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The secret cars of Gran Turismo: the McLaren Formula 1 car, the Porsche 911 and...a Trophy?

on 15 May 2013

Gran Turismo is a racing game series known for it's vast diversity of cars, compared to many other games which focus on specific types of racing championship series. However, what you may not know is that Gran Turismo games contain cars deep within the game and aren't accessible by the usual means but only through hacking the game or using those Action Replay discs many will remember from back in the day.

This has been the case since the original game, first released in 1997 in Japan and a year later in North America and Europe, both of which are being celebrated this week at the Silverstone track in the UK. In GT1, some of the cars only available in Arcade Mode that can be accessed, such as the Chevrolet Corvette C2 Stingray or the 1998 Mazda Roadster RS are hidden from the Gran Turismo mode for unknown reasons. The most interesting, ridiculous and absurd secrets come in the form of the Gran Turismo logo, the License Plates or even a Trophy. They each have floating tires and have to be seen to be believed.

Gran Turismo 2 continues this with unobtainable cars such as a Mercedes CLK Race Car, Ford GT40 Mark III Race Car and a Volkswagen Polo 1.4 16v. Aside from these there are alternate versions of cars that do appear in the game and there are also some names without bodies, with different cars in their place, along with some cars only accessible on the Arcade disc. Amazingly, the GT logo, Trophies and License Plates return, with a big green smiley face and even a piece of track as drivable cars being hidden as well. Those cannot be explained.

Gran Turismo 3 is where things get even more interesting. Since GT3 was on the PS2 and had much less content than GT2 cars were still cut. The iconic Lancia Stratos, both in road and rally forms, was cut from GT3 but remains in the game's code in the US version. For the PAL version, this is replaced with a body of a Daihatsu Cuore (called the Mira in Japan). Also replaced with the body of a Daihatsu was the Lamborghini Diablo JGTC racing car, which finally made an appearance outside of Japan in Gran Turismo 5 since it appeared in the Japanese version of GT3. An actual Porsche was originally intended to be in the game, a 911 (996) GT3, which Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi personally owns. This was removed because of the exclusivity contract EA has for Porsche in racing games. Also removed were alternate versions of cars which appeared in the game. Some had 6-speed gearboxes rather than 5, while others had a different engine or aesthetics.

Not necessarily secret, but the PAL and NTSC versions of GT3 differ in that both have fictional cars based on 80s and 90s Formula 1 cars but are different. The PAL version has the Polyphony 001 and 002, where as the NTSC version has the F series, the name is followed by a number and then a letter, to signal who it is a tribute to. These cars are based on the same classic F1 cars as the Polyphony cars in the PAL version. The F series can be found in the PAL version as, you guessed it, a Daihatsu!

Speaking of Formula 1, a more recent discovery was found in the Gran Turismo 3 demo code, an actual Formula 1 car. More specifically, the McLaren MP4/13 which contested the 1998 Formula 1 World Championship, and won. In the demo, the car was unfinished as it had no wheels and is seen with yellow place-holders. The reason for the car's existence in the demo is unknown. Maybe it was an experiment with the intention to have Formula 1 cars in Gran Turismo because at the time Sony had the license for F1, for which the games were developed by WipEout creators Studio Liverpool.


The only Gran Tursimo game to not have any cars hidden within the game is Gran Turismo 4. The 'Black' cars don't count as they're accessible without any hacking.

Gran Turismo 5 returns to the secrecy because it has inaccessible content which can only be accessed by searching the game's code. Luckily, someone over at popular Gran Turismo fansite GT Planet did just that. In the game there are alternate versions of the Red Bull X2010 physics-defying mega-car. One is a tribute to the victims of the Tsunami which hit Japan in 2011, and the hope for their recovery. The other hidden X2010 is for a competition that was held. There are also 39 cars which have been copied over from GT4 but not available because they were re-made into 'Premium' cars, thus being rendered obsolete.

It is interesting learning about what Polyphony Digital hides from us but is found eventually. Gran Turismo has a wide variety of cars each game but that would be even greater if some of these cars had been in their respective game for real.

What will Gran Turismo 6 bring?

When not thinking about the feasibility of putting the body of a Daihatsu onto a racing car, Paul Kelly can be found at on Twitter @Paul_Kelly1 or on his blog