A staple of the Gran Turismo game series, Deep Forest Raceway has been absent since 2013 – but now it’s back and new gameplay for Gran Turismo 7 has highlighted several layout changes.
As was speculated, after several teasers in the ‘Behind The Scenes’ series of videos, not only is Deep Forest Raceway now officially confirmed for Gran Turismo 7 inclusion, you can watch on onboard lap, in a Lamborghini Murciélago, on PS5 below.
In the beginning
Deep Forest Raceway is a fictional race circuit designed by Polyphony Digital and first seen in the original Gran Turismo, launched in 1997 for the Japanese market and 1998 elsewhere.
A 15-corner, 2+mile venue, it has long been a fan favourite, as it twists its way through dense woods and at one point, traversing a vast chasm.
The track has been present in Gran Turismo, Gran Turismo 2, Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, Gran Turismo 4, Gran Turismo PSP, Gran Turismo 5 and Gran Turismo 6. Motorcycle spin-off Tourist Trophy also featured Deep Forest. It was absent from the multiple PS2-era Gran Turismo Concept titles and PS3 launch Gran Turismo HD Concept – but most crucially, Gran Turismo Sport.
Track changes over the years
The layout of Deep Forest Raceway has stayed true to that original 1997 vision over the years, until now. Each console generation focussed on visual fidelity changes. Be that more detailed looking asphalt, more detailed trees and updated signage and kerbing.
I’ll never forget seeing a light pouring through the venue’s trees when playing a PS2 inside an electrical store on Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec and having a real ‘wow’ moment.
Undulations heading into Turn 1
Of course, it goes without saying that the 4K PS5 footage is gorgeous, and the track has received a visual facelift. But there are more significant track changes too.
The first noticeable change in Gran Turismo 7’s new Deep Forest Raceway is a series of lumps and bumps in the surface on the home straight, heading towards Turn 1.
In previous GT titles, this was one smooth rise and then fall – my usual braking point as soon as the track flattened out again.
Now though, while the track still rises and falls, there are several undulations at the point. The ascent is no longer on a continual rise and there’s another dip on the way down. If you’re in a powerful supercar with the need for a longer braking zone, these undulations may catch out the unwary.
Turn 8 is now a sharp 90-degree left
Once you’ve worked your way through the first sector – which includes the tunnel and changes to tree profiles, radii and kerbing – the second major change is to Turn 8.
In prior games, the last being Gran Turismo 6, this was a fast and flowing left-hander. Perhaps a lift or a slight dab on the brakes and then powering through. In some high-force cars, it could be taken flat out. Not anymore.
In a change analogous to the new Turn 14 at Trail Mountain, another returning classic venue for GT7, this is now a sharper 90-degree corner. This creates a longer braking zone, and perhaps more opportunity for overtaking.
It will further slow cars down, and if not create more moves into it, increase the propensity for runs or slipstreaming out of it and down the next straight. We need to talk about the next straight…
The uphill curve and second tunnel are completely different
Here’s where the bigger, more controversial, changes have been affected – the final sector.
We’ll start by looking at the run up the hill, with the valley on the left. Previously, this was a slight lefthander and then as you crested the rise, a tunnel would begin. On the descent, the track would start to curve to the right.
As this corner tightened, one tunnel ended, followed by a small gap and then a second tunnel. Here is where you would brake for a medium seed left, followed by a short straight and then two flat-out left kinks. The last of which is the final corner, and could be easy to run wide on if not paying attention. Trust me, I’ve been there.
In Gran Turismo 7, you still climb upwards, but the tunnel is much earlier and covers the rise and the slight left-hander in its entirety. As you start heading downhill, the new version is unrecognisable, following a straight line downhill into a second tunnel, as opposed to turning to the right.
The is followed by…
A new final corner
Replacing the aforementioned quick left kinks that used to end the lap is a downhill straight into a tight hairpin turn. Sacrilege.
Except, who actually likes to last old last corner specifically. It was always hard to judge speed, runoff was minimal and it was never an overtaking opportunity. What I will say, however, is perhaps this new layout robs the venue of its smooth and flowing nature.
Either way, this is now most definitely an additional overtaking opportunity.
Following the tricky new left turn, is a slight right over a bump before a left kink to take you back on to the start-finish straight to complete the lap.
One final thought about the track itself – fingers crossed a reverse layout is also available.
The return of the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
While most of the attention of the recent gameplay footage is rightly centred around Deep Forest Raceway, at the front of the pack you can just see a red sports car – the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.
Launched in 2007, only 500 of the coupe variant were ever made of this Maserati GranTurismo-related 4.7litre V8-powered masterpiece and it was last seen in Gran Turismo 6, just like this circuit.
That’s it for now, we’ll have more about Gran Turismo 7 as soon as it’s revealed and when we hopefully see Apricot Hill Raceway in action for the first time. The game releases for both PS4 and PS5 on 4th March 2022. Let us know your thoughts about the layout changes in the comments below.