|Apricot Hill Raceway|
|Circuit Length||3.86 kilometres (2.40 mi)|
|Track Type||Original Circuit|
|Appears in||Gran Turismo 2|
Apricot Hill Raceway is a race track that first appeared in Gran Turismo 2, and has been included in every main game since, with the exception of Gran Turismo 5 and Gran Turismo Sport. In Gran Turismo 6, Apricot Hill returned 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. 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.
Summary & Details
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 techniques to. Nearly every corner is simple to drive through, and even the most novice driver can maneuver 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 re-proportioned 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.
Layout & Sectors
Turn 1 rises up to turn 2, therefore making it a difficult section of the track. The line taken here can vary with equivalently sacrificial results. A wide exit out of 1 makes for a smoother turn 2 but braking can be unstable, whereas a narrow exit generates a tighter turn 2 but grants more stable braking opportunities.
Release your throttle just before the 50m marker board, where the white kerbstone starts, and turn in. Gently apply the brakes to reduce your speed for turn 2. Get back on throttle again and gradually build up as you pass though the corner apex. Aim to exit in a straight line.
Brake on approach to turn 3, then pass through using an out-in-out racing line. Turns 4 through 6 form an undulating section true to the nature of the track, with turn 5 being obscured by a hill. The exit out of turn 5 is wider than it appears, and thus can be taken at higher speeds. Pass through turn 4 flat out, and then briefly release the throttle as you rise up. Re-apply the throttle to exit turn 5, finishing just before the kerbstones of turn 6. Transition to the right side of the road in preparation for turn 7.
Turn 7 is a long, semi-banked bend that can be taken at high speed. Ease off the throttle and move to the inside kerbing, gradually regaining throttle input as you aim to maintain your speed and line. Steady steering and throttle control here are key to keeping your line and not going wide early. Once you see the pavilion ahead of you, increase to full throttle as you exit.
Following a long, downhill straight is turn 8. This corner appears tighter than it actually is, and is an easy place to make a mistake at. Brake just after the 100m marker board on the left, and aim for a late apex. Be careful not to overshoot your brake marker, or you will sacrifice a lot of time on exit. The inside kerbstones are also tall and can disrupt car balance if driven over.
Pass through turns 9 and 10 flat out.
Turn 11 is a blind left-hander that leads to the final chicane. Brake at the 50m marker board and turn in while maintaining a steady throttle. The whole turn is downhill, so be wary of understeer. You will be sitting on the inside of the corner for what feels like a long time, so be ready for when the turn 12 & 13 chicane appears in front of you.
This chicane turns right and then sharply to the left as the road rises again. Aim for a line that goes between the apexes of both corners and brake briefly as you hit the apex of turn 12. Gradually build up your throttle again as you exit turn 13, avoiding the kerbstone on the inside, as hitting it will destabilize the car and make it behave erratically on corner exit. Be sure to gain as much speed on exit as you can for the final straight.
Use a standard racing line to navigate the final turn 14 at full throttle.
During the opening FMV of Gran Turismo 2, the names of two tracks flash on the screen: Eiger PathSee Grindelwald 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 in that game (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 course.
It was later revealed that Palm Strip is nothing more than an early-development name for Apricot Hill Raceway. In certain license tests in the European version of GT2 (when not set in English), the description states the test is taken on Palm Strip, but it loads Apricot Hill when started. In addition, SCEE'sSony Computer Entertainment Europe 1999 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 this information.
Events Featuring Apricot Hill
Events marked with an asterisk are raced in reverse.
Gran Turismo 2
- Super Touring Car Cup; Race 1 - 3 Laps
- GT300 Championship; Race 5 - 5 Laps
- GT500 Championship; Race 5 - 5 Laps
- Apricot Hill 200Km Endurance; 50 Laps
- FR Challenge (reverse); 2 Laps - Race 3
- Race of NA Sports; 2 Laps - Race 1 and 2 Laps - Race 3 (reverse)
- Gran Turismo World Championship; 2 Laps - Race 8
- Japanese Championship; 3 Laps - Race 3
- Gran Turismo World Championship; 5 Laps - Race 3
- FF Challenge (reverse); 5 Laps - Race 3
- 4WD Challenge (reverse); 5 Laps - Race 2
- Race of NA Sports (reverse); 3 Laps - Race 1
- Race of Turbo Sports (reverse); 3 Laps - Race 1
- Gran Turismo All Stars (reverse); 5 Laps - Race 5
- All Japan GT Championship; 5 Laps - Race 7
- Dream Car Championship; 5 Laps - Race 4
- Gran Turismo World Championship (reverse); 10 Laps - Race 2
- FR Challenge; 10 Laps - Race 1
- Race of NA Sports; 10 Laps - Race 1
- Race of Turbo Sports; 15 Laps - Race 3
- Gran Turismo All Stars; 15 Laps - Race 5
- All Japan GT Championship; 20 Laps - Race 2
- Elise Trophy; 10 Laps - Race 2
- Polyphony Digital Cup (reverse); 20 Laps - Race 6
- Formula GT; 27 Laps - Race 8
- Roadster Endurance; 40 Laps
Gran Turismo 4
- Clubman Cup (GT4); Race 1 - 3 Laps
- Race of NA Sports (GT4); Race 2* - 3 Laps
- Tuning Car Grand Prix (GT4); Race 1* - 3 Laps
- British Lightweight Series (GT4); Race 3* - 2 Laps
One Make Races
- Altezza Race (GT4); Race 3 - 2 Laps
- Club "M"; Race 2 - 3 Laps
- Elise Trophy (GT4); Race 5 - 2 Laps
- GTA Cup (GT4); Race 3 - 2 Laps
- Lotus Classics; Race 5* - 2 Laps
- SL Challenge; Race 1 - 4 Laps
Gran Turismo 6
- National B License Test: B-2 - Basic Cornering
- National A License Test: A-1 - Full Braking into a Corner
- National A License Test: A-5 - Tacking to the Track at Night
- MR Challenge; Race 3 - 3 laps
- GT National Championship; Race 2 - 3 laps
- Mission Race: A-4 - Night Fight - Apricot Hill by Starlight
- 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: A-Spec before reappearing in much larger form and with entirely different trackside amenities in Gran Turismo 4.
Secrets & easter eggs
- In GT4, if you drive in reverse, in the 2nd corner you can see smoke on the hill.
- In Gran Turismo 5, it was a hidden track.