GRAN TURISMO: Iowa Track Possible Inspiration

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They say imitation is the best form of flattery. So, if it could, an old Iowa race track should be flattered.

Some on the internet are claiming a popular video racing game is based on an old race track near Indianola.

Gran Turismo is a popular racing simulator game which, according to Sony Entertainment, has sold 50-million units. A game this popular has its own web community and of late, discussion has come up on one of their most popular tracks, Deep Forest Raceway. It's a track that has been featured in all the Gran Turismo editions since 1997.

On the game, the track is described as being fictional but was it really patterned after an obscure former race track near Indianola called Greenwood Raceway?

The old raceway is now used to train heavy equipment operators.

“There’s a lot of buzz out there, we’ve had a lot of people wanting to stop in.”

Bob Herndon of Iowa Operating Engineers Training Center took Channel 13’s Roger Riley on a tour of the old track.

According to the Warren County Historical Society, the aging circuit started operating in 1963. The track was open for three or four years, “Caroll Shelby came down here and raced his high horse power Mustangs. And that's what eventually led to the down fall of the tack. The high horsepower cars tore up the track.”

Newspaper accounts say the track ran out of money and closed but 50 years on, people are still interested in it.  Various groups have driven on tours over the road, but due to liability, racing is out of the question.

Even if people wanted to buy the track, the engineer group has no plans to sell.

So, is the Gran Turismo game patterned after Greenwood?

It would seem the answer could be a “yes” according to Herndon, “Six years back, we had a couple of gentlemen come out here and they were interested in the old track and they wandered round with their GPS and marked it out and everything. They told us they were going to create a video game out of it.”

The game's makers 6,000 miles away in Japan haven't offered an official answer as to whether the track was designed after a little-known rural Iowan setting.

The Iowa Operating Engineers say they won't be staging any races although they do hope to preserve the old track roadway, as they use it to get around their property.

The fictional and real track can be compared below.