Skip to content

Icons of Racing: Gran Turismo 3

Few games have been as great as Gran Turismo 3

Now I have played many racing games over the years, but nothing captivates me more than Gran Turismo 3, this racing title had it all.

Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec, often abbreviated as GT3, is a racing video game developed by Polyphony Digital and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released for the PlayStation 2 console in 2001. GT3 is the third instalment in the popular Gran Turismo series, and it played a significant role in shaping the racing simulation genre in the world of gaming.

Whilst the latest and greatest racing games have come a long way in technological aspects, the classics are straight up “this is what you get”. No paid monthly service, no micro transactions, just the end result. This is what Polyphony wanted you to have, and you will enjoy it, just like the nearly 15 million people who bought GT3.

TitleYear releasedPlatformCarsTracksSales
Gran Turismo1997PlayStation1401110,850,000
Gran Turismo 21999650279,370,000
Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec2001PlayStation 21813414,890,000
Gran Turismo 420047215111,760,000
Gran Turismo 52010PlayStation 31,0748111,950,000
Gran Turismo 620131,2471005,220,000
Gran Turismo Sport2017PlayStation 4338848,000,000

Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec is a game that immerses you in the world of racing like few others. From the moment you start, you’re drawn into its realistic portrayal of driving, making you feel as if you’re truly behind the wheel of some of the world’s most coveted cars. The game’s commitment to authenticity is evident in every aspect, from the detailed car models to the way each vehicle handles on the track.

The variety of cars is astonishing. Whether you’re a fan of sleek sports cars, sturdy SUVs, or high-powered racing machines, the game has something for everyone. This vast selection is more than just for show; each car offers a unique driving experience, making you eager to test them all.

  • Sports Cars: Iconic models like the Mazda RX-7, Nissan Skyline GT-R, and Chevrolet Corvette were available. Each of these cars had its unique handling characteristics, engine sounds, and visual details.


  • SUVs and Off-Road Vehicles: Players could also choose from SUVs like the Mitsubishi Pajero and off-road vehicles like the Toyota Tacoma. These vehicles were ideal for tackling the game’s off-road tracks.


  • Race Cars: For those seeking the thrill of high-speed racing, GT3 featured a range of race cars from various series, such as the Toyota GT-One and Audi R8. These cars were tuned for maximum performance on the game’s circuits.


  • Classic Cars: The game also celebrated automotive history with classic cars like the Shelby Cobra and the Jaguar E-Type. These cars allowed players to experience the charm of vintage automobiles.

The visual quality is another standout feature. For a game of its time, the graphics are impressively detailed, capturing the essence of each car and track with striking clarity. Racing through these beautifully rendered environments, from world-famous circuits to scenic rally routes, is a visual feast.

Gran Turismo 3 is a blast in any car.

Gran Turismo 3 doesn’t just look good; it challenges you. The diverse range of tracks tests your driving skills in various settings. Whether navigating tight corners on a mountain pass or speeding down a straight on a professional race track, the game keeps you engaged and constantly adapting.

  • High-Quality Car Models: GT3 featured highly detailed and accurate 3D models of cars. Each vehicle was meticulously designed and rendered to resemble its real-life counterpart as closely as possible. This attention to detail contributed to the game’s realism.


  • Realistic Environments: The game featured a variety of tracks and environments that were also well-detailed and realistic. Whether you were racing on a city street or a race track, the environments were designed to provide a sense of immersion.


  • Dynamic Lighting: Gran Turismo 3 incorporated dynamic lighting effects to create realistic day and night cycles. This added to the visual realism of the game as shadows changed in real-time, and headlights illuminated the tracks during night races.


  • High Resolution: GT3 ran at a resolution of 640×480 pixels, which was considered high for a PlayStation 2 game at the time. This contributed to the clarity and sharpness of the visuals.


  • Smooth Frame Rate: The game aimed for a consistent 60 frames per second (fps) frame rate, which provided smooth and responsive gameplay. Maintaining a high frame rate was crucial for a racing game to ensure a fluid experience.


  • Texture Detail: GT3 used high-resolution textures for cars and environments, further enhancing the visual fidelity of the game. This attention to texture detail helped make the game stand out in terms of graphics.


  • Motion Blur and Effects: The game incorporated motion blur effects during high-speed moments, adding to the sensation of speed and realism. Additionally, there were visual effects like reflections on car surfaces and weather effects.

The customization options add another layer of depth. Tweaking your car with different parts and setups isn’t just about improving performance; it’s about personalizing your ride to suit your driving style. This level of customization makes every victory feel even more rewarding, as it’s not just a win for the car, but a win for your choices and strategy.

The game’s license tests are both a learning tool and a challenge. They start simple but quickly ramp up, pushing you to refine your skills. These tests are more than just hurdles to the next race; they’re a satisfying journey of improvement.

In Simulation Mode, the game becomes a journey of progression. Winning races and earning money to buy new cars or upgrade your current fleet is deeply engaging. It’s not just about the races; it’s about building your collection, fine-tuning your favorites, and feeling a sense of accomplishment as your garage grows.

For those times when you just want to race without the commitment of the Simulation Mode, Arcade Mode is perfect. It offers immediate, hassle-free racing excitement, allowing you to dive right into the action with less focus on long-term goals.

The soundtrack and sound effects are the cherries on top. The diverse music selections set the tone for each race, while the realistic sounds of engines and tires connect you even more to the racing experience.

The critical acclaim Gran Turismo 3 received is well-deserved. It’s not just a game; it’s an engaging journey into the world of racing, offering an experience that’s both challenging and deeply rewarding.

Gran Turismo 3 was a golden era of racing games

Gaming as we Know it Now

So why have games changed so much over the years, the number of cars and tracks in GT3 is far less than other racing titles and yet, people want more more more. The problem with more is that it takes up more time, more resources and more development, so to a degree, more corners will be cut, or the creation of a game will take longer.

Look at how many titles get released these days with users saying ” It needs more time in the oven“. You want a game with 800 cars, great, but do not expect every single one of them to have the attention to detail.

As mentioned, the technological aspect of racing games to a degree has come a long way forward, its software, its creative personnel are wonders at implementing weather, time of day, damage models and more. But do you know what, I love playing classic games and taking the bull by the horns, it’s the completed vision of its creators and developers, once the game was out, thats it.

With the modern era of gaming, people have said “YEAH BUT YOU CAN GET UPDATES TO FIX THINGS”. That is very true, but ask yourself this, if it was not broken on release and fully looked at, it would not need fixing now would it.

I just feel like DLC, updates and other things released now is just a marketing plan to keep users engaged or have a look to satisfy the numbers of monthly users playing data. Need your numbers and interactive player count to go up, drop an update, people sign it, job done. Great games that are well made, written and created do not need hype…they speak for themselves, just like Gran Turismo 3.

Want to read more about the Gran Turismo Series: The Gran Turismo Series is an Iconic Standard in The Sim Racing Genre

Darren Buckner

Darren Buckner

Darren became a member of Simrace247 in January 2021 and has been a valuable addition to the platform ever since. He began his journey as an Editor and has progressed to the position of Editor in Chief, owing to his unwavering commitment and hard work. With his profound interest in motorsport and gaming, Darren is passionate about sharing news and exceptional content with like-minded people worldwide.View Author posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *