It was a better season for me in @GTAcademy. In fact, my best to date, finishing 317th in my region. That and the fact that I was a full 1.7 seconds away from posting a qualifying lap time, might cause naysayers to poo poo my efforts. C’mon naysayers, don’t start poo pooing already! Let me explain.
There were 12″ of snow and I had to walk uphill both ways to get to my PS3. No? Okay, I’m not as talented as I need to be and I can’t start from a zero baseline on the wheel and catch up in just four short weeks. The last weekend I was still improving massively. I came through with a half-second-per-lap improvement on Saturday to drop my time to the 2:19.5 region. And late on Sunday I started consistently (well twice) running laps in the 2:19’s, so more improvement was definitely in the cards.
I didn’t lose. I ran out of time.
So, what did I learn that I can share? The physics is pretty good in GT6, even on a slightly cludgy Logitech G25 wheel. Going into the sharp left hander that really defines the lap (turn 3 maybe) at Silverstone, when I got it close to right, the wheel would give a violent “gludge” as the weight shifted from drifting thru a right hander to quickly drifting thru a left hander. Awkward, but probably less so than in a real car.
Repetition, as I said before, is critical to quick lap times. As a fan, it really makes you appreciate racers like Moto GP’s young star Marc Marquez who went to Laguna Seca having never seen the place and almost took pole and did win the race. That’s incredible. He really is an Alien.
What else? Well, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute on the wheel. My mental approach was much improved after going through the online competition in 2011 and 2012. I didn’t let set backs and a lack of progress upset me, as I could see my average lap times improving and know that a great lap develops from many laps of making many mistakes and learning. I also didn’t burn myself out on marathon sessions, until the very last day.
As, I mentioned in a couple tweets, I did start to feel that a lack of consequences took something away from the experience, but I don’t have a solution for that. Perhaps if you bash the car so thoroughly into a wall, you can’t log onto the game for 24 hours (while car is being repaired). Anything like that would be controversial, but would certainly add meaning to the sim nature of the event. Going off anywhere at any speed with no regard for the consequences is not sending the right message to young racers. I worry about stunts like a driver intentionally T-boning another competitor and hope that they are not becoming more common in racing as the zero consequences world of online sims smashes into real life physics.
There was some online whining about the need to drift the car. I think this was made more prevalent as it was something some of the competitors lacked IRL in the reality TV show competition last season. They had a hard time getting the back end to break away and feel comfortable controlling a tail happy oversteering car. That’s been a long time complaint about the Gran Turismo series. But, too much throttle induced oversteer begins to feel very arcady fast. So, Gran Turismo has been inching the oversteer up every generation.
Congratulations to the racers who made it through the competition and on to the next round.
For me, there’s always next year. 338 days until GT Academy 2014.