Gran Turismo changed racing games forever when it launched in December 1997 in Japan. Inevitably, it didn’t take long for a sequel to arrive. Two years later, Gran Turismo 2 offered a staggering 650 cars to drive and 27 tracks, including rally circuits. Those numbers were inconceivable in 1999 and remain impressive today.
Unfortunately, a tight Christmas 1999 release deadline meant the development was rushed, resulting in GT2 releasing with a slew of bugs and content being removed. The most notorious glitch made it impossible to complete the game 100%. With the internet still in its infancy, Polyphony couldn’t fix these issues in a patch update like in Gran Turismo 7.
25 years after its release, a fan-made mod called Project A-Spec fixes these issues and breathes new life into the classic PS1 racer with new cars, events, and improvements.
Reimagining the real driving simulator
Originally named The Gran Turismo 2 Experience, Project A-Spec started as a passion project four years ago by an avid Gran Turismo 2 fan and modder known on Discord as Komputer.
“Back then, the situation in my country was quite depressing, and I tried my best to distract myself from it. So, I decided to start my GT modding journey,” Komputer tells RacingGames. “I wanted to make a mod for GT2 that changed how the game was played.”
Project A-Spec was initially a solo project before Komputer assembled a team of developers and modders to make it a reality.
This isn’t a simple remaster. Project A-Spec expands the original PS1 racer by adding over 30 new period-correct cars, from thoroughbred racers to modest family hatchbacks and series icons. Komputer has one important criteria when curating new vehicles: “The cars have to be from 1999 or earlier.”
That means you won’t see newer cars like the Aston Martin Valkyrie or Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C8, but no vehicle looks out of place. As a result, Komputer sees A-Spec as “a take on period-correct DLC for GT2.”
Cut cars return to GT2
“We added completely new cars to the game, even manufacturers cut from the original game, such as Lamborghini and McLaren,” Komputer says. “We have added some cars that were cut during development and appeared on demo versions of GT2.”
Cars cut from the original game, like the Volkswagen Polo 1.4 16V, RUF BTR2, RUF CR4, and Mercedes-Benz CLK Race Car, are restored and playable in A-Spec. The latter was converted into a CLK DTM 2000 concept race car the hidden GT2 model was based on.
Other new cars, such as the Renault Sport Spider, SOK McLaren F1 GTR, and JLOC Diablo GT-1, originally appeared in the game files in name only with a placeholder Nissan Primera body.
New car models were created from scratch to blend with GT2’s art style or based on “modified model ports from existing period-correct titles.” Restoring these lost cars effectively realises Kazunori Yamauchi’s original vision for GT2.
As well as adding new cars, Project A-Spec enhances the AI to make the opponents more challenging to defeat and adds new campaign events, including the Like the Wind race featured in GT3 – GT6.
Komputer explains that overcoming GT2’s limitations was the biggest challenge when developing Project A-Spec. Research from an older GT2+ mod proved instrumental in getting Project A-Spec off the ground.
“The main issue is limitations. GT2 is very limited in places: models, car data, event data, menus, etc. I have to thank the developers of GT2+ and the amount of research they did. Without it, A-Spec, and GT2 modding in general, would not be possible.”
Formula 1 cars in Gran Turismo 2
Gran Turismo 2 A-Spec version 1.0 was released last December. However, the project continues to evolve, with the latest 1.1 update adding the 1993 Renault Twingo, 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II, 1999 Mercedes-Benz CLR, and 1964 Chaparral 2D.
Looking ahead, the team plans to add Formula 1 cars from the 1999 season won by Mika Hakkinen for McLaren. Mercedes-McLaren MP4/14 and Ferrari F399 car models are already complete, with more F1 cars planned. All that's missing is excitable commentary from Murray Walker. Future updates will add more features and quality-of-life updates.
How to install Gran Turismo 2 A-Spec mod
If you want to take Gran Turismo 2 A-Spec for a spin, you’ll need an emulator like Duckstation, a US 1.2 version of Gran Turismo 2’s sim disc, and the xdelta mod patch. Komputer warns that old save files won’t work in new updates if you’re planning a complete playthrough.
“If people find trouble in the installation process, people from the community and dev team will gladly help them with the process,” Komputer says.
Gran Turismo 2 Project A-Spec is out now and can be downloaded on the mod’s official Discord server. With cut content restored alongside new cars and events, Project A-Spec is the perfect way to celebrate GT2’s 25th anniversary this year.
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