.) or only up to eighty minutes with a slower car.
    Using Super-slick Tires allows a car to stay on the racetrack
    much longer between Pit Stops to change tires, but at the
    sacrifice of pavement grip; please refer to my Gran Turismo
    3: Tires Guide for details on tire selection and tips on tire
    maintenance.  [The Seattle 100 Miles Endurance Race is also a
    fairly short race; its forty laps can be completed in
    approximately fifty minutes to complete with a REALLY fast
    car (any F1 car, Toyota GT-One Race Car, etc.) or up to
    eighty minutes with a slower car, but the Seattle venue is
    FAR more complex than Super Speedway (and beware the right-
    angle turn at the top of the steep three-tiered uphill
    Logic dictates that higher levels of parts or services
    provide better performance; this certainly holds true in Gran
    Turismo 3.  However, extreme care is required in tuning a car
    to ensure it performs admirably at each venue.  Therefore, it
    is important to remember that THERE IS NO 'GLOBAL' TUNING
    SETTING FOR ALL CARS AT ALL VENUES.  (The closest 'global'
    setting that exists is not a setting at all; except for Like
    the Wind and Formula GT - the final events in Professional
    League - the F1 cars are unbelievably quick and agile due in
    large part to their low center of gravity, and can easily
    outclass the competition at virtually any event for which F1
    cars are legal entries, thus they are virtually a 'guarantee'
    for winning.)
    Set-ups for each car can be saved for use later in the game.
    Especially for those cars which may be entered into non-tuned
    events (such as the Trial Mountain 2 Hours Endurance Race),
    saving the default set-up of the car immediately following
    purchase or receipt can be very helpful later in the game,
    thus eliminating the need to manually reset all parts and
    their settings to default status before entering a non-tuned
    At the final screen before entering an actual race, there are
    a number of yellow boxes at the bottom of the screen
    signifying menu selections; only Qualify and Settings are
    important for tuning.  Selecting Settings produces another
    menu; selecting Change Parts allows the player to add or
    remove parts to the chosen vehicle, while Settings allows for
    customization of the various parts (the more important
    settings will be discussed in a moment).  Once any adjustment
    to parts and/or settings have been completed, they can be
    tested for that same venue by returning to the pre-race menu
    and selecting Qualifying; after an out-lap, the stopwatch
    begins to function, allowing the driver to test the most
    recent modifications and compare lap times.  If the changes
    are not acceptable, they can be reworked in Settings; or, if
    the changes produce agreeable results, they can be saved in
    Save Settings.  Should a previously-saved file of settings be
    needed, they can be performed instantly by using Load
    Some important settings in tuning:
       Brake Controller: This controls the power of the brakes
          for both the front and the rear of the vehicle.  Using
          a high value (20+) for both front and rear brakes
          allows the car to drive deeper into a corner or braking
          zone before the brakes are actually needed to slow
          properly for the corner.  Conversely, a low value to
          the front and rear brakes results in a much longer
          braking zone, which allows competitors to easily pass
          for position on corner entry.
       Downforce: Not all cars can handle downforce; those that
          do generally have wings (such as the F1 cars) or have
          spoilers.  Raising downforce slows the car by using
          airflow to help push the vehicle onto the ground, a
          very important consideration for lighter cars such as
          the Toyota GT-One Race Car; cornering can be safely
          done at higher speeds, but top-end straight-line speed
          is sacrificed.  Conversely, lowering downforce allows
          for faster top-end straight-line speed, but at the
          sacrifice of cornering ability.  If managed properly,
          oversteer and understeer can be induced and corrected
          using downforce.  For Test Course, only absolute
          minimum downforce should be used, especially in the
          Like the Wind event.
       Gearbox: Only by purchasing a Full Racing Transmission
          (included as standard equipment on race cars) can
          gear customization be performed.  The easiest way to
          customize the gear selection is to use the auto-setting
          slider at the bottom of the gearbox screen.  Moving the
          slider toward Wide results in faster top-end speed, but
          at the sacrifice of acceleration; moving the slider
          toward Sport results in great acceleration, but a lower
          top-end speed.  However, DO NOT position the slider at
          full-Wide, as the engine may not be able to rev enough
          to climb into the higher gear(s) and stay there; this
          condition, however, can be remedied to some extent by
          lowering downforce as much as possible.  A general rule
          for gear customization is for the rev limiter to take
          effect (the car's speed suddenly drops from maximum by
          5-10MPH/KPH) just at the very end of the longest
          straightaway of a given circuit.
       Ride Height: While downforce controls airflow over a car,
          ride height handles airflow underneath a car by varying
          the distance between the racing surface and the car's
          undertray.  Raising ride height allows for more air to
          pass beneath the car, thus slowing the car due to
          aerodynamic friction, and assisting with cornering.
          Lowering ride height reduces the amount of air passing
          underneath the car, thereby reducing aerodynamic
          friction and assisting in attaining faster speeds.
       Stabilizers: As the name suggests, stabilizers are meant
          to keep the vehicle from spinning or flipping.  By
          raising the value of the stabilizers, spins and flips
          are more difficult to perform, but cornering becomes
          more difficult; reducing the value of the stabilizers
          makes cornering much easier, but also increases the
          likelihood of spinning or flipping the vehicle.  (Note
          that it is theoretically impossible to flip a car in
          Gran Turismo 3.)  Stabilizers are available for most
          cars at both the front and the rear; playing with the
          stabilizers can induce or correct oversteer and
    Tires are officially a part.  Race cars come with Medium
    Tires as standard equipment; rally cars come with both Dirt
    Tires and Medium Tires as standard equipment; all other cars
    use Normal Tires as standard equipment.  In the beginning of
    the game, upgrading from Normal Tires to Sports Tires
    provides better grip, but Sports Tires are still far inferior
    to the racing compounds.  The racing compounds vary in
    durability and the amount of grip they provide, with Super-
    slick Tires providing maximum durability and minimum grip,
    and Super-soft Tires providing maximum grip and minimum
    durability; Medium Tires are the middle-ground option
    concerning durability and grip.  In races of five or more
    laps, tire selection is key to Pit Stop Strategy, as the
    tires are the only serviceable parts in a race.  Please see
    my Gran Turismo 3: Tires Guide for more details on tires,
    including tips for reducing tire wear.
    For questions, rants, raves, comments of appreciation, etc.,
    please contact me at: FEATHER7@IX.NETCOM.COM; also, if you
    have enjoyed this guide and feel that it has been helpful to
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