Gran Turismo 4 turns ignition on March 9

UK release date set in stone and extra cars confirmed for lucky PAL gamers

If you've been gasping for a bit of gasoline-drenched PS2 car sim action, your wait is almost over. Sony has announced that the latest instalment in the legendary Gran Turismo series will handbrake turn onto European shelves on March 9.

Already out in Japan, GT4 features over 700 of the world's most pant-dampeningly desirable motorcars and over 50 beautifully recreated race tracks to thrash them around. As we've come to expect from Kazunori Yamauchi's famously anal automotive love (would that be up the exhaust pipe?) every car feels, sounds, and performs exactly as it would if you were rich enough to drive one in real life.

As a special bonus for European racers the PAL version of GT4 will be souped up with 10 exclusive extra cars, including the new Alfa Romeo GT, the beautiful Audi Nuvolari Quattro, the street-modified Golf IV R32 from HPA Motorsports, the record-breaking Auto Union V16 Type C Streamline Race Car, the controversial Chaparral 2J Race Car and the 1993 Le Mans-winning Peugeot 905.

And you won't just be able to race them - you can compose some top-notch automotive porn by snapping your motor in front of some of the world's most awesome landmarks, or experience life in the pitlane by ordering an AI driver around in the new B-Spec mode.

It's an absolute monster of a game, and Sony reckon it's the biggest ever made. "It would take more than 120 days of playing 24-hours non-stop just to sample each car on every track for just five minutes," reckons this press release, a prospect that we find strangely appealing...

For the full, uncensored MOT checklist on the Japanese version of GT4 head to our review here.