Gran Turismo HD Concept has been released in the US and Japan over the Christmas break, offering "PS3 and automotive fans a glimpse into the future of Gran Turismo," according to series creator Kazunori Yamauchi.
Kaz and co. (the co. in question being Polyphony Digital) had originally planned to release a boxed Concept edition of Gran Turismo with content archives expandable through paid-for downloads, but following an 11th hour reverse the decision was taken to release a free demo instead.
As a result, fans on both continents can access some next-gen GT content, with the demo comprising one track (Eiger Nordwand) and Time Trial races that allow you to unlock new cars. There are ten to gather initially, with a further ten "Tuned Cars" and a "Drift Trial" mode unlocked once the floodgates have opened.
The first ten cars? Why, they're the 1995 Suzuki Cappucino, the 1989 Mazda Eunos Roadster, the 2004 Honda Integra TYPE R, the 1996 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV GSR, the 2006 Infiniti G35 Coupe, the 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX GSR, the 2005 Lotus Elise 111R, the 1994 Nissan SKYLINE GT-R Vspec II, the 1995 Toyota Celica GT-FOUR Rally Car, and the 2006 Ferrari 599.
Drift Trial, as you might imagine, allows you to try and master drifting. You'll also be able to upload lap-times and view the top ten for any given car and mode, with the option to save replays online also available.
Polyphony has previously said that a single Concept release now will allow it to put more weight behind Gran Turismo 5, expected in 2008, and has floated the possibility of more demo releases in the meantime.