Gran Turismo World Finals 2022 Preview: Monte-Carlo Masters

After two seasons spent almost entirely online, the Gran Turismo World Finals returns to live competition at its regular Monaco home this coming weekend, with the racing action starting on Thursday November 24.

It’ll be the first trip to Monaco for the live Finals event since the 2019 season which saw Mikail Hizal take the title, and only the third in-person event following what can only be described as global chaos. The event also marks the Finals debut for Gran Turismo 7, having succeeded GT Sport in March 2022.

That’s likely to lend a different complexion to the finals compared to the 2020 and 2021 events, with the bright lights of Monaco’s Salle des Etoiles and a live audience of media and sponsors — as well as rivals sitting alongside one another.

In total there’ll be four days of live-streamed races to enjoy, starting at 1600UTC each day, and viewers have two chances to pick up some in-game goodies through associated campaigns.

November 24 – Toyota Gazoo Racing GT Cup Final

The racing gets underway with the Toyota event — not part of the World Final itself, but still an official Gran Turismo series, and a great indicator of form.

In all three previous seasons, the Gazoo Racing GT Cup winner has gone on to claim one of the major World Series titles. Mikail Hizal and Takuma Miyazono won the 2019 and 2020 events and the corresponding Nations Cup, with 2021 winner Tomoaki Yamanaka winning the Manufacturer Series with Toyota.

The event will be contested by top 21 online qualifiers — which includes former champion Miyazono, defending Nations Cup champion Valerio Gallo, and defending Manufacturers Cup champion Igor Fraga — along with three regional qualifiers from an event in Asia. They’ll be no pushover either, with former finalist Nathayos Sirigaya and 2019 GT World Challenge Asia winner Andika Rama Maulana among them.

There’ll be four races, starting with two 12-driver semi-finals in the GR Supra Gr.3 at High Speed Ring with the top four qualifying for the final. The drivers from 5th-10th in each head to a Repechange at Tokyo Expressway East in the Super Formula SF19, again with the top four qualifying for the final.

Whoever wins that final race, a 30-lap run at Fuji in the GR010 Hybrid, will be crowned the 2022 champion.

November 25 – Nations Cup Regional Final

Friday will be the first chance to see the 30 qualified Nations Cup drivers in action as they race in Regional Finals.

The 12 drivers who topped the mid-season Showdown standings — and raced for World Series points through Round 2 and Round 3 — will be joined by the top 18 online qualifiers as divided by region. They’ll be split up into corresponding regional groups consisting of ten drivers apiece.

It’s another impressive field, featuring three of the four previous champions: Igor Fraga, Takuma Miyazono, and Valerio Gallo. All four of the 2022 race winners are also involved, with Lucas Bonelli, Kylian Drumont, Angel Inostroza, and Jose Serrano having each taken their first World Series victory this season.

Adding in previous World Tour winners and Manufacturer Series champions brings the number of drivers to have lifted an event trophy up to 14 — and that’s before we even get to talents like Baptiste Beauvois, Robert Heck, Jonathan Wong, and the series’ first ever female finalist Emily Jones.

Each will race in a region-specific event, with the Europe/Middle East/Africa drivers racing the Lamborghini Vision GT at Monza, the Americas finalists using the McLaren MP4/4 at Interlagos, and the Asia-Oceania racers in the Ferrari 330 P4 at Watkins Glen.

The top three will qualify for the final, and pick up six, five, and four points respectively — a huge amount considering the leading driver in the series only has seven points thus far. A last-chance Repechage, in the Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak at Willow Springs, will also offer three final places (and three, two, and one point) for the drivers finishing 4th-7th in their regional events.

That will set the stage for Sunday’s final race, with each driver knowing where they need to finish take the title.

November 26 – Manufacturers Cup Final

The first World Series champions will earn their titles on Saturday in the Manufacturers Cup, as 12 teams of three brand-affiliated drivers — one from each region — take each other on over two grueling races.

In each case the race will be a three-driver event, requiring driver changes so that each of the three drivers on each team will drive at least once during the race. There’s a further complicating factor in that teams are required to use all three tire grades with specified minimum stints.

Each of the two circuits has featured in the championship already this season. Deep Forest will host the first, 30-lap race around the reverse version of the track, which is worth 12 points to the winner. The double-points final will be a 20-lap race of the fearsome Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

Former champion Subaru and defending champion Toyota are tied on ten points at the top of the table going into the final, though Mercedes-AMG is only three points further back. With a further 36 points available, it’s still anybody’s event.

Subaru will be bringing its dream team, consisting of former champion Takuma Miyazono and the Showdown winners Kylian Drumont and Daniel Solis — the latter part of the 2020 winning squad. Toyota also brings back one-third of its 2021 champion team, with Igor Fraga joined by veteran Ryota Kokubun and Nikita Moysov in his first live finals.

Mercedes will field Baptiste Beauvois and Lucas Bonelli alongside newcomer Syunsuke Tsuboi, with Mazda represented by Andrew Brooks, Giorgio Mangano, and rookie driver Soki Nabetani. Porsche looks particularly strong, combining two of 2022’s Nations Cup race winners Angel Inostroza and Jose Serrano with the returning Takuma Sasaki.

2022 also sees McLaren qualifying for its first ever finals event, after a barren spell stretching back to the first invitationals at the Nurburgring and Hangar-7 in 2018. Hayato Imazato, Konstantin Konstantinou, and Ethan Lim will represent the British brand.

November 27 – Nations Cup Final

That all leads into the final showpiece event, with one race dividing the final 12 drivers from the Nations Cup 2022 title.

As is tradition, the drivers will all be racing off in country-liveried Red Bull X2019 Competition cars, this time at the new-to-GT7 Trial Mountain circuit — but in the reverse direction. That should provide plenty of entertainment with the new tight chicane as the first turn, especially among the drivers who’ve opted to start on the hard tires.

The 30-lap race will require the drivers to use each tire grade at least once during the race, which should generate some interesting strategies — particularly if those drivers known for their unorthodox tactics are among the final dozen.

Given that it’s a grand final race, it also retains its “double” points format, with 24 on offer for the race winner, 20 for second, 16 for third, and two fewer points for each position thereafter. With no driver able to have more than 13 points going into the race and a maximum — if unlikely — six-point advantage, it could be winner-takes-all.

Bonus Campaign & Viewer Campaign

As with the other live events this year, you’ll be able to win in-game credits by predicting who will win the events via the special in-game Bonus Campaign portal.

Select who you think will win the Nations Cup, Manufacturers Cup, and the Toyota GR GT Cup through the portal and you will win 1,000,000cr for your GT7 purse for each correct answer. This will be delivered by gift ticket a short time after the event.

There’ll also be a “Viewer Campaign” across the broadcasts — although it hasn’t been announced yet how this will function. You will need to correctly answer “questions related to the races at the World Finals”, and there’ll be in-game credits, parts tickets, and “other great prizes”. We’ll bring more information on this as we get it.

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