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Saturday, 21 January 2012

Special Stage Route X - A Guide Through Polyphony's Ehra-Lessien

It's not every track where turns 1 and 2 are over 10KM apart
This month, Gran Turismo 5 received another update to Spec 2.03. This included some new cars, none of which is an R35 GT-R (finally) and one of which will be appearing here in the next couple of days, and a new circuit, Special Stage Route X. While all the other SS routes in the GT universe are on fictional Tokyo streets, this one is literally in the middle of nowhere, and makes no bones about what it is: a pure speed circuit. Of course, the natural thing to do when you get this track is race a grid of Bugatti Veyrons on it, so I did just that and took plenty of pictures afterwards, so any non-GT5ers reading SBV8 won't miss out. On that note, did you know that this track makes a brief appearance in the Spec 2.0 intro video? Just before McLaren MP4-12Cs are seen slo-mo drifting around turn 3 of London, you can see the Red Bull X2011 covering ground at a serious rate of knots over the distance markers. True story. Anyway, let's look inside Polyphony Digital's very own Ehra-Lessien...

Layout
I would guide you round the lap one corner at a time, but the layout is actually very simple, simpler even than the real Ehra-Lessien. Two straights more than 10,000m long are bookended by huge banked corners. A Bugatti Veyron on a solo flying lap doesn't drop below 240mph on here, and you can't see the end of the flat back straight even from the middle, because of the curvature of the Earth. You can't see all the way down the main straight either, but that's because of the curvature of the road (vertically).

Of course, the long straights mean that the replay cameras can be inventive. Cameras that look like they're attached to planes, cameras running along the barriers at incredible speed, all kinds of stuff. I was expecting such, and I wasn't disappointed. To show you, I managed to capture a videograph on my telephone. Unfortunately as I don't have a video capture thing and there's no upload function (replay files are just small data files for the game to read and turn into a replay, rather than proper video files), I had to film my TV, so apologies that it looks over-exposed.

Uploaded: 20/1/12
Running Time: 5:39
Views When Posted: 1

Pretty cool, huh?

Photo Guide
For a more detailed look at various bits of the track, I think in-game photographs are probably best, as they'll look better and more detailed that the above video.

You start in this peculiar hangar tunnel thing...
...and 3KM later,you start climbing towards a rising sun. It looks like an ascent into heaven, especially from the cockpit of a McLaren F1.
What goes up must come down, as you accumulate a few extra MPH and fly past a cargo ship...
...after which you scythe through a small canyon on the edge of the mysterious island...
...and into Turn 1.
How high up the banking dare you go? I got roughly a wheel's width away from the yellow line at one point.
Once you level out, it's time to cover another 10KM, plus the distance from the yellow line to the 0KM gantry.
The back straight is used in a new Speed Test feature added in the update, which measures 0-60mph, 0-100mph, standing 1/4-mile and a standing mile. So far only the Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak has posted a faster 0-100 time than the big white Bug.
Just before you reach 7KM, a tunnel appears.
The exit to the tunnel looks similar to that of the old Test Track from GT3 and 4, which was run in the opposite direction to this.
This is new, however. It's a field of satellite dishes. Interesting...
After 10KM and a little bit more, it's time for a corner. Remember those? They're kinda... round, compared to the last 11KM...
Actually, I've touched the line, it seems.
A nice long corner later, it's back at the start. Where does number 03 go? We may never know...
So it's a simple layout, but in a seriously fast car it's pretty cool. In a Nissan Leaf? I won't lie, it's pretty bloody dull, although that's nothing compared to a VW Beetle 1200, with its top speed of 75mph...

Most useful is the Speed Test function, as you can now directly compare your favourite cars, and see if you can get a RWD car to launch cleanly while still setting the fastest time, something I have thus far failed to manage...

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