Gran Turismo is a name known by many gamers. It is the best-selling PlayStation exclusive, selling over 80 million copies throughout its lifetime. This game is best known for its attention to detail and its realistic approach to racing games. Presumably, since some gamers were unaccustomed to the "sim-cade" genre of games, the first Gran Turismo game offered license tests to help you learn this new physics engine. Not only do they help you drive better, but they are actually required to progress through the game. Depending on the game, there are anywhere between three and six licenses to obtain.

In the first four games, the races you have access to are directly tied to the licenses you own. If you're persistent enough, you can actually get all of your licenses before entering a single race. The format changed in Gran Turismo 5; the licenses were optional, but could be completed to raise your driver level. At first, you only have access to the one set of tests, but as your driver level increases, you gain access to the other five licenses. In the sixth installment, you initially do not have access to any license exams. You do well in enough races to access the first license tests, and after passing those, you get to a new level of races, and the process repeats.

To pass each test, you only need the minimum time, which will net you a bronze medal. If you completely leave the track, hit a wall with considerable force, or knock over a cone, you fail. If you perform well enough, you can acquire silver, or even gold medals. I recently set out on a mission to get gold on every license test in every game, a journey that took just under a month with nearly daily gameplay. I documented my progress, including the number of attempts for every test. When I took up this challenge, I decided to write about the most difficult tests to acquire gold throughout the entire series. A couple disclaimers before we get into the list:

- Only License Tests are included in this list. This means that GT4's Driving Missions, GT5's Special Events, and GT6's one-make races will not be included. Although GT6 has coffee breaks, they are not included in the license test menu like in GT4, so only the GT4 coffee breaks are considered.
- Gran Turismo PSP, nor Gran Turismo Sport, featured actual license tests, so those games will not be included.

For each entry, I will describe the test, talk about my experience getting gold, and how to acquire gold on each test. I think that's enough of a preface. Let's do this.

The final license test of Gran Turismo 6 puts you inside one of the most powerful production cars on this planet, the Bugatti Veyron. You are to take all 1000 horses around the tight and twisty Ascari race track in two minutes and twenty seconds to pass this test. But, to get gold, you have to navigate this course in under 2:14. This 3.3-mile circuit contains 26 turns, and the Veyron's two-ton chassis doesn't do so well around corners. Though this test may be slightly easier than exams in previous games, taking on GT6's final license challenge is not an easy task.

My experience: Before starting this gold medal challenge, I had never played GT6 before. I was concerned with how well I'd be able to handle each car, but I made great progress through each series of licenses. This test took twenty-two attempts, most of which ended with an off-track failure. Either I didn't brake early enough, or I carried too much speed around a corner. Both instances sort of go hand-in-hand, because either way, you'll end up with four wheels in the outside grass.

How to get gold: This test requires a lot of hard, early braking into most of the corners. Since the Veyron has four-wheel drive (that means all four wheels are used for acceleration), you can accelerate hard out of a corner pretty safely. The S-curves, also referred to as chicanes, have a lot of curbing along the inside, so you can cut those corners fairly steeply without failing for going off-track, which means you can take a straighter line through those turns. The gives you a faster exit speed, resulting in lower lap times.

In this test, you are placed in a RUF RGT, which is essentially a modified Porsche 996. Your goal is to pilot this car down an 8-turn slalom in 26.2 seconds to pass. For gold, you need to cross the finish in 23.9 seconds. For those who don't know, a slalom is essentially a series of left and right turns designed to test a car's handling. Steering a car back and forth like that creates a lot of body roll, meaning the car's weight shifts to the outside constantly. The rear of the car starts to break loose, also known as oversteer, but that is when the vehicle's Active Steering Management kicks in.

Active Steering Management, or ASM, works with the car's braking system to control wheelspin. By activating the outside brakes, it keeps the car under control at the expense of decreased cornering speed. This is more difficult than the following test, which is identical, except all traction control systems are deactivated, and you have an extra tenth of a second to achieve gold. The ASM kicking in at the slightest sign of oversteer keeps your speed down, making this test harder than it should be.

My experience: I completed and golded this test twice recently. The second time around only took nine attempts. When I first started playing GT3 again, this test took well over a hundred attempts, run over the course of two days. It was insanely difficult to figure out the rhythm to get through the slalom. Either I traveled too fast or slow, didn't hit my apexes perfectly, or I cut the corners too hard. I felt like I tried everything, but nothing worked. When it finally clicked, I thought it was total luck. I was dreading this test the second time around, but after spending a lot of time learning the physics engine, it didn't take anywhere near as long.

How to get gold: The first thing you need to do is keep the car under control at all times. Avoiding oversteer is essential to maximizing cornering speed, so your steering inputs must be precise. You want to change directions earlier than you may be comfortable with, but doing so will help control the constant weight transfers. If you shift the weight from one side of the car to the other too fast, the car will begin to skid, triggering the traction control systems, slowing you down.

An Italian car on an Italian street circuit. Your test car is an Alfa Romeo 156, and the venue is the Rome Circuit, and original Gran Turismo course set in the streets of Italy. The test launches you at about 93 mph, and you drive through a sweeping right-hander at full throttle. Next, you're faced with a double apex left turn, then a short dash to the finish line. To pass this test, you need a time of twenty-two and a half second. The gold time is over two seconds shorter, 20.15 seconds. This test seems simple at first, but if you do not have the perfect line and perfect speed through the left-hander, you will always come up a few tenths short. For a test that is only two corners in quick succession, to shave more than two seconds off the minimum time is no easy task.

My experience: This test really frustrated me, because I simply could not figure out the right way to navigate the left-hand corners. Though I already achieved a gold medal not too long before redoing these tests, it still took sixty-three tries to re-gold this one. In almost every attempt, I wouldn't slow down enough, meaning I would have to slow down, or I'd hit the wall at corner exit. This was another test that felt like getting gold boiled down to pure chance.

How to get gold: In a double apex corner, there are two points where you are at the innermost part of the turn. Around this corner, the first section is tighter than the second, so your speed at the first apex is slower than the second. What you need to do is enter the corner with just the right speed and angle, so you can go full throttle around the second half of the corner, clipping the second apex, nearly grazing the outer wall upon exit.

In Gran Turismo 2, all of the rally tests were hilariously easy to achieve gold in, and they were sprinkled in with the regular tests on tarmac. In the third installment (and only in this installment), there is an entire license devoted to rally racing, and the gold times are much harder to get. The sixth test of this set of exams is a great example. On the fictitious circuit, Tahiti Maze, there is a series of four consecutive hairpin corners. You are piloting the Delta HF Integrale Rally Car, and your time limit is thirty-two seconds to pass. If you want gold, you'll need to cut that time down to 29.7 seconds.

If you're not familiar with driving on dirt, or rally racing in general, you have far less grip than when driving on tarmac. Many times, cars will drift around a corner to maximize cornering speed. Your technique must be top notch to navigate tight, 180-degree turns, back to back. Maybe a certain AE86 owner could offer some tips. Maybe not, because there are no cutters along the sides of the road.

My experience: I don't know if it was because I was just bad, but when I first attempted to get gold on this exam, it just was not happening. I think I may have had a bad approach into each corner, and a better steering angle could have helped me. My first run-through took way too many attempts, and even re-attempting gold took twenty-one tries. This is after getting used to rallying, and just driving in general in GT3.

How to get gold: Trail-braking is when you brake as you enter a corner. This technique will go a long way to help you get that gold medal. Your car will be sliding to a point where you're practically perpendicular to the road, and you must learn to control that powerslide while maintaining a high corner speed. Throttle manipulation is highly important to ensure you maintain the perfect drift angle, and probably more so than tarmac, when and how hard you hit the gas upon corner exit is crucial to a fast time.

The Gran Turismo series usually features acceleration and braking tests, where you simply drive in a straight line and some to a full stop some distance ahead within the designated stopping area. This is the only test in the entire series that features a slight left curve towards the end of a kilometer-long track. As you begin braking while turning left, the car's weight shifts to the front right wheel, and the car pushes more to the right. This creates an imbalance in the car, making the full stop quite tricky.

Passing this test is rather easy. Your 1998 Subaru Legacy B4 RSX needs to come to a complete stop in under 22.8 seconds for bronze. For gold, a time of 21.1 seconds or less is required. If you're simply braking, trying to keep the car as straight as possible, you're going to soon realize that is not enough to achieve such a time. It sounds like that would be the optimal way to go about getting gold, but just keep reading.

My experience: This test took thirty-three attempts to achieve gold. This is after learning the proper strategy and using that from the start. I first attempted this test, trying to use perfect, straight-line braking, at least as straight as physically possible. What frustrated me the most was that I would stop the car perfectly in the goal area, but still be a tenth or two off. I was stubborn and kept trying the same thing over and over again. Eventually, I viewed the demo video, and found the developers used a pretty wild strategy to get gold.

How to get gold: Like myself, I'm sure many people that had trouble with this test viewed the demonstration video. Using a technique akin to inertia drifting, or "kansei dorifto" if you will, you can scrub your speed a bit quicker. I don't really know how it works, but if I'm being honest, Gran Turismo 2 wasn't that true to life. Anyway, an inertia drift is when you turn in one direction, then you suddenly shift the weight from one side of the car to the other to initiate a powerslide in the opposite direction. So, in this test, you slam on the brakes to start a small drift to the left, then without releasing the brake pedal, turn hard to the right and slide to a stop, lined up almost parallel with the finish line.

Nurburgring Nordschleife. These two words strike fear into any racer's heart. The nearly 13-mile track features about 160 corners, and nearly every part of the track is just barely over two cars wide. It is one of the most intimidating tracks in motorsports. So, taking a 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190 E around this circuit in under 10 minutes seems like a daunting task, doesn't it? Well, 10 minutes only gets you a passing grade. You're going to need to complete a lap in under 9 minutes to acquire gold (it is at this point I realized I'm running out of new ways to say "get gold").

However, there are some things that make this easier. Gran Turismo 4 is the first game to feature a second car on track with you during license tests. This comes in the form of a pace car, a modified Nissan Skyline GT-R R34. It guides you around the track, showing you things like proper braking points and the recommended line to take through a corner. Though it does its best to match your pace around the track, on some sections of the track, you are actually faster than the pace car. This wouldn't be a problem if you didn't fail when overtaking the pace car.

My experience: Gran Turismo 4 was my first ever exposure to Nurburgring Nordschleife. When I first found out this track was going to be featured, I did a bit of research to see why it was such a big deal. After learning a bit of history about this circuit, I looked forward to driving on it. At first, I got lost as to what section of the track I was on. Certain corners looked identical, and the track width was incredibly narrow, which made it hard to go fast if you don't know where you are on track. My recent run only took 7 attempts to get gold, but I have a pretty good memory of the track, so it didn't take long to put a good lap together.

How to get gold: Learn the track. If this is your first time on this track, tackling this track blindly full on will not help you at all. Take the track carefully at first; brake early, take corners slowly, and pay very close attention to the pace car. The 9-minute goal is actually very lenient, so once you start memorizing the 13-mile circuit, you'll know where you can start lowering your time, and gold will come to you. Keeping your cool for nine minutes can be difficult, especially on this treacherous circuit, so keep calm, and you will eventually conquer "Green Hell."

American cars are not really known for their ability to go around corners. The Camaro Z28 is no exception. Here, you are given a simple task, navigate two consecutive 90-degree left in less than twenty-three seconds. No problem, especially considering this test is virtually identical to the previous test, so you already know what to do. The only difference here is that there are walls on both sides of the track, restricting your track space. So, actually, no you don't know what to do.

Those walls actually make this test a lot more difficult to get gold, which requires a time of 20.2 seconds, no change from the prior test. In the IC3 test, you can put two wheels on the grass to get a wider arc around each corner, increasing your average overall speed. Those walls prevent you from carrying that same speed through each corner, so you have to go a bit slower, but you have no extra time to reach the finish line.

My experience: Out of all the tests in the GT series, this was easily one of the top five most infuriating exams to gold. I thought since this test was the same as the previous one, I could get gold in no time. Absolutely wrong. I didn't get gold on this test until the 105th attempt. I've been saying this a lot, but that gold run felt like nothing but pure luck. I felt like I did the same thing in most of my good runs, but RNG just eventually said, "you know what, you can have it this time." RNG stands for Random Number Generator, if you didn't know.

How to get gold: Perseverance, and a bit of luck. Seriously. It feels like you're taking those corners perfectly, but it never seems like it is enough. When you enter the first corner, your car has to be millimeters away from the wall before turning in. When you reach the apex, your left side mirror should snap off the corner of the wall. Granted, that can't happen in this game, but my point is your car needs to be close enough to the walls to where someone could reach out the car window and touch them. After a number of attempts, you will simply stumble upon gold, just like I did.

You return to the Nurburgring in the final exam of Gran Turismo 4's licenses. The car is the DTM version of the 190 E you drove in the IA-15 test mentioned in entry 5. The car has more power, produces more downforce, and has grippier tires, so you know your goal times are going to be lower. In the previous test, gold was 9 minutes. Here, just getting bronze requires a time of 7 minutes and 58.3 seconds, which should give you an idea of how much faster you'll be traveling around this course. Though the duration of the test is about two minutes shorter than the first Nurburgring lap, it is just as nerve-racking.

My experience: This test took me twenty tries. After about seven attempts, I nailed a full lap, but I was about 5-7 seconds away from gold. I thought to myself, "cutting 7 seconds on a 7-minute track? Easy." Which it was, in a way, for me, because, as I mentioned earlier, I know this track pretty well already. The scariest part of this test, and probably any Gran Turismo test, is the last straight. You're traveling at nearly 170 miles an hour, and you have to go through a couple quick corners, then a slow, second gear chicane. Knowing when to brake, how hard to brake, and the speeds you need to go to take each corner is of utmost importance. Your whole lap relies on you not screwing up this section, and slamming on your brakes at those speeds will take a lot of control to keep the car on the track.

How to get gold: You need a time of 7:07.7 to acquire a gold medal, and you're running this track without the guide of a pace car. If you haven't gotten gold on IA-15, I recommend doing that before attempting this. Continue to study the track until you are fully comfortable doing a full lap with no guidance. It will take some attempts to get used to the increased speed and handling of your 190 E Touring Car. Your top speeds are higher, so your braking points will change.

Fun fact: I never knew this until doing my research, but the Japanese version of GT4 has some differences in certain tests. Though the tracks are the same for the Super License tests, the cars they use sometimes may change. On this particular exam, the game puts you in a Sauber Mercedes C9 Race Car. The 190 E Touring Car has just 378 horsepower. The C9 Race Car? 710 horsepower. This car can easily exceed 200 mph, and you will do so several times over the course of a lap here. Your gold time is 5 minutes 47.51 seconds, so you're going to need every one of those horsies to achieve it.

This is another start-and-stop test, but the distance is only 400 meters, whereas the aforementioned start/stop test was one thousand meters. The car driven is a four-wheel drive monster, the Nissan GT-R SpecV, and to pass, you're given 16.8 seconds to come to a complete stop. The challenge here is that you are driving on a rain-soaked road. The first challenge is merely accelerating. Despite having four-wheel drive, the 478-horsepower engine is powerful enough to create wheelspin, so throttle manipulation is needed upon launch. However, that's the easy part.

After doing a bit of research, I found that there was a patch that disabled the anti-lock braking system, which makes this test much more difficult than it used to be since the time was not adjusted, most people claiming it is impossible. If you use 100% braking power, you will lock up the tires, increasing your braking distance, increasing the time it takes to stop. With a gold time of just 14.9 seconds, you don't have any room for error.

My experience: If I got a bad launch (too much wheelspin), or I missed second (shifted too late, and lost time), I would restart the test, and didn't count it as a legitimate attempt. Not counting those restarts, it took me ninety-nine attempts. At first, I didn't realize I was locking up my brakes. Afterwards, I did my best to modulate braking into the stop zone. It wasn't until after I achieved gold when I realized the patch made the test insanely hard to get gold in.

How to get gold: Start by getting a good launch, keeping between 50%-75% throttle until shifting to second. Then it's full throttle, and you'll either redline in third, or just shift into fourth before slowing down. Start with about 75% braking power, and slowly increase brake pressure as you downshift back to first. There's not much to this test, but braking is by far the biggest obstacle.

The only entry from the first Gran Turismo game is also the number one entry. You are placed behind the wheel of a Toyota Supra RZ and you are to drive a section of the original Deep Forest circuit. At launch, you are faced with an easy left hander that you take a full throttle. Coming down the front straight, you approach speeds of nearly 140 mph before approaching a sharp left-hand hairpin turn. After a short uphill straight, you cross the line. It's a relatively simple test, and rightfully so, it's only the ninth test in the game.

Your test time is thirty-four seconds to complete with a passing grade, but you have to go 1.6 seconds faster to get gold. At first glance, that seems like a pretty small difference, but when the entire test depends on how you navigate just one corner, that 1.6 seconds may as well be 1.6 hours. Try as you may, but no amount of normal driving will get you a gold medal. And before you look to the demonstration to get some tips, the developers didn't bother to show players how to get gold on most tests. Considering this game came out in 1997, there weren't a whole lot of aids available online to utilize, if any.

My experience: I had already gotten gold on this test, but knowing how hard it was to get, I still put myself through this test for my gold medal challenge. Amazingly, I stayed calm the entire time I attempted gold here, and on the 195th attempt, the gold medal finally blessed me with its presence. You read that right, 195 attempts to get gold, for the SECOND time. And I already knew how to get gold, and it STILL took that long. Getting gold here will prepare you all other tests. If you can withstand the mental challenge of getting gold here, you can get gold anywhere.

How to get gold: When you reach the hairpin, you'll be traveling at about 130 mph. Where normal folks begin to brake to enter the corner sensibly, you have to delay braking by about a third of a second. Your braking point and turn-in points are basically one and the same. When you start your turn, you need to start a powerslide to lower your cornering speed and continue sliding until you reach the apex. By this point, you should have slowed down enough to go full throttle to corner exit. Even if you nail the turn-in, if your drift isn't flawless, or you scrub too much speed, gold will be unobtainable.

I would like to end this list by saying a fair percentage of this list was based off of personal experience. However, in my research, I saw that many players have had difficulty with many of these tests as well. I'd like to close this out with some honorable mentions, tests that were still difficult, but not quite hard enough to make the list:

Gran Turismo 1 - National A License Test 5: In a Honda Prelude, you are to take a three-corner section of Grand Valley Speedway. The first two corners are wide enough to take nearly full throttle. The last corner is a sharp left-hander, and how well you take this corner mostly determines what medal you get. You need to take the second corner a bit slower to set yourself up for a good arc through the last corner. I don't know if I was bad, but I tried this test seventy-three times before getting gold.
Gran Turismo 2 - International B License Test 7: You have to take a Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec R33 round a 90-degree right hander, then a left hairpin right after. The skyline has a tendency to oversteer when braking into the first corner, and that slows you down a bit too much to get gold. This took me fifty-three attempts in my gold medal challenge.
Gran Turismo 3 - National A License Test 3: Oh, look, another cornering test in a Chevrolet Camaro. This time, instead of making two 90-degree turns, you only need to make one. Half the corners, but the same level of frustration. My first attempt at getting gold here probably took over a hundred attempts, and it's just. One. Simple. Corner.
Gran Turismo 4 - International A License Test 3: Here we have a Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II. You are to navigate the Dunlop Chicane on Fuji Speedway, a short right-left chicane. The Skyline R34 doesn't have the greatest turning radius, so getting this car through this corner is tricky. The car tends to understeer, so it's hard getting this car pointed in the right direction. Fifty times I had to drive through that chicane.
Gran Turismo 5 - International A License Test 3: An all-American test, driving a Corvette Stingray down the infamous Corkscrew chicane at Laguna Seca. The incredibly steep downhill makes the car very upset, and keeping control of the car is hard enough. Maximizing speed on exit is much harder, and you need a good entry to set yourself up for the second apex. For me, this test took fifty-four tries.
Gran Turismo 6 - Super License Test 4: I'm going to be honest, I just really hate the Brands Hatch circuit. I had some trouble getting that Lamborghini Aventador around this track. Every hate this track in every game it is in, and if this list was solely based off of my personal experience, I would've picked this test over S5 in the Veyron.

So, yeah, that’s it. Taking on this challenge was fun, yet difficult. Let me know if you agree with my choices, and if not, tell me what you think were some hard golds to get. Until next time, take care.

List by TUSMBOX (12/10/2018)

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