Car of the Week | Week 46: 2 O'Clock (Peugeot 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport '14)

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Singapore
Singapore
XSquareStickIt
Hello and welcome to the GT7 Car Of The Week thread, where everyone is invited to participate!

COTW Outlined Solid fixed.png


Each week, a chosen car will be raced and reviewed by us folk here at Car of the Week. Is there a hidden, overlooked, and underappreciated gem of a car that you never would have never noticed or thought to try otherwise? A car you thought would be so amazing, but wound up being terrible? Or perhaps the car is exactly as good (or bad!) as everyone says it is! Who knows for certain? YOU will, if you join us in our weekly adventures to find out if a car is a Sleeper, a Beater, or anything in–between!

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca_.jpeg


Racing with us isn't a requirement to participate here on this thread. We we will host two lobbies over the course of a week to help us form an opinion of the car. They're functionally identical, so pick whichever one works for you. The lobbies' name will be: Car Of The Week (Week No.): (Car name). To make it easier to find our lobbies, I strongly encourage you add the hosts of these lobbies such that you can filter by "Show Rooms With Friends Only".



The Tuesdays Americas Lobby

The Saturday Asia/Oceania also kinda European Lobby


  • Tyres: The car's default
  • Tracks: Voted by lobby participants
  • BoP/ Settings Disabled: ON

BoP/ Settings Disabled will mean that racecars with categories will have their power and mass adjusted according to prevailing BoP, and all other settings will be temporarily reverted to stock settings, including road cars, so don't worry about showing up with a perfect tune! Please do note that cars with widebodies or engine swaps will not be eligible for these BoP enabled races! You can still apply liveries or custom body parts for visual flair, though!

Racers of all skill levels are encouraged to join us, as our regulars here represent a variety of skill levels, which means that battles for positions can happen wherever you are on the grid!

Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit__2.jpeg


And now, for some rules. Boo! I know!

Rule #1: Don't be a dick!

This applies not only on the thread here governed by GTPlanet, but also on the racetrack as well. Our regulars here are a tightly knit circle of close friends, and while we do like to get our elbows out in competition and strive to be better racers in the process, we do so in a reasonably clean and absolutely non–malicious manner.

Of course, a bit of contact is inevitable in racing, especially in road cars. As a saying that predates my participation in this group goes, our style is "Cleaner than BTCC, dirtier than F1". If you have initiated a contact with someone else that resulted in notable repercussions, it is entirely up to you to make it up to the victim, be it giving the position back, apologising, or via other avenues that the GTP's AUP will not permit me to spell out here. And of course, if you know the contact wasn't intentional, try not to take it too personally. We are, after all, a casual group of friends looking to have fun.

Is the rule vague? Is it up for interpretation? Absolutely! Hence why Rule #1 is simply, "Don't be a dick!" We're here to have fun. We try to be as inclusive as possible across all skill levels. To foster and preserve that casual, laid back, and inclusive atmosphere, we all have a duty to exercise a bit of leeway and trust in each other. If you're looking for some omega serious and absolutely clean racing, I'm afraid COTW may not be able to appease your thirst for competition. Maybe try looking at the GT7 Leagues & Online Racing subforum where this thread isn't in?

Of course, you are free to—encouraged, even—to disagree with a review or an opinion in this thread. But the same rules apply: don't be a dick. There's no need for personal attacks against a person whose opinion you disagree with. I mean, I hope this didn't need spelling out, but judging by some of the other posts on this very angry forum... oof.

And yep, that's it. That's the only rule! Have fun!

The Reserved Car List:

Salar de Uyuni_.jpeg


This list includes cars that aren't readily accessible, chosen by our regulars here at COTW to be featured at a later date. This just serves as a shortlist for other regulars who are yet to have the car to prioritise buying. Of course, participation isn't mandatory, even for regulars, and we welcome comparison cars every week, so there is no requirement to own these cars.

Member:
Car:
Acquisition/
Est. Price
When to Feature
ObeliskToyota Tundra TRD Pro '19
&
Ford F-150 Raptor '11
Brand Central
62,000 Cr. & 95,000 Cr.
Week of March 25th '24
Alex p.Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer '29LCD/
13,000,000 Cr.
Est. Late 2024
SomePlayaDudePorsche Carrera GT '04Invite/Menu Book 39/
2,300,000 Cr.
???

Useful Links:

COTW decals: COTW Decal (Solid) | COTW Decal (Outline) | COTW Decal (Solid Mask) | COTW Decal (Outline Mask)

Gran Turismo 6 Car of the Week
Gran Turismo Sport Car of the Week
Forza Motorsport 7 Car of the Week

Forza Horizon 5 Car of the Week

Gran Turismo 7 Car of the Week Archive:

Week 1: Mazda RX-7 GT-X '90 (FC) — XSquareStickIt
Week 2: Daihatsu Copen Active Top '02@Obelisk
Week 3: Chevrolet Corvette Stingray '20 (C8)@SomePlayaDude
Week 4: Jeep Willys MB '45@Alex p.
Week 5: Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM '19@Baron Blitz Red
Week 6: Toyota Prius G '09@Jackattack-i
Week 7: Radical SR3 SL '13 — Spec Racing Club
Week 8: Honda Civic Type R (EK) Touring Car@Nismonath5
Week 9: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V GSR '98@CamGearz
Week 10: Dallara SF23 Super Formula '23@Pickle_Rick74
Week 11: Nissan SILVIA spec-R Aero (S15) '02@Racer283
Week 12: Chaparral 2J '70@Obelisk
Week 13: Genesis X GR3@RobboGTAddict
Week 14: Mini Clubman Vision Gran TurismoMemes, Jack
Week 15: DMC DeLorean S2 '04@Vic Reign93
Week 16: Mazda Demio XD Touring '15@McClarenDesign
Week 17: Abarth 595 Esseesse '70@Alex p.
Week 18: Toyota FT-1 VGT Gr.3@SomePlayaDude
Week 19: Toyota GR010 HYBRID '21@RX8 Racer
Week 20: Volkswagen ID. R '19@Baron Blitz Red
Week 21: Daihatsu Copen RJ Vision Gran Turismo@Jackattack-i
Week 22: Toyota Alphard Executive Lounge '18@hyperspeed980
Week 23: Volkswagen Polo GTI '14@Nismonath5
Week 24: Gran Turismo RACING KART 125 Shifter@Pickle_Rick74
Week 25: Porsche 911 Turbo (930) '81@Racer283
Week 26: Toyota Ambulance Himedic '21@Obelisk
Week 27: Mazda RX-7 Spirit R Type A (FD) '02 — XSquareStickIt
Week 28: Mazda 787B '91@RX8 Racer
Week 29: Mazda Roadster NR-A '22 (ND) — Spec Racing Club
Week 30: RE Amemiya FD3S RX-7@RX8 Racer
Week 31: Honda S660 '15@Obelisk
Week 32: Dodge Challenger SRT Demon '18@Vic Reign93
Week 33: BMW M3 Sport Evolution '89@Yard_Sale
Week 34: Mini Cooper S '05 — Kids are cruel, Jack
Week 35: Autobianchi A112 Abarth '85@Alex p.
Week 36: Dodge Viper GTS '13@SomePlayaDude
Week 37: Alfa Romeo Giulia GTAm '20@Baron Blitz Red
Week 38: De Tomaso Mangusta '69@Nismonath5
2023 Car of the Year — BMW M3 Sport Evolution '89

Week 39: Mazda RX-8 Spirit R '12@RX8 Racer
Week 40: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV GSR '96@05XR8
Week 41: Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo@Obelisk
Week 42: Mercedes-AMG GT S '15 — Celebrating Gran Turismo Sport
Week 43: Ferrari F8 Tributo '19@Pickle_Rick74
Week 44: Suzuki Jimny XC '18@Racer283
Week 45: Porsche 911 GT3 RS (992) '22@Vic Reign93
Week 46: Peugeot 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport '14@Skyrocket44
 

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What better way to start the first week of GT7 COTW with a car that has a "7" in its name, the 1990 Mazda RX-7 GT-X?

Gran Turismo® 7_20220419204525.png


In truth, this isn't just about GT7's COTW; the oblique orchestrator of Forza Horizon 5's Car of the Week, @Obelisk , has reached out to me to feature the very same car over in Mexico! You'll have to do something called the Super 7 to get it in Horizon, which Obelisk overtly assures me is an easy task, though here in PDLand, obtaining the older brap mobile requires players to go Beyond the Horizon, so to speak. Specifically, achieving all golds in the mission set, "Beyond the Horizon", will net you a factory fresh time capsule with nothing on its odometer, though if you like your car a little more broken in, it's periodically available in the Used Car Dealer for around 50,700 Credits. A monumental price hike from GTS to be sure, but that increase looks tame in comparison to the FD's price hike, at well over five times its MSRP!

With its younger, more athletic, sleeker, and better known sibling priced to a point where one would have to be certifiably insane to buy it, and with the Amemiya FD still being a nervous wreck of a car, does GT7 represent the FC's first chance since 1991 to step out of the FD's shadow? Join us on either the 4th of April, Tuesday, 10 P.M. CST or 8th April, Saturday, 5 P.M. Singapore time to judge for yourself!
 
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Hopefully we get a fresh influx of new COTW asylum members 😳


And for anyone that might stumble across this thread. My only regret with COTW, was not joining the social club sooner. It completely changed how I play, interpret… and appreciate the Gran Turismo franchise
 
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Since the races are on Tuesday, does that mean the CotW gets updated every Wednesday? With the race happening at the "end" of the week? I like this and will be participating.
I will announce a new car on Monday, which we will then race on the coming Tuesday and Saturday. Then, I'll announce the next week's car the following Monday, rinse, repeat.
 
Hello and welcome to the GT7 Car Of The Week thread, where everyone is invited to participate!

View attachment 1243903

Each week, a chosen car will be raced and reviewed by us folk here at Car of the Week. Is there a hidden, overlooked, and underappreciated gem of a car that you never would have never noticed or thought to try otherwise? A car you thought would be so amazing, but wound up being terrible? Or perhaps the car is exactly as good (or bad!) as everyone says it is! Who knows for certain? YOU will, if you join us in our weekly adventures to find out if a car is a Sleeper, a Beater, or anything in–between!

View attachment 1243775

Do you already have a strong opinion of the week's car from personal experience? Have a story about the car to share? Never thought to give it a second glance and are trying it out for yourself for the first time? Just like the wheels or paint jobs on the car? By all means, post away! There's no "correct" way to test the cars or express yourself: you can trash it around a racetrack aiming for benchmark lap times, bring it to campaign or Sport Mode races, make videos, write a short story featuring the car, rent it in real life... whatever you do, it's probably been done before, trust me ;)

View attachment 1243776

To help us form an opinion on the car, we will host two lobbies over the course of a week, but they're functionally identical, so pick whichever one works for you: 10 P.M. CST Tuesdays with DST, or 5 P.M. Singapore time Saturdays without DST (Convert to your time zones by clicking the links). We will run the cars with their default tyres and BoP ON and tuning disabled, which means that race cars will have their applicable BoP applied, and road cars will be reverted temporarily back to their bone stock settings. Please note that cars with wide bodies and engine swaps will not be eligible for these races. Tracks will be randomly decided based on a majority vote on race day itself. In other words, there isn't much to think about if you're looking to join us; just get the car, load up a style (if you want), and go!

The lobbies' name will be: Car Of The Week (Week No.): (Car name). To make it easier to find our lobbies, I strongly encourage you add the hosts of these lobbies such that you can filter by "Show Rooms With Friends Only": @Vic Reign93 for the Tuesdays Americas lobby (PSN: Victory_Reign93), or myself if you intend to join the Saturday Asia/Oceania also kinda European lobbies (PSN: XSquareStickIt).

Racers of all skill levels are encouraged to join us, as our regulars here represent a variety of skill levels, which means that battles for positions can happen wherever you are on the grid!

View attachment 1243777

And now, for some rules. Boo! I know!

#1: Don't be a dick!

This applies not only on the thread here governed by GTPlanet, but also on the racetrack as well. Our regulars here are a tightly knit circle of close friends, and while we do like to get our elbows out in competition and strive to be better racers in the process, we do so in a reasonably clean and absolutely non–malicious manner.

Of course, a bit of contact is inevitable in racing, especially in road cars. As a saying that predates my participation in this group goes, our style is "Cleaner than BTCC, dirtier than F1". If you have initiated a contact with someone else that resulted in notable repercussions, it is entirely up to you to make it up to the victim, be it giving the position back, apologising, or via other avenues that the GTP's AUP will not permit me to spell out here. And of course, if you know the contact wasn't intentional, try not to take it too personally. We are, after all, a casual group of friends looking to have fun.

Is the rule vague? Is it up for interpretation? Absolutely! Hence why Rule #1 is simply, "Don't be a dick!" We're here to have fun. We try to be as inclusive as possible across all skill levels. To foster and preserve that casual, laid back, and inclusive atmosphere, we all have a duty to exercise a bit of leeway and trust in each other. If you're looking for some omega serious and absolutely clean racing, I'm afraid COTW may not be able to appease your thirst for competition. Maybe try looking at the GT7 Leagues & Online Racing subforum where this thread isn't in?

Of course, you are free to—encouraged, even—to disagree with a review or an opinion in this thread. But the same rules apply: don't be a dick. There's no need for personal attacks against a person whose opinion you disagree with. I mean, I hope this didn't need spelling out, but judging by some of the other posts on this very angry forum... oof.

And yep, that's it. That's the only rule! Have fun!

View attachment 1243778

COTW decals: COTW Decal (Solid) | COTW Decal (Outline) | COTW Decal (Solid Mask) | COTW Decal (Outline Mask)

Gran Turismo 6 Car of the Week
Gran Turismo Sport Car of the Week
Forza Motorsport 7 Car of the Week

Forza Horizon 5 Car of the Week

Gran Turismo 7 Car of the Week Archive:

Week 1: Mazda RX-7 GT-X '90 (FC) — XSquareStickIt
OMG there it is!
200.gif
 
***** This isn't an official COTWGT7 review. But rather, a carry-over, or part 2 of a 3 part review. So like, enjoy. Or whatever.










The 1992 Nissan R92CP



d95bea72aae323bba82ce535006389bd_thumb_l.jpg









Part 2 of Part 1




"H-H-Hello?"
"Hey, you up?"
"Wha--, who is this?". My head was pounding. I thought I’d probably been asleep for 2 hours, but upon glancing at the clock next to my bed, I realized only a mere 43 minutes had passed. To be truthful, I couldn't even recall how I got back to my hotel room.
"It's ME"
"What?". I sit up, trying to gather myself. I let out a small belch - that although lacked sound, was rife in volume... and taste. The taste of crappy Sake, Saporo, and weird Japanese street food.
"It's Esther - look, I need you to g--"
"What the Fork Esther??"
"What?"
"Its 3:30am here! Just because you're having a Scone and Coffee right now in Montana, doesn't mean that we're not trying to get some sleep in Tokyo."
"I thought you were in Inoucho?
"We were", swinging my legs out of bed and rubbing my eyes as I spoke.
"What do you mean? I thought you reserved the track for 2 days?"
"We did. Turns out there were bigger fish with more money."
"Ok?"
"Midway through my first 90 minute stint, I got black flagged and waved off the track. I thought that... I dunno...maybe something was hanging off of the car. Anyways, I pulled into the pits, and we couldn't find anything wrong. We phoned race control and was told to "Stand By".
"That's weird."
"Yeah. Anyways, after about 10 minutes, a track worker came over to us and said we had to pack up and exit the premises immediately - and that our rental fee had been fully refunded with an additional 30% for the inconvience. I tried my best in broken Japanese to tell him that we didn't care about the money, and just needed another hour and we'll be out of their hair and they can keep their money. All he did was do that weird apologetic back-pedal-bow combination that I'm always seeing people do in this country."
"I see"
"Yeah, I was pissed. So we took our sweet arse time packing up; all the time under the strict supervision of what looked like some of the suits that run Suzuka. When we finally came out of pit row and got a glimpse of the track entrance, I didn't quite know what to make of what I saw."
"What did you see?"
"Semis. Lots of Semis."
"Semis?"
"Yeah? Semis....Trucks."
"Huh?"
"Oh for fork's sake E, LORRIES!"
"Oh, gotcha." Suprisingly she didn't bite my head off for calling her 'E' - which meant she needed something - and something I probably wouldn't like. Figures. At any rate, I needed to get Esther back on her heels a bit to claim some soon to be lost leverage.
"...and Groupies. Lots of groupies wearing dental floss, front and back mind you. They were hanging out the windows of the lorries clutching bottles of booze. It looked like a goddamn Kiss concert from 1988."
"Gross."
"Yea, I could see how you would feel that way. Anyways, it looked like there was going to be some sort of race - which is weird, being that it was a Tuesday.'
"I might know something about that."
"Really!? What??"
"Doesn't matter, yet. What are you doing back in Tokyo?"
"Well..", I slid my feet into my slaps and walked to the bathroom to empty my alcohol-filled bladder, shirt-crockin' it the whole way over, trying to figure out how to tell her a short story willist taking a leak - without making that indistinguishable sound that would give me away. Maybe I could just aim for the side of the bowl, but I didn't particularly trust my aim in my current inebriated state. Screw it, I'll just sit down and aim it at a slightly downward angle towards the front of the bowl. Yeah, that will work.

Shut up, we've all been there.




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"Well...", I continued while taking a set. "We contemplated going to Fuji to do some testing with the Nissan, but decided to go back to Tokyo instead. Not only did it get us where we needed to be in order to catch our flight to Bahrain a day earlier than originally planned, but after a couple weeks of testing cars while driving warp speed, figured' I could use a day of low-speed hooning around Taskuba."
"I need you to go back to Suzuka." she said flatly.
"Esther, I'm in no condition to drive ANYWHERE for at least 5-6 more hours, let alone a race car. Besides, the plane is already loaded and we're headed to Bahrain at 4pm. There's no way its going to work. Not to mention, they kicked us out for a reason... whatever that reason was."
"I already talked to Mr. Casual, he's good with it."
"How the fork did you get Casual's contact info??"
"I have my ways."
"Yeah, I bet you do." I say with a slight smirk in my tone.
'What's that supposed to mean?"
'Nothing. Look, Esther. Its 3:30am here, I need to get some sleep. I'm not doing it. Seriously."
"I know its 3:30 Andrew, I'm up too."
"Yeah, I know. Probably having a homemade Blueberry Muffin and a Coffee mixed with Kahlua as you're watching the snow fall. I checked the weather in Montana, Have you ever seen it snow before?" I was honestly curious to this last bit.
"Yes, and, I'm back in Singapore."
'Seriously Esther?? WTF? You really don't sleep do you?"
"No, not really, no."

I gave it a couple shakes, stood up and stammered back to bed, still Shirt-rocking it the whole way, and sat down.
Rubbing my eyes, out of curiosity I asked, "What's going on at Suzuka Esther?"
"Some kind of World Series event, I'm told."
"Well, whoever told you that must have been more drunk than me right now. The only World Series I know of is played in America by non-athletes wearing tight pants. And it has nothing to do with motorsports. Whores and groupies, sure. But definitely nothing to do with race cars."
"Whatever, it's how the boss said it."
"Boss? Who??"
"Mr. Kassahara."

Kassahara? I thought the guys at Edwards said this dude was Persian or something? Meh, probably is. I still have trouble disiphering words through Esther's Eurasian accent sometimes, not to mention my head was pounding heavier and harder by the second. Probabably just heard her wr...

"ANDREW!!"
"YEAH! Whaaaa?"
"You fell asleep on me!"
"Wouldn't be the first time I've fallen asleep on a woman, sure it won't be the last."
"Figured as much."
"What's this World Series thing you speak of E?" My eyes were starting to get heavy again.
"It's like.... a series for the world's best drivers."
"Yeah? Like who?"
"Igor Fraga, Hizal, Super GT, Daniel Solis, @Tidgney, Miyazono, Galo, Ryota Kokubun - just to name a few."
"Yeah, those are some fast guys. Look, why don't you send Vic or Pickle? They're the fastest guys COTW has. Or OB, he would literally leap at the chance to race on the big stage."
"Vic's on holiday, Rick's on a hunting trip. I tried Lee.."
"Yeah, he's fast too..."
"Yeah, I thought so as well. But he's not picking up his phone. In fact, he hasn't picked up, texted back, or even responded to any emails since yesterday morning."
"Yeeeeeeaaaaaaahh...." I paused, then continued, "About that..."
"What? Lee?? What the fork did you guys do with Lee, Andrew??" I snorted audibly at the sound of hearing Esther actually curse.
"Nothing. We did nothing. Yeah...nothing at all."
"What did you guys do Andrew?"
"Nothing. We just...gave him a call early yesterday morning when we got into Tokyo to see what he was up to"
"Aaannnnd??..."
"It got bad."
'What did you guys do to him!?" Esther was furious now, and a little protective might I add. Something was definitely up.
"Nothing he didn't want to do, I'll just put it that way."
"How bad Andrew?"
"Remember last time he went out with us?"
"Yeah."
"It was that bad, maybe worse."
"Get you FORKIN' ARSE out of bed and straight to Suzuka!"
"Esther, I'm being honest, there's literally no way I can get there right now, and like I said, all of our cars are already at the airp--"

--CLICK--


images-1.jpeg

Lee, outside of one of the "establishments" he dragged us into.


I sat speechless for almost 30 seconds. Not only had I gotten Esther to curse at me, TWICE, but I also managed to get her to rage-quit our conversation. Admittedly, I kind of felt bad. But I also felt like I deserved a trophy too. At any rate, I felt as if I wa--

"Honk, Honk"


"What the fork?"
I heard the very distininctive loud wail of an air horn below my room on the street. I cracked the blinds to the window with my fingertips and peered outside. About 100' down, and on the opposite side of the street, I saw a middle aged Chinese man waving at my room. I could barely hear but a slight murmer through the double-paned glass, but I already had a good idea of what he was saying. Just then, my phone lit up on the nightstand followed by the low growl of it vibrating indiscrimately on the polished Oak surface. I already knew who it was from.

"Get you forking' arse on that Lorrie right now!"



Fork.








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I'm not sure if it was the incessant adrenaline spikes I got each time Tsai decided to erratically change lanes, or the cociane-infused coffee we got when we stopped in Hamamatsu; but by the time we went got to the gates of Suzuka, I felt as fresh as a daisy in a mid-July Southern California heat wave. As Tsai unloaded the truck, I took one last gulp of Pepto and jogged over to the driver's meeting which had yet to begin. I strategically took an inconspicuous spot in the back, as not to draw attention from the stewards or other drivers. Despite frequent bouts of the Hershey squirts the whole ride to Suzuka, bile-heaves behind the wall I was currently sitting on, and a shiner under my right eye that was throbbing more and more by the minute Some pre-race nerves had begun to creep up from my stomach and into my chest - taking a detour around my roadblocked' liver. Sure, I had been in several big races before, but never had I been in a race surrounded by the very best. To say I was a little out of my league was a massive understatement. Besides being sick, having diareeah, and going toe to toe with bouts of the DT's, I was pissed more than anything. While I think it's fair that many have equated my personality more to the likes of James Hunt rather than Niki Lauda, I'm smart enough to understand that I was representing the holy grail of automobile publications with Car Of The Week. While these premadonna "World Tour drivers", might not know me from Adam, ANYONE WHO'S ANYONE will recognize that COTW logo on a car, or COTW team sponsorship icon next to my name on the live television broadcast. I knew Esther would have wanted any other staff member besides me representing us at this World Series race. But alas, just as I was out of bile to disgorge from my abdomen, she too, was out of options.

Oh look, here comes these Diva's coming down pit row right n-- "Ummbwaaaaahwuuhm" (followed by indistinguishable gurgles and whimpers)


24696e6f1eeae1070279372827b8d40b_thumb_l.jpg




Through bloodshot eyes with last night's Nikuman running down my chin, I saw a what looked like an ostentation of Peacocks sashaying down pit row for the driver's meeting. Although they were still somewhat far away and I was still somewhat seeing double, I made out what looked like about 20 or so drivers, plus their handlers.... and their dental floss-adorned groupies. Probably about 75 people in all. Forkin' great. Here I am, clearly an outsider, sitting on a wall - looking and smelling like a forkin' hobo. And I'm the only idiot to show up to a Group 1 prototype race in a Group C rust bucket that was not much younger than myself!


The pre-race drivers meeting was much like the previous 100 that I had sat through. Blah, blah, blah - don't overtake on Yellow's - blah, blah, blah, blah, blah - if you're waved the black flag, exit the track as soon as it's safe to do so - blah, blah, blah - after the race, no groping the trophy girls, or each other - blah, blah, blah, blah, blah - Thank you all for participating in the inagural round of the GT7 World Series!! Standard stuff really (record scratches)

Wait!? Hold the phone!

GT7 World Series?? Round One???

What FORK has Esther gotten me into? Here I am planning my exit from the GT series all together in favor of the more lucrative ACC, iRACE, and Renn League series, and now I'm getting ready to line up at Suzuka on some random Tuesday, to partake in the inagural round of a series that's last I heard, technically didn't exhist yet? If my nerves were at a 7/10 up until this point, they were surely at a 12/10 now. After a few minutes of questions from the racers that mainly had to do with track limits and mandatory pit stop exemptions, the meeting was adjourned and I was left to stamber back over to my paddock.


"You look like hell" Tsai said, looking me over. "Worse than 20 minutes ago, actually".
"You have anymore of that cocaine-infused coffee, Tsai?"
"Sure, there's a pot brewing in the rig right now, just left of the fridge." He continued, "Say, boss?" Tsai, still looking me over as he spoke.
"Yea?"
"You ok?"
"No, I'm not. For some reason Esther's decided to feed me to the wolves, still half-drunk with a subpar eqipment. I'm racing a goddamn relic against the best drivers in the world, ALL in prototypes!!" - raising both my hands in disgust as I walked up the steps into the Truck's living quarters.
"Hey Tsai, you got any cream in here? I don't know how you people drink this crap without a gallon of heavy whip as a chaser.."
"Well, looks like we got another problem Mr. Andrew."
I throw him a head-toss as I rummaged through the cabinets, looking for some white horse to cut this coffee with. Tsai continued..
"The pit crew, they can't make it."
"What the fork you mean they can't make it? I thought COTW was using your company as our exclusive support service when we're in Japan?"
"We are--th-the-they are.."
"So what's the issue? I know we've been keeping up on our payments. I know this, because I help run the books."
"They made it to the semi finals."
Finally I'd found some powdered milk, and mixed 3 heaping spoonfulls into this quicksand they call coffee. I take a big gulp, wincing and wiping my lower lip with the top of my wrist as I move my mug to my left hand and lean against the counter.
"Semi finals for what?"
Tsai took off his hat and looked at the floor.
"Takeshi's Castle, sir."
"Forkin' MXC! You're friggin' kidding me right??"
"Sir, you don't understand. The COTW pit crew is going against the Cheaters. If we win, we play the Jilted Wives for the title."
"You're absolutely-forkin' right, I don't understand Tsai!"





I storm past him, murmering to myself as I briskly walk down the steps of the truck, and through the corridor that led to the back entrance of our paddock. I walk past the R92, running my fingertips along the bonnet as I pass, and look up at the various monitors displaying the satellite feed of the weather system that's supposed to be headed our way, taking small sips of coffee as I examine the doppler feed.

"TSAI!!!"
"yessir", I startle and spill coffee on my race suit - somehow Tsai had snuck up behind me as I bounced between the satellite images.
"Look, that high pressure ridge is gunna' move in here shortly and stave that system off for at least a few more hours."
Tsai just looked at me with a blank look on his face, blinking occasionally. Clearly he had no clue what the fork I was talking about.
"Right, yeah. So I need you to set the car up with Racing Hard's and a high downforce setup. Copy?"
"Copy"
"Also..." I looked over my left shoulder back at the car as I pondered, with Tsai, studiously awaiting further direction.
"This isn't my personal R92, I need you to make sure that some fuel mapping software is installed in the black box. And gas it up to the top of the neck. I don't want but a single millimeter of unused space in that cell."
"Sir?" Tsai inquired, as if making sure he understood completely the strategy direction I was looking to go.
"We're gonna fuel-save and no-stop this race, Tsai."
"Andrew..." he said a bit more candidly. "Its a 3 hour race, even if the rain doesn't come, you're going to have to lift and coast at every straight, while using the leanest map."
I turn back towards him, with arms spread wide open, looking around the room in a mocking fashion, insinuating the absence of a pit crew that should be here, but isn't.

"Well, you got a better forking plan Tsai?". He once again looked down at the floor while simutaneously removing his hat. "Yeah, didn't think so. I'll be in the truck eating breakfast, let me know if you need any help."



The rain started to fall on lap 17.

Team COTW lost in the semi's, setting up for a COTW-less death match between The Cheaters and The Jilted Wives in the MXC finals.

We had to retire the car after I put it into the wall at Casio Triangle on lap 28.

Tsai owed me a big friggin' favor.




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"How'd it go?"
"What kind of stupid-arse question is that Esther? I know you already know how it went."
"Sounds like you were the talk of the town this afternoon Andrew. How you feeling?"
"Good, I'm getting discharged from the ER as we speak. Precautionary measures - they said they were suprised I wasn't injured, based on the video footage they saw on the television."
"Oh yeah, did you tell them to 'pound sand?' I'm sure the head-strong fireman in you came out pretty quick", Esther said in a somewhat mocking tone.
"Na, I didn't say that", I briefly paused - "mainly because of what I was said to them next.."
"Which was?", she asked, with a hint of nervousness from the prospect of the possible damage control she might have to do.
"Thank god I'm still way over the legal alcohol limit, or else I definitely would have been injured."
"Pssst. Of course you would say something idiotic like that." I could hear her eyes rolling through the phone.
"Whatever. Its the forking truth. There's a reason why the drunk driver never gets injured in the accident." She started to say something almost immediately, but I cut her off. "--besides, I blame you. You know I was in no condition to race Esther. Especially with rain in the forecast. In a Group C car. Against the world's best drivers. All whom were driving prototypes. You really forked' me on this one."
To this she didn't have much to say, and the phone went silent for a few seconds.
Then finally, "I heard you were on slicks, trying to no-stop it. Even I know that's a stupid-arse strategy."

I nearly decided to dime out Tsai and his missing pit crew, but snitching wasn't exactly my style, and besides, I had other plans for Tsai. Instead, I decided to try and gain some leverage over the situation.
"Well, being's that you sent me out there in an R92, my options for winning against a field of protypes was very limited to say the least."
"Who said anything about winning Andrew? I just told you to be there."


Fork.


"Yeah...well......well...I have to try to win in order to represent COTW on the world stage". I'll admit it, I was reaching a little on that last comment.

- Silence -

"You know Andrew, sometimes you're both smarter, and dumber than you get credit for..."



Fork.


"Yeah, but Esth--" she cut me off.
"You were already going to be representing us well, by the very fact that you were racing a Group C car against the best drivers in the world, racing prototypes. How well you did, or didn't finish, was going to be completely irrelevant. A COTW driver in a 30 year old race car, IS THE STORY the racing world wants to hear. Not some black-eyed, half drunk playboy, crashing a classic car because he was too stupid to come up with a viable race strategy that even a crackhead without a driver's license could complete!"

Verbally silent, I walked down the hall and out the doors of the hospital, albeit with a slight limp that had snuck up on me. Looking up at the sun through a break in the clouds, I realized that although my hangover was officially gone, my eye was throbbing more than ever now, and my right knee was tweaked, presumably from the wreck.

"Yeah but still, you shouldn't have sent me Esther. You should have either sent a different driver, or pulled COTW out of the race, and out of this so-called GT7 series, entirely". She was quiet. About 5 seconds passed.
"It wasn't my call"
"Wasn't you're call? What do you mean 'it wasn't you're call?' You run COTW Esther. Of course its you're call."
"Look... it wasn't my decision, ok?"
"Then who's was it? Mr. Casual would have told me if he wanted me to race. Hell, he even would have shown up himself to help with the PITS". I glared at Tsai who was also walking besides me, looking down once again as he removed his cap. He then double-timed it to the truck to get the door and unfold the steps, leading into the cabin. Geezus, whats with the hat thing?
"Tsai, what the fork dude? I can get the goddamn door myself. It's not like I'm hurt or anything". Tsai just continued to look down as I grasped the railing and walked up the stairs, making sure I put most of my weight on my good, left knee. I'll admit that Tsai was starting to rub off on me. Something about his old school politeness, mixed with an eagerness to please. I think I'll start to go easier on him from here on out.
"You're going to Spa in a week, right?'
"Yeah, so?" I wasn't about to start going easy on Esther, however.
"I need you to race while you're there."
"Let me guess, in that same forkin' hoopty against these world tour drivers again? Yeah, not a forking chance in hell Esther."
"Then I need you to go to Italy"
"ITALY? My iteniarary never called me to be anywhere near Italy. Besides Sergeant Lombardo doesn't have enough leave approved to take unnecessary detours, Esther."
"It's already been handled."

This chick. Who does she think she is, going over my head on something like getting millitary time-off, approved.

"...and you're not going to be racing that 'relic' at Spa. At least, not until you get back state-side and race Daytona."
"DAYTONA??"
"YeahDaytona. Listen, it looks like everybody is going to be racing Group 3 cars at the next two races. But I guess you're allowed some modifications in this series. They don't use the Balance of Performance standard like they did in the GTS series..."
"I don't care what rule book they follow because I'm not doing it Esth--"
"They use some kind of 'Performance Point' system in this GT7 series--"
"I don't care Es--"
"I forwarded you the rulebook, it should be in your email now. Look it over and tell us what car you want delivered to Spa. And then you and Tsai come' up with a part list, we'll get those out to you as well."
"You mean I'm stuck with this guy?" - Ok, I promise, that I'll be nice now. - Forkin' Hell, why is Tsai removing his hat and looking at the ground again?? What's with this guy???
"So you agree? Perfect!!"

"No Esther, I didn't say that! I'm not doing th--"

-- CLICK --

"Where-to boss?" Tsai asked, with his cap magically back on his head again.
"What?? Fork. Gimme a minute - I need to make a call. Say Tsai? You got anymore of that coffee pal?"
"Sure thing boss. I'll make you a cup."
"The name's Andrew, Tsai."

He smiled and nodded as he adjusted his cap, and hurried passed me to the coffee maker - with the air of someone who's happy to have a purpose again....and knows, he's about to embark upon a great adventure. Yea, I guess you could say I liked the guy.






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//////////




"Hello?"
"Hey its me, Es--"
"Hello?"
"ITS ME, ESTHER!!"

"Just joking, this is Andrew, I'm busy right now, leave a message and I'll get back to you as soon as possible, BEEEEEEEEEEEEP!"
"Hey its Esther -----, look, we have some questions about the vehicle and parts request you sent us. Please call the office at your earliest convince, or you can reach me at --,---,----1919. Or you can email me at EstherM--------@gmail.com, thanks and have a great day!"

--- "hehehehehehehehe" ---

"What the? HELLO??"


--"HEHEHEHEHEHEHEH"--

"On a Sunday morning sidewalk, I'm wishing lord that I was stoned...cuz there's something in a Sunday, that makes the body feel alone"

"HELLO?!?! Andrew? TSAI?? WHAT THE FRACK!!!"

-"BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!"-

"Seriously you guys? Are you guys g five years old!!?? What the is the matter with you Andrew, you *****G DIP *?!!"

"Geezus Esther, we were just messing -- I mean....No big deal man. We do it because we like yo--?"
"SERIOUSLY ANDREW?? What the frock is the matter with you??"

"It was my idea Estah.."
"See.. Tsai admitted it was his idea Es---"

"I DON'T GIVE A DAMN WHO'S IDEA IT WAS!!! You're the one I'm calling And--"

"of the sleeping city siiiiide-waauulk, and Sunday Morning coming' douuwn..."


"Hey Tsai! Turn it down man! -- yeah, I know the best part is comin' -- jus.... YEAH, THAT KNOB RIGHT THERE. YEAH, TURN IT TO THE LEFT---. ESTHER?? YOU THERE??"


- SILENCE

"ESTHER??"

- SILENCE-

"HEY! ESTHE--"

"Yeah, I'm here-"

"Ok.. what's up?"

"You done?"

"I don't know, you called me."

- SILENCE -

"We got your email here at headquarters, and,...umm....we..we..don't understand."

"What's not to understand?"
"Uhhhhhh, well... you're requesting your personal R92, a trailer full of racing hards and intermediates..... and that's yeah..(sound of pages flipping) yeah, that's it?"
"Yeah..yeah, that sounds about right. We're just glad you got it. We were in a limited-service area and were worried."
"Andrew, the Nissan R92CP isn't a Group 3 car??"
"Yea, we know."
"Theeeeennnnn...whats up? What are you guys up to?"
"Nothing. We read the rule book and ran some numbers. We're well within the rules. We actually need a couple other parts, but I think we're going to make them ourselves, if we can't aquire them."
"Make parts-a-a-aquire parts? What are you talking about???"
"YEAH!! Turns out Tsai is quite the mechanic! He still has some contacts from working with Nissan in the early 90's. He's good on a lathe too!! Whatever we can't get, we'll build --- Jus'...jus', make sure you get my car to Spa by next week. Hey! Gotta go, getting ready to go through a tu----"




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It turns out, Tsai WAS quite the mechanic. And engineer. And racer.

Tsai, whom I thought was a middle-aged man, was actually well into 60's. Not quite what modern society would consider old age, but definitely on the cusp. Regardless, he was a bit of a wild man in his younger years. A Rocker who liked The Beatles and Johnny Cash, Tsai took to the rag-tag European motorsport of Rally, opposed to the more sexy motorsports of the time, namely Formula 1. A shooting star on the rally scene through the early-mid 70's, he was smart enough to recognize that the steadily increasing horsepower combined with the plummeting chassis weight of the modern cars, meant that his career was going to have trajectory which mirrored more that of a Kamikazee pilot rather than a red giant. By 1978 he had moved himself from Driver to Co-Pilot. By 1980, he had retired from racing altogether, and Audi, always in search of talent, hired him on to be the lead test driver for the car that was going to change Rally forever. By 81', his engineering talents were obvious enough for Audi to change his title officially to 'Lead Engineer", hiring test drivers behind him. Unofficially, Tsai was the Lead Engineer, Lead Test Driver, and first to fill in, if Hannu Mikkola fell ill. It remained this way until January of 1984 when Lancia drafted him to help finish their flagship race car, the Delta S4 . After the fatal crash involving Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto in 1986, he became a recluse and regulated himself to owning and operating a small tuning shop in Yokohama. That is, until MCD rediscovered him in 2014.



Esther, ever-so-thorough, emailed me copies of the new GT7 Regulations Book in English, Japanese and Chinese. It was my idea to investigate how we could alternately interpret the rules of this new series, but it was ultimately Tsai, who plotted the course on how to accomplish it. Like most all racers, neither of us were strangers to cheating. But unlike the "Cup Level" shenanigans I was used to pulling, Tsai's level of expertise was on another level. Tsai, in fact, was so good at interpreting rule books, that many Le Mans and F1 teams hired him as a freelance consultant to go through the rule changes for the upcoming year, and figure out ways around them. Due to NDA's, TSAI can't really do much more than smile or nod, but being that he was an extremely talented engineer, more than a few of his interpretation inventions, made it into production. Polyphony Digital, the title sponsor of this GT7 Series, was kind enough to provide the starting "Performance Point" starting values for all the popular GT3 cars still in use. The list of this new "PP System" was that said values could go up or down and you took weight on or off of a car as well as putting or pulling power as well. Minor value changes would incur if you changed suspension settings as well, but the meat and potatoes was within the power to weight ratio. Still, that didn't stop Tsai and myself from breaking out Excel Spreadsheets, and seeing what fine-tuning could be accomplished.


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"I don't understand, what is a BIG welder and why do you need it Andrew?"
(grinding noises and hammer clanks)
"Whaaaaaaat? ESTHER?? CAN YOU HEAR ME???"
"Yes! You said you need a 'BIG' welder?"
"No! A TIG WELDER!! YEAH!! HEY TSAI! Shut down that grinder, OK?"
(tool sounds die down)
"sorry boss"

"The 'whatever' welder you requested is 10 grand, Andrew? What's it for?"

"What does it matter? I need it... which is why we requested it."
"I'm just asking Andrew."
"Look, you can either send me a Hobart, or pay the homologation fee for us to use the 488 on our plane. Your call Esther."
"Why would we need to pay for the licensing fee of a 488?"
"Because the rulebook didn't say we couldn't use non-homoligated GT3 cars either.."
"I still don't know why you guys need a welder"
"I need it Esther, that's why. For fork's sake, if its that big of a forkin' deal, I'll pay for it myself...Its not like Mr. C and myself didn't front this magazine for the past 13 month--"
"
It just sounds like a $10,000 add-on to an impending $500,000 lawsuit, that's all."
"There isn't going to be a lawsuit Esther."
"Why's that?"
"Cause' it's within the rules, and you're going to be there to protect us."
"If its within the rules, why do I need to be there?"
"Because we're going to get protested regardless."
"Protested? By Who? Why??"
"Because they can. And because they have deep pockets, that's why."
"Who's 'they'?"
"Ferrari, Mercedes, Ford... all the big boys. And Alfa Romeo just because they want to be part of something."
"Sounds like a big PITA."
I laugh, and then pause for a second as I search for the words.
"Esther, this is the PITA you were meant for. Companies worth billion's of dollars? All going after our humble publication because we're smarter than them? Come on E, this has you written all over it."
"Don't call me that"
"You know I'm right. Listen, we need you at Spa...day' after tomorra'"
"Why? The race is on Sunday... 4 days from now."
"We get into Stavelot tomorrow morning. The second we unload our truck and the other teams see what we're running, the protests are going to start. Trust me on this."
"Well, I'll see if I can get there in time. I'm back in Montana.."
"Montana?? Back at Kasarian's place?? What are you guys?... an item or something?"
"What are YOU, my mom?"
"I was just askin--"

- CLICK -





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Tsai thought we'd be ok with the lower control arms without modification. I wasn't so sure. Yes, this car had been raced in a number of endurance races, but never with an additional 330-some-odd pounds strapped to it in order to meet regulations. These cars were carved to the bone as it was, and carrying all this extra weight, which was only going to get multiplied by a high-g-force track like Spa over the course of 24 hours, wasn't going to do the chassis any favors either.

"We might as well gusset the engine bracing while we're at it Tsai"
"Copy that boss"
"What the hell are you guys doing under the--, OUCH!!!! MY EYES!!!!!!"
"Oh crap Esther, you're not supposed to look at the light. Fork! You ok?"
"Yea, I'm fine. I just..can't...see."
"Even moreso then normal? I know you have to wear those coke bottles for a reason." I said with a slight smirk.
"Ha, ha. Very funny."
"Its a good thing you're here Ma'am.." Tsai chimed in, with a sense of urgency in his tone. "Yard was right. The second we unloaded our rig, the protests stated to pour in."
"How many are we up to?"
"Five." I said.
"Well, six if you include Mazda", Tsai corrected.
"Psssst. They don't count."
"On what grounds are they protesting?" Esther said.
"That we're not following the 'spirit' of the rules", I say with a chuckle.
"Yeah, like they've given a fork about the spirit of any rules in the past..." Tsai says as he slides out from under the Nissan on a creeper.
"Well, what's our defense?"
"On the face of it all, they are faster than us."
"Then I don't understand what the issue is."
"The issue is, they're faster than us on a flying lap."
"Ok?"
"They know as well as we do, that they won't be able to hold a candle to us over the course of 24 hours."
"You're racing for 24 hours straight Andrew!? Who's going to co-pilot with you?"
"No one."
"That's...this isn't safe Andrew!" She said with a whiff of genuine concern in her voice.
"Since when do you give a damn about my safety, Esther?" I say with a laugh as I slide back under the car on my own creeper.
"I don't. But the insurance company isn't going to willingly pay out for your carelessness when you careen into a wall after you've fallen asleep!"
"Yeah, I wouldn't either."
"Then why are you choosing to do this solo?"
"Its called Iron-Manning it. And....'Hey Tsai, pass me the torch'. Watch your eyes Esther." (Buzzing sounds coupled with a bright, sustained flash of light) - "Yeah, that'll do it. Lemme pass you back the torch Tsai." I slide back from under the car on my creeper, get to my feet, and walk over to the tool box to grab a gulp of coffee - then turn back towards Esther, cup in hand.
"I've done this before." I finish the sentence with another swig of coffee followed by a chin-wipe with my forearm.
"What do you mean you've done this before?"
"On bikes."
"On Bikes?" Esther puts her hand on her hip as she asks, rhetorically.
"Yeah. I've done the Glen Helen 10 hour three times. The 24, twice. Starvation Ridge, Perry Mountain, and the Baja 1000. All in the 'Iron Man' class."
"Dirtbikes aren't race cars, Andrew."
"Yes, I know."
"Then how do you plan on staying awake for 24 hours straight?"
"Same way I've done it in the past. And I was racing for 27 hours straight when I did the Thousand' , in case you were wondering".
"Which is? And I wasn't."
"Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, salami, carbohydrates and lots of Nozz-A-La."
"Eeeeeeww, Nozz-A-La? You actually drink that stuff?"
"What? I like the way it tastes."
"No one likes the way that crap tastes."
"Whatever. Its better than that Tiger ***** that Square drinks."
"Don't forget about the Cocaine-Coffee.."
"Oh yeah, Tsai has this crazy coffee that he gets from Japan. Stuff' is like legalized speed."
"I don't know. What am I supposed to do with th--, I mean..how am I supposed to defend you guys from the protests, while convincing the stewards what you idiots are doing is even safe?"
"I don't Esther....this is your expertise. Just work your magic, and make it happen like you always do."
"Psssst..." Esther scoffed with her patented eye-roll, as she walked with a purpose down pit row in five-inch heels, towards Race Control, rulebook in hand.




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My Brother in law, myself, and my dad after the Glen Helen 10 hour last year.






While Esther was fighting WWIII in front of a crowd of stewards, team principles, pre-madonna's - uh, I mean drivers, and gawkers alike; Tsai and myself finished buttoning up the car. I was in the changing room getting into my suit, when I heard Esther's voice from the front of our garage.

"I got good news, and bad news."
"Good news first." Tsai said.
I walked out from the changing room with my suit half-way down, curious to what she was going to say.
"They're going to let us run the R92."
"Great!!!" Tsai said. And then, "what could possibly be the bad news?"
"They want more."
"More of what?" I chimed in.
"More concessions."
"Are you forking kidding me?? We've already choked this thing of any air trying to find its way into the intake. Tsai already retarded the timing as much as he could, and we're running next to zero boost! What more do they want??"
"50kg more ballast."
"Gezzus Christ."
"That's not it." She said flatly.
"THERE'S MORE?!?!". Out of the corner of my eye I see Tsai quickly removing his cap and looking at the ground, at the sound of my raised voice. My god, he's like my dog Palomina when I'm yelling at the television while the Raiders are playing.
"Yes." Esther looked at me, and then Tsai - who was slowly looking up from the ground to catch her gaze. He put his cap back on.
"They want you to disable traction control, as well as brake bias adjustments - whatever those are."

I looked at Tsai. "What do you think man?"
"I mean...that's no problem. Of course I can do it. It just a matter of hooking up the laptop and couple minutes worth of keystrokes."
"Who's idea was it to impose more concessions on us? Race Control?"
"No, not really. Race control was siding with us, actually. Especially when I threatened a lawsuit."
I chuckled at the site of a prim and proper Esther, diplomatically threatening to bankrupt the GTWS organization.
"Then who was it?"
"Well, it was Mercedes and Ferrari who were the loudest. Toto Wolff and that curly-haired guy."
"Binotto?? That forking nerd?? That friggin' geek is just trying to get back into Ferrari's good graces after they fired his arse from the F1 team. I still can't believe they even hired him back to run their GT3 program. They must be desperate, or they don't care."

Tsai laughed at my last comment. From what I remember from one of our inebriated conversations a few days back, they used to work together. But Ferrari offered Mattia the position of lead engineer over Tsai, mainly because they had to have an Itallian as they're front man. Regardless--
"Whatever." Esther moved her messenger's bag from her left shoulder to her right, "What do you want me to tell them?"
I looked at Tsai again. He nodded.
"Tell them we're in.... and...". I paused.
"Yes?"
"Tell Toto if he has a problem with us, to come find me tomorrow morning after the race, and I'll chin-check him harder than a Little Mac Star Uppercut."
"Seriously?"
"Yes. seriously tell him that. This isn't F1. If he thinks he's gonna try to big-league us, he has another thing coming.'"
"Any message for the curly-haired guy with the glasses?"
"Yeah, if he starts piping up, just ask who he is. That'll piss him off."

With another eye-roll, followed by an about-face, Esther was once again off to race control - breaking necks the whole way down pit row.

"Hey Tsai, this traction control thing. You got a work around, right?"
"Yeah, I got something I can do. It'll take me about 30 minutes to code."
"That's fine. Qualifying doesn't start for an hour anyways."
"The brake bias though. There's nothing I can do about that, being that its entirely a mechanical system."
"No problem. Just lock me out in the most frontward setting. We'll then take off the handle and give it to race control."
"Good idea, Yard. Say, Andrew?"
"Yea?"
"Were you serious about fighting Toto? You know that guy is like 6'5" or something.."
I take a sip of my coffee while gazing out of our paddock, taking in the humming of generators in the distance, the smell of high-test fuel wafting down pit row, and the low murmer of voices as the grand stands were beginning to fill up. I turn around and look at Tsai, take one last sip of my coffee - before chucking it into the trash can with an audible thud, followed by the sound of breaking glass. Tsai removes his cap.

"Fork Toto."

I walk purposefully past Tsai, saying over my shoulder, "I'm gonna finish getting ready. Let me know if you need a hand."
"Sure thing boss."





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//////



Qualifying went as expected, on purpose. Now, I know that compared to these WT drivers, I'm not much of a threat. But even I know that I need to ease my way into Campus so I can get a good exit out of Paul Frere all the way to the Chicane. However, an inside line at Double Gauche will compromise your pace for nearly 1/2 of the track. Couple that with a whisky-throttle-spin at the exit of the chicane, not only did it guarantee me a DFL starting position on the grid, it also earned me some scoffs and chuckles from all of the factory teams. Perfect.


It quickly became apparent to everyone, that my severely stymied R92 wasn't much of a threat down a lot of the long stretches at Spa. In fact, just about every other GT3 car in the field had little trouble getting in my slip, and motoring right passed me before the heavy braking zones. Sure, I was able to use my outdated, but still superior aerodynamics to attack Eau Rouge, Radillion and Double Gauche at full-forking tilt. But the Ace up my sleeve was R92's disproportionate advantage of being able to sip fuel. Unlike most of the other GT3 cars on the grid, my Nissan was made for endurance racing, first and foremost. By the time the rest of the field was dipping into the pits for their first scheduled stop about 2 hours into the race, the course was just starting to open up and allow me to take full advantage of my superior cornering ability, without any other racers that might compromise my exit speed. Couple that with fuel consumption that was 30% better than any other car out there, it was close to the 4-hour mark before the other teams became privy to Team COTW's slow-cook strategy.


Rain came and went in light patches throughout the early evening, into dusk. But it never really became a strategy-altering threat until about midnight. For whatever reason, the big dark blob on the radar that was slowly heading our way, caught everyone with their pants down. To be fair, I pitted for heavy wets about 20 minutes too early. But it was of little consequence, being that I had already opened up a sizable gap on the field, as most the teams had started to fuel-save themselves, in an effort to match our pit strategy. Still, the rain was coming. And when it came, it didn't let up for the better part of 4 hours. Needless to say, I used the wet conditions to fuel-save even more; and combined with my supreme downforce - I was able to stay on the wet line while keeping good pace, both preserving my tires long after conditions warranted a change to inters, thus extending my stint 150% longer than anyone else. But it also made passes much easier, as I was able to use parts of the race track that would have sent any of the other cars spinning into orbit.


As the checker flag flew some hours later, I had gapped second place by 4 whole laps, and was literally hours ahead of the teams outside of the top 8. The car was no worse for the wear either. And when all was tallied, we were able to wallop the competition with 5 sets of Racing Hards, 1 set of Heavy Wets, 623 gallons of fuel, 3 cases of Nozz-A-La, 15 liters of Tsai's cocaine-coffee, and (4) 6' long Subway sandwiches - Black Forest Ham, of course. Pretty economical way to embarrass everyone there if you ask me. As for post-race protests? Yeah, there were some. But nothing ever came of it after Esther threatened to bankrupt Mercedes and Ford so bad, that their great grandkids would be on welfare. Rumor also has it that Tsai was seen entering our trailer with a few of the trophy girls in tow. But to that, I can neither confirm, nor deny.



As for me and Toto? Yeah, he found me too. Lets just say that the fight wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.





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/////////





After getting discharged from a hospital for the second time in 10 days, I jumped a quick flight to meet the COTW team down in Italy, for the Sardegna WTC 800 Classic. Walking up the stairs to our Truck with my duffel bag in hand, I was greeted by Tsai, with a fresh cup of coffee in his out-reached hand.

"You look like crap, Yard."
"Yeah, well... at least my left eye matches my right, now."
"Na, not really boss. You're right eye is already starting to turn brown. You're left, is still pretty purple."
I smiled as I took a sip of coffee. "Well, to be frank, I'm just glad I didn't see you in the hospital as well, Tsai."
"What do you mean?"
"Shoot... with all those Ferrari groupies and Trophy Girls you had in and out of the trailer all night, I figured there was a good chance you were gonna pick something up."
"I have no clue what you're talking about boss...". A smile had also begun to manifest across Tsai's face as well. I laughed and took another sip of my cof---
"We got a problem. And....gross."
"Nice to see you too Esther. And don't worry, I loved the flowers and chocolates you sent me while I was in the hospital."
"I didn't."
"Exactly."
"Whatever. You deserved it as far as I can tell. Look..." Esther sat back in her chair and adjusted her glasses, "...We got some issues."
"With what? More teams protesting us? Its Bull-stuff. I heard that Mazda and Porsche had been rushing all week, trying to revive some old Group C Cars they dug up from their basements, but they ran into some issues."
"What kind of issues?" Tsai asked.
"Well..." I re-took my hijacked sip of coffee, and winced at both the bitter taste, and the dull pain from my left eye. "...for the past 30 years, the only thing these teams have worried about, is how to bend the rules in order to hide power from the race stewards."
"Ok?"
"Yeah, well... they completely forgot how bend the rules to take power from their cars."
"I see.." Esther commented.
"So all the teams entered in this series that used to have Group C's, were feverishly trying to reverse engineer the magic Tsai was able to work." I motion to Tsai, whom was standing to my right, with a sideward head-toss. I could see out of the blurred corner of my swollen left eye, that he was beaming with pride, but at the same time, slightly uncomfortable with the accolades.
"None of that matters though?"
"Why? Goes to show you that they're willing to do the same thing we are, given they can figure it out."
"A former colleague of mine who now works at Honda, also told me that the top Brass at corporate were putting pressure on the team principle, to figure out how to detune their Super GT cars to 800pp specs", Tsai chimed in.
"That should have been easy enough to figure out", I commented.
"You would think, but they were burning piston rings when trying to run them on super lean mixtures, sooo...---"
"Look, none of that is relevant. The fact of the matter is that GTWS is concerned that the legitimacy of their series is coming into question, with us running an old Le Mans car."
"Doesn't matter what they think Esther. We're just following the rulebook that they wrote."
"Normally I would agree, its.....just...that.."
"'Just that', what?" Tsai inquired.
"Yeah, 'what?' Esther?"
"Its just that... the legitimacy of COTW has come into question too."
"From who? The FIA?? The media?? Who the fork is pushing that narrative?"
"I don't know 100%, but all roads are leading to Ted Thomas at Mazda"
"TED-FORKING-THOMAS IS BACK??? YOU GOTTA BE FORKING KIDDING ME ESTHER?? I thought the FIA banned him for life???"
"They did, but GTWS isn't sanctioned by FIA. They're their own governing body."
"Wait, I'm confused.." Tsai interjected, "Who is Ted Thomas and why is Andrew so upset about this?"
"Ted Thomas is..." Esther sat up in her seat and adjusted her glasses again, "..He's...been a thorn in our side ever since the old GT5 series."
"He's a slimy piece of crap is what he is!! And of course those grease balls at Mazda would hire him!! Those idiots haven't been relevant in motorsport since they lucked' their way into a win at Le Mans in 91'. How long has he been with Mazda??-- Argh! This is so forked!!"
"Look, the GTWS stewards have decided to let us compete with the R92, regardless of every team filing formal protests."
"Really, why?"

Esther reached into her briefcase and produced a white binder that she handed to me. I opened it to find it was filled with graphs, flow charts and accounting sheets. I spent all of 10 seconds trying to decipher what I was reading, before getting frustrated and...

"Esther, I don't know what I'm looking at." As I slammed the folder shut and tossed it on the couch to my right.
"Its viewership ratings from the last 2 televised races. As well as the metrics of social media posts that GT7 and GTWS have been tagged in."
"So? What does that have to do with us and our current situation?"
"Their ratings are up. WAY UP as a matter of fact. They're smart enough to know that these ratings equal dollars. And a big part of this recent spike is directly in part because of COTW's attendance of this new series."
"And Yard's shenanigans.." Tsai pipes in.
"And yes. Andrew's outlandish personality does have a bit to do with it." Esther says with a slight smile.
"His Twitty page is already up to 750K followers Esther."
"TWITTY PAGE?! WTF Esther?? You know I don't do social media? Why the hell do I have a damn Twitty page??
"You had one as of 3 days ago, and apparently, you have seven hundred and fifty thousand followeres... not bad." Esther says with a slight shrug of her shoulders as she stands up.
"You got to be forking kidding me Esther. I didn't consent to this."
"To be honest, if you want to stay with COTW while maintaining this insouciant persona, this is a necessary evil to avoid the masses from turning on us. Besides, it was the boss's idea."
"Who the hell is this boss you keep talking about?
"Doesn't matter. Let's just focus on the task that's directly in front of us."

For once, I decide to listen to my inner rational voice, and save that battle for later.






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"Alright. Soooooo, what do the Stewards want from us?.... what about the potential negative impact on COTW's legitimacy as you mentioned Esther? Our main job is testing cars and reviewing them in our magazine--"
"And on our podcast." Esther interrupts.
"We have a podcast now?? -look, it doesn't matter. What about the potential negative impact that this could have on our business model Esther? We're a highly regarded car enthusiast publication. We're not a race team."
"Let me handle that, Andrew."
"Fine, whatever. Just let Tsai and myself know what other concessions the Stewards want. First practice is tomorrow. I want to be practicing with the setup I'll be racing, and we're going to need some time to figure this out."
"No problem, I'll handle it."

The door shut softly behind Esther as she walked out of the trailer and back to race control. I look over to Tsai..

"What do you think, you got any more tricks up your sleeve?"
"Depending on what they ask for, yes."
"Fair enough. I'll be back in a few Tsai, I gotta give Mr. Casual a call."
"I'll be here..."



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The GTWS stewards could have easily knee-capped us by imposing a minimum ride height and/or limitations on the amount of downforce we could use, rendering our distinct handling advantage useless. Instead, the only thing they required us to do; was use our leanest fuel map setting, coupled with real-time ECU data transmission to Race Control technicians for constant oversight and analysis. God knows they had enough pressure from the other teams to take an 'all of the above' approach in BOPing' us into oblivion. But for some reason they decided to go easy on us. Suspiciously easy, actually. I'm sure part of it was them accepting the fact that we were simply just following the rules that they wrote. But this whole thing felt eerily similar to AbuDhabi 2021, where the F1 stewards decided to chase ratings instead of sportsmanship. Wether they came to this realization on their own, or from the persistance of Esther with her binder full of flow charts and flux capacitors, is another subject that is entirely up for debate.

However, engineered lieneance or not, forcing us to stay in our leanest fuel map played perfectly into the strategy that Tsai and myself had already been cooking up for this race since last week. Much like Suzuka, this was going to be a 'sprint-style' type of race, that was to last no more than 3.5 hours total. Paying close attention to the 10 day forecast, I already had it in my mind that I was going to fuel and tire-save, effectively turning a 2-stop race into a no-stopper. Was it risky? Sure. Would it work? Probably not. But Esther was right about that one thing; "How well we did, or didn't finish is completely irrelevant. The real story is; that a few chumps from a car enthusiast publication were taking it to all the premadonna's." And to that, she was spot-on.

The next two days leading up to the race didn't go off without complications though. Esther was getting in her daily workout doing laps back and forth from RC, willist handling the constant onslaught of belly-aching from the factory teams. Tsai and myself were struggling to find a setting that kept us within .5 seconds of the race pace without completley shredding the tires. Toto was fanatically searching up and down the pits for me after he got word that I called his wife a floozie. And I mysteriously would get a massive migraine headache every time I finished a practice session, causing me to retreat rapidly to my trailer so I could rest in complete solitude. The armed guards at my door were just to insure that I wasn't to be disturbed. However, according to Esther and Tsai, things were looking up. The weather forecast was shaping up to be dry and cool, and according to both of them, my Twitty page was up to 1.2 million followers - mostly due in part to one of the posts that went "viral". Honestly, I have no clue what they're talking about. Tsai's the one with the VD, not me.


Sitting in the pits, waiting to be released for our sighting lap before the race started, I was already physically and mentally exhausted from the previous 5 days. Despite both our sanctioned and non-sanctioned road testing, and countless hours of simulation races, we couldn't find a tune that kept us on par with pace without completely shredding our tires within 90 minutes. In the end, we had to settle for a low downforce setup to keep as much weight off the front tires as possible. Luckily for us, the Sardegna 'A' layout offered more fast sweeping corners than tight hairpins, with the added bonus of increased fuel economy from said low downforce setup. We qualified DFL by a long shot, so the plan was to fake a mechanical right before they sent us out for our sighting lap, get carted into our garage for "investigation", to where they were going to fuel me up to the top of the gas cap with petrol that was chilling in a Cryotherapy chamber to condense the molecules even further, giving us both a small performance boost coupled with the ability to squeeze in a couple more liters of high-test.


The lights went out and I settled into a very lack-luster pace that was predicated upon long lifts going into corners, smooth arcs throughout, and the prudent application of throttle upon exit. 60 minutes in, the no-stop strategy was starting to manifest as one by one we picked off cars as they either pitted or went off. By the 2.75 hour mark, we had worked our way well inside the top 10, and according to @Obelisk who had flown in to help run strategy for us; we had enough fuel to begin pushing. As for tire degradation, we weren't looking so hot. In fact, I was going to be god-smacked if we made it to the end without a puncture. But in true Alonso fashion, I repeatedly would radio to Tsai and OB that "these tires were feeling MAGNIFICENT!!". Shortly after, in what could only be described as 'more of an orchestrated, and less of a racing incident', while going three-wide through the left kink on the last sector, Forkin' Beauvois dive-bombed the daylights out of Ryota Kokubun and myself, shadow-realming the two of them, while perma-realming a poor photgrapher and a couple of fans. The whole incident was a blur, and quite frankly, something I'd like to forget, so I'll let the race photos do the talking for me.




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Unfortunately the photog, as well as a few fans, were fatally ripped to shreds by shrapnel.


Miracuously, I survived relatively unscathed, with the exception of some minor body damage to the car, and a very unsatisfying squishy sensation somewhere in the vicinity between my buttcrack and my Sparco. The mandatory pace car came out, and myself as well as the rest of the field dove into the pits for a dash of fuel and some fresh tires.


"Tsai, how much time is left in the race? What place am I in? OVER!!"
"Yeah Yard, copy that."
"Copy what? Over." FFS Tsai, I know its been a while since you've been on a radio, but geezus...
"Copy your transmission,
wrohwer"
"GEE**S FU***NG CH**ST TSAI!! HOW MANY GOD DA*N FUC**NG LAPS ARE LEFT?? OVER!!!"
"Yeah Andrew, you got approximately 41 minutes left, you're in 5th place. Over!". Thank god OB interjected.
"Roger, COPY THAT! Look, I need you guys to give me MAX DOWNFORCE IN THE FRONT, AND MEDIUM DOWNFORCE in the BACK! I don't CARE WHAT PLACE WE COME OUT OF THE PITS IN. WE'RE going to push THIS LAST STINT. I'LL BE IN in 30 SECONDS!! OVER!!"

Our pitstop went off without one single hiccup. The COTW crew dumped fuel and changed tires like they were possesed. Hell, they would have smoked the Jilted Wife's at Takeshi's Castle had they played with that furor. And, I might, or might not have seen Tsai clip a red wire with a pair of dikes. The fact that we exited the pits in 12th place was irrelevant. By the time the checkers flew, we had a 50 second gap over second place.




Oh yeah, Toto tried to find me again after the race - to which he almost succeeded. Unlucky for him however, Obe-"Big Country"-lisk found him first; to which Toto got sent back home to Vienna with a wired jaw and an icepack between his legs.


...Hey, I said snitching on others wasn't my style. But I never once mentioned anything about kicking a man while he's down. Where I kick him, is my business.




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Fork Toto.












When we eventually get around to testing the Nissan R92CP in GT7, I'll conclude this chapter and tell you how we fared at Daytona. Until then...

COTW4LYFE!!!! :gtpflag:
 

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Fun races yesterday. Looking forward to the next one though maybe we should all try and stay on top of buying the cars in the used car dealership LOL. Would love an All Diablo race for example but everyone would have to be try and have at least a decent car collection going or maybe just pick a car available in the used car lot and just use that one?

The Battle at Grand Valley with the RX vs 3000GT took me back to the 90s.
 
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‘Let’s not get into old habits this time Vic.’ :P

So let’s talk about the Mazda RX-7 GT-X.

For many people, the FC RX-7’s main rivals of the time was the Porsche 944 & 924, but COTW found a potential third rival, the 1989 BMW M3, specifically the non Evo Sport Variant.

Slightly more powerful & slightly lighter, it’s within the FC’s ballpark of what it can take on out on the track.

RX-7 FC: 203hp, 1250kgs
E30 M3: 212hp, 1200kgs

Both pack 5 speed gearboxes, both are RWD, both capable of 140mph+ and both are renowned for their handling capability’s.

A few other contenders cropped up including a 904 Carrera GTS which was fast, but could catch you out if you lost focus for a split second. :sly:

But it was the Mitsubishi GTO of @TheOneDonJuan and the Ferrari Dino of @Pickle_Rick74 that brought out the best on track fight at Grand Valley Highway. :D

Square was especially on the ball this for his choice of livery, but then again, he was the reason that we also tested the RX-7 over on COTW’s Forza branch last week too. ;)

Over there he mentioned the 4WD, 3 Rotor Pikes Peak version of the FC and at this weeks meet, he was rocking a livery paying homage to the Bonneville RX7 built by Racing Beat which set a two way average of 238.4 miles an hour in 1986. :eek:

Baron represented his traditional black on red designs and I represented Team BLR from a Japan-only PS1 game which i’ve touched upon in the past, Racing Lagoon.

Think of it as classic Final Fantasy, but with cars.

And quite the remarkable level of customisation even by today standards.

You ever wondered what some JDM’s would look if they were a different drivetrain layout? :confused:

You ever wondered how something like the Supra or Skyline would look with a Bosozoku bodykit? :confused:

And have you ever wondered what an AE86 would look like in Group C form? :odd:

Then wonder no longer. :lol:



That 2 hour video shows all car bodies in FF, FR, MR, RR and 4wd configurations, plus how they look with all the body kits installed too.

On top of all that, you can swap ANY engine you get into ANY body you want. :cool:

Countach V12 in a classic Vette? yep.
Kei Car 3 Cylinder in a Mini Cooper? yep.
RB26 in a Suzuki Wagon R? go right ahead.
7.0 Diesel 6 cylinder from a bus in an RX-7? more than likely. :mischievous:

I’m not saying PD should go completely free reign on letting us swap engines into what we like, but throw us a fricken bone over here instead of us being left at the mercy of a luck based roulette ticket system. :crazy:

(clears throat)

Sorry about that.

Back to the FC RX-7 and the one parallel it has with the one we tested in FH5 COTW, price and acquisition.

Both games offer a way to get one for free and both have ways to balance pricing vs ease of acquisition, GT7’s RX-7 is cheaper, but it’s in the UCD so if you miss it, you have to wait till it comes back around or complete the Beyond The Horizon missions with all gold.

FH5’s FC RX7 because it’s a ‘Hard To Find’ car, can likely be found in the Auction House the majority of the time, but be prepared to pay well in to the six figures for the buyout prices or complete the Three Of A Kind Accolade.

As first nights go, it was a solid start, the odd technical oversight here and there, but I’d say it was good overall. :D

Just like the FC RX-7 was. ;)

Verdict: Sleeper 😉👍
 
"By the time the second–generation RX-7, the FC3S, arrived in October 1985, Mazda had firmly established the model as a competent rotary–powered sports machine", says the in–game description of the RX-7 GT-X. So, if the first generation was a success critically and commercially, what would Mazda do as a follow–up act? Why, change it, of course!


While the first generation SA22C (and later FB3S) RX-7s were cheap, fun, lightweight and peppy sports cars that sold like hotcakes, Mazda, wanting a bigger slice of the American market pie, decided to sweeten up the follow–up with about 200 kilos of saturated grand touring fat. Ironically for a company known for innovation and marching to the beat of their own drum, Mazda had decided that the best way to do market research into what Americans wanted was to copy the Germans almost wholesale; even someone like me who has spent the most of his life ogling at RX-7s has to do a double take when I see a 924 or FC on the road. All told, the FC not only suffers from being the middle child among the trifecta, but also one that seems the most ungainly, seemingly sharing less with its much better regarded siblings and more with a car that Volkswagen wanted nothing to do with.

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However, one area in which Mazda (thankfully) didn't copy from Germany was the price. This is especially true in Japan, where the boxy silhouette of the FC seemed almost like a deliberate effort to squeeze as much car into the compact car class as Mazda could, with the width of the FC measuring in just one centimetre under the class limit. Coupled with the 13B two rotor engine officially displacing just 1,308cc, the FC, even with its added bloat and heft, slid smug into the lower tax bracket of the compact car class. In other words, the FC RX-7 offered not only a step up in creature comforts, but also Porsche rivaling performance on a base that begged to be modded to high heaven, all for a moderate asking and running price.

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And hoo boy, did people mod these things. Racing Beat set a BGT record at the Bonneville Speed Week with an FC RX-7, hitting 238.4mph (383km/h) on the salt flats. Rob Millen fielded a 3 Rotor, 790kg, AWD beast of an FC up Pikes Peak in 1987. A 4–Rotor FC took both driver's and manufacturer's championships in 1990 and 1991 at Daytona, along with many class wins along the way. And if shenanigans in Gran Turismo games count, used FCs are cheap enough to be had as one's first car for under the starting 10k Credits in the PS1 era games, which is exactly how my journey started, actually! I remember tuning mine to shoo FDs off the track, and even to this day, I have a soft spot for a clean example of Blaze Red FCs because, quite simply put, I wouldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for that car. In case it needed spelling out, that's exactly why I wanted to start off GT7's Car of the Week with an FC RX-7.

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But, that is not to say that this is my first experience with the FC in Car of the Week—Back when we tested this car in GT Sport, I loathed it! It had no grip, no power, and had heinously nervous handling without even being near its limits. Here in GT7, the FC is thankfully, a lot more stable and predictable, almost as if Polyphony Digital forgot to model in the idiosyncratic behaviour of the car's infamous Dynamic Tracking Suspension System. What's that, you ask? Well, not much is known about it, because when I Google "Mazda RX-7 DTSS", the first few results are always along the lines of, "how do I get rid of DTSS?". Supposedly, it's a system that gives the rear wheels some steering angle to "help" the driver, and... whiff whiff wait a minute, why does it smell like Porsche in here? And not just 1980s Porsches, either, but like... 2013 918 kinds of smell. Remind me again why my 24,860 Credit list price 80s Mazda smells like that?

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Without that primitive and intrusive 80s tech meddling with the car, the FC's balance and neutrality finally takes centre stage in the driving experience. Capitalising on the Wankel Rotary Engine's unique compactness, the entirety of the ornate powerplant is situated well behind the front axle and right up against the firewall, making this car technically mid engined. What this results in is a remarkable 52/48 F/R weight distribution, and when behind the wheel, the car's 1,250kg (2,756lbs) kerb mass doesn't feel like it was concentrated in any one area; the whole thing feels very proportionate and effortless to maneuver when still within the limits of grip. That, uh... doesn't happen very often in the twisties.

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Being a high grade turbo model, the GT-X not only comes with ABS as standard, but is also shod with upsized 205mm tyres all four corners, and oof, after driving this top grade turbo trim, I shudder at the thought of the non turbo variants coming with no ABS and 185mm tyres. I don't think Gran Turismo simulates old tyres, but the FC has the uncanny ability to make its default Comfort Soft tyres feel old. Trail brake into a corner, and the skinny tyres give up without much provocation or warning, and if you tried to force the issue, the unladen rear end is similarly happy to let loose with oversteer. In other words, this car can go from grip to 4 wheel slip in mere moments, all without the aid of the handbrake. You'd think that 203HP (151kW) and 269.7N⋅m (198.8lbf⋅ft) wouldn't even be enough to carry a bag of apex seals home, but even at middling rev ranges, the rather gutless feeling 13B Turbo can still give the rear tyres more than they can handle, even on a dry, paved racing circuit in 2nd.

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Despite being one of the best starter car buys in the earlier Gran Turismo games, this car suffers massively on these classic tracks, now that they've become ultra wide and high speed affairs. Having to dive across the wide widths of these circuits just to find an apex fishes for understeer from the front end, and the wedge shaped car with a short deck is—surprise surprise—not that stable at high speed. I mean, this is a car with a hole drilled into its rear wing to accommodate a radio antenna, what else needs to be said or shown? At speeds above mid fourth gear, weight transfer is extremely snappy and unsettling, which can very easily result in a complete spin at high speed sections of circuits if one isn't careful and gentle with the car. This holds doubly true if braking for these high speed turns is involved, such as Turns 2 and 6 of High Speed Ring, and the Inner Loop at Watkins Glen.

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Where this car excels and truly comes alive instead is at low to mid speed tracks, where its lightness, balance, and even its slight tail happiness can truly shine, although such tracks are excruciatingly rare in Gran Turismo 7. When I finally came across these select ribbons of asphalt though, it feels like I had finally found Nirvana. Like I had been arguing and fighting a family member for so long, and now I finally see where they're coming from and why they're acting the way they were. Such ribbons of enlightenment include the mountains of Bathurst for example, or just the whole of Tsukuba and Road Atlanta. At these tracks, the FC displays impeccable point and shoot capabilities, diving for apexes with enough vigor to bring out the rear end for a hint of slip. It can be driven on the limit that way for the fastest lap times, but the fragile balance and low grip of the car also means that the car is only very light encouragement away from breaking all hell loose if you so wish or are careless, and the car remains a talkative tool even under all that duress. Propped up on soft, sky scraping springs with 150mm (5.91in) ground clearance, kerbs and sausages are no less parts of the track to be exploited as the parts paved by asphalt, allowing heinous corner cuts that would send stiffer sprung cars flying, and the one advantage of skinny tyres on the track is that one doesn't feel adverse camber in corners that much. In other words, the worse the road conditions are, the brighter the FC seems to shine.

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Of course, no discussion about a Wankel powered car is complete without mention of said novel engine. While simple and elegant with few moving parts from an engineering standpoint, Rotary Engines are inherently peaky engines because of said simplicity, as engineers can't play with valve timings or bore and stroke to squeeze more low end torque out of them. This leaves turbocharging as the only means to breathe some semblance of life into the mid range, which is the approach Mazda have seemingly taken with the turbo models of the FC. One probably wouldn't come to that conclusion looking at where the engine makes peak power, though! With peak power happening only at rev ranges where most sensible cars would have long since tapped out—7,000rpm—the blown Wankel still makes you work to keep it screaming to give the most satisfaction. However, the plot twist here is in peak torque, as that occurs at a rev range even a diesel Demio can easily achieve: 3,500rpm! With peak power at 7 and peak torque at 3,5, one could almost park a Mazda Bongo bus in the gulf between peak torque and peak power!

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Something tells me this isn't going to be the last time this white FC gets chased by a blue car...

In practice, the engine feels incredibly flat to operate. Paired with the rather tall ratios as is required from a 5 speed gearbox, there is an uncanny lack of any sensations of surge and recess in power as the car is brought up to speed, almost as if Mazda made an electric version of their classic sports car à la Toyota and Nissan. I truly feel no difference shifting this at 7 or 7,5, past which the engine palpably asphyxiates. While EVs have massive shove behind that flat delivery, the Mazda feels completely gutless anywhere, and oftentimes I find myself wishing I could clutch kick the car to get a quick burst of torque out of a corner, but that sadly doesn't work in Gran Turismo. I'm going to say something here that I don't think any reviewer has said before: I wish this Rotary Engine was more peaky. I wish it had more boost up top. I wish it had a more pronounced sweet spot that I can seek out. At this point, the car might as well have a CVT. I'd certainly like to see what my FC is like with one if Understeer Engineering carried any stock. After all, it's not like the engine in this sounds amazing or anything—The trademark Rotary Engine whine is completely inaudible from the driver's seat, and the exhaust note is muffled to a boorish grunt.

Grand Valley - Highway 1_.jpeg

In fact, the only thing noteworthy about the drivetrain isn't even the drivetrain, but rather, the beeper in the cabin that sounds to remind drivers to upshift. The idea is that, because Rotary Engines run so smoothly, it might be hard to discern its audio cues and know when to shift. I can't say I understand the need, but maybe it's a problem more prominent in real life. Here in the virtual world, though, the beeping is just bloody annoying!

Watkins Glen Long Course_.jpeg

They say you can't hear images, but those people have clearly never driven an FC RX-7.

Not only does the beeper itself sound like a 1980s alarm clock passing gas into a soiled diaper, but the beep itself comes on more than a whole thousand revs before fuel cut, from 6,800rpm. The astute among you might have quickly realised is where you'll want to spend most of your time on the track. I don't care if you're a devout saint, a compassionate mental health professional, or a tough secret agent trained to resist torture; everyone will lose their goddamn minds after 24 prolonged, agonising, infuriating seconds of the car beeping at you almost nonstop when taking a series of high speed bends that just so happens to require you camping in the last 1,200rpms of the rev range, such as the Back Straight, Inner Loop, Outer Loop, and Chute of Watkins Glen in succession. As for me, I find myself channeling my inner Tsunoda Yuki as I shout, "Yeah, I know, I'm doing! Stop talking to me, I'm in the braking zone! Don't talk to me anymore. ****ing engine brake!" The beeper only gets more infuriating if you do decide to tune your car, because the beeper isn't recalibrated to come on any later even if you shift the powerband later into the rev range and increase the rev limit. Oh, and here in GT7, Polyphony decided that we bumper cam players shan't be spared that immersion, and now that beep is also simulated in bumper cam in addition to cockpit cam!

All this effort for the beeper, and they still can't make the turbo boost pressure gauge in the cockpit work after 13 years?! It hasn't worked since the cockpit of the car was first rendered in Gran Turismo 5, released in 2010! At this point, I'm starting to think that the boost gauge in the real car that PD scans is broken, and they didn't bother telling the owners about it!

Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit_.jpeg

The turbo RX-7 may be the faster version of Mazda's fast car, but how fast is it compared to everything else? Sadly, we don't have any variant of the 924 in the game to test, and of course a contemporary 911 would wallop it. Same with the A70 Supra or a Z32 Fairlady. Despite having marginally worse power and mass figures, the FC is only a split hair slower than the "base" E30 M3. As for the cars the FC is faster than... not much, really. It'd outrun an S13 and an AE86 for sure, but I much prefer the driving dynamics of those cheaper and lighter cars. But there's a theme developing here: the FC isn't going to be outgunned by anything with a cheaper list price than it, and it'd even give much more expensive cars a run for their money. In other words, the FC is an impeccable all rounder for a bargain price, and it's arguably a ton more fun than many of the cars I've listed above. Running the FC against so many wildcard cars this week, I think I've finally come to see that, in spite of its added bloat and heft, the FC3S RX-7 is nonetheless, a world class sports car for its time.

Deep Forest Raceway_.jpeg

The FC is very much a product of its time, and it doesn't try to hide it any; it demands of its driver to be very gentle and measured in how they drive, as the car quickly gives out quickly to ham fisted maneuvers. It has to be steered gently. Eased into its pedals. The driver has to be cognizant of where its weight is at all times. Listen for and feel the tyres approaching their limits and letting go. While I usually am wont to say that cars like that are good for beginners to learn how to drive quick, the FC is a bit too fast and much too hazardous for that. On the contrary, I think it's a good car to force a seasoned racing driver to get reacclimitised to the mortality of a road car—during race day, I have had the car bite me back massively for what I had thought were reasonable asks, such as jabbing the brake pedal hard in a slightly off neutral braking zone into the final turn of High Speed Ring, only to snap the wheel hard left suddenly. Moments like that made me realise how conditioned I was to just bash and abuse bespoke, hardcore racing cars, and in turn, contextualise what I was asking for them and their capability to deliver without even showing signs of duress. You could say that the driving experience of an FC RX-7 brings a driver back to the fundamentals and basics, almost like coming across a primary school textbook as an adult during spring cleaning. It makes me go, "Oh wow, I used to do complicated math so slowly. I used to show all my work, draw all these diagrams and tables to solve an asinine problem no one would have... now I'll just use a calculator or outsource the problem". In the FC, it's, "Oh wow, cars used to be so much more mortal and unforgiving. I used to have to be so careful around even this slow car. Now it's all stiff springs, fat tyres, instant low down torque, and hand holding understeer". You could say that, after all these years desensitised by supercars and racing machines, driving the FC again made me more mechanically sympathetic. It reminds me of where I came from, and I have a very funny feeling that I'd feel this way driving this car today even if I hadn't started my Gran Turismo journey with one. And hey, on the dawn of a new set of physics, a set that is, in my opinion, the best yet in Gran Turismo by a long shot, the FC is a fantastic grounding experience to set me straight... by going sideways on me. A lot.

Iwate Museum of Art_.jpeg
 
These are not the words I expected to see, but..



SPD Writes Gran Turismo 7's Car Of The Week: Week 1 - Mazda RX-7 GT-X '90 (FC)


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So, say hello to the Purpetrator. Yes this is me ditching the Horizon 5 Week 74 Throwback for.
The Corrado gets to hold back another week of flexing. As for the JCW Countryman that I obviously hope is coming here.. some of you know what those words are.



This was supposed to be hinted when I snuck in the weekly Asian COTW lobby. But here it is now.

The Purpetrator exists as this.. unusually DC Joker themed painted FC as the lone answer to a question: how good does a purple painted turbocharged rotary seem in the eyes of the public? Actually, it looks fetching. But that's me. It could be the next calling of Picasso, or something one can find as a happy little mistake on the canvas. Hey, let's keep the positive vibes here.

As you can see, I don't know how to get things going around here. Let's discuss this dilemma: I aim to do this in the style of however long I did in Horizon 5's COTW. But then, to me, it didn't feel right..


- The nerd stuff's covered very well in game, so doing that's already a redundant thing.

- The on track analysis will have to come down to what I want to do each week, and consistency. And the fact Gran Turismo 7 is the only modern mainstream racing game without a form of the MINI Countryman, which is a personal crisis that you should ignore, but..

- Maybe the post review analysis events I can do.. (Throwback, Showcase, Test), but this gives me a fear of when something like Senna's McLaren or the Porsche 917 Kurzheck is nominated.


So, I've been on the mind's depths for some ideas that'll look good for my sanity. My thoughts include..


- blend a small episode using my fictional, long running within my own GT themed fictional writing universe, which I dubbed internally to myself as the Mythic Chronicles verse. I'll theme a certain episode around a select choice of hubs. For this week, I know of a small Japanese tuning shop usually working around Fuji to Kyoto that'll take center stage..

- Let the AI do its thing. They ain't Sophy, but they're good enough to get some ideas. And there's also the twist that I might do Throwbacks and Tests this way: just watch the boys race.

- The least original of the lot: twist around my Forza Horizon 5 formula. This will include introduction, analysis, special event and quick conclusion.


Or, y'know, be this absolute nuthead who talks in third person sometimes and declares himself as Zangief's signature grappling move.. it's my initials, my dudes.. And do a hybrid of all of these suggestions at once.

Let's get going. I've been dying for a story writing revival, and I think it's time to see how my creative gears have been oiled.


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Episode 1: The Phantom MINI


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Kyoto Driving Park
Dawn


In the bare hours past the sun's rise, activity finds itself scarce at most.

But a lone hatchback makes its way around the track's current Yamagiwa setting that's open.


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The mystery driver inside pushes hard, with an intent to exploit the whole track. Unfortunately, a Sunday Cup event later that day forces the track's closure to the public around Miyabi.

As it passes the start finish line for what seems like a never ending cycle of zen, a young man watches through the pit lane wall, interested while curious.

He might seem young and unassuming, but Hideki Minami's more than your introverted usual university graduate.

Recently graduated with a master's in arts and design, his passions led him to eventually open a small but flourishing car tuner garage with his girlfriend, together but unmarried for far too long.

He's always wanted to ask the biggest question of all, but he didn't have the words or the confidence combined to not mess it up in his head.

But instead of marriage, he sleepily thought..



Hideki: "Oh, mysterious blue MINI? What is it that drives you to this place at bare sights of sun? Yumi-san better have something big for trying to ruin my sleep pattern.."


A stranger to this era of MINI cars, Deki-san's interest in the car wanes as he heads down to the empty pit lane and starts clearing the area around his blue 86.


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Parked in front of a garage with his company's name, the sleepy young man's bespoke 86 finds its rest disturbed as it owner leans by the side, bored and visibly in mild frustration.



Hideki: "Oh I wonder if anything interesting is going to happen? Everyone else having their day off, and I should be out there, finding us customers.."


And as he started to lose hope, he sees a car in the distance coming his way.


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Readjusting his glasses, he zooms in his view..



Hideki: "What? That's not.. wait. No.."


As the view gets clearer, what he sees sparks a fire within his memories.


Hideki: "No no! Oh my! Yumi-san!! How dare you!!"


The car: the turbo powered 2nd generation Mazda RX-7, drives up to his side as he holds his hands to his face, rearing back his growing excitement.

The driver's window then lower..



Ayumi: "Here you are! I see you recognize it still?"

Hideki: "Why of course.. Yumi-san. I thought.. you said.."

Ayumi: "Yeah, it was dead meat, but one, and a two and a three: JAAAN! Here we are!"


Putting the switches, the girl: one Ayumi Tanaka, exits the car and greets her boyfriend with a bit of a shocker.


Ayumi: "See it, Deki-san? Those GT Auto magicians have done what we would dream of doing! A full, just like new refurbish. And when the news came, I was so excited, I got to their shop the second they could serve!!"

Hideki: "It explains why you already left me behind. You should've told me."

Ayumi: "Nah, I had Kento-san send me."


It might be another name, but it's enough weight for Hideki to glance with arms raised and expression shown.


Hideki: "Whu? Kento-san! I'm always ready to help you, Yumi-san! Is there some reason behind this?"


As they circle around the FC, Yumi-san gets to revealing her recent actions to the man she trusts.


Ayumi: "Well, two things: I want to surprise you, given how much this car means to you, me.. us actually! And you haven't been sleeping. Again."


A surprise attack put Hideki on defense, muttering..


Hideki: "Yumi-san, I can explain. It's that new reality show that.."


His whining turned her energetic tone to a briefly more serious one, complete with hands on her hips.


Ayumi: "Not an excuse to see you napping under the next Suzuki in the garage. If you want a day off to account your weak time management skills, don't be afraid to ask. I won't fire you for honesty."


Those words gave Deki-san the feeling his soul has been sucked dry, posing with a slump.


Hideki: "D'oh.. you're so tough even though that's fair, Yumi-san.."

Ayumi: "You know it! Kento-san still owes me for that night. So you can figure out how he paid that debt, hehehe.."


The mood then gets interrupted by the echo of the car left to run around.


Ayumi: "There's a car on the track?"

Hideki: "Hmm? Oh, yes. Mid 2000s MINI with a UK registration. Unusual.."

Ayumi: "Lemme see. Come on, Deki-san!!"


As they reach the walls, the car finds itself at the large straight.


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Ayumi: "It's fast.. amazing!"

Hideki: "Oh? I didn't think you'd be impressed."

Ayumi: "Deki-san, what you're seeing here is a Sleeper."

Hideki: "Sleeper? You don't have to insult me more, Yumi-san, I got your message."

Ayumi: "No, it's not a.. Oh get over here!"


She points to the leaving car as she playfully slams her boyfriend to the wall.


Hideki: "Excus-HEYY!!"

Ayumi: "See how it's got a kit and those stripes. Calling a car a Sleeper means they don't seem fast, but reveals itself to be otherwise."


Backed away from the wall, he dusts himself as he absorbs the thought..


Hideki: "Argh.. that's an intriguing way of saying it! But I'm not sure.."

Ayumi: "Well, to me, and maybe someone else I know.. a Sleeper can simply mean it's meant to impress more than what you see on the outside. You're a sleeper to me, Deki-san."


While not easy to anger, that line got him a bit cross.


Hideki: "Is that supposed to be an insult.. or should I be flattered?"


She responded playfully, preceding with a quiet giggle.


Ayumi: "Heehee.. is both an available answer?"


Her boyfriend unamused look says it all.


Hideki: "Quit it."


She then turned the conversation back to the car she arrived in.


Ayumi: "By the way, let's go back to the FC. I know enough on the events that got you to feel awfully ecstatic about it."


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Hideki: "Oh, I sure am. More like glad to see it look so.. pristine for a.. car older than us..."


There was a nagging feeling behind Hideki, and he figured out finances was part of it when he saw his girlfriend's posture and mood change drastically.

Eyes to the side, fingers poking at one another, and general downward body posture: he knew it was coming, and had to query..



Ayumi: "Well, you see.."

Hideki: "Oh goody, this will be nice.. How much was it?"


When her puppy dog eyes came, he knew the news was going to be bad.


Ayumi: "About 100 thousand credits.."

Hideki: "Wha?! How the?!"


Post reaction, he remained composed, but Ayumi felt otherwise, quickly bursting into an emotional breakdown.


Ayumi: "I KNOW DEKI-SAN, I FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT!! AAAAHHH!!"

Hideki: "Yumi-san, please calm yourself! Don't make a scene! I'm happy you made all this effort! We'll make this loss up in no time, I promise!"


It wasn't his first thought, but it was Hideki's self justified thought to come close and console her.

She saw the gesture, and it at least calmed her a bit.



Ayumi: "Such understanding.. Thank you for that. This is the car that got us together in the first place, and, and I do want to make this moment the best it should be."

Hideki: "Ohh, well, it's our life's savings you've put on the line, Yumi-san. But let's make the best of what we got. You thinking what I am?"

Ayumi: "Ooh, I know, I know. A drive! Let's get it warmed up!"


Both aiming for the driver's side, Ayumi reached there first with a energetic blaze of speed.

Deciding he can't beat her, he tries to talk her out of it.



Hideki: "Well, if you're still feeling guilty, you can let me get the first laps in.."

Ayumi: "Are you kidding? I always look forward for a drive."

Hideki: "Your call, Yumi-san."


Getting to their seats, the driver resumes conversation.


Ayumi: "Fasten your belts, Deki-san. It's time to bring out this turbo like it was 10 years ago!"


Confident she's fluking, her whole leg pushing the accelerator had other intentions to his demeanor.


Hideki: "Whoaaaa, is it supposed to go this faaaasstt?!"

Ayumi: "YEAAA!!"


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Hideki: "The last we were here, it couldn't even go up the hill. What did those GT Auto people do?!"

Ayumi: "Essentially turned this 30 year old sports car to its factory specifications. I don't want to bore you with the details, or you might just end up asleep."

Hideki: "Huh! A fine rotary? Make me sleep? I'm tired, sure but there's no chance."


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Hideki: "Aahh! I mean.. good line! Does it turn okay?"

Ayumi: "Like on the days we met. You joined my cute little racing club, remember?"

Hideki: "Cute, eheh, that was a good memory.."

Ayumi: "Ye-ye-yess! How can I forget the time this.. charming young man stepped up for me against some.. unsavory characters. You can tell I'm really sugarcoating this description."

Hideki: "Uhh, the more I hear, the more I don't enjoy how cliche that sounds.. even if those were the events that came to be."

Ayumi: "Well, I feel it's poor judgement to question our past fate, Deki-san."

Hideki: "Let's focus on the car. Just like a customer test drive?"

Ayumi: "Oh, but this is MY car. I'm the Rotary Queen, [BLEEP]es!"


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Hideki: "Wait.. [BLEEP]es, ending with an s? Forgive my English, but is there someone else?"


His thoughts go to the obvious red herring: the MINI was not in sight.


Well hello there!

I'd like to thank you for going this far. It's time to blend 2 things that I find enjoyable in my brief time going about threads in GTPlanet. Uno: writing car analysis as I have in Horizon 5's COTW. That is done here too, though in a much shorter form due to being just a small part of the bigger picture.

Let's begin with the FC. Now, since I did the review last week on Horizon 5, I find myself referring to that to see how Mini Mexico got the car right. The driving in Gran Turismo world is just much more interesting to me. And due to that, there isn't going to be me declaring if a car's a worthy Mark of Zen.

Another joy: writing stories. It's what got me into GTPlanet to begin with, though I do plan a full modern 2020 era reboot on how that's going to pan out. Enough of that. I have an established universe, and I want to share how much more internal effort I've been putting in.

But let's get to the analysis, hmm? I'm not going to break the car down on the whole, like I said: kids are cruel, Jack.

Uhh, I thought I worked that inner Sundowner out already.

Like I said: this will all be in a much shorter form. I'll just head to a normal track, and drive. That's it. How I feel, what stands out, and what to mention will come forward and be the real slim shady. This will be way shorter for any entries I feel like writing about.

If you're familiar with the entry level of most early Gran Turismo games, you'll find the FC to be either the fast first choice, or I prefer as the first step up. Not much has changed in 25 years, I see.

A sleek light RWD sports car with a turbocharged dual rotary: the first of its kind, the FC can be considered a proper entry to them on the whole. It's a bit problematic in the rear, but until you upscale its base of 203 horsepower, it won't kill you for mucking about. Do watch out when you decelerate: something is up with the deceleration in the LSD.

For a cruiser, the car is one that can come to help you set yourself for dealing with oversteer. Things like moving and jerking the wheel back, throttle control. It's mild enough that I don't feel a significant difference with the traction control on. The rear happy nature does come to play when you push it, so if you're feeling like you're being penetrated by that passionate Dr. Wankel from behind, you can put the brake bias to the front by 1 or 2. Other assists I don't feel need mention.

After a good number of laps, the FC finds itself stationary by the edge of the pit lane, though with keys remaining in ignition.


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Ayumi: "A quick refuel, tire check and you can have a go through memory lane, Deki-san. Be right baaack!!"


While Ayumi dashes away in haste, all young Hideki has in mind is the car, staring at it without relent from a short distance.


Hideki: "Hehe.. it's about time."


Smiling away, he readjusts his glasses and get's a clearer view.


Hideki: "Why hello there, FC-chan.. how did I become an 86 guy after that? Hmm.. oh?"


What took his attention was an aura, somehow he felt that came from a recently familiar sight.


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Hideki: "It's that MINI.."


Now with a much closer view, he finds an opportune moment to get a more thorough look.


Hideki: "He-hey. Might as well take a quick observation before.."

???: "Before what, I presume?"


As the voice reveals a presence, Hideki felt a chill down his spine. He turned to see a woman: a short, slender being, still in racing overalls drowned in shadow.


Hideki: "Before the Phantom arrives! AND HERE YOU ARE!!"


The Phantom's face switched to surprise, more accurately one with concern as Hideki retreats with the MINI in between.


???: "Huhh.."


They paused for a while, but Hideki, once encountered personally he feels is the closest thing to a demon in human form, came up.


Hideki: "Well, I apologize for that outburst. And I'm sure Phantom is not your name."


And as he sees this phantom more closely, it became gradually clear he has a thought on who this is.


Hideki: "This.. hey.. that height.. that face.. it was all such a dead giveaway, actually.."


With the pieces of memory in place, Hideki then asks..


Hideki: "Forgive me for nerding out, b-but are you.. wait, you're the famous Le Glace Pacer. Asia's Sweet Toothed Lone Wolf: C-Candy Lam?"


Eyebrows raised in a brief stint of impression, the woman starts behaving her casual snooty self.


Candy: "Oh? This man's knowledgable. However, I don't think I have the mood to meet new fans~."


Knowing she intends to go away, he figures if he's going to keep her around, he needs to hook her..


Hideki: "I don't want to address you purely with your nickname, Candy-san. I-I know people that respect the fight you're battling on track."


Even as she says so, she knows he's a fan and wants to reassure the situation.


Candy: "Leave my battles to my own, uhh.. Deki-san, was it?"


She sees eyes wide open with a mouth just as large.


Hideki: "How did-I haven't even properly introduced myself.."

Candy: "I've overheard enough. You seem restraint, but how you both converse stood out like ruining the library's peace."


They closen the gap, standing at arms length from each other, in front of the modified MINI.


Hideki: "Oh.. so what brings you out here? I'd expect your partners in Toyota to be close when you're around.."

Candy: "Work, but not with them. See that MINI you got your greasy fingers smudged on?"

Hideki: "Hmm?"


Their eyes then focus towards the car.


Candy: "There's a client: an anonymous John Doe that wants it to be the greatest sleeper car that ever existed. But he wants an exemplary racer's touch on it, so he went to me directly. It's completely off the radar, off the books, long term work with me heading to different venues all over the globe, working on the side while I do my FIA racing. The pay.. well, I shouldn't even mention the pay.."


Candy finds her guest slumping and scratching his head in worry with the mention of money.


Candy: "Don't think I didn't see that. You are in need of money, am I correct?"

Hideki: "My love.. the joyful but financially troubled Yumi-san has once again buried us in debt.."


Feeling this man's lack of impact, Candy decides that..


Candy: "This sob story isn't important."


While he feels disappointed, he expected it, and shrugged it off while releasing a breath.


Hideki: "Wheww.. Smooth, Deki-san. You just met her after all.."


Losing her favor, Candy's attention turns to the empty Yamagiwa track, and what she sees became..


Candy: "Idea.. we are on a track, and it's made for one thing: racing. I propose we duel."

Hideki: "Me? Just a street smart nobody? Against FIA superstar Candy Lam?"

Candy: "You made yourself clear on what you're going up against, correct? 3 laps around Yamagiwa."


Seeing how serious she is, Hideki has one reponse immediately lined up, glancing in the situation.


Hideki: "This.. this is an absurd request! We both know how outclassed I am! It's more than just the car."

Candy: "The immature thoughts linger.. tsk tsk.."


Wagging her finger around, she faces her back towards Hideki.


Candy: "I don't want to see victory or defeat. I want to see the conviction of your dedication."


She then gestures towards the FC.


Candy: "Your bond with that RX-7. I saw you were joyed when she said it was going to be your turn."

Hideki: "I met her, and.. my love towards her blossomed thanks to that very car. That was years ago, but before today, it was a dead memory.. and she sacrificed a lot to get it newly refurbished."

Candy: "Like it's brand new? That's an incredible effort."


He took his moment to walk towards the FC, looking at it. While from any other perspective, it's just him lost in thought.

In his world, it's the past meeting the events of today. The compound that changed his thoughts, even though this isn't a make or break race.

Not a moment passes, he then turns back to Candy with a change of face.



Hideki: "Well, I don't have anything else to wait for but you. Me and the FC are more than ready."


Breaking out a confident but sinister smile, Candy stepped forward.


Candy: "I reassure all this isn't for your trite win loss record.. but let's say you are going to benefit if you give it your all, Deki-san. This day.. might be amusing after all."


5 mins later.jpg



With a trolley full of the things she requires, Ayumi re-enters the scene..

..not realizing the missing elements established earlier.



Ayumi: "Alright, phew! It's such a pain to bring these along. Pit lane workers are a tough bunch eh, De.. Huh? The car? Where did it.. Deki-san?!"


Trying to figure out the absence of everything, Ayumi hears a noise nearby and investigates a fear that eventually surface as she closens to the start finish line.


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Ayumi: "AAAAHH!!! D-D-DEKI-SAN!! You're having a duel?!! WITHOUT ME!! NO!! STOP! STOP! DEKI-SAN!!"

Let's Go
Def Leppard
Best Of...Def Leppard


What's this? Another analysis? Well, this will cover the strategies on racing and giving an idea with competitive ability for the week's nominee. It'll cover strategies to tuning and what parts to put in if you have a budget. This is a notably shorter section depending on the car. Example being.. don't expect even a bunch of sentences with a racecar.

For the FC, you'll want to get into getting the car more balanced. The first thing you want in is a fully customizable LSD. No buts, you have to get one and bring the acceleration to a low, and deceleration values up. How far up or down, well, that depends on how much power you got in the hood and what tires are on.

It currently has a balanced weight distribution, but you can't feel but say the rear likes to go out, no matter what you do. While it's a must to get the ballast and power limiter for reasons, you'll want to get into GT Auto and put on at least the spoiler and wider wheels. That'll help start you off before putting in power. That's going to be the last thing you want to put in, really.


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Still got money? Then suspension's something to consider. Well, I was going to say tires, but to be honest, I use it to conform to regulations. If you don't mind the semi permanent presence, get body rigidity. You're going to look for suspension settings that'll reduce the oversteery feeling.

If you're racing the stock car.. you got yourself something perfectly usable to introduce one to how a classic RWD sports car behaves. If you're going to try beating it.. it doesn't take a genius to tame it. Be wary of engine braking or even trail braking: it truly hates it, and thus why the custom LSD.


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The two racers get together at the pit lane, with Candy thinking up the right words to end her meeting.

She see the man in a new, while slightly changed light.



Candy: "Good race. It's a gap, but I respect someone who's clean.. and show no signs of desperation."


No ill intents came from her, Hideki responds honestly with a small boast..


Hideki: "Well, Candy-san.. you ever heard of the incredible street racing leagues of Mt. Aso? There's a reputation with my name on it."

Candy: "And your girlfriend? Does she.."

Hideki: "She knows. We don't keep each other in the dark about what we want to do, especially if money is on the line."


He may love the recently revived FC, but the blue MINI was a force to behold in his eyes. It was a lingering presence, and it had to be asked about..


Hideki: "I know nothing of that MINI, but it's quick. Were you giving me leeway or.."

Candy: "Oooh, very astute. You're not some meathead, after all."


About to respond to her playful voice, another voice enters to dominate the scene.


Ayumi: "Deki-san! DEKI-SANN!"

Candy: "And we shall talk again from the depths of your grave, Deki-san.."


Expecting carnage, Candy sees something else: praise.

It's an emotion her inner lone wolf never got to experience.



Ayumi: "That was some fine driving, I'm so proud!! PROUD!!"

Hideki: "Oh, you know.. motivated me can be quite impressive. HEY GET OFF ME!"


Watching the couple celebrate with the likes of hitting and climbing, her soul lays still, her heart trembles, and all this: damaged by past trauma..

It's a struggle from within, but she does her best to retain her face.



Candy: "[shudders]..ohh..."

Ayumi: "Still such a mellow soul! That's the Deki-san I know and love. I'd kiss you but.."


Ayumi then turned to the yet to be identified Candy, with a mild reaction..


Ayumi: "WHOA!! My eyes don't betray me!"


Eyes wide open, facial muscles stretched, and a few high energy hopping.

Candy sees this woman gets excited easy. To say it was mild truly was a very Ayumi level of understatement on how she defines exceitement.



Ayumi: "It's her! You dueled against Le Glace Pacer?!"

Hideki: "Yeah, that's right. Are you okay with that nickname, Candy-san? French people are weird.."

Candy: "Uhh.. It's not disturbed me. Not yet. She another fan?"

Ayumi: "Fan? I'm a fan of racers myself. President of a fan club, of this dark brooding figure with a hidden heroic side in him. Goes by.. Jacob Ross?"


Something was up with that name.

A name so generic, but Candy feels there's more to it than just two words.



Candy: "That name.. familiar but I cannot get my hands around it.."


Deciding to respect this 'gift', she puts a mental note on this person of interest.


Hideki: "Interesting you bring HIM up.."

Ayumi: "It was worth a shot."


Now with a small but present smile, Candy moves closer, confident that these are people she wants to trust.


Candy: "By the way, Deki-san.. I can say a lot, but to put it simply: as fellow racers, you've earned my respect. But you must give me something back first."

Hideki: "Uhh, this better not be another duel."

Candy: "Haha, no. I'm looking for something. I have this hunch you are a pair.. like a business partnership. And these partnerships must have a certain something.. shaped like a business card."


It's not the most convoluted riddle, with her hand lent out to receive, but Hideki's abrupt panicked response says it all.


Hideki: "Ahh crap! I, uhh.. we're doomed.."


Ayumi chose instead not to relate and hand the famous racer a small card from her back pocket.


Ayumi: "Again it's going to be me saving your hide, Deki-san."


Receiving the card, Candy's first thoughts are to why it's all black. Curiously she reads through the details.


Candy: "Thank you. Oooh, what's this? Kuro Uma Autohouse? And all the details. This will do nicely!"

Hideki: "I don't follow.. how will this benefit?"

Candy: "This sounds nonsensical, but with this, I am able to compensate you in exposure. Business work isn't charity work, I'm afraid. Don't underestimate the powers of a talent's social media feed."


Waving the card around, she then takes out her smart phone from the MINI and starts getting her fingers tap dancing on it.


Candy: "In a few mere moments, prepare for a roster of race fans to come to your base of operation in droves. Can you take the pressure, like you did with me, Deki-san?"


It sounded dire and something that's bound to cause burnout.

But Ayumi knows this is a test of their fortitude and interest. She shows a brave face.



Ayumi: "The day's just started. I can take on a whole afternoon of testing and tuning, isn't that so?"

Hideki: "Yeah, I'm not."


Her boyfriend's deception can only mean one open-hand-at-high-speed-to-the-face response..


Hideki: "OWW!"

Ayumi: "Come on, now! You got to duel with what might be the best FIA racing female in the world! We and the crew might get to nap for the rest of our lives if we get this right."


Still reeling in the pain, Hideki slowly convinces himself this is the right mindset.


Hideki: "Dawhh, alright. I will be ready. You know how much I hate how much she can hurt.."


Despite his shaky confidence, Candy is satisfied with this outcome.


Candy: "If that is all, I'll be taking my leave. A Sunday Cup event can't start without their guest of honour."

Hideki: "Oh, uhh.. thanks for everything, Candy-san."


She's no good with people, but Candy feels something is in the air.

It's obviously love, but a person who has trouble feeling this in her whole life knew it's hard to say it.



Candy: "Oh and one last thing: she's a.. keeper. If you're waiting for the stars to align, consider this sweet toothed lone wolf's blessing the right sign.. good day."


Entering her MINI, she heads off, traveling through Yamagiwa to Miyabi.

The two she left behind however are in for a wild mix of chaotic emotions.



Ayumi: "Man, the more we know these famous racers, the more creeped out I am about how they can read us."


Though, as she turns to see her boyfriend, she bears witness of the normally cool man giving his nervous wreck coming out.[


Hideki: "B-but I agree. This might sound ridiculous and out of nowhere, but.. b-but.. do you WANNA GET MARRIED?!"


She knew it was coming, but her boyfriend on his knees so suddenly took her by surprise..


Ayumi: "I-I-I.."


Money issues are the first problem, but getting this information through her head very quickly might be the source of this upcoming second one.


Ayumi: "YYYYEEEEESSSS! YES YES YESS!!! DEKI-SANN, I ADMIT IT TOO!! AAHAAHAA!"


But if there was any hint that the moment has worked out, there is some screaming..


Hideki: "OWH! GWAH! AAAHH, YUMI-SAN, WHY ARE YOU BASHING ME WITH THE FUEL CAN, AAAHHH!!"


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The FC is.. interesting. It's not horrendously powerful, and it's got the many signs that it's not a car for total beginners, point in case with the loose stock differential that needs your attention, and oversteer tendencies from a car with near perfect balance. The SPD final thoughts: Don't engine brake the thing and.. that's it!

Yes, I am also looking at the notes written for my entry of this car in Forza Horizon 5. There are a good selection of similarities, despite the differences in intent and implementation of the game's physics.

I really enjoyed what the car offers me. Difficulty just hits me in the right ways, and if that's not too hard, I don't mind another hit. I said it was a Sleeper in Mini Mexico, here? Well, you know how I feel about it. I don't see it, but if we're doing this final verdict trio like usual, an FC in any universe is universally a Sleeper.


full

And is this how this is going to go? I hope so! I feel somewhat satisfied with this procedure, and the whole idea is deviant enough to my own Forza Horizon 5 writeups.

You go to different places to get a different flavour of SPD, but I hope it's gives out the sweet same taste of satisfaction. And you can always skip to the appropriate CAPS'd out spoiler boxes if stories ain't your thing.



Unless Candy's doing her thing alone or with familiar faces, this is another mandatory section. If you see a full name bolded in the writeup, it's getting some detail here.

How this works is that there's a name, and a bracket following it. That bracket pretty much hints when did I make up this character. Generally speaking, if someone's from a later game (especially Sport and 7), they're usually more than straightforward.


As the main character, Candy Lam is bound to appear in every segment, be it either as the lead role, or as a small mention.

The infamous Sweet Toothed Lone Wolf of Asia, or known worldwide as Le Glace Pacer. While her social presence is significantly poor, her presence on the track hasn't been short of perfection, now under the pressures of being a monetary source of higher powers, as well as her role being the most prime form of woman racers.. But don't let her hear that.

Theme Song: Def Leppard - Bad Actress
Racing Duel Music: Def Leppard - Nine Lives
Gender: Female
Nationality: Hong Kongese
Age: 30
Current occupation: Professional racecar driver
Distinct features: Long, clean ashen hair tied to a ponytail via red braids. A stiff, stoic Asian beauty that starts to show sign of wrinkling, covered by heavy layers of makeup. Thin, rounded face, with various beauty signs of it being worked on unnaturally. Short body with small proportions.
Choice of clothing: Typical modern glossy sleveless Hong Kong dress, but 90% she will have her favorite on, that's in blood red with a white bauhinia pattern on, with matching sandals. Most of her clothes and themes come in red or white.
Cars: Toyota GR Yaris 1st Edition RZ "High Performance"

Even though she's a proud Hong Kongese, Candy is actually born in high society Tokyo, and more exposed to living in a usual Japanese lifestyle. An only child, it was easy to find herself spoiled rotten from a young age, getting what she wants and not caring how it got there, thanks to wealth she inherits strongly. Her father notably was an executive in Toyota's racing division.

A target in her younger ages, Candy's early life was full of trouble from others that are against her being a Hong Kong native in Japan. She never made any friends as a result, and this loner habit of hers remained even after changing schools, going so far to even give her a new alias. While her parents have a strong standing in the society she lived in, she remained in their shadow, because she couldn't find comfort out of it.

Upon reaching her adult days, Candy's first 'milestone' would come when an incident in a high class event caused her to run, leading to a manic police car chase spanning several weeks before she was arrested. The victim of these events would have deep ties with various Yakuza families. While her parents retreated to Hong Kong, Candy stayed in Japanese prison, learning that if nothing needs to come her way, she needs to learn something she initially dreaded to do: manipulate the human mind, a state of thought she was once a victim of.

After her sentence, she regained her freedom, and it didn't take long that was noticed by the city's largest street racing community. Still with her inherited wealth, she started off strong in the streets. Years then pass, in which she eventually proves herself as a top competitor for racing in many top endurance races worldwide.

While her fans are out there in many parts around for being a woman dominating a man's sport, she's not exactly a great social interactor, and is a nobody outside the racing community. With many questions still left unanswered, maybe there are more ulterior motives with the unsanctioned blue MINI project..


A shy but determined prospective artist with a variety of talents thanks to his smarts and willingness to learn. Now handling a tuning shop, he's eager to keep his craft fresh by travelling around the world.

Theme Song: Gorillaz - O Green World
Racing Duel Music: Cheap Trick - Everything Works If You Let It
Gender:
Male
Nationality: Japanese
Age: 24
Current occupation: Tuning shop co-owner
Distinct features: Short spiky black hair above an oval face. Faint presence of freckles under the eyes. Always with a skin repair bandage on some part of his face due to acne. Bright skin. Average height and build.
Choice of clothing: Always with large rounded glasses, but is transitioning to contacts due to racing more often. Usually with a combo of a tight t-shirt with a buttoned up jacket/thick jacket based on the season. The lower body is always covered with sports slacks and sneakers.
Cars: Toyota 86 GRMN

Kyoto native Hideki was born into the world without much of a tale. Him and his two sisters lives has been mostly within the city, specifically nearby the cherry blossoms of the temples and shrines around. His early life come to following the footsteps of his scientist father: a man with dreams to make it big within the fields of life preservation. But a quick look concludes that he really only inherited his father's geeky and fast learning nature.

Despite that, the children were more into the arts, inspired by the natural beauty of japan. The sisters moved to being a pop star and actress respectively. Hideki took on arts and crafts, coming from his interest in doodling from a very young age, and reading manga. Strangely, his favorite manga consists of those with cars in them, especially Speed Racer. This doodling eventually gave way to his skills in precision sketching he uses today.

Coming into university with a stellar portfolio, Hideki's time on the side came to bolstering his interests. He bought a guitar and started earning on the side performing for small venues, and took on requests for sketching. And the moment he could, he earned his driver's license. While his muse and art are doing great, he gained a desperation to fill in his want to drive, not willing to save for a car. This led him to the racing community of university undergraduates, often mistaken for stalking the woman leading it: Ayumi Tanaka.

A small scuffle between local hotshots and universities wanting to show dominance in the racing groups caused the otherwise unremarkable and shy Hideki to raise his voice. A challenge was coming, and he had weeks to prepare. This is where it started with meeting and eventually bonding with future girlfriend Ayumi. In the end, he overcame it barely, and earned an inner drive to race, and respect in the local racing scene.

Over time, he graduated, and started a tuning shop with his girlfriend. Still together, and also strong on his side hustles, Hideki's main thought today stemmed from a pivotal meeting with an American in Gion, whose dark side seems to keep getting darker.


An easily excitable young lady, who doubles as a young major art graduate and a master of Mazda's rotary cars, this energetic little bubble opened a small JDM tuner shop with her boyfriend to an initially mild, then great enough success, leading them to journey all over the world to expand their horizons.

Theme Song: The Bangles - Everything I Wanted
Racing Duel Music: Girlschool feat. Motorhead - Please Don't Touch
Gender:
Female
Nationality: Japanese
Age: 25
Current occupation: Tuning shop owner
Distinct features: Medium-long, curly black hair tied as a ponytail. Semi sharp oval face. Narrow, small mouth that can truly expand when she gets excited. Large, unusually green eyes for a Japan native. Average height, with slightly thin body.
Choice of clothing: Western influenced dailywear, usually in the form of a crop top and rolled up jeans. Colder climates prompt her to wear a single size winter jacket over it. Usually has a cap or beanie with the kanji Ayumi on it.
Cars: Mazda RX-7 Spirit R Type A (FD), Mazda RX-7 GT-X (FC)

With an origin from Kyoto, Ayumi is an only child whose upbringing mainly comes from her family's traditionalist views. She didn't mind it at all, as it would mean her life would be family oriented as she grew up. Her father: a traditional calligraphy expert, endlessly suggested his only daughter to move on to the future, but always remember the past: a statement she can't let go of, as it moved towards her leaning for a certain car with a certain engine..

What set her inspiration for her hobbies was a visit to the Mazda Museum in Hiroshima, seeing the roster of Mazda's cars was a passion after the first visit, and it became an annual thing for her. She would eventually get her first Mazda from a wealthy and generous relative in the form of a classic FC RX-7 GT-X. Her peers in university would often see it shake up the track, as she learned to drive and race at the same time. Years in her freshman university days are appropriated to her winning similar class races of various scale, earning her the moniker of Rotary Queen.

With an on track name, she somehow got a bit of attention, good or other wise. Notably, she made a name when clashing with some local Kyoto racers over their heads. It went in her favor thanks to a man who stood up for her: her future boyfriend Hideki. While he didn't impress from the outside, his heart convinced her enough to connect them. Time passes, and with their art majors completed, they would head into finding work. If it weren't for a certain dark horse, who she would idolize and cement his fame in Japan through his unofficial fan club, it would never lead them to their small but eventually flourishing tuning garage based in Fuji.

While her boyfriend Hideki is quite the introvert, Ayumi is a most definitive opposite, having a booming voice, a metabolism for high speeds and gets excitable really easily. And her name as Rotary Queen starts to grow as she would try to get behind the wheel of every rotary powered car she can, eyeing on a new RX car Mazda has been conceptualizing.
 
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Holy crap, this thread is already becoming everything I missed from the GT7 forums. The reviews are here, the fanfics are here, all I need is tuner shootouts and then those halcyon PS3 days may just be back.

Keep up the good work, everybody! I'll continue to lurk around here for now. 👍
 
Aye, COTW! This is going to be fun!

I test a lot of cars on the Tokyo 600 event. Last year in most of my races I didn't try to reach the absolute best performance of the car. The tuning section on this forum and many tune videos out there are amazing, but I think I had more fun by challenging myself to complete races with a "stock" car. If completely stock is not enough, then I would slowly start adding bolt-on upgrades to see what's the "minimum" I would need to win.

Well, recently I've doing the same thing, but instead of slowly testing each upgrade, I now just try to get the car as close as I can to 600pp.
Rules are the same though! Inspired by @BWM videos, I'm using Racing Hard tires. Changes to the Supension and LSD are prohibited! Permanent upgrades like Weight Reduction are also prohibited. The only thing allowed are upgrades like ECU, Filters, Intercoolers or Turbos.

Why RH tires? The way I see it, RH aims for a no-stop race (if possible, since last update change tire wear) and for a faster pace in the second part of the track. Since RH tires raise the PP by quite a lot, this means I have few points for upgrades (if they're necessary) without going over 600pp. Consequently, I'm slow on the long straight compared to the AI and the only way I can overtake them is by having better pace on the corners and/or by using a strategy of no-stop + FM. This means I can't make any mistakes. Spinning out, hitting the wall, damaging the car, not being fast enough on the second part of the track... just one mistake and the race is over (difficulty is always set to hard so my aim is a total race time of 27:30). It has to be a clean and smooth race!

e1Be3Ba.png

First of all, I need to say how beautiful this car is. I love cars with popup headlights. They're so iconic. Also, this is the car used by the Redsuns leader Ryosuke Takahash. Ryosuke is a smart guy. Take notice, kids!

Alright, so, how the RX-7 performs? I tried a couple of combinations to see what I would need to win this race. Stock + RH wasn't enough. More top speed was needed. I kept trying but ultimately had to go for a "tune" close to 600pp. I got my first win using this setup: RH tires, Fully ECU, low RPM Turbo, Sports Silencer, Racing Intercooler and Racing Filters. Custom Manual Transmission is also needed because the default one goes only to 240 km/h.
Quite a lot of upgrades, right? I think it was a bit of an overkill. Sports Filters and Intercoolers are more than enough. Maybe before 1.31 it could be possible to win with less upgrades, but with the new tire wear I had to pit at lap 8. Pitting on this track is such a time loss and without a no-stop strategy I thought I would need more top speed to stay with the leaders.

The RX-7 is fast. With the setup above the car reaches 300 km/h. The default suspension setting is a bit high so it does wiggle a little. Hard to control during the first laps where the track is wet, but after lap 5-6 it handles quite well. With the new tire wear this is how the car looks at the last lap:

C2GibiB.png

Not very good on the left side, right? Well, I'm using a stock suspension and this track has a lot of right turns so most of the time the car is going like this:
mNRLQyD.png

Fuel economy is pretty good. FM 6 for lap 1-2 and FM1 for the rest of the race. I'm not a super pro driver so if you look at my lap times they're mostly between 2:12-2:13. Any car that can do below 2:14 with RH tires is a winner in my book. :lol:

had a nice battle with that Audi for about 2 laps
I2p5JiS.png


and a nice battle side-by-side with this Subaru until turn 1!
6tTJWAU.png

The car is light and nimble so I had no problems throughout the race. Well, I had to be extra careful during the first 3 laps because of the water, but after that is easy to maintain control. Even at laps 6-7 when tires were almost gone the car continued to be stable and predictable. Total race time:
9bPU25N.png

I don't want to start a civil war, but I think this is my favorite RX-7 :D
 
For Week 2 here at GT7 Car of the Week, we go from a car that's in both FH5 and GT7, to a car from a brand that's not even in FH5!

Chosen by the ringmaster over at Mexico, @Obelisk , please welcome into the spotlight, the 2002 Daihatsu Copen Active Top!

Tomica Town_ (2).jpeg


This cutesey little car might look unassuming at first, but it has quite a few unique qualities to it: it's the only production car representing Daihatsu in this game, and of the very select few Kei cars in this game, it's the only one that's FF!

If you like your heart rates and revs a little higher though, lightly modded Copens serve as the base for spec car racing, run by Obelisk himself! Do mosey over and give his thread a look if you're the "slow car fast" type of person. The races are proper barn burners, trust me!


For everyone else, it's business as usual: Grab the car off Brand Central for a measly 18,000 Credits in a colour of your choosing, slap a style onto it if you so wish, and join us on Tuesday, April 11th, 10 P.M. CST, or Saturday, April 15th, 5 P.M. Singapore time to see if we have what it takes to cope with the Copen's mind bending 62HP!
 
Yes with our Specs the car only has 70BHP but don't be fooled by thinking this will not be fun. While everyone else is racing Gr1-4 and complaining about meta cars, we all have the same specs, with our choice of short or long gears. The racing is close and mistakes will drop you back, you can't rely on power to help you when you get a corner wrong or touch the dirt or grass.
b896764177f435b8b68098f781c24d47_photo.jpg


Our Racing Club is based on club racing in the UK such as The 750MC & The brscc. We started with just mirroring a real series then we moved into having our own club that allows us to make our own specs. We try and use cars that are available all the time as cars from the UCD may be cool, but they are not always available.
 
I nominated this car, so I should probably be the one to do the deepest dive on these things…

This week, we're looking at the star of the Copen Cup, the 2002 Daihatsu Copen Active Top. Coming in at a remarkably cheap 18,000 credits, this car is among the smallest and least powerful of the modern road cars. It produces a meager 62 HP and a slightly more respectable 81.1 ft-lbs of torque out of a 659cc four-cylinder engine. That tiny engine, impressively enough, screams up to a redline of 9,000 RPM (per the game's dyno chart).

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The little screamer of an engine is slotted into the front of the car and mated to the front wheels through a five-speed manual. The gears are pretty short, too, with the game's Manual Adjustment telling me that the top gear maxes out at 222 km/h or about 138 MPH. For a car with only 62 HP, that's more than enough gearing.

The Copen is also fitted with a tiny turbo that leads it to produce all of its torque very early in the rev range (1800-3200 RPM), but this comes at the cost of a steep power loss past 8,100 RPM.

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All of this comes in a small two-seater coupe that barely tips the scales at 1,830 lbs.

My recommendation, and the recommendation of anyone who has done even a single round in the Copen Cup, is to shift at 8100 at the latest.

Another recommendation is to stay a gear up in a corner. If the game's gear indicator is recommending a corner be navigated in 2nd, it is more advantageous to stay in 3rd throughout the corner thanks to the higher torque at lower RPMs.

20970106064088606.jpg


So, what does the whole factory package entail in GT7?

Unsurprisingly, there's not too much to write home about in terms of raw performance. At least, on paper.

Being that it's a short-wheelbase, super light car with surprisingly effective brakes, it is rather eager to oversteer when braking while cornering. With the Copen generally being incredibly stable and resilient on track¹, this actually makes it more engaging and encourages aggressive braking to get rotation in and out of corners. The car's open diff also encourages you to stay on the power no matter what, as it has very responsive handling while on the power but understeers pretty strongly when coasting. If you're in a braking zone where you can't afford to have the car oversteering, let the car settle under braking first before giving it any steering input and you'll get through just fine.

¹It's a very common thing in the Copen Cup for cars to come together in awkward positions, and the cars are so stable in Club Spec that they just carry on without issue after contact.

20970026760699237.jpg


If the car goes wide, or you start losing front grip, just get on the power. It's a little absurd how much front grip it has.

The end result is a slow, yet exciting car to hoon around tracks that rewards drivers for learning the intricate little idiosyncrasies that make up the car.

It's essentially an oversized, road legal go-kart with creature comforts rolled into the package. It's a car with more bark than bite, though I want to stress that you do not dismiss the "bite" part of that. A properly tuned up Copen in the right hands is going to smack other cars silly around tighter tracks like Tsukuba and Suzuka East.

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And trust me, a kitted out Copen packs a wallop. 142+ HP in a package weighing a mere 1572 pounds, with front and rear downforce and a widebody/wide rims available from GT Auto is surprisingly terrifying and can go toe to toe with quite a few 500 PP and below cars such as the 86s and MX5s.

For reference here:
A factory Copen runs a 10:01 on the Nordschleife.
A stock Copen on Sports Hard runs a 9:38. Sorry, @Alex p.
The SRC Copen runs a 9:26.
A Copen tuned to 500 pp runs a 8:08. As a comparison point, SRC's fastest league right now is the Heavyweight Cup, circa 490-500 pp with 400 HP. The Copen is three seconds faster than the fastest truck lap at the Nordschleife.

Yup. It's pretty stinking fast once you put some work into it.

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Ultimately, if I had to sum up the Copen by itself…

➕ Easy to acquire, easy to drive
➕ Simple but very intricate handling that acts as a proper introduction to FF platforms
➕ Who doesn't love an engine screaming up to rotary speeds?
➕ Surprisingly potent at 500pp, very light and packs a lot of power for its weight thanks to turbocharging
➕ Access to anti-lag, widebody and wide tires means turbo lag and wheelspin are never an issue unless you're a total clown
➕ Excellent base car for a spec racing series 😉

➖ Very cramped interior. Actually got a comment from a driver in the league informing me that he had to stop using PSVR2 for the Copen Cup because of how small the car is. It was making him hunch over, and as a result he was straining his back.
➖ It's a Kei car. Use cases for it are pretty limited and the lack of power compromises it on straights.
➖ Extreme power drop-off past 8100 RPM stock/9000 rpm fully tuned
➖ Lacks engine swap options, so you're kinda stuck.

20969973470814571.jpg


Work with the car and it'll take you quite far even in stock/lightly modded form.

To quote our motto at the Copen Cup: "You don't need any more power."

Sleeper.
If you like your heart rates and revs a little higher though, lightly modded Copens serve as the base for spec car racing, run by Obelisk himself! Do mosey over and give his thread a look if you're the "slow car fast" type of person. The races are proper barn burners, trust me!
They don't even need to trust your word - I share the replays after every week, and we generally will have 3 packs of cars fighting for position after the pack starts to break up a few laps in. Often times the middle pack will be like 4 cars fighting for 4th place, and there'll also be a battle for first place going on between 2-3 cars.

Part of the intent of the club was to have something to slot in underneath the concurrent MX5 Club we were running at the time, and to do something a little simpler with an easier to use car. Some options I had looked at were the Autobianchi A112, the Toyota Prius/Aqua (ew), and some other modern FFs until I landed on the Copen. It proved to be the right call.

They are honestly really cute little cars, and their goofy grinning faces and really low average speeds contrast with their incredibly loud engines. It's a very interesting experience.

Yes with our Specs the car only has 70BHP but don't be fooled by thinking this will not be fun. While everyone else is racing Gr1-4 and complaining about meta cars, we all have the same specs, with our choice of short or long gears. The racing is close and mistakes will drop you back, you can't rely on power to help you when you get a corner wrong or touch the dirt or grass
Quoting Cbox's post here to add some stuff - The only permanent modification made to our spec on the Copen was the weight reduction. This was so we had a nice, round number to lock the car at in the lobby settings. As it turns out, 1700 lbs is way too low, so we had to clamp down on PP and HP instead. The gears Cox is referring to are the Close-Ratio: Low and Close-Ratio: High gearbox upgrades that we require all drivers to have for their cars. The intent behind it is that drivers can choose the gearbox they want to use on any given event. For example, when we raced at Tsukuba a few weeks ago, the grid was evenly split between drivers using the Low and High boxes. Some tracks flat out favor the High box, other tracks favor the Low box and there's even a smattering of tracks that work perfectly with both! So, the Cup has a bit of strategy involved, and it has a bit of skill involved.

Something not mentioned in the review above is that the Copen is freakishly good on gas - in our endurance event last week at Blue Moon Bay, we had four drivers no-stop the race. I'm going to repeat that. Four drivers no-stopped the race. For context: Tire wear was at 10x and fuel wear was 5x. The tires essentially went through almost 500 laps and the tanks experienced around half that. That means the tires lasted 1,250 miles on race pace and the tank lasted 625 miles.

These cars are ridiculous in almost every aspect.

To re-iterate the above verdict:

SLEEPER.

P.S. As a side note, I forgot a comment I wanted to make. A second reason for making the Copen Cup was to have a beginner friendly option for less experienced drivers who wanted to cut their teeth in league racing, and we actually have a member who signed up for that reason. He went from a 7 second deficit per-lap deficit against P1 to roughly a 1.5 second deficit over the span of a season and a half, and he's still getting noticeably faster on a weekly basis. I imagine that by the time we finish this season, he'll be fighting for position with the middle of the grid.
 
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I nominated this car, so I should probably be the one to do the deepest dive on these things…

This week, we're looking at the star of the Copen Cup, the 2002 Daihatsu Copen Active Top. Coming in at a remarkably cheap 18,000 credits, this car is among the smallest and least powerful of the modern road cars. It produces a meager 62 HP and a slightly more respectable 81.1 ft-lbs of torque out of a 659cc three-cylinder engine. That tiny engine, impressively enough, screams up to a redline of 9,000 RPM (per the game's dyno chart).

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The little screamer of an engine is slotted into the front of the car and mated to the front wheels through a five-speed manual. The gears are pretty short, too, with the game's Manual Adjustment telling me that the top gear maxes out at 222 km/h or about 138 MPH. For a car with only 62 HP, that's more than enough gearing.

The Copen is also fitted with a tiny turbo that leads it to produce all of its torque very early in the rev range (1800-3200 RPM), but this comes at the cost of a steep power loss past 8,100 RPM.

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All of this comes in a small two-seater coupe that barely tips the scales at 1,830 lbs.

My recommendation, and the recommendation of anyone who has done even a single round in the Copen Cup, is to shift at 8100 at the latest.

Another recommendation is to stay a gear up in a corner. If the game's gear indicator is recommending a corner be navigated in 2nd, it is more advantageous to stay in 3rd throughout the corner thanks to the higher torque at lower RPMs.

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So, what does the whole factory package entail in GT7?

Unsurprisingly, there's not too much to write home about in terms of raw performance. At least, on paper.

Being that it's a short-wheelbase, super light car with surprisingly effective brakes, it is rather eager to oversteer when braking while cornering. With the Copen generally being incredibly stable and resilient on track¹, this actually makes it more engaging and encourages aggressive braking to get rotation in and out of corners. The car's open diff also encourages you to stay on the power no matter what, as it has very responsive handling while on the power but understeers pretty strongly when coasting. If you're in a braking zone where you can't afford to have the car oversteering, let the car settle under braking first before giving it any steering input and you'll get through just fine.

¹It's a very common thing in the Copen Cup for cars to come together in awkward positions, and the cars are so stable in Club Spec that they just carry on without issue after contact.

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If the car goes wide, or you start losing front grip, just get on the power. It's a little absurd how much front grip it has.

The end result is a slow, yet exciting car to hoon around tracks that rewards drivers for learning the intricate little idiosyncrasies that make up the car.

It's essentially an oversized, road legal go-kart with creature comforts rolled into the package. It's a car with more bark than bite, though I want to stress that you do not dismiss the "bite" part of that. A properly tuned up Copen in the right hands is going to smack other cars silly around tighter tracks like Tsukuba and Suzuka East.

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And trust me, a kitted out Copen packs a wallop. 142+ HP in a package weighing a mere 1572 pounds, with front and rear downforce and a widebody/wide rims available from GT Auto is surprisingly terrifying and can go toe to toe with quite a few 500 PP and below cars such as the 86s and MX5s.

For reference here:
A factory Copen runs a 10:01 on the Nordschleife.
A stock Copen on Sports Hard runs a 9:38. Sorry, @Alex p.
The SRC Copen runs a 9:26.
A Copen tuned to 500 pp runs a 8:08. As a comparison point, SRC's fastest league right now is the Heavyweight Cup, circa 490-500 pp with 400 HP. The Copen is three seconds faster than the fastest truck lap at the Nordschleife.

Yup. It's pretty stinking fast once you put some work into it.

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Ultimately, if I had to sum up the Copen by itself…

➕ Easy to acquire, easy to drive
➕ Simple but very intricate handling that acts as a proper introduction to FF platforms
➕ Who doesn't love an engine screaming up to rotary speeds?
➕ Surprisingly potent at 500pp, very light and packs a lot of power for its weight thanks to turbocharging
➕ Access to anti-lag, widebody and wide tires means turbo lag and wheelspin are never an issue unless you're a total clown
➕ Excellent base car for a spec racing series 😉

➖ Very cramped interior. Actually got a comment from a driver in the league informing me that he had to stop using PSVR2 for the Copen Cup because of how small the car is. It was making him hunch over, and as a result he was straining his back.
➖ It's a Kei car. Use cases for it are pretty limited and the lack of power compromises it on straights.
➖ Extreme power drop-off past 8100 RPM stock/9000 rpm fully tuned
➖ Lacks engine swap options, so you're kinda stuck.

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Work with the car and it'll take you quite far even in stock/lightly modded form.

To quote our motto at the Copen Cup: "You don't need any more power."

Sleeper.

They don't even need to trust your word - I share the replays after every week, and we generally will have 3 packs of cars fighting for position after the pack starts to break up a few laps in. Often times the middle pack will be like 4 cars fighting for 4th place, and there'll also be a battle for first place going on between 2-3 cars.

Part of the intent of the club was to have something to slot in underneath the concurrent MX5 Club we were running at the time, and to do something a little simpler with an easier to use car. Some options I had looked at were the Autobianchi A112, the Toyota Prius/Aqua (ew), and some other modern FFs until I landed on the Copen. It proved to be the right call.

They are honestly really cute little cars, and their goofy grinning faces and really low average speeds contrast with their incredibly loud engines. It's a very interesting experience.


Quoting Cbox's post here to add some stuff - The only permanent modification made to our spec on the Copen was the weight reduction. This was so we had a nice, round number to lock the car at in the lobby settings. As it turns out, 1700 lbs is way too low, so we had to clamp down on PP and HP instead. The gears Cox is referring to are the Close-Ratio: Low and Close-Ratio: High gearbox upgrades that we require all drivers to have for their cars. The intent behind it is that drivers can choose the gearbox they want to use on any given event. For example, when we raced at Tsukuba a few weeks ago, the grid was evenly split between drivers using the Low and High boxes. Some tracks flat out favor the High box, other tracks favor the Low box and there's even a smattering of tracks that work perfectly with both! So, the Cup has a bit of strategy involved, and it has a bit of skill involved.

Something not mentioned in the review above is that the Copen is freakishly good on gas - in our endurance event last week at Blue Moon Bay, we had four drivers no-stop the race. I'm going to repeat that. Four drivers no-stopped the race. For context: Tire wear was at 10x and fuel wear was 5x. The tires essentially went through almost 500 laps and the tanks experienced around half that. That means the tires lasted 1,250 miles on race pace and the tank lasted 625 miles.

These cars are ridiculous in almost every aspect.

To re-iterate the above verdict:

SLEEPER.

P.S. As a side note, I forgot a comment I wanted to make. A second reason for making the Copen Cup was to have a beginner friendly option for less experienced drivers who wanted to cut their teeth in league racing, and we actually have a member who signed up for that reason. He went from a 7 second deficit per-lap deficit against P1 to roughly a 1.5 second deficit over the span of a season and a half, and he's still getting noticeably faster on a weekly basis. I imagine that by the time we finish this season, he'll be fighting for position with the middle of the grid.
A 09.38 stock? I don't EVER see that. That Copen is NOT stock. SOME things have been tampered with, that's for sure.
 
A 09.38 stock? I don't EVER see that. That Copen is NOT stock. SOME things have been tampered with, that's for sure.
Is the fuel consumption x1 activated? If not, that will affect maybe 10s or more to nordschleife lap time for low power car like Copen because without fuel consumption enabled game runs them on empty tank without weight penalty and different balance.

I know for a fact that cars with about 150 hp it's about 4-6 seconds.
 
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A 09.38 stock? I don't EVER see that. That Copen is NOT stock. SOME things have been tampered with, that's for sure.
It's stock. Running with no fuel or tire wear as described by Larzi above.

I can give it another spin at 1x on tire and fuel tonight before the lobby.
 
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Let's not get out of hand here.

I'm going to rerun the lap on GT7 with fuel and tire wear enabled like I said earlier. I've also dug up my GT Sport copy and will do the same on that just to make sure it's on fair grounds.
 
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