|Apricot Hill Raceway|
|Circuit Length||3.86 kilometres (2.40 mi)|
|Track Type||Original Circuit|
|Appears in||Gran Turismo 2|
Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec
Gran Turismo 4
Gran Turismo PSP
Gran Turismo 6
Apricot Hill Raceway is a track that first appeared in Gran Turismo 2 and has been in every mainline game of GT ever since up until Gran Turismo 5, from which it is absent. The track returned in Gran Turismo 6 with different trackside accommodations and lights installed to enable night racing, as well as the ability to change the weather, though the layout remains the same.
Apricot Hill Raceway is a high-speed racetrack with some lower-speed sections. It first appeared in Gran Turismo 2, and was included in every main game up to and including Gran Turismo (PSP). However, the circuit did not appear in Gran Turismo 5, instead returning in Gran Turismo 6.
Although circuits undergo slight changes every game, little of Apricot Hill has actually changed. It shape somewhat resembles a number 7 in reverse. The course features lots of elevation changes throughout, as well as blind corners.
Layout of Apricot Hill Raceway Edit
Summary & Details Edit
Apricot Hill Raceway is a rather unique course in that, despite the rather constant elevation changes and lower-speed nature of certain corners, is fairly easy to understand and apply to. Nearly every corner is simple to drive through, and even the most novice driver can manuever them if going at an appropriate speed. Braking is rarely heavy, and many turns can be taken at intermediate speeds, with most cars able get around the course in under 2 minutes. Most license tests usually involve the first 7 turns, or the whole course, though the inward hairpin is used in Gran Turismo 6 to accommodate the driver's understanding of taking tight corners.
Looking around the course visually, there are many sandtraps and walls distanced from the corners of the course in case of high-speed accidents. The pit lane is internal and spans nearly the entire length of the main straight. Distance markers are not uncommon around the circuit, nor are advertisement signs, both of which light up during the night. There are shared areas for grandstands on the main straight, turn 7 in all layouts. Like a lot of the other tracks, the road is smooth, and banked around select corners, making for an ideally smooth, stable, high-speed drive around the course.
At night, the course is lit up for drivers to be able to see better in the darker conditions. Much of the course is at least somewhat lit by some form of lighting fixture, especially the grandstands on the main straight, where the lights are installed on the roof of the structure. The signs and distance markers are also alight as opposed to light-reflective like some courses incorporate. The corners are usually the most lit parts of the course besides the main straight.
Apricot Hill Raceway is most usually raced during the day in all layouts, but since the track's reemergence in GT6, it's been available to be raced at night, and also in the rain. In older iterations, the roads are nice and wide, with the curb just the same. From Gran Turismo 4 onward, the road was reproportioned to more realistic dimensions, though still relatively wide. The curbs are now much smaller, and, since reappearing in GT6, have been blue and yellow over the traditional red and white, though this has soon been reverted. The course is largely the same in each depiction.
Sector 1 Edit
Sector 1 covers the last half of the start finish straight to the very small straight before turn 7: a wide, speedway-style corner. The driver starts off the course on the start/finish straight, the lap starting in the latter half of the straight after passing the line. At the end, the driver must brake for the first turn: a somewhat soft, left kink, the second, steeper turn following immediately afterward. The line taken here can vary with equivalently sacrificial results, where a more loose line in the first turn can make for a broader, smoother turn 2, but braking can be somewhat difficult and unstable with some cars. However, taking a closer cut turn can make for more proper entry, more stable braking, and better speed through the first turn, but turn 2 can end up being more sharp, and the driver may have to slow down more to enter the corner.
After turn two comes the hilly esses true to nature of the track. There are four consecutive S-corners, starting with a right, near-90 degree turn, and into a left turn of near the same pedigree, and into another similar right turn, ending with a smaller, softer corner to end the series into the check point. Turn 3 is slightly downhill, while turn 4 transitions from downhill to uphill, and turn 5 going into a downward slope, with the 6th right afer, and completely downhill. The driver continues down a short ways, ending this sector midway through as they gun for turn 7.
Sector 2 Edit
Sector 2 cover from turn 7 roughly to the end of turn 10. After the short straight off of turn 6, the driver then negotiates on of the most lenient corners of the course: turn 7. A soft, left-hand banked corner with a high radius, it turns 180 degrees. Most cars have to brake only a little as they enter, but maintaining the right speed and throttle inputs are essential for negotiation of the turn. Once the driver exits this high-speed corner, they can relax for a bit as they charge down the long straight that follows, there being a slight downhill orientation during its length. Distance markers will mark the distance up to 200m (218.723 yrd.) away from turn 8: a tight right hairpin and the slowest corner of the course, as the terrain levels out.
The driver will have to brake hard for this corner, turning into the corner with a low speed, but able to use the width of the road to their advantage. The driver should be treading uphill now, soon to turn softly left into a somewhat blind corner, the next downhill right just as soft, sector 2 ending just immediately afterward as they tread down hill for a short stint before encountering turn 11.
Sector 3 Edit
From after turn 10 to the start/finish straight (the rest of the course) is sector 3. Just after turn 10 is the tighter turn 11. Turning right and possibly having to lift off the throttle or brake depending on the tier of car, it curves for a good bit before the driver has to negotiate turn 12: a rather smooth chicane. It turns right, and then sharply to the left. With the width of the road and the curb space provided, the turn can be negotiated easily with just a few subtle steering moves to rocket through this tricky-looking corner. In earlier games, this corner is easier because the curb space is wider, especially in Gran Turismo 2, where the curb is about the width of the car itself. In later games, the curb becomes increasingly scarce, making the corner harder to navigate.
After turning off the chicane, another short, uphill straight follows into turn 13, which is a smooth, mildly-wide leveling left corner leading back onto the long start/finish straight. The last sector ends where they began the lap halfway down. The yellow lines on the inside of turn 13 lead inside of pit lane if the drive needs to pit.
- During the opening FMV, the names of two tracks flash on the screen: Eiger Path and Palm Strip (misspelled as "Plam Strip".) For a long time, Palm Strip was often believed to be the hidden drag strip for the planned drag racing mode (supported by the existence of the unused drag racing menu panel on the arcade mode disc, the HKS-tuned drag versions of the 180SX and GT-R, and the racing modification for the Dodge Intrepid ES). Such speculation also involved the investigation of the unidentified floating land mass outside of Laguna Seca, accessible by breaking out of the track, which turned out to be an early version of the same track. Palm Strip is nothing more than an early-development name for Apricot Hill Raceway. In certain license tests in the Japanese version, the description states the test is taken on Palm Strip, but it loads Apricot Hill when started. In addition, SCEE's press disc contains an image of a wireframe of the course under the name "Plum Strip", and the section where the aforementioned license tests take place is also internally named l_plam, which confirms so.
- In GT2, Apricot Hill is seen with more trees, and a city in the 3D background. In later games, these were removed in exchange for a mountainous surrounding with fewer trees.
- Through out the years, spectator areas have change at Apricot Hill. In Gran Turismo 2, the grandstands encompassed the roadside of the start/finish straight, turns 1 and 2, turn 6 and midway through turn 7, as well as the entrance to turn 8. In Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, the stands are mostly located in the same place, though spectator stands on the straight before turn 13 were added, and the grandstands over turns 6 and 7 are re-adjusted to cover more of turn 7. Gran Turismo 4 features much the same layout as that which is seen in its fathering game with only cosmetic changes to the stands. In its most recent iteration, the grandstands have a more simple look, and have been removed from turns 1, 2, and 8. The stand by turn 7 are now all the way around turn 7 only. As well, the stands on the start/finish are higher and further away in Gran Turismo 2 than the ones from Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec onward.
- The course's absence from GT5 could possibly be seen "in-universe" as track management closing the facility down to revamp accommodations, much in the same way that the High Speed Ring missed Gran Turismo 3 before reappearing in much larger form and with entirely different trackside amenities in Gran Turismo 4.
Secrets & easter eggsEdit
- In GT4, if you drive in reverse, in the 2nd corner you can see smoke on the hill.