The third Gran Turismo gamernight built on the previous events with participant created events and an evolution of races and fun. This event had more of a fun time feel to it than the more serious second event. The planned races were competitive but everyone seemed to be having fun passing banter back and forth enjoying the event for what it was designed to be, a community get together for gaming and entertainment.
The first race of the day was a bit of a fun warm up event. It was decided that you could use any car you wanted but with two restrictions, it couldn’t be a car above 700 performance points and it couldn’t be a car you were planning on using for the rest of the night. Everyone pulled out various vehicles from their garage ranging from Lamborghini, Jaguar, Nissan and a real monster in the form of a McLaren F1. This was a 5 lap blast around the top gear test track. Needless to say that the McLaren lived up to its reputation and stormed off into the lead and never looked back, taking the win without being really challenged.
Next up was a returning event from the last gamernight. The big, bad bumper cars were readily lined up on the starting grid. 10 laps of the Daytona track where there were no rules. This was a full on Mad Max style fight for survival. Lamborghini vs Ferrari was the order of the day. The starting grid was predominantly filled with Lamborghini models waiting to have their lovely custom paintwork and body panels destroyed by their opponents. The race went as predicted. The first few laps were fast paced and wheel to wheel action with drivers pushing and shoving each other into the walls and onto the grass. As the race went on the unfortunate drivers that were pushed out of the running seemed to decide that instead of fruitlessly trying for an impossible win, they would pull as sharp 180% turn and see what damage they could do to the oncoming traffic. The last 4-5 laps were fast and furious as drivers were stalking each other and forcing head on collisions or sideswipes into the barriers. Out of all this chaos came one winner who managed to dodge most of the menacing machines and take the chequered flag. Well done to Darth Nutclench for surviving………this time!
In a slightly slower but just as fun event, all the drivers swapped V10and V12 horsepower for 2 stroke engines in their little go karts. The laps were shortened to 5 and the race was started. The pack seemed to split into 2 groups fighting for different positions. Everyone was fully aware that a littlw to much steering either way would send their kart off into a spin which would undoubtedly foil their chances of getting a good position. Kart slip streamed behind kart and careful planning on where and when to make the overtaking manoeuvres made everyone concentrate. One driver managed to be smoother and more controlled than the rest and congratulations to Cpirie for the win.
The next event was organised by Darth Nutclench after hearing about the loss of the world famous Carrol Shelby. A true racing legend that will be greatly missed. In honour of Mr Shelby it was decided that we would race his amazing creations around another legend of American motor sport, Leguna Seca. Any and all Shelby cars were invited to take part but the starting grid comprised of almost all Shelby Cobra’s apart from myself who wanted to be slightly different and went for the Shelby series 1 supercharged. The race started and it was very close to say the least. In a race where the huge amounts of horsepower and low weight caused everyone to experience large amounts of over steer. This was least welcome around Leguna Seca’s most demanding section, the corkscrew. Every driver got caught out in one way or another in that section but everyone found the race to be great fun and the perfect way to remember the American Legend Carroll Shelby. The race was eventually won by Cpirie who seemed to be on a charge this gamernight taking multiple wins.
The first of the unplanned, player suggested races was organised. This event was set with everyone agreeing to race in various vehicles with one rule. They had to be convertible or topless cars. This posed some interesting checks though the garages to see what we might race. It began to dawn on everyone at the same time that low powered Sunday driving convertibles that fitted the rules could be ignored for other higher powered monsters such as the formula gran turismo and the 1970 Toyota race car that is more jet engine on a go kart than a race car. The race took part around Suzuka gran prix track and the speeds of the cars taking part didn’t disappoint. Skill was needed to make sure that you stayed on the track as at that speed even a wheel on the paintwork let alone the grass would send you spinning off in a blur. Cpirie was on yet another charge and took the win.
A personal favorite race of the night was the hillbilly hi jinx event. Heavyweight horse powered pick up trucks pitted themselves against each other around cape ring to see who could claim the title of the trucking king. From the start everyone seemed fairly well matched. Apparently racing pick up trucks comes with an unwritten rule, bashing is not only allowed but its encouraged. The golden Ford F150 was fighting hard for the lead until an issue with the handling caused by the lowered front and the raised rear (for comedy reasons you understand) made the back end slip out and threw the truck into the wall handing Cpirie the lead and the eventual win. The real fight was between NMreign and Darth Nutclench as they traded positions, paint and cursing from start to finish. It was quite a sight to see two trucks side by side launching themselves over the humpback into the air and while fighting for the best possible landing.
The main event race was next. Ruf Riders was a race designed to show off the much underrated RUF. In truth its really Porsche but apparently they don’t like having fans racing their cars on video games so the designers went to an amazing Porsche tuning company RUF. Any model was allowed with no restrictions on power or performance. The starting grid saw every model the game has and the race didn’t disappoint. The race was a great example of how to handle a rear wheel drive/ rear engine sports car around corners and bends with the potential for fantastic looking four wheel drifting. Some drivers were better than others at this and at the end of the day we saw a familiar name cross the finish line first. Cpirie took another win pushing his dominance on the night up another notch.
The strangest and by far the funniest events of the night was the ‘face of the internet’ event in honour of Jonfaec from BRB UK podcast. In the last gamernight he raced a weirdly modified VW Samba Bus so we decided to expand on this with a dedicated race. These vehicles are hard enough to handle as it is without modifying them but for an extra level of madness the race was held on a track covered in snow and ice. This led to some of the most amazing spins and crashes seen on the night with big colourful busses bouncing off each other and crashing about. At one point a bus even managed to get airborne for a few seconds before coming back down to a snowy earth with a bang. The sound of the engines being over revved and the unsuitable tyres being punished was not enough as it was easily drowned out by the sound of everyone laughing and crying at the amazingly bad handling on such an insane track. Again in a show of force on any surface, Cpirie took another win.
One of the funniest events of the night was the 250pp race. This saw players dig deep into their respective garages to find some potential race car to take the win from the depths of despair. The 250pp limit really limited the chance of a surprise speedster but there was potential to be found. The main car of use was the classic Fiat 500 with a couple of exceptions most notably a chameleon blue VW beetle 1100. From the start my little beetle raced away faster than i expected and left the competition far behind. Everyone else clawed their way round the Monte Carlo track in some sad parody of a formula 1 race in slow motion. Inevitably the sporty VW beetle took the win giving me the somewhat dubious title of the king of crappy cars!
One of the closest races of the night was surprisingly the hybrid hippies event. With a range of hybrid cars to choose from it was interesting to see all but one of the starting grid filled by Toyota Prius. The exception was a solitary Honda Insight. The race took place in the city track of Madrid and everyone matched each other round every curve, corner and straight away. The Honda took the lead but was fighting for its life against a particularly persistent Prius driven by Cpirie. After 3 laps and a slightly misjudged apex, the Honda conceded its first place to Cpirie and that’s how the race ended. It just goes to show that apparently you can have fun racing in hippy electric cars.
The last of the planned races was the roadsters event. MG vs Mazda MX5 around Italy’s favorite track Monza. This was another close race with an even spread of both cars along the grid. Drivers seemed to be a bit more careful in this event, this may have been due to the limited power available or due to the fact we had all been playing for close to 5 hours and it was close to 3am in the UK. Drivers were careful not to bump or bang in to each other and the race saw careful overtaking and planned manoeuvres performed to gain each position. A close battle at the front between myself and Cpirie yet again went on for a few laps before an scheduled trip onto the grass gave Cpirie all the distance he needed to gain yet another win under his belt for the night.
The last event of the night was an unscheduled all out powerhouse race where there were no limits. Any car was allowed and it was up to you to be able to handle the insane speeds you could reach. There was a level spread of formula gran turismo racers and the insanely powerful redbull x2010 and x2011. This ended up being less of a race of skill when it came to overtaking manoeuvres and more an example of how too much horsepower can make you spend most of your time spinning into walls and each other. I think every participant spent more time on the grass or spinning around then actually challenging for positions on the track.
The event was another success with everyone who took part having good fun and friendly chat and banter was passed between each other. Suggestions for new events were suggested and a real community feel was apparent as everyone was helping each other with car choice suggestions, tuning tips and buying and sending cars to people so they could participate in certain events. An unforseen challenge also seems to be developing as the challenge to beat Cpirie from winning each race. This event was dominated by him this time but everything can change next time. All the drivers that have attended the gamernights are getting well matched against each other and a fun sense of competition is apparent.
I would like to thank everyone who came to the gamernight in particular other members of the JoypadAndMe team: Darth Nutclench, NMReign and our newest member Wellbeingosteo as well as everyone who helped promote it during the weeks leading up to the event. As the event got closer, the chatter on twitter increased as to what cars each other was running and what events posed the most challenge. I hope to see you all and more at the next Gran Turismo Gamernight.