Nurburgring Nordschleife Speed Guide - Gran Turismo 5
By Mike Kimball
Version 2.5, January 3, 2012
I want to say sincerely that I'm sure everyone's thoughts are with Kaz
and all at Polyphony Digital in the tough times they experienced
in the wake of all the disasters that have happened to Japan the last
year. Thanks for keeping GT5 moving forward!
Contact The Author
Unlocking the Nordschleife
GT5 Update 2.02
G25 Pedal Mod (for use with DFP/DF GT wheel)
New PS3 System
Shoes - On or Off?
Driving Tips That Have Helped Me Go Faster
Nordschleife - Step by Step
(Includes all corner names and time splits)
Addendum 1 - AMG Academy
Addendum 2 - my lap milestones
Addendum 3 - real-life lap records
How many corners are there?
Safety and driving philosophy
More great driver quotes
Thanks for reading
Copyright 2010-2012 Mike Kimball
Intended for private, personal, and educational usage only.
Originally written to be posted on www.gamefaqs.com.
If you are viewing from another site, you may want to check
for the most updated version.
Please notify me if you've posted it somewhere else.
All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by
their respective trademark and copyright holders.
Contact The Author
I welcome email from fellow 'Ring fans anytime. Please mention this
guide in the subject.
Send to bloodmetalcontent at yahoo dot com.
I'm also on YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/user/formulakimball
"For a quick lap at the Nurburgring, you've probably experienced more in
seven minutes and six or seven seconds than most people have experienced
in all their lives in the way of fear, in the way of tension, in the way
of animosity towards machinery and to a racetrack."
--Jackie Stewart, 1973
First of all, the obligatory disclaimer: Just as the game may differ from
the real life cars and tracks represented therein, so may the information
in this guide differ from your time attack in your real car in real life.
I take no responsibility for your car, your driving ability, or your
interpretation of anything written in this guide.
I think the fact that in GT5 you must unlock the Nordschleife, by passing
the first two AMG Academy levels, shows how serious they are about fostering
Nordschleife safety, and especially respect. All racing simulators simplify
some elements (tires, grip, power, durability, braking), and even PDI's
masterful rendering of the track doesn't quite reach the depth of detail
in the real one (even though GT5 is a massive step forward). The AMG
Academy is a brilliant way to introduce people to the Nordschleife and
what can happen in less than ideal circumstances.
My advice is to remember that whatever car you drive on the real
Nordschleife will probably have nowhere near the capabilities of 80%
of the cars available in GT5. So, to prep for a real-life visit, do
at least 50-100 laps, and include laps with crappy tires on (comfort
soft or less), and laps in a fast car that has no aero, or aero that
only works when all four wheels are on flat ground (Chaparral 2J),
so that you find out where all the main bumps are, which will tend
to lead you astray of the racing line or disrupt your throttle delivery.
Then do a few more in the AMG Academy to remind you that you won't
often have the track to yourself (and therefore the racing line you
want), or a nice, dry grip level.
By the time I visited the Nurburgring in late August 2007 I had turned
600 laps in GT4 and watched many different dvds of in-car footage.
This familiarity with the track layout deepened the experience for me - the
thrill is greatly increased when corners no longer all look the same and you
know what is coming up next. Even with quite a lot of traffic we went BTG
in 8'20 (traffic-corrected, our average speed was over 90mph, and I'm fairly
certain we were going about 170 in Kesselchen). That Zakspeed Viper was
truly amazing. And we were blessed with an absolutely gorgeous, dry,
clear summer day.
In 2008 I spent 9 days at the Bertil Roos road racing school, including
visits to VIR, NJ Motorsports, and Pocono North. The great thing about
actual racing is how much sooner you sense the car reacting to your inputs -
especially moments where the weight transfer might get you in trouble -
but the simulator practice does mean your brain already has some sense of
what to do in an unsteady moment, which you also perceive earlier. Still,
when you've only driven street cars and racing simulators, driving a Formula
2000 car on a real race circuit is a revelation. As Lewis Black has joked,
"Oh, so this is what cars are *supposed* to do."
This guide is geared for those who seek suggestions to improve their time in
GT5, and who have, at the minimum, memorized the track. I'm not the
fastest driver in the world but I do hope this guide can inspire or help you
in some way, as it also helps me continue to evolve...
First, I want to thank all of the people reading this. This GT5 guide
turned a year old this month, and I hope to continue updating it until
GT6 comes out someday. So again, thank you so much for the 65,000 hits
in the first year!
I would like to acknowledge some sources which have offered specific
inspiration for this guide: justgofaster.com, Nurburgring for Dummies by
Christopher Heiser, and of course Ben Lovejoy's awesome guide (including the
corner names and the very informative translations/history). As for other
acknowledgements, I must mention dvds from FIA Formula 1 2000-2008, Best
Motoring International vols. 9-16 and Tsuchiya’s Drift Bible, and Skip Barber's
Going Faster. Also, much thanks for the In Car 956 dvd featuring Derek Bell
and his commentary of a lap at Nurburgring, and the Nissan GT-R dvd featuring
fantastic laps from 'ringmeister Dirk Schoysman. And also, the book
"Winning, a Racing Driver's Guide", by George A. Anderson, with guest authors
Carroll Smith and Bertil Roos among others. I've also been reading a lot
of cracked.com lately, so I hope to make subtle tweaks to this guide that
will make it easier and more interesting to read. Naturally this guide will
become more influenced by Ayrton Senna and the awesome Senna documentary
as well, which I saw recently. His passion for the sport and his amazing
ability continue to be very inspiring.
I want to thank Sir Jackie Stewart for all of his invaluable contributions
to motorsport and especially Formula 1 when it comes to safety as well as
driving technique. His advice in the Grand Prix: The Killer Years dvd was
particularly resonant (and quotable), as was that of Jackie Ickx, and
Special thanks to all who made it possible for me to visit the Nurburgring
in person at last - our bus driver Max first and foremost for setting it all
up, our tour manager Oise for adding the Nurburgring day to the schedule, my
former band and TM (John, Sean, Trey, and Brian V), and all at Zakspeed
for an amazing high-speed experience.
And finally, all at Bertil Roos Racing School. No amount of time in a simulator
is as valuable as even one day at a real track, and what I learned from them
has made a huge difference.
- GT5 update 2.02
- Added NASCAR car info and tuning, lapped in 6'00.312
- Updated AMG Academy info
- Cross-training info added
- More great driver quotes added
- Relevance edits, text adjustments, trimming futile claptrap
- GT5 update 2.01 Notes (a few in various places)
- Formula Gran Turismo: New video uploaded - 4'42.277
- Small correction to the Formula Gran Turismo setup (LSD)
- Driver Aids info
- New section: Safety and driving philosophy
Unlocking the Nordschleife
A FAQ from new GT5 players is "where is the Nordschleife?"
You have to unlock it by completing the first two tiers of the
AMG Academy (in the Special challenges) with at least bronze times.
Note, this also involves some leveling up. After you pass the
Beginner and Intermediate AMG levels, the Nordschleife will be
available for Practice and in Arcade mode. More on this follows
in the section Addendum 1 - AMG Academy.
GT5 update 2.02
There are a lot of great features in the 2.02 update, and I haven't
yet explored them all. The main ones I am interested in are the
HUD, the tires, and the audio.
Audio... Needs adjustment.
The wind noise is a nice addition, and very helpful as an immersion
factor and another way you "feel" the speeds get higher. But it
gets a little too loud at high speeds and at 200mph and above, it
becomes almost deafening... in a formula or LMP car it's too much.
Please PDI - even at top speed I want to be able to hear the engine
and not just a roar of wind (and transmission whine), regardless
of the camera angle.
Tire squeal is also more audible, which I really like since it's
much easier to sense where the limit of grip is. And I love that
you can now hear when you go in and out of the slipstream.
Engine notes have changed, and some are not for the better (Xanavi
NISMO GT-R lost the very aggressive engine/exhaust note that made me
love driving it - the onboard sound is just a low hum now).
Tires... No. Just no.
The tire dynamics continue in the direction they took with the
2.01 update - the grip is further diminished on the racing soft
compound, especially at high speeds (210mph and above). Corners
that used to be flat in 7th gear now take a big lift or even a
gear drop - the tires just don't take the high lateral g-load
anymore... the front end will break away and the car understeers
off the circuit. I am not very happy with how the Formula Gran
Turismo feels now - it's really spongey and unpredictable, nervous,
with both ends prone to sliding around. The force feedback in
particular is also getting kind of numb. This change to the tires
is the main reason I don't spend a lot of time in the serious
race cars at the moment - they're not quite undriveable, but close
enough to get into that space of "this isn't fun anymore, guys".
And it's even worse if you turn on tire wear...
The new tire wear rates are rather dramatic, but still less than
in GT4 (in the FGT the RS tire will easily last three 5-minute laps
of the Nordschleife, or more if you can tolerate the loss of grip).
It depends a lot on the car though - I found that a SuperGT car
can barely do two laps on the RS tires (the grip is totally shot
as you approach the chicane before pit in). I could babble
for days about how the fuel, tire wear, and race lengths could
be implemented better so that if you want realism, the tires and
fuel last appropriately for an endurance race, but if you wanted
the challenge for shorter races, fuel consumption and tire wear rates
could be accelerated. For now, I just turn it off since it doesn't
work correctly at the moment.
HUD... Awesome new changes.
Basically you can now turn off things like the gear suggestions,
opponents list, etc individually. It's always nice to be able to
remove clutter from the gauges/display when not needed, so this is
a very welcome change.
Well obviously pulling so many seasonal races without warning was
pretty disappointing, but I hope that we just need to be patient
and wait for them to release new ones.
Silly Stuff That's Still Broken
AI: I'm surprised they still haven't fixed the annoying tendency for
AI cars to lift or downshift at inappropriate places, like in the
middle of a corner where you have nowhere to go but into their bumper.
And the AI still goes flying off the circuit on the Nurb GP/F after
the chicane. With so much emphasis on the Seasonal races, the AI
really needs some serious improvement. And it seems like even if you
choose "professional" AI, they drive like they're on comfort tires
even on racing tires - they slow way down to enter corners, and don't
accelerate until they fully exit each corner. I'm constantly making
passes on the outside, which IRL should be pretty difficult.
I know a lot of people say "if you want a challenge you should just
race online", but I've had far too many problems with slow connections
or belligerent jackwagons with dubious driving skill and/or poor racing
etiquette who spoil the game for everyone. And I don't see what is so
unreasonable about expecting the AI to be more challenging.
Replays: It would be nice to have the replays that I saved before
moving to my new PS3 system available in Replay Theater and not just
as ghost replays during practice. Seems like if they can make your
old ghost replays available in practice, it shouldn't be a big deal to
have them show up in the Theater also?
Formula Gran Turismo
Note as of GT5 v2.01: It's not just the tires, but somehow the
handling characteristics have changed also - it feels like they
have made the FGT less prone to spinning out, so it's easier
to recover the car once it gets loose, but the car is also more
likely to understeer off high speed corners; I made some setup
adjustments to help the understeer:
Aero: 70, 90
Suspension: default, front anti-roll 6
Camber: 2.2, 1.0
Toe: 0.0, 0.16
LSD: 12 36 28
Brakes: 4 4
My base time at Nordschleife in GT5 2.01: 4'48; in 2.02: 4'49.
The Formula Gran Turismo is still one of my favorite cars; I collect
all of them. If you still need one, just look in the online lot -
sometimes they do half credits and zero mileage deals. It appears in
the normal used lot also, but infrequently.
The car now reaches over 235mph even with maximum aero, so the FGT
is faster on straights than in GT4, but has less downforce
to help in corners (235mph = Monza wings). Also, I suspect they've
modeled the tire response after the F1 spec - 13" wheels and high-
profile tires - so even with the suspension as stiff as it goes,
the car floats around and it reacts a beat later than you might
expect. Is this tire deflection causing delayed, snappy handling
characteristics? Maybe so - in any case, it certainly isn't an
easy car to drive on the limit.
The car is quite agile, but unstable, and extremely sensitive to
throttle inputs, steering, and braking, which can easily become
jumbled and get the car all crossed up. It requires a completely
different driving style, something like a normal car in the wet -
early and careful inputs. Many dramatic maneuvers require little
more than a tiny lift.
It's important to remember that this car handles well enough on
any other circuit - but the Nordschleife is special. The reality
is that F1 stopped racing the Nordschleife after 1976, and sports
prototypes also after 1983, and neither has been engineered with
the Nordschleife in mind since then. The speeds you can achieve
in modern race cars are far above speeds that were ever intended
to be reached on a bumpy, tight, ridiculously dangerous and
complicated circuit like the Nordschleife. Astoundingly, I have
even seen current F1 drivers admit that they hardly know the
'Ring, or flat out refuse to drive on it specifically because it
is currently too bumpy and dangerous.
[singing] B... A... L... A... N... C... E... Balance.
Some advice from "Winning" seems correct - that once the setup is in the
ballpark, it's rare that further tweaks themselves will result in a faster
lap time. However, it might make the car easier to drive or merely suit the
driver's style better, which can give enough confidence to improve. Two to
tango, as it were.
Most setup changes come with certain negative side effects that you must
recognize and learn to live with. I'm continually learning the various
ways seemingly harmless tweaks can result in mysterious instances of
erratic behavior - remember, at the Nurburgring the track surface changes
everything, and random bumps can easily catch your car out as much as
you (since bumps can affect one side of the car or one tire at a time,
so the other side that's still touching the ground may suddenly do
something unexpected). The more you can attribute a crash to a specific
cause (either a mistake or a setup problem), the less frustrating it is.
And as we know, it takes only a slightly incorrect setup on the Formula
GT to make it almost undriveable, and you can chase your tail endlessly
trying to muck about with the interrelated puzzle of tuning adjustments.
Ultimately the car setup can seem to help or hinder you depending on how you
are driving that day, so its effects should be considered less important than
the ability to adjust one's driving style. Nurburgring Nordschleife is
probably the best example of how crucial this adaptability is to getting
around the track in one piece, let alone setting a fast time. And the Formula
Gran Turismo is a fairly extreme example of the spectrum of balance one can
experience in a single car (huge understeer, neutral, huge oversteer)
depending on the phase of the corner and the driver's inputs. There is a
reason some drivers get paid more than others - it's because the driving is
still the single most important factor in going faster.
That said, here is my GT5 Formula GT Nordschleife setup and my lap time.
I have spent a lot of time trying just about everything (extremes of camber,
spring and damper settings, transmission, LSD, aero balance) to find any
improvement in balance and handling, but ultimately it was my previous
setup that still worked best. The only difference - I have changed the
gearing for 2nd to be longer to avoid locking the rear wheels, and 4th is
a few hundredths shorter to improve the bite in certain corners. Also,
slight tweak to the LSD.
Formula Gran Turismo Nurburgring setup (GT5 2.0 and earlier)
Aero: 70, 90 (max)
Transmission: manual, 242mph (390kph), 2nd 4.180
LSD: 18, 60, 40
Spring rate: 19.5, 19.5
Dampers: Front 10/8, Rear 10/8
Anti-Roll: 7, 7
Camber: 2.0, 1.6
Toe: 0, 0.3 (rear toe in)
Brakes: 5, 4
Driving aids: all off except ABS 1
Personal record (practice): 4'42.277
There are two Ferrari F1 cars (F2007 and F10) - I mainly drive the
F2007. Its handling is awesome, although with so much downforce you
do suffer a bit on straights, which is acceptable. The one thing I
don't particularly like is the camera angles - with no proper hood
camera, I must use the helmet cam (which is a bit too high and far
back, but now that I finally use a proper wide-aspect flat screen, this
is less annoying). But on days when I don't have the patience to drive
the FGT with its twitchy low-aero handling, the F2007 is far more fun
to drive. It's nice when a car doesn't feel like it's forever
plotting new ways to stuff you into the Armco. I have the F10 also,
but so far it feels slower and the balance is awkward... you can see
from the suspension geometry and the camber settings, kind of extreme
compared to most any other car... I'm still developing a setup of my
own for the F10 - so far it's balanced and quick at Tokyo.
Aero 150, 196
LSD 6 33 12
Susp 20 10 8 7 (front and rear)
Align 2.0 1.0 0.0 0.30
Brakes 4 4
Driving aids: all off except ABS 1
Personal best (practice): 4'42.914
Fastest F2007 lap I've uploaded (4'43.434):
Red Bull X2010
You skilled and lucky drivers who reach level 30, then pass the Red Bull
X2010 Challenge with at least bronze times, will get an X2010 to practice
(at the Nordschleife). Five minutes? Rubbish. This thing can beat four
minutes without breaking a sweat. The car is crazy fast, thanks to a few
technologies that are banned from F1 (such as ground effects, fans, turbo)
plus a few other aero improvements like a canopy and wheel cowls. When I
time attack in this car, the main thing is to max the downforce. Its diff
is already set to 7 35 15 to help it turn. I think my best, which is
about average for quickest times I've seen, is around 3'20.
NASCAR (My Newfound Respect)
I know what you're thinking, something like "WTH does a NASCAR stock car
have to do with the Nordschleife?" How about 6'00, sound good? I am
simply astonished at how well the 2011 Ford Fusion #99 handles when
you consider that it weighs 3400 pounds. Further, I noticed that NASCAR
takes a driving style not unlike what I use for the Formula GT. Anytime
I race a stock car at the Nurburgring, I always seem to enjoy it, and
I'll replay the race over and over. And however you feel about Carl
Edwards as a driver, GT5 sure made his car sound awesome. I'm certain
that with a little practice, it can break the 6-minute mark. Plus I
get to keep laughing at that Aflac duck.
I already know that they test at a track very dear to my own racing
heart (VIR), so how cool might it be if they brought a stock car over
to the hallowed Nurburgring to see what's what? As long as you are
careful with the weight and remember not to put all the power down
too aggressively on corner exits, you'll stay out of the Armco. Be as
smooth as you can and try not to push it harder than it will respond.
Here's my general tuning setup for stock cars - it's similar to
touring cars, but accounts for higher power and top speed, and
Aero: 50, 65 (max, -5 on rear max)
Transmission: 224mph (ratios: 2.372, 1.672, 1.236, 0.970)
LSD: 5 34 10
Suspension: 0, 20, 10, 8, 7 (front and rear)
Alignment: camber - 2.0, 1.0; toe - 0.0, 0.0
Brakes: 3, 7
Personal best (practice): 6'00.312
Ah, touring cars - I'm quite fond of them. Sometimes it's just so
refreshing to drive a car that has more grip than power, and stays on
the track no matter how hard you drive it, almost. They all tend to
understeer a bit, so I have a specific setup I apply to all touring
cars (whether they be DTM or JGTC) to make them rotate more freely,
and then it's just happy time. Give me the Xanavi GT-R or the
CLK '00 and I'll do lap after lap without feeling bored or annoyed.
As for the setup: max the aero then take 10 off the rear, put the
diff at about 7 34 14, then put the brakes toward the rear (3/7).
This depends on the layout of the car, of course - but most are FR.
If the car is MR (e.g. Audi R8 LM), try the diff at 8 36 18 or so.
With many front-heavy touring cars my LSD is set to 6 33 12.
Most of the touring cars can beat 6'30 around the Nordschleife.
Tricky to handle, but sublime anyway - the Ford GT40s that won
Le Mans in the late 60's are among my favorite race cars in
GT5. I particularly like the 1967 Mark IV - its handling is so
enjoyable (though one must not be careless of course, given its
MR layout) and may even be better than the Gulf GT40 from 1969
that we love. Actually I'm very glad it handles well, given that
it cost 20 million (as does its main rival, which also handles
nicely and is fun to drive, though the 330 P4 isn't quite as
good as the Mark IV). I really don't do anything to the setup
of the Mark IV - it feels fine the way it is - it's more of a
driving style thing.
Later on I'll mention how important it is to do some really slow laps
at the Nordschleife so you can fully appreciate its complexity and its
subtleties... and you won't always want merely to drive slower in a
favorite fast car. I'm not saying all these cars are slow, but definitely
not in the 5-minute lap range... these are just some other cars that
I've enjoyed (some more frustrating than others).
Zonda R - 6'19.994 stock, 5'52.893 RS tires & full aero
PDI Kart - 10'20.884
Mugen Civic - 7'38.922
Ferrari F40 - 6'55.887
Alfa Romeo Spider 1600 - 8'50.555
I always have these turned off, especially since some of them will
actually slow you down if you're a reasonably good driver. Traction
control pretty much ruins full accelerating corner exits still, although
in some cars it's surprising how you may not notice the aids are on
sometimes - GT5 has improved them so the car balance is still good.
Skid recovery is fine if you're into ambitious corner entries, but
is pretty hideous otherwise and quite annoying to deal with when
it's forced on you (license tests often don't let you turn off SRF).
I'm not always that patient with the driver aids since they are
constantly interfering (especially SRF, on some tracks/cars). As
Jeremy Clarkson would say, what I want from my throttle and brakes and
steering is a bunch of yes-men, who do exactly what I tell them to do,
when I tell them to do it.
GT5 is pretty good at remembering what your preference is but usually
seems to default with TC at 5 on new cars (and sometimes it forgets
your prefs and sets it to that on practice laps anyway). I think
everyone pretty much leaves ABS on its default "1" setting, so that
braking feels similar to the way it worked in GT4 - getting a feel
for braking without ABS is still a bit fine for it to work well in
GT yet... maybe if the pedals were better it would be interesting.
Skid recovery is the one that people seem to argue about a lot,
from the aspect of using it but denying it (even though it's pretty
obvious in corner entries). Most of the aids have gauges that indicate
whether they are in use or not.
My current setup:
Logitech Driving Force GT wheel
Logitech G25 pedals (modified)
Sparco cockpit with a Sienna seat (modified)
Cheap Panasonic surround sound with subwoofer
Cheap RCA 40" LCD flat-panel (HDMI)
A driving cockpit and a 900-degree wheel will certainly improve your
game dramatically. Just the immersion alone will be worth it regardless,
being able to adjust the seat, pedals, and wheel to the exact positions
you desire, and having a completely stable base to minimize any slop
from the body. I hear great things about the Thrustmaster or Fanatec
wheels, but most of us are probably using mid-level, affordable driving
wheels from Logitech.
I have a big bone to pick with the DF GT, and I'm sure it's in common with
many other DF GT owners who find that its durability leaves something to
be desired. I'm on my second one already, and it started making creaking
noises within a week. It's enough to make you consider other options that
might cost the same as two DF GT wheels but last longer. The DF GT has
detailed feedback and good features (like the select wheel for changing
settings on the fly), but it feels very cheap and flimsy, and even with
the feedback on 10 and power steering off, it's rubbery and faint, so
you have to guess how much steering input to add sometimes. The DFP was
much more solid, and I like its smaller diameter which makes its feedback
feel stronger through the lack of mechanical advantage (and the wheel
is simply heavier). However the DFP is slightly lacking in detail, has
a dead zone in the middle, and is just too slow at fast maneuvers.
To be honest, that weak, rubbery feedback in the newer Logitech wheels
(G25, DF GT, etc) always tempts Mr. Hand to become Mr. Fist. My G25 wore
out far too quickly on its own, but also certainly met its demise in an
accelerating fashion due to how often it reacted in ways that would make
me lose my patience, then bearing, then any shred of temper. After that,
I tend to bellow expletives that would make Kurt Busch blush, and the wheel
inevitably changes from precision tool to percussion instrument.
To preserve the life of your wheel, it's very important to get the tilt
angle of the wheel (and/or your chair) correct, so that as you turn it,
you don't tend to pull it or push it. I also sit at an angle that gives
me less advantage over the wheel, so that the feedback doesn't seem as
One enduring flaw in the DF wheels is the plastic pedals, which are
amazingly unimproved. The G25 pedals are much better, but they aren't
compatible with the DFP/DF GT wheels without rewiring. You could also find
an adapter to join them up - I would suggest trying that first.
G25 Pedal Mod (for use with DF wheels)
The following advice will almost certainly void your warranty, so read on
only if you don't mind that, and also, don't attempt this unless you are
fairly good with small electronics and are not taking chances with your
only game equipment. I take no responsibility if your workmanship is not
successful. This is just my notes on what I did to get mine to work.
Again, I've since seen adapters online that can accommodate this so
you may want to try that first.
To make the G25 pedals work with the DF wheels takes some rewiring, mainly
because the G25 brake wiring is backwards. I went to Radio Shack to get
some wiring and connectors. This also requires some tools (a wire stripper,
and a Phillips screwdriver). I also went to Home Depot for some sticky
Velcro (this is how I fasten the board so that I can get a better adjustment
on the seat, wheel, and pedal board positions).
Basically what I did is take the wiring out of one of my DFP pedal boards,
then bring it with me to buy wiring and connectors that are small enough to
adapt to it. You'll only need to add a few inches to the length of three
of the wires due to the differing physical layout of the pedal switches.
On the wiring of the switches, you'll see that both pedals have a red and a
black wire on the left and right, plus a third middle wire which is either
white or green. Here are the configurations that work with the DFP wheel:
DFP pedals original wiring (left to right - connectors on bottom):
Throttle - single black, green, single red
Brake - double black, white, double red
G25 pedals (again l-r connectors, right is nearest the red pedal pistons):
Throttle - double black, white, double red
Brake - *single red*, green, *single black*
Also, judicious use of electrical tape since the wires aren't grounded like
they are on the wiring loom of the G25 - cover any protruding metal where the
wire could touch; and with cutting/stripping/crimping, make it as clean as
possible. The smallest wiring and connectors I could find were still a bit
larger than the existing, but I found with some bending I could get a nice
snug fit. I haven't had any problems in over a year of use, though I did
decide the brake pedal is a bit too stiff, so I switched it with the clutch
pedal (and also, I put this all the way on the left, so there's an empty
space in the middle; this way I don't hit my knees on the underside of the
steering wheel clamps). Finally, to make the Sparco cockpit accommodate the
pedals and the reclined position, I had to turn the foot panel upside down
and use a great amount of industrial strength sticky velcro... which is nice
because it holds perfectly but is still adjustable.
New PS3 System
Recently I had problems with my 60GB PS3 disc drive (shocker), and even
after about a dozen attempts to disassemble, clean, reassemble, the thing
refused to work. It was getting to be a power hog and a noisy, heavy
thing that tended to overheat anyway... so I got a 320GB PS3 and followed
the instructions online on how to transfer all of your data, which worked
One catch - if you didn't export your saved replays, you lose the ability
to view them in the Replay Theater. NOTE: you don't lose them entirely -
if you go to the track where you set a lap, you do have access to your
saved ghost replays to load and race against. So they are all in there
somewhere, it's just the game that essentially limits your access to
them. I hope this is something PDI will fix eventually - obviously if
it can load your old ghost replays in practice, it should be able to find
them in Replay Theater as well.
Shoes - On or Off?
My suggestion is use what you are comfortable with. At my house we are
shoeless so I got all of my quickest times wearing socks - this seems
to be ideal for the game since it compensates for the lack of feedback and
weight in the pedals.
Many drivers say this skill is indispensable in racing - and both karting and
Formula 1 pretty much require it. Even when you are driving a car that has
a clutch, in some situations where no gear shift is needed it can be useful
to employ left-foot braking for stability as well as a quicker braking reaction
time. I began practicing this extensively in my old car and in the game I
use it exclusively. Even at racing school in some corners it came in handy.
At this point it has improved my fastest time in pretty much every car, not
to mention making it easier to drive in other conditions (especially rally;
but then real rally drivers are constantly shifting both feet between
brake/gas and brake/clutch).
Driving Tips That Have Helped Me Go Faster
"The exit of the corner is much more important than the entry to the corner,
with regards to smoothness. And another thing is that you never put your
foot on the gas until you're sure you won't have to take it back off."
- Sir Jackie Stewart OBE
First, always bear in mind that as you improve in one section, it changes
your rhythm into the next, and so on. All it takes is time, practice, and
gradual improvements in your knowledge of the car and the track. Very often
when you are pushing your limit and going off the track, getting frustrated,
feeling like quitting... you are actually on the verge of making a huge
improvement. So remember it's all part of the process of training your
brain and your muscle memory. Take a rest, come back a few hours or a day
later, and you'll be surprised how easy it suddenly gets. It was often
the same way when I was learning to play guitar.
Next, if you want to improve your lap time, it is crucial to consider the
importance of corner exits over late braking. Obviously I brake as late
as I can, but braking later improves time in hundredths of a second, while
getting on the throttle earlier for the exit improves your time in tenths.
Remember that the reverse is also true - braking too early loses time in
hundredths, but braking too late and then getting on the throttle late
loses time in tenths, and if you don't recover the car quickly enough from
the mistake, you're losing seconds.
What this means is you should work backward - get the exit point right first,
then try to improve your entry, then finally polish your braking point.
The correct braking point goes hand in hand with the correct turn-in and
throttle point however - braking too early often invites turning too early,
which can lead to going off the track at the exit; while braking too
late means you waste a lot of time going past the ideal turn-in and in some
corners you may not make the turn at all. The simplest thing I try to remember
is that the lap time is essentially the sum of throttle and braking, and the
finish line is a finite point, so whatever gets me there earlier is good,
and I want to avoid doing anything that makes the lap longer by adding more
time braking, coasting, feathering, or otherwise not on full throttle.
"Work backward" also applies to figuring out the best line to take through
corner complexes: the idea is that the last corner usually needs the best
exit, so the preceding corners require adjusted lines to accommodate
this prioritization. Usually this means turning much later for the
first corner in a complex in order to set up a corner going the opposite
direction. The line you choose for any corner is always a compromise
between shortest distance and highest speed, and corner complexes are
often approached by choosing a shorter distance for initial corners
so that you can have maximum speed exiting the final corner.
Essentially the ideal that we want to work toward (though we may not always
achieve it) is the Bertil Roos idea of Full Throttle, Full Brake, Full Time.
What this means is you are working toward an ideal that you know the track
and your car so well, that you only use either full throttle, or full brake,
but nothing else. Again, this is an IDEAL - it doesn't mean we ignore our
techniques of light braking, feathering the throttle, line recovery, etc when
we get in trouble or when certain track areas require it. There probably are
tracks where FT/FB/FT is possible, but I don't think the 'Ring is one of them.
Here, you just try to reach that ideal in sections that are smooth enough to
Another valuable piece of advice is from Petter Solberg: "You have to try to
be very neat, no attack, because as soon as you try to push harder, you go
slower. So just keep it neat and steady." Professor Nakaya seems to concur,
that in some situations the driver's attempt to push harder will be useless
since it only increases the steering angle as well as the friction of the
wheels on the pavement, which cancels out or even negates any increase the
driver desires to make. Again, aggressive driving is often useful in racing,
but for time attack you want to be as smooth as possible, and in some corners
you just want to maintain revs but apply only enough throttle to get the right
The book "Winning" had some interesting advice also - basically that you
should not feel "comfortable" while racing - you should be going at the limit
and often fighting for grip on every corner. What I've found is on many
corners you want to go for a certain amount of slip to get the optimum exit
and full acceleration. This will of course make it difficult to control
wheel spin as well as keeping the rear from sliding around as you try to
steer your way out. Another way to put it, sometimes your steering may feel
sloppy or busy as you try to manage the low traction situation known as
maximum acceleration. There's a practical limit for every car, and then
there's the real limit if you're able to push into the slip angle just the
right amount. But the closer you get to the limit, the more risky it
becomes and the smaller a mistake needs to be to exceed the limit. As Senna
might say, this place makes you very fragile and it can all be gone in an
instant; yet you must go for it. But even if you have Senna's car control
skills, you don't want to push the slip angle too far - the threshold of
optimum speed is not a very big slip angle, beyond it you start slowing
yourself down again.
Undulating corners are all over the place at Nordschleife, but they are not
as friendly and predictable as a track like Suzuka, so you will need to think
about how weight transfer affects braking and throttle as your car alternates
quickly between understeer and oversteer, often in the same corner - not easy
to do in a video game, where the vertical changes aren't always visually
obvious. Thankfully, PS3 games seem to have improved this dramatically over
the way most of them were on the PS2. If you find spots where you tend to
spin out even with steady throttle and steering input, an undulation may be
the cause. In some cases it can also be crowned pavement but this is the
same thing, just laterally.
In GT5 the thing I find myself thinking about most is how the car handling
is basically all about finding balance - the brain is always trying to make
sense of the "actions have equal and opposite reactions" principle, and the
fact that you're always essentially riding on a bunch of springs and rubber
bands that are constantly having different ripples of force tossed at them.
Since you can't actually feel your body and 2000-odd pounds of steel being
shifted around, you have to commit to memory and learn to anticipate what
these actions and reactions are going to do.
Once you feel really dialed in after many laps of practice, you'll start to
experience feeling like it's just basic flowing lines, using as smooth and
steady inputs as you can manage, adjusting the acceleration for the shape of
each corner. (I can hear Bruce Lee saying "Don't think! Feeeeeeeel...")
Your mind is clear and calm because your body is just nailing each section.
When you feel it, it is magic. Sometimes you will start to go beyond your
conscious knowledge - the kind of realm that scared the hell out of Senna
at Monaco one year and yet he searched for but never quite experienced
again. Many times I'll set a record for myself when I'm not merely
trying not to overthink it, but not even really understanding exactly
what I'm doing to go so much faster - you just get in the zone both
mentally and physically, and with a bit of luck you manage to put it all
Ok, now it's time to take a lap around the track!
Nordschleife - Step by Step
Note as of GT5 2.01: several corners cannot be taken as this guide
suggests... I've found that the Hatzenbach, the crest into Adenauer Forst,
Mutkurve, Schwalbenschwanz, and several other spots that need high
speed grip or downforce to cope with bumps are now prone to understeering
off. I now take a slightly different line, brake earler, etc, to cope
with the understeer and more sliding into the apexes.
Track graffiti: the graffiti has changed a bit in GT5, so frequently
I look at the kerbs - front edges for braking points, back edges for turn
in points, etc. There is still graffiti in some particular spots though,
so learn where this is - usually it marks particularly difficult corners
where you need to know the last possible spot to brake or turn in.
Remember also that the track is far more bumpy in GT5 than it was in GT4,
and the kerbs aren't as friendly either. Or the cambers. Or the corner
lines, or the undulations. Basically way more places to cause mistakes.
I think this is a good thing (more realistic) but be ready for it.
Again, the gearing is for the Formula Gran Turismo. For the X2010
the gearing depends on which one you are driving (S. Vettel [bronze] or
the black [silver or gold]) and how much downforce you have added -
you'll probably want that maxed out. If you actually won any of these
cars, then I doubt you really need my advice :)
T13 (grandstand section)
5th - Brake-4-3 - left - 4-5 - right bend - 6th - right - 7th - left bend
Right off the bat, the right to T13 is slippery - it's easy to mess up and
go wide left into the grass, or spin into the wall on the right. And the
first left is a doozy as well. You wouldn't believe how easily your lap
can be over before it even starts.
If you got a good exit from the final right turn of Hohenrain, you should be
coming toward the start/finish straight accelerating from 3rd gear through 4th
and 5th, tracking to the right side. I stay in 3rd gear for this left now.
Because it's downhill, it's easy to miss the apex here.
Flat out into 6th gear for the second right, which is slightly more difficult
than it was in GT4, so anticipate for an early turn in and squeeze out of
the wheel a bit on the exit (most other cars won't do this flat - one gear
change down). 7th gear before you brake for the next section.
Hatzenbach (Hatzen Brook)
Brake-6-5-left-4 - double right - 5th - left - 4th - right-left
I have started taking the left while downshifting all the way to 4th so I can
throttle earlier through the right; I think it also keeps the rear end a bit
more stable. Back up to 5th for the next left about where the path is,
throttle through, then keep the revs high in 4th to throttle to the right, then
a tiny lift in 4th to switch left, exiting wide and heading to the next section
in 5th gear.
Hocheichen (Great Oaks)
Brake-4th - right - careful throttle - left - flat 5-6-7
This section seems tighter than in GT4 - don't be late here. I've become
familiar with all sorts of ways to crash here in GT5...
As you approach the first right, brake fairly early down to 4th gear,
turn in and give it some gas toward the crest; this spot needs a very delicate
touch on the throttle to avoid spinning as the road drops under you, and the
camber for the left also does strange things. It's almost a mini corkscrew.
If I make it this far without crashing the Formula Gran Turismo, I'm relieved,
since it's easy to blow laps anywhere in Hatzenbach or Hochichen. So many
difficult turns in just the first 26 seconds.
Quiddelbacher Hohe (Quiddelbach Height)
Flat - over crest - right
This section is flat out but bumpy, stick to the basics and you should reach
7th gear before the brutal crest at the start of the next section.
Flugplatz (Airfield, literally "Flying Place")
Flat - over crest - settle - double right - left - left
Easier than in GT4.
Go over the left center of the crest as straight as you can and stay on
the throttle. You should have a beat to let the car settle before
heading into the double-apex right-hander. This corner is easy to get
wrong going flat out at this speed, but this is all flat in 7th gear if you
take it smoothly enough. Barely touch the first apex, and you should
come around the second one in a single arc. Keep going flat out into the
Schwedenkreuz (Swedish Cross)
Flat 7th - left - crest - careful long bumpy left - still flat
This is all flat out, in 7th gear. Go over the crest near the middle or
slightly right but go as straight as possible. The next long left is totally
flat, but you need to be very gentle with the turn in, and there is a bump
about half-way through that can be unsettling. Also, try not to touch the
inside kerb which tends to throw off your balance. Try to make the car
track slightly left of center as you get ready to brake hard down to 3rd
into the next section.
BRAKE-6-5-4-3 - long right - flat on exit
It's important for your time to get a good exit here so concentrate on your
braking point and get a good line. I usually start braking just where the edge
of the kerb ends on the left. This is a somewhat long right-hander so
throttle control is important. If you can do this without 3rd gear it can
improve your time but 4th can also cause a lot of understeer. Try to get a
straight line for good acceleration on the exit toward the bridge. You can
take a lot of kerb on the exit if you have to but avoid it normally.
Fuchsrohre (Foxhole or "Fox's Neck")
Flat to 7th left-right-left - right - left up hill - 6th - left
Drive through the bends as straight as you can, touching each kerb, until you
approach the compression that leads up the hill to the left. You can stay
completely flat all the way to 7th gear. As you come up the hill stay to the
right, and the left over the crest is rather delicate now, but go as straight
as you can, or better turn early and avoid the kerb, then quickly drop to 5th
for the next bit. The section after the crest is extremely bumpy now, so
it takes a delicate touch to stay on the track.
Adenauer Forst (Adenau Forest)
Dab 5th - right - brake-4-left-3 - early left - right - 4th - exit flat 5-6-7
It is really easy to screw up this bumpy, twisty section, so think ahead.
Keep your revs steady in 5th for the right, hugging the kerb without
touching it, then as the track straightens drop to 3rd to prepare for the
"newbie corner". Avoid braking too late, and if you can, smoothly connect the
two lefts, using a line to set up the right. If you can avoid the kerb on
the right then do so, but the Formula car may have other ideas. If you are
patient and focus on setting up early throttle for the right and a good exit,
it's a lot easier to find time here.
You should be well into 5th gear as you pass the section timer. Continue
accelerating flat out into 7th for the next section.
Metzgesfeld (Metzge's Field)
Flat - bend left-right-left - left - left - brake-6-5-4 - left-5th-right
Deceptively difficult - it's flat if you do it perfectly, but if you miss
the apex or bump the kerb the least bit, you'll visit the big grass field
on the right. I usually have to turn in twice, hard.
Give extra attention to your line, carefully sweep through flat in 7th gear
then brake down to 4th for the next left. Watch the kerb, and 4th may feel
boggy if you turn in too late or brake a bit too much. 5th gear by the
right turn apex and down the hill, but it's very bumpy and slippery through
this section so be careful with the throttle.
Kallenhard (Kallen Forest)
Brake-4 - right - 4-5 - left - 6th
Let the car track left as you come down the hill, and you want to brake fairly
early and drop back to 4th. The kerb on the inside right is a good reference,
brake at its front edge. Apex late but get on the inside until you can see
a clear exit, then give it gas and track to the outside. Continue through 5th
and 6th as you bend left and approach the next scary sections of the track.
Spiegelkurve (unofficial, "Mirror Curve")
Flat 6th - left-right - sort out messy exit
You know, this isn't anywhere near as difficult now. The wide line works
without too much drama now, and there is space to work with if you mess
up before the next part. Not to be underestimated, however.
"Miss-Hit-Miss" (also Drei Rechte, "Three Rights")
6th - bleed revs - miss - hit - flat 6th - miss
Big change from GT4 - now, it's the front end you have to worry about. Very
easy to blow it here.
This is another place where the turns feel like they change on you so you don't
want to be accelerating and tightening your turning arc at the same time.
It feels like this is easier, but the tendency is to understeer after the third
right. If you get the car to the right spot on the "hit" kerb then you can keep
the throttle flat for the exit without worrying about the edge of the track too
much. I'd leave it in 6th here, with a small lift to get the car pointed.
Wehrseifen (Resistance Valley)
Brake-5-4-right-3-left-2-left - 3rd - right - 4th - exit - flat 5-6
This is a very slow corner where much time can be lost, so it's important
to be as accurate as possible. Get your braking done early - focus on
making a really good exit through the left and right. Go too deep and
you'll only be losing time. Once I realized the left is really a double left,
I altered my line somewhat and it made some time.
As you go to 2nd, make sure to keep the revs high. Smoothly accelerate in 3rd
just after the left and get to 4th for the following right. Careful with the
exit. Flat to 5th and 6th toward the next section.
Right bend - brake-5-4 - double left watch the wall - 5th
There's a concrete wall here for a reason. Very easy to lose it here not
only by braking too late, but just generally from poor grip through the middle
of the corner - keep your rear end in check and try to be precise.
Approach the right bend in 6th gear but start braking for the left somewhat
early - you want to be in 4th and close to the inside. The pavement is
not grippy and difficult to do with full throttle, and going too wide makes it
hard to set up the following right turn. Get 5th on the exit and the car
will get some acceleration to the next bit. Line the car up as straight as
you can leading to the next right.
Ex-Muhle (Water Mill)
Bumpy - early, light brake 4th - minimum speed, light power - right - flat 5-6
This section is a little less delicate than before. The right is tricky, so
time your turning and throttle with suspension compression to make it easier;
if you are out of sync you'll find sluggish turning and wheel spin.
Approach in 5th gear and brake lightly and early since it gets bumpy, uphill,
and off camber - the entry will understeer so use the graffiti and turn in
somewhat early, staying tight on the apex. Little bit of crest here so
release your arc and get good throttle on the exit, but if you go too wide
it will take a while to get back on the power. Also be careful accelerating up
the hill - you should get up to 5th before the crest but if you push too hard
you might get wheel spin and possibly lose the rear. Continue flat out through
6th gear into the next section.
Flat 7th - left
In the Formula car there isn't much to this - stay hard on the throttle and you
should reach 7th gear near the apex, after which you can keep accelerating
down the hill and track a bit off to the left before the next section.
Bergwerk (Mine, literally "Mountain Work")
Brake-6-5-4 - right - 5th - right - left flat 6th
Similar to Ex-Muhle though not as delicate, this is one of the most important
corners for getting a strong exit. This corner's odd shape and weird camber
make most attempts to brake late end in understeer followed by tracking wide
into the Armco - usually I use the Bergwerk sign on the right as a reference,
braking at or just after it. Brake consistently to 4th, and though this is
a late apex corner, the entry is a bit earlier than you may think because of
the uphill and the camber. Work the throttle patiently and get a good exit.
The exit is also tricky - there are weird dips and crowns that can easily
throw you off if you don't pay attention to them.
Kesselchen (Little Valley, "Little Bottom")
Left-7th-left-left - left - right, right, right-left
Easy to underestimate this section - it is much bumpier now, and one of the
lefts is more difficult to do flat-out in most cars. Reminds me a bit of the
four-apex left in Turkey GP, maybe they got it from here...
The Formula car easily takes this flat all the way through. There is a series
of left bends where you should reach 7th gear. The next right curves are quite
bumpy, which is one place where stability control can freak out and careen you
into the Armco. After this there is a quick right-left, so try to miss-hit the
split kerbs on the right, then just touch the edge of the kerb on the left. Aim
for a straight line that will put you on the kerb up close to the Armco at the
right edge, and brace for the next section.
Mutkurve (Courage Curve, also Angstkurve, "Fear curve")
Flat 7th - double left - left
The formula car takes this easy flat now. Just make sure you use a good line.
Get tight inside for the first apex and then track toward the outside. Another
left bend after that.
Klostertal (Convent Valley)
Flat 7th - left-right - crest - relaxed exit
Turn early with a lot of anticipation.
There's a big bump on the right here now, so you'll have to consider that
when establishing your line. But, with the right rhythm and setup this
also isn't too difficult in the Formula Gran Turismo now.
Steilstrecke (Steep Stretch)
BRAKE-left-6-5-4-3 - double right - 4th - exit - 5-6
Understeer - oversteer.
This tight curve is hidden by a crest that you will go over flat out, then
brake just before the kerb on the left, down to 3rd. This is another curve
that has a couple of apexes, and it's really slippery now also. Enter in
3rd gear, 4th past the second apex. There are gentle bends leading to the
next section but you can easily go straight and keep accelerating, just
reaching 6th gear before dropping hard back to 3rd again.
Brake-5-4-3 - long left - exit - 4th - two rights flat 5-6
You can make or lose a lot of time here because of how slow and long it is.
However, I think the feel of the banking is much better here now. The main
thing is your entry - how you drop in (straight) has a lot to do with
how well you stay in.
This tight banked corner is easiest if you keep the car inside but not all the
way to the kerb, and keep the revs steady in 3rd, slowly accelerating, until
you see the exit is close, where you can give it more if your car is still in
the banking. Pop over the last corner stone and start throttling hard toward
the next section.
Hohe Acht (High Lookout, after the hut)
Right - left - left-brake-5-left - right - Brake-4 - right - Flat 5th
You should be high in 6th gear, after exiting Karussell and passing the tricky
left-hander flat out - sometimes I get 7th before dropping to 5th for the
tight left-right toward the summit. Be patient with the throttle and set up
a good line - the rear grip goes away as you crest so be gentle. Brake early
down to 4th for the right and stay tight on the inside so you can be back
on the throttle hard at the apex.
Hedwigshohe (Hedwig's Height)
Left - 6th - right - light brake 5th - left
Believe it or not you can take this flat in 6th if you get the right line, but
you have to keep the car steady and smooth on the steering before you tap the
brake at the exit and into 5th for the next curve. Getting this wrong will
totally blow your balance into...
Wipperman (Seesaw Man)
Left - downhill right - tap brake - uphill right
This spot is an easy place to lose it because of the abrupt way that it goes
downhill, and when I went to the real track we saw an accident here. This
tricky left-right gets a bit snappy and has a tendency to toss you right off
the track, so you'll find is a lot easier in the Formula if you concentrate
on keeping the car balanced. This is in 5th gear now, and I'm usually
aiming to take some kerb for the right. As you approach the uphill avoid
braking too late since it will cause understeer that will probably put you
on the grass as you go over the crest. I stay in 5th if I can.
Eschbach (Ash Brook)
Brake-4 - double left - 5th
Understeer then oversteer. Great gallery point at the exit...
Brake somewhat early to drop back to 4th for the downhill double left
hander, which is another part where it is easy to miss the entry and/or
lose the rear. Wait for the car to settle between apexes before you shift
to 5th gear for the second apex.
Starting here there are nice white bands of graffiti to help you find good
Brunnchen (Little Well)
Brake-4th - right - 5th - brake-4th - right - 5th
This is another dance between 4th and 5th gears. The first right hander is
very easy to overcook as it is downhill, and very often you will find yourself
all the way to the left on the exit, almost into the grass. If you can keep
just the left wheels on the kerb you will still be able to get good throttle
in 5th before the next right, again dropping to 4th for the turn and back to
5th as the car tracks to the outside of the exit (but be especially careful
here, the sand will lose you a lot of time). There is a certain melody
with the revs, dropping to 4th slightly lower each time.
Eiskurve (Ice Curve)
Brake-4th - left - 5th through right - 6-7
Tons of crowned pavement through here. Plus camber going the wrong way.
This left-hander is again taken in 4th, but it seems longer and goes into a
tricky right hander on the exit. I've started braking earlier (using the white
graffiti as a braking reference - again like Wehrseifen, if you find the left
is difficult to make it means you're too deep) so I can use more throttle. The
pavement also crowns and is really slippery (hence the name), so stay in the
middle of the pavement as you accelerate into 5th and 6th gears for the next
Pflanzgarten 1 (Plant Garden)
Left, left, right, over crest STRAIGHT - settle-dab-6th-right-right
Try to be aggressive into the first right after the jump, since it's hard
to get very much grip until the big drop. I'm trying really hard to get
to where I'm flat in 6th after I turn right...
The wavy bends can be taken flat, sticking to the basics but ending
up slightly to the left as you go over the little jump at the bottom.
Like other jumps, this seems less severe now, so the main trick is not to
go too wide and get caught by the grass as you dab into 6th and head into
the tricky double right. Keep accelerating but of course be smooth as you
sweep through toward the next part. Your exit here can make or lose
considerable time all the way to Schwalbenschwanz.
Sprunghugel (Leap Hill)
Moderate - left - 7th before exit - left - STRAIGHT over left side of drop
This first left is another easy place to mess up and not be in the right
position to track to the rumble strip on the right side of the exit. The
slippery entry is the part that is tricky now - the drop really isn't
a problem anymore.
Flat 7th - hook up with dark inside patches - right, left-right, left
This section is flat out in 7th and is much easier than in GT4 since the
car feels softer and absorbs the pavement. Or maybe the pavement has
Schwalbenschwanz (Swallow Tail)
Flat 7th - right - brake-6-5-4 - left - 5th
I can finally do the entry flat here. The timing is crucial and your line
needs to be very accurate in order to set up the following left, so focus,
get inside near the kerb and smoothly relax the exit. I don't worry about
crowning since it feels like you can just use traditional lines now. Brake
quickly to 4th for the left turn-in. 5th gear as you head on to the next part.
Kleinekarussell (Little Karussell)
Brake-4 - drop into banking left - pop out - left - flat 5-6
MUCH better than in GT4 or NFS:S. Stay in 4th.
It's all too easy to underestimate this important corner. But since it is
flat from here on, it's crucial to do this well. Approach in 5th and
brake somewhat early to 4th. Drop half the car inside and try to build
revs as you pop out over the right corner of the last paving block.
Continue through 5th, and into 6th for the approach to the next corner.
Galgenkopf (Gallow Hill)
Dab 6th - don't touch kerbs - right-right - right - exit
Not to be underestimated, but it's easier than in GT4. Like 3 rights, now
you can just turn in and not worry about the rear so much.
The trick is getting the first right apex - you definitely do not want to hit
the kerb as you will almost certainly bounce and crash into the Armco, but if
you go the slightest bit too wide you will not stay on the track. Use 5th
gear after the entry if you even think the left edge is getting too close or
if the car bogs down. Try to anticipate the kerb for the third right
hander and dive in, staying flat on the throttle and close to the inside
kerb. Normal exit.
Dottinger Hohe (Dottingen High)
Flat 7th - looooong straight
Not much to this - keep it flat in 7th and stick just off center to the right.
The car should be reaching top speed as you start on the incline before the
bridge, let the car go all the way right...
Antoniusbuche (Antonius' Beech)
Flat 7th - left - down hill
Turn early and ease through the left hander, totally wide open. You will get
the T11 section time as you pass under the bridge. Keep it flat out down the
Tiergarten (Animal Garden)
Flat 7th - left-right
This section near the end leads to a left-right that you can take flat out in
the Formula car, so don't lift or anything, just stick to the basics and go as
fast as you can. Once you clear the right and are going straight, immediately
drop to 6th for the final section...
Hohenrain (Raised Boundary)
Brake-6-5-left-4-3 - right-4th-left - brake - 3rd - right - 4-5
I enter this left while braking down all in one motion...
Cut to the inside left while braking into 5th, straighten and drop quickly
down to 3rd for the right hander of the chicane, keeping the revs high but
steady since this corner is an easy place to spoil what might have been a
stellar lap time. I stay off the kerbs and shift to 4th just after the apex
of the right, going into the left with careful throttle.
Brake to 3rd and get ready for the final right-hander. Aim for the Armco
at the apex and just miss it - don't go too wide as you make your last effort
at throttling hard up the hill to the finish. This corner is slippery and
I've blown laps here several times. You should make 5th gear and then
cross and get your final lap time.
"Every lap I do at the Nurburgring, I make a mistake. I never go through
the Nurburgring feeling that I've achieved something in the way of
the perfect lap."
--Jackie Stewart, 1973
Analyzing would be much easier for us if PDI had included the section
times in Replay Theater... You almost have to write them down as you're
trying to concentrate on racing, or make some kind of mental note. Most
of the time when I hit my best section times (especially in the first
five sections but even if I happen to notice T6 at Hohe Acht) I end
up crashing and destroying the lap. My best laps nearly always start
with mistakes of a few tenths, which somehow allow me to forget the
timer and concentrate on each corner in the moment, putting together
a lap that amounts to a faster time than I've done before.
Anyway, my latest best time of 4'42.277 has at least .7 of time to be
improved in the first five sections - I know this from racing against
it as a ghost. However I still don't know what I did to be so fast after
Hohe Acht, sometimes I lose 1.5 seconds on the ghost just in T6-T8!
Nevertheless, my current "ideal lap" is around 4'41.5, so we'll see how
many hundreds of laps it takes to put that together... and that's
contingent on the next GT5 update fixing the grip problems the
2.01 update introduced.
Addendum 1 - AMG Academy
To unlock the Nurburgring Nordschleife in Practice and Arcade mode, you must
first complete the Beginning and Intermediate AMG Academy Special challenges
with Bronze times (fairly easy if you know the track, and even the
gold times are pretty generous if you know the track really well). Silver
will unlock the 4-hour Endurance, Gold will unlock the 24-hour (though
you will still need high driver levels to get to these).
AMG Academy is meant to teach you how to lap the Nordschleife safely,
section by section. Each of four tiers is split into five segments - the
first four are the quarters of the track, followed by a fifth segment
which requires a full lap in traffic (complete with boneheaded-tourist
driving styles, so be alert). Tiers 1 and 3 are in the old gull-wing
300SL, while Tiers 2 and 4 are in the new SLS AMG; tiers 1-2 are dry,
while 3-4 are wet. I also feel that the grip seems slightly better for the
full lap than in the segments, even though the tires are supposedly the
same spec (and the higher grip shows in the lap time, which is much less
than the sum of the segments).
I love going back to the AMG Academy and practicing all of the tiers
every now and then - it's a great way to see how far you've come but
also polish your track knowledge further. Between this and the Alaska
Snow Master rally stages, it's great for your feel for grip, car control,
and instinct for difficult corner complexes.
With the 300SL you have not a great deal of power and only four gears,
so my advice is rev the nuts off the thing - don't upshift until you
nearly bounce off the limiter. As for the SLS, it's fairly grippy with
the aero and other tuning, and though it tends to understeer at times,
you have lots of power and seven gears to work with. In either car,
I dial down the front brakes to help the rotation, and beyond that it
is mostly a balancing act that decides how to attack corners - when to
put the power down, when to shift (using high revs or low), etc. The
shift points become especially important in the wet, since high revs
sometimes spin the tires, but so does short shifting sometimes...
I wouldn't totally avoid either method, they both can be useful even
in the wet - since both cars have big long heavy front ends, the
understeer is often countered by dropping a gear into high revs.
Finally, use the swaying motion of the car to your advantage - try to
time your inputs so that the car sways in the direction you want to go.
The dry segments are on tires that are suitable for each car - sports
tires for the 300SL, racing tires on the SLS. I'm not sure why they
selected sports softs for Beginner segment 1, but mediums for the other
segments... As for the wet tiers, in both you will be struggling with
comfort soft tires. In the 300SL this isn't too terrible, you just have
to be careful. In the SLS however, comfort tires make it extremely
difficult to use any power, or brake straight, or make the much heavier
car turn - difficult enough if it were dry, but quite a nightmare in
the wet, and very dangerous when running in traffic - basically you
have no grip to work with if anything goes wrong.
Driving fast in the wet is not unlike driving a car with way too much power
and no grip - basically you have to think ahead a lot more and don't even
consider trying to "push harder" - you'll probably go slower, or crash.
I just try to do everything smooth and early, and remember the advice for
wet driving of "drag strips and braking zones", along with "middle-middle-
middle" somewhat. Depends on the car, too, since the old gull-wing tends
to understeer (especially on braking) so you may actually want to use the
wet to kick out the tail slightly in some places. In fact when I replay
the AMG Academy these days I turn off TC and set the brakes at 2/5 so they
are weaker and more toward the rear. Mostly, just be smooth and think
way, way ahead.
When overtaking slower traffic, one must try to follow the German
rule of drive-right (rechtsfahren) which means drive on the right, pass
on the left. This principle of lane discipline means it is technically
illegal to hog the left lane, or pass on the right. I say technically
because since this is a race track as well as a one-way toll road, and
obviously racing technique usually is pass on the inside (which could
of course be the left or right), you sometimes may find yourself having
to choose the safer of these two directives depending on the situation.
Another way to put it, if you find that the car in front has not shown
any acknowledgement that you are trying to pass, or let's say you catch
a car that has committed to the left line as you are both going to hard
braking, you may have to break the rechtsfahren rule to overtake safely.
The game won't penalize you for doing this, so do it judiciously (when
other cars hog the road, or take forever to decide where they are going).
Still, I try to practice always passing on the left. This will
of course get more and more difficult the faster you get - if you are
going for a lap time beyond the mere gold target, you won't want to waste
time waiting for the other cars to get out of the way, and very often
they will be in the wrong place, and especially in the wet they are so
slow that you will almost always catch them off guard. I found that it
is possible to beat the gold times for the full wet laps by over
30 seconds, but you have to be a little aggressive and pass on the
right more often.
You get a lot of experience and credits for completing the AMG Academy,
and for getting all golds in the Expert tier, the prize car is the 2003
SLR McLaren. And I love being able to practice segments of the 'Ring,
which really helps to polish weaker spots without going through
the entire 13 miles each time. I only wish you could do that in
practice with different cars...
My best times:
AMG Beginner full lap (sports medium, dry): 8'28.979
AMG Intermediate full lap (racing hard, dry): 6'53.856
AMG Advanced full lap (comfort soft, wet): 9'09.943
AMG Expert full lap (comfort soft, wet): 7'59.478
See my youtube channel for the 7'59 Expert lap
or my 9'14 Advanced lap
Addendum 2 - my lap milestones
One FAQ I've been getting is "does GT5 have a way to keep track of
how many laps you have done at each circuit?" Simple answer: no,
not in a way that you can reference; although the game does seem
to be aware of it since you get rewards for distance.
Basically I just keep a journal for setups (so that if I go in the
wrong direction I can get back to a point where the car worked), and
any other significant info such as best lap times. I keep a tally
of laps only for the Nordschleife.
Most people's advice is absolutely correct: that it takes about 100
laps just to consider oneself minimally familiar with the track. But
refining from there can take exponentially more practice... In GT4
I eventually found that every 100-200 laps I did yielded another
This is all a-spec only, and of course I don't count any pesky late-nite
frustrating partial spin-and-bounce-off-Armco-screw-this-hit-restart laps
(even if I wipe out at Galgenkopf, or T13 for that matter).
Feel free to skip this section if you like, it's mainly for me (again,
I don't claim to have the fastest times, these are just my personal bests).
I think I'm kinda slow for having done so many laps, but this is the main
track where I develop my skill and I'm still learning...
--------- GT4 --------------------------
Lap 3660: New record arcade, Formula Gran Turismo - 4'40.824
Lap 3672: New record practice, Formula Gran Turismo - 4'48.974
Lap 3881: Latest GT4 lap count
--------- GT4 --------------------------
--------- NFS:S ------------------------
Lap 825: Latest NFS: Shift lap count
--------- NFS:S ------------------------
--------- GT5 --------------------------
Lap 5: Gold (barely ;) in AMG Academy Intermediate: 7'04.998
Lap 11: Gold in AMG Academy Advanced (wet): 9'33.458
Lap 18: Personal best, GT-R (arcade, defaults) - 7'25.439 (trophy)
Lap 24: Gold in AMG Academy Expert (wet): 8'22.332
Lap 50: Red Bull X1 S. Vettel (RH, stock): 3'43.222
Lap 89: Formula Gran Turismo Nordschleife: 4'56.251
Lap 500: Red Bull X1, 4hr Nurburgring Type V best lap: 4'12.220
Lap 734: Finished 24hr Nurburgring A-Spec (Gold Standard Trophy)
Lap 743: Red Bull X2010 Vettel Nordschleife: 3'21.318
Lap 757: Formula Gran Turismo Nordschleife: 4'44.599
Lap 1003: Ferrari F2007 Nordschleife: 4'47.432
Lap 1103: Ford Mark IV Nordschleife: 6'08.601
Lap 1119: Combined Gran Turismo Nordschleife laps (GT4/GT5): 5000
Lap 1153: Mazda 787B, Nurburgring 24h: 7'00.630
Lap 1165: McLaren F1 GTR, Nurburgring 24h: 7'20.185
Lap 1275: Formula GT Nurburgring 24h 2-lap online race: 11'57.998
Lap 1299: Formula Gran Turismo Nordschleife: 4'42.277
Lap 1342: AMG Academy Expert full lap: 7'59.478
Lap 1353: 2011 NASCAR Ford Fusion #99 Nordschleife: 6'00.312
Lap 1432: Alfa Romeo Spider 1600 Nordschleife, SS tires: 8'50.555
--------- GT5 --------------------------
Grand total (GT4, GT5, NFS:S): 6000+
Addendum 3 - real-life lap records
6'11.13 - Stefan Bellof's time stands to this day as the lap record
at the Nordschleife. All of the top fastest times were set during
qualifying in the 1983 Sports Car Championships, the final year that
series ran on the Nordschleife, by drivers of the Porsche 956. If you
have the Porsche 956 In-Car dvd, you are basically viewing the 5th
fastest lap at around 6'41, but as Derek Bell was Bellof's partner in
that race, the car he is driving was the car that set the world record.
As funny as it is when Bell refers to Jackie Ickx who passes him at
Aremberg on a "fast lap", he's still talking about a 25-second
difference in pace. Pretty cool to see some of the names in this
historic starting grid...
1. 6'11.13: Bellof/Bell Rothmans #2
2. 6'16.85: Ickx/Mass Rothmans #1
3. 6'31.59: Wollek/Johansson Joest
4. 6'39.52: Rosberg/Lammers Canon
5. 6'41.17: Patrese/Alboreto Lancia Martini
6. 6'42.1: Fitzpatrick/Hobbes JDavid
How many corners are there?
"It's not REALLY a corner..."
The Nordschleife has 117 corners, in my opinion - at least
that's how I see it now in GT5.
In GT5 there is naturally a greatly increased accuracy in the track,
and I also was starting to get lost or confused while reading my own
guide, since some of the minor bends had been oversimplified or
disregarded. So I went around for a few back-and-forth recon laps
(with much practice of e-brake turns in my Formula GT) and I've added
ten to the corner count.
I still don't quite get how people ended up tallying 147, or 173. I can
understand the low numbers I've heard (I caught myself second-guessing
often, "is this a corner", but found I had counted the same bends
before most of the time), but I do wonder how they got the high counts
even if you included the GP circuit. It's easy to disregard a bend
if you are going slow enough, but even in an F1 car I don't see where
the numbers could have gone so high unless you start numbering by
some arbitrary angle size.
I must mention also that sometimes it takes really looking at the
track (either in a slow car or merely by driving really slowly in a
fast one) to appreciate the complexities of the layout and its subtle
rhythmic delights. It's all too easy to miss it when you're always
going for the fastest lap time you can manage. I certainly had many
"look how cool that is" moments while going more slowly (and sometimes
backwards) and really analyzing not only what counts as a real corner
or at least a bend, but also how they connect to one another in some
almost musical phrases, variations, and echoes.
Can any other track really compare? I find it funny that you will rarely
hear even professional drivers who are clearly in a position to comment
with authority and validity, say definitively that the 'Ring is the
world's most challenging, complex, and demanding circuit. They'll say
it's "arguably" such, or "probably" such... but again the question, how
can any other track compare? Personally, there are only a few other
circuits that offer the same demands on your precision (Monaco),
endurance (Spa, Le Mans), technique (Suzuka, Laguna Seca), or just pure
tradition and driving pleasure (Monza). And fewer still that can
offer such a combination of all of these elements that you can never
be too dedicated to discovering more through many, many laps.
The idea of cross-training is to avoid getting too one-dimensional in your
racing practice (of course it applies to many other disciplines, sports,
etc as well) to the point that you may get limited or diminishing returns
on the time you spend doing laps. It means that by practicing other things,
you may come back to find that you have improved your main focus as well.
This is assuming mastery of the game (i.e. level 40 in A-spec) - prior to
that, there's still plenty left to do before you start needing to think
about what you want to do for cross-training. I know some think in this
day of instant gratification that any amount of grinding is pointless, but
in order to become an accomplished driver, one must put in the time.
One could expound endlessly about the old aphorism "mens sana in corpore
sano" and how the principle transposes to many aspects of life - not just
the relationship between mind and body (and the way that the strengths of
each enhance the performance of the other) but the way that by studying
related disciplines, you will broaden your abilities in all of them. As
to the simple applications on racing, there are lots of other things one
could do in life that seem unrelated to racing but somehow make you better
at it (academics - particularly math and physics; athleticism - such as
running or weight training; coordination and timing - such as playing a
musical instrument or even typing). But I digress.
The most simple meaning of cross-training for the Nordschleife for me is
two things - different cars, and different tracks. Naturally this also
leads to different tires and road conditions. It's great for your speed
if you do lots and lots of laps around the 'Ring, but you will find great
benefit also if you intersperse it with practice at other tracks (my faves
are Monaco, Monza, Laguna Seca, and Le Mans), other cars (mentioned above
in detail), and other conditions (especially rally stages). I've found
that the Alaska Snow Master stages in particular are a great way to hone
all of the elements that you need for doing the Nordschleife - and because
they are randomly generated, you are almost always improvising (you may
have some help from your co-driver, but it is somewhat minimal since he
doesn't tell you anything about track width, elevation change, etc).
And improvisation is a good way to test your true mastery of anything.
The other thing I usually go back to is the license tests - mainly the
S license series as well as the last race tests in each of the I licenses.
They are all pretty fun cars and tracks, and although it's a bummer that
you can't turn off SRF, if you turn off all the other driver aids and
maybe push the brake balance how you prefer, the handling is decent
enough even with lesser tires.
Safety and driving philosophy
Is racing too safe these days? I've even asked myself that question,
purely as a spectator. Believe me, you could hardly ask yourself that
question as a driver, except in the sense that the illusion of safety
in the motorsport world in general might be inviting drivers to engage
in increasingly risky behavior. Most sadly - you're always going
to have situations like the Las Vegas IRL race that lead to a great
driver losing his life and reminding us all that racing will never be
There are plenty of reasons why racing continues to be a risky
endeavor, not the least of which is the fine line that teams often
balance between performance and reliability - the idea that "the ideal
race car crosses the line in first place and then falls apart" has
driven constructors to make some cars very light, very powerful,
and very quick, but so fragile that if anything goes wrong, it's a
complete disaster - particularly for the unlucky driver, whose car
will often break at the worst possible moment. Steering columns
snap, wings fly off, brakes or suspensions fail. The frustrating
fact is that a vast number of our greatest drivers have been
killed by mechanical failures, and not by their own fault. And far
too many of them knew it - they went forward into a race where they
knew something serious was wrong with the car (or the track, or both).
Even the great Juan Manuel Fangio is quoted as saying "a crazy man
finishes in the cemetary", or on another occasion, something to the
effect of if you don't feel confident in the car or the track, don't
race. I think the hardest thing is to distinguish between normal
worries that drivers tend to shut out as they must concentrate
100% on the race ahead, versus genuine problems they should heed
to avoid getting themselves hurt in the race to be.
One strong point of view that I have heard consistently from any
champion drivers (and only contradicted by drivers who never became
champions) is that you always have more to learn, no matter how much
experience you have. I think this goes hand-in-hand with safety as
much as success - as soon as you think you have nothing more to learn,
not only is that the moment you will start to lose, but that could
be the start of what will eventually cost more than race results.
The other thing that many greats (Senna, Fittipaldi, Lauda, etc) have
expounded on eloquently is the pressure, how enormous it is and how
you must deal with it well. As a racing driver, you're always going
for the limit, the absolute highest performance you can command of
yourself, which is not merely 100% of the car's limit but that 101%
or 102% which truly is its maximum. At that level, the wrong kind
of response to pressure is a disaster - so you must know how to
remain calm and somewhat clinical, and precise. And when the mistakes
happen, or bad luck, you must acknowledge it yet forget it and get
on with the task at hand, stay focused on moving forward and save
looking back on things for later. It's very dangerous to let your
mind wander - you don't have the luxury of trying to multi-process
within your brain when you need to concentrate on each corner, each
braking point, each exit, to get the most out of the car that you can.
Above all, never let the red mist get out of control... you're already
risking your life enough when you race calmly.
"To drive consistently, you can't overdrive. You can't go rushing
into corners, because then the whole corner becomes an adventure.
You've gotta be able to back off at the right time, get the car
decelerated, and get the car into the corner; don't overdo the
steering angles, don't overheat the tires, don't have the car
understeering one second and then oversteering the next second,
don't spin your wheels on the way out, don't use up more fuel,
don't use up more brakes. Learn how to do it properly. And when
you learn, never forget."
--Sir Jackie Stewart
More great driver quotes
The more I learn about past champion drivers, the more I find that
nothing I am going through as I learn about being a racing driver
is anything new. Sure, some of the technology is a little different,
but much of the things you learn about yourself through racing is
the same as every driver before you for the last 100-odd years has
already experienced. I decided I should include a few more quotes
that particularly struck a chord with me - quotes that you may
understand the words, but never really truly know the full meaning
until you experience it yourself. And the funny thing is, it is
often filled with contradiction... but what human experience isn't.
"Racing brings out the worst in me. Without it, I don't know what kind
of person I might have become. But I'm not sure I like the person I am
now. Racing makes me selfish, irritable, defensive."
"In retrospect it was worth it. I had a very exciting life and learned
an awful lot about myself and others that I might never have learned.
Racing sort of forced a confrontation with reality. Lots of people spend
their lives in a state that is never really destined to go anywhere."
"This isn't just a thousand-to-one shot. This is a professional
blood sport. And it can happen to you. And then it can happen
to you again.
"A lot of people go through life doing things badly. Racing is
important to men who do it well. When you're racing, it's...
it's life. Anything that happens before, or after - it's just
--Steve McQueen, Le Mans
"I think that to drive very fast around a circuit requires a tremendous
amount of self-control, because the limit of driving very fast and
going over the limit takes a tremendous amount of concentration."
"The racing driver's mind has to have the ability to have amazing
anticipation, coordination, and reflex, because of the speed the
car goes. You are going in one second the length of a football field.
"That means your brain is receiving information from your body what
the car is doing physically, bumping, balance, performance. You have
to visualize a second or two ahead of your car what line you are taking,
what you are going to do, before you get there because it comes too
"For me, this research is fascinating. Every time I push, I find
something more, again and again. But there is a contradiction.
The same moment that you become the fastest, you are enormously
fragile. Because in a split-second, it can be gone. All of it.
These two extremes contribute to knowing yourself, deeper and deeper."
"Formula One is a mind game, no question. You have to think so hard
sometimes smoke comes out your ears! And if you don't keep your head
in gear the car will overtake you."
"Racing is like sex - all men think they're good at it..." [shakes head]
Thanks for reading
Again, I hope this humble labor has helped or inspired you in some way.
Thank you for reading!
"The various methods cannot be expressed in writing... It is
difficult to express it clearly... You must practice constantly."
--Miyamoto Musashi, 1645