COLIN MCRAE RALLY 3: GAME GUIDE by Jamie Stafford/Wolf Feather FEATHER7@IX.NETCOM.COM Initial Version Completed: May 23, 2003 Version 1.0 Completed: May 23, 2003 ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== JOIN THE FEATHERGUIDES E-MAIL LIST: To be the first to know when my new and updated guides are released, join the FeatherGuides E-mail List. Go to for information about the list and to subscribe for free. ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== CONTENTS Spacing and Length Permissions Introduction Championship Mode Stages Mode Extras Mode Navigatorspeak (English Language Audio) Tuning General Tips Racing Tips: Braking Racing Tips: Cornering Racing Tips: Coasting Racing Tips: Weight Shifts Racing Tips: Wet-weather Racing/Driving Online Resources Contact Information ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== SPACING AND LENGTH For optimum readability, this driving guide should be viewed/printed using a monowidth font, such as Courier. Check for font setting by making sure the numbers and letters below line up: 1234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012 ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz This guide is now approximately 95 pages in length in the Macintosh version of Word98 using 12-point Courier font. Therefore, printing this guide in its entirety may not exactly be a great idea. ============================================== PERMISSIONS Permission is hereby granted for a user to download and/or print out a copy of this driving guide for personal use. However, due to the extreme length, printing this driving guide may not be such a good idea. This driving guide may only be posted on: FeatherGuides,,, Games Domain,,,,, RedCoupe,,,, The Cheat Empire,, Gameguru,,,, Infogrames Australia,, CheatHeaven, IGN,, and Please contact me for permission to post elsewhere on the Internet. Should anyone wish to translate this driving guide into other languages, please contact me for permission(s) and provide me with a copy when complete. Remember: Plagiarism in ANY form is NOT tolerated!!!!! ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== INTRODUCTION Colin McRae Rally 3 is the first appearance of the Colin McRae Rally series on PlayStation2. Not surprisingly, its graphics are excellent, the cars have more tuning options, the sounds are better and more convincing, and the frustration factor has been raised :-) Whereas most rally racing games tend to lean toward the arcade side of the racing genre (V-Rally 3 and especially Shox being two recent examples of this), Colin McRae Rally 3 is closer to the simulation side of the racing genre. With this in mind, Colin McRae Rally 3 is definitely NOT a game for just casual players of racing games. The main focus of CMR3 is Championship Mode, a three-season career mode where the player takes the role of Colin McRae himself. Nicky Grist provides the voice of the navigator (in the English-language audio only), adding another layer of realism to the game. There are many parts and vehicles which can be unlocked in the game; some only require finishing a rally, whereas others are unlocked by winning a rally. The Gran Turismo series, perhaps the most successful racing series on PlayStation and PlayStation2, introduced rally racing in Gran Turismo 2, and then brought it back with many visual changes and a few new venues in Gran Turismo 3. This is likely the first experience with rally racing for many PlayStation and PlayStation2 gamers. While Gran Turismo 2 includes two point-to-point stages (which were unfortunately eliminated from Gran Turismo 3), the Gran Turismo series primarily feature circuits, which are fairly rare in actual rally racing. To this extent, the Colin McRae Rally series is much more realistic than the Gran Turismo series, although the Gran Turismo series certainly excels in its vast multiplicity of tuning options. Please note that this guide does not provide detailed instructions for each stage or super-special stage in the game. After all, that is the job of the navigator!!! Also note that some of the information in this guide come from some of my other guides, with appropriate modifications: General Racing/Driving Guide V-Rally 3: Game Guide World Rally Championship: Game Guide ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== CHAMPIONSHIP MODE Championship Mode is the career mode of Colin McRae Rally 3. Here, the player takes the role of Colin McRae, participating in six rallies per year across three seasons of competition. For each rally, there is a specific progression which is followed. Day I: Shakedown Day Here, the player is given the opportunity to test the vehicle's set-up on a short stage which is (at least in theory) similar to what will be encountered in the actual rally on Days II and III. The player can also use Shakedown Day to gain information on the first three stages of the rally (all occurring on Day II), and change the car's set-up as needed. Day II: Start of Rally This is the time for each competitor in the rally to be presented to the gathered spectators. During this time, the running order for the rally is shown at the bottom of the screen; this is based upon the results of the previous rally (or the previous season, if this is the first rally of a given season). Start of Rally must be loaded and begin to play before the player can elect to end it prematurely and get started with the rally itself. Day II: Stages 1-3 At the beginning of each stage, the player is first shown the preceding vehicle - generally a competitor, but this will be the Marshals' vehicle if the player is the first competitor to take the stage - leaving to start the stage. Except for the first stage of the rally (when the vehicle is in perfect racing condition), the player is given a status update of the parts of the vehicle: tires, suspension, brakes, etc. Also important here, beginning with the second stage of a rally, is that the overall ranking for the rally is shown. The player's position in the rally is highlighted in yellow. Finally, the stage itself begins. There is a four-second countdown timer shown; when the timer reaches zero, the player can begin the stage, and the navigator (Nicky Grist, in the English audio version of the game) will begin to give driving instructions. At the end of each stage, the player is shown how her or his stage time compares with those who ran the stage previously. There is NO way to know at this point how the player's time compares with that of the other competitors in the rally. Day II: Service Area I At the end of the third stage, the player finally has the opportunity to fix damage and to prepare for the next three stages. The vehicle damage is automatically fixed by the CPU; since each team only has thirty minutes to repair a vehicle and tune it for the next three stages of the rally, not all damage incurred in the first three stages of the rally will necessarily be repaired, which makes safe, cautious driving quite important throughout the rally. At the Service Area, the player can also view information on the next three stages, and make the appropriate tuning choices. It is important to realize, however, that there is no Shakedown possibility here, so the player is essentially 'blind' in terms of knowing how the selected tuning options will work on the upcoming three stages. Day III: Stages 4-6 These stages operate in the same manner as the first three stages of the rally. Day III: Service Area II At the end of the sixth stage of the rally, the player is given one final opportunity to repair any vehicle damage (again, this is handled by the CPU). The player can also then view information on the upcoming Super-special Stage, and then alter the vehicle's set-up accordingly. Day III: Super-special Stage Each rally ends with a Super-special Stage, which is a head-to-head competition with a randomly-selected opponent still participating in the rally (as a rally progresses, some opponents will fail to finish a stage and are automatically given a DNF designation). A Super-special Stage is a so-called 'parallel circuit,' in which there are two lanes running essentially side-by-side with similar obstacles, and crossing at a given point on the circuit. The player will ALWAYS begin in Lane 1 (the left-most lane), and a full 'lap' leaves from the Start/Finish Line of Lane 1, through Lane 2, and returns to the Start/Finish Line of Lane 1. The navigator is still available and reads the pace notes as usual. The true trick for the Super-special Stages, however, is that they take place at nighttime. Therefore, visibility is extremely poor. Visibility may also be worsened by inclement weather. Day III: Podium Should the player be fortunate enough to finish a rally in the top three positions, the player will be required to go to the Podium Ceremony. Finishing in Second Place or Third Place, the player is shown Colin McRae and Nicky Grist driving onto a platform. Finishing in First Place, however, McRae and Grist are shown driving onto the platform, them hoisting their trophies and waving to the gathered spectators. Day III: Unlockables Should the player simply finish a rally, new tuning parts will generally become available. If the player WINS a rally, however, a new vehicle will generally be unlocked; this vehicle, however, cannot be used in Championship Mode. Fortunately, Colin McRae Rally 3 permits a maximum of three game saves for Championship Mode. The vehicles unlocked in Championship Mode are cumulative across ALL the game saves. Also, at the end of each event or stage in a rally, the player's progress is automatically saved. This happens VERY quickly, so if a player is not at all happy with performance on a given stage, the console must be VERY QUICKLY reset and the game reloaded to avoid having that stage's time counted in the rally; by quickly resetting the console, however, the player will be forced to rerun that stage. Finishing the third and final season of a career presents the player with a career ranking (in letter grades), followed by a slide show of rally images. ============================================== STAGES MODE Here, the player can compete on a single stage. However, the rallies and stages available depend on what has already been unlocked in Championship Mode, so the player must first work through Championship Mode. In Stages Mode, the number of players is selected, then the desired vehicle. Unfortunately, however, there is no vehicle tuning permitted beyond the use of either Manual Transmission or Automatic Transmission (unfortunately, Semi-automatic Transmission can only be selected in Championship Mode). Next the transmission selection is made. Then the player can choose a rally and a stage from that rally. The competition against the clock then begins; if the player has selected a super-special stage with the single-player option, there is no CPU-controlled opponent, so the player still races solely against the clock. The player's time is shown at the end of the stage, along with the differential to the best time for that stage (excluding times from Championship Mode), if applicable. The player is also given the option to rerun the stage, or to move on to the next stage (if applicable). ============================================== EXTRAS MODE Extras Mode primarily consists of video clips. As rallies are completed in Championship Mode, their opening video clips become available in Extras Mode. However, there are a number of initially-available video clips under the heading 'CMR3:' 001: Driving Conditions 002: Crew Report 003: Vehicle Showcase 004: Track Shakedown The 'CMR3' video clips all run consecutively. Unfortunately, there is no way to select any individual video clip. ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== NAVIGATORSPEAK (ENGLISH LANGUAGE AUDIO) Colin McRae Rally 3 (in the North American version) offers audio in English (the default setting, featuring Nicky Grist), French, and Spanish. This section covers the navigator's driving instructions in English. The navigator will give instructions to inform you of the many twists and bumps in the road ahead. Many times, these instructions are spot-on, although at times they are given just as you reach the specific corner or caution mentioned. Sometimes, however, the instructions are not quite exact, so take care to not follow the instructions to the letter without questioning. For this reason, it is also important for the player to keep looking as far ahead as possible, so as to not be mislead by any incorrect instructions and to also (hopefully) spot any potential shortcuts or unannounced areas of potential danger. If the sign panels at the top- center of the screen are activated, these will almost exactly mimic visually what the navigator is saying. Distance: The navigator will sometimes indicate distance. This is measured in meters (remember that one meter is slightly longer than thirty-nine inches). Most distances are '50' or less, but sometimes '100' or more will be heard. Direction: The navigator will indicate whether the upcoming turn is to the left or the right. '1' Corners: First gear is suggested for the corner. This call is extremely rare in Colin McRae Rally 3. '2' Corners: Second gear is suggested for the corner. '3' Corners: Third gear is suggested for the corner. '4' Corners: Fourth gear is suggested for the corner. '5' Corners: Fifth gear is suggested for the corner. '6' Corners: Sixth gear is suggested for the corner. However, if it is not possible to attain sixth gear, this means to go as fast as possible in as high a gear as possible. 'And:' This functions as a conjunction, indicating that the second instruction immediately follows the first instruction. It is also possible to be given a 'sentence' with 'and' used repeatedly to join multiple instructions. Note that 'and' can be interchanged with 'into' without any change in meaning; however, 'and' is used more often because it is shorter to pronounce. 'Care:' This catch-all call indicates a dangerous section ahead. This could include steep embankments, deep ditches, a narrowing of the road, a minor jump or crest, or other potential problems. The actual obstacle may also be indicated here. 'Caution:' This catch-all call is stronger than the 'Care' call. Some slowing may be in order here. 'Crest:' This call indicates a rise in the road ahead which will obscure the view if using one of the in-car cameras. The vehicle should not actually go airborne when topping the crest. 'Cut:' This means that a corner SHOULD be able to be shortcut at least slightly without causing any damage to the vehicle. 'Don't Cut:' Perhaps the most important utterance from the navigator, this call indicates that shortcutting the apex of the upcoming corner will produce extreme danger. This can range from large rocks or boulders at the apex to an unprotected cliff drop-off to a deep ditch. This call takes on added importance when on a steep uphill or\ downhill grade during a turn, especially in hairpin corners. 'Hairpin' Corners: Interestingly, many so-called 'hairpins' are actually U-shaped, double-apex corners. 'Into:' See 'And,' above. 'Jump:' This call indicates a rise that will send the car airborne if taken at full speed. 'Keep' + Direction: Stay to the indicated side of the roadway in order to avoid one or more obstacles or dangers. 'Long:' The upcoming corner is long. While this is not always the case, a corner designated as 'long' will often include an implied 'tightens.' 'Narrows:' The road ahead will narrow. 'Opens:' The upcoming corner has an increasing radius. Use caution in accelerating, as accelerating too soon could result in hitting obstacles or flying off cliffs. 'Outside:' Instead of cornering normally (outside to apex/inside to outside), keep a wide berth around the corner in order to avoid one or more obstacles or dangers. The type of obstacle is also often noted. 'Straight:' Listed in the game manual but not actually used in the game, this call indicates to go straight through the upcoming (slight) turns. 'Tightens:' The upcoming corner has a decreasing radius. Slowing will almost certainly be required before exiting the corner. While this is not always the case, a corner designated as 'long' or 'very long' will often include an implied 'tightens.' 'Tunnel:' There is a tunnel ahead. This is an important warning, meaning that the driver must be sure to remain on the official roadway to avoid slamming into the side(s) of the tunnel. 'Very Long:' The upcoming corner is extensive and will seem to go on forever. While this is not always the case, a corner designated as 'very long' will often include an implied 'tightens.' A very important note concerning the navigation calls is the numbers used. Distance calls are in increments of either 10m or 100m; any other number used in the navigation calls are suggested gears for corners. This is important to remember, as many of Nicky Grist's calls can sometimes sound rather smashed together, like a run-on sentence. For example, '3 left, 50, 5 left' may instead sound like '3 left 55 left;' '6 left, 100, 5 right, 30, 3 right' may instead sound like '6 left 105 right 33 right.' Knowing and internalizing the distance/gear convention is extremely important to properly interpreting the navigation calls, especially since the indicator panels at the top-center of the screen (if activated) do not provide a suggested gear (they only indicate the type of corner, although the color of a panel is generally indicative of a corner's severity). ============================================== TUNING Tuning takes on a VERY important role in Colin McRae Rally 3. Not only must a player take into consideration the terrain and weather conditions for a single stage, this must generally be done across nearly half of a rally at once, meaning that compromises are often required on one stage to have the best chance of placing first on another stage. The tuning in CMR3 generally falls into seven categories, with subsets of tuning options available: Brakes Brake Power: Brake Power controls the amount of brake pressure used whenever the brakes are applied. The options here are Light, Medium, and Strong. Brake Balance: This controls where the maximum amount of braking occurs, ranging from Front to Middle to Rear. Gearbox Gear Ratio: Adjusting the Gear Ratio has a tremendous effect upon both acceleration and top-end speed (in a straight line). A Low setting provides the absolute fastest and strongest, but at the sacrifice of top-end speed. A High setting gives the best top-end speed, but at the sacrifice of acceleration. Medium is the 'middle ground' setting. It is important to note that Nicky Grist's gear suggestions are generally based upon the Medium setting; using a Low or High setting will therefore require some mental adjustments on the part of the player. Transmission: Here, the player can choose from Manual, Semi-automatic, and Automatic. With Manual, the player must handle all gear shifts, which can greatly help to obtain the maximum performance from a vehicle when used properly. With the Automatic setting, the CPU controls all gear shifts. With Semi automatic, the CPU performs gear shifts, but the player can also force a gear shift at any time. Tires Tire Type: There are numerous types of tires used in the course of a rally. The options include: Tarmac Intermediate (barely wet conditions) Hard (excellent life, low grip) Soft (poor life, excellent grip) Wet Gravel Dirt Hard Gravel Stud (for snow/ice) Short Stud Medium Stud Long Stud Engine Power Balance: This controls how much power is given to the front and/or rear axles of a vehicle; this can thus also change the 'type' of vehicle. Front: The vehicle handles like an FF vehicle, which usually results in understeer. Middle: The vehicle performs like a standard 4WD vehicle. Rear: The vehicle handles like an FR vehicle, usually with great tendency to oversteer. Turbo: The player can choose the amount of turbo boost for the engine. The settings here range from Standard to Super to Super Mad. Launch Control: The Launch Control system, if enabled, can reduce wheelspin at the start of a rally. Perhaps the best- known example of this in motorsport currently is the traditional standing start in F1 competition. Chassis Chassis Type: The options here are Standard, Light, and Super Light. The lighter the chassis, the less weight is involved (theoretically resulting in faster speed and cornering), but the vehicle then becomes more and more prone to damage, which can adversely affect handling. Suspension Springs: The springs help to control the amount of vertical movement of the vehicle when riding over rough terrain or over obstacles. A Soft setting permits maximum vertical movement. A Hard setting allows only minimal vertical movement, but the vehicle is then much more prone to 'jumping.' A Medium setting is the 'middle ground.' Anti-roll: Anti-roll can reduce the chances of the vehicle rolling over when cornering at high speed. The options here are None (off), Medium, and Strong. Note that higher Anti-roll settings make cornering generally more difficult. Steering Steering Sensitivity: This controls how quickly the controller responds to the player's steering input. Options here are Fast, Standard, and Slow. ============================================== GENERAL TIPS Buy or rent or borrow any game in the Gran Turismo series, but especially Gran Turismo 2 or 3. In one of these games, work through the License Tests, as this will teach how to approach the various elements of racing, from judging braking distances to controlling a car on a surface with little grip. Gran Turismo 2 introduced rally racing to the series, so GT2 and GT3 both include a Rally License; the time and effort spent in acquiring the Rally License in GT2 or GT3 will help with Colin McRae Rally 3. Overall, Gran Turismo 2 is probably a better choice of the three games in the Gran Turismo series, as GT2 includes the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and Pikes Peak Downhill courses, the only point-to-point rally venues in the series thus far (all other rally events are held at actual circuits); unfortunately, both Pikes Peak stages were removed for Gran Turismo 3 :-( In rally racing, the principles of standard pavement-based racing apply. However, there is generally less tire grip in rally racing (unless a rally takes place primarily on tarmac, such as in Spain), which makes anticipation a key element in correctly holding a tight racing line at the apex of a corner, in judging braking distances on a steep downhill grade, etc. In general, '5' and '6' corners do not require braking to safely clear; '2' corners and hairpins DO require braking; '3' and '4' corners may necessitate braking depending on the surroundings and the entry speed. However, if on a steep uphill or downhill grade, even '5' corners may require braking, while possibly '2' corners will not necessitate braking. Hairpins ALWAYS require braking. Do not depend solely upon the navigator's instructions and the sign icons at the top-center of the screen (if activated) to drive cleanly through each stage. Try to look as far ahead as possible and use the lay of the land to determine what the road ahead will entail. Most roads follow the contours of mountains, using a series of switchbacks for climbing and descending steep mountainsides; those with even moderate backpacking experience will be easily able to recognize these contour patterns and thus be better able to anticipate upcoming corners. On occasion, visibility is clear so far ahead that it is possible to see turns one hundred meters - or more - beyond what the navigator is currently saying. Some roads leave one particular mountain and run along an adjacent mountain, and this can sometimes also be seen across a valley. For those roads atop short ridges or in vast plains, it is often possible to see the various turns far ahead. Try to use really tall objects such as trees - and especially telephone poles, as they are almost ALWAYS located directly next to the road - to determine the location and severity of upcoming turns. While not always the case, hairpin corners in Colin McRae Rally 3 often come in groups of two or more (with each corner leading in an opposite direction). This is good to remember for anticipating upcoming corners. Proper tire selection is EXTREMELY important, as selecting the wrong tire compound for a stage can slow the car by up to several seconds PER SECTOR. However, since most of the stages in Championship Mode (the game's career mode) are run consecutively without any Service Areas and opportunities to change vehicle settings, this will sometimes mean a MAJOR compromise on one stage in order to attain the best possible time on another stage. To the extent possible, ALWAYS brake in a straight line. If braking only occurs when cornering, the car will likely be carrying too much speed for the corner, resulting in the car sliding, spinning, and/or flipping. (While a car may not necessarily flip in this situation, a slide or spin can still mean the difference between winning and ending up in last position at the end of a stage.) A very important note concerning the navigation calls is the numbers used. Distance calls are in increments of either 10m or 100m; any other number used in the navigation calls are suggested gears for corners. This is important to remember, as many of Nicky Grist's calls can sometimes sound rather smashed together, like a run-on sentence. For example, '3 left, 50, 5 left' may instead sound like '3 left 55 left;' '6 left, 100, 5 right, 30, 3 right' may instead sound like '6 left 105 right 33 right.' Knowing and internalizing the distance/gear convention is extremely important to properly interpreting the navigation calls, especially since the indicator panels at the top-center of the screen (if activated) do not provide a suggested gear (they only indicate the type of corner, although the color of a panel is generally indicative of a corner's severity). Performing well in Championship Mode, especially above Normal difficulty, can be extremely difficult. Once Championship Mode has been cleared at least once, the player may benefit greatly from running each rally and each stage multiple times in Stages Mode. This means that the player will not be able to tune the selected vehicle - also, Semi-automatic Transmission cannot be selected - but this will allow the player to become more familiarized with that rally's stages. When ready, the player can then go to Championship Mode to participate in that rally; hopefully, the stages will thus not appear so 'foreign' and the player will have a better notion of what to expect and how to generally approach each stage and its various sections and difficulties. (Of course, this is VERY unorthodox for those desiring a truer rally- racing experience, in which the driver has little or no prior familiarity with the stages of a rally.) ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== RACING TIPS: BRAKING The first step in driving fast is knowing when, where, and how much to slow down (braking). In some games, a brake controller can be acquired or purchased, allowing the player to customize the brake strength by axle or by adjusting the bias of the brakes toward the front or the rear of the car; in other games, this is part of the 'stock' feature of the cars. The use of a brake controller will affect the braking zone, as will other factors. Specifically, the car's speed on approaching a corner, the amount of fuel in the car at a given moment, the drivetrain of the car, the weight of the car, and even the car's center of gravity can all affect the braking zone. Similarly, the driving conditions - sunny, overcast, damp, wet, icy, snowy etc. - will affect the braking zone for each corner (as well as the car's ability to attain high speeds). Except for purely arcade-style games, the braking zone will differ somewhat for each car depending upon its strengths and weaknesses. It certainly helps for the player to try a Free Run or a Time Trial (if these modes exist in a given game) to learn the circuit(s) - including the braking zones. When looking for braking zones, try to find a particular stationary object near the entry of each corner; it helps tremendously if this object is far enough away from the circuit that it will not be knocked over during a race. To begin, try using the brakes when the front of the car is parallel with the chosen stationary object. If this does not slow the car enough before corner entry or if the car slows too much before reaching the corner, pick another stationary object on the following lap and try again. Whenever changes are made to the car - whether to the brake controller or to other aspects of tuning and/or parts - it would be a good idea to go back into Free Run mode and check that the braking zones still hold; if not, adjust as necessary using the method in the paragraph above. For those races which include fuel loads, the car will become progressively lighter during a race. The lesser weight can often mean a slightly shorter braking zone; however, if tire wear is excessive (especially if there have been numerous off-course excursions), that might dictate a longer braking zone. Cars with a higher horsepower output will inherently attain faster speeds, and will therefore require a longer braking zone than cars with a lower horsepower output. Try a Volkswagon New Beetle, a Mini Cooper, a Dodge Viper, a Panoz Esperante GT-1, a Corvette C5R, and an F-2002 (all in stock/base configuration) along the same area of a circuit and note how their braking zones differ. A final note on braking: To the extent possible, ALWAYS brake in a straight line. If braking only occurs when cornering, the car will likely be carrying too much speed for the corner, resulting in the car sliding, spinning, and/or flipping. (Some games purposely do not permit the car to flip, but a slide or spin can still mean the difference between winning and ending up in last position at the end of a race.) If nothing else, players should strive to become of the 'breakers' they possibly can. This will essentially force a player to become a better racer/driver in general once the player has overcome the urge to constantly run at top speed at all times with no regard for damages to self or others. Also, slowing the car appropriately will make other aspects of racing/driving easier, especially in J-turns, hairpin corners, and chicanes. ============================================== RACING TIPS: CORNERING Ideally, the best way to approach a corner is from the outside of the turn, braking well before entering the corner. At the apex (the midpoint of the corner), the car should be right up against the edge of the roadway. On corner exit, the car drifts back to the outside of the roadway and speeds off down the straightaway. So, for a right-hand turn of about ninety degrees, enter the corner from the left, come to the right to hit the apex, and drift back to the left on corner exit. See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for a sample standard corner. For corners that are less than ninety degrees, it may be possible to just barely tap the brakes - if at all - and be able to clear such corners successfully. However, the same principles of cornering apply: approach from the outside of the turn, hit the apex, and drift back outside on corner exit. For corners more than ninety degrees but well less than 180 degrees, braking will certainly be required. However, for these 'J-turns,' the apex of the corner is not the midpoint, but a point approximately two-thirds of the way around the corner. J-turns require great familiarity to know when to begin diving toward the inside of the corner and when to power to the outside on corner exit. See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for a sample J-turn. Hairpin corners are turns of approximately 180 degrees. Braking is certainly required before corner entry, and the cornering process is the same as for standard corners: Approach from the outside, drift inside to hit the apex (located at halfway around the corner, or after turning ninety degrees), and drifting back to the outside on corner exit. See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for a sample hairpin corner. If there are two corners of approximately ninety degrees each AND both corners turn in the same direction AND there is only a VERY brief straightaway between the two corners, they may be able to be treated like an extended hairpin corner. Sometimes, however, these 'U-turns' have a straightaway between the corners that is just long enough to prohibit a hairpin-like treatment; in this case, drifting to the outside on exiting the first of the two corners will automatically set up the approach to the next turn. See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for a sample U-turn. FIA (the governing body of F1 racing, World Rally Championship, and other forms of international motorsport) seems to love chicanes. One common type of chicane is essentially a 'quick-flick,' where the circuit quickly edges off in one direction then realigns itself in a path parallel to the original stretch of pavement, as in the examples in the Diagrams section at the end of this guide. Here, the object is to approach the first corner from the outside, hit BOTH apexes, and drift to the outside of the second turn. There are chicanes of various types in rally racing, but they are not necessarily considered as such because the competitors tend to think corner-by-corner, and not complex- by-complex like circuit-based competitors. FIA also seems to like the 'Bus Stop' chicane, which is essentially just a pair of quick-flicks, with the second forming the mirror image of the first, as shown in the Diagrams section at the end of this guide. Perhaps the most famous Bus Stop chicane is the chicane (which is actually called the Ã¥Bus Stop Chicaneπ) at Pit Entry at Spa- Francorchamps, the home of the annual Grand Prix of Belgium (F1 racing) and the host of The 24 Hours of Spa (for endurance racing). Virtually every other type of corner or corner combination encountered in racing (primarily in road racing) combines elements of the corners presented above. These complex corners and chicanes can be challenging, such as the Ascari chicane at Monza. See the Diagrams section for an idea of the formation of Ascari. However, in illegal street/highway racing, the positioning of traffic can 'create' the various corners and corner combinations mentioned here. For example, weaving in and out of traffic creates a virtual bus stop chicane (see the Diagrams section at the end of this guide). Slowing may be necessary - it often is - depending on the distance between the vehicles. See the Sample Circuit Using Some of the Above Corner Types Combines in the Diagrams section at the end of this guide; note that this is a diagram for a very technical circuit. At some race venues, 'artificial chicanes' may be created by placing cones and/or (concrete) barriers in the middle of a straightaway. One such game which used this type of chicane is the original Formula1 by Psygnosis, an F1-based PlayStation game from 1995, which used this at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve along Casino Straight (shortly after passing the final grandstands at the exit of Casino Hairpin). There are a few 'artificial chicanes' in Colin McRae Rally 3. One thing which can change the approach to cornering is the available vision. Blind and semi-blind corners require ABSOLUTE knowledge of such corners. Here is where gamers have an advantage over real-world drivers: Gamers can (usually) change their viewpoint (camera position), which can sometimes provide a wider, clearer view of the stage, which can be especially important when approaching semi-blind corners; real-world drivers are obviously inhibited by the designs of their cars and racing helmets. Great examples of real-world blind and semi-blind corners would be Mulsanne Hump at Le Mans, Turns 14 and 15 at Albert Park, each of the first three corners at A1-Ring, and many forest-based stages in rally racing. Also important to cornering - especially with long, extended corners - is the cornerπs radius. Most corners use an identical radius throughout their length. However, some are increasing-radius corners or decreasing-radius corners. These corners may require shifting the apex point of a corner, and almost always result in a change of speed. Decreasing-radius corners are perhaps the trickiest, because the angle of the corner becomes sharper, thus generally requiring more braking as well as more turning of the steering wheel. Increasing-radius corners are corners for which the angle becomes more and more gentle as the corner progresses; this means that drivers will generally accelerate more, harder, or faster, but such an extra burst of speed can backfire and require more braking. See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for sample images of a decreasing- radius corner and an increasing-radius corner. For traditional road racing circuits, increasing-radius and decreasing-radius corners may not be too much of a problem; after several laps around one of these circuits, a driver will know where the braking and acceleration points are as well as the shifted apex point (should a shift be required). However, for stage-based rally racing, where the roads are virtually unknown and the driver knows what is ahead only because of the navigatorπs instructions (which - based upon notes - may or may not be absolutely correct), the unknown can cause drivers to brake more often and/or more heavily. For rally-based games, such as the Need for Speed: V-Rally series (PlayStation/PSOne/PlayStation2) or for World Rally Championship (PlayStation2), there is often specialized vocabulary used: Ã¥tightensπ generally designates that a corner has a decreasing radius, whereas Ã¥widensπ or Ã¥opensπ indicates that a corner has an increasing radius. This need for Ã¥extraπ braking is also tempered by the fact that in much of rally racing, corners are either blind or semi-blind, due to trees, buildings, cliffs, embankments, and other obstacles to clear vision all the way around a corner. One particularly interesting aspect of cornering is one which I honestly do not know if it works in reality (I am not a real-world racer, although I would certainly LOVE the chance to attend a racing school!!!), but which works in numerous racing/driving games I have played over the years. This aspect is to use the accelerator to help with quickly and safely navigating sharp corners. This works by first BRAKING AS USUAL IN ADVANCE OF THE CORNER, then - once in the corner itself - rapidly pumping the brakes for the duration of the corner (or at least until well past the apex of the corner). The action of rapidly pumping the accelerator appears to cause the drive wheels to catch the pavement just enough to help stop or slow a sliding car, causing the non-drive wheels to continue slipping and the entire car to turn just a little faster. Using this rapid-pumping technique with the accelerator does take a little practice initially, and seems to work best with FR cars; however, once perfected, this technique can pay dividends, especially with REALLY sharp hairpin corners, such as at Sebring International Raceway or those often found in rally racing. ============================================== RACING TIPS: COASTING Some players may believe that a good racer is ALWAYS either accelerating or braking. However, this is not always the best way to approach a given section of a circuit or rally stage. Coasting can sometimes be beneficial. First, consider standard street or highway driving. Street- legal cars are designed for the same foot to be used for both acceleration and braking (with the other foot used for operating the clutch if the vehicle uses a manual transmission). There is always a slight delay between acceleration and braking as the driver moves the foot from one pedal to the other; during this time, the vehicle is essentially coasting - that is, the vehicle's current momentum is the only thing moving the vehicle. In real-world racing, there are a number of drivers who use 'left-foot braking.' In other words, one foot is used for the accelerator, while the other foot is used for the brake pedal. Yet even in left-foot braking, a driver must take care to NOT be pressing both the accelerator pedal AND the brake pedal simultaneously, as this could cause the engine revs to spike and/or cause undue tire wear. Therefore, even though for a much shorter duration (perhaps best measured in hundredths of a second) than in standard 'right-foot braking,' there is always a short period of coasting. In many racing games, I find that coasting through tight corners (including tight chicanes) can sometimes be the best method to safely navigate these difficult sections - and this is true in both pavement-based games and in rally-based games. Certainly, braking properly (i.e., in a straight line BEFORE reaching the corner or chicane) is key to successfully coasting. However, using NEITHER the accelerator button NOR the brake button will cause the vehicle to coast, thus using the natural momentum of the vehicle to perhaps swing the vehicle around the corner or through the chicane. This is actually somewhat tricky to explain in words, and is really something that each player should try several times (especially on tight, technical circuits, such as Monaco and Bathurst, or virtually any stage of a rally-based game) to truly understand this technique. Once learned, however, players may easily find themselves adding this technique to their gaming repertoire :-) ============================================== RACING TIPS: WEIGHT SHIFTS Modern racing games are especially adept at simulating a vehicle's weight shift in a variety of situations. This section assumes that a vehicle is moving in a forward direction. When cornering, a vehicle's weight shift is to the opposite direction; in other words, if a vehicle is turning to the left, its weight will be shifted to the right (and vice versa). If the player attempts to corner too quickly, the resultant weight shift risks to slide the vehicle toward the outside of the turn; in extreme cases, the vehicle could lift and have only TWO wheels actually touching the ground, or potentially the vehicle could even flip onto its side or its roof!!! While it is certainly fun to see a vehicle on two wheels or on its side or roof, this is obviously counter- productive, especially in a close race or in a time trial mode. Tires and downforce play a role in helping to keep the vehicle on the ground during cornering, but once a given speed is surpassed for the type, radius, and angle of the corner in question, the player will have limited - if any - control of the vehicle. During acceleration, the vehicle's weight will naturally shift toward the rear. In most situations, this is not a particularly crucial phenomenon. However, if the vehicle is moving fairly slowly and the player suddenly slams on the accelerator, or especially if a race has a standing start (such as F1, TOCA, and rally races), this weight shift should be crucial. As the vehicle weight shifts to the rear of the vehicle, the rear suspension and tires could potentially take a lot of punishment. This is especially important for the tires, as the extra weight will require an appropriate amount of 'extra' acceleration (especially if the vehicle uses rear- wheel drive, which is true of many racing vehicles) to compensate and get the wheels to turn enough for the tires to adequately grip the racing surface to help to propel the vehicle forward. However, overcompensation could result in excessive wheelspin, which is quite likely to create undue tire wear. While braking, a vehicle's weight will shift toward the front of the vehicle. If the player brakes too late to corner safely yet still attempts to take the corner even semi- normally, the weight will load to the front outside wheel (in relation to the corner; i.e., to the front-left wheel if taking a right-hand corner) and risk causing the vehicle to slide off the course in the direction of the front-outside wheel. Even if not attempting to corner, the weight shift to the front during braking requires a little extra care to ensure that the front wheels do not lock (in those games which support wheel-lock, such as Pro Race Driver). In rally racing especially, the trick to successfully navigating many of the tight corners on the various stages is to use the vehicle's natural weight shifts to help successfully clear each section of the stage. This requires excellent knowledge of each rally car's capabilities and limitations, as well as superb anticipation and planning for each corner. Obviously, since most rallies are held on point-to-point stages, there is only one chance to successfully navigate each twist in the raceway, and using a vehicle's natural weight shift is crucial to 'getting it right' the first (and only) time!!! ============================================== RACING TIPS: WET-WEATHER RACING/DRIVING Almost everything written to this point in the guide focuses solely upon dry-weather racing/driving conditions. In fact, most racing/driving games deal ONLY with dry-weather conditions. However, simulation-based games (such as rally games) will include at least a few wet-conditions situations. This can range from Gran Turismo 3 - which uses two circuits (hosting a total of eight races between Simulation Mode and Arcade Mode) where the roadway has A LOT of standing water, as if the races take place just following a major prolonged downpour - to F1 2002 - where in most situations, players can purposely select the desired weather conditions for a given race. In wet-weather racing/driving conditions, it is IMPERATIVE to use tires designed for wet-conditions usage. For example, in F1 2002, in a full 53-lap race at Monza, I purposely tried running as long as I could with Dry Tires, then switched to Rain Tires when I could no longer handle the car's inherent sliding about... and my lap times instantly dropped by more than five seconds. In games which offer Intermediate Tires, such as Le Mans 24 Hours, the period when the racing circuit is simply damp (at the start of a period of rain, or when the circuit is drying after a period of rain) can be tricky in terms of tires. Intermediate Tires are certainly best for these racing conditions, but the time in Pit Lane spent changing to Intermediate Tires can mean losing numerous race positions, especially if the weather conditions change again a short time later and require another trip to Pit Lane to change tires yet again. Tires aside, simulation-style games simply will not allow a player to drive a circuit the same way in wet-weather conditions as in dry-weather conditions. The braking zone for all but the gentlest of corners will need to be extended, or else the car risks to hydroplane itself off the pavement. Throttle management is also key in wet-conditions racing. Due to the water (and perhaps even puddles) on the circuit or stage, there is inherently less tire grip, so strong acceleration is more likely to cause undue wheelspin - which could in turn spin the car and create a collision. If a car has gone off the raceway, then the sand and/or grass which collect on the tires provide absolutely NO traction at all, so just the act of getting back to the pavement will likely result in numerous spins. In general, cornering is more difficult in wet conditions than in dry conditions. To help ease this difficulty in cornering, simulation-style games will sometimes allow the player to change the car's tuning during a race (if not, the player will be forced to try to survive using the tuning set- up chosen before the beginning of the race). Tuning is covered in more detail in another section above, but the main aspect to change for wet-weather conditions is to raise the downforce at the front and/or rear of the car; this will help improve cornering ability, but will result in slower top-end speed and slower acceleration. If the car's brake strength can be adjusted, it should be lowered, as strong braking will raise the likelihood of hydroplaning off the pavement; lowering brake strength will also mean an additional lengthening of the braking zone for all but the gentlest corners of a given circuit. Registering Colin McRae Rally 3 grants access (for North American players) to Nicky Grist's pace notes for a stage in the Rally of Australia. While not particularly useful for gameplay purposes, it does add another sense of realism to the atmosphere of the game. ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== ONLINE RESOURCES Here are a few Internet resources for World Rally Championship, the actual FIA rally racing series which provides the basis for V-Rally 2. Codemasters ( This is the American Web site for Codemasters, the publisher of Colin McRae Rally 3. A CMR3 sub-site is also available. FIA World Rally Championship - Mailing List ( Touted as "the world's biggest rally mailing list," results will be sent via e-mail for each competition. ( This site - available in English, French, and Spanish - includes rally news and images, information on drivers and teams, regulations, information on each racing venue, an online store, forums and chat capabilities, wallpapers, screensavers, and more. RallyForum ( This is primarily an online discussion area for everything related to World Rally Championship. RallyRallyRally ( This site covers World Rally Championship, British Rally, European Rally, American Rally, and Asia/Pacific Rally news. World Rallying ( This site is an independent source for information on World Rally Championship, including results for every season since 1994 and an online discussion area. ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== CONTACT INFORMATION For questions, rants, raves, comments of appreciation, etc., or to be added to my e-mail list for updates to this driving guide, please contact me at: FEATHER7@IX.NETCOM.COM; also, if you have enjoyed this guide and feel that it has been helpful to you, I would certainly appreciate a small donation via PayPal ( using the above e-mail address. To find the latest version of this and all my other PSX/PS2/DC/Mac game guides, visit FeatherGuides at ============================================== ============================================== ==============================================