New Online Racing Penalties Leave Gran Turismo’s Top Drivers Fuming

Controversy is mounting in the online qualifiers for the 2024 Gran Turismo World Series Manufacturers Cup — and Toyota Gazoo Racing GT Cup — as Polyphony Digital is apparently taking a new approach and coming down hard on driving standards.

Over the past couple of weeks, beginning with the first round of the Toyota event on April 28, we’ve seen reports on social media of drivers being retrospectively punished for on-track incidents.

Naturally this comes as good news to the battered and bruised playerbase, which has seen little by way of reprisals for persistently poor drivers over the last few years. However it appears that the penalties are only being applied to drivers in the upper echelons of the championships, or those with a shot at qualifying for the live events in the GT1 League races.

Several high-ranking players, including those who’ve previously attended live events and indeed World Finals before, have seen their scores for an entire round cancelled as a result of an incident. Additionally, many have shared a message from a Polyphony Digital email account informing them of the punishment under the series’ code of conduct:

Thus far we’ve seen this punishment dished out for Round 1 of the Toyota Gazoo Racing event and the GT World Series Manufacturers event. In each case, the affected player has had their points canceled for the entire round — whether or not they scored the points in the same race — and been warned that suspensions and even a game ban are on the table for repeat offenses.

For the most part, the incidents we’ve seen appear to be about as milquetoast as it gets for online racing in GT7. The collision shown above with the up-and-coming racer Francesco Bertani appears to be precipitated by defending champion Pol Urra tagging Baptiste Beauvois lightly, with Bertani caught out by the veteran French driver returning to the track and tapping him back into Urra.

Even the game doesn’t issue a contact penalty for what amounts to door-banging that everyone survived, but — 11 days after the event — Bertani has been disqualified. If it were a GT3 League race, barely anyone would come out with any points.

Genesis managed to get on the podium in the 2023 GT World Final, and one of its drivers that day has been similarly affected. Nico Romero posted the scathing Tweet above, commenting that he too had lost all of his points from Round 1 of the Manufacturers Cup following the slightest of taps (also on Beauvois!) at the Dunlop hairpin at the Nurburgring.

Malaysian racer and fellow 2023 finalist Dhanesh Wigneswaran also caught a disqualification after a more debatable incident with 2022 finalist Hayato Imazato which effectively only swapped their places. Imazato in turn also commented that he was disqualified for a separate incident.

Curiously, the disqualification has only removed each affected driver’s points from that round, with those who finished behind them not being promoted to the higher points — likely as a consequence of how points are calculated and the multiple entries for each round.

In effect then we’re seeing relatively minor incidents with minor consequences being penalised in the most severe terms possible without warning, and with little benefit to other players. Or at least we are in high-level lobbies, while more overtly poor behavior persists elsewhere — affecting the overwhelming majority of the playerbase — with seemingly no correction.

Plenty of top-ranked drivers from previous finals have weighed in on the matter, calling the situation “absurd”, “Mickey Mouse”, and “a complete joke”. Doubtless there will be further fallout from the Manufacturers Cup and Toyota races held over this past weekend (the latter a bruising event at Laguna Seca) too.

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