Beater or Sleeper? COTW! Week 64: Jimmies Rustled. (1970 GMC Jimmy)

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Obelisk

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Interesting that you bring up tuning, Obe, because we can't do much to EVs in Gran Turismo—power can only be marginally improved with an upgraded ECU, and we can't even play with their gearing. It sharply limits their scope and potential, not to mention their abysmal tyre and "fuel" consumption rates.

What's tuning an EV like over at Mexico?
Well, the EVs can equip gearboxes and have their powertrains upgraded here in Horizon Mexico, mainly stronger motors and batteries. There was a short time where the 4-speed Drift Gearbox broke the game due to the Raesr Tachyon dropping from S2 class all the way down to A class (think hypercar vs lightly modded GR Supra).

edit: even then, it's not a significant boost like you'd think. I think the motor upgrades are limited to certain EVs.
 
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Vic Reign93

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Interesting that you bring up tuning, Obe, because we can't do much to EVs in Gran Turismo—power can only be marginally improved with an upgraded ECU, and we can't even play with their gearing. It sharply limits their scope and potential, not to mention their abysmal tyre and "fuel" consumption rates.

What's tuning an EV like over at Mexico?
Pretty much free reign in most cases, more powerful EV’s like the Tachyon and the Rimac C2 can’t be powered up further (although to be fair, both have four figure power outputs with the C2 clocking in at nearly 1900hp.).

Gearing, suspension, tyres, motors, FH5 is certainly more EV tuning friendly than GT, I mean I’ve got a road going EV’s like the Taycan and I Pace set up for off roading in various classes, 2 C2’s, one for S2 tarmac racing and one for drag racing. 😁
 

Obelisk

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My controller has given out...again. This new one didn't last very long and has already developed a strange drift on the left analog control. Back to the sidelines for now - but re: the Baja Boneshaker, I'm giving it a Neutral from my experience with it in the DLC. Fun, but grows a little old a little fast.
 
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SPD Writes Car Of The Week: Week 37 - Big boi jamboree!


This week, we have 3 cross country monsters. That means..

3 writeups, definitely cut down.

3 times with the XRAID MINI on these track.. just notably a treat for me.

3 reviews. I'll cover as much as possible, but I can't promise a good time.. I mean, best run, not the time with the car. One might be a new Mark of Zen, after all..

Okay, let's get going.




Vehicle 1: Mercedes-Benz Unimog U5023


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And now: the sole representation of Forza's BIG in full shoutycaps. I wonder what kind of smoke were they having a sniff in when they thought this can compete with supercars.


Of all the cars we can call a safari, the Unimog's most definitely the elephant in the room. Born as Mercedes' way of saying they need a heavy duty off-roading machine, the Unimog started off as part of Daimler-Benz, sold under the Mercedes name until 1951. One thing I quite like researching this mammoth is that the car's name is an acronym, coming from the words: Universal-Motor-Gerat”. If my German memory serves, this means universal motor device. Okay, not exactly hard, and I did have to look up 'gerat'. To be honest, the words that I know mainly in that language aside from cars come from Downfall parodies.

While it's made for industrial and agricultural purposes after the 2nd world war, one can say the Unimog's original intent was to be a heavy duty truck that's both more road worthy and faster than the usual tractor. But despite it's big bed at the back and the clearance it's got, it's not better when it comes to how much load it can carry compared to the usual heavy load truck.

The Unimog would go around this disadvantage, and develop over time their abilities to travel in harsh terrain and off-road situations. I'm no German, but I can think of Unimogs coming in as a semi-staple in German day to day activities and emergencies. Things like fire fighting, military, rail train maintenance (yes, it's also a train, choo choo), forest rangers, snow ploughs, construction, and.. what's this? Racing? Oh yes, it's got racing history too. And the competitions vary, but they come together as the kind of racing you see for this size of machine: down and dirty. It even competed and won in Dakar, twice.

And all this versatility means one can order a Unimog and spec it to such a specific way. In fact, with it's persistent presence that beats even the original MINI, the Unimog has a museum that showcases its past in Gaggenau.

But now let's go to this iteration of the Unimog, known as the U5023. Powered by a 5.1-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder diesel, the 7 ton monster is carried by 230 horsepower and a whopping 663 foot pounds of torque. And if high numbers seems to be it's specialty, it's got both an 8 speed automatic and a 6 speed reverse. It's for off-road climbing, not for specific speeds for specific turns on the circuit.

And the tires are on a league of its own. Aside from being able to bring 7 tons around, it has a variable setting.. something we don't use here in Horizon. It's for different terrain so it can get through them without the need of getting out yourself and swapping the tires. Settings include for road, mild and rough terrain. Despite looking something so stone age, this thing is chock full of tech.

And if we head into games.. umm.. Forza Horizon 4 and 5 only?? I do recall that Asphalt sidegame Asphalt Xtreme having one, being a U4023. But nothing else? I guess nobody wants to drive this kind of truck around in the virtual realm. If I had the chance to use one in real life, I would! Could be an interesting experience. Destruction, strife and chaos might be just by the rear view, however.

Just like putting it in the ocean, the Unimog sinks to the bottom of the PI scale, with a rating of 103. And with such a value, the first thing anyone does to their Unimog is swap it with the 2400hp Iron Knight 6 cylinder turbo diesel. Speaking of the Iron Knight, with it being MIA, the only cars we have in the Trucks class would be the Unimog and the Tankpool24 Racing Truck. I can't comment on this madness, or why it's still here when the former can fit okay in Pickups & 4X4s.

Similarly in its debut game of Horizon 4, the Unimog still remains a popular choice for tuners and artists, and will only set you back 100,000 credits from the Autoshow. I'm having a look at the Auction House, and prices look at the value of 88,000 credits for least, and 110,000 credits for most common. It's a wonder how I have 2. One's stock, with the other tuned for A-class road, with the Iron Knight engine. The other is a dull case of grey, now repainted in Spectraflame Pink.

I know you're looking at me with intent, and no, I must conform to Test rules. Maybe I'll include this road going Unimog to the gigantic Showcase I plan to get working with.


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To make marks like Godzilla on the seafloor, the Unimog has to travel through the rough and tough of Copper Canyon Cross Country.


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So, ever since the Countryman got nominated, it got the SPD focus. Now I need to put it aside and get out the recurring X-RAID Countryman. I have a feeling DIO is ready to yoink this car too, but at least I won't be considerably roused when that happens.


"An intense Cross Country route that bounds along the bottom of Copper Canyon, over road, river, and even the railway! Let nothing stand in your way as you conquer this difficult terrain."

The game already has the words that you want to be something dominant, so I guess kudos to the delegation of the track and car choice.. we're driving the car version of a T-pose. Only that the T-pose is rated super duper low.

What I can see is that this track is full of wide turns, wide banked turns, and a river. So I hope you're driving something with clearance and weight. And power too, or else Unimog is the only answer.

Far as I'm concerned, at least the train doesn't spawn in this track. Or else we might see 2 unstoppable machines collide, possibly creating an alternate universe where Project Gotham Racing is Horizon..

If you do have a controllable offroading monster, you're bound for a great time. There are places where they want to stop you, but learning the track's the way that's not going to happen.


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The only issue I have is that we're really at the bottom for performance, so there's probably not much to say. But past me has mentioned a need for testing this car's big dick energy for plowing through foliage and obstacles. Well? How's about it? It's time to show off that big di-wait, is there a filter for this? Umm.. Big dirt! Yes. Dirt.


- I guess it's a Mercedes thing with this truck and the G Wagen when it comes to how the interior is modern for something so terribly classic. There's a button for anything, and while it's not a semi-truck's set of buttons, it's close enough to warrant a comparison. When are we getting the Tankpool24 in COTW? I don't plan to be the one that does it.

- If we're launching this thing with this AWD combined with this minimal rating of weight and power.. I say.. I shouldn't even make a paragraph for it. It has 8 gears, and the car will theoretically top out at 55. There's not even any case of grip loss. And shift? I guess you can shift anytime near or in the redline, because.. next point.

- The gearing is bad for racing. So, in any car you go from 1st to 2nd to 3rd, you know, your usual daily activity. In the Unimog, due to the straw narrow width of 2nd to 4th, I suggest you go 1st, then jump straight to 5th, then you do your normal daily activity. However, while the suggestion to go auto is a thing, I remain in manual so I can control the turning and uphill momentum. In fact, I remain in 7th and 8th the entire run.

- Of course if you're carrying 7 tons with this much power, your acceleration going uphill suffers, and it's quite the opposite going downhill. You're going to reach speeds up to 90 MPH, and it would seem it's the perfect time to test out things like braking and handling. Both of these are good. Not good enough, but still good to be on something this large.

- A quick note: after 20 seconds, I swapped to the interior camera, which is the camera view I exclusively use in other racers.. some others I resort to the cockpit view, and I can say I'm that kind of dude that's confidently competitive in cockpit view. The thing is so huge, they didn't bother putting another specially made view for racing it kind of ticks me the wrong way.

- If you think the Unimog is going to be a handful to drive, you'd be quite wrong. So wrong, in fact, that it makes you wonder if carrying a lot of weight is hard. It is, but not when it's both distributed well, and managed by something with great balance overall. The only time I find myself sliding around with it is when I'm intentionally doing it.

- Just like a cameraman in the beginning of a super slow drag race, you're bound to jump the gun on many things with this car's pace. And since I usually have issue racing S1 around here, those issues do not need to be noted when in the Unimog, because I can see it coming.

- There's so little to mention with the car, and so we go to the track. When it comes to the track's preference with car choice, anything heavy is good since there are portions with mandatory obstacle breakage. The Unimog is gifted with the power to smash and plow. But if it's avoidable, that's still preferred, unless you're getting skill points. You lose 1 MPH in the Unimog, and at this level of performance, it's quite big.

- The tunnel has probably going to be the place that screws anyone up, because it's a tunnel, the Unimog be big, and the tunnel exit still is a piece of shrimp. Lucky with such poor pace, it's not an issue because you can see it coming.

- So I am cutting down this week's writeups due to having 3 SEPERATE CARS, but the final advice for me riding the Unimog is to... find the best line. Yes, and the car's best line comes from not the generated driving line, but use your eyes and find the elevation changes. Avoid uphill paths, and go for downhill ones. And even though you got the big dick energy, I suggest you save it so that your kinetic energy remains at tip top shape.


Remember the week with the M5? The one that I hate so much, even though the car's a great Sleeper? This is inching close to that. Lucky enough, it's due to the combination rather than an individual element. I only have 2 runs, and 3 and a half minutes really is stretching it. What? I said The Juggernaut's coming, right? It might be, but I don't plan on giving that track to something this slow.


Unimog.jpg



My national service with a Unimog comes with a best time of 3:26.620.

As Deadpool once thought of when Cable is giving the nitty gritty plot details in his own game, it's so boring. Like I said: kids are cruel, Jack. And I'm very in touch with my inner child. Wait, how'd that Sundowner come about. Is it okay if I say his most memetastic line before getting back in line? Okay.


I'M [BLEEP]ING INVINCIBLE!!


But like I said: it's due to the combo being poor. I love both the car and track individually. The ultimate canvas, and a rowdy case of cross country rumbling. I mean, if they outlaw swapping in general, I don't know how people are ever going to use the Unimog. And to credit my random mention of Metal Gear Rising, the Unimog does make you feel invincible, actually.




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Vehicle 2: Spark ODYSSEY 21

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No words required, just shock and awe.


As the owner of a Honda Odyssey (an RB3, so yeah I own a VTEC), the Extreme E's base model, actually named as the ODYSSEY in full caps, has me sparking with joy, despite being related in name only. But being the future of off-road racing means this machine has taken various liberties to keep that name in check. And they did.

Let's see what's what: state of the art energy storage and hydrogen cell tech by Williams, a niobium steel alloy frame, Continental Tyres radials made out of dandelions. While I want to believe running on flowerbeds was the main contributor, it was the niobium reinforced steel that would literally make or break the car. Compared to steel, it was both lighter and stronger. And not just that: it also provides the safety.

Not only does the tech work for the inside, but on the outside, we get a machine that can withstand the elements. The numbers speak out like 550 hp bringing a 1780 KG body, which is made from sustainable flax fibres. And verily: the more I look up the history of these cars, the more I find myself truly intrigued. Just like how a certain MINI Countryman has entered the radar for me to buy one for real.

All variants of the ODYSSEY 21 carry a PI of 748 PI. Aside their own, the ODYSSEY 21 will have to face down certain other dirty monsters in its class, with the exact same PI as Brocky: a certified Sleeper in this department. The main difference is that the Extreme E is electric, and it's a good chance to see how fine they will run compared to the likes of an off-road tuned Taycan or i-Pace.

Right now, the Chip Ganassi car can be bought in the Autoshow for 700,000 credits, and the others being stars on this season's Festival Playlist. I for one am into getting the X44, the McLaren one, and also the Andretti one, for looks reasons.

For reasons too obvious, there isn't any in the Auction House and it's so new, me having a duplicate of the 9 unbuyable ones would mean I'm a cheater, and I'm not, so buzz off. The one for testing would have to be the Chip Ganassi one, and thus it's also where all the tuning and liveries be at.


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Out of cross country and into a dirt event, we head to La Selva Scramble to see the degree of one Extreme E taking the nurtured elements.


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After leaping out a gorge to a valley with a river, guess what else we get into: more rivers! But we got tropical fauna to contend with. At least this and the ODYSSEY would be the right kind of car for the job if joy is the main objective.


"This scramble is split between a high-speed run on asphalt, and a gruelling dirt section splashing through the waterways of the Cascadas de Agua Azul."

You know, looking at the water, I wondered when are we going to touch on Mangrove Scramble. Sorry, just putting that out.

Now here's a dirt event with speed as a focus, but handling isn't left out of the equation for the perfect lap solution. It's also quite bumpy, that I feel it's better you bring something large once again.

While the asphalt is present, it's not detrimental to the whole experience. Split by 90 degrees turns, the challenge comes in the dirt, and not because of the dirt, but because of the rivers we cross, which can unsettle your usual offroader more than you think. Maybe the Unimog can work here better, but like I said: kids are.. no, like I said: it's boring riding something that slow.


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The Extreme E car would be the first electric car to hop on this current era COTW, and after collecting another pair, I am eager to see how well it would go about the current roster of Unlimited Offroads. I did mention this is one of my favorite classes, no?


- Compared to the MINI JCW Buggy, the Extreme E's insides are pretty forgiving for space. They're both different cars, so I shouldn't be making comparisons this bluntly. But I am a fan of what these engineers of today's mudpluggers managed to design. Buttons on the console are clear, rollcage protects and attacks, I guess. And the wheel: it's round! RoUnD!!

- Again with an EV car, launch doesn't matter. Unless you're the Taycan or the Bugatti-Rimac, an EV's worry is never at the launch of the car. And so is the shifting, actually. I don't think you can put the drift gears on this car.

- With a road portion, it shows how important it is for the car to grasp the asphalt. And the ODYSSEY passes. Not exactly with flying colors. But I'll give it more credit since we can't quite swap the tire compound anyways.

- First problem: car tops out at 130. This bad. Especially when going down giant volcano or going around giant playground in middle of sky. It's electric, but I can't take chances. This needs to be noted if you're going to up the motor some so you can have some use of the great levels of power its actually given.

- We take the ODYSSEY down and dirty, and it handles there quite well, so well, you might actually turn too hard and lose some speed. Not quite as bad as what we can manage with Brocky weeks ago. It's not going to stick exclusively when it comes to handling on dirt, but what does? Be wary of how it might slide off the rear a bit.

- One thing about the car that's nice is how responsive it is on the dirt. So it's not going to go wild when I'm in it. And it responds nicely to uneven terrain and jumping. The water itself slows it barely too.

- While Barry R shirks his duties on the inside track, it allows me to get a kind of line that makes the brakes only useful in like 3 parts of the track. So what we do have here is a combo that grants those with momentum as their forte the kind of great experience for hot lapping.

- As a race car, brakes and suspension shouldn't be any ways an issue.. I really have no more words than just these.

- When it comes to the track.. I dunno, maybe I'm not terribly motivated to say there's anything notable. I don't hate this track so it's not personal. Oh yeah, it's 3 cars this week after all.

- Final tip with an Extreme E racer is to make sure your inputs in turning aren't the extremes. Keep it straight as much as you can, and while it can drift away, you're going to lose pace doing so. Get comfortable with it being not comfortable to sudden movements. And it's AWD and easy to drive, go figure. Nothing too committal when it comes to getting in and driving it to get a respectable position in races.


While I may have cut down on the words, the ODYSSEY 21 didn't cut down on how fine it is as a dirt scramble racer rather than a high speed cross country racer. And this is the kind of track that keeps you hooked like catching.. whatever jungle fish there is in this part of the world.

I haven't cut out the script saying I'm giving the ODYSSEY 21 the 12th Mark of Zen, and how long was it? Only 20 minutes? It felt like an eternity, but 5 minutes is all it took for me to enjoy this thing. And I got paid 137,000 credits messing with it, so 20 minutes well spent, I say!


ODYSSEY 21.jpg



Not to forget the most important agenda, the ODYSSEY's best in my hands look to be a 1:22.279.

I was looking to go under 1:22, but my motivation couldn't keep up after Barry R taught me you should brake every now and then. So I'll just stick with this time. This is quite an experience.

Man, I can probably not stop mention of how this is my favorite class, after all.




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Vehicle 3: HotWheels Baja Bone Shaker


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When you want to name it the Bone Shaker XL, remember it's gone even bigger.


With the Bone Shaker's massive success that I've covered on the original, I did mention the Bone Shaker's many variants, most notably the Baja one I raced with and against in HotWheels Unleashed. And now it's in Horizon. Interesting choice for a new Unlimited Offroads machine we got. Will it stack up to my in class favorites?

How else am I going to answer that question? Yes, I am going to squeeze a Showcase in here! That's where the words will come in!

While not an interesting choice of car, the Baja Bone Shaker squares itself at the top of B class as it is. Normally, this is an auto Beater, but let's save that opinion to the Showcase, as well as the test run.

If not the free one you earned during the start of the expansion, the car can be bought at the Autoshow for 150,000 credits. Nope, no economy or auction house analysis here. Because reasons.


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Out of the basement track, dismissed from college classrooms, and driven away from garage backdrops, we're given Ice Canyon Hazard Sprint as the place to unleash this variant of one Bone Shaker.


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The XRAID Countryman and ice mix well together, as backed by my experiences in Horizon 4. The only thing missing is Wading Through Crowds.


"This Hazard Sprint is treacherous, complete with an ice lake, canyon and deep snow."

Talk about a very vague description.

Anyone who missed out on 4's winter season and don't hate it might want to come get this expansion because of the various terrain we got with their Hazard race events. And we have 3 types to go through here, most of it being snow.

This track reminds me I played HotWheels Unleashed, because it's very similar, going on and off the strips if not for the natural elements of this theme park. It's quite speedy, but do be wary of the slippery ice roads.

The track's a whole mixed bag of strip and ice. And if you ask me, tuning for top end always seems to be how to work in HotWheels land. When it comes to difficulty, hmm.. while width outside the strips are quite forgiving, I can't say the same if your car can't handle the ice. Nothing tricky or outright requiring your absolute attention, really. Just watch your speed on the ice.

To think Barry R would come in a new, less obvious but just as deadly form..


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I've heard rumors that the Baja Bone Shaker's just as dominant as its road legal variant. Now we only need the monster truck in the garage, and we get the full monty of Bone Shakers in COTW.


- First note: I heard changes are made to the physics in Hot Wheels rather than in mini Mexico. Since we're here, I'll stick to the playground for the analysis.

- Inside this Bone Shaker, we're not greeted with Sub Zero's spine ripping sensations as the gear lever this time. And it's also notably much tighter in here too, both feeling and seeing. Mainly because there's a roof while the original doesn't, and this does follow the Baja Bone Shaker's shape quite accurately. When do we get Rigor Motor for a measurement, because I do want to see how that would look.

- No, don't ask. It's AWD and I'm not giving you advice on how to launch it. You will want to shift sometime before 7000 RPMs though, because that's where it redlines.

- One notably thing with this car is its incredibly fast acceleration for B. Sounds familiar? It's a Bone Shaker, after all! But this is a big offroader truck, and speed in such a vehicle is welcomed.

- Down to the handling. It's actually really nice. It handles well on the orange just as well on the ice. Of course, speed permitting. It doesn't grip perfectly, noted by how releasing the throttle will have you drift out the rear a bit. But in general freeroam, it's going to work wonders for your first hour around the playground.

- One might notice that the Bone Shaker doesn't have a sophisticated clutch of sorts. Just pulling that lever hard and fine.. something old fashioned.. this is a 2013 car, and this is more towards style rather than function: a very HotWheels trait. And speaking of style: you can see the transmission doing its thing if you play in cockpit view, behind the exposed hood exhaust. Thumbs up from me: it's just over the top detailing.

- I dunno, is this a race car? It's in that class that qualifies as racing to me. By the way, I say this because I feel there's no reason to touch on the brakes. It's not rear happy or unforgiving. Just good old brakes.

- Here's something: the suspension feels.. generally stiff. It doesn't settle well with bumps, notably by the finish line I like to cut inwards. And some jumps, it feels like I fell onto a pile of bricks. Who put that there? Hmm.. if this was Mexico, I have a feeling it might get worse.

- Without much else to say, we head to the track. And Barry R is on a rampage this week. Mainly because we have one wide boi here and a little feather on the side of the strips mean instant flag. It's way more lenient in Mexico compared to here. I guess Barry R in general will be rampaging through the playground.

- The snow is annoying when it comes to me using the driving line to learn the track. I guess I'll have to lower the brightness.. Or maybe I should set the Showcase at night? Idea..

- I've noticed an abundance of uphill and downhill segments on this track. Power seems to be the way to go for car choice. Just the ice is going to need your attention even more.

- Final note? Umm.. watch out for Barry R. He's a nightmare here. And the starter car is fine, easy to learn machine that's even more friendly to drive than the original, while being as much of a competitor but in the mud. Seems we'll never escape Bone Shakers no matter the terrain.


Barry R has been in no short of being a humble source of race, sort of like me on week 34. Wait, what happened on week 34?

Ah perish the thought. The combo shows me how much of a hot rod this Baja Bone Shaker is, because of great speed, bad stability... sounds like Bone Shakers never stop being Bone Shakers. Only this one's already AWD, so no jokes about heresy.


Baja Bone Shaker.jpg



Measuring my talents with this combo, the Baja Bone Shaker under my.. dark necromancy spell or something would look like a 3:08.850.

I do enjoy this new entry to the Unlimited Offroads, but this is an overall fast but stiff machine. I hope I can fix it, because... you should scroll down a bit by now.


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How about a Showcase to clean this week up? I sure feel like giving a post full of content.

Using Ice Canyon Hazard Sprint once again, we bring the Bone Shaker up a step to the top of A and have it take on a whole list of Unlimited Offroads, in a list I christen: "Journey to the Pole". Again with me not stopping, this is one of my favorite classes in Horizon, so I want to see if it's a car that's either just as dismal as the Z33, or amazing like COTW alumni Brocky.

Anyone around here should know what an SPD Showcase is. But if not, a Showcase consists of me going back to the same track, but with the current nominee pitted against other relevant cars to the top of a specific class, usually without conversions. By the end, a table tallies the results, and this week's nominee gets to be compared, then tiered into this table. These results usually give me an idea on how much better or worse they should be in the final verdict.

We begin with.. I don't think there's an obvious rival, to be honest. But I did mention it, so no funny stuff.

But just like how I want to overhype the presence of Rambo Lambo, ladies and gentlemen.. I bring you..


Ford 'Brocky' Ultra 4 Bronco RTR


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Brocky. Is. Back.


And gladly so. We say hello once again to COTW alumni Brocky for another run in the skies of Mexico. Back in my designated week 27, Brocky's main issue would be its 3 gear setup possibly holding it back for power. But here's my top A-class Brocky, with a complete overhaul, while retaining much of what make Brocky such a fine machine. But how much finer can it be?


Brocky.jpg



To set a base for this Showcase, Brocky puts down a boulder climbing performance to the snow, leaving a mark of 2:50.900.

This has to be so far the best feeling I've ever had with Brocky. It was fast. It turns nice. And best of all: incredibly fun. If this was the car stock, it would easily achieve Mark of Zen if this was its track. Notably, the car has all the nice traits of an off-roading badass, and none of the drawbacks. I wonder if I placed it far too early?


COTW Nominee #37, car 2 - Extreme E X44


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Everything in this class screams a big gas guzzling engine and a capacity to load an elephant. How would you like to see the opposite make a statement?


Ohh ho, isn't this a surprise? 2 nominees in the Showcase for this one week! But since this is the Baja Bone Shaker on focus, it'll remain on as a competitor. But I'll make an exception and weigh in its results to the verdict.

I've alrady put a quick low down, and I mean quick. I really was gonna get into each of the 10 teams, and go further with my research and summarizing it with more paragraphs of this niobium reinforced steel. All in all, I have a lot to say about such an impressive machine, and with the Chip Ganassi machine delegated to be stock, I have the X44 here upped to the top of A, thanks to more power, and even though it's Extreme E, will this topped variant be an A in my grading scale?


ODYSSEY 21.jpg



An electric enigma to most players, the ODYSSEY 21 plows out of obscurity with a NEW best of 2:49.933.


No, please, stop. I'm at such a gleeful phase now, and there are more cars waiting! This is all just a treat for me. I'm playing one of my favorite classes and now the Extreme E has proven itself against the likes of Brocky. But what about the drive? All I did was fix the poor top end. Everything else was already superb, and being ahead of Brocky by a whole second is proof of that.


Jeep Trailcat


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Melting the snow, one snarl at a time.

The Jeep Trailcat used to be an impressive piece of kit as a Hard-to-find goodie that's also a meta choice in 4. It's still super strong here in Mexico due to it retaining its unstoppable stability, but I have another kind of Jeep in mind when it comes to choosing an Unlimited Offroads that never disappoints. Will this demonic red, hellcat powered feline change my mind?


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Something this hot means we get a best time of 2:50.531.

The Trailcat ranks pretty low in the SPD list of Unlimite Offroads, but it don't mean it can't get me results. This car's pace comes from how it combines its compact nature and its big hellcat engine. It's the dragster of the lot, with great acceleration but poor handling. Still, it works, and it's as stable as we all know it. It was a little stiff in some parts of the track, something to note.


DeBerti Jeep Wrangler Unlimited


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From the Showcase in Caldera, now this absolute unit goes even higher.

Up next is a car considered to be the Trailcat's equal in form of Brad DeBerti's tuned out Jeep Wrangler Unlmited. You've seen this one before, taking on a whole roster of off-roading machines in a Motorstorm themed Showcase in week 25 with the Polaris. And it needs no mention, but this is one of my favorites for cars in the game, and a definite favorite in the class. After showing an excellent result in the last Showcase, I expect a solid result here.


deberti wrangler.jpg



And it got more than just a shaving of ice, because when I mean solid, I mean a NEW best of 2:49.747.


Imagine the Trailcat's amazing straight line. Now imagine that put in such an absolute unit that not only can accelerate and remain grippy, but can turn in such a way. Plus: the speed loss in bumps to this car is probably the least I've ever seen in any car, period. This has to be the definition of a chef's kiss.. to the elements of ice and snow.

By the way, because I expect the DeBerti Wrangler to rank this high, it means the ODYSSEY 21 just impresses more than it already has for me. It's no Corrado, but it's getting dangerously close.


Mercedes-Benz Tankpool24 Racing Truck Forza Edition 'The Sports Lorry'


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If there's anything I've learned, it's that people snore quite loudly when camping in the middle of Burma.


For my final trick, we have a Forza Edition, and not the terrible Z33, but rather: the Sports Lorry. Only that I mean Sports as if in it's fast. And this 2000 horsepower offroading truck is definitely as such. All it's done to the class is to see if doubling ALL the numbers would work out. Unintentionally painted properly to the course, can we mix that with its first look to a checkered black pattern?


Tankpool24 FE.jpg



Double the numbers should mean double the time, right? I don't think it works like that. Speaking of work, I'm happy to say, even with a best of 2:51.813, the Sports Lorry does, indeed, work.

Of course it's me pumping the finger to the Z33 FE. But the main reason of its' suffering is that it can't turn. That's it. It's stable, it doesn't lose too much in the bumps, and it's top end is the best in its class. This might be an unsuitable track, but remember the devs were on crack when this was definitely made up, and being the ambassador of dirty driving, they probably were into something more.


Before we stir this blizzard more, it's time to take to the tiers to see how our Bone Shaker gets ranked after its run. And once again, everything is packed tightly.

HIGH: This would be if the Baja Bone Shaker gets a time under 2:50, joining fellow COTW nominee the ODYSSEY 21, and that DeBerti Wrangler. And major props to the ODYSSEY 21 for getting this high up. That's already going in its verdict.

MID: The Baja Bone Shaker would need to reach in the regions of 2:50. Not too bad.

LOW: We'll let Brocky be the brick wall, as getting beaten by it would place the Baja Bone Shaker pretty low.


COTW Nominee #37, car 3 - HotWheels Baja Bone Shaker


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Are you ready for monster trucks?


I am, but..

Unfortunately, the Bone Shaker can't reach the top of A without a conversion.

So here's a racing V8 engine, go wild.

But just before of this test, there's sayings that the Bone Shaker having this much power would mean it's fast. I wonder how fast, considering how stiff and sort of unbearable it is on the course.


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It might be painted in a.. fabulous tinge of pink, but I'm always willing to push it further when required. Shame about the conversion, because..


Baja Bone Shaker.jpg



Well, it's fast alright. A NEW best of 2:47.721, but there's a caveat: it got a swap, and one of the best swaps too.

Which is kind of a shame. I always keep the car as they are, and while it suffers in performance, it's like engine swaps are made to break the mold and kick up a few notches. But on to the drive: even as I try to make it more off-road friendly, the car is just a stiff case of pain and ouch in the bumps still. Thank goodness for the swap, but as a result: I don't think I can tier this properly.

We do still have a table.


cotw 37 sc.jpg



It was going to be up to 12 cars, but the other half had conversions up their tailpipe.

And whoa, it's verdict time.

All these words! I feel I'm writing a whole chapter of Tales of Cinderella in 3 days. Just another one of those things I for sure can't do mentally. Aside from my plans story writing through GT7 randomly plugging here, let's go to the verdicts.




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So..

What is the Mercedes Benz Unimog? It is..

BIG.

The issue of having this be a potential Beater is how much it is loved for what it's able to be. Everyone's a delivery driver now. Everyone can drift with the kids at the back of the bus. Everyone can finally manage 2000 horsepower without being at the top of S2.

Neutral sounds like a good rank, because it's not for everyone. And it's obviously got the wrong pace, so there's no way this thing's going out at front.




What is the Spark ODYSSEY 21? It is..

Earth, wind, and all that mother effing fire.

We're going with the formula that any Mark of Zen's a Sleeper. And to add: may I gladly accept this car as one of the many Unlimited Offroads to bring about, as well as put it in my small roster of top Sleepers. It's such a joy to make work, and the offroad maniac in me completely approves of this.

I like this. A lot.




What is the HotWheels Baja Bone Shaker? It is..

Bone Shaker's got a new pair of shoes.

It's at the top of the class, but the thing about the Bone Shaker is that it takes a swap to bring it not only to the top, but also potentially ruin anything it touches. I look back at the original Bone Shaker that's a meta presence for one and a half games now, and the Baja one.. might be worse.

And the only thing saving it from being a Beater is that.. it's good, even without anything. For a car that has no PI to make it work in B-class, I say anyone can hop in and be sort of competitive. Neutral from me, but I warn you: the Broncos better beware.

What a week! After all these, I should be taking a break, but even I can't say I wanna stop. Timed it so well, the expansion's fun factor has multiplied my interest on hopping on.


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YEAAYYYY FUN TIMES WITH THE MINI!!
YEAAYYYY 225 MPH IN A CROSSOVER!!
YEAAYYYY WHAT AN EXCELLENT ADDITION TO THE GAME!!
YEAAYYYY SAY THE LINE, SPD!!
YEAAYYYY HOW DARE YOU!!
 
64
France
Paris
space wadet
Triple showcase this week, a trio of big bois. I'll try to keep each as short as possible.

First up, the biggest boi, not just this week but in the whole game.


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What I find interesting about the Unimog is the context it fits in rather that the truck itself. I think it's fair to say one of the main reasons we all love the Horizon games is the sheer variety of cars (and vehicles) included. Everything from the minuscule Isetta to the might Unimog can be driven, drifted, jumped off a cliff all over Mexico. It's also what makes COTW possible, and keeps it interesting for a long period of time. That said, this truck does feel a bit lost at the festival.

In stock form it's hopeless for racing, on the CC course you're all the way up to 6th gear before the first checkpoint and barely doing 60kph. You can build something half decent to the top of D class, but then you run into another problem. Its sheer size. Whatever camera you use you'll have trouble seeing the other cars, which is somewhat of a hindrance to good racing. There isn't much to do in the game which suits the Unimog. Forgive me for getting a bit meta in a car review, but the inclusion of this truck in the game does make you wish it was given more purpose as well. Something like the Delivery story in Horizon 4. Sure it was a bit short and not much more than point to point time trials, but it did give you a reason to drive the vans. Even with Horizon being a sandbox game, I think one thing it could benefit from is creating the proper context for these oddballs to fit in. It's a truck, give it stuff to lug around!

Screenshot (202).png
Anyway, here's my first and only run. I admit I didn't have the patience for a second run. :lol:
It's fine, too slow to cause trouble for its handling, is all I can say. One thing to note is it does show how the Horizon physics doesn't model weight as it is in real life. All heavy cars tend to do fairly well in game compared to reality, and the Unimog is not different. Even with how (relatively) slow it is, it shouldn't be able to turn and jump as well as it does.

Neutral. Not terrible, but it is out of place in Horizon.


Next up, the bane of all A class online racing, now with bigger wheels!

Screenshot (204).png


This car is deceptively large, like the Brocky it has the proportions of a buggy but once you put it next to another car you realize how monstrous it actually is. To put it plainly, I think it's too big. It has the power to match its size, it's not slow mind you, but a big car does make the track smaller (shocking revelation I know). It's fine for Hotwheels tracks, where power matters and everything is wide enough for it, but I fear it might be too large for Dirt racing down in Mexico.

It also has one major flaw for Cross country racing, it's too front heavy, and every jump makes it nosedive. The bigger the jump the bigger the nosedive. Bit of an issue for CC. It is fairly stable across off road terrain but in the little exploration I did with it, there were some fairly weird reactions to rough terrain, but not sure if it's related to the Hotwheels specific physics.

Screenshot (203).png
Again my first and only run.

Also a Neutral. Decent base but has some flaws.


Finally, the star of Series 10.


Screenshot (207).png


The Odyssey in stock form has an off road rating of 10 in the PI system. This is the most accurate PI stat in the game. Driving this car almost feels like playing the game on easy mode. Perfectly stable across all types of bumps and jumps. It can carry crazy speeds in corners, without a hint of either over or understeer. Feels fitting to have a Lewis Hamilton owned, Sebastien Loeb driven car. This machine makes you feel like you're as good a driver as them combined!

Even though the best lap times come from driving it clinically, with perfect lines and precise inputs, it also responds incredibly well to very aggressive driving. That's one thing that puts it above the other unlimited offroad cars. You can really throw the car around, and it'll always respond well. That's a big benefit in wheel to wheel racing, especially off road. And as others have pointed out, it no slouch on tarmac either.

Being electric there are no gears to worry about, another thing making the driving easier. Brakes are incredibly powerful, I suspect there's some kind of regenerative braking. The only issue is top speed, topping out at around 210kph, enough for most scrambles but will limit its competitiveness in trail and cross country events. There are Electric engine swaps for it so it can be adressed.

Screenshot (206).png

Sleeper
all the way. Perfect off road machine. The only hard part about driving it is realizing the limit is always further than you initially thought. Every time you go through a corner you find out how much more speed you can actually take.
 

Vic Reign93

Tricky Vic
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Let’s start with the Unimog, A name that goes back decades, to 1948 to be exact. Mercedes Benz started selling them in 1951, but the first Unimog to wear the legendary three pointed star left the production line 2 years later.

Since then it’s gone through many changes, upgrades, body styles right up to the current times.

The Unimog is about as dependable and capable as industrial vehicles can get, think of any industrial business that needs a dependable/adaptable vehicle to use as its base platform and I’ll happily bet that an Unimog has done it at least once. :lol:

All terrain capability is its forte, absolute performance on the other hand…

Well I can’t give it too much grief, it was never designed to go fast, normal ones rarely top 60mph IRL, but this is a racing game so I do have to look it from a performance POV.

It’s got a 5.1 litre turbo diesel 4 cylinder making 228hp and a very tasty 663 ft-lbs of torque sent to all 4 of its huge wheels via an 8 speed gearbox(Sadly no 6 reverse gears here.).

Of course it’s a truck, so it’s gonna be heavy, 7 tons to be exact and again I must stress this, IT was never meant to be raced AT ALL.

1st gear goes to 10mph, 2nd and 3rd are so close behind you’re better off skipping them and go straight to 4th gear, but once it’s got going, you’ll need a torpedo to stop it. :P

Now of course such a huge truck means big options to swap into it right? well you’ll be right on the money, all diesel swaps too.

The Powerstroke V8 Diesel is a option for say a C or B class build, but if you consider it a bit tame, then the other 2 engines might wet your appetite.

Both of these engines are 12.8 litre I6 turbo diesel race truck engines, one from the Mercedes Tankpool Race Truck and the other is from a vehicle which debuted back in FH4 but isn’t currently in Mexico, The Volvo Iron Knight. :D

If Torque is your goal, the former option can be tuned up to well over 5000 Ft-lbs of the stuff IIRC, while the latter option is the one for absolute power at 2400hp, only eclipsed by the 2600hp from the FE version of the Tankpool race truck. :eek:

Basically the sorta power you need if you want to make the Unimog an actual performance vehicle. :sly:

In stock form, unless it’s a one make race you can forget about it being competitive, but for off roading and just being a near unstoppable force of nature, it’s a proven force of nature.

Verdict:Neutral(Definitely pick up one mind you.;))

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Now on to the Series 10 showcase, the fully electric Extreme E Off Road Racer(s) built by Spark.

I can respect the idea behind Extreme E, It’s got a who’s who of Motorsports that’s either behind the wheel or running the team and machines aren’t half bad either.

Courtesy of a 2 electric motors, the Spark Odyssey makes just under 540hp which goes to all 4 wheels via a 1 speed gearbox.

Despite topping out at 130mph, it’s got solid acceleration, responsive handling and remarkable off road stability.

It feels light despite being in the same weight bracket as the Nissan GT-R, but it also feels planted and secure while tearing across the countryside(or the sky in the case of the HW Expansion. :P)

Now say what you like about PG adding all the Extreme E vehicles separately instead of adding just one, but including all the team livery’s for it, it’s a opportunity to make multiple builds for the Odyssey.

I mean I’ve turned Hamiltons X44 into a fully upgraded build with gearing set up for the HW boosts and low drag wind tunnels and a more tarmac suspension set up. ;)

All in all, as partnerships go, bringing Extreme E to FH5 is a no brainer, it gives a new motorsport a much broader audience and it gets the cars a new environment to showcase themselves in and feel like they belong there.

Verdict: Sleeper 😉👍

And last, but certainly not least..

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The Hot Wheels Baja Bone Shaker.

Technically the 3rd Bone Shaker in FH5 you can drive, but only the 2nd one you can own(Quit teasing us with the Monster Truck PG. :grumpy:).

Packing a 5.7 litre Supercharged V8 making 520hp and weighing 2 tons, The BBS is a steady introduction to the HW Expansion at the top of B Class.

Interestingly, you can actually remove the supercharger and run it as Naturally Aspirated, last time I remember doing something like that in a Forza game was back on FM4 and FH1 with the Forced Induction glitch. :D

The Baja Bone Shaker is reportedly quite the A Class Off Road monster, but also slightly inconsistent in its suspension model.

The BBS also teaches you another lesson for HW, long gearing or having an overdrive gear is actually a good idea for when you hit the boosters and wind tunnels so you’re not buzzing the limiter all the time.

In fact, tuning for HW is much different than on the mainland as a good number of your normal set ups are likely to either be uncompetitive or unstable in the banked or vertical sections of the map.

So in that regard, the BBS is actually friendly to all skill levels as it’ll take whatever you or the map can throw at it and keep on rocking.

As for the HW Expansion itself, good progression system, nice visuals, plenty of orange track to blast around and plenty of areas to explore and test your cars to their limits.

Just make sure you’re stocked up on parachutes for you AND your car as it’s about a 5 mile drop back to Mexico.(Sadly it just resets you after dropping below the bottom of the platforms.) :scared:

Seriously though, how the 🤬 did they fund such a project? :odd:

Verdict: Sleeper 😉👍
 

Obelisk

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Alright, let's wrap up our tons of fun week and go on a diet.

The Unimog is Neutral.
The ODYSSEY 21 is a Sleeper.
The Baja BoneShaker is a Neutral, with one opposing vote for Sleeper.

If I ever do another triple week, please slap me upside the head and force me to drive the Rambo Lambo on the longest track in the game.

And with that, our very late COTW update is rolling ahead with our next cars. The plan is to feature each of the tier rewards for the HotWheels DLC that are rewarded to the player, so there will be two more featured DLC cars in the weeks after this before going back to the normal routine.

Our main car, as selected by @space_wadet this week, is the...
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2008 Renault Mégane R26.R!

We will be taking this hot hatch up the Volcan Sprint per wadet's request, making this our first repeat course in COTW. Nothing wrong with that, this was bound to happen sooner or later!

And coming right off Highway 35, our DLC feature this week is the...
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2000 HotWheels Deora II!

A fascinating HotWheels continuation of the Dodge Deora one-off that was included in the early runs of HotWheels cars, the Deora II was the hero car of HotWheels World Race, and would later return in Acceleracers.

Now, what makes the real car so interesting? Besides being the Deora II, that is.

I'll tell ya - this car was built from the ground up in 24 weeks. They started with a Cadillac Deville DTS, flipped the drivetrain and engine to run it as an RR car, then the bodywork done up in fiberglass. The powerplant is a Cadillac Northstar engine producing north (heh) of 750 HP!

This car will be flexing its might at the Nexus Speed Circuit, where it can relive its Highway 35 days.
 

Vic Reign93

Tricky Vic
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Nice grippy Hatchback is the R26-R, does understeer on some of the longer turns and it can lock the inside rear wheel if you’re not running ABS on corner entry.

Of course running it uphill is gonna make even 226hp feel sluggish, but on even terrain it’s more than brisk enough for a B Class FF machine, especially for something under 30K at the Autoshow. 👍

So yeah, nice little Sleeper here. 😉👍

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Another week, another HW Expansion exclusive, this time it’s the 2000 Deora II.

Despite it looking more like a Cruiser than a racer, it doesn’t mean it’s lacking in the power department.:sly:

Courtesy of a 5.2 litre Supercharged Northstar V8, it’s making 760hp to the rear tyres via a 8 speed gearbox. :drool:

Now presumably due to the upgrades the Northstar V8 is now much less prone to overheating and blowing a head gasket, which considering the model year and the model from which the Deora II gets its power plant, was actually quite common back then. :lol:

It also handles much better than you expect from its appearance, granted what works around the HW Map and what works around Mexico do tend to be much different most of the time.

But in its home environment, it’s a solid A Class, not classing leading by any stretch, but a user friendly introduction to A Class racing up in the skies above Mexico. :D

Verdict: Sleeper 😉👍
 
3,765
Singapore
On the move
SomePlayaDude
SPD Writes Car Of The Week: Week 38 - At this rate, we're not going to stop having more than one car for the time being, huh?

Car 1: Renaultsport Megane R26.R



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They are called HOT hatches for a reason, and here's one that brought the fire to the one place that matters in track times.


Have you ever heard of a hatchback unicorn? For me, that's a term that definitely went to that W12 powered VW Golf GTI in the middling era of 2000s.

But if there's something it didn't achieve, that would be how it didn't quite start the hot laps with a FWD car round the Nurburgring trend. That belonged to this F1 race tuned Renault Megane. While the Megane R.S was born in 2006 to commemorate the success of Renault's F1 team under the hands of one Fernando Alonso, the R26.R would be the ultimate final version, actually serving as the sports trim to another sports trim, now known as the top trim of the Megane at the time being before the most well known one we know of comes.. it's the one in Motorsport 3 and MANY other games onwards.

So, how hot was this hatch? Well, it had pride. The sort of pride Renault had when they made hatchbacks from the Gordini, 5 Turbo, Williams Clio, the Clio V6.. a list of Renaultsport cars that can make some impressive times on certain tracks. As mentioned earlier, it was this one Megane that brought out this FWD hatchback specific Nurburgring trend, thanks to a 8:17 time that was faster than the original Porsche Cayman. That's quick in my book, and Renault putting a badge of that time on this car's side would also back up my fact of their pride.

Limited to only 450 cars, you can see why I mentioned it being quite the unicorn: this is less than some supercars. And speaking of less, the only thing they did to the car is just bodywork and parts; no adjustment was made to the 2.4 liter turbocharged inline-4 engine, which was really impressive. They only added a titanium exhaust in that department. The rest include a list that looks like stiffer race suspension, stopping power from Brembos, lowered height by 10 mm, sports adjustments to the gearbox and differential, general weight reduction including removing of rear seats and addition of an optional half rollcage, Toyo sports tires, carbon bucket seats and hood.. sounds a lot like someone in Renault wants to go cup racing, but it was also street legal. By the end, not only does one get a sporty drive, but also shed 120 kilos.. which is one and a half me. Funny how I'm still using myself as a weight base.

With hype coming from even before the moment they made a record shattering 8:17, the car's reputation soared when it came out, even rating higher than sports cars that would generally slaughter it in performance, such as the E92 M3. And speaking of popular: how's that look in games? Wait, only in Forza Horizon 4 and 5 again? Guess you're keeping an eye on the elephant that is the Unimog in this regard.. though, I hope the R26.R isn't considered a mouse by any sense.

Placed in the 'barely considered the end' of B-class, the R26.R has been marked with a rating of 678 PI. The class it's placed in is full of competitors, but the closest ones include the newer Renault MEGANE RS that's behind by 8 PI, and the Audi RS3 that's ahead by 5. The main stand out is that, just like the JCW Countryman in week HOW DARE YOU, the R26.R is the sole cruiserweight of the class, with 227 horsepower carrying just 1.2 tons, while others, aside a disappointing Forza Edition, would have more in terms of numbers.

With a price like 28,000 credits, you'd have no trouble procuring this hot hatch unicorn from the Autoshow, but I guess in the universe of Forza nobody cares about supply and demand.. unless you're a hard-to-find like this car was in 4. The economy in the Auction House can be a little different. It's 20,000 for most common, but look hard enough and you may run into a 16,000 for the least cost. As for me, there's 3 in my garage.. 2 for the tops of each relevant class, and one bone stock. Having never spent any money on getting a copy, I say that's quite convenient.


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To break out the R26.R, we aren't headed for a track of any kind, but rather a challenging hillclimb in Volcan Sprint.


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While it's no Fortune Island Needle Run, I definitely don't mind having a 2nd run up this drift track that doubles as a hillclimb. Having fun in the road of orange strips, the MINI would have to come back down for a re-run, and this time we got no fog.


"Winding its way back and forth up an asphalt road on the side of La Gran Caldera, you'll have to tackle hairpin after hairpin along the way. Trust me, the view from the top is worth it."

Seriously, this guy's outdated as heck. Maybe he hasn't heard of that new playground high up in the sky? And who am I exactly trusting? Some text box?

Repeating my factoids from when we had the Jag, I mentioned how this is the road we put aside the boys and bring on the men. Roads are fairly uneven, Barry R not holding up, speedy portions mixing not too well with handling portions, checkpoints that'll get you feeling SPD on week 34. The works.

But if there's one thing, it's that the XJR-15 also earned the Mark of Zen. For a track I don't quite enjoy, the experience up the hill with that Tom Walkinshaw machine was just one of the finest in many ways.


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People have been comparing the R26.R to the then 911 GT3 RS when it comes to presentation. The red accents to the body is just one thing I can agree on. Also the fact that any sports car in the time was to fear the greatness of this Megane would mean I'm quite looking forward to add another FWD monster to daily drive in the HotWheels Playground.


- Unusually, the Megane feels quite tight as I drive it from the inside. Really gives you the idea this is one hatch with some sporty credentials.

- Launch wise, it's one of those cars that have good grip, but has a bogged down kind of start if you hold it down. To be honest, there's no other advice I know to tackle this. Putting it down is the way to go, but maybe someone who knows how to launch this better. Be sure to shift as late as 7100 RPM, as it redlines just somewhere in the middle of 7000 RPM.

- I mentioned good grip, right? Yes, it's really good grip. So, if a FWD car has no grip, it'd show signs of understeer up the wazoo. This is one car that refuses to spin those tires, and I can attribute that to how it didn't get any power upgrades from the normal Megane RS. Least I understand the choice better. But with good grip comes..

- An actually excellent handling trait, very similar to driving a FWD race car. It's not only grippy, but.. maybe close to perfection. I mean, it's so good, I usually cut inside the checkpoints of the track too often. I'm checking my XJR-15 notes..

- So, if we follow usual Forza logic, having overkill, non power related parts like brakes and tires in a lower class usually makes the car feel terribly easy to drive, but as a result makes it slow in the overall picture. I don't think this is any ways slow, but having this little power when we've plowed with things with double the power in a class behind makes you wonder.

- Let's go to the track, since this is such a no nonsense economical car, the issues I have here compared to the Jag is much much less. My old notes say Barry R is such a slacker here, and I remember it too, through this Megane going off the road a few times too much.

- No advice required, really. This car is straight up disciplined and well tuned stock. If you're having trouble driving it, uhh.. I don't know how you think being good in driving actually means.. hope I don't run into that.

So, if anyone recalls, the first time we went through this, I gave the XJR-15 the Mark of Zen, because that car is, as I quote: the sort of idea on what is the perfect car. The Renault drives really nice too, don't get me wrong. But it lacked that substance I want riding up Volcan Sprint repeatedly in earnest.


Megane R26 R.jpg



I didn't have much time, but the best I can muster up looks like a 3:24.899.

The old Renault was quite an experience regardless, so please: mere words can't describe the quintessential Nurburgring historian.. of the late 2000s. I hope if anything it ends up at another game.


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Car 2: HotWheels Deora II

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Not your usual ordinary truck, but a bonafide racing wave ripper.


So, here's a sequel to one of the original HotWheels Sweet Sixteen, which would be the original bunch made all the way back in 1968. Based off the Dodge Deora Concept made in 1964, the little toy would find itself more well known in a form painted in Spectraflame Purple.

Interestingly, the car was initially to be named the XTAB, yet another one of those weird anagrams we saw with the Unimog last week. But here, it would come from a set of words that look like "eXperimental Truck Alexander Brothers", named after Mike and Larry Alexander: brothers who initially commissioned this custom made truck through a Dodge A100, with design from the eventual one of HotWheels' original designers in Harry Bentley Bradley. The name Deora would come from some teenage kid's sweetheart named Debora, just without the 'b'. And it was chosen through a naming contest to have the truck properly named.

After it won a few awards in the Detroit Autorama of 1967, and is historically cemented through HotWheels, we skip ahead to all the way to 2000, where HotWheels has unveiled the Deora II. And sort of like the original Ford GT is to the GT40, it would be a modern re-imagining of the Deora, complete with the many things the original Deora had, such as the openable hatch and the surfboards, while it was missing the redline tires and classic Spectraflame splash. If you're not a HotWheels aficionado, you probably didn't know there already is a Deora III, but let's not go there.

While it did get mixed reactions, the bigwigs at HotWheels had a galaxy brain moment: put the Deora II in media, and to many people, their knowledge of the Deora II would end up coming from being the star of the kids CG cartoon: HotWheels Highway 35 World Race, under the careful eye of one Vert Wheeler: your usual getting out of teenage, young hot main character who somehow got this car appear on his driveway after acing his Driver's Ed. But he had to get himself involved with racing some big names around the world. That's my knowledge on Highway 35.. did you know it's called Highway 35 because, dun dun dunnn, it's to commemorate 35 years of HotWheels?

Following that was cult classic Acceleracers, which has Vert rocking the Deora II as well, but I hear it got cut.. And my mind is fuzzy with the plot of that.. I'm sure the Internet can help. But it's these movies that helped get the Deora II the level of popularity the first one did. Games? Well, I recall it being in Velocity X, and World Race.. and as post release content in Unleashed, which would be the only game where we can race one Deora with the other, with rumors of the Deora III coming in according to leaked game files, so they can have a Deora threesome! Horizon 5 is its first bit out of HotWheels game experience.

Unlike the original Deora, this thing's born a toy, so here's toy history, okay?

I'm not sure if the surfboards are holding it back, but the Deora II in Horizon is fully kitted out as a top A-class machine from the shop. But since this is based off the real one, I'm not even sure how it ended up on this class straight up. Of course you'll be handed one from being a HotWheels Pro Rank, but another can be gotten from the Autoshow for half a million credits. Because I looked, I advise you don't go to the Auction House.


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To see how well the Deora II can surf, we'll break the speed limits of one Nexus Speed Circuit.


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One thing I realized is that my JCW Countryman has been feeling a bit slow, then realized it's the Hot Wheels track that wants me to add an extra 30 MPH to a car already struggling with top end. Really hope someone finds a double standard that's Mexico and HotWheels Playground suitable.


"Show off to the fans at the Hot Wheels Outpost as you race circuit in The Nexus."

Race circuit? I not understand.

And we're not exactly racing in The Nexus. Rather, around it. Who's doing all this proofreading? Anyways, the track is simply a speedy road of purely strip, with the only gimmicks being that half pipe road along with two loops.

As long as you have power, you'll be fine.. mostly. There are a couple places that want you to be braking properly, but it's got speed written all over it, such as with the event name too. But one gripe I have is that these are 2 minute long laps, and that's a snail's pace for this class.


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The Deora II has numbers, but how about a hands on experience on the car itself before I get to instant conclusions. Just like how I should give this an auto Beater for being on the top of A, I better.. uhh.. just don't do instant conclusions.


- And it's about time we get to see a view of how Vert Wheeler manages to make his legend.. sort of. I remember it being a lot different in World Race. What we do get is something that definitely isn't resembling something obvious. It's dark, tight and round, and we have a digital hud to work with. This isn't your usual truck after all.

- The great thing about a car with so much power is that the launch is indeed one to be with the rubber losing itself. The Deora's case would be that, and oddly enough, for something with this much numbers, it's launch is respectably tame. I shift just barely under 8000 RPM, as it redlines not far ahead of that.

- Again, this is some kind of car that breaks the laws of just about anything. It also has this excellent handling trait of getting around turns great while barely losing grip: something usually at this level would struggle to have if it had this much power. And speaking of power..

- The traction is out of this world! It's almost like they put slicks in an S1 car, but we're on Sports. Granted, the HotWheels Playground is somewhat unrealistic, but I wonder how much grip does it have down in the tarmac? And let's take on brakes while we're at it: rather nice, and also completely balanced when engine braking and trail braking.. the works work on this car when it comes to the components.

- So far, the car manages to impress, so I am purposely finding the flaws. Ahah! The gearing. It's an 8 speed auto that's really wide, as if it has a cruising gear for entering unusually natural hazards with an orange road.. But to be fair, Deora II, there's no way I'm ever going to use the 8th unless I can put you on top of S1 at the current state. There are parts of the track where I do feel the car needs shorter gears to allocate the power much more efficiently.

- So, for something both huge and muscly, the camera itself isn't, say, Unimog or Rambo Lambo tall. But this is HotWheels camera, so I can't say the same for the camera in Mexico.

- Track wise.. I don't have much to say. It's all about getting the best line on the strips, and dodging the super Saiyan Barry R that's a persistent foe in just about all the track.

- Maybe the only issue portion of the track comes in when you pass by the Nexus. It might sound like a turn you need your brakes on, but I found out just feathering in general, and going at the right angle at the right speeds be the almighty solution to taking it on.

- So, to finish: big heavy truck with loads of power... but unusually very easy to drive, and quite quick too. And since it's not AWD, I approve! No wonder people have been hopping on it. Could it be the step to manhood in car form? Hmm.. But I'm fairly certain there's more to it than how it's presented to us. Too bad we're at the top of A, amirite?

There's a lot I like what we're given, and it's gotten close to become a Mark of Zen holder in my book. What held it back was.. to be honest, I dunno. Maybe I wasn't having enough fun or putting enough focus into the combo. I'm at a loss for words, even though I quite like this combo.


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I do have a best on this highway close to godliness, and it looks to me like a 2:07.939.


Maybe the words is.. well, it's just that.. I feel this is a track for a higher class. No wonder it's for S2s. Maybe we can get real rowdy with those little tykes. And let's move on. Just one more quick event before I feel a verdict can be called.


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Now before banishing these cars to the place over the rainbow, how about a quick run around a certain locale in the center of Mexico?


I dunno, when I see what these two cars eventually have in common, it's that they're ready to compete in a certain.. event of mine. Yup, I've got a quick Test for you guys.

This is a test with a capital first T, so to educate what this means in this thread, it would mean pumping up the car to the top of A-class, with all around road racing in mind, and restrict the most outlandish of conversions, meaning engine swapping and drivetrain. Then, the car goes to the Horizon Mexico Circuit to have a go around, with the area of 1:07 being the place to reach, or as I call it: the casual high point. And yes, this will apply to just about any car that can reach the top of A. The purpose is to see how good these things can be in the most popular racing class of all, while retaining their soul, of course.

So this is also where I'll experiment with something: the use of rally tires rather than the usual road compounds. They're perfectly fine to be used for racing on road without any weather too apparently. It's also the only way I can put things like better suspension and weight loss for the Deora II too.

Here be the numbers for our entries this week. The Renault has 404 hp with 2489 lbs, while the Deora gets an extra boost that looks like 777 hp with 4310 lbs.


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So, the other thing these cars have in common is that they're no nonsense, high grip track bred machines. One's a lightweight hatch, and the other's a big heavy hot rod. Let's see which one's the one to use..


After a few laps, we got times.


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The bigger they are, the harder they fall. To me, this era of the Megane is quite large for its class. After all the improvements to an already solid drive, I'm not expecting it to fall at all.


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The R26.R lapped around the circuit with a best of 1:06.952.

I may have amassed a collection of FWD monsters in this class, and the Renault has pretty much exemplified that as one of the major stand outs, thanks to excellent.. anything but launch. The others would include the likes of a Civic FK8, an Escort RS Turbo and the green Corrado that hasn't come back from running up that mountain, where's it gone, eh? I'm unsure if the rally tires changed anything, but it's still great to drive. Honest to God thumbs up from me.


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You can say I'm Teku-ing it to the next level, but I do have 0 PI to work with. Thank goodness for rally tires, right? I'll remember to use it when a crappy Horizon Edition comes in.. but that Z33 really can't be saved for A class, huh?


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The Deora II smoked up a best lap of 1:07.351.

Even with rally tires, it is surprisingly manageable and very very satisfying to drive. It might be the same company, but this experience, while unique for sure, reminds me of the Bone Shaker. It astounds me, for something so large to actually get the crunch down and give me a grand time.

Both the cars done with a satisfied test result, let's finish this one again packed week.


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So..

What is the Renaultsport Megane R26.R? It is..

Proof F1 engineering goes a long way even from VERY humble beginnings.


What is the HotWheels Deora II? It is..

Regardless with the size, it invites you to say surf's up for a ripping good time.


While we have very different cars this week, they come together to be certified Sleepers in my book.

For the Renault, it's a hatchback, and one that's not only cheap, but absolutely shreds in the performance department. You don't need an AWD swap anymore: on the whole it's just excellent if you keep the power at a manageable level. I've already convinced myself you can't push FWD further than A, and I prefer it stays that way for this machine.

The Deora II mainly because it breaks expectation, and by doing so, nobody is going to expect big shiny truck here to get big shiny positions in races. And it's a cult classic HotWheels machine to boot. We finally get the chance to drive it in a much more open playground than your bog standard room, giving us the first opportunity to be Vert Wheeler.

Now when's the original Deora coming in? I'd like to see how that's going to fit in Horizon.


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So, now I have a deeper understanding on what happened to the Corrado that ran to the hills. It went so high, it's up here now, and the fact it's a top sleeper hasn't escaped me.
 
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This is my first COTW with a sim wheel, a brand new T300RS to boot.

I'm totally gonna fumble controls for a little while as I get things mapped and figured out. But here we go!
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I'll keep it simple since I've got a lot of driving to do. You can feel the Megane's heritage and design almost immediately with how smooth the launch is and how composed it is through the turns. It's a car you can push hard, and it clings to the road like no other.
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Sleeper.

As for Vert Wheeler's signature car...I spent a lot of time with it on a pad and found it to be a very user friendly, very balanced car despite it being a two ton truck with a giant V8 hanging over the rear wheels. On the T300, however...It's actually even better. Being able to feel out the finer details of the car's behavior means it's relatively easy to keep the rear within the limits of grip.
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Sleeper.
 
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Megane R26.R

This car is what you get when you apply the basic "Forza handling build" treatment to a stock Megane RS. 130kg of weight reduction, an added roll cage, new springs, new brakes, very sticky tires and a new exhaust. Completely unusable as daily car, especially since all the sound proofing materials were removed and only the driver side has an airbag, but in game all these things don't matter. Renault though, was crazy enough to build such a car in the real world, to sell to actual people. Then again it shouldn't be that surprising from the manufacturer known for crazy hot hatches. From the 5 Alpine way back in 1976, one of the very first hot hatches (even before the first Golf GTI), Renault has been continuously pumping out souped up hatchbacks. Many of them now considered classics, including the 5 Turbo, Clio Williams, Clio V6, Clio 182 Trophy and this Megane R26.R.

It was released to high praise from car magazines, even appearing in Top Gear on TV in a comparison against the 300bhp Ford Focus RS, whose time it soundly beat on the test track, despite having 75bhp less. Though the time was deemed inadmissible by Jeremy due to the semi-slick tires. A great injustice if you ask me, as its Toyo R888s were completely street legal.

Despite it being a cult classic, the R26.R's first appearance in a game was in Horizon 4, added fairly late in the game's lifecycle as a reward for playing the battle royale Eliminator mode. Luckily in Horizon 5 it's available at the Autoshow, so no need to suffer through game modes you might not enjoy. It was a competitive car in H4 for handling tracks, starting in the low A class, but it could be dropped to B class with rally tires. A near-stock B class weapon, capable of out-gripping virtually anything in its class. The revamped PI of H5 system drops the stock PI to high B class, giving you some breathing room to add a little power to the 4cyl turbo of the Megane. Trust me you won't need handling upgrades. You can build a competitive version for FWD A class as well.

This is a purist's car however, so even in game it feels almost wrong to add a whole load of upgrades and mods to it (especially that god awful Forza aero rear wing). Not that anyone would complain about driving this stock, as this is a pre-made Forza build. The semi slick tires gives you an impressive amount of grip to tackle any track. The 4cyl turbo in front is a punchy little engine, despite having only 227hp. It helps that there's only 1200kg to move around.

The brakes are fantastic, enabling you to keep braking distances to an absolute minimum without locking up (unless you really overdo it), giving you more time to place the car for corners without overloading the tires.

All this makes it a bundle of fun up the hairpins and corners of Volcan Sprint, and plenty fast for a stock car despite the engine having to work overtime on the few long-ish straights. The real fun hillclimb downhill. Going down gives you plenty of momentum to compensate for relative lack of power, easily getting you closer to the limits of grip of these semi slicks. It also makes braking zones a fair bit more tricky in terms of weight transfer. Uphill is easy for the tires and diff to handle, but downhill gives you the driver a lot more to do.


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Sleeper.
The full pedigree and know-how of the wizards at Renault Sport on display, a race car for the road.




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Hotwheels Deora II

A true Hotwheels classic, part of the brand's original designs you've almost certainly seen before even if you aren't a collector. And full credit to them for actually building a real life example. The toys being 1:64 scale don't always translate well when blown up to lifesize, but the designers and builders have done a laudable job to make something that looks decent at this size. Especially since it's such a unusual design to begin with. Half minibus, half pick up truck, half surfer UTE, it's a lot of "halfs", yet somehow it all works together.

It packs a 750bhp V8 in the back, and on the orange tracks it's about the minimum you'd want. On the Nexus speed circuit it almost feels sluggish, on the uphill section you're really left wanting for more power. That said the wide track width and low center of gravity do ensure the car handles well enough in the corners, especially in terms of stability. It's well suited to the Hotwheels track where power is king, and power builds from the mainland become handling orientated.

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Sleeper. I expected a minibus in terms of handling, so this exceeds all expectations. A hotwheels classic for the hotwheels tracks.
 

Obelisk

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Looks like the cars this week both got clean sweep Sleeper votes. Nice!

And to make things more thematic, we're rolling in the money this week with two high-end Porsches (sorta), starting with the...
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1970 Porsche #3 917 LH!

And for our second-to-last HotWheels DLC car, the...
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1993 Schuppan 962CR!

The 917 LH will be testing on the Costa Rocosa Street Race while the 962 takes a shot at the Dragon's Fall Speed Circuit.
 

Vic Reign93

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Let’s start with the 917 Langheck(Long Tail when translated from German.) which was built specifically for Le Mans in 1970.

It was one of 2 917 Long Tail’s entered that year, but it was the “Psychedelic Porsche” that we have that finished 2nd overall finishing behind the Short Tail 917K.

What the low drag Long Tail 917 lost in handling and braking over the 917K, was almost offset by being monstrous down the Mulsanne, allegedly being over 20mph faster than the 917K and its rivals at Ferrari with the 512S. :eek:

Despite being set up for top speed, it handled rather nicely around this weeks track and I ended up putting a great time in on my one run in it. ;)

One inconsistency I did spot was the engine, when it ran at Le Mans it had a 572hp 4.5 litre Flat 12, but the one we have has the 5.0 litre 601hp version that came later in the 917’s life. :confused:

Likely that was the engine in it when it was scanned for FH4.

Brakes and tyres do feel their age, but it stops and grips better than you think, but by anticipating the road ahead and the lines you’ll need to take, it’s still a threat even to modern supercars.

Or in my case, Obelisks S1 900 VUHL 05RR. :P

Now at 15 million credits it’s not what you call a bargain, but remember, this is FH5, a good portion of the player base don’t have an appreciation for the classics so finding one with a Auction buyout price of under 1.8 million is rather easy. :D

Regardless of the price you payed(but cheaper is better.) you’re getting a car that was built for one Legendary race that year and it didn’t disappoint.

Verdict: Sleeper 😉👍

And now for something extra..

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At the start of this series, the 917/20 ‘Pink Pig’ returned to Horizon so I decided to include it in this write up.

Built as a one-off rolling R&D project, it combined the low drag concept of the 917LH with the stability of the 917K, plus it was testing parts for Porsches future plans in Can Am, Which ended with the dominant ‘Turbo Panzer’ itself, the 917/30. :drool:

The Pink Pig ran in the 1971 Le Mans 24hrs, but crashed out due to brake failure as the low drag design meant the brakes had to work harder to slow it down, but the brake change schedules hadn’t take that into account. :ouch:

This 917 has the 4.9 litre version of the Flat 12, but makes the exact same figures as the 917LH in game, 601hp and 415ft-lbs of torque.

The 917/20 is 40lbs lighter, has better stats aside from braking over the 917LH, but is 7PI Lower than the 917LH at 849.

Now the times up above don’t tell the full story, the 917/20 needed more effort to get a fast run consistently, partly because I felt it could beat the 05RR and did more runs with it.

It’s a faster car and sounds much more aggressive than the 917LH, but it requires you to be in perfect sync with it.

As for price, it’s a playlist exclusive, but again, see my previous statement regarding the 917LH’s price. :sly:

But that rarity does bump up the average buyout price on the 917/20 to around 8.5 million. :embarrassed:

In summary, it’s a faster car, but felt less user friendly than the 917LH.

Verdict: Neutral

And last, but certainly not least..

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The Schuppan 962CR.

If I had £1 for every company that has built a road legal version of Porsche’s 962 Group C racer, I’d have exactly 3 pounds. :lol:

Not much granted, but the fact that’s the case is pretty damn sweet. ;)

Koenig built 3 of them, Dauer built 13 of them and Schuppan built 6.

Using a 3.3 litre version of the 962’s turbocharged Flat 6, it’s good for 600hp that’s sent to the rear via a 5 speed manual gearbox.

Weight is on the lighter side at 2,315lbs, (It WAS based on the 962 Group C after all, just made slightly more civil.:P) and the gearing allows it to do over 220mph on its own or 270mph when blasting down through volcanos around Horizon Hot Wheels.

Around Dragon’s Fall, you only have to touch the brakes twice in the 962 as it still has that 962 DNA in its handling.

I’ve always had a soft spot for some of Stuttgart’s finest, so a road version of one of Porsches most dominant endurance racers was always gonna scratch that particular itch for me. :cool:

All in all, a great car to graduate to HW’s S1 class in.

Verdict: Sleeper 😉👍
 

Obelisk

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Sadly, I don't have much in the way of story for this acid trip of a Porsche 917 Langheck. Though, I can at least note that the chassis is SER#917L 043. They supposedly had pretty questionable handling that was more than offset by the extreme top end speed.

In game, this translates into a very light-feeling wheel and a rear that seems more sensitive than it needs to be. Crests upset this car quickly, the brakes on the front lock up quick... It comes off as a very nervous car, in contrast to the more sedate Lola from previous weeks of COTW. On the flip side, I noticed very quickly that the car will corner quite well in a gentle slip on WOT. You can essentially drift the car out of certain
corners without screwing either exit speed or acceleration. Perks of an old tire compound, I guess? It's certainly a fun car.
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I could get a lot more time off, there are quite a few sectors I'm hesitant about. A nervous car makes Obelisk nervous.

That said, it's properly quick and gets a Sleeper from me.

And now the Schuppan 962.
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It's the polar opposite of the 917 in general feel. It has a relatively solid wheel feel, and it's fairly stable and composed when being pushed around. Also looks lovely, to boot. Retrofuturistic styling, great top end, great handling...just rough acceleration to keep it in check.

And in what might be one of the greatest upsets in COTW...
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Yes, this is a bone stock 962CR. Yes, that is me beating Vic by a second and a half.

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Somehow still not fast enough to get under the top 1500.

Well, my fingers are numb and hands a little sore. But this was a hell of a session for me. The 962CR is a well deserved Sleeper.

As an aside, tomorrow's announcement will be very late in the night so that all members have a fair chance at getting their votes in. I think you can all infer from the past couple of weeks where this one is going...
 

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917 LH or Longtail, a real longboi.

The earlier versions of the 917 were notorious for being deathtraps, especially the first prototypes. Monstrous power but with equally gargantuan turbo lag, combined with a relatively short wheelbase and a distinct lack of rear wing did not make a nice driving race car. The 917 was then developed into two versions the, 917K for more handling tracks, and the 917LH as the low-drag version for the long, chicane-less straights of the 1970s Le Mans circuit. LH stands for Langheck, presumably means "long as heck" in German. And long it certainly is, with about two thirds of the car behind the driver, and a large rear wing at the end of it.

Power to weight ratio is competitive for S1 class, weighing under a ton and packing 600horsepower. In a straight line it's faster than most cars around its PI. In terms of handling though, it can't hide the 50 years old chassis underneath. Still decent mind you, but requires the driver to be a bit more adept and careful.

The big issue for me was the stability under braking, the brakes lock up easily. But even without locking up the car becomes unsettled under hard braking, especially in braking zones that aren't straight, of which there are a few on this week's chosen course. However this is both a blessing and curse, as you can also manage to coax it into a oversteer to point you in the right direction for the corner exit. It's not easy but it's a good way to make up for the lack of agility of the car, from both its old tires and form factor. And as Obelisk mentioned already, it doesn't lose much momentum with a bit of slip.

In fact in most corners the fastest way I've found to drive the 917 is to angle the car before the corner, then understeer/four wheel drift out of it. It's still plenty fast with a bit of slip and quite stable during the corner. These old tires are really what's holding this car back, as even the aero seems at least decent.

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I wanted to see what this machine could do on modern tires, so I bolted on some slick tires, which bumps the PI to 901 S2, but with some heavier rims it can be lowered to S1. And tires do fix most of the car's issues. A huge amount more mechanical grip means you no longer need to drift in corners. You even get a much better launch. It's still not perfect though, still a little unstable under braking, so a S1 build should maybe use semi-slicks with some brakes and handling upgrades instead. A good driver could still make this work. My first run on the slicks, while being a slightly scruffy run was 5 seconds faster than the stock time. Not bad at all.

Sleeper, though not the easiest to drive in stock form.



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962

Another Le Mans Porsche, this time converted for the road. This one being more recent has a lot better handling. Not much to say as it's just a great car to drive, with no glaring flaws. Apart from the gearbox, the 5 speeds are stretched quite thin considering the power of the car. Gears are too long especially first, which is fine for the high speed hotwheels tracks but a 6 speed swap is required for driving on the mainland.

This car also feels perfectly at home in the Hotwheels DLC. The retro futurist styling, and toy-like proportions makes this a perfect addition race around the orange tracks.

Haven't messed around much with mods on this car, but it seems like a good base for competitive builds.

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Sleeper. A road going Group C car, nuff said!

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Hey folks, now that we're hitting week 40 it's as good a time as any to fill everyone in on the plans going forward.

As some of you know, once we hit week 52 we hold an award show for the cars that have been reviewed for COTW. Since FH5 is still very much in its post-launch support cycle and a rather long way away from end of life, I fully intend to plow straight through week 52 and am aiming for week 124 if not more than that. Ambitious but probably a little rubbish. Once we actually start week 52's car, I'll be giving everyone a month (so by week 56) to nominate their choices for a number of small awards for each car, then announcing them before going back on with the show.

That aside, I've yet to figure out what car to go with for Week 52, as the first car for my first COTW thread (the Polaris) has already been used, and the one from FH4 might not be in the game. I'll have to double check everything.

Anyways, roll call for the Porsches!

The 917 long-as-heck is a Sleeper and the 962CR is a Sleeper!

Brilliant week, all things considered.

And for our next car-
In other words, something sleek like this Lola only helps me wonder how Bad To The Blade would fit in Horizon.
Speak of the Devil.

We are going with the fastest of the fast this week, both on the mainland and on the paradise in the sky. The kings of speed, shall we say.

It's the...
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2020 Koenigsegg Jesko!

And the...
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2012 HotWheels Bad to the Blade!

And to see exactly how these cars are the kings of speed, we are taking them to the biggest and baddest tracks Horizon has to offer...

The Jesko is going to tackle the mainland's Goliath and the BTTB is going to tackle the HotWheels Goliath.

Let's have at it!
 
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Ahh barnacles, I'm gonna be late, but I guess 2 cars per week with a loaded schedule does that to me.

I'll probably get late entries again the Jesko and Bladeyboi, especially with the Goliath being this week's test track. But maybe I'll just share to you a few excerpts from my draft.



While that was the beginning of Porsche's dominating years in those days, for now, this is where the story ends for the 917. I'll continue the tale whenever Der Truffel-jager von Zuffenhausen.. umm, the Pink Pig, gets on COTW.

When it comes to the hardtop 917s being in games, the Kurzheck gets the lucky pick of being in various games starting from NFS Porsche Unleashed, while the Langheck also gets a good showing in Project CARS 2 and 3, as well as Horizon 4 and 5. There's also one more 917 to mention, and that would be the Living Legend that's so far only in Gran Turismo 7. Again with Der Truff-Pink Pig, that's only in Forza from Motorsport 7 far as I know.

The Langheck with its long tail drags along a PI of 856. This actually is the top of the Classic Racers for this game, as the 512 S didn't make it to Mexico.. yet? This is a very sporadic class, as the bottom of Classic Racers would carry my favorite car in Horizon 4 being the Cortina. When it comes to racing, while the Lola is the meta for S1 dirt, the Langheck isn't too far behind. The only rival it has would be it's successor that is Der Truff-Pink Pig.

Yes, quite a tongue twister, eh? To me, it's getting more and more alluring to say the name. It's not in COTW yet, but when it does, it's going to challenge Rambo Lambo for most notable nickname.

Der Truffel-jager von Zuffenhausen, Der Truffel-jager von Zuffenhausen..



Mister Schuppan so happens to be not a stranger to racing, having stints in both F1 in the 70s, indycar racing in the 80s, and various leagues within endurance racing by the latter end of that period. His biggest success would be with the Rothmans team Porsche 956 in 1983, where he won the Le Mans after running up last year. Said 956 was the predecessor to the more well known 962.

Eventually retiring from racing in 1987, Schuppan would start a company to help with servicing other race teams and manufacturers. His efforts definitely didn't go to waste, especially in Japan where he's gotten a bit of a following thanks to his team's efforts in IMSA and JSPC. He would make a joint venture with a Japanese automotive industry group of organizations, knowns as the Art Sports Company.

While they were slated to make 50 of them, financial issues compounded from the fall of communism happened, causing the ASC to not be able to fund this undertaking, and Schuppan had to declare bankruptcy after the sixth was made. And that 50 was so that Schuppan can race the car in Le Mans again. He really was thinking ahead, but we all knew what really went inside that head of his when the racing world saw Dauer in 1994.



What is a Showcase, said nobody ever? Well, to answer the ghosts that haunt the time trials, a Showcase usually consists of cars relevant to a theme going to the top of the class, usually with no conversions, and have them duke it out on a certain location. Due to the outright competitive nature of this, a table and tiering system will be implemented, with the latter used to measure how well the COTW nominee does, and this usually weighs in my final verdict. Case in point with the G29 Z4 of week 33: where it was destined for a Beater but its top performance after upgraded got it a Neutral.

This week, we're going to rumble on Dragon's Fall Speed Circuit once again, but the theme? I'll call it.. 'Road & Track presents', with the obvious jab of the Need for Speed series. I'll be taking the various engineering feats from the exotic lineup of supercars from the classic, early era of Need For Speed. They all will meet on the top of S1, with gearboxes widened up to eleven, ready to rumble. No police, backflips on collisions, references to Player One or lap records is to be expected.

How about the obvious rival to start us off with? Wait, there is an obvious rival?


Obvious rival & COTW Alumni #30- Lola T70 MkIIIb "Racer X"
 

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Ahh barnacles, I'm gonna be late, but I guess 2 cars per week with a loaded schedule does that to me.

I'll probably get late entries again the Jesko and Bladeyboi, especially with the Goliath being this week's test track. But maybe I'll just share to you a few excerpts from my draft.
This week will be the last double entry for quite a while (unless we get another entry that has an FE), so hopefully everything gets a little easier for you after that. If you need anything just shoot me a DM.
 

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Not my best ever run and I did have a moment near the end of the lap when I ended up running wide and dodging between some trees. :scared:

And the BTTB..

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Kinda of a paradox with these two speed demons and their respective Goliaths, the Jesko would feel more at home on the HW Goliath and the BTTB would potentially be slightly quicker than the Jesko on the OG Goliath.

The Jesko, while monstrously fast courtesy of its 1280hp 5 litre TT V8, is almost too fast for the grip level it has around Goliath as understeer in the longer turns kicks in.

The BTTB by comparison has the opposite problem, monstrous levels of downforce and grip makes it very rapid on the fast flowing, but twisty tracks down on the mainland, but it’s high revving 650hp 3.5 litre V8 loses out big time on the power preferred, ultra fast HW Goliath track.

You play each car to its strengths and they are Sleepers all day, but Neutrals if they you can’t/don’t. ;)

Verdicts: Neutral

My 2 cents? Use the Jesko to blow out speed traps and yeet off Danger Signs and the BTTB to dominate the more twisty tracks of Mexico in S2. 😉👍
 

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After sitting on it for a while, I came to the realization that I've been asking a lot from the writers of COTW over the past month, myself included.

As such, Week 40 will now be 40 + 41, and you all have an extra week. No pressure.
 

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Yeah as it turns out, I was half right with my theory that the 2 cars would be faster on the other cars Goliath. :lol:

The BTTB was slower on the mainland by about 12 seconds, BUT it was much faster through the first part at Copper Canyon all the way up till the Dunes where it’s major lack of top speed kills it.

The Jesko once again showed it was the faster, but less consistent and trickier car of the two, with multiple spots where it can catch some lap ending hangtime(It even beat the Magnet Track at Treetop Towers at the top of Forest Falls.:scared:).

My prior point stands, play to the cars main strengths and you’ll get the most effectiveness out of their performance. 👍
 
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Even though this week's COTW is the Jesko, I have to mention the brand's other car that we just unveiled, the CC850, celebrating the marque's 20 years of existence. Two decades is undoubtedly an achievement for a niche supercar (...hyper, mega? -car) maker, most struggle to make it past a couple models made. Koenigsegg and Pagani are the only two supercar brands that have made it this far in recent history. And what a way to celebrate the double decade.

The CC850, a modern reimagining of the first car they made, the CC8S, seems to be a Jesko underneath the gorgeous bodywork as far as I can tell. Therefore it is relevant to this week's COTW and I can talk about it. :lol: Koenigsegg showing Lamborghini how you should do a tribute car, instead of whatever that thing wearing the Countach name is.

The brand's new car uses the Jesko's 9 speed transmission, but attaches a some mechanical wizardry to it to also make it usable as a 6 speed gated manual. All Koenigsegg tend to have a major technical innovation in them, whether it's a 600hp engine without a camshaft or this crazy gearbox.

Anyway back to Jesko, and that gearbox is as good a place as any to start with. The 9 speed, in stock form with manual shifting is a nightmare. The first 3 gears are basically useless, at least for racing. Barely touching the throttle you'll be wheelspinning well into 4th gear. I guess there's no easy way to manage 1300 bhp, though Koenigsegg doesn't make it easy for themselves by keeping the car RWD. Maybe they wanted to save weight, though I'm not sure why you'd need to with this much power.

Once you've managed to get going the Jesko is well behaved, as long as you don't go below 5th gear. It has huge amounts of downforce, and incredible brakes. (Seriously, these are proper race car brakes, stomping down on them from 400kph and it takes a good while before they lock up).

The issue is that it has just too much power. The drag car levels of acceleration makes it hard to judge if you're taking the right speed into corners. You can easily get caught out understeering out of a corner because you were going too fast. In a way it's made worse by the fact that it's well balanced, giving you a false sense of security. You rarely feel like you're near the edge.

I had to do 5 laps of the Goliath before getting a clean time in, as I kept flying off track past checkpoints or into barriers, even when I felt like I was more on the cautious side of things on the whole. It was a fairly frustrating session, having to do a whole other go around of the 50km track because of a small mistake. :lol:

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Therefore I'll go with Neutral. Needs a new gearbox (or ratios) and familiarity of the particular car+track combo to be competitive.




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A modern Open wheeler in Horizon!


We've had various GT and endurance race cars, as well as some old grand prix cars, but the BTTB is the first modern open wheel car we've had in Horizon. As a lifelong F1 fan I'm over the moon about this addition, especially being too lazy to the play the proper F1 game and all.

And it doesn't disappoint, the BTTB has gobs more downforce than almost anything else in the game. It is completely glued to the road, at any speed. Unfortunately all these wings means equal amounts of drag, and with a relatively modest 600bhp it tops out at around 300kph. This means that on a high speed track like the Hotwheels Goliath, virtually the whole track is taken at Vmax while buzzing the limiter. I had to the turn the sound off :lol:

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This makes the BTTB's area of competitiveness relatively limited, just like the Jesko, and a Neutral as well.

As Vic pointed out, these two are more at home on each other's tracks. But more than that, I think they should swap engines instead. Though Horizon would probably need to create a class above X for a 1300hp BTTB. :D
 

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Let's get things winding down a bit, since we no longer have to deal with a hundred things at once - my sincere apologies about that.

So the Jesko is a Neutral and the BTTB is a Neutral.

Nicely done to both cars.

And thanks to an earworm that got in my head this week, I think it's time to look at an all time favorite of drivers the world over.

It's the...
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1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata!

It's known by a few names. Mazda Roadster. Eunos Roadster. MX-5 Miata, or even just Miata. Some people even call them "Miat". The name Miata is derived from an Old German word meaning 'reward'. The Mk.1/NA Miata, produced from 1989 to 1997, is the origin of all of the Miatas we know and love these days. It's an adorable, tiny car with a ton of unique qualities that you don't find in many cars these days.

And it's still cheap, even with everything else appreciating! (WRX STIs are already flying past 55k here in the US)

In the spirit of the song that's gotten stuck in my head this week, we'll be taking this modern classic (D 445) to Granjas De Tapalpa!

Sadly, we can't take the roof off this one in-game, but just pretend you have the top down, the wind rushing over your hair, and your favorite song on the stereo! And more importantly, is Miata always the answer?
 

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Alright, so for a bit of transparency before I get into the actual review: I am very intimately familiar with the NA MX-5 due to representing the COTW group in an MX-5 series over on Gran Turismo 7. And while those MX5s are spec'd a bit differently from the road-going ones in both GT7 and FH5, they're close enough that I can apply my experience across the games.

So, the NA.
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It's a very light car with a differential that locks pretty high. Gran Turismo flags it as 55 accel, 0 decel, but the numbers are not visible in Forza for some reason. That combination is pretty good, if you're looking for a car that'll teach you how to manage oversteer without wrecking the car or putting an end to you. The NC that we previously reviewed didn't have this trait in the same manner, as it just had too much grip. The NA doesn't have that much grip by comparison, and even less power.

It's also got a pretty sensible gearbox spread, with 5th taking you up to about 130 MPH with a modest bit of revs left over should you find yourself going downhill or in a draft.

Actually driving it, it's a pretty enthusiastic car. It's the kind of car where taking it for a drive down some curved roads at the speed limit is enjoyable, but the car keeps whispering to you. It begs you to rev the nuts off it and go nuts down that road. And for a little car that isn't making any more than ~ 100 HP, this car comes alive in a way I haven't felt in other cars. It's quite rewarding getting the most out of it while it tries (and fails) to punish you for having no mercy on its skinny tires.
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The NC is a delightful car, but it's a well-mannered one. The older NA is the dynamic, delightful one and I can see why 434,000 of them were manufactured.

As for the actual time trial...I took a couple of passes at it because I could feel room for improvement on the car. Funny how being forced to grind a thousand miles in an NA in GT7 has helped me spot the little things here and there.
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Just like with the NC, the NA is an excellent choice of car. You can kit your MX5 out to fulfill any role you want both in FH5 and in IRL (I have actually seen an offroader MX5).

And just like with the NC, when you're a sensible, affordable sports car in a game that favors multimillion-dollar supercars...
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You deserve the Sleeper rating.
 
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What hasn’t been said about the NA MX-5 at this point? :P

Cheap to buy, beginner friendly, lightweight and peppy and has many options for builds.

Track day & time attacks, drifting, off-road or just blasting down B roads and giving more powerful cars headaches, There’s a reason that Miata Is Always The Answer is more than just a marketing line. :D👍

Verdict: Sleeper 👍
 
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SPD Writes Car Of The Week: Week 42 - Mazda MX-5 Miata (NA2)


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If you thought the MINI JCW Countryman was a car close to my heart, here's one that literally had more than just my heart when it comes to body parts that came close. Namely my hands and feet.

After skipping 2 (+1) weeks, and I was going for 4 weeks, but oh look: here comes a car that has a personal connection. Oh goody, it's time for some more Mazda Roadster action.

This segment says it's time to give my personal history of the car. You know what: this is a car I used to own. And despite reliability issues for being more than 20 years old, it was in so many ways the kind of car in a budget that was desirable. How? It had a soft top that was quite rugged and sturdy (even though the one in game's a hard top).

In terms of its real history lesson, I'll just share what we all probably know well of. Believe it or not, the MX-5 idea was mainly inspired by those old European roadsters. Mainly British. Stuff like the MGs, Alfa Spider, Lotus Elan, Triumph Spitfire and the Austin-Healeys.. maybe even the Jaguar E-Type?

Anyways, just like Mazdas of today taking the Kodo philosophy, the NA also introduces one; one that I quite like. It's called Jinba Ittai, and it references how a car and its driver should feel like a relationship that's similar to a horse and its rider. The Program Manager at the time, Takeo Kijima, mentioned that, as quoted: "When the car and driver are in perfect harmony, driving is fun". There's a deep sense of philosophy I can write about this in at least 2 paragraphs, but let's not dilly dally. Notably, this philosophy carried on strong to just about any of their models, thanks to the success of the NA MX-5.

And when the car came out, it was garnering fans and selling like hotcakes. When they compound fun driving with accessibility like Potara Earrings, you can see why. We head inside and you can see its small 1.6 4 cylinder doesn't mean it's powerful, but power wasn't the name of the game this car's playing. It was handling on a budget. And just like any product with an iterative process, the car keeps on getting better as time passes. The one we got in Horizon 5 is the updated 1994 NA2 model. I had a NA1 from '93, but I know there's not much changed around from the outside. From the inside, the engine's displacement went up a bit and it got more power. And we do have chassis and suspension improvements, in addition to better brakes. The whole shebang! But let's put aside the proper car functions to go to, of course, my favorite feature of this car.. pop up headlights!! With the button placed at the center by the red emergency lights button. When I had this car, I play with this button a lot, and no: it's not supposed to function when the lights are on. Or rather I didn't try.

But what about bad? Well, it's small? I'm 6 foot and this car is spacious as heck. And in terms of boot space, it's great. I can carry a pair of whole 12 bottle cartons in the back. So it's a minor issue, nothing to cry foul about. Let's move on before I write an extra 4 paragraphs of the car's interior detail and design. Game wise, the car in general has been introduced to me through the original Gran Turismo, and the NA has been hopping game to game. I remember being a dominant but not top tier choice in NFS Heat, pop up headlights alongside with it.

Sitting high up of the dreaded D class with 445 PI, the Mazda has a lot of room for improvement. In its class of Retro Sports Cars, the only rival it has is the Chuki, having the same PI. Other cars nearby include the AE86 and the DMC-12. And strangely that DeLorean, only notably carrying 250 kilos more, has more PI than the NA Miata. That's odd.

Autoshow prices of this generational classic roadster comes in at 25,000 credits. With prices like 43,000 credits for both cheapest and most common on the Auction House.. man, I guess I'll let all the enthusiasm for lower prices go to more expensive machines.


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Even with the roof still on, it's time we find ourselves blowing fields of our own hair through Granjas De Tapalpa within a budget.


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Yes, mister MINI, it's a car that I can prove to anyone that I love more than yourself. You can say this time, it's not me repeatedly muttering in rage the 'HOW DARE YOU's.


"This route starts out in the hillside forests but opens up into rolling farmland with flowing turns, meaning you can also open up the throttle!"

Ahh, nice flowy roads with no hint of Barry R. Aside one roundabout to go through and a couple of hard 90 degrees turns, I guess there's not much to it. Rather, I'm a bit lazy and let the analysis bring out the track's quirks. Because looking at the map ain't going to cut it.


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Quick note that the Miata I used to own was painted in this sort of orange that mimics Lamborghini's Arancio Atlas. It was my dad's midlife crisis car before he got himself a 911 Turbo. But let's bring it back for one round in the night: a familiar situation for myself 7 years ago.


- I'm incredibly familiar with the insides of an NA1, but the NA2 sure has a few things that sets it apart. For starters, the car I personally experienced has a laminated wooden steering wheel. But aside from that and this one being left hand drive, I see very little that's different. The NA from Gran Turismo is definitely more accurate when it comes to my comparisons, because it's an NA1 there.

- Launch is bad. It's got no power, and if I let it go all the way, you can feel it go out without any pep on the power. But hey: it's also the best way to launch, and I should be glad we have no gimmicks. My shift point's on the area around 7500 RPM, and at this pace I'm not finding out how high does it redline.

- This lack of power also translates to acceleration on the whole. Maybe for a D-class car it's super duper, but it's not the case when going up hill, where deceleration takes place instead. I mean, it's obvious I mention the road barriers and the fencing, but even in the Unimog a month ago, we know the driver striving to win should aim not to touch those.

- Looking at the bright side for having no power is traction, and this car actually has a distinct lack of that when exiting a corner. But it's not even an issue. I find this to be a plus, as it's a sign saying this be the kind of car that wants to get you excited. That's not exactly something you'd expect in this class.

- We're going to nag territory, as with the kind of car that's as old as me, the NA2 will only love you on the corners if you brake dilligently and give input with discipline. The brakes are really good, and aside being somewhat rear biased, I find no issue with them at all. And when you corner, it's.. a milder case of the NC all the way back in week 8 where it just turns so hard, you'll lose speed going all the way. Keep in mind that it's the kind of car without power to bring its momentum back up when you lose it. You thought lower class cars hold your hands? Yes, but actually no.

- One thing about the car's turning is that it likes to slide out the rear, be it from the brakes that is biased to the rear, or the overall slippery nature of the car. You can definitely play this to give you an advantage if you nail your turning. There are portions of the track that want you to brake, but you can tackle without doing so. Let the relatively safe grass of this road help you with that too.

- Gearing is great. Not much to complain about. It's not overly wide, and the powerband is very well distributed. It contributes much to the car's overall fun factor, being responsive and not bad in how it reacts.

- Guess what: with a car that handles like this in a very low class means one thing: you're really going to love getting into the tuning world and designing your NA2 Miata to your heart's desire within the classes ahead! A powerbuild comes to mind, and I'm sure there are a lot of people that has that idea too. Having to be able to run a 787B's rotor is just an unusual choice unless you're really going to drift this thing so hard.

- To the track, and we have an issue with that 90 degrees sweeping turn early on. It's definitely a newbie trap.. and maybe one like me who hasn't gotten on Forza for weeks. I'd imagine the street barrier there is Barry R with another name and that means a touch is a reset.

- The necessity of one Barry R also is noted by my general line. I guess me, taking off course in pace and street races go together like a burger with sauce and pickles. No, I didn't forget the pickles. I like pickles on burgers, actually. Beats lettuce or cucumber.

- The final bit of SPD advice is to watch your gearing. I've found myself in moments where I'm at the wrong rev region for the gear. You have a car that handles superbly, gives a soft but visible idea of RWD in general, and it'll reward you handsomely if you keep that zen in.

I guess it's not fair to say the car is super similar to a past COTW member being its second generation successor. While the NC did fail on getting Mark Of Zen because Jungle Descent is not decent for the type of car, the NA2 and Granjas De Tapalpa did find themselves a track that, while getting runs of 3 and a half minutes, have me going at it repeatedly..

I love to convince myself that I've made a sound hypothesis when I said this is the best Miata of the lot, and I'll back that with a good old Mark of Zen #13. If the NB or ND would stand up, then I'll see which of them is the real Slim Shady.

But let's get out of SPD's world and head into SPD's abilities and see what's a best time for a car I've been behind the wheel in real life been?


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I churned this roadster up to power me a best run of 3:32.751.

You can probably say this is the kind of combo that's can be perceived as.. sort of a semi medium easy hard way, or the sorta hard with a touch of awkward easy difficulty challenging way. Yeah, it's hard if your inputs are too in the range of 100 and 0, but the car is definitely fun if you put off all the assists and learn to get a more varied input. Not anyone can pull this off, but this is where it'll reward you.


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Funny enough, I'm still busy, so no event this week. It's fitting enough.

So..

What is the Mazda MX-5 Miata (NA2)? It is..

Humble beginnings of just about anyone to be able to flash straight ahead and take your top off.

Thanks to some words back in week 8, all I had to do is to prove how much this car is a complete and utter sleeper like the NC was. And it didn't even take long. Just like the NC before it, it's a very easy Sleeper, sort of me jumping to conclusions gladly with the Alpine. Easy to get ahold of, and it's got a sense of challenge I approve of.

Well, I had a list of cars in D-Class that I predict will fit the Sleeper bill, and the NA2 is one of them. I had doubts, but now they're extinguished quite nicely. I wonder what else in this nightmarish region of performance can impress me so. The Cortina I'm looking at, but that PI worries me.


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Yes I am purposely driving under these city tunnels just to get the lights up. This is definitely an unusual but quirky car trait of which as a bucket list point I've already handled in real life. Now if anyone's got a Miura I can borrow..
 
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Very short one from me this week, as I'm spread a little thin between the post summer holidays work rush and having to prepare a cross continental move. :lol:

Despite the D class 445 rating, the MX-5 doesn't drive like a slow car. It's almost like a miniature version of a RWD sports car, both in size and driving feel. I can see why it's always recommended as a beginner car, as its sort of like driving a higher powered car at 2/3rds speed. It breaks traction on the rear at very reasonable speeds, which gives you plenty of time to correct it. It's good way to learn how to handle RWD cars without the danger of higher speeds.

That's not to say it's a car only for beginners, drivers of all levels can enjoy the miata. Being so engaging at any speed is what makes this car a classic.

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Sleeper! Proving even D class cars can be fun!
 

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I'll come back through and clean this all up later, had a really bad day yesterday and forgot the thread.

This week we're jumping from start to end and looking at the ND MX5! This will be on the Horizon Mexico Circuit.
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Have fun!
 

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1:17.544

Much of what was said about the OG MX-5 could apply here, except it’s got more power at 155hp and despite all the modern safety equipment, is lighter than the OG MX-5 in game. :eek:

The sporty tyres and suspension means it has much grip, almost too much for its power as it now makes you think it can take more power. :P

It’s hard to fault really as a relatively inexpensive sports car, aside from me now wanting more power to match its grip level. 😁

Verdict: Sleeper 😉👍