Sunday Cup: The Influence of Gran Turismo

A Viper GTS-R blasts through the pack. Photo © 1998 Polyphony Digital, Sony; Retrieved from GTPlanet
A Viper GTS-R blasts through the pack. Gran Turismo © 1998 Polyphony Digital, Sony; Retrieved from GTPlanet

A 2-Player Battle

When I was 10 years old, I visited my grandmother in Florida. We were in the living room with my oldest cousin playing a game on his PlayStation™ while the adults chatted. I remember seeing the graphics of the game and being wowed by how realistic everything looked. I had just gotten into cars, and this was the latest racing game on the PlayStation. Of course I had to play it.

He handed me the controller and told me to pick a car. I go through the carousel looking at cars I’ve never seen before. After a while I come across something familiar: The Dodge Viper GTS. Quickly, I picked my car in red and my cousin picked his: An Acura NSX, in purple. I hadn’t heard of the NSX at that point, so I was sure I would beat my cousin. The Viper had more horsepower, after all. Little did I know.

When the race was over, I was hooked. How could a car with “only” 276 horsepower beat the mighty Viper? Clearly my cousin was much more skilled than I. I swore I would get the game and practice, promising to beat him the next time we met.

That was over 20 years ago. That game was called Gran Turismo.

Hobbies turn into Passions

The Toyota Supra 3.0 GT Turbo Ltd. '93 (Toyota Supra (Turbo) '93) in Gran Turismo 2. Video by NoGoodNames4701. Gran Turismo 2 © 1999 Polyphony Digital, Sony.
The Toyota Supra 3.0 GT Turbo Ltd. ’93 (Toyota Supra (Turbo) ’93) in Gran Turismo 2. Video by NoGoodNames4701. Gran Turismo 2 © 1999 Polyphony Digital, Sony.

I can’t discount how much racing games influenced my love for cars. Gran Turismo sparked my passion for learning about cars, influencing by hobbies and tastes later on. Everyday after school, I would eat a snack, finish my homework, and then play Gran Turismo until dinner time. It was ironic that I didn’t have a memory card when I first started playing. Every time I started that game, it was literally a “new game”. I would see how far I could get until dinnertime, and then hopefully, I’d be able to continue until bedtime!

Until I got my memory card, I was forced to learn which cars were the best to use by comparing stats and prices. Eventually I settled on my weapon-of-choice: A “Red Mica” Supra 3.0GT Limited ’93. It was the feeling of discovering that car and others like it that stayed with me from then on. Gran Turismo sparked a passion in me that still continues to this day; to the point where I can’t help by smile whenever I see a 3rd-generation Toyota Supra pass by.

Completing the Sunday Cup with the Supra. Video by Criken Tearfall. Gran Turismo © 1998 Polyphony Digital, Sony

I can’t stress enough how important video games can be when it comes to creating new car enthusiasts. Thanks to games like Gran Turismo, I learned a massive amount about cars early on, which only fed my passion. I’ve met people that had similar stories too. Some people got into cars playing games like Need for Speed II. Others started with the Ridge Racer series, or Al Unser Jr.’s Arcade Racing. Whether you’re old enough to remember when The Need for Speed was sponsored by Road & Track, or you just started playing the latest Gran Turismo; today’s car enthusiasts are likely born from video games.

Sunday Cup

I eventually did beat the Sunday Cup in Gran Turismo soon after I got my first memory card. The prize car wasn’t nearly as fast as my Supra, so I sold it to finance more parts. Eventually I beat the game with the Supra fully-tuned and still in my garage, alongside a racing version of the Viper GTS, and a race-tuned NSX.

I’m still waiting for that rematch with my cousin though.

The Autumn Ring; an original race track since Gran Turismo. Gran Turismo 6 © 2013 Polyphony Digital, Sony
The Autumn Ring; an original race track since Gran Turismo. Gran Turismo 6 © 2013 Polyphony Digital, Sony
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Toyota is making parts for the MkIII Supra again!

A MkIII and MkIV Supra side-by-side. Photo © 2013 Nick Dufait

Supra enthusiasts rejoice!

As of late, everyone seems to be getting “Supra Fever”. We have a new Toyota Supra coming out after 20 years, and prices for the previous generation are sky-rocketing. It’s a little surprising to learn that the MkIII Supra’s aren’t as sought after as its later brethren. This hasn’t stopped enthusiasts from buying used examples though. Now, Toyota has announced that they are remaking replacement parts for both the MkIII (A70) and MkIV (A80) Toyota Supras!

  • 1992-mkiii-supra-sunroof
  • red-toyota-mkiv-front

This is just part of the latest trend of manufacturers remaking original parts for their now classic cars. Mazda, Honda, and Nissan are all part of this trend; each manufacturer has either announced or started a classic OEM parts program.

Though it may not seem like a big deal, it was cars like the MkIII Supra that created many enthusiasts. In fact, the MkIII Toyota Supra holds a special place in my heart

Influenced by Gran Turismo

When ever I booted up Gran Turismo™ for the PlayStation®, I always started Career mode with the MkIII (MA70) Toyota Supra. Always in red; always with a chip and a sport exhaust. It was incredibly competitive at the lower tiers of racing in that game. With it, won my first Sunday Cup. That virtual car seared itself into my memory, and to this day, I still place that car into my top ten list of cars I would love to own.

I had that same exact car in Gran Turismo! Video by Criken Tearfall. Gran Turismo® and PlayStation™ © Sony, Polyphony Digital.

Since you can still find examples of the MkIII for a good price, I’m excited to hear about Toyota’s plan! If I ever got a MkIII, I wouldn’t have to worry about scrounging eBay for MAF-to-Turbo Intake Hoses!

Well, now I’m going to be spending my afternoon trolling through Craigslist and scheming! Perhaps soon I’ll be bombing around country roads in a MkIII Supra!