Seasonal Events were special sets of races that are released periodically by Polyphony Digital in Gran Turismo 5 and Gran Turismo 6, giving players an additional challenge. These consist of special single races (divided into Bonus Races and Special Races in GT5), Time Trials and Drift Trials. In GT6, time-trial seasonal events usually award an exclusive chrome or colour-shifting paint chip, as well as prize cars.
Seasonal Events require an online PlayStation Network connection, and are no longer available due to both games' online services having been shut down in 2014 and 2018, respectively. However, Seasonal Events-style time trials would return in Gran Turismo Sport in August 2019.
Gran Turismo 5
In GT5, single race Seasonal Events consisted of Special Races and Gran Turismo Expert Challenges (formerly Bonus Races).
Special Races consist of a set of races for a specific group of cars. They were added in the 10/02/2011 update. These events carry lower prizes than bonus races, but can be raced over and over to gain the same rewards multiple times. Examples include:
- MR Challenge (limited to MR drivetrain cars);
- Mini Challenge (limited to Minis)
- Ferrari F1 Challenge (limited to Ferrari F2007 and Ferrari F10).
Bonus Race/Gran Turismo Expert Challenge
The Bonus races each introduced 5 new races with strict restrictions and large rewards. The first time each race is completed, the player receives the rewards and experience of all the positions up to where they placed, but from the second race and on the player will only receive a reward and experience if they place in a better position than in the previous races.
Before update 3 (06/01/2011), there were strict restrictions for the tuning of cars used, restricting Max. Power, Min. Weight, and Max. Tyres. After the update, all restrictions were dropped, and this is retroactive to the previous races that are still available.
In mid-2011, the Bonus Race was replaced by the Gran Turismo Expert Challenge. Returning with this change were the strict regulations, this time limiting the player to a specific car with limited upgrades. A PP limit was enforced to make this challenge very difficult, but the rewards were also improved. Prizes now include Credits, XP and Prize cars.
Gran Turismo 6
There are three single races (Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert) every week of ranging difficulty levels and vehicle choices, which includes PP and tire compound restrictions. These races are similar to Special Races in GT5, but they award a paint chip for first race victory.
On special occasions, there are also special races; for example two set of 10-lap survival races were held in December 2014 in Nürburgring GP/F and Suzuka Circuit, with opponents using Super GT cars, right down to real driver names.
The Time Trials introduced two circuit time attacks with various restrictions. Players attempt each race as many times as they wanted to achieve as high a place on the online leaderboard as possible. In Gran Turismo 5, no rewards were given for each attempt (although mileage counts towards the Beyond the Autobahn Trophy) but the leaders at the end of the event receive rewards based upon finishing positions. In Gran Turismo 6, players may receive prize cars for reaching a specific time goal, depending on the event; this is common with Vision Gran Turismo launch time trials, where the car can be obtained for free by simply setting a valid lap time.
In Gran Turismo Sport version 1.41 (July 2019), Time Trials makes a return to Sport Mode, similar to Seasonal Events in PlayStation 3-era games. Two events are available biweekly, one for a specific class (usually with balance of performance enforced, but tuning allowed) and other for a specific model of a car (usually with fixed settings).
The Drift Trials introduced two sector mode drift circuits with only restrictions on tyre choice (in GT6, the drift trials may be restricted to certain vehicles). Players attempt each trial as many times as they wanted to achieve as high a place on the online leaderboard as possible. In Gran Turismo 5, no rewards are given for each attempt (although scores can count towards the Drift King Trophy) but the leaders at the end of the event receive rewards based upon finishing positions. In Gran Turismo 6, players may receive prize cars for reaching a specific time goal, depending on the event.