What’s your favorite virtual race track?

Colin
By Colin Wood
Aug 2, 2021 | iRacing, Forza Motorsport, Virtual Racing, Gran Turismo

Photograph Courtesy Gran Turismo

Sure, you have a favorite race track in the real world, but what about the virtual world?

Like us, you probably spent a fair amount of your formative years playing racing games like Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport. And, also like us, you likely still find time to enjoy virtual racing in modern sims like iRacing.

[Virtual racing: Get off the couch and onto the track (which is also your couch)]

Do you prefer faithful reproductions of iconic race tracks like the Nürburgring or Spa-Francorchamps? Or are you more into fictional locations, like Gran Turismo’s Trial Mountain Circuit or even Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road?

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solfly
solfly Dork
7/28/21 11:25 a.m.

Maple Valley

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/28/21 11:31 a.m.

Trial Mountain. 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
7/28/21 11:33 a.m.

Rainbow road. 

Countingcrowbars
Countingcrowbars UltraDork
7/28/21 11:41 a.m.

Same as real life, laguna seca. Followed by circ de la sarthe. 

johndej
johndej Dork
7/28/21 11:55 a.m.

In reply to Mndsm :

I'm more of a Koopa Troopa Beach fan, hitting that shortcut just perfect....

 

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/28/21 12:12 p.m.

The stunt course in Hard Drivin' 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
7/28/21 12:20 p.m.
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) said:

The stunt course in Hard Drivin' 

Damn, beat me to it.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
7/28/21 12:49 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Trial Mountain. 

That's a close second.  First would be either Deep Forest or Apricot Hill.  Or maybe they're the close second; I can't decide.

Favorite virtual real track:  Sears Point.  So hard to get a perfect lap.  So much fun to try.

 

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/28/21 1:03 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

The pain of trying to jump things and to go through a loop all while battling terminal understeer. 

trigun7469
trigun7469 SuperDork
7/28/21 1:06 p.m.

Honestly GT5 on the old PS3 and making up my own tracks or downloading others. I would trace different turns from different tracks, I don't think that features exists on the modern counsoles. 

j_tso
j_tso GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/28/21 1:09 p.m.

Anybody else have fond memories of Biker Mice from Mars?

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
7/28/21 1:12 p.m.
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to ProDarwin :

The pain of trying to jump things and to go through a loop all while battling terminal understeer. 

Well, its hard to finesse the throttle and steering inputs when you are using the numberpad laugh

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/28/21 1:41 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

Also, unbeknownst to me at the time, elevated bowl left hand turn after the loop is probably actually the first representation of the karousel that 2nd grade me had ever encountered. 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
7/28/21 3:03 p.m.

It's hard to pick just one, but pretty much all of my top picks come from Gran Turismo 4 since that was my first real racing game.

Bonus question: Anyone notice any differences or similarities driving a course IRL vs. in a game?

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
7/28/21 3:15 p.m.
Colin Wood said:

It's hard to pick just one, but pretty much all of my top picks come from Gran Turismo 4 since that was my first real racing game.

Bonus question: Anyone notice any differences or similarities driving a course IRL vs. in a game?

A big difference on consoles...  to gain a sense of speed on a single flat screen, they lengthen the track, then inflate the speed indicated so that the lap times are fairly accurate.  The Ulman straight at Sebring is not that long at 170mph!

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/28/21 3:45 p.m.

Where to start. .. .  GPD or GPF (Nürburgring Ring).  It is my go-to test track on just about any sim for setting up cars because I don't have to think about the track.  Spa is always fun.   There was some many good tracks created in Grand Turismo.  They are so good that many have been recreated for Assetto Corsa but the originals in GT are better.   

Now I need to pull out my PS3 and try some GT5

Countingcrowbars
Countingcrowbars UltraDork
7/28/21 4:19 p.m.
j_tso said:

Anybody else have fond memories of Biker Mice from Mars?

 

So long ago.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/28/21 5:05 p.m.

In reply to racerfink :

Also the bump at 17 just isn't there on a console. 

hunter47
hunter47 Reader
7/28/21 5:10 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

Yep. Only had experience with a 3/4 mile kart track at a time attack, but I was easily 5-6 seconds off my in game time with a similar setup. 

It also feels MUCH shorter IRL than in game.

slowbird
slowbird UltraDork
7/28/21 6:00 p.m.

Gran Turismo 2:

Midfield Raceway
Trial Mountain
Special Stage Route 5

Sports Car GT:

Chatham
North Point
Sardian Park

Forza 3:

Maple Valley
Sunset Peninsula Roval
Fujimi Kaido
Iberian Circuit

 

I'm sure I'll think of more later. And of course, real tracks like Sonoma and Mid-Ohio are tremendous fun in the sim world too.

Carbon (Forum Supporter)
Carbon (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/28/21 7:26 p.m.

Deep forest, trial mountain, and autumn ring. 


dps214
dps214 Dork
7/28/21 8:38 p.m.

Probably nurburgring. It's just ridiculous and even if/when I ever get to drive it there's no way I could push nearly as hard as I can in sim.

Other than that, probably some of the oddball track configs that iracing has that you would (and probably never should) be able to run on. Like tsukuba 1000 outer that's basically a tiny, flat right turn oval. Or any of the moto/legends layouts that are just ridiculous to drive in a normal car.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
7/28/21 10:29 p.m.

Hard Drivin' stunt track. A very expensive bastard to learn. One and done. $2.00 in 1990 money was nothing to sneeze at. 

Masterdebator
Masterdebator New Reader
7/28/21 10:34 p.m.

Complex String from Gran Turismo

Ruins of Athens from Rad Racer

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
7/28/21 11:27 p.m.

Trial Mountain and Deep Forrest (GT tracks that are thankfully available in Assetto Corsa)

I have though, recently become a fan of the virtual version of Mid Ohio for some reason.

AClockworkGarage
AClockworkGarage HalfDork
7/29/21 2:23 a.m.

Prague in FM7 is one of my favourite relaxing flowing tracks. Sometimes I'll set it for 30-50 laps and just throw a little volvo around it after a long lousy day at work.

Here's not-me doing 2 laps of the full circuit in a car I hate:

 

 

 

AClockworkGarage
AClockworkGarage HalfDork
7/29/21 2:34 a.m.
solfly said:

Maple Valley

Which Maple Valley? The original version was beautiful but the FM7 version is disappointing. Switching the pit lane isn't really an improvement and replacing the gorgeous covered bridge with that modern arm monstrosity has to be some kind of crime. 

buzzboy
buzzboy Dork
7/29/21 6:57 a.m.

My favorite track from my favorite Marki Kart game. Waluigi Stadium from Double Dash.

Durty
Durty Reader
7/29/21 9:31 a.m.

I do love mario kart and wario stadium. 

 

I think Suzuka is my all time favorite. 

 

I still definitely don't have AClockworkGarage's commitment to 40 laps of any circuit just to flow off some steam. He gets my respect though. 

 

I think the real thread-jack question is behind the car view, drivers eye or front bumper?

danse
danse GRM+ Member
7/29/21 10:30 a.m.

Has to be the green hell for me. 

solfly
solfly Dork
7/29/21 11:27 a.m.
AClockworkGarage said:
solfly said:

Maple Valley

Which Maple Valley? The original version was beautiful but the FM7 version is disappointing. Switching the pit lane isn't really an improvement and replacing the gorgeous covered bridge with that modern arm monstrosity has to be some kind of crime. 

Original.

solfly
solfly Dork
7/29/21 11:28 a.m.

Also the ones named after snakes in forza were solid too.

P3PPY
P3PPY Dork
7/29/21 7:20 p.m.

Might as well be virtual for all I'm going to race it: Laguna Seca in a Team Oreca Viper

 

edit: okay so I looked and apparently its now called WeatherTech Raceway annnnnd it's open to the public. 
*cue the daydreaming*

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman SuperDork
7/29/21 7:31 p.m.

I like trying to shave tenths off at Tsukuba Circuit. Also it's fun to lap other cars on a short track. 

AClockworkGarage
AClockworkGarage HalfDork
7/30/21 3:31 p.m.
Durty said:

I think the real thread-jack question is behind the car view, drivers eye or front bumper?

Depends on the game. 
GTA: third person.
Wreckfest: driver view because embrace the chaos.
Forza: hood view. Realistic-ish but not distracting.

 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
7/30/21 3:53 p.m.
Durty said:

I think Suzuka is my all time favorite.

I think the real thread-jack question is behind the car view, drivers eye or front bumper?

I hate Suzuka, but that's cool.

Driver's eye view for me, always.

 

UnderPSI
UnderPSI
8/2/21 9:15 a.m.
j_tso said:

Anybody else have fond memories of Biker Mice from Mars?

 

I am sure there is a notebook full of codes in my basement for this game... I still have the cartridge!

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
8/2/21 9:20 a.m.

Hood/cowl view for me.  FOV cranked to the max.  I like to be able to maximize my forward view, even if its somewhat distorted.  rendering interior stuff seems like a waste of pixels that could be used to render exterior geometry.  I have an "interior" its just my kb/mouse/wheel/desk, so no need to see a duplicate.

Camera too far forward from driver's position however means it isn't as sensitive to rotation and makes detecting the rear stepping out a lot harder.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/2/21 10:38 a.m.
P3PPY
P3PPY Dork
8/4/21 9:03 p.m.

In reply to AClockworkGarage :

GTA or GT? Or both?

Bumper cam for me, please. 

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/5/21 8:19 a.m.

 

Hood/cowl View.  

johndej
johndej Dork
8/13/21 1:21 p.m.

Just reading a couple of theories about how Deep Forest was potentially inspired by Greenwood Roadway in Iowa. Kinda interesting as similar layout and very close topography. Wonder if any farmers recall anyone snooping around in the mid 90s.

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