Car of the Week 228: COTY GTS Finale

  • Thread starter Racer283
Just a heads up, Due to me being currently on holiday I’m unable to be a host for this week so don’t worry about me not showing up for this weeks pick. :P:tup:
I will also be missing this week again (last time, hopefully!) As the 24hr Lemons is literally the next day. But first, tomorrow, I'm off to Pukekohe Park to test a new race car for a class I may be entering... pics to come!
This week we are taking a look at the Fantasy Ford Mustang Gr4. In real life there has been a Ford Mustang that competed in one of the IMSA Sanction series. This weeks car was chosen by @The_Nagger187. I can host this week.

Does that mean I'll have two weeks to write a review? ;)

I don't mind running the Mustang Gr. 4 for the second week, but I think it'd only be fair to ask whoever got to decide next week's car if they don't mind having their choice postponed. Running it for a second week would also mean that we have to "enforce" a larger turn out than what we had this week, and I personally don't like being so arm twisty with things.

I'll leave the decision up to the rest of the club as to what to do next week.
If any of you guys are interested Iv'e spent the last few days trying to do replica Aussie V8 liveries for all the Mustang teams. Have 3 done so far, Coulthard, R Kelly and Le Brocq. Really enjoying making my kids watch me play games for a change, takes me a few hours to do them and the kids find it mega boring so they actually go outside to play. Will make my way through the rest of the mustang teams eventually. They are done on the gr.4 Mustang.
If any of you guys are interested Iv'e spent the last few days trying to do replica Aussie V8 liveries for all the Mustang teams. Have 3 done so far, Coulthard, R Kelly and Le Brocq. Really enjoying making my kids watch me play games for a change, takes me a few hours to do them and the kids find it mega boring so they actually go outside to play. Will make my way through the rest of the mustang teams eventually. They are done on the gr.4 Mustang.
Pickle_Rick_1974 is where you find me.
I've never bat an eye at the Mustang Gr. 4 even back when I was actively racing, simply because it had never really been good for much of anything in the nonsensical Gr. 4 category, dominated either by a MR hatchback that doesn't even belong in GT4, with enough downforce and fuel economy to burrow its way through to the other side of the globe, or front wheel drive hatchbacks BoPped to have enough power to warp their front axle behind the rear. To say then, that the Mustang Gr. 4 hasn't ever been competitive in this nonsensical category it was built from the ground up to compete in, is somehow both very and not at all telling at the same time.

Look, writing is hard and racing is rife with politics, okay?

Extreme outliers aside, I do enjoy myself a lot of Gr. 4 racing, if not for the sheer variety of shapes and sizes of cars that are allowed in it, but also how meticulously close they are to the production cars they're based off of. When I first heard through a message that we're racing a "Gr. 4 Ford", I struggled to remember what Ford's representation in FIA-GT was. After all, a Mustang isn't exactly the first car that comes to anyone's mind when they think of a sporty, nimble car, is it? It was only after I had dug out the list of eligible cars for Gr. 4 on Gran Turismo's website did I remember: "oh yeah, they have the Mustang". This remembrance is very quickly followed up by that of the realisation that I'd be racing it the following week, which quickly elicited a thought of, "eww".

I mean, come on, tell me this thing doesn't look ridiculous. It's a pony car. It's meant to look good and go fast in a straight line, nothing else. Its body shape looks like it has every intent to smash into oncoming air with vicarious ferocity rather than gracefully cutting through it. Screwing aerodynamic parts like canards, splitters, diffusers, and a big wing on a Mustang is automotive satire on the nose, literally and figuratively. Telling it to handle as neutrally and obediently as a Gr. 4 car just because it's a 4 wheeled vehicle for the road is as ridiculous a notion as asking me to write a legally valid and recognised will just because I type words on a screen often. I might start writing wills nonetheless though, because desperate people in a rush will grasp at any straw in an emergency when they're part of a now ill-advised crowd about to get mown over by a Mustang leaving a parking lot, just as Ford doesn't really have any better an option than the Mustang to represent them in Gr. 4. They are the company that has announced that they will stop selling all traditional cars except the Focus and the Mustang, after all. The cost of a GT alone might be enough to fund your own amateur racing team for an entire season fielding a Mustang. What else are they supposed to do Gr. 4 in, an Explorer? A F-150? A Focus? Given how ridiculously overpowered FF hatchbacks are in Gr. 4 currently, perhaps they should've.

Honestly, the only thing I could look forward to this week was that at least the Mustang won't threaten to make me deaf for two more weeks. And I'll be damned, the engineers and mechanics over at FIA-GT have managed to tame and button down the Mustang to handle like a Gr. 4 car should: obedient, neutral, straightforward, never intimidating, and never surprising. Of course, whether that's a win or not is still up for debate. And before you ask, no. There is no winning with me. Some cars just don't belong on a racetrack. And that's fine, all the way until they are shoehorned onto a racetrack, and I have to drive it.

Discounting the egregious outliers of Gr. 4, namely the FFs and the Mégane Trophy (ever thought the Mégane would be so outlandish it'd appear on a list twice?), the Mustang isn't a bad car at all in Gr. 4. In a "beginner" class that is GT4 and Gr. 4, cars are all rather easy and straightforward to drive as aforementioned, but as a result of this, the cars are all rather indistinct from each other, with only tyre and fuel longevity splitting the hairs between them. Even so, the Mustang is a bit of a rebel: it has quite good straight line speed discounting the FFs, but it pays the price in being quite a fat horse to rein around corners. Even with a full tank of fuel, the first thing that strikes anyone driving the Mustang is how nose heavy the damn thing is, shockingly so for a Gr. 4 car and a 2 door coupé. Despite being an FR, the front tyres will scream torture and tyranny if you attempt to wrestle it into the apex of any basic corner, and I suspect the front tyres won't really last as a result.

The nose heaviness of this car may result in predictable understeer, especially on power, but it does at least mean that the Mustang Gr. 4 is an extremely stable drive. The rear end, in spite of feeling airy and numb, will never give you any problems, especially with a full tank of fuel as ballast. The only way you could even get the rear end to peek out in the Mustang is if you're a bit boorish with the car in 1st, which is never used on track, and 2nd. Downshifting early into second will get the car hairy for a moment, but the car is so disgustingly stable it'd almost sort itself out like a FF, whether you want it to or not. Yes, I'm describing a Mustang... I think?

One other nitpick is that the braking is oddly vague in this car, as the car really didn't seem to want to turn under any sort of braking, all the way until you only have the weight of a toenail over the brake pedal, and that's when the car's nose will suddenly slice into a corner. In a way, it felt like walking barefoot in a swamp: you just never really know what you're gonna find each time you put your foot down.

Between the independent rear axle and the stable handling, about the only recogniseable trait on this "closest to the production Mustang race car" is its engine. True to its American muscle car roots (and irritatingly for a racing car), the Mustang does need to be short shifted slightly to make the most of the powerband, at about 500rpm before its 7,000rpm redline, which the optimistic among us might claim to be a fuel saving measure in this hopelessly gas guzzling engine. Annoyingly, the shift lights aren't calibrated to fully fill when you're supposed to shift, instead being all stiff and sciency and filling near redline, meaning you'll have to dedicate a bit of concentration to break what should be by now a habit of any racing driver and consciously short shift it. And I thought shift lights were supposed to help a racing driver. Being an almighty American V8 making heaps of torque with barely any revs also means that the car is very receptive to short shifting to save fuel, especially coupled with its shockingly low gearing. Because of its low end torque and even lower gearing, you'll be taking Eau Rouge in 6th flat out, and without the pressure of a stopwatch or competitors around you, even 4th through Stavelot wouldn't feel amiss, when most cars take 2nd through it.

Overall, the Mustang has many faults as a Gr. 4 car, but it's not bad, per se. There are entire swarms of cars in Gr. 4 worse than it, namely the AWD cars with neither the power of the FFs for sprint races, the cornering prowess of the RWD cars, or the tyre longevity to compete in endurance racing. The Mustang is certainly serviceable, but you have so many better options in Gr. 4. For close comparison, the C7 Corvette Gr. 4 is better balanced, has more gears, and, in my opinion, sounds better and looks better as well. For driving pleasure or eye candy, I'd take almost any other RWD car in Gr. 4. For these reasons, the Mustang Gr. 4 is a Beater in my books.

But that's not to say it can't provide ultra racing ;)

This week's turn out may be quite small, but I think the races are, in their own way, quite special. The quality certainly didn't take a dip, and the liveries were a touching display of celebrating life.
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Won't be able to run with you all as usual(most likely will be summer holiday for a couple weeks). Anyway, my second most used GR.4 once I bought the game(First goes to the Atenza).

Firstly, the suspension. I stand by my rumblings of it having thee hardest suspension of all the Gr.4 cars. There are bricks in them thar springs! Yeah, it ain't Lynn Swan dodging tackles.
Over curbs/kerbs, it's more Wreck it Ralph or a learner driver or your wife aiming for the potholes when you tell her to watch out.

What it does have, is a tight turn in. Especially, off-throttle turn in. In my opinion, second to the Scirocco, the Mustang with turn that nose on a dime when there's a hairpin. Need it pointing more to get on the throttle for the rear to come around? Release the throttle. Job done. Which brings its next trick. 3rd gear pulls.

From low rpm corner exits, 2nd gear is a toss up. That gear is too short at many circuits. Pluck 3rd and use that V8 torque to move you along. Listen to that toad croaking 302 V8, inhaling fresh virtual air, gaining rpm for its next shift.

Last thing, in this brief review. Polyphony Digital.
Don't know why PD keep messing with this car. It's been a beast in the real world. Since it's Trans Am days a car that car handle and motor in a straight line, they've made it good, bad, good, bad.
Top speed is laughable next to the other Big Three. Yeah, America's sports car(Vette) and a big engined son thrice removed from the Cobra, are super cars in comparison. Tyre wear and fuel ain't anything to write about, when in FIA trim. It's still a good car to drive in cockpit view. Probably one of the best that lets the player place the car perfectly at each apex.
The electric steering communicates exactly where the driver wants to point the nose.

It looks good, goes well. I still love the car and after the last FIA races I did at Nüburgring GP & TokyoESOL, it was an awesome sleeper among the METAs.
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I love this car, always my gr4 go to. I find it has a very precise turn in for a big car and the rear end just kind of follows through the corner. It's a good car for consistant laps and I have surprised a lot of the ff cars in the daily's with it.
I also find it to be a great car to do liveries on as it is such a big canvas. Here are a few I did this week to distract myself.


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Yup, I can't see the link.

I'm curious though, how does the competition go? GT6 offline physics are a lot faster than online, and cars seem to stop a LOT better in GT6 than GTS. I've tested the Spirit R RX-7 around Bathurst on the same tyres in both games, and my GT6 times were some 2 seconds faster.
The Gr. 4 Mustang brought me my first 2 daily race wins, so I can't say it isn't fun. The car has been BoP'd down to a less competitive machine than it had been in earlier updates of the game. But for some reason, it's one of the best cars to apply custom liveries to. One of my new favorites, I haven't even gotten a picture of yet. :lol: The Gr. 3 Mustang is also great for liveries.



My phone buzzes on a Tuesday afternoon: usually a message from Racer telling me the next Car of the Week. Instead, it was Esther the Editor, simply asking, "can you talk?"

An affirmative answer later, she calls. "Hey Esther, 'sup? Been a while."

"Since you could last hold a verbal conversation, yes", came a scratchy, electronic voice through my phone's speaker. Ahh, yes, I missed her cold, biting, slightly condescending for no discernible reason voice. It sounds like things truly have come back to normal. Nothing like getting slapped across the face figuratively with the usual indifference after a vacation to really drill into a person that the dream is over.

"I'll pretend I didn't hear that."

"I have next week's car", she quickly reins me in before I could deviate from the usual work matters.

"Really? What is it?"

"It's the Ford Mustang Group 4."

"Another Must- wait, wasn't that the exact car from last week?"

"The very same."

"Why the heck?"

"The turnout was low, and so were ticket sales, live stream numbers, ratings... Lots of reviewers left comments saying it wasn't a COTW broadcast if Vic wasn't there humiliating everyone throughout the week. So we're giving the fans what they want."

"You've got to be joking."

"I'm not."

I sigh. I've already submitted my review of the Mustang Gr. 4 to Esther, vacation and all. Even though it was shorter than what I usually write, I've said everything I needed to and haven't anything else to add. It wasn't a bad car, per se. I just didn't enjoy driving it that much, and there are alternatives aplenty in Gr. 4 that I'd pick over the Mustang any day. There may be comfort in familiarity, but the news that I'd be driving the same Mustang for a second week that I was completely done with was not the pick-me-up I needed to get back into the working groove.

"Do you... know, how big a draw Vic is?", she gingerly leans into the question, as though trying to be as inoffensive as possible while trying to ascertain if I'm mentally handicapped.

"Of- of course I do...n't". Even when being led with my hand held into a question, I'm stupidly incapable of lying.

I hear a quick, sharp, but quiet rush of air from the other side immediately before she replied, "of course". She sounded a little more upbeat for just those two words. She's laughing. At me. Probably.

"So... do I get this week actually off? I've already written a review and returned the car, so..."

"Oh no you don't. Upper management specifically asked to keep numbers up this week."

Reduced to being mid pack fodder again so the winner gets to look even better, huh? Yeah, sure, I can do that, I guess. It was the bulk of my racing "career", after all.

"Don't worry. I've made arrangements. I'm making sure you write your fingers off for the three weeks I haven't seen you."


"The otorhinolaryngologists in Fortune Valley aren't cheap, you know."

"The what?"

"...ear doctors."

Stupid editors and their fancy pantsy fangly mangly big words...

"Yeah, well, it's not hard to see or hear why. On my first day there I've seen a house with a 240Z explode for no reason. I swear every car there came factory standard equipped with an infinite nitrous tank, and cop car ping pong is almost a national sport there. Ooh, and I've even seen Exiges, Cayman GT4s, Regeras, and 918s in showrooms! If I had more time to sort out export paperwork, I would've bought them all! Okay, maybe just the Exige and Cayman, realistically speaking, but still! I really wish we could test them all at COTW!"

She sighs in response. "Figured you'd like the place. Everyone there has a gambling problem. Should've never sent you there. So what if travel expenses there were free for the month..."

She seemed really irate for some reason, prattling on for way longer than her usual curt and business minded self would've led anyone to expect. "For someone who's as ostensibly suicidal with his conduct as you, you're ironically indestructible. Life really is unfair."

"What was that?", I ask, shocked. I thought she was just venting, but things got too real all of a sudden.

For a while, there was only silence. And this is why I hate talking over a phone, without body language to read. What the hell is going on?

"I'm sorry. I was hoping you didn't catch that. That was way out of line of me."

I suppose it can also be said that it should be easier to lie over the phone, without body language to give one away.

"Catch what?"

"Tomorrow, 7 a.m. Singapore time, Terminal One. Flight to Italy on our usual airline, same tour bus to Maggiore Circuit. Just show up. You'll have cars. Don't be late."

Maggiore again for the first race? Yep, things really have gone back to normal.


Upon my arrival at Maggiore, I was directed to the by now familiar pit building of the racing circuit, although noticeably more crowded than usual. Well, I suppose with a group as small as ours, even one extra person or one extra car would stick out, let alone three cars.

"Ms. Mami will be with you shortly. Here are your cars for this week", an intern parts me with.

Just the three cars before me represent a shockingly wide variety of continents, drivetrains, shapes, and colours, most of which puzzling. The most straightforward of the bunch is the yellow car, the Corvette C7 Gr. 4. I may be a proud owner of a Viper, but I've always had a thing for (modern!) Corvettes as well. While most seem to think that one must always choose a side, Apple or Android, Coke or Pepsi, Viper or Corvette, I like both of the cars. I love the very outspoken competition between them, something I find uniquely American, and seeing how each forces the hand of the other is an absolute treat. I've once said that I see the Viper as the most compelling cartoon character in the automotive world, but what is a character without a show, without a story, without an opponent? Whichever is the "good" or "bad" guy in the story is open to interpretation, but I love them both. To me, choosing between the Viper and the Corvette is akin to having to choose between bras and panties; both are sexy as all hell and life wouldn't be complete without either of them.

For as big a leap forward for the Corvette brand as the C7 had been in terms of build quality, performance, and shockingly, technologically as well, Gr. 4 strips the Corvette down to its raw essentials: big NA V8 up front going through six forward gears to the rear (I mentioned the C7 has 7 gears in my previous Mustang review; I was wrong), exhaling through quad exhausts each so big they push on the limit of sensibility of even caricature. Seriously, I think I could fit my fat arm though those pipes. With GM claiming that they've hit the limit of what is physically possible with an FR platform, I could be looking at what is possibly the last of what can be considered a "real" Corvette, even if it doesn't have round tail lights and pop up headlamps. For as shouty as race cars tend to be, trying to stand out to sell themselves and their sponsors' products, the C7 Gr. 4 is, on the exterior, rather subdued, simple, and restrained. This is, of course, because the C7 Z06 and ZR1 have long been market and bedroom poster mainstays by now, which makes the C7 Gr. 4, based off the base Stingray, look... basic. Castrated. The road cars make the race car look under specced. Let that sink in for a minute.

I briefly mentioned the Corvette being a better American alternative to the Mustang in Gr. 4 in the conclusion of my previous review, and I'm really glad that it's here. Perhaps more than glad, I'm shocked at how frighteningly effective Esther and the head honchos of COTW can be. What I had hoped that they'd have picked up by now however, is my utter disdain for Ferraris, which has clearly gone unnoticed despite my best efforts as I'm staring down a 458 Gr. 4 as well in the trio of cars presented to me today. What, have I not been enough of a jerk in my writing to get that across? And Esther keeps telling me I lack subtlety. Pfft. What does she kn-

"How do you do?", came a familiar voice behind me, accompanied by a samey sound of her heels clacking against the concrete.

"Esther what the hell?", I ask, irritated. "Are we seriously reviewing another Ferrari?"

"Yes, it's a previous Car of the Week. I've assembled a collection here of previous Cars of the Week to get you caught up on reviews. Is there a problem?"

"It's a Ferrari!" And with that, I've said all that I needed to in what should be a very self explanatory answer, but my anger wasn't satiated by just that, especially since it had been painfully obvious that I had been too obtuse with the topic at hand. "Have you already forgotten the utter crap storm that was Week 100 after I submitted my review? The threats! The cease and desists! The lawsuits! The blatant, decades long practices of overstating their power and understating their mass! How we can never test a car as it would be delivered to customers without Ferrari execs trying to stick their spanners into our business! These guys are too busy getting off to the image of themselves they put out to the public to be interested in an honest review and the truth! I would make better use of my time reviewing toilet rolls than Ferraris!"

Esther closes her eyes and sighs, being made to remember the legal tussle she had been dragged into as the editor. "I understand. And I'm making sure that doesn't happen again today."


"Just drive and write. Do your thing and trust me."

"You sure about this? As much as I dislike Ferraris, lots of people evidently do love them, and I don't want us to be blacklisted by-"

"Very. Legally. Sure."

"It's... amazing, the strings you can pull as an editor...", I trail off, bewildered.

She sighs with slight exasperation and a flash of anger, probably from the untold mountains of paperwork and arm twisting she's had to do in the office to make this happen. Though, just as quickly as it appeared, it was buried by her usual emotionless face, and with it, she says: "Don't make me pull yours."

I am actually scared.

"So... what's this car? I don't think I've ever seen it before", I decide to change the subject before I get strung up for asking too many wrong questions, motioning towards a white car sitting amongst the Gr. 4 Corvette and 458, almost trying to disguise itself as one.

"Oh, this...", she hesitates a little, this time doubt cracking the calm in her usual demeanour, and more than slightly, though I'm starting to expect it. "I was hoping you could tell me more about it, actually. I don't think I've seen a BMW like this before. Logistics must've messed something up, because I specifically ordered a Toyota."

"OH MY GOD!" And just like that, everything clicked into place, and the punch line fired. I did a complete 180 and broke down into uncontrollable laughter while Esther stands there, oblivious.

"Is that a Supra?!"

"Um, that's what I ordered, yes..."

"Who did this? Give them a raise!", I continue through gasps of air and hysterical fits of laughter.

"I don't... get it."

After I calmed down, I tried my best to explain to Esther what the car was. The Supra name is perhaps the most synonymous with the monstrous fourth generation car, chassis code A80, perhaps better known as the Mark IV. Its natural and handsome looks made it an instant hit in its starring role in the Fast and Furious movie and Gran Turismo franchise, inspiring an entire generation of kids and implanting them with a fondness for the Supra better than any marketing ploy by any automaker could. It hid an engine so ridiculously under stressed under the hood, it rivaled "Godzilla", the R34 GT-R, as an aftermarket tuner darling as well, capable of quadruple digit power figures just as readily as the R34. I think that in the eyes of Supra fans, the A80 is ironically the definitive Toyota sports car, for being the only rebellious, certifiably insane member of the rich lineage of the Toyota family of cars: usually sensible, discreet, cheap entry level cars that are made to blend in and be as inoffensive and out of thought as much as was mechanically possible.

The A80 died off with the emerging set of emissions law in 2002 that, in one fell swoop, killed off much beloved, legendary Japanese sports cars such as the R34 GT-R, S15 Silvia, and FD RX-7. As soon as it was discontinued, fans had eagerly awaited a successor for Toyota to show off their uncharacteristic, never before or since seen rebellious side again. But, just as the A80 had subverted expectations for what its name signified, the A90 Supra arrived as barely more than a badge-engineered BMW Z4, sharing the same platform, same engine, same assembly lines, and even many instantly recogniseable infotainment and interior bits. I'm not even sure if the turn signals work on the A90. It was a a master class showcase of the rift between manufacturer and market, despite repeated aggressive claims about how Toyota has closely collaborated with Polyphony Digital to develop the next Supra for fans of Gran Turismo. But perhaps the A90 being so rebelliously different from the A80 is a sign of the times. A conscious decision by Toyota knowing that even they cannot risk the financial burden of developing a Straight 6 engine from the ground up for a niche at best market. Or it might simply be the realisation that most fans who gotta ask for a Supra, can't afford a Supra.

Given this debacle of "subverting expectations", I expect the A100 Supra to be an all electric Daihatsu Kei truck, and the A110, a pen.

But perhaps its the fans and their misconceptions about the A80 that has led to the outrage over the A90. As many previous COTW reviewers have pointed out in Week 22, and later echoed by Nat in Week 94, the A80 Supra is far from the all conquering sports car that its fans seem to think that it is. It is a lofty, heavy, grunty grand tourer carrying an engine for GT500 homologation purposes; it's not a sports car. I guess that's to say that the A90 only really stinks to fans of the A80 who misunderstand it; taken on its own, the A90 is an okay car. I think its looks are a little underwhelming, though it's at least inoffensive and entirely subjective. I found the production A90 an inconsolable tail wagging little monster in my short test drive of it when it first launched, just like the F82 M4, actually, which means I'm as apathetic towards the Supra nameplate as ever before.

It's excruciatingly rare that we review aftermarket, modified cars in COTW, so when we do, the car is usually a pretty big deal. I'll admit, I don't know much about the Supra culture, so I'm going to have to do my own research about what's the big deal about this aftermarket Supra that's sitting amongst the two Gr. 4 cars today. The road car can wait, however - we're racing Gr. 4 Mustangs today, and given that we're on an Italian circuit, of course the only logical choice would be to bring out the Corvette for race 1.

As mentioned in my review of the Mustang Gr. 4, the Corvette Gr. 4 is a way better balanced car. Its mass balance is still skewed towards the front, sure, but nowhere near the extent of the Mustang. And while stable as all FR Gr.4 cars are, the Corvette is more skittish when its limits are exceeded, either via bumps, or if you brain fart and dip one side of the wheels into the grass - it certainly won't pull itself back into a straight line like the Mustang seemingly would with its ludicrous stability - a more than fair trade for the sharper turn in the Corvette has over the Mustang and the acres of difference in stopping distances, while having way less understeer on corner exit.

The Corvette does have a slightly taller gearing than the Mustang and less power with BoP applied, meaning it does lose out slightly in the straights to the Mustang. Why the C7 in Gr. 4 trim doesn't have seven forward gears when the road car came with either a 7 speed manual, or an 8 speed auto, I will never know. Gr. 4 cars seem to inherit the number of gears from their road going counterparts, being more strict in regulation in comparison to Gr. 3 and enforcing cars to be closest to their production guises than any other category; it's why the Evo X has a paltry 5 speed box and the 458 and M4 have 7 speeds, after all. Not only would more gears help with acceleration, but it would also help with fuel efficiency as well.

As is with the Mustang, the V8 in the Corvette does need to be slightly short shifted to make the most of its powerband, also at about 6,500rpm, and because it makes peak power and torque lower than what you'd expect of a racing engine, it's just as receptive to short shifting to save fuel as the Mustang as well, though you really shouldn't be counting on either to sip fuel. Because the 'Vette is better balanced and weighs less after and especially before BoP, it is better on longevity. So, unless you find yourself in the ridiculously exacting situation of racing in a ludicrously wide open track with long straights for a short enough duration that pitting isn't necessary, the Corvette is the much, much better race car than the Mustang. if you needed anyone to tell you that.

Race 2 was at Spa, and Spa being a racetrack that heavily favours a MR layout, I decided to go with the 458 of the duo of cars that had been presented to me this week.

While many people flock to and fawn over any car bearing the Ferrari badge, petrolhead or not, me personally my initial, immediate, and only response to them is to either fight or flight; I'm either racing them, or I am staying the HELL away from them. However, now that I'm being forced to put aside that initial and would be only response, I have nothing preventing me from admitting publicly that the 458 is balls achingly beautiful. It's so well penned and well designed that I think it speaks to the 2 year old kid inside every petrolhead as coherently and compellingly as someone going through a mid-life crisis. Something about its shape is just inherently evocative, all without resorting to unsightly, shouty, tryhard styling exercises. One look at it, and you know it's a Ferrari. This, along with the 488, is the pinnacle of mid engine supercar design, oozing organic "soul" and "passion". It makes the aforementioned C8 Corvette and the NC1 "NSX" look like chumps, complete clowns in comparison to this exquisite form. This I daresay is mid engine supercar design bible. This is how it's done. And this is the standard to which every other MR supercar should be held.

I love the looks of this so much that even the minimalistic aero bits of Gr. 4 competition spoil the clean lines and looks of the 458 for me somewhat. The Gr. 4 car is at an uncomfortable middle ground between the classy looking road car and the balls to the wall GT3 racing car, which only improves on the base design with flared fenders and more aggressive bespoke aero parts. In comparison, the Gr. 4 458 seemingly uses off the shelf go fast bits, and as a result of such practices, feels very unlike a Ferrari to look at, if I may make such an assertion without knowing much about the brand.

Inside the car, you get a very weird mix of the 458 GT3 and the road car: you have a clear rear window through which you can actually see the engine displayed in full glory; a rarity for racing cars, but you also have a rear facing camera fed through a screen in the centre console à la 458 GT3, as are the gauges, steering wheel, etc.. Upon starting the car, the passionate swan song of the NA V8 of the car is more than enough to purge every other car from your mind. This is a songstress of an engine, and it by proxy alone makes every other car on the grid sound like unrefined cavemen breathing through teeth with dirt and stones in them. Most drugs will require repeated use to become addictive, but the engine note of the 458 is addictive as a greeting. It's the sort of noise, the sort of car, that gets kids to love cars and turn adults into slaves of the brand barely capable of rational thought.

I'm going to need to turn up my prejudices and biases to eleven to save me from this session at Spa...

To drive, the 458 is as sublime and natural as the exterior like I had hoped. Turn-in isn't quite effortless, but what it is is engaging. The steering feel of the 458 is, quite simply, sublime. It is incredibly direct, immediate, and sits right in the happy medium between being lightweight and communicative. Going down Brock's Skyline at Bathurst in my own testing, I felt like I was running my fingers over the asphalt, and at no point was I ever left to guess what the front tyres were doing or feeling. It's one of those cars that is so readily capable and fiendishly persuasive, I can't help but to clown around a little each and every time I drive one.

Like the C7 Corvette, the 458 is the last of it's kind, being the last NA flagship Ferrari, replaced by the turbocharged 488. This engine, as much a treat as a NA V8 revving to 9,200rpm may be, has a narrow powerband, especially right after jumping out of American V8 muscle. This engine is so hopelessly gutless in low revs that it doesn't even engage traction control at launch on Hard tyres with BoP applied. I haven't driven the road car yet, nor do I plan to, but if this torque curve is in any way representative of the road going 458, suddenly the turbos don't seem as evil as before, even if it muffles the sound a bit. Not only do you have to rev the nuts off the car, but it runs out of breath just as you get to the good stuff. I keep bouncing off the limiter just as the car really starts to pull, and think to myself, "that's it?". Shifting this thing at the absolute limit still feels like short shifting the car. Looking at the torque curve of the car, it looked almost as if some intern tried to photocopy the torque curve it should've had, but misaligned the paper on the scanner, and the result was what we got in the 458 Gr. 4:

I didn't think it was possible, but I found an NA engine peakier than a Rotary.

Thankfully, the gearing on the 458 is spread out more like a normal road car, meaning it has taller ratios than the rather unnatural feeling Mustang and Corvette. For some context, you'll hit 94km/h (58mph) in 1st gear, which is 3rd gear territory for the Mustang. This makes 1st not only useable on the track, but an absolute requirement. The tall gearing of even just the first gear alone makes corner exit out of tight corners, such as the Bus Stop Chicane and La Source of Spa a pleasant breeze, with 2nd to 6th being appreciably short ratios, ensuring it pulls all the way to 7th. In conjunction with the sky high redline of 9,200rpm, making peak power at 9,000rpm, and actually having seven forward cogs like the road car, top speed is a very strong trait of the 458. Despite having seven forward gears, you won't ever go near it even in a high speed track like Spa, and is there mostly as an overdrive gear for fuel saving rather than top speed runs.

And, this is only what I've heard from other racers, but the 458 Gr. 4 is DISGUSTINGLY good on fuel if you short shift it, so much so it's in the same fuel economy conversation as the Mégane Trophy. When I revved each gear out however, I've shockingly managed to achieve even worse fuel economy than the Viper in this. And unlike its moody, twitchy GT3 cousin this is halfway based on, the 458 Gr. 4 will burn its front tyres faster than the rears on the default Brake Bias, meaning it's a stable and predictable drive even in an endurance event, in contrast to the urban horror story that is the 458 GT3.

Between the left nut and kidney parting good looks of the car, its addictive soundtrack, its sublime steering, sweet gearing, competitive cornering capabilities, and overall stability of the car, the 458 is truly one of the best Gr. 4 cars in my opinion, missing out only in straight line acceleration, because if it had that, this category wouldn't be called "Gr. 4". It'd be called "Gr. 458 and Friends". This isn't me being bribed to sing praises for the car, and no one has me at gunpoint. The car is genuinely that good. You can disbelieve me if you want. Hell, I wouldn't even believe me if I were you. There's no real point to reviewing a Ferrari. It's just that I got to drive and race a car against my talented friends. And that's at least half the fun every week.

Race 3 was at Dragon Trail Seaside, and Race 4, Laguna Seca. I drove the RC F Gr. 4 and the Viper Gr. 4 for those races, respectively. I know those cars weren't previous Cars of the Week, but they made for interesting and close comparison to the Mustang in their own ways, and I couldn't resist the temptation of variety, especially since Esther already readied them as backup cars in case something (legally) went wrong, so to just quickly touch on them:

The RC F is a FR NA V8 like the Mustang, and with a luxury coupé silhouette, it's more similar in dimensions to the Mustang than anything else I've pit against the lone pony car in Gr. 4 thus far. It can hold its own against the Mustang in the straights, while being much more pleasant to manoeuvre through corners. The RC F's V8 makes everything up top, like a racing engine should, and it was really pleasant to wring each gear out while enjoying the full spectrum of sounds of the endangered species of an engine. Both the brake and accelerator pedals are wonderfully proportionate and predictable to operate, and it will outbrake a Mustang any day of the week and hang around the outside of turns alongside Mustangs no problem, even if driven by Vic. It hides its front heaviness well, but when push comes to shove, its front end will be the first to go, and you may or may not be prepared to deal with it when the time comes because of how well it masks the front heaviness under optimal driving. I may or may not have had a mishap at the Chicane of Death and choked away the battle of the week due to this. Simply to drive, I'd take the Japanese option no question, but the RC F is so ugly that it's probably the only car I'd prefer the Mustang over, simply as something to look at.

When driving the Mustang last week, I thought it was already quite an extreme case of a tyre shredder and fuel burner, but the Viper one ups the Mustang in both departments, thanks to its trademark 8.4L V10 engine bulging through the snake's front end, which likes to be revved out, making shifts a no brainer affair. Ironically, despite having to swallow a way bigger engine, the Viper actually feels the most balanced of America's big three, perhaps due to having its cockpit set so far back. Because of this and the tiny windscreen of the car however, visibility out of the Viper is like trying to peek out of a piggy bank. It's quite the monster in a straight line in its own right, albeit with a very low top speed due to having woefully short gears comparable to the Mustang and an even lower redline. It's a very capable sprint racer, but the Viper has a shorter life expectancy than the Mustang not only in the market, but I suspect on a racetrack as well.

And then, Race 5 is held at Toukyo East. It was finally time to bring out the Zupr4... at least, some higher up at COTW thought it'd be a good idea to.

I opened the left side door of the Supra out of muscle memory, half in a trance from the tiredness of having driven so many cars back to back to back. I plopped into the plush red leather seats, fastened my seatbelts, still in a trance, and then put my hands on the steering... wheel?

...where the heck is the wheel? Instead, I'm staring down a leather clad glovebox and air con vents where the steering wheel should be.

Oh, silly me, I must've been given a JDM spec Supra to further differentiate it from the German Z4. Now I feel out of place and stupid for having worn my racing attire to drive this road car. As I rounded the car from the front, Rick's Mustang Gr. 4 blasted past the driver's side door of the temporary pit lane of this section of Toukyo Expressway, angry V8 growling, popping, and echoing off the tiny two lane tunnel, the high pitched whine of the straight cut gears of the racing car perfectly in sync with the engine, almost as though a hyena possessed by the unholy gargle of the V8. Then an "NSX" Gr. 4 did the same. Then a GT-R Gr. 4. Then another Mustang Gr. 4. Then a 458 Gr. 4. And then a Cayman GT4 Clubsport.

I'm just not going to be able to get into this car, am I? Why am I scheduled to be on the track at the same time as these Gr. 4 cars?

I radioed in to reconfirm my testing schedule... well, there wasn't much to confirm, as we only have one race in the one time slot we've managed to bribe the Japanese officials into closing the public expressway for our reckless personal amusement the Japanese government has granted us to promote tourism in Japan by hosting a sanctioned, publicised race on closed off Japanese expressways to show off the beauty, grandeur, and bustling nature of Japan's cityscape.

"What do you mean I'm running this car together with the Gr. 4 cars in the same race?!"

*sounds of bona fide, sanctioned, regulated racing cars blasting by at speeds in excess of 250km/h*

"Do you have ANY IDEA how dangerous that is?!"

*muffled radio noises*

"This is a road car!"

Once I actually got a window big enough to hurriedly slip myself into the driver's side seat of this RHD car, I'm greeted by the pinnacle of grand touring luxuries in lieu of roll cages, shift lights, racing displays, fire extinguishers, killswitches, harnesses, bucket seats, and other such necessities one might expect to find and hope to have when driving fender to fender with GT4 machinery. All I had to ensure my safety were the stock car gauges, full colour HUD displaying my instantaneous speed, automatic rain sensing wipers, heated 14 way power adjustible sports seats with memory and 4 way lumbar and 2 way bolstering adjustment, gloveboxes, charging sockets, cupholders, leather steering wheel, carpets, an 8.8 inch centre screen, lane departure warning with steering "assist" when racing on public roads, and a whole host of other useless crap on a racetrack. In spite of being a tuner model, the only thing that didn't look stock are the addition of a rear wing, extended front lip, front canards, dropped ride height, and racing slicks. Without roll cages to protect me or buckets and harnesses to hold me in place, or a racing spec Kevlar composite fuel tank to resist punctures in a bad crash, I guess I have to rely on the most tried, tested, and foolproof safety practice of "just don't crash, then". At Toukyo. E A S Y.

Once the disastrous practice period was over, I pulled over back into the pit lane, miraculously still alive with minimal damage to those around me. We at COTW are oddly stringent on the most random of things, such as following FIA regulations specifying all cars must start the race with a full tank of fuel, which is 100ℓ - even if the road car doesn't come with a 100ℓ tank. They'll find a way to compress a hundred litres of fuel into the car, and you'll just have to hope and trust that nothing explodes when you drive the car. The safety of their drivers, though? まぁ、死んじゃったら、死ぬ。

Anyway, I pull up for the refuel, sitting there until the pit crew gives me board flip. It was as automatic and boring a procedure as waiting for your scheduled appointment of psychotherapy when the inconsiderate butthole with the slot before you is bawling their hopeless, pathetic, insignificant little eyes out half an hour after their session is supposed to end. Or at least, it would've been just like that, if the pit crew didn't have to manually jack my car up at all four corners with trolley jacks to swap out the wheels for fresh tyres. Through the PTSD inducing wiggle of my car as I shook endlessly in a tunnel, I could just about make out my peers in their sanctioned, fully up to spec racing cars simply pushing a button and extending their pneumatic jacks of their Gr. 4 cars, and the realisation of how unfair life truly could be made me long for psychotherapy all over again.

Le Brocq by Pickle_Rick_1974 Download Link
Many more Aussie V8 Mustang Liveries on his profile.​

While listening to my car getting drilled in all four corners five times each by teams of men, I saw in my not very aerodynamic side mirror the refueling guy, fuel tank in both his hands, hesitate motionless for a moment, before he approached my driver's side door. I couldn't hear what he might've been saying through the sounds of the tyre changes and other racing cars driving by, already done with their pre race preparations, nor could I see if he was indeed speaking or not through the helmet he was wearing. The only way he could communicate with me was through motioning with his head, with both his hands hugging the monstrously heavy looking tank of fuel. Already frustrated at my own plight and invoking my right to be an butthole as a BMW driver, I press on the very luxurious plastic switch to wind down my very-much-glass and not-at-all resin windows to hiss, "WHAT?"

"Your fuel cap isn't open, man."

"My WH- OH!"

With all other hands busy, I was forced to partake in my own pit stop. I turned off the engine, undid the three point seatbelt, and stepped out of the car to press on the fuel door and unscrew the fuel cap before he could refuel with his ludicrously impractical looking tank, letting gravity alone pump the car. I got back into the car as the tyre changing crew stood around watching the car get pumped full of fluids after they had done drilling her and letting her fall limp on all fours onto the ground. When all was said and done, what should've been a sub seven second affair for racing cars took about two minutes, quite a time loss if this were an actual endurance race, and a gap I'd like to think even Vic can't close on me in the four laps we were about to run.

Once I took my place on the grid, I was greeted by what can only be assumed to be angry stares and stifled giggling of my competitors behind the helmets and closed visors that followed me as I took my 9th place on the grid. Joke's on them, because while they've had to sit on the grid for ten minutes, their tyres must've gotten cold, while mine were fresh from my parade lap! Pro strats!

Rather shockingly, or rather, spitefully, we had a stacked grid of 12 for this race, myself included. I know the office wanted a fuller grid this week to pump numbers, but having to dodge drivers of dubious skills when I'm in a tuned road car was not very... what's the word... safe? Smart? Ideal? Prudent? All four?

Delivering on the Supra's tradition of subverting expectations, the Supra Gr. 4 has ZERO straight line speed. When the lights went green, I could've sworn it was a 2.0L Inline 4 under the hood of the car instead of a turbo Straight 6, as the cornering cars like the NC1 "NSX" blew past me with the same nonchalance as established straight line monsters like the R35 GT-R. If the Supra is supposed to give people who played the original Gran Turismo games on the Playstation 1 a nostalgia hard on, then the Gr. 4 Supra might as well have come factory standard to endlessly loop Soul Coughing - Super Bon Bon from its 500W 12-speaker JBL 81 HiFi Surround Sound system: "Move aside, and let the man go through, let the man go through."

Move up, and let the man go, let the man go.

While the road car has eight forward gears, the straight cut, non-synchronous sequential gearbox in this car identical to what's in the Gr. 4 cars my opponents were driving has just six, which might excuse its abysmal straight line performance, if the aforementioned "NSX" and GT-R didn't also make do with six forward gears. And while both of the flagship sports cars of Honda and Nissan don't sound particularly amazing, they're at least distinct and instantly recogniseable. The Supra's engine note is just... a muffled, generic noise, the engine equivalent of having the synopsis of a movie read to you by Microsoft Sam instead of actually watching the movie for yourself. It tells you what revs the engine is doing, and nothing more. There are no pops, no bangs, no sense of occasion, no sense of identity, and the only whines and whooshes you'll get are from the straight cut gears and the twin scroll turbo. It's not exciting, it's not distinct, not outstanding, it's not... special. And it's always an especially sad moment when a sports car, inherently a special thing, whose selling point is in being special, has an engine note that falls flat and sounds completely uninspired. It's a bit too serious, a bit too suited up and proper. A bit too refined. A bit too... BMW.

Kinda reminds me of Esther, actually.

The real strengths of the Supra are solely reserved for the corners, as was already apparent in my testing session, and will be immediately apparent when you brake for your very first corner. The car stops astoundingly well, and it shows no letup in the retardation at any travel speed, at any engine revs. It. Will. Stop. And because of the car's impeccable balance as well, you can brake ludicrously late and chuck the car into a corner at comical speeds, and it will cling like a psychotic ex-girlfriend you haven't seen since 2002. The tyres are surprisingly gradual with how they let go in this car, and even when you overspeed into a corner, the car doesn't simply go limp and understeer wide; it will squeal gently and mostly hold the line, giving you plenty of time and room to back off the throttle to subvert disaster. On power for corner exit, it maintains the same composure and assuredness, never showing excessive amounts of on power understeer. It is shockingly neutral, so much so that it's probably what a Gr. 4 FD RX-7 would feel like to drive if it existed... and had thrice its body rigidity. It's that good. I can't find a single thing to even nitpick about this car's cornering capabilities and behaviour. It's shockingly capable, while offering a degree of tractability and neutrality that I have never felt in any car before. It's a proper cornering machine, this.

Also, in the heat of the race, I performed the ultimate test to ascertain if the A90 Supra is indeed a BMW. I therefore turned on the hazard lights to thank Nismo for a bump draft that gifted me TEN kilometres per hour, to give you an idea of how slow this thing is in a straight line:

The hazard lights work! This is certifiably not a BMW! Where else would you go but COTW for such in-depth, thorough testing and review?!

(Also, Nate, don't think your subtle flex of having tyre stickers on your Gr. 4 car went unnoticed...)

So in summary, it's a 2 door Toyota coupé that's hopeless in a straight line, sounds as exciting a to ride as a German engineering textbook, and is impeccably well balanced and craves corners. It's basically an 86, then? Acceleration aside, this "leather-clad elephant in the room" is surprisingly capable of dishing it out to the Gr. 4 racing cars, especially in the twisty bits. And THAT'S saying something. This is a seriously impressive bit of kit, especially with how little it has changed from the road car visibly. Fit this thing with street tyres, a lift kit, and a gearbox for street use, and I reckon you could drive this racecar humiliating stunner of a car on public roads without anyone batting an eye. If the production A90 were even remotely like this, I might've actually become a fan of the Supra.

Now to just find out which tuning company was responsible for this, and find out the price of converting a regular Supra into this spec...

"You can't buy it", says Esther.

"Wait, WHAT?"

"I'm sorry, did I stutter? I was under the impression you have fully recovered your hearing. You were describing the sounds of the Supra in quite the detail."

"Then what was the point of me reviewing it?!"

"You can't exactly walk into a dealership and buy a seventh generation Chevrolet Corvette or a Ferrari 458 now either, can you?"

"Y-yeah, but I mean- at least..." *confused noises*
GTS Nordschleife hot lap STOCK Porsche 356 A1500 GS GT Carrera Speedster '56: 09.05.161

What a fun little box. Feels almost fast some times. During replay it literally looks like a bug/beetle. Quite tricky under braking from "high" speeds though. Likes to slide. I liked it.

Verdict: possibly sleeper, because of its age.

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The 356A GS/GT featured in Gran Turismo Sport is equipped with the hottest engine for 1956: The Type 547 Fuhrman ‘Cammer’ Engine.

This was Porsche’s first engine built from the ground up. Porsche needed something more powerful than the Volkswagen based 1500-Super engine for the 550 Spyder. So they developed this dual plug, dual carb, 4-cam, 1500cc engine making over 100HP. This engine made it’s way into the 356 Carrera and made the 356 a much more raw, high performance sports car.
The Carrera was available in GS trim and GS/GT trim. GS was the deluxe trim and GS/GT was the gran turismo/track package. The most stripped, bare bones, and lightweight 356.

The car in GT Sport (Porsche 356A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster ‘56) is really the Porsche GT3 of it’s day. Only a handful were built in this configuration making this the most sought after of all 356s. The price in GT Sport reflects the value of GS/GT Speedsters in real life.

Although the roll bar was an option back then, I really hate how it looks on this car (it’s way too tall), it just interrupts the Speedster’s beautiful shape. :grumpy:
The 356A GS/GT featured in Gran Turismo Sport is equipped with the hottest engine for 1956: The Type 547 Fuhrman ‘Cammer’ Engine.
View attachment 966686
This was Porsche’s first engine built from the ground up. Porsche needed something more powerful than the Volkswagen based 1500-Super engine for the 550 Spyder. So they developed this dual plug, dual carb, 4-cam, 1500cc engine making over 100HP. This engine made it’s way into the 356 Carrera and made the 356 a much more raw, high performance sports car.
The Carrera was available in GS trim and GS/GT trim. GS was the deluxe trim and GS/GT was the gran turismo/track package. The most stripped, bare bones, and lightweight 356.
View attachment 966694
The car in GT Sport (Porsche 356A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster ‘56) is really the Porsche GT3 of it’s day. Only a handful were built in this configuration making this the most sought after of all 356s. The price in GT Sport reflects the value of GS/GT Speedsters in real life.

Although the roll bar was an option back then, I really hate how it looks on this car (it’s way too tall), it just interrupts the Speedster’s beautiful shape. :grumpy:

Interesting. And I very much agree on the roll bar.

I am no fan of these cars... I think they look like a upturned bath tub someone put wheels and headlights on.

Saying that, even in the modern era there are cars with 1.5 litre four cyl.fuel injected n/a dohc 16 valve motors that do not make 100hp!

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