Daytona Superspeedway is a 2.5 mile banked oval based in Daytona Beach, Florida, USA. The circuit appears in Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, Gran Turismo 5, and Gran Turismo 6. It is one of three real life oval tracks in the series, the others being Indianapolis Superspeedway and Twin Ring Motegi Super Speedway.
NASCAR founder William France Sr. began planning for the track in 1953 as a way to promote the series, which at the time was racing on the Daytona Beach Road Course. France met with Daytona Beach engineer Charles Moneypenney to discuss his plans for the speedway. He wanted the track to have the highest banking possible to allow the cars to reach high speeds and to give fans a better view of the cars on track. Moneypenny traveled to Detroit, Michigan to visit the Ford Proving Grounds which had a high speed test track with banked corners. Ford shared their engineering reports of the track with Moneypenney, providing the needed details of how to transition the pavement from a flat straightaway to a banked corner. France took the plans to the Daytona Beach city commission, who supported his idea and formed the Daytona Beach Speedway Authority.
The city commission agreed to lease the 447 acres (181 ha) parcel of land adjacent to Daytona Beach International Airport to France's corporation for $10,000 a year over a 50 year period. France then began working on building funding for the project and found support from a Texas oil millionaire, Clint Murchison. Murchison loaned France $600,000 along with the construction equipment necessary to build the track. France was also able to secure funding from Pepsi-Cola, General Motors designer Harley Earl, a second mortgage on his home and selling 300,000 stock shares to local residents. Ground broke on construction of the 2.5-mile (4.0 km) speedway on November 25, 1957.
To build the high banking, crews had to dig out millions of tons of soil from the tracks infield. Because of the high water table in the area, the hole that was excavated filled with water to form what is now known as Lake Lloyd, named after Joseph Saxton "Sax" Lloyd, one of the original six members of the Daytona Beach Speedway Authority. 22 tons of lime rock had to be brought in to form the track's binding base, where the asphalt would be laid on top. Because of the extreme degree of banking, Moneypenney had to come up with a way to pave the incline. He connected the paving equipment to bulldozers that were anchored at the top of the banking. This would allow the paving equipment to pave the banking without slipping or rolling down the incline. Moneypenney subsequently patented his construction method and later designed Talladega Superspeedway and Michigan International Speedway. By December 1958, France had begun to run out of money and started relying on race ticket sales to complete construction. The first practice runs on the new track began on February 6, 1959. One February 22, 1959, 42,000 people attended the inaugural Daytona 500. When the track opened it was the fastest race track to ever host a stock car race, until Talladega Superspeedway opened 10 years later. Lights were installed around the track in 1998 to run NASCAR's July race, the Coke Zero 400 at night. The track was the worlds largest single lighted outdoor sports facility until being surpassed by Losail International Circuit in 2008. Musco Lighting installed the lighting system, which took into account glare and visibility for aircraft arriving and departing nearby Daytona Beach International Airport, and costs about $240 per hour when in operation.
The Daytona Superspeedway is a "tri-oval" shape which consists of two long 31° banked turns and one shorter 18° banked corner, separated by two short straights and one long 2° banked back-straight. The tri-oval shape was implemented as it makes for better views for fans.
Driving around the circuit is in itself very simple, with most cars able to go flat-out around the entire course. The simplicity of the track makes for very tight racing, so victory at Daytona often comes down to effective use of slipstreaming and bump-drafting, as well as being able to accurately predict when the other competitors will pit for new tires and fuel.
With the exception of one-make races started within GT Life mode, the start of the race always has a rolling start with the field lined up in 2x2 rows, with odd-numbered cars on the left and even-numbered ones on the right, NASCAR style. However, the distance between rows in the game is a little more than it is in NASCAR, so it is wise to get behind the car to your left and draft it until the field is at full speed. By this point the rest of the field will probably have outdistanced you. If you can get a slipstream from the rest of the field, then do; if you can't, then form up behind the other car again and push (bump draft) him until you catch up to the main pack. By this time you should have more than enough momentum to slingshot by most, if not all, of the other cars, but don't; you will just run the risk of being overtaken right back. Instead, find the leader and bump draft it. Be very careful when establishing contact with the leader's rear bumper the first time - doing so too hard will cause mechanical damage, depending on if mechanical damage is on or not. The extra speed granted by bump-drafting will be crucial to avoiding being shuffled out of the draft and sent to the rear of the pack.
If for some reason you do find yourself in the lead, then remember this: generally, the game's AI will form "drafting lines," similar to the way real NASCAR drivers behave. Watch your rear view mirror as much as possible here, and pay specific attention to the length of each line - longer lines will generally move faster, and can provide the player with a nice boost in speed if they make contact with them, but can also damage the player's car if they hit too hard. If a line looks like it is moving fast enough to hurt the car, then let them past and try to get in front of the other line. Also, try to avoid being ahead going into the last turn on the last lap, as your opponent will almost certainly slingshot you coming out of the last turn headed towards the finish line. Let them get out front going into Turn 3 (at the end of the back straight), slipstream them, and try to time the overtake so that you pull past them at the exit of Turn 4, and with enough momentum to get ahead at least five car lengths.
Alternatively, if there is a lapped car, you can get in the lead and use it as a pick to limit your opponent's offensive options coming out of the last turn. With the lapped car on its left and the player just ahead, the only clear route the other car has to overtake is to the right, which is easily blocked.
Also, keep an eye on your fuel and tires - NASCAR Sprint Cup cars can typically handle 20 laps on a set of Racing: Hard tires, though the AI will probably pit sooner than that if the race is longer than 20 laps. Obviously the pit window will fluctuate from car to car, so keep an eye on the opposition. Try to time it so that you pit alongside at least one other car, so that you can bump draft that car after leaving the pits. Ignore cars which are pitting alone - that usually means they have damage and are coming in to get it fixed. Typically, during a pit cycle, cars will pit in groups, which is your cue to pit as well, provided your tires are worn enough to visibly affect the car's handling, which typically occurs around the time the pit cycle begins. So, just to recap: if one car pits, ignore it. If many cars pit and your tires are worn enough to affect the car's grip (or if you're low on fuel), pit with them.
In Gran Turismo
The Daytona Superspeedway appears in the following events throughout Gran Turismo:
Gran Turismo 5 Prologue
- C-4: Sunday Cup
- C-8: Honda Integra Race
- B-5: FWD Challenge
- A-1: GT All Stars
- A-6: American Muscle
- S-3: Mine's R34 Time Attack
- S-9: Supercar Festival
Gran Turismo 5
- Pick-Up Truck Challenge
- Muscle Car Championship
- Supercar Festival
- NASCAR Series
- Jeff Gordon NASCAR School
Gran Turismo 6
- The real-life Daytona 500 is a 500 mile annual NASCAR race held at the circuit, the first in the series. It is hailed as the biggest event in American motorsports.
- Aside from hosting the Daytona 500, the circuit also hosts the shorter Coke-Zero 400 in early July to coincide with the American Independence Day on July 4 by racing 400 miles around the circuit.
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