This week’s Gran Turismo 7 Lap Time Challenge comes from Monterey, California’s historic Laguna Seca Raceway, where you’ll be driving Ford’s most famous equine-based car: the Mustang.
Originally released in 1964, the Mustang was a fully-customisable muscle car. Thanks to its long bonnet and short rear section, the car oozed aggressiveness, and was soon a hit among blue-collar Americans, with sales numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
In fact, the success of the Mustang almost single-handedly led to the creation of other rival muscle car models, including the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Pontiac Firebird. In the natural world, a mustang is an untameable feral horse, quite appropriate if you’ve ever witnessed a Ford Mustang leaving a car meet.
Although the Mustang model has been in production since its inception – becoming Ford’s longest-lived model as a result – subsequent editions have largely kept to the proportions of that early, iconic shape made famous by the 1968 Steve McQueen film Bullitt and its popular car chase sequence. (Let’s not talk about the fourth-gen cars, though, ok?).
The sixth-generation version of the Mustang used in this fortnight’s Lap Time Challenge represents the first to feature a factory right-hand-drive option, becoming available to purchase in overseas Ford dealerships in the United Kingdom and beyond.
Surprisingly, Ford also offers this Mustang with a four-cylinder EcoBoost engine, as well as a V6 and the more traditional V8. Unsurprisingly, the eight-cylinder remains the most popular choice, and it’s this example we’ll be using to tackle Laguna Seca.
Racing began at the Californian venue in 1957, and its layout has largely remained unchanged since, featuring sandy run-off areas and huge elevation changes – including the frightening rollercoaster ride that is the Corkscrew. The key to a good lap time here is to keep things neat, or the dusty run-off will suck you in to the deeper sand.
GT7‘s Lap Time Challenge is a time trial mode where you compete against other players to set the fastest time on the leader board. However, there’s a caveat: setting a lap within three per cent of the fastest time nets players 2,000,000 Credits.
If you aren’t quite quick enough, then lapping within five per cent gains you 1,000,000 Credits, while a time inside 10 per cent of the fastest results in a 250,000 Credit pay-out.
At the time of publication, Japanese driver ‘Rafaele–M’ holds the top spot in the standings with a 1:26.857. Can you get close enough to earn some credits? Follow our advice below and hopefully the answer is yes! Best of luck!
Take a wide line into the Andretti hairpin initially, as this will open up the exit to Turn 3, with an early turn-in required for Turn 4 as it opens out into the cambered Turn 5. Using the slope to slow the car down is vital to get the power down early for the run uphill to the invisible Turn 6 apex, and the following climb to the Corkscrew.
Once there, try to stay tight to the first apex: this will set you up perfectly for a straight run through the second clipping point (note that the Shortcut Penalty is set to ‘Heavy’, so taking too much real estate here will invalidate your lap).
Follow a shallow line into Rainey Curve – again using the berm to help turn the car – before diving into Turn 10. Ensure you don’t carry too much speed as the camber quickly falls away on exit. It’s best to sacrifice your speed into the following tight Turn 11 to help line up a clean exit onto the start/finish straight, and the quickest possible lap time.
Your car can also be tuned to an extent too, with a power and weight limit of 443bhp and at least 1,300kg respectively. Add in as much power and weight reduction as you can via the Tuning Shop and fine-tune the results using ballast and the power restrictor upgrades. Obviously, adding a wing will help tame this wild beast too…
Recommended car: Ford Mustang GT ’15 (Brand Central, 44,310 Credits or free car rental)
Lap Time Challenge
Track: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
Entry Period: 16th-30th March 2023
Useable Tyres Sports: Soft
Power: 443 BHP or less
Weight: At least 1,300kg
Regulations (Specified Car)
Ford Mustang GT ’15
BoP/Tuning Forbidden: Off
Car Used: Garage Car, Event-Specified Car
Car Settings: Allowed
Track Limit: Normal
Shortcut Penalty: Heavy