As I read through the comments here and in our forum, there seems to be a surprising amount of confusion regarding the details and some of the specific points regarding the Gran Turismo 5 demo announced yesterday. I’ll try to condense things down into a few key bullet points to make sure that we’re all on the same page, while summarizing the details of how it’s all going to go down…
- The demo will be available to download for free by on December 17, 2009 in Europe, Australia/NZ, and North America. Availability in local PSN Stores in other regions – including Japan – is not yet confirmed. However, you can easily create a new account on your PS3 associated with any country, so it will technically be available to everyone simultaneously.
- You will only be able to download the demo between December 17, 2009 and January 25, 2010. After that date, the demo will be playable indefinitely, but it will no longer be available to download for others who missed out.
- This is a demonstration of Gran Turismo 5 and its new physics engine – it is not just a new track or car inserted within the world of GT5: Prologue.
- The demo will feature one variation of a new track in Gran Turismo 5 and two cars: a stock and tuned version of the Nissan 370Z. Winners will be determined by the fastest combined time with the two cars. In other words, your fastest laps in each car will be added together, and the fastest total time wins.
- If you’re from one of these countries, you will get to compete for a chance to race with Nissan via the GT Academy driver search program. If you’re in the United States or Canada, you win…two tickets to the Indianapolis 500.
- GT Academy competitors will try to set the fastest lap in their respective country. The top 20 fastest laps recorded in each country will be invited to a national final where, according to the official press release, another new track will be used to host the second round of the competition. The fastest driver from each national event will move on to Silverstone to experience GT Academy – an intensive 5-day program (you can watch last year’s GT Academy finals here).
- You must be over the age of 18 and you must have never held a national or international racing license of any kind to be eligible for GT Academy.
- It is not yet known if Gran Turismo 5‘s new damage engine will be shown off in this demo.
- The tires visible in the rendering of the tuned 370Z in the demo appear to be mounted backwards, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Looking at the tread pattern, the tires can be identified as Yokohama ADVAN A048s and – sure enough – according to their TireRack description, they can be mounted “inside-out” to prolong their life. Why Polyphony Digital would choose to render the tires this way, however, remains a mystery.
Now, a few things remain unconfirmed – most notably the circuit which will be used in the demo. Before the public announcement, it was revealed to me that either the Indianpolis GP Circuit or Spa Francorchamps would be featured. After putting the rest of the pieces of the puzzle together, it’s quickly becoming obvious to that Indy will be the one available to the public. First, Indy was the only track which was explicitly revealed by name in the Gran Turismo 5 E3 2009 Trailer. Second, the “Time Trial” prize for U.S. residents is a trip to the Indy 500 race. And, finally, the European PS Blog announcement carefully described the track as “a specially created section of a new Gran Turismo 5 circuit”. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, of course, hosts three configurations: the famous oval, the GP circuit, and the counter-clockwise MotoGP circuit. Spa Francorchamps, then, would provide an “unseen” challenge for all GT Academy participants and would help even the playing field when they meet in their national finals. Unfortunately, however, that suggests the rest of us will have to wait until March to try out Polyphony Digital’s version of this epic track…
For now, here’s an onboard clip of the Indianapolis GP circuit. If you don’t know it yet, now would probably be a good time to start learning!