Gran Turismo 6: More Hands-On Driving Impressions

Gran Turismo 6 185 June 2, 2013 by

Two GTPlanet members, Synwraith (Maz) and GTP_Ingram (Alex), were involved in the setup and organization of the recent “15 Years of Gran Turismo” event at Silverstone, where Gran Turismo 6 was revealed.

Both Maz and Alex are former GT Academy finalists, and had extensive access to the Gran Turismo 6 demo which was on display at the event. The following are their impressions and comments on the game’s new driving physics. For more comments and photos, visit our GT6 forum.

I actually spent more than an hour on the GT6 demo, both the previous build and the last minute update build that Kaz and his team brought to the show that we installed literally less than an hour before people got on the pods.

I’ve spent a lot of time on GT5 Prologue and GT5 on the wheel, so I felt the change in physics straight away. I drove without driving aids except ABS set to 1, SRF was turned off, and found the cars were much more sensitive and jittery, especially the race cars. Kazunori’s GTR from Nurburgring 24hr was especially difficult. So you had to be much more gentle on throttle and careful with steering input but the smoother you were, the more reward there was.

Cars like the Dino and Countach were utterly sublime. The lower power meant you could really coax them around the tight International circuit and it was such a pleasure. Definite improvement in physics, Lucas Ordonez agreed with us as well that you could feel more of the car’s weight shift and behaviour and where grip was – that’s not to say it was any easier to hold onto the grip!

Alex (GTP_Ingram – former UK GT Academy Silverstone finalist), myself and even the Academy champs were spinning quite regularly in the first few laps, even at seemingly innocuous corners. I think the race tyres are more challenging than before, but the lower grip tyres are even more satisfying now.

By the end of the day I was desperate to spend more time on it because the physics were most pleasant, but for sure without driving aids the game is now even more of a challenge than before.

Regarding dampers, I actually don’t think I have any useful feedback. All I know is the rumbles on Silverstone were brutal if you hit them with any sort of decent steering angle going on with the settings I was running with. Only the GT3 SLS AMG was able to negotiate them with any sort of composure. That car was fabulous by the way, could push and push and push.

The KTM test driver was quite impressed with the X-bow’s physics in the game, so that’s quite an endorsement. Although he did feel it felt slower and less grippy in the game than he felt it should be, but we explained that he was comparing it to the Nurb GTR which was on race tyres and more powerful. The poor guy spent nearly 20 laps trying to get close to Alex’s “ghost”!

To be honest, because I never got to try it with headphones, a lot of the background noise often masked the clarity of the sound from the demo. I am guessing the build probably is quite early – certainly the build of demo that was on before the last revision ended up being very buggy. We couldn’t exit the race screen without it crashing, even restarting in the pause menu meant we had to reset. The frame rate for the demo was noticeably low too, something everyone familiar with GT5 commented on immediately.

I must say, thanks to the amount of time we spent on the Silverstone International circuit, I’ve grown to absolutely love that layout. The high speed first section is exhilarating and it was a surprise how early you had to brake and turn in to get optimum entry and exit…and goodness help you if you missed your turn in and had to take a second bite at the cherry! It was extremely satisfying to nail the late apexes of some of those tight and twisty mid-section corners. Getting on the power too early did result in some quite merciless snap-oversteer in just about all the cars I spent a significant amount of time in (Countach, Dino, SLS GT3, Nurb GTR, Ford GT, 370Z Academy edition non-tuned).

To give an idea of lap time, the SLS GT3 was capable doing 1’02 at the Silverstone International layout on Racing Hard without aids, the 370Z Academy edition on sports soft was clocking 1’12 – this in the hands of experienced GT wheel drivers.

In the last section of the track, after the chicane, the double right-hander seemed to work well if you got the cars into a very slight drift and just worked the power with a low steering angle. To begin with as I was getting used to the new and sensitive phyisics on the powerful cars I found it easier to almost make multiple small inputs as the smooth fluid approach seemed to be sending me into spins – but with time the latter approach proved faster as you would expect. Both Alex and myself were left wondering whether our first laps were the result of rustiness on our part or a definite shift towards higher sensitivity physics. I think we concluded it was a healthy mix of both.

Something else to add, Alex commented when watching the Academy champions how they were throwing the cars into the corners with super-late braking tactics, and when he was driving against their ghosts he was noticing that while he was quicker on exits in a number of spots, the Academy/real drivers were amazing on the brakes. After he saw how much more beans he could give the car on brakes, he found a lot of lap time.

Regarding any comparison with sim-racing PC physics, my only point of reference would by GTR Evo, and I wouldn’t say the physics of what I drove in GT6 Demo – for the time I drove it – were more similar to that than GT5, but that’s not any sort of detailed comparison so best to wait on that one. There was definitely the whole ‘Gran Turismo feel’ evident in the demo physics. I do recall that in the high speed left hander of turn 2 at Silverstone I could really sense the roll in the cars at that speed and under high aero load. That was really brilliant, I felt, especially in the SLS AMG GT3.

Regarding force-feedback (FFB), I’d find this a little hard to answer because I’m personally quite sensitive to hardware changes, so running at these events on the Thrustmaster wheels is immediately different for me compared to the Logitech G27 I use at home. I drive almost exclusively with FFB set to 1 on my home setup, so I may not be the best judge of this parameter. Also, I almost always find it harder to catch slides and spins on the Thrustmaster wheels than the Logitech ones. Having said that, I think my initial difficulty in finding the limit was a lot more down to unfamiliarity with the International layout at Silverstone because both Alex and I were able to push boundaries in cars and corners quite well after the initial time spent on the demo.

I found the racing hard tyres a bit more challenging than before, and the lower grip comforts and sports I really enjoyed. The Dino and Countach were so obviously different with the Countach’s understeer on entry quite different to the Dino’s more slidy and delightful manageable oversteer. I could feel more grip sensations – that’s not to say there was MORE grip – I could just sense more, but making some kind of sense of that and manipulating it would probably take me some getting used to.

The following are comments from Alex (GTP_Ingram):

Like Maz (Synwraith), I was lucky enough to be one of the first to play the GT6 demo, and my first impressions are very positive.

The handling seems to have been improved greatly over 5 (not that I ever had any serious criticisms of GT5 in this area). There seems to be a far greater feeling of weight transfer as you brake, turn in, and apply the throttle. The cars feel more responsive as a result, I drove the N24 GTR for some time (Lucas set a benchmark time, so I couldn’t just leave it unchallenged…) and compared to how it feels in 5, the difference is very pronounced. This, combined with the heavier feedback of the Thrustmaster wheels that the rigs utilised, caused a spin or two at first!

After getting settled I can say that any time I lost the rear of the car at low speed was down to me being greedy with the throttle or careless with steering. Nothing was jumping out at me saying “wow that didn’t take much to spin” while in the SLS, Dino, 370z or Countach. On the flip side, I didn’t feel that during the chicane at the end of the lap, or turn 3 hairpin, that it was handling vastly differently to how I remember GT5, and the exit of turn 3 hairpin was the spot that I had the most incidents. The occasions where I felt the cars slowly letting go and I had some time to catch them were all at the last corner, but that was 3rd/4th gear typically. In turn 4, the very small left hander between the tight right handers, going over the kerb with too much throttle and steering angle did cause some drama.

Of course, I’m happy that Silverstone is now included in the game, but what excited me more were the fleeting details disclosed about the course maker. During his presentation, Kaz showed the aerial view of a village in Andalucia, explaining how a circuit could be created from the roads both within the village and the surrounding countryside. This will be such a welcome break from the rather anodyne circuits that could be created on 5, where scenery extended as far as an occasional tree, and no further.

Overall, I have a lot of positives to bring from my time playing the demo, and I think we should be all excited for the game’s full release!

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