Car of the Week 228: COTY GTS Finale

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I'm up to 12 million, though I'm a bit busy the next week and a bit. Surely 8 million in 4 weeks is do able, right?
 
Probably. My grind gives 330k per 8:52 minutes of racing, pretty much 1 mil in a half hour. But grinding gets so boring now that I honestly can't see myself doing it for more than 1 hour per day to be honest.
 
Doing a quick Ctrl+F search for expletives, and substituting each with what Esther would've if she were editing my reviews as always, I submit my review, lean back on my swivel chair, and stretch vigorously, as if to expel the salt and toxin from my body from having to drive two horrendous cars this week. Gah, editing is hard work. Maybe I ought to swear less... nah, who am I flipping kidding. I couldn't hold back sheet if my life depended on it. It's a sign of honesty, you know? I blame the cars for being so monkey-butt awful.

This week's races and reviewing is done remotely entirely from my... residence, in Japan. Not that the COTW committee has gotten cold feet all of a sudden from the "big 19"; we've always had to undergo the most stringent of tests and take every precaution - rather, it's just that this week's cars were both virtual, a blessing to the unbeknownst masses of reality.

My "residence" in Japan is little more than a car storage facility, a sim rig dumped onto the driveway from the utter lack of space, and the spiteful bare minimum to sustain human life. It has a claustrophobic bathroom, barely a step up from the portable units seen in funerals and the like. It has a table and two chairs for dining and paperwork. What else do you need? A kitchen? The only thing I can cook are brakes and tyres. And I doubt those taste good even when done medium rare.

With the review out of the way, I'm free to do what I originally flew back to Japan for: my Viper's servicing is due.

Not that I like hiring people I don't personally know well to drive my babies, but in the Viper's case, I literally cannot let anyone else drive it. It is a dangerous, unapologetic, unhesitating monster of a murderer that makes even racing drivers of experience shudder at the thought of driving, and there is no waiver that I could write that would absolve me as an employer of responsibilities should, or when, a poor chap cannonballs this thing sideways into ten other cars at brisk walking speeds.

My car is a 2nd gen, 2002 GTS, the last of its kind. I don't have many American cars in my collection, so when I have to meet with American VIPs for social events I can't squirm my way out of, this car is the one I drive to meet them. Thankfully however, now that I'm no longer an active racing driver (...and most likely because of the "big 19"), these social visits have become just about nonexistent. The Viper always, ALWAYS, gets an enthusiastic reaction from these guests, petrolhead or not. With American cars, you have the Ford guys or the GM guys. But everybody can appreciate a Viper, if not for the car's majesty, then for the idiocy of anyone who would own one. I've always loved this thing, despite how it's always wanted to kill me. It's why I own it, in spite of it trying to kill me if I as much looked at it funny.

Removing its cloth cover, I am awestruck anew yet again by the timeless, muscular, cartoon character face and proportions of the Viper, dominated beautifully by larger-than-stock twin white stripes striking through the centre of its body, bathed in as close an approximation of GTS Blue as I can manage. In my mind, there is no other Viper as iconic as this one, in this colour combination. In fact, if you own a Viper without twin stripes, what are you even doing? Do you even own a Viper? It is the one every kid who played Gran Turismo drove, and it is the one every kid crashed in said Gran Turismo when they fully upgraded it into an undriveable mess. But god damn, you take one look at this beauty and tell me the pain isn't worth it. I don't know what or why, but something about this generation of Vipers just looks "right" to me, that later models have lost and failed to recapture. This is the exact, and perhaps only shape that comes to my mind when someone mentions the word, "Viper" to me. Something about it just... works. I can't explain it.

Reconnecting the batteries of the car even I don't drive much, the Viper roared to life for the first time in a good while. Gosh, when was the last time I drove this? Certainly not in a race. It might even be as far back as the last time I had to service this thing. Slipping into its spartan, spitefully barebones interior, I can already start to feel the heat of the exhaust pipes emanating from underneath the door sills. Once in, you're greeted by a steering wheel, gauges, three pedals, a stick, a handbrake, two seats, and seatbelts. What else do you need, a kitchen? It cooks me better than my FD RX-7 does, anyway. This thing IS an oven on wheels. I may have insinuated earlier that this thing could be lethal at brisk walking pace. But, really? This thing could kill you at a standstill without even resorting to carbon monoxide.

Out of two virtual beaters, and into a one that's too real. Ahh yes.

Almost as if to answer a prayer I never uttered, the garage door opened up to reveal a slight drizzle outside. I could laugh. I could cry. I could regret owning a Viper, but at this point, the Viper feels like part of my life, part of a portfolio I show my friends, again and again. "This is what I'm about. This is what has led me to where I am today. This is what shaped me. This is what I like." And, really, isn't that what sports, super, and hypercars are about? If performance cars are cartoon characters, designed to make you smile, designed to be fun, designed to be unique, then there is a very strong argument to be made for the Viper being the strongest, most compelling cartoon character. It's so in-your-face that it's almost impossible to be indifferent towards it; you either love it for all that it stood for, or you hate it for its ridiculously long list of flaws, many of which instant deal breakers for anyone with a shred of common sense in them. I'm lucky enough to love this thing, though perhaps to a fault, as my left leg can already attest to.

This generation of Vipers, and even the one after, came with no traction control or ABS. Stability control? I'm not sure the Viper understands either of those two words on their own, let alone put together. The suspension setup on this car feel like driving on clouds; weight transfer happens... sometimes... maybe? There is no feedback whatsoever from the wheels of the car. Steering feel is as soggy as the weather today. You turn the wheel, and the car turns when it wants to turn. You can't force it to do anything, especially turning and braking, as it will absolutely lash out and bite your head off if you think you have any say or power in this relationship. The Americans have a saying: "An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure." Imagine how much curing is required when it takes so much due care just in prevention in the Viper. You do NOT want to provoke this thing. Even when you think you're being civil with it, sometimes its limits will come to you instead of you approaching the limits. You can politely ask the car to do something, it thinks for a bit, and then replies with "nah brah, not in the mood", and suddenly you find yourself in some truly hairy scenarios. To drive this thing fast feels as precarious and precise an endeavour as dancing on a mattress while wearing stilettos. Don't ask me where I got that analogy from. You aren't masterfully utilising every millimetre of the track and shaving hundreds of a second off your lap times in this car like you perhaps would a lightweight Japanese pocket rocket of its era; instead, you take roughly the racing line and let the power do the rest for you.

Yes, every time I put my foot down in a Viper, I can't help but to smile. 450HP isn't a lot by today's standards, but back when every Japanese manufacturer were arguing about who had the best 276 horses, the Viper's 450 made men in bowties soil themselves silly in unabridged horror. And trust me when I say that these 450 horses are a very, very different breed from those of the Japanese. It almost doesn't matter when you shift this thing: there is torque EVERYWHERE. It's genuinely a car where I suddenly realise I'm in the wrong gear coming out of a bend, but by the time my hand is on the shifter, I'm already in the right gear. This engine pulls without a damn care in the world. Its plateaus of torque could make modern EVs look over their shoulders in a cold, acidic sweat. Yet, the car never ever felt like it was screaming, or even trying. It always sounds laid back and lazy, only sounding mildly annoyed at the last 500 or so rpm.

One would think that driving a 450HP, FR brute of an animal with no aids would be difficult because of its insane power, but really, that is not at all the case. Perhaps it's because I've been spoiled silly by the supercars of today with excess of 600HP, but I find the Viper's power to be very well contained and managed, so much so that, as long as you aren't actively asking for trouble and exercise due sensibility, even trying to drive this thing fast won't induce power oversteer. This I find is thanks to its gargantuan 335 section rear tyres, along with suspension so soft that there is always weight over the rear tyres by the time your steering wheel is reasonably straight out of a corner. It only starts to hint at power oversteer when fuel loads are low, and the rear end of the car lightens up.

That said, because of how soft the suspension is, especially at the rear, on power, the Viper's turning radius increase rivals that of some modern, 300HP FF hot hatches. It's a car you really need to straighten out before giving it a boot full. I find it difficult to precisely place the car as well, not just because of the aforementioned lack of feedback and soft suspension, but also because the driving position is freaking weird in this car. You're set so far to the left of the car, the driver side door almost feels paper thin, and the right extremes of the car feel like they're in another zip code entirely. You're also sat farther back in the car, thanks to the long hood having to swallow a hulking V10 longitudinally. I almost want to say there's some cant angle in the seating as well, but at this point, I might just be making excuses.


Gingerly, this 450BHP, 8.0L Lamborghini sourced V10 car tiptoed over to Mooneyes in Yokohama, mostly following much more sensible drivers in the centre lane, tactically avoiding cooking myself by utilising the Viper's sky high overdrive 6th gear, which causes the engine to damn near stall at 1,250rpm, doing Japan's highway speed limit of 100km/h. Cars do signal and give way, seeing this menacing shape in their rear view mirrors, but I'm going as fast as my balls and left thigh allow, dear Camry-san.

Support for American cars are scarce in Japan, but that is not to say it's nonexistent. While Mooneyes specialises in Hot Rod restoration and the like, they've graciously made an exception for this idiot and his Viper, and has been my go-to since importing the Viper into Japan a number of years ago. We've made special orders for the Viper's very oddly sized 275/35ZR18 tyres up front, and 335/30ZR18 in the rear from Michelin, and also for authentic American cuisine at their restaurant, which I had hoped to give up on when moving to Japan, to no avail. But other than that? Everything about maintenance is rather routine and normal.

Taking Route 8 back onto the... Wangan (there, I said the magic word, does my thing get more views now?), the skies have cleared up somewhat, and the roads were starting to dry quickly in the summer heat of Japan. As usual, I'm taking it easy in the Viper, especially on brand new rubber. An R34 GT-R approaches the rear bumper of my car and gives me two quick flashes of the headlights, a sign of a challenge. I put my hazards on to decline. I know what it looks like, but the Viper really isn't that kind of car. It's something you have to accept and deal with on a regular basis as an owner of a Viper.

After a few more minutes of pestering me, the GT-R pulls out and overtakes me. The speed and stability of these things will never stop being amazing to me. But, just as I thought that, a howl so piercing and loud seemingly tore the air apart, and a car appeared with such blinding speed in my mirrors I saw it almost only as soon as I heard it.

Not that I really got a good look at it, but the size and shape of it resembled that of a purpose built supercar; it was low, it was long, and by god was it loud. Its brake discs were glowing almost as brightly as the tail lights themselves, as it slowed down just in time to avoid nailing the rapidly accelerating GT-R that just pulled out from behind me, and with the same agility and ease, made an unapologetic go-around the GT-R, perhaps even before the poor chap in the R34 knew what the heck just happened to him.

The shape, size and colour, along with the noise... naaaah. But then I saw those boring tail lights... there's no mistaking it. But there is quite literally no way... Man, I've had a long day. I'm just going to go home after grabbing some "groceries". I'm starting to hallucinate. Must be the heat in the cabin.

I stopped over at the famous enthusiast gathering spot of Tatsumi PA, though with no more intention than to just grab instant noodles from the 7-Eleven nearby for more late night review writing and drive home. I mean, sure, the's another conbini* right by my place, but it's like a five minute walk!

*conbini: short for "conbiniansu sutoaa", or convenience store.

Perhaps due to the "big 19", it's much less crowded- ah, no, there's the crowd. They've formed in such a dense pack that I could not even steal a peek at what was causing such a commotion.

Even an American icon packing a Lamborghini V10 could not rouse a single eyelid in Tatsumi that day. Not that I was there for any attention, but I do have to admit it stung a little. Leaving the conbini saddled with bags of plasticky noodles, I returned to find that not only had the ruckus not died down, but it had grown almost twofold, scores of people now trying to climb over each other to take photos of the eye of the storm. Is there some sort of event happening today? I don't keep up with car culture much; I've got my own hands full.

Sticking my key into the door of the Viper to get in, I was approached by a foreign looking man, who had been sitting on a bench prior. I stopped the unlocking process, looking at the man with apprehension. I'm not sure what to expect at all. Caucasian men are a rare sight in Japan, and it's even more unsettling when you can't read facial expressions due to the masks we're all wearing.

"Ano... nani ka...", I begin.
"Ah, sumimasen, no speak.... nihongo", the man goes, forming a cross with both his forearms.
"Oh, er...", I stutter. I'm not very good at speaking in person.
"English, yes?", he offers, with a distinct accent that's quite hard to place, yet still somewhat familiar.
"English, yes, yes...", I continue to fumble over a wide open path of communication.
"Your car is very nice!", he goes.
"T-thank you..."

As with most times however, talking about my cars was a great way to ease myself into a conversation. It didn't take long for us to chat up a storm about the Viper, and I had seemingly forgotten how to stutter. Before I knew it, we had even shared a few personal stories, like how I used to be a racing driver, and quit because of how ludicrously dangerous the sport had become, and how lax and ridiculous the officiating has become. He had thought I quit because of the rumours and scandals of the higher ups fixing races, but that wasn't a topic I was very keen to discuss. I like to steer clear of drama in my life and just do my own thing.

"Can I drive it?", he suddenly asks.
"Wh-NO!", I reel back. Is this guy insane?!
"I'll let you drive my car in exchange."
"Oh, pfft, no. End of story."
"Are you sure? My car does the Nordschleife 26 seconds faster than yours", he cheekily teases.

It was at that point, with the perfect pronunciation of "Nordschleife" that I pinpointed the accent: German. No wonder it sounded so distantly familiar. I heard it way back when negotiating for my own ratios on the Cayman GT4. Let's just say I'm glad I've never had to hear it again since.

"Yeah, pshh. Irrelevant. Like anyone's taken this car to the 'Ring before. Please, don't-"
"7:35."
"What?"
"This car does the Nordschleife in 7 minutes 35 seconds."
"Bullsheet."
"Are you sure you don't want a drive in my car? It does a low 7 around the 'Ring."

I'm bad at excusing myself and putting my foot down in conversations, so instead of simply ignoring the madman and driving off, I said, "show me".

"Sure thing", he assuredly sings. He turns to lead the way as I extract the key from the door of my Viper. I really need to learn how to say no. I just want to be at home right now. We walked straight towards the droves of people, and I began to feel uncomfortable all over again. I straight up got pangs in my stomach when he made attempts to cut into the crowd of people, and I, clueless to everything, had to follow suit. Social distance my butt cheeks.

Once through, my eyes damn near popped out of my head, and I could only whisper under my breath:

Ho.

Lee.

SHEET.

In the eye of the storm sat, of all things, a McLaren F1. In the same shade of orange I saw damn near rear end a GT-R from earlier.

"You sure you don't want a go?", he, suddenly with the upper hand in the argument, almost gloats as he questions me.

Feeling slighted and immediately on the defensive, I call him on his bluff. "Start it."

With a nonchalant turn of his body, he presses on the remote that was in his hands the whole time, and sure enough, the F1 responded, flashing its hazards twice to signal its unlock. I might've gasped audibly when the F1 actually responded, but it was hard to tell in the sea of what felt like a hundred other "ooh"s and "aah"s.

Such is the response this car evokes from everyone present, that even unlocking its doors made you a superstar.

Kneeling on the right passenger footwell, he sticks the key into the ignition, and sure enough, the F1 roared to life. And at this point, I began to feel my knees weaken. Am I... really being offered a chance to drive a McLaren F1? It's... not a replica, is it? No one can be that talented, can they?! I refuse to believe that!

"Well, how about it?", he asks, yet again.

There are a few certainties in life. Death and taxes, for example. Certain things you don't do, as well. You don't spit in the wind, you don't tug at Superman's cape, and you sure as hell don't turn down an opportunity to drive a McLaren freaking F1.

"No no, you don't understand...", I begin to back off, slapped in the face by legitimacy and motoring royalty that I hadn't even in my wildest dreams dared envision. "My car's dangerous man, it doesn't have ABS-"

"Neither does this."
"Are you SURE you can handle a Viper, man?"
"I can handle an F1."
"No no, you don't understand. My car is flipping terrible to drive!"
"I've driven them before."
"But like... you're trusting me with an F1?"
"You said you used to be a racing driver, no?"
"That's not..."
"Please man. I really love Vipers. I miss mine."

In a deeply bewildered daze, egged on by empathy of losing a beloved car, I said, "A-alright...", and I handed him the key. It's... somewhat more assuring to know that he's had experience with Vipers. Yet, there are twenty million other things I ought to be concerning myself with, like insurance, speed cameras...

"Give 'er a good run, tell me what you think after!", the man tells me.
"Yeah man, no. I don't want to get you into trouble."
"Trouble? Oh, don't worry about the cops, man."
"What?"
"It'd be fine. They'll leave you alone."

The frick?

He left after agreeing to meet back here after an hour. With the gear lever on the right, I opt to get in from the left side instead. Crawling into the unique centre seating position of the F1 is an inelegant process, but I'll gladly suffer any indignity at this moment. It's been so long since I last felt like a kid in a toy store. Reaching for the handle of the A pillar hinged door, the cockpit of the F1 seals shut, almost like a jet fighter. As I engage first on the stick shift to my right and creep away from a standstill, the crowd of onlookers clear a path of the bare minimum gap and distance, still clamouring for more photos of the car, all the way until I made it out of the parking area in what felt like twenty minutes of driving.

It didn't take very long for me to work myself up to and feel for the limits for the F1. In fact, it was so easy to find a rhythm and groove with the car, it truly did feel like it fit like a glove. What immediately shocked me is how easy and accessible everything in the F1 is. Power is progressive, and never explosive and unmanageable, thanks in part to its tall as mountains gearing helping mask the violence, but never the surge. It is very usable power that is never intimidating; a sharp contrast to the performance oriented and record claiming hypercars of today. Weighing in at a scant 1,140kg (2,500lbs) kerb, the F1 also stops appreciably well as well, perhaps even better than most hypercars of today. Weight transfer is shockingly intuitive and almost immediate, even in mid corner. In fact, initial impressions driving this thing semi hard was that, it was super easy and accessible! So much so in fact, the first comparison that came to my mind was my NSX-R at home. Both cars are so easy to drive fast, with most of their performance usable and accessible, while being forgiving, to boot.

Yes, I find that the F1 is set up with forgiveness in mind. To that end, there's a degree of softness to it not AT ALL found in record claiming, performance oriented hypercars of today. This forgiving softness in the suspension however, does mean that you need to be smoother and slower with your inputs, especially the pedals. You have to ease the weight over the front tyres first before fully asking for the brakes when the car is off neutral, and you have to be gentle on shifts in sweeping corners, lest the F1 jerks and lurches around a racing line you're trying to hold.

But at no point did the F1 threaten to chew me up and spit me off. It was a very relaxing, calm, and composed drive, very much like a 634PS NSX. In fact, it's... better, than my NSX-R at home with only 280PS. THAT still threatens me from time to time. This... doesn't.

Yes, the F1 lacks ABS too, like my Viper. However, the lack of ABS is trivialised as much as possible in the F1. Of course, you can still get in trouble with it, but as long as you practice due common sense, the F1 happily obliges your every input. As long as you don't, say, attempt to brake and turn at the same time too too much, and as long as you don't ask too much braking of the car as elevation changes, the lack of ABS is barely noticeable in the car. The front tyres will start to squeak maybe a little even on full braking, but the car maintains its composure and line, all the way until you hit 2nd or 1st gear braking zones, where the front tyres will want to lock up. Yet, this I daresay is the easiest car to drive without ABS I've ever driven, by a shockingly wide margin. This is a car that isn't reliant on ABS to be driveable. There is always clear feedback and communication as to what each tyre is doing and experiencing, be it via audio cues from the tyres themselves, or steering feel. Even when the tyres do start to slip under braking, they are always just a small, minuscule adjustment of the brake pedal away from finding grip again. The friction circle on this thing is almost tangible in your hands, with the steering wheel slowly and proportionately letting you turn for the same steering force you're inputting, the more you let off on the brakes, while keeping the tyres screaming at the edge of adhesion.

So intuitive, easy, and accessible is the handling of this car with such shocking capabilities, with such fine attention to detail in the small nuances of handling, it blew my every fear and expectation clear out of the water with just a few minutes behind the wheel. Even the driving position, dead centre of the car, one would think takes getting used to. Yet, for a racing driver, it was second nature. The A pillars are barely in your peripheral vision when seated, and with only two haunches out the bonnet that remind me of things perhaps too dirty to mention, visibility was panoramic in the F1. Why don't ALL cars come with this three seat configuration? It doesn't take very long at all for anyone to realise that this car is engineered with the most meticulous of details and driving sensation in mind. Everything, from the suspension, to the aerodynamics, and even its driving position, felt set up just so, never excessive, never extreme, always easy, and ridiculously rewarding for the very basic requirement of treating it with due common sense. It's like getting a chance to flip your favourite actress with just a very basic requirement of just taking a shower to make sure you don't stink... you guys miss Esther editing these analogies out yet?

In fact, after a while, I started to get so comfortable with the car, my mind was starting to drift elsewhere. I began to think of other things in my life as I drove at speeds well in excess of triple the limit. It was that easy and reassuring. This car has a very... personal, feel to it. Driving this car feels as easy and trusting as talking to a good friend, one to one. You could almost see and feel a person in it. This felt like a car designed by a very small, tightly knit group, or even a single person, instead of a committee. It has a very cohesive feel towards a laser focused goal, one that is shockingly civil and pleasant, unlike the hypercars of today that scream performance and boast extremity almost as a rite of passage for legitimacy. Yet, I think they misunderstand. This is a hypercar that held the record for top speed of a production car for TEN YEARS, yet it is easy and calm to drive. You really could tell that, gatekeeping price tag aside, the designer(s) of this car really wanted them to be driven and exploited by drivers of varying skill levels.

I... love that.

I love this.

Give me more...

A while later into the drive, when I'm fully confident and familiar with the F1, I began to feel it asking me, "Push me more! I can handle it!" It felt like Billie Jean asking for your hand to dance. Yet, dare I? Am I the Michael Jackson of racing drivers? Do I dare risk it all?


It hurt all the more that this car felt so personal when I had to turn it down. At the end of the day, the F1 is not my lover; this is someone else's car on public roads, and I think I'm already taking liberties that I will regret in a cell for ten years after. With how composed and at ease the F1 both felt to drive and made me feel as a driver, it was, in all honesty, enjoyable even at about eight tenths that I was driving it at, with reasonable margin for error.

But god I wish I had one. I wish I could bring this out to a track to really feel for the bleeding edge of its limits. I love this. I want this. This car has purged every other hypercar from my mind. I really do struggle to come up with any legitimate criticism toward it. I hear maintenance for these things is a nightmare, and realistically speaking, no one's going to daily one, in spite of how it seemingly wants to be. That's... it, I think.

Yes, there are other cars that put down numbers that has far since surpassed it. Yet, none of them have this sense of cohesion, this ease, this accessibility, the sense of meticulous attention to detail, this natural feeling to it, this purity, this personal feeling, that's nigh impossible to put into words. Other cars may have bits and pieces of what I listed, but never all together. What a package it is, this car.

God damnit, I'm spoiled. I don't know if I'll ever be able to enjoy another road car again. I get that the 90s was a truly magical time for cars. I get that we live in a vastly, vastly different time right now. I understand that performance cars nowadays need to be set unforgivingly stiff and be as shouty as possible to claim the records the McLaren F1 once held, especially when now saddled with ever stringent safety standards. But... but I'm spoiled, nonetheless. I... almost wish I never had this particular cherry of mine popped, especially by a stranger whom I may never see again.

I arrived back at Tatsumi a little late, owing to having a... uhm... bit too much fun in the F1.

Once backed in though, I fumble about in the dark for the door handle of the F1, failing to find it. The man signals to reach downwards... to the side... oh, the door latch is underneath the passenger seat. Whoops.

"How was it?", asks he as the door swings open. I undo the buckle of the seatbelt, disappointed that it let go of me just like that. I had hoped there'd be a belt malfunction and I'd be stuck in the F1 for longer. Can you tell I'm struggling to accept that my time in an F1 was over? I just sat there dazed, unable to speak, unable to move. The man seems used to this kind of thing, and simply waits outside patiently without a word as well.

As soon as the guilt of making the owner stand outside waiting outweighed my reluctance to get out of the F1, I did. "So, how was it?", he asks again, beaming.

I take one look back at the F1 and I could almost cry. I want this. This is so unfair! I put one hand on the open door, and look down at its purposefully slim silhouette. I still can't find the words. Where do I even begin?

"Look... can I tell you later? I'm... kind of... overwhelmed right now."
"No problem man. Here, your keys. And my name card."

"O-oh", I barely respond with. I offer my name card as well. Somehow, this is the most normal thing I've done all day. I retrieve the key and survey my Viper. True enough, there wasn't a single scratch on it.

"So... um... how was the Viper?"

"Man I just LOVE this car! The handling is absolutely amazing! It's like it is throwing itself into the corners without spinning, sliding or even losing any speed. In fact its corner speeds are really, REALLY impressive! The engineers did a fantastic job here! Also it seems to have very nice brakes. For now it is my best driving car. And the looks man! What a sexy looking car. Also the under braking lit up Viper symbol at the back is such a cool detail! One of my favourite cars of all time."

...did we even drive the same car? Or am I just bad?

"We need to do this again, man", he says.
"Am I... of COURSE we should!", like a schoolgirl that just got asked out for prom, I lit up.
"Yeah, I only got 45 minutes out of the Viper."
"Was there some problem?"
"It's out of gas."

"Frick. Of course it is." I JUST filled it up after the servicing, did I not?!

"O-oh, f-f-for sureman", I begin to again stutter and fumble for words in the face of such an opportunity. I glance down at the name card in my hand to finally learn his name: "Alex... P?"

He beams in return. "The relevant people will know."

*********************************************
In a way of thinking, both of these cars are indicative of us as a culture, as enthusiasts. With values of the McLaren F1 now at almost twenty MILLION, it's shocking to think that McLaren struggled to even sell 64 of these things back when they were in production. Neither its looks nor performance I daresay has aged a day, and its innovation has hardly even been imitated since.

It genuinely breaks my heart that the Viper is dead. It upsets me so much that boarders on me taking offence. We as enthusiasts keep saying crap like, "we want proper manuals!", "we want NA engines!", and "we want proper RWD coupés!", yet when manufacturers actually give us what we say we want, we don't buy them, and they go out of production due to lack of profitability, making future proposals that much more difficult. Thinking about it makes me sick.

I get it. I'm lucky enough to own multiple cars, and therefore can afford a Viper that I myself rarely even drive. But I will never sell my Viper. It's a statement. Always has been, always will be. The Viper is a firm middle finger to trends, and it always felt like it was the product of a small team of very passionate people, building the car they want, instead of what the customer trends suggest. And even in spite of being the technological equivalent of beating someone with a stick, the Viper has always shown to be a very capable monster in the right hands. It has improved upon itself substantially through generations while staying true to its roots while constantly improving, something most beloved sports cars cannot lay claim to. Yet, it's a painful realisation that perhaps that is exactly why it went extinct: it stayed true to itself and adamantly refused to evolve and adapt. Yet, I think that's precisely what makes it such a great car, and why I love it so. Just like the F1, the Viper feels like a very pure, intimate, personal, and somewhat selfish car in a way. And I personally find it hard to not lust for, love and respect Vipers for that.

Nowadays though, I appreciate it more for it being a cartoon character, and a beacon of nostalgia moreso than for world beating performance. And maybe I'm in the vast minority in that thinking, but it doesn't take away from my appreciation of the Viper. And I'm very proud to own one.

*********************************************
@Natalie_GT Great review! I loved reading it! Made me laugh a few times as well. I had to Google what sBinalla was, though :lol:

@Nismonath5 It was fantastic seeing the racing from your end. Do you not drive with the stick shifter any more? I'm also really surprised you drive in chase cam with a wheel. I think you're the only one I see doing that combo.

200 (1).gif


Lmao how did I miss this!? Dude, what a write-up again and I even have the honour to be the "star" guest of the hour! Haha I really do feel honoured my dude!

The Viper could potentially even break through the 30s barrier and go into the 29s, 28s, btw. ;) It can certainly get VERY close to the 30s and the F1 is able to get very close to the 7:00, while I think it's impossible to break it though. Anyway, thx again for a fantastic review, starring me in it and giving me an F1 haha (and lending me your Viper :P)!

giphyc0ju2.gif
 
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The R8 I used paddles cos it's a semi auto in real life

Oh, right. I don't know why I keep thinking the R8 in this game has a stick shift. Must be because the shifts are S L O W A F.

Good luck on your shakedown! Any word on who's hosting when you're gone?

I hope the next car isn't a 10 million plus one, because I'm growing white hairs from grinding and my Tomahawk says "dear lord not again" every time it sees the Monza Gr.1 GT League race. :lol: :nervous:

I have almost 17k km on it just from that one race, it's... mmmm... mindblowingly stupid.

I've been using the old sauber and the nissan as I find it more fun than the Tamahawk.. up to 14mil now... thanks for the advice. Never want to see this track again...

See, if I got to choose this week's races, I'd choose the Gr. 1 Tomahawk. And then request a special 2 hour endurance race on Monza :lol:

Just to be clear, there isn't any need to specify which of the GT3 RC Fs we're running this week, right? There's the "RC F GT3 (Emil Frey Racing)" and then there's the "RC F GT3 prototype (Emil Frey Racing)" They should be nearly identical IIRC, but I've never seen a prototype in a race, ever.
 
See, if I got to choose this week's races, I'd choose the Gr. 1 Tomahawk. And then request a special 2 hour endurance race on Monza :lol:

See, if you did that, I'd love to participate because I've run that track and car combo a total of 156 times and counting ;).

EDIT: We're ready! Bring on the Lexus! :cheers:
Hoping for some great racing with you guys tonight!

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:sly:
 
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And so, we are back here. Thank you for joining me tonight, for I will be reviewing one of the more recognizable cars of Gran Turismo Sport; the Lexus RC F GT3 ´17! Now, as I´ve said, I´m aiming to make this a more in depth review, so let´s dive straight into the hard facts of real life to begin. The Lexus RC F GT3 first started development in 2016, under the guise of 3GT Racing. The team was formed as a partnership between the Lexus company and Paul Gentilozzi (born February 6, 1950 in Lansing, Michigan), who is an accomplished racing car driver and businessman. He founded the succesful Rocketsports Racing team in 1985 which has competed in Trans-Am, the Champ Car World Series and the International Motorsports Association, as well as Paul himself having won five driver´s championships and nine manufacturer´s championships, while holding the Trans-Am record for wins, poles, top three finishes and prize monies won (31 Trans-Am wins and 11 IMSA wins).

3GT Racing itself was formed by Paul, as well as Tony and John Gentilozzi, two long time partners of him. The team competed at the 2017 IMSA SportsCar Championship, fielding two Lexus RC F GT3´s under their name. Over the course of the year, the No. 14 RC F was driven by Sage Karam, Scott Pruett, Ian James and Gustavo Menezes, while the No. 15 car was driven by Robert Alon, James Hawksworth, Austin Cindric and Dominik Farnbarcher. They debuted at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and to this day haven´t won any overall championships. That is not to say they are a bottom-end team though, as 3GT Racing has, over the course of their 35 races, claimed four wins, six poles, and nine fastest laps with the RC F GT3.

Laguna_Seca_grande.jpg

Blueprints of the RC F GT3.

So, it´s time we move onto talking about the car in question, having set the foundations of the team running it. The RC F GT3 was, in compliance with FIA-GT3 category regulations, a racecar developed straight out of the RC F road car; a sporty grand tourer with ambitions on the world stage, comparable to the likes of the BMW M4. The car is 2,7 metres long (107 in.) and 2 metres wide (80 in.), and runs on Continental ExtremeContact tyres.

The RC F is powered by a mammoth 5.0 litre (305 cu. in.) normally aspirated, longitudinal V8, in a front-engine, rear-drive configuration. Power is sent to a 6-speed sequential semi-automatic gearbox and the engine itself develops over 500 bhp, as well as being fueled by VP Racing Fuels and using Mobil 1 lubricants. The car weighs in at a standard GT3-class kerb weight of 1,300 kg (2,866 lb.), and as for it´s underbody, has hydraulic ventilated iron discs, AP Racing brake calipers, and a commonly seen double wishbone / pushrod operated suspension system with twin dampers and springs.

So it looks like to be quite the racing car. But how does it stack up in Gran Turismo Sport, which is the basis for our review, and final verdict? Here´s a two laps, each on one of the more commonly run circuits in the game which are perfect benchmark for general car behaviour; as it exposes weaknesses such as the car bottoming out, the car becoming unstable over curves, oversteer out of slow corners and understeer in fast corners. They also expose characteristics such as acceleration, top speed, and how well the gears are fit for each track. The tracks are Dragon Trail, Seaside layout, and Spa Francorchamps, in the wet. Let´s play the clips!



We will analyze the car behaviour throughout the track laps. First, for Seaside.
Firstly, we can clearly see the RC F GT3 has quite some top end speed; clocking a pretty impressive 252 km/h (156 mph) over the speedtrap at the end of the longest straight, before having to brake for the first chicane of the circuit. We can also see that the car is rock-solid, not being fazed by the big kerbs on the side of the track at all, and also not showing any signs of wheelspin out of the corner. We carry an impressive apex speed of 215 km/h (133 mph) over the fast turn 4, as we get ready to nail the second apex; the car´s stability means I can use all of the kerb on the outside to brake without upsetting it and correctly hitting the apex of turn 5, and onto the fast, sweeping esses.

20200729212220.jpg


Sector 1 time: 0:32.780.

We move onto the beginning of sector 2, with the fast esses. The Lexus struggles a little bit coming onto turn 7, and we have to ease off the throttle slightly before continuing. Eating up plenty of kerb, we clear turn 8 and brake hard for the tight turn 9, hitting our apex correctly as we then get some understeer on the exit of the corner, which may have just been ovearzealousness with the throttle and not the car´s fault. Gearing proves to be up to par as you can take most corners in second or third gear without getting out of the powerband.

20200729212214.jpg


Sector 2 time: 1:03.630.

And onto the final sector we go. Since the Lexus is very stable over kerbs, as we´ve established over the lap, we have no problem with the chicane of death and carry on with an almost perfect execution of the section, braking hard for the final corner. The RC F then carries us to the finish line in a good time.

20200729212228.jpg


Laptime: 1:37.475.



Now, we move onto Spa, in the wet. It surely can be quite horrifying for most cars, but the RC F has proven it´s worth in my opinion, especially here. We start the lap by braking heavily and early into turn 1 (which will become a common theme around the lap), and carefully making our way around with minimal throttle input. Being an FR car, we must let it settle down onto a straight line before applying the throttle, as we then blast down onto the famous Eau Rouge / Raidillon combo corner. It´s scary enough already, imagine in the wet! We slow down to 177 km/h (110 mph), and down to fourth gear, taking our time with the scary uphill corner, taking, again, plenty of kerb on the inside, before blasting the throttle onto the back straight of the circuit. We set a speedtrap of 249 km/h (155 mph), which is, again, quite impressive and really up there in the GT3 / Gr.3 car standings, before braking heavily for turn 5.

20200729212313.jpg


Sector 1 time: 0:44.939.

This upcoming corner combination can be very tricky, as it induces a false sense of security which you must not fall for. We carefully nurture the Lexus through those corners as we slide it a bit coming out of turn 7, and again hard on the brakes for the large turn 8. Again, patience rewards the best and we come out of it with no drama, nailing turn 9 as we punch it down the straight. Turns 10 and 11 can be deceiving; we had to play with the gas at the end so as to not screw up the rhythm, and saved the RC F from itself as it started to slide a bit toward the outside of the corner. Turns 12 and 13 are the same as 5 and 6 in their philosophy, and we come around to start the final sector. I must add, the gearing is set optimally for the track, allowing you to tackle most corners in third gear without bogging it down.

20200729212251.jpg


Sector 2 time: 2:01.629.

The final sector is tempting you to try and do it as quick as you can, but no fretting. We take our time with turn 15 as we then blast it down the straight and the fast left hander, before braking and shifting down to fourth gear for turn 17, using plenty of outside kerb. Heavy braking into the final chicane, and the car almost losing us at the end, eventually get us to the end of the very demanding Spa Francorchamps.

20200729212306.jpg


Laptime: 2:44.796.

Now that we´ve covered some on-track exposition, let´s talk some more numbers. The RC F GT3 is quite favoured by the BoP system that has been put in place by Poliphony Digital. It gets a bump to 107% power, to 561 bhp, but also a 102% weight increase to 1,326 kg (2923 lb.), making it one of the more powerful cars of the grid. The RC F GT3 is also powerful on the torque figures, as it comes in with a healthy 66,3 kgf.m (479 lb.ft) of torque. Let´s compare to other cars of the category.

-Lexus RC F GT3 ´17: 561 bhp / 66,3 kgf.m (479 lb.ft) / 1,326 kg (2923 lb.)
-Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.Final Gr.3: 558 bhp / 67,6 kgf.m (489 lb.ft) / 1,315 kg (2899 lb.)
-Porsche 911 RSR ´17: 535 bhp / 52,3 kgf.m (378 lb.ft) / 1,317 kg (2903 lb.)
-Audi R8 LMS ´15: 527 bhp / 50,4 kgf.m (364 lb.ft) / 1,298 kg (2861,6 lb.)
-BMW M6 ´16: 555 bhp / 72,6 kgf.m (525 lb.ft) / 1,326 kg (2923 lb.)
-Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept ´18: 556 bhp / 66,9 kgf.m (484 lb.ft) / 1,280 kg (2822 lb.)

So, how does it do on the track, performance wise? Well, we have established that at Seaside´s longest straight, it recorded a speedtrap of 252 km/h (156 mph). Let´s compare that to some similar cars, as well as some popular cars of the GT3 / Gr.3 category. This was done at Dragon Trail Seaside.

-Lexus RC F GT3 ´17: 252 km/h (156 mph)
-Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.Final Gr.3: 248 km/h (154 mph)
-Porsche 911 RSR ´17: 250 km/h (155 mph)
-Audi R8 LMS ´15: 252 km/h (156 mph)
-BMW M6 ´16: 251 km/h (156 mph)
-Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept ´18: 253 km/h (157 mph)

As well, let´s check out the time it takes for each car to reach 160 km/h (100 mph) from a stand still. This is to test what car is the quickest on a standing start. This was done with Racing Hard compound tyres, at Interlagos.

-Lexus RC F GT3 ´17: 7,95 seconds.
-Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.Final Gr.3: 7,916 seconds.
-Porsche 911 RSR ´17: 8,083 seconds.
-Audi R8 LMS ´15: 7,733 seconds.
-BMW M6 ´16: 7,750 seconds.
-Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept ´18: 8,650 seconds.

(Bold in each category determines the winner.)

Now, we can clearly see that while the RC F does not win out in any single category other than raw power under BoP standards compared to the other cars, it is very well balanced, either at the top of the fight or in the top of the midfield, as shown with the acceleration test. It can certainly jump a few cars off the line if you get a good start, only marginally beaten by the Lancer Evo. and quite convincingly beaten by the R8 and the M6. In the top speed department, there is no clear cut winner; they are all similar aside from the Lancer Evo., which records a noticeably lower top speed.

While I was at Interlagos, I thought of a pretty interesting test for tyre wear and fuel consumption, but didn´t want to spend my life hammering away at the track constantly. I set the tyre wear and fuel consumption to x10 each, and set the track to 4 laps, and off I went. The results were quite average. For the test, I raced at full speed on every lap, these were the results:

-Front Left tyre wear: 30%
-Front Right tyre wear: 35%
-Rear Left tyre wear: 15%
-Rear Right tyre wear: 25%
-Fuel Consumption: 12% fuel remaining by the end.

(For the sake of the test, Racing Soft tyres were used, as they would show a noticeable diference faster.)

And now, for some final tips, strengths and weaknesses of the RC F GT3 ´17, and also, my verdict. This car, for me, is a...

Sleeper!


*Strengths:
-Great top speed.
-Good acceleration.
-Responsive and steady handling, will not attempt to kill you while entering a corner due to a good weight transfer.
-Absorbs kerbs and other track irregularities very well, thanks to the F-R layout.
-Has okay tyre wear and fuel consumption.
-Okay acceleration from a standstill.
-Wide and gradual powerband thanks to natural aspiration means acceleration can be performed at a wide range of RPMs, and it will not surprise you with turbo lag and the like.

*Weaknesses:
-Tends to understeer at high speed, courtesy of the rock-solid handling line.
-Front tyres tend to wear faster due to engine position.
-Can have wheelspin off of low speed corner exit (ex: hairpin corners, chicanes), and a lot of wheelspin off corner exit in the rain. Can be quite tricky to handle in the rain, due to engine position.

*Tips:
-Rev out the engine almost to the limiter for maximum performance.
-Let the car drive itself and take you with it; it´s built around consistency more than outright one-lap pace. This is one of it´s major strengths as it has no weaknesses if we look at a one-lap pace unless you overdrive it and cause understeer.
-Brake balance should be set to the front, offsetting weight transfer and total ammount of weight that is already at the front (due to engine position) for sprint races where tyre wear is not an issue.
-Brake balance should be set to the rear to conserve the front tyres marginally better, if you are worried about the tyre wear.
-If you´re taking a very tight corner, first gear may prove useful. The car will reach the limiter and straighten itself out without much issue.
-Let the car turn itself before punching the gas on rain driving. If it´s unsettled or not in a straight line, you will lose the rear end under acceleration, or around a corner.

That has been all from me. I hope you enjoyed the read and learned something new.
Natalie out! ;)
 
And so, we are back here. Thank you for joining me tonight, for I will be reviewing one of the more recognizable cars of Gran Turismo Sport; the Lexus RC F GT3 ´17! Now, as I´ve said, I´m aiming to make this a more in depth review, so let´s dive straight into the hard facts of real life to begin. The Lexus RC F GT3 first started development in 2016, under the guise of 3GT Racing. The team was formed as a partnership between the Lexus company and Paul Gentilozzi (born February 6, 1950 in Lansing, Michigan), who is an accomplished racing car driver and businessman. He founded the succesful Rocketsports Racing team in 1985 which has competed in Trans-Am, the Champ Car World Series and the International Motorsports Association, as well as Paul himself having won five driver´s championships and nine manufacturer´s championships, while holding the Trans-Am record for wins, poles, top three finishes and prize monies won (31 Trans-Am wins and 11 IMSA wins).

3GT Racing itself was formed by Paul, as well as Tony and John Gentilozzi, two long time partners of him. The team competed at the 2017 IMSA SportsCar Championship, fielding two Lexus RC F GT3´s under their name. Over the course of the year, the No. 14 RC F was driven by Sage Karam, Scott Pruett, Ian James and Gustavo Menezes, while the No. 15 car was driven by Robert Alon, James Hawksworth, Austin Cindric and Dominik Farnbarcher. They debuted at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and to this day haven´t won any overall championships. That is not to say they are a bottom-end team though, as 3GT Racing has, over the course of their 35 races, claimed four wins, six poles, and nine fastest laps with the RC F GT3.

Laguna_Seca_grande.jpg

Blueprints of the RC F GT3.

So, it´s time we move onto talking about the car in question, having set the foundations of the team running it. The RC F GT3 was, in compliance with FIA-GT3 category regulations, a racecar developed straight out of the RC F road car; a sporty grand tourer with ambitions on the world stage, comparable to the likes of the BMW M4. The car is 2,7 metres long (107 in.) and 2 metres wide (80 in.), and runs on Continental ExtremeContact tyres.

The RC F is powered by a mammoth 5.0 litre (305 cu. in.) normally aspirated, longitudinal V8, in a front-engine, rear-drive configuration. Power is sent to a 6-speed sequential semi-automatic gearbox and the engine itself develops over 500 bhp, as well as being fueled by VP Racing Fuels and using Mobil 1 lubricants. The car weighs in at a standard GT3-class kerb weight of 1,300 kg (2,866 lb.), and as for it´s underbody, has hydraulic ventilated iron discs, AP Racing brake calipers, and a commonly seen double wishbone / pushrod operated suspension system with twin dampers and springs.

So it looks like to be quite the racing car. But how does it stack up in Gran Turismo Sport, which is the basis for our review, and final verdict? Here´s a two laps, each on one of the more commonly run circuits in the game which are perfect benchmark for general car behaviour; as it exposes weaknesses such as the car bottoming out, the car becoming unstable over curves, oversteer out of slow corners and understeer in fast corners. They also expose characteristics such as acceleration, top speed, and how well the gears are fit for each track. The tracks are Dragon Trail, Seaside layout, and Spa Francorchamps, in the wet. Let´s play the clips!



We will analyze the car behaviour throughout the track laps. First, for Seaside.
Firstly, we can clearly see the RC F GT3 has quite some top end speed; clocking a pretty impressive 252 km/h (156 mph) over the speedtrap at the end of the longest straight, before having to brake for the first chicane of the circuit. We can also see that the car is rock-solid, not being fazed by the big kerbs on the side of the track at all, and also not showing any signs of wheelspin out of the corner. We carry an impressive apex speed of 215 km/h (133 mph) over the fast turn 4, as we get ready to nail the second apex; the car´s stability means I can use all of the kerb on the outside to brake without upsetting it and correctly hitting the apex of turn 5, and onto the fast, sweeping esses.


View attachment 944985

Sector 1 time: 0:32.780.

We move onto the beginning of sector 2, with the fast esses. The Lexus struggles a little bit coming onto turn 7, and we have to ease off the throttle slightly before continuing. Eating up plenty of kerb, we clear turn 8 and brake hard for the tight turn 9, hitting our apex correctly as we then get some understeer on the exit of the corner, which may have just been ovearzealousness with the throttle and not the car´s fault. Gearing proves to be up to par as you can take most corners in second or third gear without getting out of the powerband.

View attachment 944984

Sector 2 time: 1:03.630.

And onto the final sector we go. Since the Lexus is very stable over kerbs, as we´ve established over the lap, we have no problem with the chicane of death and carry on with an almost perfect execution of the section, braking hard for the final corner. The RC F then carries us to the finish line in a good time.

View attachment 944986

Laptime: 1:37.475.



Now, we move onto Spa, in the wet. It surely can be quite horrifying for most cars, but the RC F has proven it´s worth in my opinion, especially here. We start the lap by braking heavily and early into turn 1 (which will become a common theme around the lap), and carefully making our way around with minimal throttle input. Being an FR car, we must let it settle down onto a straight line before applying the throttle, as we then blast down onto the famous Eau Rouge / Raidillon combo corner. It´s scary enough already, imagine in the wet! We slow down to 177 km/h (110 mph), and down to fourth gear, taking our time with the scary uphill corner, taking, again, plenty of kerb on the inside, before blasting the throttle onto the back straight of the circuit. We set a speedtrap of 249 km/h (155 mph), which is, again, quite impressive and really up there in the GT3 / Gr.3 car standings, before braking heavily for turn 5.

View attachment 944989

Sector 1 time: 0:44.939.

This upcoming corner combination can be very tricky, as it induces a false sense of security which you must not fall for. We carefully nurture the Lexus through those corners as we slide it a bit coming out of turn 7, and again hard on the brakes for the large turn 8. Again, patience rewards the best and we come out of it with no drama, nailing turn 9 as we punch it down the straight. Turns 10 and 11 can be deceiving; we had to play with the gas at the end so as to not screw up the rhythm, and saved the RC F from itself as it started to slide a bit toward the outside of the corner. Turns 12 and 13 are the same as 5 and 6 in their philosophy, and we come around to start the final sector. I must add, the gearing is set optimally for the track, allowing you to tackle most corners in third gear without bogging it down.

View attachment 944987

Sector 2 time: 2:01.629.

The final sector is tempting you to try and do it as quick as you can, but no fretting. We take our time with turn 15 as we then blast it down the straight and the fast left hander, before braking and shifting down to fourth gear for turn 17, using plenty of outside kerb. Heavy braking into the final chicane, and the car almost losing us at the end, eventually get us to the end of the very demanding Spa Francorchamps.

View attachment 944988

Laptime: 2:44.796.

Now that we´ve covered some on-track exposition, let´s talk some more numbers. The RC F GT3 is quite favoured by the BoP system that has been put in place by Poliphony Digital. It gets a bump to 107% power, to 561 bhp, but also a 102% weight increase to 1,326 kg (2923 lb.), making it one of the more powerful cars of the grid. The RC F GT3 is also powerful on the torque figures, as it comes in with a healthy 66,3 kgf.m (479 lb.ft) of torque. Let´s compare to other cars of the category.

-Lexus RC F GT3 ´17: 561 bhp / 66,3 kgf.m (479 lb.ft) / 1,326 kg (2923 lb.)
-Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.Final Gr.3: 558 bhp / 67,6 kgf.m (489 lb.ft) / 1,315 kg (2899 lb.)
-Porsche 911 RSR ´17: 535 bhp / 52,3 kgf.m (378 lb.ft) / 1,317 kg (2903 lb.)
-Audi R8 LMS ´15: 527 bhp / 50,4 kgf.m (364 lb.ft) / 1,298 kg (2861,6 lb.)

-BMW M6 ´16: 555 bhp / 72,6 kgf.m (525 lb.ft) / 1,326 kg (2923 lb.)
-Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept ´18: 556 bhp / 66,9 kgf.m (484 lb.ft) / 1,280 kg (2822 lb.)

So, how does it do on the track, performance wise? Well, we have established that at Seaside´s longest straight, it recorded a speedtrap of 252 km/h (156 mph). Let´s compare that to some similar cars, as well as some popular cars of the GT3 / Gr.3 category. This was done at Dragon Trail Seaside.

-Lexus RC F GT3 ´17: 252 km/h (156 mph)
-Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.Final Gr.3: 248 km/h (154 mph)
-Porsche 911 RSR ´17: 250 km/h (155 mph)
-Audi R8 LMS ´15: 252 km/h (156 mph)
-BMW M6 ´16: 251 km/h (156 mph)

-Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept ´18: 253 km/h (157 mph)

As well, let´s check out the time it takes for each car to reach 160 km/h (100 mph) from a stand still. This is to test what car is the quickest on a standing start. This was done with Racing Hard compound tyres, at Interlagos.

-Lexus RC F GT3 ´17: 7,95 seconds.
-Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.Final Gr.3: 7,916 seconds.
-Porsche 911 RSR ´17: 8,083 seconds.

-Audi R8 LMS ´15: 7,733 seconds.
-BMW M6 ´16: 7,750 seconds.
-Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept ´18: 8,650 seconds.


(Bold in each category determines the winner.)

Now, we can clearly see that while the RC F does not win out in any single category other than raw power under BoP standards compared to the other cars, it is very well balanced, either at the top of the fight or in the top of the midfield, as shown with the acceleration test. It can certainly jump a few cars off the line if you get a good start, only marginally beaten by the Lancer Evo. and quite convincingly beaten by the R8 and the M6. In the top speed department, there is no clear cut winner; they are all similar aside from the Lancer Evo., which records a noticeably lower top speed.

While I was at Interlagos, I thought of a pretty interesting test for tyre wear and fuel consumption, but didn´t want to spend my life hammering away at the track constantly. I set the tyre wear and fuel consumption to x10 each, and set the track to 4 laps, and off I went. The results were quite average. For the test, I raced at full speed on every lap, these were the results:

-Front Left tyre wear: 30%
-Front Right tyre wear: 35%
-Rear Left tyre wear: 15%
-Rear Right tyre wear: 25%
-Fuel Consumption: 12% fuel remaining by the end.


(For the sake of the test, Racing Soft tyres were used, as they would show a noticeable diference faster.)

And now, for some final tips, strengths and weaknesses of the RC F GT3 ´17, and also, my verdict. This car, for me, is a...

Sleeper!


*Strengths:
-Great top speed.
-Good acceleration.
-Responsive and steady handling, will not attempt to kill you while entering a corner due to a good weight transfer.
-Absorbs kerbs and other track irregularities very well, thanks to the F-R layout.
-Has okay tyre wear and fuel consumption.
-Okay acceleration from a standstill.
-Wide and gradual powerband thanks to natural aspiration means acceleration can be performed at a wide range of RPMs, and it will not surprise you with turbo lag and the like.

*Weaknesses:
-Tends to understeer at high speed, courtesy of the rock-solid handling line.
-Front tyres tend to wear faster due to engine position.
-Can have wheelspin off of low speed corner exit (ex: hairpin corners, chicanes), and a lot of wheelspin off corner exit in the rain. Can be quite tricky to handle in the rain, due to engine position.

*Tips:
-Rev out the engine almost to the limiter for maximum performance.
-Let the car drive itself and take you with it; it´s built around consistency more than outright one-lap pace. This is one of it´s major strengths as it has no weaknesses if we look at a one-lap pace unless you overdrive it and cause understeer.
-Brake balance should be set to the front, offsetting weight transfer and total ammount of weight that is already at the front (due to engine position) for sprint races where tyre wear is not an issue.
-Brake balance should be set to the rear to conserve the front tyres marginally better, if you are worried about the tyre wear.
-If you´re taking a very tight corner, first gear may prove useful. The car will reach the limiter and straighten itself out without much issue.
-Let the car turn itself before punching the gas on rain driving. If it´s unsettled or not in a straight line, you will lose the rear end under acceleration, or around a corner.

That has been all from me. I hope you enjoyed the read and learned something new.
Natalie out! ;)


I really should put my Gr2 AVS livery on to the Gr3.
Great piece btw. I should probably use this car more.
 
I sigh and giggle simultaneously while burying my head in as deep as it'd go into my palm as I watch my peers get rammed off with impunity yet again. You know the sport has long since hit rock bottom and is now burrowing into bedrock with drills and explosive charges when people can't even go around an oval without dispute and profanities hurled at each other like kids in racing suits. At this point, I'm not even here to watch legitimate racing anymore. It's a nice bonus if it happens, sure, but I'm here moreso for the drama and childish tantrums that unfold with the certainty of the sun rising each FIA race (and the demolition derby of 458s). You couldn't write drama more organic and legitimate than these races manufacture en masse.

Man, am I glad I pulled out and-

My phone suddenly buzzes. Man, whoever it is, I need to tell them to watch this crap. It's pure gold!

This week we move from a concept battle to a true racing beast in the GTD division of IMSA. This week we are taking a look at the Gr.3 Lexus RC F GT3. This weeks car is chosen by @RobboGTAddict.

29560377857_8f3a249eb0_b.jpg

Oh.

Oh sheet. Oh god. Oh man. Oh no.

Oh... frick.

I immediately dial for the head honcho of the race team that I used to race for, their day being ruined live on broadcast notwithstanding.

"Square? What's this a-"
"Look man, can you source me that prototype RC F we ran five years ago back at GT300 Fuji with Emil Frey?"
"What the frick are you talking about all of a sudden? I'm in the middle of a crap sandwich here and you-"
"Look, it's important, okay?! Your car is totaled anyway. What use is there getting all worked up for?"
"It's precisely because sheet has went south that I'm worked up you nincompoop! Did you see-"
"YEAHYEAHYEAHyeahyeah yeah yeah! I saw! He'll be fine. Cap's walked away from way worse. You know that."

Jeremy sighs deeply. "...you're... right. I hope."

"Look, can you get that proto RC F for me? Please? Do you still have it? Is anyone using it?"

I hear what sounds like an arm falling limp against his lacquered wood tabletop, "I'll tell my guys. You'll have to pick it up yourself. Usual price, usual place."

I smile in relief. "Thanks... and I'm sorry."

"Any time." And I hear the hangup tone.

God, it's people like that that make me miss being a racing driver.

*********************************************
The hired AMT truck sheds its skin to reveal an antiqued racing car, shrouded by its own reflections in the rather needlessly elaborate interior of the truck. I climb up onto the bed and get in the car, starting it to reverse it onto the lift that is currently extending out of the bed. God, this brings me back. Even though memories of a time when I wasn't racing Mazda machines are so distant, they feel almost unreal, my body found itself instantly at home: the precise steps and ways to twist yourself to get into the car, where to place my hands on the wheel, etc.. Even the seat is left in my position from when I last ran this. Heck, even the smell of the interior is instantly recogniseable for me. It's amazing how much your body consciously remembers, even as your brain rots with age. Even though I got into a racing car, it felt to me more like I just slipped into a snug time capsule.

Night has long since fallen by the time my last minute order came in, so after I tipped the truckers for their overtime, I drove what is only the ninth racing car into my garage - racing drivers, especially the successful ones, have in excess of thirty for every class, or so I hear. I then mentally prepared for a long, looooong night of prepping this car for tomorrow's racing.

The prototype car I just took delivery of is an early version of the RC F GT3. We private teams ran this prototype car with special approval under the "SPX" category, as a study of feasibility and performance of turning an RC F into a GT3 spec racing car. As the car I'm parking next to can probably already tell you, yes, yes it was feasible and it performs, and attained homologation shortly thereafter in 2017.

Because the prototype car is aimed to be a GT3 car and actively raced, the prototype car is so shockingly similar to the homologated car at first glance that even eagle eyed racing enthusiasts will be hard pressed to tell the two apart, sans the aid of a differentiating livery. Visually, the biggest difference between the two is that the prototype car still has a license plate holder up front, smack in the middle of Lexus' patented obnoxious hexagonal ugly spindle grille. Seriously, I can't be the only one that thinks its way too big and looks like a surprised goldfish with its mouth pinched, can I? Aside from a few vents here and there and a repositioned rain light, not much else visually separates the two cars, which goes to show how close the prototype was to being a GT3 racing car - so much so the folks at Gran Turismo just shrugged after taking one look at it and lumped it into Gr. 3 with the GT3 car and everything else.


How many differences can you spot?

The most important difference between the two cars though, is that the final car has blue pipes peeking through its bonnet vents, as a very cool nod to the road car and the F brand for Lexus, as the road cars' intake manifolds are all painted that same shade of blue. It's such a cool, neat little detail no one expects to find in a purposeful racing car:

On the inside however, the two cars are starkly different, with the prototype car having a stripped out interior for racing, but still bearing some resemblance to the road car, whereas the final car has been fully FIA-ed, with a squared off steering wheel and being more tight and snug in general. The prototype car even has the clock and air con vents from the road going car in the centre console, and an interior item that's just screaming to be adorned by an anime livery on the outside.



The cars are shockingly similar under the skin, as well. The specs, dimensions, and equipment of the prototype car are very much within GT3 rules: it produces 528PS from its bored out 5.4L V8, and weighs in at exactly 1,300kg (2,866lbs) before Balance of Performance. This is, for all intents and purposes, a GT3 car, only missing official approval and the last 2 or 3% of the polish a GT3 car would normally have, as is most evident in the still existing license plate, interior, and its barebones livery.

However, that is not to say that this is a bad car at all. It's very easy to judge a racing car: if it wins, it's good. If it loses, it's bad. Literally nothing else on a racing car matters, and this ugly duckling (fishing?) of a car won its class at Silverstone, Fuji, and even the Nürburgring endurance, so there is no question about this car's legitimacy or capabilities. If it wasn't successful, I wouldn't be driving a second RC F into my garage tonight.

When we all moved on to the homologated GT3 RC F in 2017, this car was just... left to sit and rot, basically. I'm very surprised Jeremy kept this car around, to be honest. To what end, I don't claim to know. Race cars aren't known to stick around after they've outlived their usefulness, unless they have significant historic value for big manufacturers. I'm very glad Jeremy kept it around, nonetheless, because now I get to see how the prototype car matches up directly against the car it birthed, COTW style.

While most of my cars are so plain, most would argue even their own saliva has more taste, the finalised RC F GT3 is one of the only two racing cars I've ever done a livery on. Tonight, I'm giving this old prototype what will probably be her last shot at life, and last moments in the spotlight, as I dress her up in a counterpart livery to match the homologated car.

If the rest of the COTW members can do it week after week, then I should be able to do it at least once... right? ......oh god, this is going to turn out terrible.

*********************************************
My heart almost leapt out of my mouth as I jolted awake to the thundering sound of door knocks scrambling my head, knocking over a can of coke that I had been sitting beside. Esther the editor's curious face was right in mine as I opened my eyes. Seeing her, I doubt the knocks were actually THAT violent. It just didn't help that the door was hollow... and that my head and ear had been leaning against it when the knocks came.

"WwWwWwwhaaat are you doing here?!", I exclaim in a limbo of sleep and being awake.

"What are you still doing here, is the question." She, hugging her knees together in a squat, is not at all bemused by my plight.

Through the now wide open garage door, the blinding sunrise pierces my eyes. "Frick. What time is it...?"
"7:32 Japan time."
"FRICK!"
"Why are you sleeping on the floor?"

As soon as I gathered my senses and thoughts, I quickly fumble over to cover the car I had been sleeping against this morning with my body. "NO, DON'T LOOK!"

"...are you okay? Are you sure you should be racing tomorrow?"

"I'll be fiiiineeeee......", I blabber, hunched over the roof of the car.

"Have you been up all night designing that?", asks Esther, observing the squeegees, discarded film, soap, spray bottles, cloth, and yet unused decals strewn all over the floor in my immediate vicinity.

"Don't looooook... why are you here? Stop coming into my home all willy nilly... I thought... I could..."

She takes a deep breath and sighs vehemently. Standing up, she says with the same coldness and condescending tone as always, "You can like what you like."

"That's not the problem! It's FRICK UGLY!"
"Well, are you coming or not? You're so late even the truckers had to call me to check in on you. I thought you had died or... something."
"I wish I did."

"Well?", she adopts her fighting stance of arms akimbo and a pout as she restates.

"I'll go, I'll go. I think we can still make it. Please call an Uber for us... I'm sorry."

Face down reaching into her messenger bag for her phone, she says, "It's fine. I've managed worse."

"Thank you", I hastily blurt as I turn to get into the car.

Still face down now from tapping away at her phone, she continues, "You aren't far off, though."

*********************************************
Sleep deprived, and now with jet lag added for more flavour in the ever downward spiral that is my mental state, we found ourselves at Italy's Lago Maggiore circuit. In GT3 machinery that easily exceeds 250km/h (155mph) on the long back straight, no way we were running any shortened configuration of this track today. That would be like going all the way to a Red Light District and asking for just a hug. You're already here. We know what you're here for. You've paid your dues monetarily and morally. Why not get the full exp- *REDACTED* Editor's note: We apologise, but he's still very groggy from his wrecked sleep cycle. We at COTW do not condone nor endorse the sort of behaviour or lifestyle choices Mr. Lee is exhibiting.

This week also saw the return of a certain someone after a long absence of COTW...

Due to my spotty at best concentration, it was admittedly hard to really assess what was going on at the track. Cars were jittering about and it was hard to tell where everyone was or what there intents were at any given point. There was also a stranger on the track, with a rather hilarious, but sadly indicative name that was spoiling proceedings as well. Let's just call him... "Lock Kicker". I may or may not have mixed up the order of the first letters in each word in his alias in my sleep deprived state.

Sleep deprivation or not, driving a racing car is driving a racing car, and adrenaline does about a hundred times better a job at waking anyone than coffee. GT3 cars are my bread and butter as an ex-racing driver, and I've driven in far worse states than this. My performance no doubt was helped greatly by just how easy and intuitive the RC F is to drive. It does what its told, no complaints, no surprises. It's a very well put together, balanced FR chassis, which may come across as rather surprising to some, given that the road car's known to be a bit of a porker. Not requiring turbos to bring it to the GT3 dance at the price of muffing up the torque curve and response, the driving characteristics of the RC F GT3 is superbly easy to get a feel for, and sounds distinctly sick, as an added bonus. It ranks among the top of what I consider to be the easiest Gr. 3 cars to drive, in the company of the superb AMG GT3 from a few weeks before. These are the cars with the least drama, gentlest learning curves, and won't bite (too hard) if you get something wrong, while remaining competitive. I'd recommend either to anyone new to GT3 cars.

I was almost turned into a Yuri sandwich!

In fact, the RC F is so neutral to drive and average in all areas of performance with Gran Turismo's Balance of Performance applied, I can't help but to suspect that this car is the one that the boffins over at GT base Gr. 3 performance around. In the, what, almost three years that the Gran Turismo Championships have been established, and through the category's "monthlies" that is Balance of Performance changes, I don't ever recall a time where the RC F GT3 ever stood out as being fantastic or awful in any area, be it straight line speed, cornering prowess, tyre life or fuel consumption. It's just... shockingly average.



I'll admit, after reviewing a few road cars, these Gr. 3 cars all seem to blend together with nary a difference between them. There will be a few crazy ones out there for sure, mostly the MR ones for being fast and murderous, but the RC F isn't one of them.

Racer and Vic were the only ones rocking the older car in this week's meet. As expected of these experienced drivers to have had the history and connections to dredge up something so outdated on such a short notice. As for me, I alternated between the two cars race to race.

Rob, you got any coffee for a sleep deprived, jet lagged old man?

Unlisted, unedited footage of the Maggiore race from my perspective.

*********************************************
For race 2, we returned to Austria's Red Bull Ring. Last time we were here in person, I crashed my NSX and was hospitalised. Whee.

Switching over to the prototype car, I pulled an Igor Fraga Lap 1 Turn 1, so I was having a bit of a quiet race by myself for the most part. Rick might've also been caught in the shenanigans I caused (sorry), as he exited Turn 1 some two seconds behind me.

Over the course of the 5 lap sprint race though, not only was I catching the mid pack racers due to infighting, but Rick was also closing the gap to me at a shocking rate in his homologated car, something like half a second a lap or so in the most egregious of examples. Even though the two cars are very similar in terms of power output and mass as-is, with "Balance" of Performance in play, the prototype starkly loses out.

As-Is:
Prototype: 528PS, 1,300kg
Final: 531PS, 1,300kg

"B"oP*:
Prototype: 560PS 106%, 1,339kg (2,952lbs) 103%
Final: 569PS 107%, 1,326kg (2,923lbs) 102%

*As of Ver. 1.61, 29th July 2020.

While the differences seem negligibly minute on paper by road car standards, every percentage makes or breaks a car in a tightly regulated format that is GT3 and 4; cars' balance in these categories are adjusted for by adding or removing a percent at a time, so you can imagine how much the prototype loses out to the finalised car: the prototype already started with less power, and now hit with a percent down on both power and mass.

With how both cars driving almost identical to each other, the shocking difference in "B"oP makes NO sense whatsoever. It's almost as if the folks over at Gran Turismo's offices just don't want anyone to drive the prototype car at all, despite allowing it into their Gr. 3 category.

Not only does BoP shun the prototype car, but the prototype car I find also lacks that last 2 or 3% in refinement to the final car not just in looks, but also in driving dynamics as well. Even though these cars are almost identical in feel behind the wheel, the prototype car has noticeably longer gearing than the final car. The shifts themselves, oddly, are a lot more violent and seem to upset the engine more, causing the revs, and in turn, the car itself as a whole, to jerk and lurch with each upshift for what feels like an eternity in racing conditions. It's shocking, as I've never found a problem with how a racing gearbox shifts before. It's a racing gearbox for crying out loud! It has ONE job: Shift fast! ...and smooth! ...and not break... and be lightwei- bah, you get the point.

How do you guys come up with bespoke liveries (that are actually good) EACH WEEK?!

However, I feel that the prototype car dives into an apex a tad more willingly than the final car, which seems set up for a bit more stability. With the more eager turn in, along with the power and gearing deficit, I was hoping the prototype car might put up a fight with the final car at Red Bull Ring, with tight, technical corner exits punishing overly powerful cars. I was making some progress, but only due to infighting and lock kicker being an butthole to everyone in their immediate vicinity. The prototype car, under no fair and competitive circumstance, can even match the final car in pace, let alone better it.

That's lock kicker in a rear mid engined car, getting taken ROUND THE OUTSIDE by a front engined car. If you think I'm harsh on cars, wait till you see me criticise people.

As usual, most of the fun was had up front between all three podium sitters, Vic, Mustang, and Nat.


Remember when F1 drivers couldn't go two wide at Turn 4 of Red Bull Ring? Oof! Too soon?

I can't do this alone
Even though I am strong
Need something more than me
Someone to push me to Victory!


Yo, can you three race any closer? It's hard to shoot action when you're all so far apart.

/sarcasm​

"Track limits are non-existent when there´s down-to-the-wire racing, sorry." - someone at COTW sometime recently, can't remember.

Unlisted, unedited video of the RBR race from my perspective.

*********************************************
For race 3, we flew back to Australia to race on my favourite racetrack in the world, Bathurst. With two straights that each go on for about an eternity and a half, I opted back into the final car for this race.

Not quite Australian, but still V8 supercars round Bathurst. We just had to spite Nismo the deserter for not being able to join us this week.

Did I... just attempt to go side by side down Brock's Skyline? If that's not the surest sign of compromised cognitive capabilities, I don't know what is.

Me and Nat were having quite the scuffle for nearly the entire race!



Not the kind of closeness you want when *COUGH COUGH* MY PERCEPTION *COUGH AHEM* is jittery and unstable!





*********************************************​


Race 4, Dragon Trail Seaside. I went back to the prototype car, wanting at least ONE good race with it given I spent the whole night doing a livery for it. I didn't manage to finish the livery in time, but it's a prototype car, see? It's meant to be unfinished! Aha? Aha? Ahhh...

This is the last time I'm attempting a livery please don't hate me I'm a good person I really am.

Can't hold on much longer
But I will never let go!
I know it's a one way track
Tell me now how long this will last!


"Gotta stop fast!"


Lock kicker, in a faster car, with Vic's inside going into T1, still gets out-braked by Vic into the first apex. What. A. Tool.

Mustang"Lover"2015, and Baron, in a Mustang.
(Don't worry guys I confirmed he doesn't have a GTP account I can badmouth him all I want :D)

With lock kicker safely nestled deep in some ditch, hopefully a trench in the ocean of Croatia, Rick and I then went on to have a rather intense 1v1 in the closing laps of the 5 lap sprint! Racer had the best seat in the house for our little spar, and was right there to punish anyone for any mistakes or casualties!

The prototype (not the driver, obviously) was so lacking in performance, I forced Rick to take the outside on BOTH turns of the first chicane, and he STILL pulled up alongside me on corner exit!

Two old men dueling!

With the track finally free of idiotic kids with no respect for the elderly, the pressure of the duel with Rick brought out another shortcoming of the prototype car: I find that it is very easily unsettled by bumps and other road imperfections. This is in contrast to what Nat said about the final car in her review, where she praised the final car for being "rock-solid, not being fazed by the big kerbs on the side of the track at all". To compare, I'd like to present to you, me in the prototype car, on the chicane of death on the last lap, where the nose of my car caught so much air I thought it was doing a prayer or something.



Even though the hop looked scary, thanks to the aero of the car, it was quickly grounded again, and ultimately, the hop didn't cost me control of the car or cause a massive accident. It still cost time, though, and it's a stark reminder that this car isn't as refined as it could be.

*********************************************
Race 5 was held in the best racetrack in the world, Spa.

...with a twist.

Admittedly, the race itself was rather quiet for most of us, with the field widely spread out. You might think someone who runs race cars around wet Spa for fun would do well this race, but nope! I was in the final car for this little cruise, on Heavy Wets.

The RC F handled itself very well in the wet, I must say. There were a lot of instances on the first lap where I turned in too early, expecting turn-in understeer conditioned into me from driving two MR racing cars around here in the rain, but that understeer never showed. Driving the RC F in the wet really brings to light the impeccable balance the chassis has; there is ample weight over the front tyres to get them to bite into a corner even in the wet, yet without the huge inertia one would think comes with the mass required to put that weight up front. There is enough weight over the rears on corner exit as well with a full tank of fuel. Even in the wet, on a track that heavily favours a MR layout, the FR RC F retained its composure and (relative) ease to drive, and never once made me frustrated with it in spite of being the proverbial fish out of water (aha, get it? Fish? Because I likened the grille of the thing to a fish? And water, because it's wet? Aha? No...?).

Of course, there are still certain difficulties driving the RC F in the wet - there always will be, such as with a depleted fuel tank, or extremely slow corners like Bus Stop, where quite a few of us over rotated on exit, but those aren't necessarily the car's shortcomings, but moreso inevitable ones every car in its category will suffer from.

The RC F is so easy to drive, Rob even went for a little drift, in lieu of Vic! Instant coffee, just add water?



*********************************************​


There was no Race 6. Certainly not at Brand's Hatch. And even if there were, I wouldn't have been driving a nerfed to hell Atenza, going off into the kitty litter facing the completely wrong direction L1 T1. I mean, what are the chances of that exacting set of circumstances ACTUALLY happening? Think about it! The people that want you to believe such tall lies are all bad people and you should work to distance yourself from them, for your own good.

*********************************************
While I've alternated between the two cars in this week's races, I haven't really driven both cars back to back on the same track to draw a more direct comparison. I then drove both back to back in the same conditions at Spa to compare them more directly, without the pressure of a race, and also to see if there is any longevity differences between the cars.

From my testing, tyre wear on these two cars are pretty much identical. The prototype does drink a lot more fuel, since I'm holding 5th for the entire Kemmel Straight, due to its lower gearing. Even with the slightest of rear brake bias, both RC Fs wear the front tyres more, as can be expected from an FR car if you aren't drifting it. In extreme wear cases, I'd argue that there isn't a car better than the RC F to drive, since MR cars become moody, unpredictable messes on ice skate rear tyres, and also because the power is, again, very progressive and predictable as well, due to being NA. In a tightly regulated format with limited power output, there really isn't enough being said about how big an advantage being an NA car is.

To compare how these two cars drive is to split hairs, but here's what I felt: The prototype feels a bit softer up front, which is weird as it's the one more upset by bumps. It has more pronounced front end movement, and because of this, it pitches a bit more up front, meaning it hates long sweeping corners as the front end wallows and lurches more, and will require more lifting of the gas in comparison to the stiffer final car to tuck the front end into an apex of a high speed sweeper. Understeer on power is also more prominent as a result. You need to be a lot more smoother and progressive, i.e. slower, with the prototype car.

The prototype car feels set up more for a tighter, slower track. The softer front end does mean that the prototype has a more keen turn in under braking, without any cost to stability, which is why I like a slight front bias on the prototype car a bit more as it seems to bite better up front, as opposed to the +1 rear I like on the final car. The longer gearing and power deficit also means that the prototype has a MUCH easier time putting down power in 1st and 2nd in comparison to the final car, hence why I feel it's set up more for a tight, low speed corners, with the Bus Stop Chicane and La Source of Spa being standout examples of this.

The softer front end on the prototype doesn't make driving on worn tyres easier, as the front tyres will have long since given up by the time weight is pressed over them, resulting in scrubbing. It does however mean that in extreme wear situations, the car won't completely go limp on you like the stiffer final car, nor does it ask you to adapt your lines as much with tyre wear. However, this useful if you somehow find yourself in a race where there's some stupid rule that says you can only use one set of tyres for the entire race. Whoops, too soon?

In conclusion, the RC F GT3 is a very, very solid Gr. 3 car, and its decidedly average to good performance across the board means you can never really go wrong with it. It never really has been a time attack leaderboard darling car, and unless said darling car is a Huracán, you can bet that the only car being used for the race will be the leaderboard darling car, as well. Really, the only way you'll see an RC F on the track nowadays is in FIA Manufacturer Series, where people don't get to pick their cars for each individual race, but rather pick one manufacturer and race that manufacturer's cars for an entire season.

You won't ever find the FR RC F in a top ten leaderboard time. You might not ever see one in a race. It sure as hell isn't going to win any beauty contests. But, does it have a chance to appear on the podium should anyone choose to field one? There is a very, very real possibility of that in any given race. And for that, the RC F GT3 is a sleeper in my eyes.

As for the prototype car, I feel that it has most of the tools that made the final car so good. For all the differences I point out between it and the final car, it is admittedly splitting hairs. It's not a bad car for what it is, but it's a bad car because of how the governing body currently treats it. With most of the tools for greatness already in hand, all the prototype car needs now is a properly balanced BoP to awaken it and be competitive, which may very well happen in the future for all anyone knows with how often Gr. 3 changes. And because of that, the prototype car too, is a sleeper in my eyes. A sleeping sleeper.

As can be seen from the videos, I drove like a complete idiot this week. Some of it is down to connection issues, yes, but I think I take the most blame in being sleep deprived. I want to apologise for my crap driving and I hopefully won't be that sleep deprived going into future meets. I want to apologise especially to Rick, as I've nailed him in at least three of the races we did.

The liveries I've done for the two RC Fs are of the two main characters of the Wii U Exclusive horror game, "Fatal Frame 5 - Maiden of Black Water", also known as "Project Zero" or simply "Zero" in Japan. I think it's one of the best, most well executed horror titles in recent memory, and I SUPER love the mood, atmosphere, and characters involved. I can't recommend it enough to anyone who loves playing, or simply watching, a horror game.
 
Thank you once again for our weekly story to read while having breakfast :cheers:

On the topic of kerbs, I did not try the prototype car. I didn't buy it for the event so I didn't have it; spoke completely and only about the final version. Was it really that bad over kerbs? :crazy:

Well, it's not Epson NSX or Huracán GT3 levels of bad. Rather than the slip, slide, and spin kind of "bad over kerbs", the prototype car simply hops over them, which is a lot more manageable. When I said it was bad over kerbs, it's in comparison to the RC F GT3. Compared to the final car, I find that it really doesn't like having both left and right wheels mount a kerb, like DT Seaside encourages. Going only one side up on the kerbs seems to be fine. It just seems to have a narrower window of angles you can hit the kerbs at without upsetting the car, whereas the final car felt a lot easier, only hopping if you approached the kerbs at a ridiculously silly angle, which would hop any racing car. Unlike my other comparisons between the two cars though, the differences in handling kerbs aren't as subtle between the two cars. Tidgney also noted the same thing in his car profiles (skip to 4:02 for his Interlagos lap where he comments on the car's weakness over kerbs, and 10:02 for his Excel spreadsheet comments). For comparison, here's his car profile for the final car.

I'm very surprised you don't have the prototype car. It's one of those cars that the DWG seems to spit out at me every other day (I also got one more prototype while testing and shooting for this review... thanks, Kaz). Between the two variations, I must have like over 10 RC Fs in my garage sitting there gathering dust. Kinda like the god awful Peugeot VGT Gr. 3 we tested a few weeks ago. I saw you do a livery on it, would love to hear even some quick thoughts on the car if you're able and don't mind ;)
 
Well, it's not Epson NSX or Huracán GT3 levels of bad. Rather than the slip, slide, and spin kind of "bad over kerbs", the prototype car simply hops over them, which is a lot more manageable. When I said it was bad over kerbs, it's in comparison to the RC F GT3. Compared to the final car, I find that it really doesn't like having both left and right wheels mount a kerb, like DT Seaside encourages. Going only one side up on the kerbs seems to be fine. It just seems to have a narrower window of angles you can hit the kerbs at without upsetting the car, whereas the final car felt a lot easier, only hopping if you approached the kerbs at a ridiculously silly angle, which would hop any racing car. Unlike my other comparisons between the two cars though, the differences in handling kerbs aren't as subtle between the two cars. Tidgney also noted the same thing in his car profiles (skip to 4:02 for his Interlagos lap where he comments on the car's weakness over kerbs, and 10:02 for his Excel spreadsheet comments). For comparison, here's his car profile for the final car.

I'm very surprised you don't have the prototype car. It's one of those cars that the DWG seems to spit out at me every other day (I also got one more prototype while testing and shooting for this review... thanks, Kaz). Between the two variations, I must have like over 10 RC Fs in my garage sitting there gathering dust. Kinda like the god awful Peugeot VGT Gr. 3 we tested a few weeks ago. I saw you do a livery on it, would love to hear even some quick thoughts on the car if you're able and don't mind ;)

God awful?!

GOD AWFUL?!

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*ahem*

To me, the Peugeot VGT is one of the best Gr.3 cars simply because it adapts to my driving style. There's nothing better than a car that suits you, I suppose. Yes, it's a nervous 🤬, yes, the weight distribution is meh, and yes it's w i d e, but those are all traits that I can personally manage. Pretty sure it is faster than the Lexus (Lexi?) in the top speed and acceleration department but you can't have an in between with this car. For example, on a hairpin exit, you either:

-A: dose it slowly until it's good to go,
Or
-B: punch the gas, manage the oversteer with a slight countersteer, and watch the glorious w i d e b o i exit the corner like a champion.

It's exhilirating and demanding to drive and that's why I love it. But the RCZ is better 'round more technical tracks.

...doesn't mean you can't absolutely manhandle the Peugeot PEUGEOT VGT!

TL;DR: I like it, a lot, please no insult the Puggy VGT.

Kind regards,
Natty
 
‘The Benchmark’

That’s the phrase you often hear when comparisons to the BMW M3 are made(the M5 too but we’re not here for that.:P) and it’s not without merit.

Even back when the M3 name started, it hit the ground running with the E30 M3 with a potent 4 banger, then it went to 6 cylinders for the next 2 generation models, it then went off the deep end with a 4.0 litre V8 and now we are back to 6 with a turbo or two added. ;)

The E46 M3 brings a 338hp 3.2 Straight 6 to front, power to the rear and the choice of either a 6 speed manual or 6 speed automated manual SMG-ll gearbox in the middle.

Weighing in at 1560kgs, it’s in the ballpark of what most sports saloons weighed at the time.

It’s certainly a car that likes to be pushed hard, but it also reassures you that it won’t be doing anything unpredictable unless you ask it too. :sly:

Like what Square found out in his testing, the M3 does lack an edge over its rivals,(Like the R34) but it offsets that by being more user friendly at the limit and if you want consistency in your times, you want something predictable yet stable.

Yes for 84k you can get faster cars for less, but are they well sorted as an M3 can be?

Jury’s out for some, but for me?

Verdict: Sleeper 👍
Also no Most Wanted designs, kudos for not taking the easy design option out folks. :D

Another week, another throw down between Mitsubishi and Subaru and once again not involving rally or road cars.

Nope, we gone to the experimental VGT for this particular throw down. :P

The Subaru Vizvi GT and the Mitsubishi XR-PHEV Evo or to put it another way, Skinny Speed against Wide Torque. :lol:

We’ll start with with the XR and like I just said, it’s a bit on the thicc side, but not in weight at 1,350kgs, but in width at 89 inches wide, which is almost 7 inches wider than a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ. :eek:

Packing a 3 litre turbo V6 with Hybrid assist, it’s putting out over 500hp and a AMG V12 worrying 748 ft-lbs of torque.:drool:

That’s all sent to all 4 wheels via a close ratio 8 speed dual clutch gearbox.

With AYC(Active Yaw Control) taken from the Lancer Evo and and a tasteful proportionally correct rear wing, this amped up version of a plug-in SUV hybrid can certainly hold it on the twisty’s.

Though compared to its rival, it falls flat on the longer straights, partly due to the power and gearing, but mostly due to it being a thicc boi. :P

The Subaru VIZIV packs a smaller 2 litre turbo boxer 4 with hybrid assist and while it’s way down on torque, it’s way up on power at 630hp, shrugging off the extra 30kgs the Subaru carries over the Mitsubishi.

With a skinny profile and longer gearing in its 7 speed gearbox, the Subie is the straight line monster of the two cars, hence the Skinny Speed nickname. :P

The VIZIV’s party trick to combat the XR’s AYC is a torque vectoring system that uses the hybrid system and flashes lights in the fenders to show when they are active.

In theory, improved handling, in practice it makes me wanna.. (Redacted, the following rant is definitely not family or GTP friendly, but it does make it perfectly clear that Vic did not get on with the Torque Vectoring system in the Subaru, now back to the acceptable part.)... and then whistle for a baboon. :sly:

It felt like ASM was kicking in and robbing engine revs from me and I was fighting it more than fighting others.

The XR by contrast was buttery smooth to drive, almost as nice as..(Redacted, even when praising something he couldn’t dial it back to enough be family friendly.:rolleyes:)

Mind you, the view first thing next day was even nicer. :D

Anyways with both costing 1 million credits, price isn’t a point of discussion when comparing these two, usability and all round capability are and in stock form, the edge goes to the Mitsubishi.

While lacking straight line pace to the VIZIV, it’s much more user friendly.

So the Mitsubishi gets the Sleeper nod and the Subie gets the Beat(er) Down. ;)

Add downforce and focus on handling and acceleration for the mitsubishi and trim off all the downforce and lengthen the gearing for the Subie and let it run at the SSRX Vision race. :)

Lastly the Lexus RCF GT3 and GT3 Prototype.

Much of what I could say has already been said, The Proto lacking that little bit of polish compared to the final version, sometimes pulling the front up when kerb hopping etc. :)

One thing I did note about it was it’s idle speed of 2000 Rpm, not sure if all Gr3 idle that high, but it did mean it was less likely to bog down on a TCS 1 launch. ;)

While lacking an competitive edge against most Gr3 racers, it’s definitely a beginner friendly Gr3 racer. 👍

If you’re going into Sport mode representing Lexus, take the finished product. :P

Verdicts: Sleeper 👍
 
One thing I did note about it was it’s idle speed of 2000 Rpm, not sure if all Gr3 idle that high, but it did mean it was less likely to bog down on a TCS 1 launch. ;)

WOW, I never noticed that!

The final car does idle at 1.5k rpm, as does the Atenza and RX-Vision. Those are the only Gr. 3 cars I have videos on hand for to check.
 
GTS Nordschleife hot lap STOCK Ford GT '17: 07.11.036
Well, colour me surprised. What a great car. The first few laps I wondered if it could break through the 7.20 barrier and in the end it did a 07.11.036. Faster than the One-77, Vulcan, Enzo and Aventador (SV)!. Feels pretty well planted, has great brakes, less understeer than the others and nice acceleration. From 300 km/h onwards it's a little disappointing though and it is also a little slippery at low speeds. Definatly not really hard to move at the limit. Driven stock on hard sport tyres without any driving aids, except ABS. First lap in third person view, second one in cockpit view and third one in cinematic replay view. All driven laps are the same lap.

With this lap time, it's the 6th fastest road legal car in the game, only beaten by the LaFerrari, Huayra, Veyron, F1, and Veneno. At the same time it shares the 10-11th fastest top speed of street legal cars in the game with the SRT Hellcat at 361km/h=224mph, while its real life top speed is measured at 348km/h=216mph.



Verdict: absolute sleeper
 

I thought you were on an insane quest to own every car in every colour... :lol:

I don't think I've ever sold a car in Sport. The depreciation is nuts, and I think it sitting in my garage is worth way more potentially in the future if I need it for something, like being COTW or just a backdrop in Scapes, than selling it.

And yes, this includes DWG cars as well. I've never sold any of the tens of Pug VGTs I have in spite of how god awful they are. Duplicates are fun for having several different liveries of the same car without having to back out of a lobby to change designs.
 
I dont know how it can be classed as a sleeper. Its the 3rd iteration of the GT (of sorts, you know the original Mk1-Mk4 and the 2004 Jeremy Clarkson Doug De Muro version and now this...) - I like it. How can it not be that fastest thing in its class? It runs a multimatic chassis and its probably just a tad over the typical ferrari 488 lamborgini huracan mclaren 600/675lt etc.

I do get that the V6 isnt really that exotic but the car simply refuses to lose in the 500/600 class.

With a tune the handling is as you'd expect... Le Mans level. It is ridiculously competant around the "Ring.

Ford said it would be fast and special, and it is.

I would rather have something naturally aspirated like a Huracan 580 and I think these high boosted turbos arent my thing but you cant deny that Ford delivered on what was promised.

It is destined to be special but Ford are making 2,500 a year so it'll end up being as common as a Huracan.

I bought a blue and white stripes one day one and it was a tad bit unimpressive with the stock tune... I got one as a DWG and both with tunes are exceptionally good to drive. In fact I think this car goes over the edge... I dont mind the Huracan 458 McLaren 650s because they do have some flaws... I dont like the 4wd nature of the Huracan for example but they are workable.

The 2017 GT is effectively flawless with a tune. I seriously cannot think of a downside...maybe the fixed steering is a bit quick, darty?

Its $450k in the game and USD$450k if Ford deem you worthy to own one. Its effectively a non hybrid hypercar?
 
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