“GTune 5” App Simplifies Gran Turismo 5 Car Tuning

Product Reviews 150 August 18, 2012 by

Tuning – in the real or virtual world – can dramatically change a car’s performance and handling characteristics. It can also be very time consuming, involving hours of tweaking, testing, trial, and error.

It’s also a generally subjective art; settings preferred by one player are are often unsuitable to another’s driving style. To further complicate things, a specific tune only applies to the car it was designed for – until now.

GTPlanet user Brendan Hobbart (pgagoober) has tackled this problem head-on in his new iOS app, “GTune 5”. It includes an ambitious feature known as “inTune”, which claims to translate settings from one car to another in Gran Turismo 5 while maintaining the tune’s characteristics.

When Brendan first contacted me about beta testing his app, I was skeptical of these promises, but accepted his free copy for review.

I found the menus to be fast and highly polished, if not a bit daunting. Fortunately, Brendan has integrated a set of pop-up help screens, which guides new users through the app. He’s also created this video, which explains all of the features and functionality in detail.

I decided to start with one of the sample tunes for FR cars, based on the small, lightweight Toyota 86 GT ’12. After a few laps around Tsukuba with the stock car, I applied the app’s tune. Although it’s noted the sample tunes are not intended to be optimal, there was a definite improvement to the 86’s already balanced handling.

This tune would be my starting point; could the app’s mathematical formulas really translate these settings for a small FR car to a significantly heavier, more powerful car?

Using the “inTune” feature, I created a new tune for the Dodge Challenger SRT8 TC. This isn’t an especially fun car to drive, but I was impressed with the improvement after applying the recommended settings. Turn-in was sharper, grip was more consistent through corners, and the car exhibited a greater sense of overall balance. So far, so good.

The real test would come next, with the Corvette ZR-1; it’s fun to drive, but it can be difficult to get cleanly around the track. After applying the newly translated tune, I was stunned with the results.

Power oversteer was reduced significantly, and when it did come, it was more predictable and easy to control. The car was stable and – dare I say it – felt like a big, powerful Toyota 86. The improvements were also reflected in lap times, as I dropped 1.2 seconds my first lap out after applying the tune. To consider this had all been brought about by a few lines of code and mathematical formulas made the results even more impressive.

Although I used one of the GTune’s samples for my testing, it’s important to keep in mind this tool is designed to translate – not generate – car settings. That means it will preserve characteristics about your favorite tunes as you transfer them from car to car, making each set of recommended settings unique and personalized just for you.

As of writing, the only drawback to the inTune feature is its handling of gear ratios. For now, these still need to be adjusted between cars for optimal performance. However, automated gearbox tuning is apparently coming soon in a future update and will certainly be a welcome addition. It’s also worth noting that not all of GT5‘s cars are yet included in the app, though all of the Premium models are covered and popular Standard models will continue to be introduced in future updates.

At $4.99, this will likely not be an impulse buy, but if you want to go faster in GT5 without spending hours in the game’s tuning menus, I consider it a good value.

Brendan, the developer, is active in the community here and has outlined plans to improve and support the app over the long term. As a site sponsor, you can chat with him here in the forums to submit your feedback, questions, or suggestions.

GTune 5 is available in the App Store now for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Check out the app’s official website for more information.

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