Motorsports is one of the biggest crowd-drawing activities hit by global lockdown measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing guidelines put forth by various governments in the interest of public health, racing has become limited in scope and access. Like other sporting events, the absence of crowds cheering on athletes and competitors has made the event less of the spectacle it used to be.
As organizers, sponsors and racers adapt with this new reality, one company is giving its full-on support to an alternative means of racing competition.
This July, Toyota Motor Philippines opens registration for its Gazoo Racing Supra GT Cup Asia Philippines online racing series. Billed as Asia’s biggest online tournament, the local legs of the e-sports event will determine who will represent the country in the Asia Regional Championship.
Toyota says one must be 18-years old and above, has an existing PlayStation Network online account and ID, a PlayStation Plus subscription, an active Facebook account and a valid passport. It goes without saying that those who want to join must have a PlayStation console, the Gran Turismo Sport game and a fast internet service. There will be two classes to compete in, the Promotional Class for novice racers with no professional e-sports background; and the Sporting Class for seasoned and professional e-sports racers who have competed in local and international e-sports events.
Now before you dismiss online simulation racing as child’s play, consider the Nissan GT Academy a few years ago which produced several present-day real-life racers from Gran Turismo gamers who started off competing from their living rooms. As an alternative and more cost-efficient avenue to achieve one’s automotive racing ambitions, e-sports can be the answer.
With the Supra GT Cup presenting itself as a professionally run alternate racing series, it would be foolish for PlayStation gamers, and even those on the fence as to whether they will push the spend button on getting the PS4 console now, not to take advantage.
So, if you want to get a piece of the action, here are some tips on how to get yourself ready for an intense three rounds of competitive online racing.
Prepare your rig
Having the right tools to control the car in the game is essential in producing blistering lap times. Whether you use a controller or a racing wheel and pedal setup, the important thing is your comfort and ease in driving the 335 horsepower Supra GT.
While driving feels more natural with a steering wheel, it is the hand-eye coordination that will spell the difference on the track. The controller you use should allow you to react quickly to changes on the track direction, as well as the movements of other competitors around you.
Understand the physics of cars
Over the years, Gran Turismo has evolved into a more accurate simulation of real-world driving. Like an actual car on an actual racetrack, you must know how to take corners, and drive through straights, as efficiently as possible.
“Slow in, fast out” defines how you brake and prepare your entry into a bend or turn. The concept of “out-in-out” still applies when turning in corners – if you are turning left, start from the rightmost part of the track, and vice-versa. Also knowing what to do when a car oversteers and becomes tail-happy, or understeers and plows forward even while turning, will help you explore the limits of the movement of the car.
Taking the Supra GT to the limit, without uncontrollably going past it, will give you the fastest times you need to give the other guys a run for their money.
Speed is key to getting quick laps. By monitoring how fast you enter corners while still maintaining control, you can have a basis as to whether you are doing worse, same, or better than your previous lap.
Watching where and when the game’s Artificial Intelligence competitors brake and turn can be a good starting point. Remember though that oftentimes you can brake even deeper, turn much later or accelerate a tad earlier than the AI. The key is to have the fastest speed through corners without losing control in the entry and exit phases of the turn.
Consistency is king
What real racers appreciate with Gran Turismo and other racing simulation games is the ability to make mistakes without paying the price for car damage. By continuously experimenting with different lines and braking points, you can discover a fast-enough lap time to make you competitive.
In maintaining that time, you will have a foundation to work up on as you go faster. Having lap times within the same half second of each other throughout the race is a good start. Finding those extra tenths of a second, and again being consistent about it is the real challenge.
The GR Supra GT Cup races will likely run in different racetracks. The best thing to do now until the start of the series is to race in the various tracks available to you. Knowing which direction the next corner will be, where to start braking and turning in, and basically understanding the flow of the whole track will help you gain precious insights on how to plan your race strategy and even when to make that crucial move for the win. As they say, practice makes perfect.
Like in real-world sports, enjoying the game is just as important as winning. Being competitive is a necessary trait to be able to win a race. However, it must not be at the expense of unfair and dirty tactics like pushing other cars off the track or using them as brakes when coming into the corners.
A clean race run with respect for others on the track is rewarded not just by points and wins. It is also a lasting reference to your character as a racer and as a person.
So, what are you waiting for? Register now! Take the chance to make a name for yourself and perhaps, if you are lucky enough, to even represent the country in a legitimate e-sports series. The GR Supra GT Cup will surely shake off the quarantine-induced rustiness in your driving.
Motoring and motorsports are two of Mikko’s greatest passions. Combining more than twenty years of professional automotive photography and videography experience with years of touring car racing competition, and a deep understanding of the car industry, from both the manufacturers’ and consumers’ points of view, have given him a unique and insightful perspective in the motoring beat.