Gran Turismo’s “Benefits and Limitations”

Gran Turismo 4What’s the difference between real-world performance driving and Gran Turismo?  How does the virtual experience measure up to the real thing?  These questions have long-haunted forum discussions, and finding the answer usually requires a fair bit of debate.  Of course, you can only accurately compare the two with a healthy dose of maturity and extensive experience with both – making relative comments sometimes difficult to find on the Internet.

That’s why this unique “review” of Gran Turismo 4 is particularly refreshing.  Although the author’s experience behind the wheel is not covered, he approaches GT4 as a driving enthusiast, and is able to succinctly articulate how the game differs from the real world.  A lot of his points are just common sense, but most “gamers” and their “reviews” of racing games never take them into consideration when forming their opinions.  All of us need to keep this checklist in mind when judging not only Gran Turismo, but also its closest competitors…

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Comments (10)

  1. peter_vod69

    No, what doesn’t happen is the “differential effect” of a powerful rear-drive car. On a real car with an LSD, once the rears start spinning the back end will push outwards away from the apex of the corner, thus becoming a “powered slide” or “drift” if you were born after 1988. In GT4, what happens is the rears will lose traction, but not in a progressive manner and not in a way where you can maintain sideways momentum whilst still moving forward. Once the wheelspin starts the car doesn’t slide around naturally, and in fact starts loosing momentum rapidly. So yes you can break the rear loose, but you can’t use the power to keep it sliding, it just wheelspins itself into loosing momentum. GT5P is much more realistic in this regard.

    Try it at Tsukuba in a relatively powerful car, like a Supra RZ or an M3 for example, and you just can’t do it properly.

  2. CHris

    You can power slide in GT4 with enough horse power. But now with GT5 pro physics we know that the GT4 physics were adjusted to make the rear wheel drivers easier to drive. Thankfully they don’t have to do such things now that they have 2 different physics modes to accommodate us in GT5. My experience of GT4/GT5 vs real life is it HARDER to drive well in the game BECAUSE of the lack of feedback noted in the review. Threshold braking in the game will make you faster. But as noted, its much much harder in the game with no G force feedback, however it can still be done. Same thing with cornering G’s and trail braking etc. As mentioned there are also things like pavement angle details and visual view that are much better in real life making real life a bit easier in my experience.

  3. Wakkaman

    Noah, i agree with you that the visibility limitations are a huge disadvantage. But on the pc this is solved by “head tracking devices” like “trackir” or self made devices used with free software called “freetrack”. It’s really cheap and easy in use.
    I dunno why this doesn’t exist yet for the playstation, becease its a really simple technology wich the playstation can handle with ease. You basically need a fast camera like the wii joystick and a couple of leds on your head and that’s it.
    I highly agree it’s a big limitation, but it can be solved.

    (srry for my broken english).

  4. bicycleshorts


    Whilst it is possible on really powerful – or modded cars, it’s not possible on stock RWD sports cars. I’m thinking the S2000, the MR2 etc. Even with the worst tyres on it’s not possible to power-oversteer them.

  5. Noah

    Peter, I disagree. You CAN induce a power-oversteer slide, depending on the car you are driving. Admittedly, I’ve been spending most of my time recently with the Mazda and Nissan LeMans Prototypes, so my immediate knowledge is based on those 2 cars. In tight turns, if you get on the gas you WILL kick the rear out. Whether you can control what happens afterwards is a function of the car’s handling and how well you can control it.

    I’ve been playing around with this technique in El Capitan on the sharp right hand hairpin after the long sweeping left (not sure what turn # that is). In either car mentioned above, if you give it full throttle for a blip in 2nd gear the rear will kick out and then catch again. I’m not convinced its faster than taking a clean line, but it can be done. You just need to be careful not get the tail out too far or you’re cooked.

    I can also induce some pretty ridiculous power slides on dirt using any of the rally cars.

    If you’re talking about Tokyo Drift style drifts, well, I don’t usually drive like that and admittedly haven’t tried it in GT4. But given what I’ve seen of the game so far I don’t see why that couldn’t be done with practice. What exactly do you mean when you say “it just doesn’t work?”

  6. peter_vod69

    You missed one crucial element in your review. There is a major flaw in the physics of GT4, you cannot powerslide a car. You can oversteer, sure, lift off or deliberatly provoke a slide, but you can’t, for example, turn a powerful rear-drive car into a lower speed corner and use the power of the car to step the tail out and slide around the bend, it just doesn’t work. In almost all other regards it feels right, but this is a major oversight on the developers behalf (and was fixed in GT5P).

  7. Noah

    Hey, I’m the author of the article you cite on

    To answer your question about my experience, I’m a racing instructor with the Sports Car Driving Association ( I also ice race in the winter with AMEC (, though I didn’t get out much this past season. I’m probably not as fast as Schumacher, but I like to think I know more or less what I’m doing behind the wheel of a car…

    If you’ve got any specific questions on driving or how GT4 compares to actual track driving, feel free to post a comment on the article I wrote at Or, if you have a question you’d like to ask offline, you can shoot me an email at


  8. miguel angel quiroz

    considero que esta respuesta es exacta ala situacion del videojuego,sin embargo hay que reconocer el trabajo de kazunori yamahuchi por la elaboracion de este mismo por la mejora de graficos y de dificultad.otros juegos se dicen mejores y la realidad son inferiores a la calidad de gt4

    Translated: I believe that this response is accurate location of the video game wing, however we must acknowledge the work of Kazunori yamahuchi for producing the same by improving graphics and gaming dificultad.otros say and the reality is better than the quality of GT4.

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