When Gran Turismo launched 25 years ago on the original PlayStation, it was the first racing game with over 100 licensed cars. Its scale was unprecedented. For comparison, The Need for Speed only had nine cars. There was even a good chance of finding your dad's car in the early GT games.
Since then, GT games have become virtual car encyclopaedias, with hundreds of cars to race, collect, and tune. Recent entries even have virtual museums chronicling the history of the most celebrated car manufacturers.
Quantity over quality
Most cars in GT7 predate 2017. The Genesis G70 is the only car from the 2022 model year, while the Nissan Z is the only 2023 model-year car.
Likewise, there’s only one 2021 model car: the Toyota GR86 RZ. It’s been five years since GT Sport launched on PS4, but GT7 only features 22 new road cars from the last five model years when excluding race cars and fictional Vision GT cars.
It doesn’t help that every car from GT Sport has carried over to GT7. This means only around 80-100 cars are new to GT7. Multiple variations of the same models also pad out GT7’s car list, reducing the number of unique cars. Polyphony needs to prioritise quality, not quantity when choosing cars in GT games.
From the Ferrari 250 GT to the Aston Martin DB5, GT7 has an array of historically significant cars most of us can only dream of driving. But a lot of high profile cars from Ferrari, Aston Martin, McLaren, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Tesla launched in the last five years are absent.
Visit the Bugatti dealership, and the only production car you can buy is the Veyron, which debuted 17 years ago. While it’s a historically significant car that set a new benchmark for performance, the Veyron was superseded by the Chiron in 2018.
Bugatti made history in 2019 when the Chiron Super Sport 300+ became the first production car to break the 300-mph barrier, so it deserves to be in GT7.
You also won’t find any McLarens in GT7 currently in production. You can drive the MP4-12C and 650S, but they ended production in 2014 and 2017 respectively.
Since the MP4-12C launched in 2014 as the British manufacturer’s first road car since the iconic F1, McLaren’s lineup has expanded considerably. New models like the 720S, Speedtail, and Senna have put McLaren on the map in recent years, but they aren't in GT7.
And despite featuring in modern racing games like Project CARS 3 and the Forza Horizon series, Koenigsegg still hasn’t appeared in a Gran Turismo game.
Electric cars are also underrepresented. GT7 has a handful of EVs such as the Tesla Model S, BMW i3, and Porsche Taycan Turbo.
But the electric car revolution has already started - almost every major car manufacturer now has an EV in its lineup. To be fair, this problem isn’t exclusive to GT. However, recent EVs like the Jaguar I-Pace and Rimac Concept Two feature in FH5, but not GT7.
If you were hoping to drive the latest cars in GT7, you'll be disappointed. This problem has plagued the series in recent years, as GT6 and GT Sport also launched with outdated car lists.
Why does Gran Turismo 7 not have the latest cars?
There’s no definitive answer, but licensing agreements with car manufacturers are likely a factor.
There was a time when EA had exclusive rights to use Porsche cars in Need for Speed games for over a decade. This is no longer the case, but car brands can still give game developers exclusive rights to car models.
McLaren, for example, has a close relationship with Microsoft. This led to the McLaren P1 and McLaren Senna becoming cover cars for Forza Motorsport 5 and Forza Horizon 4 respectively. Licensing cars is also expensive, which probably explains why Ferrari didn’t debut in a GT game until GT5.
Some cars are also exclusive to racing games for a limited time. The LaFerrari, for example, was a timed exclusive in Forza Motorsport 5 but subsequently appeared in GT Sport and GT7.
The Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept and GR Supra RZ road car, on the other hand, debuted in GT Sport at a time when the Japanese manufacturer was not licensing cars for other racing games.
Modelling cars in racing games also takes a lot of time and resources. Since GT Sport, cars in GT are built from scratch in painstaking detail.
To put this into perspective, cars in the original GT were made up of 300 polygons. Now, GT7’s cars are made up of 500,000 polygons.
Every car also has a fully modelled interior. As a result, it takes several months and thousands of hours for Polyphony’s design team to model one car.
However, since 2020 Polyphony has outsourced car modelling to external teams to speed up the process. This means it now takes three months to model a car in GT instead of six, which doesn’t explain why GT7’s car list is several years out of date.
There's still time for Polyphony to bring GT7's car list up to date. 170 new cars were added to GT Sport after launch in free updates, effectively doubling the car list. Polyphony has similar plans for GT7, too.
New cars are coming to GT7 in free updates, with the first batch arriving by the end of April. Let’s hope these updates feature more modern cars to keep GT7’s car list relevant for years to come.