Video: Gran Turismo 5 countdown

As the world teeters on the edge of Sony's confirmed Gran Turismo 5 launch date – next Wednesday apparently – the interweb is twiddling its thumbs with fretful impatience.

Like a ship's captain surveying the skies for a clue to the following day's weather, the blogosphere is restlessly searching for any hint that Polyphony might pull the rug from under our feet again and leave us with nothing to do this Christmas.

But we're a little more optimistic here at Autoblog UK HQ. Real life human beings have assured us the game is imminent and the appearance of a new promo in the US (does GT5 really need a marketing push?) suggests all is well.
So it's in that spirit that we've formulated a shortlist of the things we can't wait to try once Sony has delivered the game into our grubby little paws.

1) Cars, cars, cars and more cars
There's no doubt about it, GT5 is promising more cars than we've ever come close to encountering in a game before. Around a 1000 have been gloriously recreated in living Technicolor, including oddities like the Second World War German Schwimmwagen and Volkswagen's Samba Bus. But this is Gran Turismo – not content with simply building production models the game's designers have gone to the trouble of including cars which never made it onto the road or track, including the achingly pretty Jaguar XJ13.

2) Top Gear test track
What? The Top Gear circuit? GT5 will feature a number of the world's greatest circuits (as well as a fistful of fictional ones) why would we want to spend time at the BBC's pokey Dunsfold site? Well, mainly for the challenge. Secretly we all believe we're a match for Ben Collins, and now we get to (dis)prove that theory. Plus there's enough run-off to endlessly reproduce those smoky tail slides so beloved by Clarkson and Hammond.

3) Karting, NASCAR, WRC etc
The latest production models are all well and good, but it's the stuff that we'll never get to drive which gets our palms all sweaty. The introduction of NASCAR for the first time is headline news for the colonials, but we're British so it's the karting and rally cars which has really got us excited. Expect both to be the most realistic reproductions ever.

4) Dynamic weather system
Ok, we admit that doesn't sound very exciting, but Gran Turismo's calling card is realism, and by the looks of it they've pulled out all the stops with the dynamic environments. It doesn't just rain, it starts raining and stops. It spits, drizzles, splashes and pours. It looks unbelievable. It also turns from night to day and back again. The photo realistic dust, tire smoke and heat shimmer are the icing on the cake.

5) Red Bull's X1 Prototype
We've been itching to try this one since we heard about it a couple of months ago. Anyone who isn't curious about what Red Bull's mastermind designer, Adrian Newey, came up with when Polyphony asked him to design the ultimate racing machine just isn't interested in cars full stop. The X1 is said to push performance to the edge of human endurance.
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