Gran Turismo is undoubtedly the most popular racing franchise to ever hit console. With heated discussions in the online community: is it a Sim or an Arcade game? We will leave this up to you to decide.
Due to its immense popularity and user base, online competition is incredibly strong. Top 10 time-trial laps can seem an absolute age away and can often leave you feeling defeated and apprehensive.
In this article, we aim to give you Driver61’s top 5 tips for getting faster in GT Sport. Covering obvious and obscure technical pointers to get you going in the right direction. These tips are aimed at both novice and experienced racers.
1. Turning Traction Control Off
In Gran Turismo Sport, there are 5 different grades of available Traction Control. With 5 being the most aggressive and 1 being the least. You also have the option to turn TC off completely (setting 0).
Traction Control is an electronic system that can read when the car is losing traction under acceleration. The TC system will then electronically limit the amount of power that is being sent to the driving wheels to stop them from spinning. Traction Control was introduced to almost all new road vehicles as a safety feature, due to its ability to limit traction loss under acceleration. Cars are now easier to drive in slippy conditions and offer greater control when accelerating.
Therefore, if traction control makes driving easier, it must be faster, right? Unfortunately not, although the driving experience is easier to control with TC turned ON, it is beneficial to vehicle performance to have TC turned off (especially in the dry).
With Traction Control OFF, you control exactly how much power is being applied, exactly when you need it. No electronic system limiting the power for you. By giving more control to the driver, you can balance the throttle on corner exit accurately and make the most of the cars true acceleration.
Too much throttle in a rear-wheel-drive car will most likely spin the rear tyres and cause oversteer. Too little, and the car will likely be sluggish out of the corner. In a front-wheel-drive car, too much throttle will cause the car to understeer wide and too little throttle will again be slow on corner exit.
Driving with TC turned off will take time to get used to. High power cars combined with low-speed corners will be the most difficult to master. Our advice is to be smooth and progressive with the throttle. No sudden jabs or lifting. Control the car’s behaviour by limiting how much throttle you apply on corner exit. This will take some time to get right, so be patient and practice practice practice.
Similarly to Traction Control, one of GT Sports available driving assists is ABS. ABS stands for; Anti-lock Braking System.
Within the settings menu, ABS can be tuned between three settings; OFF, Weak, Default.
So how does ABS work? ABS is an electronic system within the car that senses when a wheel has locked under heavy braking. This sensor will then relay a message to the cars ABS and will automatically release and reapply the brakes rapidly. This on/off pressing of the brake will modulate the wheels locking and allow the driver to regain control from skidding.
Take a look at the diagram below illustrating the effects of braking with and without ABS. Originally the system was introduced, like traction control, to improve driving safety. When the tyres lock under braking, you lose all directional control of that locking wheel, however, when the tyres are allowed to rotate, you regain control. ABS can therefore switch between locking and turning far quicker than the human foot is capable of.
In motorsport, ABS is not commonly used as it takes away from the driver skill and experience. This being said, however, ABS can be found in modern GT race cars, as well as other saloon racing categories.
GT Sport unfortunately hasn’t been able to find the fine line between driving with ABS on or off. In other words, racing in GTS is incredibly difficult with ABS OFF (especially for controller users). Therefore your other two options are ‘Weak’ or ‘Default’.
The difference between the two settings is slight and from our testing, we have concluded that the Default setting has shown better braking performance because it allows a greater sensitivity of steering input under braking. This means that you can be more accurate on the brakes and have better control over the car when Trail Braking – this is a method of braking where the car is slowed into the entry and apex of the bend.
The ‘Weak’ ABS setting gives greater stability under braking, but you lose sensitivity on corner entry. After a lot of testing, we discovered that although the Weak setting is more stable, it was generally slower and reduces apex speeds compared to the Default setting.
For a bit more info on Trail Braking please follow this link.
3. Learn the Track Limits
Track limits are defined in motorsport as the outer useable limit of the race track. In most cases, the track limits can be seen by either a painted white line at the circuit edge or the painted kerbs.
In GT Sport the track limits can be tricky to understand. Some corners seem to have no track limits, whilst others have more severe limitations. GT Sport has become a slight meme in the online community with regards to their ‘Cut-Track’ penalty system. If a driver is determined to have cut the track, then a slow-down penalty will be given. This can come in two forms, either slowing on the track until the penalty has concluded or being forced to slow down by a stop line on the circuit. In both cases, your lap time is disqualified if you cross the start/finish with the penalty still active.
Every racing driver knows that there is time to be made by cutting the track where they can get away with it. By cutting corners, you allow the car to take a shorter distance from A to B. You can also carry more speed by running wide on corner exits. By doing this, you allow the car to minimise turning and maximise exit speed.
Therefore, it is advantageous to learn every circuits track limits to their full extent. This way, you will know exactly how hard to push, and where you can gain those extra tenths.
The best way to practice this is to load a circuit in online mode. Set penalties to default and run a test/practice session. Use a car you’re comfortable with and run some laps, paying close attention to how much of the corner you can cut before the penalty kicks in.
Bonus tip – watching replays of top times on either youtube or within the qualifying/time trial modes, should give you a very quick understanding of where track limits can be abused – which leads us on to the next topic.
4. Watching the Replays
One of the best features in GTS is the ability to watch the Top 10 fastest replays. These clips are available in any of the online Sport modes for both the daily races and FIA events.
You can also watch back replays in the Time Trial events as well as replaying your own lap times. Many people underestimate exactly how useful this feature is. In no other forms of motorsport do lower-level drivers get the chance to watch back top-ranked competitors. This is a massive insight into what it takes to be at the top.
So, watch the replays back! There are a few things you can do within the replay settings to help you gauge exactly where time can be made.
Here are the main things to focus on:
Camera View – set the Replay camera view to the same as the racing view you use in game. This will give you much better visual references around the track.
Display Race Info – turn this on in the replay settings to ensure you can see all the driver information, such as Throttle/Brake inputs, Gear, Speed, Steering Input, etc.
Braking Points – this is the point on circuit where the brakes are applied for a specific corner. In the replay, pay very close attention to where these braking points are, making reference to focal points on the circuit that you can use as a visual reference for when to apply the brakes.
Track limits – as mentioned above, where do the Top 10 drivers abuse the track limits? If they do it, then so should you!
Throttle input – using the throttle graphic, learn exactly how much throttle to apply and when to apply it. Notice also the speed at which it is pressed, was it a firm press, or a gradual squeeze?
Steering input – the small steering dot graphic will give you a good indication of the ‘turning-in point’ for a specific corner. This is critical to ensure you take the proper racing line.
Remember, you can pause replays at any time to make visual notes on specific points of the circuit. This can be helpful to acquire detailed mental images and references.
5. Brake Bias Adjustment
Tuning your car’s setup in GT Sport is somewhat underutilised. In most cases of online racing and all events in Sport mode, the cars must be left on default tuning. ‘Balance of Performance’ is also applied to make every car as evenly matched as possible. This is to make racing fairer and to focus more on driver skill than tuning ability.
This being said, there are always cars that favour particular circuits, so be aware of which is which. This is usually obvious by checking the Top Ranked scoreboard and noting which car was used.
Despite having default tuning enforced, drivers are still able to make a couple of minor tweaks to improve the handling of the car. One of these tweaks is Brake Bias.
Brake Bias is the relationship of braking force between the front wheels and the rear wheels. A forward brake bias means that the majority of the braking force is going to the front wheels and rearward brake bias is the opposite.
Brake Bias is one of the only setup changes you can make whilst on track and throughout a race. The option is available in your MFD menu. You then have control of whether to use front or rear brake bias with +5 being to the rear and -5 being to the front.
The main objective for brake bias is to control the braking performance and stability of the car. Brake bias directly affects braking stability.
The actual value of brake bias is dependent on the car you use, your driving style and the type of circuit. With some top level drivers even going to the extremes of adjusting BB mid-lap.
A general rule; FWD cars prefer a rearward BB whilst RWD cars are more suited to a forward BB.
Try opening a practice session and test having the brake bias moved all the way to the front and then all the way to the rear. The main thing to focus on is how the car approaches the corner apex. Is the rear end loose? Does the car not want to stop? Is the car understeering away from the apex?
Find a setting that gives you the best repeatable corner entry. Every time you hit a specific corner, you want the car to react exactly the same. Predictability and consistency is key here.
Another great tip is brake bias for tyre wear. If you are in an event that has tyre wear turned on and you notice that either the front or rear tyres are excessively degrading. Then you can adjust the BB away from the wearing tyres. This will release some of the braking force and improve tyre life.
With Gran Turismo Sport growing in popularity, the competition will grow also. Luckily GT Sport is a class leader in making racing games accessible for all levels of driver. To make it into the illustrious S S ranking requires a lot of dedication and practice.
Our tips in this article will hopefully get you pointing in the right direction. Time and practice are all it takes to make it to the top. Focus on our points above and learn as you go. Understand how each car drives and understand the handling dynamics with TC off and ABS set to default. Study the replays and adjust Brake Bias until you are smashing consistent lap times.
As always, if you enjoyed this article or feel like there is something we have missed, then let us know!