A Look Inside The Real-Life Version Of Gran Turismo's Toughest Race

The Mazda 4-hour media race is one of the most difficult challenges in the Gran Turismo series–an actual test of endurance and skill that relies on careful strategy and efficiency. This year marks the 30 year anniversary of the iconic event, and Tim Stevens of GameSpot sister site Cnet was able to take part in it for real to see how the in-game event compares to the real thing.

To start, the challenge actually takes place exclusively with Mazda MX-5 Miata models, aka the Roadster in Japan. It has been a test of skill and patience for a long time, but recently the race has added the new wrinkle of fuel efficiency. Since last year, each team receives only 60 liters (almost 16 gallons) of fuel, making drivers skillfully squeeze every last drop to last the length of the entire race.

Whereas most competitive races have drivers burn fuel as quickly as possible to push the limits of speed, the endurance race has them carefully expending it only when necessary and only reaching certain RPM levels when given explicit permission. Stevens practiced for the event at Polyphony Digital’s studio.

You’ll have to read the in-depth piece for ultimate conclusion of the race, but as a whole, it’s a deeper look into how simulation racers match the feel and skill-testing of the real thing.

Polyphony is still dedicated to Gran Turismo games, but the most recent release was Gran Turismo Sport in 2017. That game received an 8/10 from GameSpot.

“Ultimately, where you fall on GT Sport will mirror how you feel about racing games in general,” James Swinbanks wrote in GameSpot’s Gran Turismo Sport review. “If you’re looking for a highly focused console racing sim, GT Sport is excellent, but don’t come looking for a robust ‘Gran Turismo’ experience. You won’t find it. Casual fans will feel the pinch of the scaled-down offering and the intimidating push towards racing online. But for sim-racers with a competitive spirit, it’s easy to look past the smaller car and track roster and appreciate the incredibly detailed and responsive driving model, which is better than anything the series has offered before.”

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