Kicking Butt in B-spec: Tips and Builds from Beginner to Endurance Series
by: B. Martin
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 4/17/2012
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While there are many different guides out there on A-Spec, there are very few that tackle the B-Spec side of Gran Turismo 5. In this guide, I'll be taking you through how to set up your driver, how you control your driver, and other quirks that everyone should know when they're going through B-Spec.
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Many people will start off GT5 by going into A-Spec, but for the purpose of this guide I'm going to assume that A-Spec doesn't exist and everything that you’re doing is in B-Spec. A-Spec gets a lot easier when you have a wide variety of cars to choose from, and only by going through B-Spec can you get a lot of the special prize cars in the game. Before we get into the more advanced things however, lets take care of the basics.
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The first thing you need to setup in B-Spec racing is your Driver. If you've spent any time reading online forums on B-Spec, you'd quickly discover that the internet has decided to affectionately nickname him "Bob". In this section of the guide I'll walk you through setting up your GT5 driver and figuring out how best to utilize him.
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Bob has several key characteristics that are randomized and can be 're-rolled' as often as you like, but will only go so high. These are Braking, Cornering, Accuracy, Strength, Mental Strength, and Personality. These are all very important, and will determine how your GT5 driver performs throughout his career.
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Stats That Effect Your Top Speed
Braking: In arcade racing games you might hardly touch the brake, but in GT5 the braking skill is very important for Bob. If Bob doesn't know how to brake properly, he'll enter a turn too fast and will spin out even if his Cornering stat is high. A good Braking skill also ensures that Bob controls his slow-down enough that he's not overdoing it and leaving the corner slower then he needs to.
Cornering: Cornering and Braking go hand in hand. Spinning out is never a good thing, but if Bob takes a turn too sharply it will happen every time, costing you valuable seconds getting your car stabilized or back on the track. The higher your Cornering skill, the faster Bob can take corners and improve his Driving Line throughout the course.
Accuracy: Accuracy is your ability to stay on target. While Cornering will determine how fast you can take a corner, your Accuracy stat will determine how well you are following your Driving Line. Just because Bob can take a corner a little wide doesn't mean you want him to. This stat also determines Bob's ability to navigate between cars for passing.
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Stats That Change During a Race
Strength: Strength determines just how long Bob can drive. During the race you will see Bob's Strength stat constantly going down. The higher the Strength stat, the less likely Bob is to make mistakes. Strength is also a skill that will decrease near the end of your racer’s career. Once you see Bob's strength stat being grayed out, you'll know that you'll need to start training a new Bob or two.
Mental Strength: Mental Strength is how tough Bob is mentally. Things like being stuck in a certain position for a long period, being lapped, getting into a crash, and how low your physical strength is getting all have an effect on your Mental Strength. I've found however that the largest factor is how low your Strength is getting during the race. The lower your Mental Strength, the more likely you are to make mistakes like bumping into other drivers or spinning out in turns.
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Stats That Effect How You Drive
Personality: The Personality trait determines how Bob acts while behind the wheel. A Bob that’s very Cool will not be bothered as much by changing conditions and will slowly determine the best thing to do. A very Hot Bob will, in contrast, make more snap decisions and fly by the seat of his pants. How this plays out during the race is that the hotter Bob's personality, the more rapidly his pace changes during the race, whether he's affected by how close cars are to him, or to the commands to increase or lower the pace you give him. If you like to have a Hot driver, you might want to focus on the Accuracy skill as he'll want to pass often, and you might consider Cornering as your high stat if your Bob is Cool.
Experience: While not a stat you can change, Experience is very important. When starting out, Bob doesn't really know what he's doing. He doesn't know the tracks, he isn't used to the cars, and he's not used to passing other drivers. As you drive more cars, drive the tracks, and get used to racing overall, your experience will go up. Bob will take corners better, be more accurate in his driving line, and know when to pass others.
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Getting a Car
Getting your first Gran Turismo 5 car and picking your first car is a bit different. While you start out with $20,000 in cash and can immediately buy something to race with, you should hold off. While I'm going to assume you are not interested in A-Spec right away, you should go for the License tests. It will show the basics on how to drive, and getting either a Bronze, Silver, or Gold across each level of tests will reward you with different cars. Even if you didn't want the cars, I'd say go through the first set of tests anyway. It will give you a good grasp of the basics and will give you a better grasp on when you should be giving certain orders to Bob.
Even after you get your first car, Bob is not going to drive very well at all. The goal is not to win these races however; it’s to get additional cash and experience. You can only buy cars that are equal or less than your B-Spec level, and you'll do a lot better with a good level 3 to 5 car then you are getting a level 0 vehicle.
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Picking Your Car
The Used Car Dealership is a great place to pick your first car, but the selection rotates. Each race counts as the passing of one day, and each day 6 new cars are added to the list, while the 6 oldest are removed from the list. This is the other reason you will want to wait. After each race take a quick look into the Used Car Dealership and you might snag something that works a lot better for you than what’s there on the first day. As an added tip, doing License tests also counts as a race day, but takes a lot shorter real time.
One additional note, don't sell any of your cars. You don't get enough of a return out of them to really make that much of a difference, and you can only get the prize cars once... sell those and they're gone forever.
There are a ton of upgrades for your car, but you should stick to the cheap ones for now. Get the best tires that are allowed for the first race, Sports: Hard, and get any upgrade that’s $1000 or less, including the oil change.
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Car Picking Tip
If you are having trouble deciding and feeling a little overwhelmed by the vast number of Gran Turismo 5 car selections, the Honda Civic Type R '08 is a good solid car that you can get once you’re at level 2 and costs under 30K. It’s an FF type too, so you can use it in the FF Challenge immediately.
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Before You Start
Before you start the race, you'll want to know how to control your b-spec driver. The only interaction you will have with your driver is through the Headset on screen. When you select it, four different options will be available: Pace Down, Maintain Pace, Pace Up, and Overtake. Before you can grasp what these do, you need to understand the display directly right of the headset. This shows your Driver’s name, his current Strength and Mental Strength, whether he is going to Pit or not, and his disposition.
Similar to the Cool and Hot Personality scale, this shows your driver’s mental state during the race. When in the Blue section, your driver is feeling at ease, he's taking his time, making sure to take corners perfectly, and conserving his Strength. When in the Red your driver is feeling the need to be more aggressive, take turns more closely and shave every second he can to get further ahead, which uses more energy to control the car. Usually you want Bob to be somewhere in the middle... not so laid back that he falls to the back of the pack, but not so aggressive that he's spinning out on turns and bumping other cars. That’s where your controls come in.
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In Race Controls
Pace Down: When you tell your driver to Pace Down, you are telling him that he's being too aggressive and that he needs to slow down. If Bob is in a pack of other cars, he's going to resist this as he wants to get more aggressive. You may need to repeat this command several times to get him into the proper frame of mind.
Maintain Pace: Unlike the Up and Down commands, this command doesn't attempt to stop Bob's natural tendencies; it merely keeps him more stable so he races at the pace that you want him to.
Pace Up: When you tell your Driver to Pace Up, you’re telling him that he's not being aggressive enough and that he should be taking more risks. Usually you want him to pace up when he's in the very front of the pack, or behind the pack. You want him to pace up if the others are catching up, or you need to catch up to the others. Don't be too aggressive though, or the mistakes will cost you even more time.
Overtake: When you tell your Driver to Overtake, you’re telling him that now is a good time to try and pass whoever is in front of you. It doesn't matter whether Bob is Hot or Cool, he'll immediately attempt to improve his place in the race.
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Cars need to be broken in, and B-Spec drivers need experience to be used to their full potential. While it doesn't affect you much on the beginner races, on later ones it will. Especially where your choices are very limited, like in NASCAR... you'll be wondering why that car that is the same as yours is faster than yours. Running through the races several times, recording the maximum speeds you can go, and getting experience for your driver is just as much a key to your success and as important as tuning, regular oil changes, and breaking in your vehicle.
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Starting Your Racing Career
Given that you are at level 0 right now, you don't have much of a choice in what you’re able to enter into for your first GT5 race. Click on the Sunday Cup, and you'll see three different track options available. It doesn't really matter which one you pick, just select one. Once the track loads, click on the green flag to set things in motion.
The countdown will start and Bob will start to drive... horribly. Remember, this is okay. Do not expect to win your first 5 races, simply experiment with the controls. Learn what happens when you push him all the way into the Red; learn what happens when he's all the way in the Blue. Learn what happens when you get him to overtake in different spots. All of this will teach you the controls and get you more comfortable with your Bob. Even though you aren't winning, you are earning money and gaining experience.
When you finally do win, your same car is ready for the FF Challenge if it’s an FF type, or ready for the World Compact Car Race if it’s not.
Now, sometimes finding out is half the fun, so I'm not going to go through every single race and tell you what you should get. However, I am going to give you several tips that you should definitely know about so you know where to save and where to spend. In lots of cases, you'll want to skip races and come back to them later with a car you've won from another race.
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Once you have a few races under your belt
At Level 6 you get access to the NR-A Roadster Cup. Spend your money here to win the Mazda Furai Concept'08, a very solid vehicle for easy wins in most Japan-only races. A good option for this race is the Mazda Roadster RS (NC) '07 from the Dealership for only $25K.
At Level 15 you can get two very good vehicles; the Dodge Viper for 100K, or the Corvette ZR1 (C6) '09 for $184,800. The Viper is cheaper, but the Corvette is one of the few cars that can get a racing upgrade. Both of these cars would be very good choices in helping you get gold in the GT World Championship. The prize for this championship is the Pagani Zonda R '09. It’s a $2.6 Million dollar car that you normally can't buy ‘til you are at level 23. This car will help you all the way to the Extreme Series of races.
The Classic Muscle Car Championship gets you the Shelby AC Cobra 427 '66, a vehicle that will help you win the earlier World Classic Car Series without investing a few hundred thousand dollars.
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Things will start getting harder
The Extreme Series is where you are going to start getting your butt handed to you in a lot of GT5 race courses. For the Like the Wind, NASCAR Series, and several other races you won't have the right car to win. It’s not that you couldn't win with the cars you have, but that Bob can't win with the cars you have. Slipstreaming is important, and Bob just can't do it like a player can. Concentrate on the Schwarzwald League B, European Championship, American Championship, and the Dream Car Championship for now. The Dream Car Championship is your real money-maker, giving you over $800K per gold cup, although the American Championship can net you close to 100K every 15 minutes. For both of these it’s recommended you get the Gran Turismo Ford GT LM Spec II Test Car from the Dealership. Once you are winning regularly in the Dream Car Championship, you can play around with the different cars and see what works best for you in the races you haven't won yet.
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There are a great many different styles for tuning, and you should keep in mind that in GT5 tuning will differ greatly depending on the type of vehicle that you are driving. For instance, if you are driving an MR type vehicle like the Pagani Zonda R '09, you might set your Toe Angle at 0.00 in front, and -.85 in back. An FR vehicle like you find in NASCAR is completely different... you'd likely want a -0.10 on front and 0.30 in back. These small tweeks will make sure that you'll be able to take turns better. In NASCAR the difference is so pronounced that you can have a 10-second gap ahead of the pack with one setup, and be struggling to be at the back of the pack and having spent tires with the other.
A good indication that your Suspension is off is during the race. If you see yourself edging out towards a wall, off the edge of the track, or find that your tires are getting red and blowing smoke when your competition isn't... those are all good indicators that your wheels aren't getting the proper amount of traction for that race.
Don't forget your regular maintenance either. The maximum HP of your vehicle will go down every day you race. You can get it up with an Oil Change, but eventually the oil change won't bring it back completely. That’s when you can perform the engine restoration on your car. It’s expensive, and realistically you shouldn't need it unless you are using one car a great deal. The same thing with restoring your rigidity. You won't need to do this often at all unless you get into a significant wreck.
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Ford GT LM Spec II Test Car Tuning Guide
Given that I've suggested you use one car for the Extreme and above races, I'm going to give you my specific GT5 tuning of the Ford GT LM Spec II Test Car. This is a 'Set it and Forget it' build that will get you successfully through pretty much any race that you can enter.
This setup will let you start up a race and not have to watch as Bob wins over and over again... although don't just automatically hit 'X' and start him going on every track. In some of those events weather can change and the other cars will start the race with whatever tires they had in the last race if its a series. Put on Rain tires where appropriate, and change them out for your regular ones the race after... in both cases you can gain a lot of extra time out in front and make your Bob look positively bored as he crosses the finish line.
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Endurance Series and Beyond
Soon after this you'll hit the Endurance Series. The Ford GT LM Spec II Test Car is also a great car for this, and you'll want to go through these pretty quickly. You can set it and wake up with a ton of extra experience points... and when you hit level 35... you’re going to get a very nice surprise.
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Two Troublesome Race Courses
There are two races that are very troublesome to get right for one reason or another in GT5: Daytona and Cote D'Azur. In the Cote D'Azur race you have the issue of 'the wall'. There is one specific turn that Bob will try and pass another car on the inside, and he hits the wall that gets him stuck at the back of the pack. In NASCAR it can be tough to get your car all set up properly, but the hardest to tune for is Daytona. I've included two setups that I've used multiple times on each to win in these tough races and can work for you... as long as your driver is leveled up enough.
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Toyota 7 Race Car '70 Cote D'Azur Specific Tuning Guide
Just as a note, you won't win this one when you do it as the fifth race of the cup. You need a fresh oil change, and the car must be broken in before you will win this race. You can use this for the entire series, although you'd want to set the Transmission down to around the 170mph range for the fourth race, then back up for the race that gives people the most trouble in GT5: Daytona.