Car of the Week | Week 62: The Red Standard (Red Bull X2014 Standard Car)

On the Nords, I managed a 07.18.843 stock.


The C7 only managed a 07.26.014. That's quite the improvement I gotta say. The C8 also FEELS so much better here. That difference was even more stark on Tsukuba, where the C7 felt truely HORRIBLE against the C8. There, the C7 managed a 01.01.658, while the new C8 was able to get up to a 01.00.468. 1.2 seconds apart on Tsukuba is a BIG difference!
In a 1000 meters drag race it's a true overachiever! It achieved a 20.953sec (launching in 2nd gear for better traction), while the C7 could only manage a 21.967. 1/4 mile the C8 did a 11.7sec, vs. 13.0sec C7/0-60 the C8 did a 3.9sec, vs. 4.7sec on the C7. 0-125mp/h or 200km/h the C8 did a 11.5, vs. 12.5 of the C7.
On the Nords I compared it to the Alfa GTA, because they were both in the same update. :P The Alfa there was quicker slightly, but in truth they are pretty much equally quick there, maybe the C8 is even a tad better, because on Tsukuba, the Alfa managed "only" a 01.00.923. I guess quicker tracks suit it just more.



Forgot the verdict: absolute sleeper.
 
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If you thought last week's car sparked some fires, wait till you see what we have in store this week...

Chosen by our charismatic poet, @SomePlayaDude , we're welcoming the Chevrolet Corvette Stringray '20 (C8) into the spotlight of COTW!

View attachment 1248555



Is the C8's shift from FR to MR high time, or heresy? Join us on Tuesday, 18th April, 10 P.M. CST or Saturday, 22nd April, 5 P.M. Singapore time to find out for yourself, or start weighing in with writing if you already have a stance! Whichever side of the coin you fall on, I have a feeling this week is going to be an epic one.

...in fact, I can almost pinky swear it ;)
How is it that we keep overlapping between FH5 and GT7 COTWs??? :lol:

I'll have something for this car later, but I just got the green light on the review I was working on. So, enjoy the tale...


Gran Turismo 7: Car of the Week
Car #1 - 1990 Mazda RX-7 FC


14 April 2023, 22:38
Somewhere in Tokyo, Japan

On an unusually quiet Friday night, a Mazda finds itself completely alone.

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Its occupant, a young woman by the name of Ogawa Shun, taps on its steering wheel impatiently. In the passenger seat is her phone with the screen face-up, the soft white background light slightly blurring the active call display.

“Hey Shun, I’m not getting anything on the BBS yet. You’d think the rumor mill would be active by now,” a voice crackles out of the phone. That voice belongs to an acquaintance of hers deeply versed in the seedy underworld of street racing. Shun only knows him as ‘Shade’, his BBS handle. She shakes her head and sighs as she listens to the grumble of the four-rotor under the hood.

“You’re sure, Shade?” she asks, “because I’m pretty sure that guy never lies about-”

A distant, mechanical shriek bounces off the buildings lining the expressway, stopping Shun mid-sentence.

[[OST: Dvorak's Symphonie n. 9, Movement 4 - Allegro con Fuoco (Remix) - Riwall Harjay]]

After a short pause, the shriek sounds off again, louder than before.

“It’s him,” Shade says, the excitement clear as day in his voice. “I’m starting to see chatter about it, it looks like-”

The mechanical shriek sounds, much closer than before, before giving way to a hellish scream Shun has never heard in her life. An intense feeling of dread washes over her.

GUN IT!

Shun immediately slams the car into 2nd gear and rams the accelerator with as much strength as she can muster, the dreadful presence creeping its way into her conscience.

In the mirror, Shun abruptly sees a pair of headlights coming over a crest, backed by a black silhouette.
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“I see him!” she yells at the phone, her RX-7’s engine now screaming its own way past 7,000 RPM.

“BEAT HIM AND-” is all Shade is able to yell back before that banshee wail absolutely deafens the expressway.

The dark of night yields to the dim highway lights, and the shadows behind the headlights dissipate to reveal a beautiful Ferrari F50 in Nero. It is immediately obvious that it’s closing the gap on the RX-7 at an incredible speed. Shun slams the shifter into fourth, the Mazda’s engine spinning with all of its might to push the car and occupant as fast as possible. The digital speedometer in the car quickly climbs! 160 kmh, 180, 200, 220…!!

By the time Shun sees the speedo tick over to 280, the shrieking Ferrari catches her.

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Shun’s heart is beating through the roof - she’s racing the Devil!! Looking over into the cabin of the Ferrari at her side, time seems to slow down as the mystery driver locks eyes with her.

He’s an older man, probably in his fifties. Blonde, apparently Caucasian and sporting a simple black coat, purple shirt, and a thick scarf covering his face from the nose down. She gasps as she realizes the right side of his face has extensive scar tissue running down it. His icy eyes drill into her soul during this split second, and she immediately turns back to the road with a chilling sensation rolling down her back.

The wailing of the Ferrari’s engine cuts out for a split-second, and it’s in this moment that Shun realizes she just lost. She’s in top gear, at the absolute limit of what the Mazda can muster.

The Ferrari isn’t in its top gear.

The Ferrari up-shifts and screams off into the night. Shun lets off the gas, letting the Mazda gradually slow back down.

“What the [AUP] happened?!” Shade’s voice finally rings out. “I couldn’t hear anything over that shrieking!”

“I danced with the Devil…” Shun mutters. “And lost.”

“Figures. Get home safely and I’ll get my guy at RE Amemiya to look at your tune.” Shade replies, cutting the call immediately after.

“Thanks…” Shun sighs, driving off into the depths of Tokyo.




15 April, 2023
05:28
Unknown location, Japan

A warehouse door rattles and groans as it slides open, revealing a humble Mazda3 idling at the doorway. Once the door is fully open, the Mazda rolls into the warehouse and parks at the far end, next to a Ferrari. The door groans one last time as it locks into position, followed by the occupants of the Mazda getting out.

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The passenger, a man with a black coat, walks over to the Ferrari and looks it over before turning to the driver, a woman wearing a muted green turtleneck.

“Think we should get ‘er washed today?” the man asks, a cheeky smile hidden under his scarf.

“Dag, NO! You popped a speed trap at 350 kilometers an hour! They’re gonna be looking for that Ferrari for, like, a week! Now get upstairs and get the track and insurance paperwork, we have to go to Kyoto.”

Dag sighs, wincing a slight bit as his shoulder twinges.

“Yeah, yeah. I have to go review an RX-7 today, I know. Steel’s already over there, right?” he says, taking his time walking over to the staircase.

“Yeah, he’s already set up over there. You sent him there last night so you could sneak the Ferrari out, remember?”

Dag stops in his tracks.

“Ya got me there, Aria. Be right back.”




Oversteering Understeer: A Short Driving Blog
Post #205: “The second generation RX-7: A relic or a classic?”
By: Dag Trenton, Published: 15 April 2023

It’s always a good day when you get the opportunity to drive a modern classic. Even better when your instructions for driving it are “Go hard, she can take the abuse”. The car in question is a 1990 Mazda RX-7, and the example I was given the keys to is an absolutely gorgeous, well-kept GT-X with 32,000 km on the odometer.

I was given free reign of the entirety of Kyoto’s driving park to really get the ins and outs of the RX-7, and the biggest question on my mind as I brought it out on track was “Is this 33 year old car still capable?”.

I think it’s a fair question, given that the RX-7 as a whole has a reputation for being an capable sports car with a unique engine configuration. Our specific RX-7 is a turbo-charged edition which rolled off the factory floor with 200 PS and weighing in at 1,250 kilograms. For those that use other units, that's 203 HP and 2,756 pounds.

The one we have today is fitted with a set of BFGoodrich gForce Sport tires. Barring any other undisclosed mods, I can only assume this GT-X is fully stock. Once the owner got the car warmed up, I donned my racing suit and got on track.

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Of course, I needed to take a lap to warm the tires and get a feel for the car. At highway speeds, this RX-7 is really pleasant to drive. It's somewhere in between a GT car and a full sports car in terms of everyday use and comfort. That said, I had to make a hard correction in one turn as I underestimated how much steering input the car needed. The rear tires chirped, and I felt the car snap for a second before it all stabilized.

Something that the turbocharged FC benefits from is having its peak torque sitting very low in the power band. The torque peaks at 3500 RPM, making it really convenient for climbing steep hills or leaving a traffic light. These rotary-engined cars tend to be really peaky, so having that torque down low is surprising and convenient.

Now that my warm-up lap and initial impressions were out of the way, it was time to put this car to the test.

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You'd think 200 horsepower wouldn't amount to that much in a straight line, but I'm told that my 0-100 km/h run was 7.2 seconds, and my 0-60 MPH (for my western viewers) was 5.8 seconds. The reason for the discrepancy is that the car redlines at 60 MPH (about 95 kph) in second gear, so the shift up to 3rd gear adds a lot of unnecessary time to the 0-100 kph run.

The car also proved pretty capable in a straight line, with a top speed of 195 kph immediately before the braking point at the hairpin connecting the chicane of the Yamigawa section and turn 1 of the Miyabi section.

The RX-7 really shines at a long, technical track like Kyoto. It offers a blend of strong handling and strong straightline performance, and the soft suspension allowed me to tackle the curbs with more confidence. I did notice some hang-ups with the car, however. The differential feels rather open for a sports car, so you're bound to get some oversteer when coming off the throttle. The soft suspension also lends itself well to understeer. Thanks to the power peak being so late in the rev range, the car won't hesitate to break the rear if you are accelerating out of a turn in higher RPMs.

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Ultimately, I was able to get a 3:02.5 around the combined Yamigawa + Miyabi layout before the brakes started overheating. It's unfortunate that I had to retire to the pits so soon, but the experience left me with a big smile on my face.



If you manage to find yourself a used FC, I would highly recommend you keep it in good shape and give it good tires. It's an experience you'll never forget.

Until next time, my friends.




15 April 2023
22:48
Tomisato, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
RE Amemiya Headquarters

Shun sighs as she flips through her phone, reading all of the BBS posts documenting her absolute humiliation at the hands of the Devil the previous night. She is patiently waiting for Shade to finish his discussion with his contact and leave so she can collect her car and go home. She perks up when the conversation moves towards the door and becomes legible.

"-turbo setup isn't giving her enough power at higher RPMs, so she's losing a lot of potential long before she gets past 300."

"Yeah, yeah. You guys are the rotary experts, I know you'll handle it. And the transmission?"

"Nothing wrong with it. Gear ratios are right where she wants 'em, but if you and her are looking to take on that Ferrari... You're gonna need something faster than a manual transmission. I could get you a sequential box, but I'm not sure how I can pull that off without Amemiya-shachou noticing the discrepancy."

"Don't worry about that, I can pull a few strings. I'll get you the gearbox if you can get the turbo thing taken care of."

"Can do. Ah- Shade?"

No response from Shade, but no sound. He isn't moving, so he must have stopped to listen to the technician.

"I don't know why you're so bent on beating the Wangan Devil, but if you keep playing in the shadows like this you're going to get struck down."

"... I'll be fine."

Footsteps mark the departure of Shade. The door to the next room opens and a mechanic steps through.

"Ah, Shun-sama. I am terribly sorry but we will need to hold onto your car for a few days while we upgrade the turbo and transmission. I'll call you a taxi."

The mechanic bows politely to her before swiftly walking off to the back office to place the call. Shun sighs and looks at one last photo on the BBS posts. It's a blurry photo of the F50 screaming along a different expressway by itself.

A question crosses her mind as she hears the mechanic calling the cab service: What is she getting herself into?




Some words from yours truly…

I really like the FC. The way it behaves here is a total 180 from its GTS version, if Square's review is anything to go by.

Super easy to get the hang of, and the specific flaws of the FC's specific configuration can be turned into advantages in the right hand. For example, the slight twitchiness of the rear end can be used with a tail-happy driving style to run the car a little outside its normal limits of grip. It has the power to back it up.

It also has some neat benefits such as being one of a small selection of the cars in GT7 to have access to the Diffuser aero option (usually Rear bumper Aero B on eligible cars) which is a wickedly powerful upgrade that cuts drag and increases downforce. It's just a straight-up buff to the car.

Some test times:
Tsukuba, stock - 1:08.8
Tsukuba, 600 PP tune - 1:02.6

In a nutshell:
  • Not the FD and really cheap as a result
  • Turbo brap is great to listen to.
  • Great driving behavior stock, solid intro to FRs
  • Great low end torque
  • Great high end performance
  • Great customization options, including the all-powerful diffuser mod
  • Factory gearing is nicely set up for the car

  • Being a UCD exclusive hurts its accessibility.
  • No engine swap available
  • Requires quite some tuning work at higher PPs to keep it stable and cooperative
  • Rear diff feels as if it's open on deceleration, meaning the car can snap when lifting off throttle
  • Not the FD :(

Sleeper.
 
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SPD Writes Gran Turismo 7's Car Of The Week: Week 3 - Chevrolet Corvette C8 '20


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HAH! GAYY! Among my peers, and eventually to you all, it's no secret that I like pink on my flagship American V8 sports cars, even though this is the only one..


It's been one and a half years, but it's time to get this off my chest about the car:

NO SPONGEBOB NO NO NO!! STOOP!! PINKY!! PINKYY!!

If nobody is familiar with my misadventures on writing about cars in Mini Mexico, say hello to Pinky: the first car I've ever written about in that weird, dangerous fun open world realm shaped like a downsized country. Pinky might look like one of your usual cars painted in the very odd hue that doesn't match with its intent or general vibe. And to be honest, it is. It's also a Spongebob reference, yes I'm full of them. I don't know anyone who doesn't know that one scene from early Season 1 episode 'Tea at the Treedome'.

While the rumors of the car succeeding the aggressive shark like C7 Corvette strongly suggest a mid engined reboot, these rumors came to fruition with the car's reveal in 2019. A car with this drivetrain layout from America hasn't come in a very long time with the likes of the Pontiac Fiero infamously being the last one, and boy I don't like how initial inspections look with that in mind.

What Chevy gave was a whole breed of new. New suspension, new aluminium body, new levels of aggressive styling, and a new non aspirated V8 dubbed the LT2, succeeding the LT1 we had in the C7 and today's era of Camaros. Another tidbit is that the C8 is the first Corvette that's also available in right hand drive, though I don't think I've seen a C8 in person at all. Or any Corvette, actually, this is a car with such an American appeal. I hope to see in person the C6 or the C2 sometime in my life.

This is so far the most powerful base model Corvette, with the Z06 trim being the sports car carrying the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 for a street legal car. Carrying a dual clutch, the car came oddly with an 8 speed semi-auto. Not the most ridiculous sized gearbox, but they're questionable, really.

And if this was the Forza Horizon 5 thread, this is where I'll get into the PI, the in class comparisons, and obtaining it. But here, it's time to carry on Candy's bizarre adventures. And from what I'm feeling, we are staying in America. It's my choice, and.. well personally, I do owe Pinky an appearance eventually.


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Episode 3: Blue Moon Blues


A small freight depot by Ventura Bay
California
Morning



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Walking out the small office, Candy, a little sleep deprived, exits with a neutral face.

But she can't help relive the nightmarish memories of what happened, especially something out of a greater evil's jacket that day..



Candy: "That red mist.."


That neutral face, revealed as a farce, soon faded quick.

Carrying nothing but a small bag for her valaubles, she walks out, finding the first hint of her way out of here.

But as she got into thought about what's to come, she felt uneasy, dropping to the sandy floor on her side, with her sight in a haze.

Hands clenching the side of her ears, she squeals in agony..



Candy: "Stop.. stop.. please.. Candy, get it together.. w-what is this.. Mythic Initiative??"


That name gathers a mixed reception from her thoughts, especially when her former mentor never spilled it all.

It has a lot to do with racers, but what kind? Weapons? Artificially enhanced? A supergroup?

And from what she deduces, if they hold the likes of that Jacob Ross she met days ago, the questions keep piling as the negative essence of these memories grow.

But the past few days was different. Thoughts of her former mentor's daughter came, and her jovial disposition is hard to feel bad towards..



Candy: "No.. he.. they're all.. good people! S-snap out of it, Candy.."


Off to a slow start, she gets going back up.

While she's on her hands as well as her lower body, men of concern approach the dressed up Asian..



Man 1: "Miss, you alright? You don't look okay.."

Candy: "I'm fine. I.. you.. uhh, thanks for asking.."

Man 2: "On your feet now, missus."


Hesitant at first, Candy received the boost needed to bring herself back.


Man 2: "Don't seem to be any visible injuries. Thank goodness. But you're looking a bit pale is all."

Man 1: "I know a good clinic a few miles, I can take you.."


Back on her feet, she didn't want to look weak to the men.

Appreciating their concern, she felt the moment was uneasy.

As something loud approaches through the road, that uneasy feeling drastically muffled.



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Candy: "I doubt that'll be needed. That's my ride.."


Seeing it come on, they recognize this old icon..


Man 1: "Wow ee! Check it out, Reg! Ford GT! And that's Louie Jr's kid on driver."

Man 2: "That him? I dunno, Mort.. He don't look anything like Keith. That's Jacob for sure.."


Hearing a name, Candy paused to think, but perhaps this answer is better asked for..


Candy: "Keith?"

Man 2: "Yeah. You into racing? He's our pride and joy at these parts. Don't got any clue why he's the one bringing the family name forward, not THAT man."


Another man with Ross as a surname, Candy takes yet another mental note..


Candy: "Well. I am out of here.."


She undusts her dirty dress and enters the Ford, then quickly leaving the area.


Man 2: "Mort.."

Man 1: "Yeah, Reg?"

Man 2: "That woman.. she look a lot like this.. umm.. Le something something.. Asian racing queen Candy Lam?"

Man 1: "Huh.. I guess I didn't notice.."


Sunk in the seats, Candy gets a first ride at Ford's finest supercharged V8.

She may have been getting along with the driver, but her fears still remain strong. She's still having second thoughts of asking favors from him.



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Candy: "Ughh.. what a nuisance.. top of the morning to you, Mister Ross."


Casually riding the GT out of the small town roads, the driver remains focused and silent.

Still pressured by his presence, Candy wonders about someone..



Candy: "Where's Rin-san?"

Jake Ross: "Out of commission due to working another all-nighter. And it looks to me you just got out of an action scene."


Her dress still dusted, Candy tidies her clothing, with nothing but her hands slapping the dust off..


Candy: "Yeah, I had an episode with the floor, but nothing hydration can't fix."

Jake Ross: "If you insist it ain't sickness, we'll take the next stop."


Alone with the man that was the root of all this trouble, Candy finds to this is the time to ask questions, hoping to pass the time.

First comes in a recent clash with the authorities..



Candy: "I have to say.. I owe Rin-san one for what's happened. How is it that MINI was on that list?"

Jake Ross: "It's strange.. there has been no mention why your car's on that wanted list to begin with. You don't look like you're on the run."

Candy: "And I don't have a reason to be."


He's revving the car high, but he can hear Candy's tone perfectly.


Jake Ross: "No bu[BLEEP]t so far.."

Candy: "You don't trust me? It's for a.. off the books client. No details, just the car and a reason to bring it around the world. Many details left out, intentionally I'm sure. Not explaining how they will pay a hefty sum is just the icing on top.."

Jake Ross: "I'll have her check if that car's on any other blacklist.. Probably is just local California PD that got tipped but.. you never know."

Candy: "There's no red flags when I started out in Japan..


She thought more about Rin's honesty towards her job.


Candy: "But on Rin-san: Is she okay we're using her information like this?"

Jake Ross: "She never gives it to us usually, but when it's suspicious or related to my street crew, she'll hand it to us, like showing off her new fond interest in Japanese dessert. We'll leave it at that."


Two more topics came to mind. It was now about the chubby man with the sultry voice and his sunglasses.


Candy: "And that lion.. Carlyle, was it? A car smuggler, huh?"

Jake Ross: "Him? We met.. in a silly funny way."

Candy: "Oh? Do tell."

Jake Ross: "Uhh.. Jess was at work, undercover, investigating some shady s[BLEEP] in some shady movie studio. Dating Carlyle was the ticket in, and.."

Candy: "He probably was having a great time, on a bed before he saw you.."

Jake Ross: "Silly funny, right? You're not the first with that machete by the eyes.."

Candy: "Dark one's got practice, heh.. but it did work out, eventually?"

Jake Ross: "Jess explained it all to me, and over time.. I found out his links to some huge smuggling rings comes in handy bringing wanted men's cars across certain places. Like yours right now. Not to mention he's always selling.."


With money not an issue, Candy's already getting thoughts..


Candy: "I.. might be interested. Where do I start?"

Jake Ross: "A meeting can be arranged. Lyle can hand you a few contacts wherever you are in the world."


And now, Candy heads to conversing of a recent finding..


Candy: "And the men earlier? One of them mentioned a Keith. I assume it's that Corvette racing Keith Ross.."

Jake Ross: "They did? That would be my baby brother representing my family's pride and joy on track."

Candy: "You're related, eh? Ohh, fascinating. And get this: they mentioned it should've been you."

Jake Ross: "Oh.. between you and me, it was.."


She heard him say it with less confidence..


Candy: "You sounded different there.."

Jake Ross: "This whole Jake over Keith debacle.. it's all personal. So personal and sensitive, like you hating the association of.. 'cute'."

Candy: "Hey, if you gotta speak it out, I'm all ears. Just take your time, oh dark one. But if this all is being said, does it mean.."

Jake Ross: "You still shouldn't doubt Keith. He's got his own way to play, and it's fast. But his take on racing is the opposite of mine. Where I want results, he's in it for the fun of it."

Candy: "I suggest a compromise.. make getting the results the source of joy. That's my mantra."

Jake Ross: "Is it? You two should meet.. maybe get him out of his delusion."

Candy: "Yeah? Just wait till that Group 3 Corvette of his gets nominated.."

Jake Ross: "Nominated? What's this?"


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Candy: "N..n-nothing.."


Blue Moon Bay Speedway
California
Late Morning



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Arriving on the front entrance, the Ford makes its stop as Candy reaches out from inside her bag..


Candy: "Well, we're here in one piece, so.. you pass."


Handing over a small sum of money, Jacob puts it aside immediately.


Jake Ross: "You got a race in a few days. I suggest you make the most of it."

Candy: "Without my MINI, that's going to be a problem."

Jake Ross: "I trust Lyle to get it sorted later today, but just in case.. we can figure something out."

Candy: "Hmm.. okay."

Jake Ross: "Seems like something's happening back there."


He points towards some workers carrying various equipment, ranging from chairs to backboards.


Candy: "Uhh.. I can't believe I forgot about it.. I didn't tell you about the press conference?"

Jake Ross: "Not a word."

Candy: "If they let you in, I'm sure.."


He didn't like that obvious lack of confidence..


Jake Ross: "You'll see me."


She gets out of the car, readying her mind for what's coming.

Jacob then quickly readjusts his hat and drives away, with Candy watching the V8 symphony move aside.



Candy: "Such a character, so bold, but I feel that last bit shows he might be.. foolhardy."


Knowing she's a guest, she follows the stand out signs to the press conference.

Sponsors, chairs and wires everywhere, Candy makes her way through the riff raff and onto the worker that stands out.



Candy: "Excuse me, mister. I'm reporting in, this the place for that, or??"

Man: "And you ar-oh, Candy Lam! Well, the conference isn't starting soon, so make yourself comfortable."

Candy: "Oh, I will.. I can see my table's that one."

Man: "Ah, you see the name tags clear. You better get yourself cleaned up and dressed appropriately. Facilities just behind, take a right. And be sure not to mix with the men's rooms."


Noting that, she walks through the empty chairs and head towards the door..

Taking advantage of the situation, she takes a quick peek to the tables out front.



Candy: "And who am I with today.. oh.."


She sees a pair of names, and she knows they're of her level..


Candy: "The Tamed Racing Animal.. and.. S-M-X-Z. There's only one person with those initials.."


Now in her Toyota racing suit, Candy heads out to see an ocean of cameras and journalists.

This kind of event as one she fears to get going in, she finds that Toyota hasn't sent a proper representative for her to talk. Ready for this occasion, Candy moves to the desk, hoping for good fortunes.

She then noticed the other two brands that was obscured earlier: Dodge and Genesis.



Candy: "Genesis.. that's new. And how about that one carrying weaksauce Dodge to this level??"


On the Genesis table, a man donned in a full carbon themed suit with a bespoke helmet sits, with arms crossed. Nobody dared to cross him or even interact with him. But a European woman represting Genesis seems to have him covered in the attention he's getting.

And on the Dodge table, there's a long haired man taking a nap with his legs on the table, and his cap on his face.

The event plans to start in a short while, so Candy decides to get off and meet these other racers. Leaving Dodge's top racer to the dream express, she went to see this unlikely duo.



Candy: "Sophia? I see you, Sophia!"


The woman approached is Sophia D'Antonio: a well known racing manager of many Asian teams, but her work now goes to handling the day to day actions of a certain tamed racing animal:

Some say he's studied and graduated in the true meaning of life as an inanimate object..

And some say he's a firm believer of spiders taking over the world, starting with Australia..

But all we know about him is that he's the silent racing master know simply as The Guts.

His companion Sophia, busy on her phone, hears her name called..



Sophia: "Oh, mamma mia! Candy! I do apologize that you have to see me in my full time job, mi amica. If I'm not working on the sidelines, the stress levels can get out of this world crazy, aha!"

Candy: "That's no trouble, Sophia. But now you're managing him on the big stage! I didn't think Sim Gear would pay you bullions to manage this monster of a racer."

Sophia: "Trust me, you have no idea how much money is coming in to get signore Guts on track and taking names. And if we're here, you can surely tell it's working."

Candy: "Yes, well.. I'm here too, so it's going to be quite the honor.."


Sophia heard the dishonesty clear as day.


Sophia: "You're bluffing, right?"

Candy: "I'm TRYING to elicit a reaction.."


Still on the chair with his arms crossed, it's hard to say what he thinks of..


Sophia: "Well.. signore Guts? Signore?"


Candy decides it's time to act and closens the gap, eventually knocking the helmet..


Candy: "I know you're in there, you animal."


No reaction seen, the ladies give up..


Sophia: "He's probably not interested in your mind games."

Candy: "Or he's asleep. We still are jetlagged after all."


As that sentence comes to a close, the man stood up..


Candy: "Hoohh, that's not asleep!"


And walks away, ignoring the nearby women, and heading towards a specific direction calmly and slowly..


Sophia: "Off to the men's room, eh?"

Candy: "You just can't predict these.. farm raised enigmas."

Sophia: "I still have no confirmation that thing's born in a farm."

Candy: "Uhh.."

Sophia: "By the way, what have you been up to.. aside that Willow Springs challenge that time."


Maybe it's practice for later, but Candy answers back confidently..


Candy: "Oh, being me.. a tour de force on the Asian GT racing leagues.. getting nicknames from fans, eventually testing my mettle with racers around the world. I know the inevitable question is coming: Candy, when are you going to transition out of the FT-1 and into the new Supra?"

Sophia: "To be honest, that's a question I'd also ask."


The idea that she's about to speak later rose again, and it gave her fear..


Candy: "All these questions and queries! AAHH, I just want this to be over with. I love them, but it's gotta be today that Toyota didn't send me someone to help me with my words."

Sophia: "I feel for you, but not really. But truly, I want to."

Candy: "You shouldn't, truly."


Sophia sees something in the scene changed, and Candy instead felt it..


Bohemian Like You
The Dandy Warhols
Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia


Candy: "Pardon me, but I hear.. there's a song playing. Drums preceding.. an energetic rift."

Sophia: "Uh, yes. Should you turn around, amica, you will see America's Main Eventer himself has arrived."

Candy: "Oh no.."


Her dreads are confirmed when she turns to the Dodge table being empty, and turning further to see the man walking closer, with this swagger that might blow up the whole surroundings in a flash.

Both Candy and Sophia sees this happening, even though they know this is all just some mental illusion.

All of this stems from one man: the Asian American Badass known as Sonny Meng Xian Zhen. And just as Candy doesn't want it, she's getting the front seat of his attention.



Sonny: "[whistles] My eyes! Looks like I see one sweet toothed lone wolf Candy Lam. Glad to see you in person. So YOU'RE what the ruckus is all about?"


He might show a semi gentlemanly behaviour with his rough thick voice, but Candy has already had enough of this man.


Candy: "I've heard rumors you're a self seeing pompous ass, and I don't need 5 seconds to figure that out."

Sonny: "True.. true, but sometimes you just wanna preserve your eyes to only see what's good. I'm seeing a lot of you and Miss D'Antonio here, lor, and I'm using this time real good [eyes glare]."

Candy: "Well, I think I'll be using this time to get a restraining order, or what have you in this weird country!"


Not in a fine mood, Candy leaves the two. They remain as they see her walk away.


Sophia: "Yeesh, did you do anything, signore?"

Sonny: "Dunno. The ladies can't resist me, and it's the other way round for her. I keep these locks clean all day every day, so it can't be the smell.."

Sophia: "Different people have different tastes, you know.."

Sonny: "She's still probably angry for something.. I'm guessing it happened during Sonny and THE BEAST 2. I'll get to her, eventually.. By the way, how's things? The guys at Sim Gear doing you good?"

Sophia: "Oh, the work has been tiring, but it has been such a marvelous pleasure thus far."

Sonny: "Bad ass. Say hi to Clark for me when you next meet."


As Candy thought, the whole event is such a bore..

While Sophia answered for The Guts with convincing arguments and thoughts..

Sonny used his charisma and wise ass attitude to attract a favorable reception.

Now, as her heart beats go faster, Candy's turn comes..



FIA representative: "And now we come to you, Miss Lam. Now, as the rare case of women being on top of a now mostly male dominant sport, what are your comments so that more of your kind can come join you?"


Like with a question of her racecar, she was ready for this..


Candy: "W-well.. it's not that women are lacking. I so happen to be the one who was chosen among the sea of talent. They don't have to be men.. I'm hearing good things of the many females. If not this year, then I'm sure the following year, I hope to see a trend. I want to be the example, but I feel it's better this example isn't just Candy. I'm sure.. Miss Sophia would make a good racer if she put the time and work."

Sophia: "Hohoho. She's not wrong, you know.."

Candy: "We can't be dictated by the trend.. That's all."


FIA representative: "Very strong words. But I hope you're ready for what's to come. There has been strong rumors that your on track actions and manners are, as stated, abnormal but effective."


A question so daunting, Candy kept quiet for a while.


Candy: "Uhh.."


And as her fears start developing, something dark and wicked emerges from the crowd and warrants a response as he heads towards Candy.


"That's Louie Jr's kid Jacob!"
"The Dark Horse of Japan?!"
"Why is he helping her?"



As the racers look on, they see Jacob standing his ground for Candy as he stands by her side.

Off the mic, Jacob speaks his mind..



Jake Ross: "I will handle this."

Candy: "Mister Ross? But.. I have this covered."


Jacob had other thoughts when she spoke with a less favorable tone..


Jake Ross: "Listen to me: that question is unquestionably bul[BLEEP]t and your team has approved of my intervention. I. Will. Handle. This."


She's been hurt by this terrible man for days. But then: it's like what she's heard from Rin. She thought..


Candy: "He DOES have a heroic side.."


Getting up, Jacob took her seat and put the mic in front.


Jake Ross: "I will represent her. Please.. repeat the question."


The crowd still shaken by this event, the representative accepts the request..


FIA representative: "Very well.."


Only two questions follow, but the more important detail came: Candy finds herself at a new level of respect for this dark tall figure..

And felt the mental scarring from this outlaw has soothed in a significant way.


Later that day, on the emptied track..

They walked across the empty lane, like a couple coming from a date.



Jake Ross: "You seem.. comforted.."

Candy: "Umm.."

Jake Ross: "I'm not asking for your thanks. My associate warned me about.. something with you and these social heavy events."

Candy: "And yet, whoever this associate of yours is.. your actions are not wanted. My heart says they are very much needed."


She went infront and made a quick bow..


Candy: "I'm indebted, truly.. don't tell me this is how you're going to get yourself into Toyota Gazoo?"

Jake Ross: "Nah, I know someone there, it'll be too much trouble. Besides, I have my own FIA related plans."


Unsure and uncaring with what he meant, she decided to leave it.


Candy: "Well, let's hope you don't mind my followers suddenly fanboying to your side.."

Jake Ross: "I don't keep socials active, but surely Ayumi will manage.."


They walk further ahead in the shade..


Jake Ross: "But let's go satisfy your mysterious clients and get your MINI around. My associates are waiting with your car.."

Candy: "Oh, they're here?"

Jake Ross: "I'm sure you've already met.."


They both hear a whistle: one that Candy recently associates with a certain half American half Singaporean out of place, now wearing a leather jacket and denims.


Candy: "That's.. Sonny f[BLEEP]ing Meng! The ego loving ass clown!"

Jake Ross: "..clown?"


And if he's the associate..


Candy: "You mean.. he's under you?! That's just ridiculous!"

Jake Ross: "The Guts and that man being under me is definitely ridiculous AND integral parts of my street racing crew. Your speculation will be answered."


The speculation was piling up, but left the building as soon as The Guts was mentioned..


Candy: "Ughh, just WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?!"


He wanted to respond, but he decided it's better not to.

Now approached, with arms outstretched, Sonny greeted the two.



Sonny: "Yo, Jake! Like my speech about beating expectations? And might I say that was a badass hijack, my dude. I'm sure Rin won't shut up about it for a week!"

Jake Ross: "I'd do the same if you had to face down your greatest fears, whatever that may be. Today's just another notch on jolly co-operation."

Sonny: "Look at that! You just keep surprising with these selfless acts. I've known your ass for life, but I don't know how you got the courage to pull these off, lor."


Candy felt something weird about this person.

The Sonny Meng she's seeing now seems different. He feels more like a good, optimistic friend, rather than the egotistical overconfident maniac he's known for on the grand stage.



Candy: "You both know each other.. for life?"

Jake Ross: "You find that to be the most outlandish thing you may have heard, no? I've been with him since the days I can run. Sonny is a man I owe a whole load, including his role to rekindle my fire to become the racer baby brother Keith never could be."

Sonny: "Yeah, you're gonna hear a lot of that. By the way, Candy toots, I know you're mad at me for what happened in your incredibly daunting Willow Springs challenge."


He's read her like a book, and she responds, shaking in disarray..


Candy: "How-but.. you knew?"

Jake Ross: "He prepares to the occassion, to say it lightly."

Sonny: "I call it being One Step Ahead. Yeah, I know, I'm just way too badass sometimes. But I don't want to see us meeting the first time on the wrong foot, leh. Competition supposedly brings us together, not divide us. You represent a role me and Guts Man can't touch."


He turns towards the track, changing his tone to a more serious one.


Sonny: "Besides.. I have a journey to make. Something something respect and less of looking at me. It involves.."


She can hear the answer it from a mile away, and decides to pitch in..


Candy: "A girl. Don't tell me: it's a girl."

Sonny: "That's.. exactly right, lor. A woman. The lady that'll join Sonny to the grave, happily like Romeo and Juliet. Without the poison.. and the suicide of course.. And the banishment.. And the fact our families are fighting.."

Candy: "It's signs that Romeo and Juliet be the worst way to take a romance."


Still on the side, Jacob's patience runs thin..


Jake Ross: "We can talk literature later. Let's get to business. The MINI?"

Sonny: "Yup! One most wanted MINI coming right up, hehey.."


They walk to a nearby garage door, revealing..


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After a quick inspection, Candy notes..


Candy: "Okay, that is impressive. Now how do we clear its name?"

Sonny: "Well, I don't know how he does it, but Carlyle's going through every trace in his network to find the source of your troubles. Okay, inverse Stug, slowly out now.."


But something else stood out in that garage..


Candy: "What's that? Looks to me the MINI wasn't alone in there.."

Jake Ross: "Let's see.."


And that elephant in the room came in the form of a Corvette..


Jake Ross: "Hmm, I figure that's the track's C8 Corvette. Back me up, Son: this is the track's car, right?"

Sonny: "Yeah, I heard it's the track's spare after a fleet of them became the on track safety cars. My Spidey Sense says those must be the keys just right there if anyone feels like a quick swing. Still remember why it's pink?"

Jake Ross: "Pink paint's the safety car's layers of coat before they decided last second that they don't need it, so it remained.."

Sonny: "That's the most sound reasoning. And it looked like she was gonna ask."


His charisma does mean she learned how easy it is to be annoyed by him in this casual sense.


Candy: "One step ahead weirdo.."

Sonny: "Hey, like I said, I'm on the prowl, toots. I hope you're not offended when I decide to get your measurements should I want to procure a nice dress.."

Candy: "I'd like a new dress, but probably not from you.."


She didn't notice it earlier, but the fellow inside the MINI became apparent..


Candy: "Oh, there's Guts. It really is his nature to be in the driver's seat."

Sonny: "Yeah. He's a complete silent badass on the track, but I'm sure we know that already."

Jake Ross: "Communicating with him was our first hurdle, but he starts to relate. We don't always have Sophia to help talk with."

Candy: "I was wondering how did he get along in your crew, oh dark one."

Jake Ross: "To be honest, I've been keeping The Guts involvment a secret in my street racing crew for a very very long time. Only Sonny knows."

Sonny: "Yeah, and this info's pretty recent, lor. It explains how Jake's got no arrest record: the high risk stuff's taken by the tamed racing one with a duplicate car. They got proportions you swear are mostly the same.."

Jake Ross: "Now it WAS a secret."

Sonny: "Haiyaa, my bad.."


As baffling as Jacob having a grasp on her fellow regional FIA championship racers was, this fact leaned more into the impossible, giving Candy a more unconvinced opinion..


Candy: "You're joking? A doppleganger."

Jake Ross: "I wish it was. Even finding him was complete coincidence."

Sonny: "There are many ways to tell that story, heh. I like the one that Guts beat Jake but offered his body out of pity."


But Jacob showed a face signing major disapproval..


Jake Ross: "That don't add up at all, which is where I disagree."


Now Candy heads to the rear of the MINI exiting the garage..


Candy: "Huh, well.. I need to optimize the MINI for this high speed track. Besides, I'm glad this smuggling.. thing worked out. All my important things are in the car. And I have to get something sorted at the double. So, Mr. Guts is going to get out of the car, and.."


But as Candy moved to open the rear boot, the MINI zoomed straight out of the pit lane..

The sounds of the BMW engine inside fades, with whoever remaining at pause on how out of nowhere this action is.



Candy: "A..."


The life long friends took this all calmly..


Sonny: "Wor, I knew he was going to pull a stunt like that anyways. That's our Guts-a-manger!"

Jake Ross: "Guess the stage was set for him. An empty track with a track bred hatchback.."


On the other hand, Candy..


Candy:
"W-W-WHATT?! NOOO!! M-MYY STUUFFF!! That.. THAT NO GOOD MUTE FREAK OF NATURE, SON OF A [BLEEP]!! HOW DARE YOU.. HOW DARE YOU!!"


Devastation was just a hint of the whole conversation.

Even though she's boiled up, Candy's only focus was to stop him. With no rational thought, she dashed in the garage, took the keys and and entered the pink Corvette.

It blasted away at such a pace..

The Jake and Sonny show takes a moment to register and make a personal reference..



Sonny: "Not as large as.. uhh.."


Understanding, Jacob shook his head..


Jake Ross: "Nah, not as large."

Sonny: "But looks to me I can scratch the BINGO card saying to meet a regional points leading FIA racer who's got Luce levels of a hissy fit."

Jake Ross: "You tell me. Did you predict this outcome, Son?"

Sonny: "Maybe I did.. maybe I didn't. [teeth glares]"

Jake Ross: "Whatever you say."


Turning his back, Jacob revealed..


Jake Ross: "By the way.. I tried mix number 4 on her."

Sonny: "Noo.. what's that stuff do? She looks a-okay."

Jake Ross: "It's supposed to be a much milder concoction. The worst it should do is disable muscle senses for a short time.."

Sonny: "Well, it's better than mix number 2. Stuff's a killer, yo."

Jake Ross: "I never thought I'd make Joker laughing gas.."

Sonny: "Without the laughing."

Jake Ross: "But with incredible, albeit temporary pain.."

Sonny: "Mix number 4's definitely creepier considering.. if Candy's still okay means it's got no long term repercussions, lor. Means you have free reign to even use it on us?"


He walked away, giving off a sinister vibe..


Jake Ross: "If it has to be that way.."


Sonny watched his friend exit, feeling uneasy despite their relationship..


Sonny: "Haiyaa.. Jake.. Where did this amplified killer instinct come from, ah?"


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With a new V8 and a change in how that's gone, the C8 Corvette ditches its muscle based roots and into the modern age as a mid engined sports car akin to what we see in Ferrari and McLarens today. But the big difference is the cost: American performance often comes as the much more accessible option, so as long as they're not made to surpass certain speed barriers.

Funny in Mini Mexico, the car doesn't have its holographic speedometer, where it's here in full Playstation powered glory. I'm not in to re-review a car I've done before, but that possibility isn't gone.

One thing I find quite surprising is how much of its American roots its dropped. The launch doesn't lose you if you just push it down all the way with no hesitation. Rule of thumb is always launch with TC 1, but in the C8, that advantage is very very slight, so I'm glad to have found a car that I can spin its rear on the grid with little to no repercussions.

Now, of course when I think of the C8, I think of the terrible brakes it had in Mini Mexico. Surprise or not, that's retained here in the more realistic realm, but they're not 'so bad it's horrible' bad. You gotta brake earlier than intended by.. a small margin. But just like in Mini Mexico, that's the only issue worth noting. The car's everything else, except the fact the higher gears go way up to ludicrous speed, are at favorable or more.

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If you're new to the game and want a good RWD car to start off with, the C8 seems to do the same here as in Mini Mexico. You think with a rear heavy 40:60 ratio might throw you off, but the car's incredibly balanced. Not to mention if you want to take a look at its power band, the car's got nothing out of the norm, meaning no shifting period gimmicks if you want to get faster. Just shift when the game tells you to, and the dual clutch means you're getting a smooth operator.

But this is still American. The car still can lose traction notably at the higher RPM range thanks to its torque: something I seem to relate Corvettes with. I've noticed on tight cornering tracks like Tsukuba you can still get the rear out if your turn exit acceleration is sudden. The only other time I notice this is when launching at 2nd, but that's manageable.

It understeers a bit, but I'm actually more surprised how composed the car is compared to how its predecessors work. But from the smooth V8, lack of aspiration, great gearing on lower gears, and the noted lack of weight transfer means, just like as I wrote it 17 months ago, we got ourselves a car that's super accessible, super friendly, and I can see it doing a LOT for those willing to grab more than one for different purposes. To be honest, the next analysis I fear might be just a few sentences that go in the line of the brakes.


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Candy: "Now, how do I get you to stop?"


[SCENE REDACTED]


later.jpg



Just out of a long shower, Candy, alone in her room, hears her smartphone receive a message.

Based on the notification, the number wasn't shown and the message log was new, meaning yet another anonymous admirer..

Still wrapped in wet towels, she rubbed her fingers dry and tapped to..



"The Guts has important information for you. Head downstairs."


To Candy, mere mention of that tamed racing animal deduces that Sophia is responsible, but being well acquainted professionally with Sophia means that she has her number..

There are a lot of ways this can be construed, but the most obvious one was..



Candy: "That.. man thing wants to see me? How did he even get my number? Sophia, perhaps?"


Putting on her sunday's best, she puts on some ointment, leaves her room and heads down.


Having never been to this hotel by the racetrack, she notices the fancy lounging area downstairs with a lot of decor reflecting and care shown into its soothing high performance racing theme.

Due to the close proximity to Blue Moon's racetrack, a few high performance cars are shown on display at the area..



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It's not crowded, so she can easily spot the well dressed man still wearing his signature helmet. But what she also saw was a woman on the other side.

Not looking like Sophia, this figure stands tall, visible with her long brunette hair and wearing a scarlet dress.

As she closes in, the women gets up, and heads the other way. Estranged, Candy walks in and sits by the momentarily alone Guts.



Candy: "Well look who it is? How is it you've contacted me when I never shared numbers?"


He makes eye contact, but makes no response, still arms crossed like always.


Candy: "Of course, this is like talking to a statue. How is it you remain wearing that helmet? Doesn't it get stuffy inside?"


Unsure what else to do, Candy thinks while relaxing on the chair..


Candy: "Should I call Sophia?"


Surprisingly the man responds with disagreement..


Candy: "A head shake? Why not? It makes this so much easier."


Grabbing something out of his chest pocket, he gestures it towards Candy.


Candy: "What's this? A card?"


It's a small card, size of a playing card, but Candy closens in her view to see a hand written note on it. She then reads it quietly..


Candy: "Hmm.. hmm.. Miss Lam, I am Nirvana. I have made the effort to rid you of your car's outstanding warrant, but in return, wishes to utilize your talents. Don't bother to contact me, don't even say my name to anyone, and don't even try to sell me out, or I will have to act unwillingly violent.."


That threat stumbled her focus for a bit, but she carried on.


Candy: "Creepy. Umm.. I will find you soon and we shall talk face to face. Ciao."


Now done, Candy changed her attention to the immovable Guts..


Candy: "You've become a messenger now? Don't you usually ask for tips, oh wait.."


Unknown if offended or playful, the animal raised his fist.

And just as he intended, Candy felt the scene change..



Candy: "Uhh.."


flashback.jpg



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The act got Candy back to after her quick run with the pink Corvette..

The words exchanged weren't clear, but what's clear enough was that the little lady launched quickly at the tamed racing animal.

Standing still with his swagger, the animal reacts to Candy's launched assault..

..widening his legs, he winded back his body to..

..reel in a punch of such a ginormous magnitude.

The blow collided to her face, knocking her out instantly.

And just as he leaves her downed on the pit lane floor, he turns around, walks slowly away with an imaginary cloak, as the One Punch Man theme song HAS to be playing as watched by the out of place Asian and the dark American.


Those thoughts agitated her..


Candy: "UGGHH.. If there were a way to not remember that happened.. I hope you know how to fix a black eye in such short notice.. because YOU of all freaks know thick amounts of makeup aren't working."


Instead of continuing that anger, she calms, now thinking what happened after..


Candy: "Still doesn't explain how I woke up in my hotel room with everything unpacked in perfect fashion. Sophia probably knew what I'd do with my things.."


The line of thought was interrupted by a phone call.

Recognizing the picture she associated with this person, she gets to answering it..



Candy: "Hmm? Oh, it's Mr. Ross. I hope you don't mind, excuse me.."


Nobody could predict what The Guts wants with a quick snatch of the phone.


Candy: "Ja-HEY!"


Putting on speaker, he got off his seat, and swiftly prepared a game of extreme tag..


Jake Ross: "Guts.. You are with Candy, correct?"


The lounge watched on the two giving chase in the small lounging area..


Jake Ross: "We have the whole thing set up with Sophia. Son and I are coming in, you can make your preparations soon after."


From his end of the call, he hears signs of fury..


Jake Ross: "Again, eh? She's trying to get her phone back, right?"


He decides it's time to hang this call..

And on the other end, The Guts went back to his chair, and a less composed Candy quickly gets her phone back.



Candy: "Rude! You should've asked! But you acted like you knew Jacob was going to call me.."


And it wasn't even a long sit as The Guts walks off..


Candy: "Wait, where are you going?! I'm not done, mister!!"

Jake Ross: "And there he goes.."


Still flustered by the moment, she sees Jacob and Sonny, wearing proper race attire.


Candy: "And you! You're going to have to work on your manners. The kind to skulk over in silence just ticks me off, big time, you know."

Jake Ross: "Says Miss raged so much she got knocked out by a single whack.."

Sonny: "Ya, I don't see the power, but some say The Guts once killed a man with his thumb."


Though she took that factoid as an insult..


Candy: "You know what?! I don't like that tone!! If you're itching for a fight, I'm more than able!!"

Sonny: "I'm able to provide a raw steak to the eye, whaddaya say?"


Seeing how intense they are with each other, Jacob intervenes..


Jake Ross: "..by the way, something important has come up, and I know you do want a quick anger management session."

Candy: "Umm.. sounds good. Does it involve your associates? On the other side. Preferably the one with a carbon helmet that NEVER GOES OFF.."


As they sit, they can't help but notice Candy's passion for a certain someone's pain..


Sonny: "She hates his guts, pun intend."

Jake Ross: "You did too, that one time."


He knew it's time to look good, and sweet talked a response..


Sonny: "There was an age where something similar happened, just to me and the outcome leaned to M-E me. Thank you, thank you [teeth glares]."


Sonny's egoist side ticked off a certain lady so much that..


Sonny: "Oh snap! I hope you can put that coffee table down.."

Jake Ross: "Humm.."


She did put down the table, unharmed, ignoring her strength in a smaller body.


Candy: "Since you haven't been straight with me, I have a feeling this anger management thing you plan to do isn't sitting with chairs, right?"

Sonny: "Yeah. But we're in no rush. So we relax, toots. I was thinking I get a pre-race meal.. then later we got this procedure: just our cars, a few laps around the track. But right now we chill! Talk about me, how I've been a major player in just about everything.. including a certain Mythic.."


To say he ruined the purpose of the meet was definitely an understatement.

Jacob raised his brow, while Candy follows with an open mouth.



Jake Ross: "And he just spilled all of what we're to discuss in 10 seconds.."

Candy: "The iceberg goes deeper, eh? It just screams in your head how much pain you wish to inflict to him?"

Jake Ross: "No, not enough. He's capable of so much more.. attraction to inflict pain."


Candy thought this revelation of Sonny being in this group means that this Mythic Initiative is seriously capable of results.


Candy: "Though, my focus on the Mythic Initiative was purely on Rin-san and her husband. No mention of the other 2.."

Jake Ross: "You mentioned how you only know that there's 4."

Candy: "Who's the last one?"


Relaxed and feeling a bit playful, Sonny had an idea.


Sonny: "Jake, I feel we don't give a green light on who that is."

Jake Ross: "Like he said. I'll give him the hint to mention should you meet. He's an.. interesting one. More interesting should you find out yourself rather than what you did with Jess.."


And following that, Sonny thought of a more fun proposition..


Sonny: "Let's make it fun: win our little racing soiree, and you get to learn his identity."

Jake Ross: "Huh.. I accept. If he were here, my pa' wouldn't want me to get worse than second."

Sonny: "Aww, Jake. You're looking at 3, count it: 3 top scoring FIA regional racers here. If you say the odds are against you, they are. Just look at Sophia! She puts herself in the race just to "observe the moment" and it's not gonna be pretty, lah."

Candy: "Sophia?"


From Candy's perspective, this is the first she's heard of Sophia and Jacob working before.


Jake Ross: "Oh yes. Sophia. She's actually hired me and Sonny this one time.. How can she remain in peace.."

Sonny: "I don't know, Jake. If I was in her shoes, I'd be so stressed I'd get an afro. I mean, she kept her face in front of me earlier just before the press conference. But knowing these eyes [eyes glare], I can see things you swear it shouldn't be."

Candy: "You look up that bunned hairdo and her gigantic glasses, and you understand how I didn't think Sophia can drive."

Sonny: "Oh yeah, she can. She has a history in European hillclimb. Her family's running the old 155 touring car up those winding roads. If I don't call that privileged, I don't know what it is, lor."

Candy: "Opportunistic? Years of coaching racers finally paid off?"

Jake Ross: "Family wealth? Close friends into it? In any case, we've no clue."


For the first time, Candy notices Sophia, gigantic glasses also coming by with a full racing suit.


Sophia: "Buona sera. It's time we take these cars for a quick spin, yes?"

Jake Ross: "You dress up quick, Sophia.. Alright, we can eat later."


The last words clear, Sonny made a small objection..


Sonny: "But you know I can't work with an empty stomach, my dude!"

Candy: "You heard the boss: it's race time."


Call Off The Dogs
Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators
4


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Not an hour later, various cars started to head on track under the bright evening.

On a conference call with their phones, they hear each other as if they're in an online meeting, while the intensity of a short race remains in the air.



Candy: "I didn't know you had it in you, Sophia."

Sophia: "Candy, mi cucco, this is evident that you don't know me enough."

Candy: "I had my run with it earlier.. that C8 is a beast.. but how about the maiden behind the wheel?"

Sophia: "Unsure, are you? My competency will not hold me back."


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Jake Ross: "This is the first we duke it out against the infamous Sim Gear Sleeper.."

Sonny: "Fweh, the dude's got a tricked out roadworthy Hyundai race car, so I know that machine's also tricked out. This ain't gonna be a walk in the park... says not me and THE BEAST!!"

Jake Ross: "That confidence.. means it's showtime!"


So you wanna be a playa? But your wheels ain't fly?

You gotta hit us up.. to get a pimped out ride!


Oh man, despite how controversial the whole thing was, it tickles me in the nostalgia bone. Anyhow, now let's see the SPD way to pimp that Corvette C8.

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First of all, like the FC RX-7, power you put last. It's a RWD car, and if you have some budgeting to do, maybe you can adjust its already superb handling rather than just turn it into something uncontrollable. I've noted its understeer as something we can fix, so the suspension settings would have to go with the line of adjusting it's damping stiffness. Increase the rear a bit for both values.

Another consideration is the gearbox. Nab a fully custom one. If we can make use of all 8 gears, the better for its general stability and we can make use of the powerband much better. Considering how well it behaves on me pushing the first two gears, I say those can be widened for a smoother drive out of lower speeds. That'll soften the torque's setbacks.


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Something else.. that starts with B. Of course it's brakes. Obviously this will be mentioned. This is the car that got me into mentioning brakes as a top priority in that other COTW thread. If you have the PP to spare, get what you can get in stopping power. However, a sportier stiff suspension usually forgoes this option, but get the brake controller for a no change in PP option.

If you're cheeky, you can buy the replaceable parts and limit the power. It does change the behaviour of the car on when to shift. The car is not aspirated, but a supercharger option is there if you need the extra oomph to get in the hypercar leagues. And for weight balance.. I find the stock 40:60 ratio to be fine, but I do compensate with a spoiler. In the end, it's up to you. Aside from what I mentioned above, you don't have to deviate very far from its stock settings; the car's aleady competent as is.


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Sonny: "Coming in from the inside, Sonny Meng, doing what this all around badass does best, goes in, brakes late and takes the lead! Jake's dead, yee-haw, cue in the Top Gun Anthem, baby."

Jake Ross: "I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that.. God damned son of a b[BLEEP].."


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Candy: "And Pinky is out.."

Sophia: "I can hear you clearly."

Candy: "Oh, right! Umm.. you're still out, Sophia."


full


Candy: "That is one tricked out Genesis.. Consider this payback for earlier, you mute freak."


full


Jake Ross: "There it is.. the MINI that could take out Carlyle's Superbird.."

Candy: "What does top scoring FIA driver mean to you, Mister Ross?! Wait till I bring my real car.."

Sonny: "Whuzzat? I swear I can't hear you over there at Losersville!"

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Sonny: "What's this? Where's the contest? You are all a different league.. from THE BEAST!"

Candy: "ARGH, look at that ego! Is this the part where I beat it out of him?"

Jake Ross: "No, not just you. You and a crowd of other racers. Sophia?"

Sophia: "I may be a person of peace and generosity, but this mutual feeling.. it is so so tempting."


2 days later.jpg



The first exhibition of the Race of Champions begins today in Blue Moon.

After back to back grueling practice sessions, Candy finds herself readying to race inside her Group 3 regulated FT-1.



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Candy: "It's time to show the Lone Wolf can bite. Huhuhu.."


Usually left alone before final race prep, a voice appears..


Jake Ross: "Got a minute?"

Candy: "What the hell? You snuck into the comms?"

Jake Ross: "I merely borrowed it from your chief. I'm on your six.."


A quick look behind confirms this, Jacob leaning behind the large spoiler.


Jake Ross: "You do see me, over?"

Candy: "Hmph.. Make it quick."


He's not feeling sorrowful, but he took off his hat, holding it to his chest as he figures out the words..


Jake Ross: "I would like to say.. on behalf on myself and Jess.. our sincerest apologies."

Candy: "Oh? But why? I feel like.. I've finally someone else to lean on.. for the first time in a long long while."

Jake Ross: "You remember that day.. on Grand Valley?"


She looked back, and remembered the striking weight on her right knee and a soreness on her throat.

But she didn't feel bad looking back.



Candy: "I feel.. I don't want to. But at the same time.. I do too."

Jake Ross: "Did you seek out Jess by any meaning of the intent?"

Candy: "No.. it was all chance."

Jake Ross: "And given how it all turned out.. do you appreciate that chance?"


The answer was obvious, but she couldn't say why she held it back.


Candy: "...yes."

Jake Ross: "That's good to hear. What are your thoughts? Still on the first flight back to Tokyo, I presume?"

Candy: "My schedule is my own, Mister Ross.. and we're next to an airport, so that's no concern. Right now, I want to show the world what's maybe in the making for years now."


Eager to show it off, she wanted to see how Jacob would react, but..


Candy: "And.. I don't see you behind."

Jake Ross: "Just laying low. Continue."

Candy: "The temptation is there, dark one. I feel I do need to warm the engine sometime before this race.."


He knew she had the idea, and a warning has to come..


Jake Ross: "I'll bring hell if you even roar out a squeal."

Candy: "You do know I'm joking, right?"


He gets up, and walks by the driver's side out towards the track..


Jake Ross: "You better be."

Candy: "Hah.. Of course I am!"

Jake Ross: "I see.. you seem to feel much more at ease."

Candy: "I do. After what you did at the press conference, I know it's high time I.. open up this clam and trusted you."

Jake Ross: "Even after that.. bloody first impression?"

Candy: "Y-yes.."


Stopping for the moment, he turned his head.


Jake Ross: "Then I think that settles it. I will say my goodbyes. Don't hesitate if you still need us to tag along or anything."

Candy: "Rin-san has that covered."

Jake Ross: "Of course she has. Now get out there and show the people what they came for."


He puts aside the communicator on a nearby surface, and put his hat on, leaving at a snail's pace.


Candy: "Okay.. Goodbye, mister Ross.. and thanks for e-everything.."


With her helmet on, her slow tears begin to roll out to a well thought out farewell.

But more importantly that even in the darkness of such a man, she knew that he can be exploited to do good.. and to her: maybe he's just the first step forwards out of the Lone Wolf character she's developed but started to hate.

A new chapter in her social life began, and these mental processes come to a close as the race finishes up the warm up sequences.



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And this race's pace seemed to drastically differ than that 2 days ago..


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Not even a lap in, and The Guts takes advantage of his pole position in a grand way..


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And the man with the inflated ego confidently backs his big words.

Focused on chasing a much different, maybe more proficient pace of these regional FIA top scorers, a terrible thought finally made itself clear after the past few days..



Candy: "Mister Ross.. is getting all the top scoring champions in his pocket? He.. might be up to something.."


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The C8 is by far a satisfying little Sleeper, because in the mid engined market, nobody wants to drive the new blood, but rather stick to their guns. But what Chevrolet got us is, once again referring to my old notes: a car with accessibility on every meaning of the definition. Cheap to buy, capable of a good time, tunable to your heart's content, and something I hope gets added representation in its GT race car.


Seems short, but to me, testing the car in the past few days, and in my first COTW adventures.. I can vouch how fantastic this car is remarkably. While the C2 and the C6 remain as my favorites, it's impossible to say I don't need the C8.





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Don't worry, buddy. You're doing fine.. I won't let you blow this..

[cackling and wheezing]

WHAT KIND OF PLACE IS THISS?!!
There's no Barry R's in here!!



The more ridiculous characters are coming in hot.

First up is Sonny Meng: the obvious SPD self insert. Easily the most Mary Sue of my roster, and also a wicked, over exaggerated, self representation. That Animal Crossing picture I rock these days is actually him. No, I don't look like that, nor is my real name in any way Sonny. Just reading his biography gives an idea on how much comic relief he carries, which I hope balances that lame boring overpowered skillset of his.

Ohh, a parody of The Stig? It's bound to happen, to be honest. Though I do have to break a few rules with what he's ready to show. Like having an ambassador to walk with. Sophia.. eventually I had to evolve to include a bit of racing in her plain overachiever backstory, but she's not exactly racer material: a minority within my roster that won't have a Racing Duel Music entry.

For Jacob Ross (5)
see Episode 2

A charming, yet somewhat semi-careless Italian maiden of race team management. Eager to help other people's problems, Sophia is highly sought for any racing team, if a bit picky or exclusive. Currently the only person on Earth that can represent a certain tamed racing animal as his ambassador.

Theme Song: Velvet Revolver - Sucker Train Blues
Gender: Female
Nationality: Italian
Age: 32
Current occupation: Race team manager
Distinct features: Medium, bunned up combed black hair with a bright turquoise ribbon. Thin diamond face with narrow eyes, and large eyeglasses. Average height with thin build.
Choice of clothing: You'll never see her without her ornamental bangles, a formal blouse and matching skirt. Always with a blue to turquoise theme.
Cars: Alfa Romeo 4C Gr. 3 Road Car

Being the sole daughter among her 3 younger brothers of a Milanese entrepreneur, Sophia initially came out as a big sister to inherit the family's riches when the time comes. To ensure this isn't gone to waste, she was raised with extreme care, bred to be the successor of the family money and ensure it grows. As such, she's bound to overwork her soul into getting what is the best for her family's future.

Initially with struggle, Sophia eventually became the ace in her class, achieving various awards in many fields. But what she didn't like was the fact it brought jealousy into the mix from her peers and siblings. She took into her heart that she would rid of this negative thinking, and after exiting school started a small tutoring school. It might seem innocent, but the whole point of that is to develop Sophia's skills to understand other people. Not to mention money due to the high society clientele around that part of Italy.

Before going for her PHD, Sophia's family formed a partnership with a friend to finance an up coming European hillclimbing series all over the continent. It was then she met an old friend she once tutored, now an Interpol agent. But it also allowed Sophia to test her skills in managing a league this large. With a mix of right and wrong, and the latter slowly disappearing, Sophia decided not to pursue her doctorate and instead tutor others in this new passion of racing cars.

Years pass, and she's suddenly under the wing of British car show Sim Gear, representing their tamed racing animal. Sophia's race tutoring carries weight in many top race teams around the world, mainly Asian based Toyota, Mitsubishi and Hyundai.

Some say he has an unmistakeable alternate take on the origins of shoelaces, and that he's campaigning a drive to ensure mandatory use of condoms outside of pleasure. All we know is.. he might be a parody of something more legendary, but he sure is one racing animal.

Theme Song: Finger Eleven - Gods of Speed
Racing Duel Music: Celldweller - Unshakeable (BT & SeamlessR remix)
Gender: Male.. and boy are we glad this is known
Nationality: oh crap
Age: definitely around his 20s? 30s, I guess
Current occupation: Speed
Distinct features: Has no hair, and has a mildly chiseled face of a.. unknown if it's Caucasian or Asian look and skin tone. Hard to say under his clothing, but its speculated he has a well built body with developed muscles.
Choice of clothing: His signature racing helmet is always on him, but very rarely can be seen without it. Aside from that, he wears whatever the situation desires, usually in shades of carbon black.
Cars: Genesis G70 3.3T, Hyundai N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo Group 1

A mute, socially awkward man of unknown origin and information. All the people know about him is his mythical exploits on the track, being one of the fastest beings on the planet behind any type of car. Not knowing where he came from, some say he was a child of a sinister experiment gone bad. Others say he's the resurrected spirit of a legendary racing driver and brought to the world to show how it's done.

Whatever naysay is related, The Guts' unequal presence on the track is by far the single most dominant feeling of 'Nobody but him is winning this race', and with the rise of talents behind his flag, it's been a proven fact. Usually followed by an ambassador to help communicate, The Guts only speaks through body language, or occasionally with sign language. And if those don't work, he often snatches smartphones and somehow get away with it.

Now under the British car show Sim Gear, The Guts non-racing days have been all about testing cars and showing his ego. But some time ago, since the show's discontinuation, there have been rumors of The Guts being related to The List, but not even group veterans and founders aside the big boss can prove this. Although, the indirect proof of his signature Genesis G70 winning top level street races with his name on it has been circulating.

Bohemian Like You plays

Once part of the greatest street racing crew in the UK, Sonny's now a key player in The List's day to day finances. While these days, he's started a long running racing career, leading to a gigantic bounty of success. This egotistical, proven all around badass comes forward as the most divisive top racing figure in the USA.


Theme Song: Rush - Vapor Trail, The Dandy Warhols - Bohemian Like You
Racing Duel Music: A Silent Truth - Chariot (Daycore)
Gender: Male
Nationality: Half Singaporean, half American
Age: 32
Current occupation: As he would state it: a mother[BLEEP]ing racing celebrity
Distinct features: Curled, black medium long hair, always semi-shiny. Handsome, diamond Asian like face and skin tone, with a long stubble combined with a Zappa. Narrow angled eyes that shine when he wants to. Overcompensating perfect teeth that glares when he wants to. Slightly taller, semi slim build, with mild developed muscle, also that gleam when he wants to.
Choice of clothing: Usually in biker style clothing, including leather all around with an undershirt.
Cars: Dodge SRT Viper GTS, Chevrolet Camaro Z28, Ferrari 288 GTO, GT By Citroen Road Car

While he might have a Singaporean father, his work as a presidential bodyguard means Sonny's an all American citizen. Birthed in Washington, he moved to California when he was still very young. There, he would meet the eventual leader of The List, and befriend him, being his social contact that would relate with him as that man would darken. On the contrary, Sonny remained as optimistic as he always has been.

But his optimism didn't carry over to his education, where he was often the main culprit of racism as an issue there. It was then he would learn, then utilize his famous mantra of always being one step ahead. By using his birthday gift: a 69 Camaro, he would cause what he would dub as the best graduation day ever: getting just about every nemeses in his school driver license suspensions, while he gets away scot free. Due to this epic win, his egoist side would rise from then onwards, possibly never reaching a ceiling.

It wouldn't stop there. Applying to study in London found itself to be a costly move, and he would bring said Camaro over the Atlantic to begin street racing in those streets just to break even. And past that, UK's top street racing crew known as the Prophecy would take attention, and adopt him as the first ever mentored student, known as a Chosen. Even though Sonny did graduate with middling honours and is ready for adult life, he chose to spend his earnings to chase his hobbies, and to everyone's surprise: it would end up being his life's work, with his unshakeable ego and skill would put him in the podium spot of any racing field he touches.

In addition to his successful racing career, he took on the role as The List's main income source, internally codenamed "Chimera". In recent years, Sonny's momentum has been halted when his mother passed, and now has a mission to find the Mrs. Meng to succeed even further than just his wealth and fame. These days, while he might be the badass he claims, he's also bound to lure in all sorts of trouble, such as the bad luck he's known for among his divisive peers, alongside his, what he dubs: 'favorite hostile secret admirer' in Nirvana.
 
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Hey COTW! Just wanna cut into the reviews a moment to let you all know that @XSquareStickIt and COTW staff have been hard at work coordinating with Spec Racing Club to bring you all a team battle event!

What exactly am I going on about?

Well, we are going to be racing the Radical SR3 in two back to back endurance races.

The first race will be using a (slightly) modified version of COTW's driving and lobby rules and run with the cars at full stock BOP. The second will be running SRC's spec for the car.

Incidentally, that spec sheet consists only of the following three parts:
Height-Adjustable Sports Suspension
Sports: Medium tyres
Full Control Computer

Looking at 250 HP, factory weight and ~ 572.8 pp.

Additionally, the official COTW livery can be found by clicking on this image:
View attachment 1248201

Some courtesy rules for the livery: You are allowed to add your own decals to the livery, but you are not allowed to delete the ones already present on the style. Additionally, the colors already present on the Style may not be altered, this is so that teams are easy to differentiate at a glance.

We're planning to run the races on a Saturday in May at 1:30 PM EST. Just not sure which one yet.

I'm posting this now as we're looking to gauge potential team sizes so COTW guys, let Square know if you're interested, and we'll use that to figure out team sizes.

Additional details will be shared once we're locked in w/ all the miscellaneous stuff.

Just a friendly reminder: We are all friends here. :) This is for fun.

Ciao for now. RX7 review status: pre-gameplay draft completed, pending gameplay session & media.
Sign ups are still open for this event between COTW and SRC! If you would like to be part of Team COTW, shoot me a message either here on GTPlanet or on PSN, and I'll add you into the list. So far, we have:

This post will be updated as I get more entrants.

I will need to give Obelisk a finalised headcount of Team COTW by May 13th, and so that's your deadline to register your interest as well.

The full race details are in the following spoiler.

Team Battle: Spec Racing Club vs. Car Of The Week

Races and Dates:
SRC v COTW Event @ Suzuka Circuit Full Course + Deep Forest Raceway Forward: 20 May 2023 @ - 1:30 PM EST / 6:30 PM UK

Vehicle: Radical SR3 SL

Required Parts:
Full Control Computer
Height-Adjustable Sports Suspension
Sports: Medium Tyres
[SRC Spec: 250 HP, 1709 lb / 775 kg]

Style:

Style Rules: All decals that are already present on the car may not be deleted or altered except the Door Number. You may add new decals to personalize the vehicle, but the base colour scheme of the car can't be changed.
Basically, keep the base the way it is and add stuff to make it yours.

vs COTW Event Format
There will be two 30 minute endurance events, following a Team Race scoring system based on the one from Forza Horizon 5.

Starting Grid:
Determined by team choice before Race 1. One team will start on odd numbers, and one team will start on even numbers. On Race 2, the teams will switch sides (Odd to Even and vice versa). Within each team, starting order will be randomized.

Before the races:
A 10 min qualifier will be run. The driver with the fastest lap is given the choice of odd or even positions for their team.

Race 1: COTW Rules

  • Suzuka Circuit Full Course
  • 30 Minute Endurance
  • BOP enabled (239 HP / 1709 lbs (775 kg)) - SRC spec'd cars will be reverted to default when entering the track, so no need to remove parts, tuning disabled.
  • Practice/Endurance
  • Sports: Hard Tyres
  • Tyre Wear: 1x
  • Fuel Consumption: 1x

Race 2: SRC Rules

  • Deep Forest Forward
  • 30 Minute Endurance
  • BoP Disabled; to use parts specified above.
  • Practice/Endurance
  • Sports: Medium Tyres
  • Tyre Wear: 10x
  • Fuel Consumption: 5x

Penalties/Restrictions:
TC- Off
ABS - On
Driving Line - Off
Breaking Indicator & Area - Off
Replace Car Leaving Track - Off
Stability Management - Off
Countersteering Assistance - Off
Shortcut Penalty -Strong
Wall Collision Penalty - None
Auto Correct Vehicle - Off
Car Collison Penalty - Off
Pitlane Cutting Penalty - On
Race Ghosting - None
Flag Rules - On

Scoring System
+10 points for every member of the opposing team you finish ahead of.
+5 points for pole/race winner
 
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Sign ups are still open for this event between COTW and SRC! If you would like to be part of Team COTW, shoot me a message either here on GTPlanet or on PSN, and I'll add you into the list. So far, we have:

This post will be updated as I get more entrants.

I will need to give Obelisk a finalised headcount of Team COTW by May 13th, and so that's your deadline to register your interest as well.

The full race details are in the following spoiler.

Team Battle: Spec Racing Club vs. Car Of The Week

Races and Dates:
SRC v COTW Event @ Suzuka Circuit Full Course + Deep Forest Raceway Forward: 20 May 2023 @ - 1:30 PM EST / 6:30 PM UK

Vehicle: Radical SR3 SL

Required Parts:
Full Control Computer
Height-Adjustable Sports Suspension
Sports: Medium Tyres
[SRC Spec: 250 HP, 1709 lb / 775 kg]

Style:

Style Rules: All decals that are already present on the car may not be deleted or altered except the Door Number. You may add new decals to personalize the vehicle, but the base colour scheme of the car can't be changed.
Basically, keep the base the way it is and add stuff to make it yours.

vs COTW Event Format
There will be two 30 minute endurance events, following a Team Race scoring system based on the one from Forza Horizon 5.

Starting Grid:
Determined by team choice before Race 1. One team will start on odd numbers, and one team will start on even numbers. On Race 2, the teams will switch sides (Odd to Even and vice versa). Within each team, starting order will be randomized.

Before the races:
A 10 min qualifier will be run. The driver with the fastest lap is given the choice of odd or even positions for their team.

Race 1: COTW rules, Suzuka Circuit Full Course
30 Minute Endurance
BOP enabled (239 HP / 1709 lbs (775 kg)) - SRC spec'd cars will be reverted to default when entering the track, so no need to remove parts.
Tuning settings disabled
Sports: Hard tyres
Fuel: 1x
Tyre: 1x

Race 2: SRC rules, Deep Forest Forward
SRC Event Format:
Practice/Endurance
Race: 30 min
Tire: 10x
Fuel: 5x

Penalties/Restrictions:
TC- Off
ABS - On
Driving Line - Off
Breaking Indicator & Area - Off
Replace Car Leaving Track - Off
Stability Management - Off
Countersteering Assistance - Off
Shortcut Penalty -Strong
Wall Collision Penalty - None
Auto Correct Vehicle - Off
Car Collison Penalty - Off
Pitlane Cutting Penalty - On
Race Ghosting - None
Flag Rules - On

Scoring System
+10 points for every member of the opposing team you finish ahead of.
+5 points for pole/race winner

I don't get why it says SM tyres and further down SH tyres?
 
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We're running two different specs on the same car. the Sports Hard is for the  COTW rules, where the Sports Medium is for the  SRC rules.
Then I simply don't get it. I thought COTW and SRC are different teams, not rules.
 
Then I simply don't get it. I thought COTW and SRC are different teams, not rules.
We are different teams, yes.

AND we are running two races. The  first race is using the lobby settings for the Tuesday night COTW meetings. The  second race is using the SRC regulations.

Both teams will be racing in both races. It's meant to test everyone and the car in different conditions.
 
We are different teams, yes.

AND we are running two races. The  first race is using the lobby settings for the Tuesday night COTW meetings. The  second race is using the SRC regulations.

Both teams will be racing in both races. It's meant to test everyone and the car in different conditions.
I still don't get it. His spoiler is talking about 4 races (2x Suzuka + 2x DFR) on the 20th of May. Both races once on SM and once on SH tyres, making it 4 races in total. So Suzuka first on SM, then on SH and the same for DFR then? Or different days? It.simply.is.not.clear.
 
I still don't get it. His spoiler is talking about 4 races (2x Suzuka + 2x DFR) on the 20th of May. Both races once on SM and once on SH tyres, making it 4 races in total. So Suzuka first on SM, then on SH and the same for DFR then? Or different days? It.simply.is.not.clear.
No, no, no. The post has different sections explaining the same thing.

To oversimplify:
Race 1
Suzuka Circuit
Car: Radical SR3 SL
Power: Stock
Weight: Stock
Suspension: Stock
Tire: Sports Hard

Race 2
Deep Forest Raceway - Forward
Car: Radical SR3 SL
Power: 250 HP (Full Control Computer equipped)
Weight: Stock
Suspension: Height-Adjustable Sports Suspension, settings changes allowed
Tire: Sports Medium

edit: feel free to send me a PM so I can explain some stuff if needed, I don't want to clutter the thread too much.
 
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No, no, no. The post has different sections explaining the same thing.

To oversimplify:
Race 1
Suzuka Circuit
Car: Radical SR3 SL
Power: Stock
Weight: Stock
Suspension: Stock
Tire: Sports Hard

Race 2
Deep Forest Raceway - Forward
Car: Radical SR3 SL
Power: 250 HP (Full Control Computer equipped)
Weight: Stock
Suspension: Height-Adjustable Sports Suspension, settings changes allowed
Tire: Sports Medium

edit: feel free to send me a PM so I can explain some stuff if needed, I don't want to clutter the thread too much.
The logic mistake is here:
"Required Parts:
Full Control Computer
Height-Adjustable Sports Suspension
Sports: Medium Tyres
[SRC Spec: 250 HP, 1709 lb / 775 kg]"


It should say: Medium Tyres AND Hard Tyres. Or better: Sport Medium Tyres AND Sport Hard Tyres.

Further down it says:

"Race 1: COTW rules, Suzuka Circuit Full Course
30 Minute Endurance
BOP enabled (239 HP / 1709 lbs (775 kg)) - SRC spec'd cars will be reverted to default when entering the track, so no need to remove parts.
Tuning settings disabled
Sports: Hard tyres
Fuel: 1x
Tyre: 1x

Race 2: SRC rules, Deep Forest Forward
SRC Event Format:
Practice/Endurance
Race: 30 min
Tire: 10x
Fuel: 5x"


For race 1 the tyre type is specified, for race 2 it is not. How am I supposed to know which tyre is ought to be used for race 2? The logical conclusion would be the hard tyre, as it is mentioned before in race 1. There is no logical clue leading to the conclusion, there is ought to be used the medium tyre. That should be clearly stated. Why specify the tyre for race 1, but not for race 2?
That's just not consequent and fuels confusion.

Anyway: thank you for clearing up any confusion. Now I do get it.
 
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The logic mistake is here:
"Required Parts:
Full Control Computer
Height-Adjustable Sports Suspension
Sports: Medium Tyres
[SRC Spec: 250 HP, 1709 lb / 775 kg]"
It should say: Medium Tyres AND Hard Tyres. Or better: Sport Medium Tyres AND Sport Hard Tyres.

Further down it says:
"
Race 1: COTW rules, Suzuka Circuit Full Course
30 Minute Endurance
BOP enabled (239 HP / 1709 lbs (775 kg)) - SRC spec'd cars will be reverted to default when entering the track, so no need to remove parts.
Tuning settings disabled
Sports: Hard tyres
Fuel: 1x
Tyre: 1x

Race 2: SRC rules, Deep Forest Forward
SRC Event Format:
Practice/Endurance
Race: 30 min
Tire: 10x
Fuel: 5x"

For race 1 the tyre type is specified, for race 2 it is not. How am I supposed to know which tyre is ought to be used for race 2? The logical conclusion would be the hard tyre, as it is mentioned before in race 1. There is no logical clue leading to the conclusion, there is ought to be used the medium tyre. That should be clearly stated. Why specify the tyre for race 1, but not for race 2?
That's just not consequent and fuels confusion.

Anyway: thank you for clearin up any confusion. Now I do get it.
Ahh, I see the problem, thank you! @XSquareStickIt can you correct that?
 
I never thought I'd be doing this whole "racing driver" thing again.

The money is good. Especially when you win. I went from the high life of fine dining, fast cars, crazy parties, interviews, seeing the best of each country, to sipping canned coffee all by my lonesome here at the lookout point of Haven Mountain in the black of a chilly night. Don't get me wrong, all those racing driver things I listed are just chores for an introvert like me, but there is one thing that the glitzy life has afforded me that was so incomprehensibly brilliant and mind blowing, the addiction, that sensation, stayed with me through retirement, and didn't stop hurting me for a minute without it. It changed the way I look at things. Reset every yard stick and standard I had in my mind. It almost makes everything else life can offer seem trivial and trite. Is that a blessing or a curse? I can't really answer that. All I can tell you for certain is that I finally feel like I've gotten back a piece of my soul, now that I'm once again holding onto this Porsche key fob.

I guess, I'm effectively an addict now, and I'm being dragged back into the game to sate that addiction. It feels like I'm just being bounced around two lives, and not being entirely happy with either.

The distant V8 growl that had initially snapped me out of my trance is now almost here, and soon enough, a set of headlights slashes through the maze of darkness and trees to arrive at the small parking lot of this lookout point. I can't quite make out what it is from the glare of its headlights, but whatever it is does a 180 burnout to face away from me, stopping right at the exit of the car park. The left side door opens, and a familiar sounding voice calls out into the darkness, familiar enough to make me feel like I ought to know it, yet filled with so much hatred that I can't help but feel a fresh sense of apprehension and dread: "How much of that 600k did you spend on that car?"

Out steps a female silhouette, about the same height and build as Sarah. Not getting an answer from me, she continues, "100k? 120?"

"...Sarah? That you?"

"Answer the question!", she barks, slamming the door of her car shut. Judging by the tail lights, I want to say it's a... C8 Corvette? Hard to make out details on black cars even in broad daylight.

"130k, why?"

She scoffs with a bladed sharpness I have never felt sheathed by a scoff before. "Figures. All you do is throw money at problems, including your personal ones, it seems."

"HEY!"

"How much power that thing's got?"

"379? Hell if I know."

"HAH! WEAK! You wanna know what I paid for Fade? 85k! And she's got 494HP! You spent 130k on a car with less than 400HP? What next? An old fashioned stick shifter and cloth strap door handles?"

"I love this car a lot, okay? What's your problem?!"

"Then maybe you should get your head out your ass and see that it's a **** car and you've pissed away good money for it!"

"Sarah what's gotten into you?! I thought you were ridiculed for your taste in cars as a kid! How could you—"

"I just thought it was high time for a change, is all."

"What's this all about, then?"

"I didn't even recognise my car when I got home! Is that what it takes to be successful in motorsport? A large sum of money?"

"The prize money was more than worth it, isn't it?"

"What if I hadn't met you? What if you didn't have that money? Was I just... supposed to live like that for the rest of my life?! Does my passion, my pain, my talent, my sacrifices, not mean anything?!"

I really didn't want to answer that. I know I got incredibly lucky to have even gotten off the ground.

"Race me down the mountain!", she suddenly demanded.

"Hell no."

"Prove to me that it was your skill and not your money that won that race, pro driver."

"Pro drivers don't race for free."

"I'm going to sit here until you decide to drive back down, then. Unless you decide to leave your spanking new money pit and walk."

"You...!"

She turns her back to me and slides back into her car, firmly closing the door. She's actually serious about this.

I unlock the door to my 981 Porsche Cayman GT4, and the crowning achievement of the internal combustion engine roars to life with a furor just a few moments later, shattering the few fleeting moments of tranquil peace I had originally come up here to seek. The Corvette of Sarah soon joins in to create a duet of battle cries. She lets me go ahead of her out of the car park, but once out, her Corvette tailgates me so closely that I can't even see her headlights in my cabin mirror, only the clear coated carbon panels of the Stingray dully reflecting the red of my tail lights. I refused to respond to her honking and flashing of the high beam, all the way until she gives my car a light rear end tap, suddenly raising the revs of my NA Flat 6 engine and making it sound as though yelping in surprise and pain.

"That bitch...!"

Dropping into 2nd in one fell swoop of the manual gearbox, I awaken the full furor of the baby Porsche with barely anything atop its factory break–in mileage, and, while a little slow to react, the hulking 6.2L V8 in Sarah's Corvette had no trouble at all closing right back up to the tailpipes she just hit. I know she's right about my car. That it's overpriced and underpowered. But there's no way in hell my Cayman is losing to some lumpy V8 stuffed in an awkward first attempt at a mid engine chassis. On these nefariously narrow and torturously twisty mountain roads, the Stingray is almost literally a fish out of water. We might have something that appears a close match for a short while, but after a few corners getting some heat into the factory carbon ceramic brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, that 'Vette is just going to be lost to the shadows.

Hard on the brakes for the first corner, and the angry, angular face of a rapidly approaching Corvette in my mirrors, illuminated only by the red glow of my brake lights, was the last thing I saw before everything went to black for what I'm told is eight days.

********************​

It's never easy walking away from one's comfort zone, and that holds doubly true if you're making a publicly consumed product, like the engineers at Chevrolet. It started with a Lotus V8. Then, fixed headlights. Followed by the omission of four round tail lights and the greenhouse rear glass. Just when things couldn't seem more sacrilegious, the entire architecture of the Corvette was rearranged with the eighth generation Corvette, the C8.

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In fact, aside from a naturally aspirated 6.2L V8, there is just about nothing on the C8 Corvette that would've tipped industry spies off a few years ago that this rear mid–engined monstrosity was to be the next iteration of America's premier sports car; no manual gearbox, no shoddy interior, not even semi decent styling, and you'd actually have to rudely ask the car to kill you before it would consider doing so. But the car is here, and it's wearing unmistakable Corvette badges to let everybody know that America is finally getting serious not just about giving its snobby European rivals a bloody, broken nose up front, but now also about leaving a stinging sensation in the rear to remember them by.

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Me personally, I've always liked Corvettes. Not to the extent that I can give you an extensive history lesson of the 70 year strong journey of the Corvette, name every body colour and head engineer, or even know the reasons why Corvette owners have the stigmas that they do. They just look cool, sound amazing, and drive terrifyingly in a terrific way. In other words, I'm a casual fan: I like Corvettes, but I'm not super invested in them. And oddly enough, I think it's fringe fans like me that can best appreciate the C8 Corvette—in my eyes, a car I liked has gotten better. I don't know why Americans are so obsessively fixated on an FR layout. I don't care how many cylinders it has. On–track, I don't even care that it doesn't have a manual gearb–oh, sorry, transmission. All I know is that the C8 is the first ever 'Vette to be legal in my home country of Singapore, and seeing one in the flesh here was just surreal.

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Unfortunately, one area which I'm with the critics is the styling of the car: The Corvette's usual front–heavy aggression has been cut up, rearranged, and sprinkled over a mid–engine chassis, which is almost literally putting the carriage in front of the horse. I prefer my mid–engine supercars to look sleek, elegant, poised, and confident, but the C8 looks almost like an alien AI generated caricature of what a fast mid–engined supercar ought to look like, with a cartoonish, hard to take seriously aggression facilitated by its endless creases that all fight each other for dominance and attention, making the body of the car feel more like a war–torn territory than a purposeful, cohesive statement of intent. This being the first Corvette to ever be made available as a Right Hand Drive model and sold in export markets, I had really hoped that the Corvette would finally come with sensible, bespoke amber turn signals, but it still uses the same brake lights in the same red colour in the same hazardous cost cutting fashion. Even Vipers came with sensible amber turn signals, c'mon now, GM. Opening up the front bumper of the car reveals a bent, downward facing squarish plate, making it a nightmare for livery creation, and slapping a rectangular inline European plate on the car requires the Stingray to grow a pig stout. The whole car is just awkward and inelegant to look at. A Pontiac Fiero with a rocket strapped to its back looks better than this!

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A mid–engined supercar not looking good is certainly a shame, but a mid–engined supercar is primarily built for driving, yes? So how does it drive?

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Unlike some other mid engine car makes who imbue their showy creations with crippling understeer, utterly defeating the point of a mid engine supercar to begin with, the C8 'Vette handles extremely neutrally, with neither under nor oversteer dominating the driving experience. They're certainly there, but you'll have to really abuse the car for any of it to show. The oversteer part of that is particularly pleasant, as the chassis doesn't normally want to slide out the rear end, being rock solid and on–rails at all times, so the only way to get any oversteer out of the car is to turn off TCS and gun it like a goon; the 494HP capable NA LT2 V8 is as immediate and proportionate as a light dimmer hard wired to your right foot—ask it for torque at nearly any rev range from nearly any gear, and it's there in exactly the requested amount faster than you can even think. Even with chunky 305mm Michelin Pilot Sport ALS Sports Hard tyres in the rear without the Z51 Performance Package, the LT2 engine will break grip and start smoking tyres at the drop of a shoe. And when the rear end lets go, it lets go with plenty of buildup and warning, giving drivers ample time to either correct it, or encourage it. You could pull off some big smokescreen shows with relatively little effort in this thing.

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The other end of that equation, understeer, is a lot more nuanced to find. When driving the car on my own, I didn't notice any understeer; I just thought the car handled extremely neutrally. Instead, that understeer only appears when going wheel to wheel when racing others in equal machinery like we do in our weekly meets, despite the car being bone stock on fresh tyres and a full tank both times. Why the difference, then?

You see, the reason why I love having to race someone in equal machinery, especially someone who always faster than me, but always makes themselves an attainable goal, like Vic, is that it helps me undo a sort of subconscious limiter in my brain. I think I always drive the car at 90–95% of my capabilities when testing alone, because there's quite simply no reason to push it past that. I think I have a good idea of how a car behaves and what to do to get the most of it just like that. I could probably write a full length review just based off running it by my lonesome. But our weekly meets gives me a reason to try to push the car beyond its and my own limits, to perhaps try riskier, less consistent, slightly "cheatier" lines through corners, etc.. It forces me to re–evaluate my braking points and lines through corners. It makes me press the throttle pedal earlier and earlier and the brakes later and later, oftentimes with slower results, but it's only by repeatedly undershooting and overshooting that theoretical "100%" of the car's limits can one slowly get to know where that "100%" truly is, and more consistently stick close to it. And that "push" to risk it and experiment isn't present when testing alone, hence why I like to write only after our weekly meets: I feel like I get dragged by the ear to do things I normally wouldn't do to a car, in doing so getting to know the car more than I'd otherwise be able to.

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Unfortunately, that ear pulling has soured my opinion on the C8 after really liking my initial drive with it. The C8 Corvette feels like it was set up to be a 9 tenths car. It felt amazing when I ran it by my lonesome, but when subject to that subconscious limit break to find that last tenth of performance during race day, the car completely came apart at the bonded seams and tapped out the moment I put some pressure on it. It was just understeer, understeer, understeer. I think a lot of that neutrality I praised the car for comes via deliberately making sure the front end always goes before the rear by limiting front tyre grip, thereby ensuring that no driver can turn the car hard enough to even mildly challenge the rear end. For reference, the front tyres are only 245mm wide in comparison to the rears' 305. What I had thought was my and the car's 9 tenths was, in fact, the car's 10 tenths, and what that unfortunately results in is a car that doesn't engage or enthrall like a mid engined sports car should, because the car feels slower than me as a driver. To be clear, this has NOTHING to do with the car's speed; I love slow cars. The C8 just feels dead and done past its front tyres' grip, and offers no drama or alternatives. "Come on, just shave off that extra two centimetres from your turning radius, you can do it! Come on!" "Just rotate a bit more at the apex, oh why won't you?! Urgh! God!" It doesn't tease, it doesn't play, it doesn't bite, it doesn't give ultimatums, it doesn't threaten, it doesn't scare; it just gives up. And that's no fun.

To add insult to injury, cutting corners by taking a bit too much kerb or going into the grass, as a desperate man is wont to do, seems to give the E–Differential of the C8 Corvette an E–aneurysm. In fact, even taking some fairly innocuous, barely raised rumble strips on the inside of turns tends to cause the C8 to suddenly spin towards the inside barrier, and even if you do manage to save it and get it back on the paved stuff, the car seems to need a slight pause before it can sort itself out and start putting down power; force the issue by administering power in this state and the rear end just goes anywhere but straight.

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In spite of my misadventures pushing the C8 though, I have absolutely zero doubt whatsoever that the shift to rear mid engine is a much needed, highly beneficial one. I can say this with absolute certainty because I brought the C7 Stingray to the track against the C8, and, aside from the C7 being a slightly^ lighter car, there is nearly nothing on it I prefer to the C8.

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Not that the C7 is an incapable lunk in its own right; it's just that, when pit against the C8, the C7 feels... an incapable lunk. I cannot overstate how big a cheat being rear mid engine is on a racetrack; the C7 in direct comparison feels more lethargic in finding and biting apexes, and it has a harder time putting down less power. I even brought the C7 to Mount Panorama, the only track in the world I think that flips the script and gives the advantage to FR cars by being deeply upsetting to RMRs, and what I found there was that, the C7, despite being FR with less power, was no easier to drive than the more powerful RMR C8. The C8 was just a lot more stable, a lot better sorted, and of course, with the extra 41HP going through the 8 Speed Chevrolet Doppelkupplung gearbox, completely destrolished the C7 in a very unsportsmanlike and unfamilial showing. The only slight thing I preferred on the C7 is that, because most of its mass is concentrated up front, the driver is always made cognizant of the understeer in the car, which builds up a lot more gradually and predictably, as opposed to the C8 being great at 9.9 tenths and then immediately going limp at 10.1 tenths.

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I also brought a 981 Cayman GT4 to race the C8 Stingray at Deep Forest. I'll save you the read on what has already been an incredibly long piece: there was nothing I could do in my top trim, much more expensive Porsche to fend off the much more powerful, lightened^ "base model" Corvettes. But I found myself being indifferent when winning in the C8, while smiling ear to ear losing in a Cayman. And that to me justifies almost any price hike Stuttgart can extort from me.

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It's just such a shame that modern mid engine supercars have to protect their drivers from spins and manufacturers from lawsuits like this. I had hoped that, if anyone were to break this trend, it'd be balls to the wall, fearless America. Instead, it seems like it's the Germans of all people that's showing the world how to have fun. It's an American performance car, isn't it? It's America's premier sports car, right? Isn't half the fun of them is to be panicking? Aren't other people are supposed to see me in one and get sucked in by the gravitational pull of my titanium balls? But there's nothing to be afraid of in the C8 Stingray aside from falling asleep behind the wheel and braking too late because of it. That is to say, America's premier sports car isn't 'MURICA enough, and even someone living on the other side of the globe can see and feel that. It feels to me like GM is finally trying to make something for general consumption people over the world can get into, and it's a lovely, lovely car when driven on its own. I just don't like it when I have to push it hard to find those extra tenths of a second on a racetrack bone stock. It's a very, very exacting use case scenario, yes. One that most people will never experience. And to that vast majority, the C8 ought to be a fantastic car.

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But for me personally, I'm a bit of an 95/5 rule kind of guy: 95% of my appreciation for a sports car lie in how it behaves in that last 5% of its handling envelope, because that's where the purpose of a sports car lie, and where most of the work has to go to. If driven on its own, the Cayman feels like a soulless, boring car devoid of personality. I daresay one doesn't "get" the car if they don't push themselves in it; it's like a tour guide of the unknown, scary, and exciting. It felt more natural and consistent. I could play with it. It would play with me. It pushes me to become a better, faster driver. It duly threatens me when I do something stupid, and deservedly bites me back if I take things too far. It lets me make mistakes. It doesn't ever give me BS about dry weights. You don't ever need a stopwatch in the car; if you set a blazing lap in it, you'll know it in your head and heart. THAT, is what I'm looking for from a rear mid–engined, rear drive sports car. The fact that I wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen in one is also a very, very big plus.

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Overall, I deeply respect the balls of GM to have made the switch to a mid–engine platform. It was a move they didn't have to make; Corvettes will sell regardless, GM could've just rested on their laurels. But yet, they did it, knowing it will turn off many people. They haven't gotten many things right in their first try, in my estimation, some of it easier to fix than others, but hey, no one gets it perfect on their first try, right? As I said, being rear mid–engined is such a cheat on the track. I just wish they loosened the leash on the car a bit for future editions of the car, give it a bit of personality, let it scare drivers a bit, be more of a plaything. With the C8 possibly being the last internal combustion Corvette, it'd be such a shame to close that chapter with such a wet fart of a car.

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^I found out post race while writing that Chevy gave us specially lightened versions of the C8 Stingray for racing and review. We were given cars that weighed in at 1,530kg (3,373lbs), which is the dry weight of the car. Kerb, we're looking at something more like 1,654kg (3,647lbs). All driving impressions were done with the lightened cars. Yes, Chevy has gone full Italian supercar on me, and yes, I take offence to that. What next? Are they going to tell me I can't get ahold of this bargain world beater without a 20% dealer markup? Is that 494HP merely the gross power of the LT2? Hey, I weigh 30 kilos without all my bodily fluids! I'm sure that's useful and interesting information to someone out there, right?

Why the hell do manufacturers keep doing this nonsense? They do realise it makes them look like vain schoolchildren, right? And the cars still didn't impress in spite of it all.

********************​

"Es... Esther?"

"Sarah..."

"I'm sorry! I didn't... I wasn't..."

"It's okay. You've apologised enough. I called to say... I'm sorry too. For all the awful, awful things I said to you the other day. I feel I owe you an explanation."

"You don't have to, Es. I know I did something incredibly stupid, and it's obvious Square is someone hugely important to you, and I almost..."

"It's... um... obvious?"

"Yeah? I think so. It looks normal enough on the outside, but anyone who knows you knows you don't put up with that nonsense and incompetence from just anybody."

"H-hey, don't get the wrong idea about us! He just... He.. helps me feel the closest I've ever been to understanding my brother, is all..."

"You have a brother?!"

"I hope and pray with all my heart that I still do. He's... been in a coma for years. From a crash."

"Oh my god!"

"When I heard about the accident... I felt like I had lost my brother all over again. I-I...!"

"It's okay to cry, Es. You must've been holding it in for so long, right? I can tell."

"I've always wondered... what would possess a man to do these stupid things. It's why I... took this hic this job."

"I'm so sorry. I never knew..."

"I feel like I'm so stuck in the past, I can't see what's ahead of me at all. Sometimes I stop and wonder if I too, am in a coma."

"I... I can't even imagine..."

"I've spent my whole life supporting my brother and his expensive hobby. I've never had any direction or talent my whole life. Without him, I've been so lost for so long, it feels like darkness is all there is left to find in the world."

"It isn't like that, Es. I'm sure—"

"I hate you sometimes, Rahrah! I hate how jovial you can be. I envy your optimism. It disgusts me how everyone loves you. I begrudge the fact that you have hopes and dreams. I hate myself for not being able to be more like you. I'm the worst person alive you could call a friend!"

"It's not... that easy, Es. I wish I could be as honest as you too, all the time."

"But then when I saw Lee win that race in your Copen... I genuinely felt happy for you. It was such a painful, nostalgic rush. And I hate that all the happiness I can feel is for others, but never for myself."

"You're doing great, Es. We all love you for who you are and what you do, regardless of what happened in your past we can't see, or how it's been affecting you. It doesn't change the fact that we met after all that had happened to you, and I'm willing to call you my best friend in the world, and will be no matter what happens."

"Even after I said all that? How could you be so... you?"

"It's... not really the real me that you hate. But you're still my bestest best friend. Maybe we'll get to know each other again over some affogato like last time."

"Mm! Just... don't... leave me alone like that again, please. I don't know what I'd do if you or Lee..."

"I won't! I promise!"

"Take good care of him for me, please. He's... a deeply damaged soul, too."

"Heehee, now I know why you always felt like a big sis."

"S-stop it! You're embarrassing me!"

"How do they say it in Japan? Esu–nee chan?"

"Don't you DARE call me that in front of Lee—or anyone else—or I swear!"

********************​

"You know, I never thought the day would come where I would have my own car."

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Esther walks up slowly to the reborn alien almost as though in a dream, making sure to take it all in with excruciating detail in case she ever wakes. She runs her fingers through the right profile of the car as she walks around it. It's surreal to see Esther so interested in a car for the first time. She usually just throws me the keys and then disappears back into the office.

"Remember, it's only half yours", I jokingly quip.

"Still half a car more than I thought I'd ever have, and that other half is only yours on paper because they needed someone with a driving licence. And... I do need it in your garage. I plan to pay you back fully for your investment in this partnership when the time comes. I trust I won't have to draw up a contract to bind you to that."

"Wanna tell me why you're doing this?"

"I don't want that incident to scar Sarah. Park this here, let her aspire to it. I know she'll want this back one day. Give her the spare keys only when you feel she's worked her way up sufficiently to a car of its performance, understand?"

"What are you, her mom?"

"And you, holding onto the car with half the lease? Her dad?"

Ooh. The turnabout. Damn, my burns are good.

"Amazing how you can say that about Sarah without having seen her that night. She's willing to do anything to herself and question everything to win. Whether she realises it or not, she has a real racing driver's mentality. She just needs to pace herself a bit more."

"Do racing drivers... crash? A lot? Would that be like an editor making lots of grammar errors and spelling mistakes?"

"Not at all. All the fastest drivers have had to walk away from prolific crashes. It's not in the JD for the job, but it's almost a requirement. I guess it'd be like the printer jamming for you. Not your JD to get it unstuck, but you'll have to learn to do it one day. Let's just be glad Sarah walked away from her first crash relatively unscathed, off camera. She'll only get better from here."

"What if... that printer has been stuck for a very, very long time? And no one can get it unstuck?"

"Then... get a new printer?" The hell kinda question was that?

She stands there head down and hands clasped together at her waist, not saying anything for a good while. But just as I was about to leave, she speaks up again: "Seeing as this is our car and all, can you pick me up in this next time I have to visit?"

"Haaaah? Why don't you just get Jack o' Intern to ferry you? He'll probably learn more in a car ride with you than his whole tenure in the office."

"Hey, don't make me get my legal team to chop this car into half to ship into my custody... preferably without plasma cutters... oh god." She takes a brief pause to bury her face in her palms, slicking back her untied hair when coming up for air. With her eyes closed and head in the clouds still, she murmurs: "I'm... actually really terrified of being in a motor vehicle... driven by strangers." She lowers her head back down to level and opens an earnest set of eyes, almost tearful, to look at me as she continues: "Please. Could you please ferry me next time? In our car?"

Esther, expressing emotion? Wow. It must be serious. "Urgh, I GUESS I'll have to set aside some prime real estate for a 6.2L mid engine carbon body supercar so that some pretty editor without a driving licence can boss me around!"

Esther half pushes, half punches me in the forearm in response.

"OOOOUUUUCH! Oh! That broke something! I'm going to need to be hospitalised for another week!"

Esther pulls the arm she punched into her gentle, almost unsure embrace, resting her forehead where she hit me, using my arm almost like a rolled–up towel.

"Esther?"

She hangs onto me quietly for a while, only to quickly let go and scurry to the passenger side door of the C8 Corvette, all without letting me see her face. Pausing to collect herself before she opens the door, she folds herself away into the cockpit with a systematic display of prim usually reserved for origami, shutting the door with a dignified, yet satisfying thump.
 
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How's the Doctor Copen with the Back Surgery???

Wait, what?!?... Doctor? What doctor?

The doctor is known as Rx7... which doesn't sound as nefarious as its full designation. Rx-7G-TX.

That's right, you've stepped into the future of medicine... 5G? Pffft... that was so 2020. Nowadays, it's 7G technology, and the TX stands for Telepathic Examinations. So, don't panic when you hear the nurse tell you, "Close your eyes, the doctor will see you now". Because in this future, 120 fps is as laughable as christians telling you the Earth is flat. Close your eyes, and you'll have access to the latest black screen technology there is... the back of your eyelids.

But, if you don't have 7G technology yet, you won't be able to download the file into your brain, and you'll have to do this the old fashioned way... as in Read the Review ya lazy bastards!!! :lol:

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COTW GT7 - #001 The Mazda Files

Well, we start off GT7 with a bang, that just happens to need a lot of oil. You remember what that is, right? It's that stuff that the red blinking whatchamacallit thingy on the dashboard is warning you about. Don't worry, you'll see it. Trust me.

When GT7 first came out, I promised myself 2 things... to change up my colour schemes that apparently I'm known for, and to do this a bit more often. Type. It. Out.

The first pic is what I wanted to show up in. Something a little different, but still me. But nope, I reverted back to me, and showed up in this...

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But hey, at least I'm comfy with it. And not just the colours, it's RWD. Already a plus. It's an RX-7. Another plus, as I've been a long time fan. It's got a turbo. As in, stomp on the pedal, annnnd wait forrr itttt. Oh ya, there it is. That whine. Excellent. And something else, since apparently I missed this tidbit of information for who knows how long... the clock on the dash tells the same time as my cell phone!!!

If that's not worthy of a "It's a Sleeper and a Keeper" designation, I don't know what is.

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COTW GT7 - #002 The Copen with it Files

Personally, I'm not a fan of it. If you look in my Profile Page within GT7, under the "About me" section, it says... "I'm usually faster than the joggers on the road... ;-)" This thing makes me call that phrase into question. But hey, I'm glad there are people who had fun with it... which won't stop me from giving it a Neutral status, which is me being generous.

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COTW GT7 - #003 The C8 Transplant Surgery Files


I've said it before, and I will say it again... I am firmly in the "It's About Damn Time" category of people. As in, after 60+ years of the Vette being in production, they went and FINALLY did it. Moved the engine back behind the driver. And I liked what it did. I enjoyed driving it. The only thing that let the C8 down was me. After a year of racing Race Cars in GT7, I got used to the brakes in those racecars... and with the speed that the C8 can achieve, getting used to its braking points was a wake up call. But that's not the car's fault, that's on me.

It's a lot of fun. Driving it the COTW way, bare bones stock, made me appreciate the C8 and what Chevrolet tried to achieve with it. Someday, I will slap on the parts available to her, tune it up to my liking and see just what it can do... and hopefully not dying in the process. :lol:

Sleeper and a Keeper!!!
 
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I never thought I'd be doing this whole "racing driver" thing again.

The money is good. Especially when you win. I went from the high life of fine dining, fast cars, crazy parties, interviews, seeing the best of each country, to sipping canned coffee all by my lonesome here at the lookout point of Haven Mountain in the black of a chilly night. Don't get me wrong, all those racing driver things I listed are just chores for an introvert like me, but there is one thing that the glitzy life has afforded me that was so incomprehensibly brilliant and mind blowing, the addiction, that sensation, stayed with me through retirement, and didn't stop hurting me for a minute without it. It changed the way I look at things. Reset every yard stick and standard I had in my mind. It almost makes everything else life can offer seem trivial and trite. Is that a blessing or a curse? I can't really answer that. All I can tell you for certain is that I finally feel like I've gotten back a piece of my soul, now that I'm once again holding onto this Porsche key fob.

I guess, I'm effectively an addict now, and I'm being dragged back into the game to sate that addiction. It feels like I'm just being bounced around two lives, and not being entirely happy with either.

The distant V8 growl that had initially snapped me out of my trance is now almost here, and soon enough, a set of headlights slashes through the maze of darkness and trees to arrive at the small parking lot of this lookout point. I can't quite make out what it is from the glare of its headlights, but whatever it is does a 180 burnout to face away from me, stopping right at the exit of the car park. The left side door opens, and a familiar sounding voice calls out into the darkness, familiar enough to make me feel like I ought to know it, yet filled with so much hatred that I can't help but feel a fresh sense of apprehension and dread: "How much of that 600k did you spend on that car?"

Out steps a female silhouette, about the same height and build as Sarah. Not getting an answer from me, she continues, "100k? 120?"

"...Sarah? That you?"

"Answer the question!", she barks, slamming the door of her car shut. Judging by the tail lights, I want to say it's a... C8 Corvette? Hard to make out details on black cars even in broad daylight.

"130k, why?"

She scoffs with a bladed sharpness I have never felt sheathed by a scoff before. "Figures. All you do is throw money at problems, including your personal ones, it seems."

"HEY!"

"How much power that thing's got?"

"379? Hell if I know."

"HAH! WEAK! You wanna know what I paid for Fade? 85k! And she's got 494HP! You spent 130k on a car with less than 400HP? What next? An old fashioned stick shifter and cloth strap door handles?"

"I love this car a lot, okay? What's your problem?!"

"Then maybe you should get your head out your ass and see that it's a **** car and you've pissed away good money for it!"

"Sarah what's gotten into you?! I thought you were ridiculed for your taste in cars as a kid! How could you—"

"I just thought it was high time for a change, is all."

"What's this all about, then?"

"I didn't even recognise my car when I got home! Is that what it takes to be successful in motorsport? A large sum of money?"

"The prize money was more than worth it, isn't it?"

"What if I hadn't met you? What if you didn't have that money? Was I just... supposed to live like that for the rest of my life?! Does my passion, my pain, my talent, my sacrifices, not mean anything?!"

I really didn't want to answer that. I know I got incredibly lucky to have even gotten off the ground.

"Race me down the mountain!", she suddenly demanded.

"Hell no."

"Prove to me that it was your skill and not your money that won that race, pro driver."

"Pro drivers don't race for free."

"I'm going to sit here until you decide to drive back down, then. Unless you decide to leave your spanking new money pit and walk."

"You...!"

She turns her back to me and slides back into her car, firmly closing the door. She's actually serious about this.

I unlock the door to my 981 Porsche Cayman GT4, and the crowning achievement of the internal combustion engine roars to life with a furor just a few moments later, shattering the few fleeting moments of tranquil peace I had originally come up here to seek. The Corvette of Sarah soon joins in to create a duet of battle cries. She lets me go ahead of her out of the car park, but once out, her Corvette tailgates me so closely that I can't even see her headlights in my cabin mirror, only the clear coated carbon panels of the Stingray dully reflecting the red of my tail lights. I refused to respond to her honking and flashing of the high beam, all the way until she gives my car a light rear end tap, suddenly raising the revs of my NA Flat 6 engine and making it sound as though yelping in surprise and pain.

"That bitch...!"

Dropping into 2nd in one fell swoop of the manual gearbox, I awaken the full furor of the baby Porsche with barely anything atop its factory break–in mileage, and, while a little slow to react, the hulking 6.2L V8 in Sarah's Corvette had no trouble at all closing right back up to the tailpipes she just hit. I know she's right about my car. That it's overpriced and underpowered. But there's no way in hell my Cayman is losing to some lumpy V8 stuffed in an awkward first attempt at a mid engine chassis. On these nefariously narrow and torturously twisty mountain roads, the Stingray is almost literally a fish out of water. We might have something that appears a close match for a short while, but after a few corners getting some heat into the factory carbon ceramic brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, that 'Vette is just going to be lost to the shadows.

Hard on the brakes for the first corner, and the angry, angular face of a rapidly approaching Corvette in my mirrors, illuminated only by the red glow of my brake lights, was the last thing I saw before everything went to black for what I'm told is eight days.

********************​

It's never easy walking away from one's comfort zone, and that holds doubly true if you're making a publicly consumed product, like the engineers at Chevrolet. It started with a Lotus V8. Then, fixed headlights. Followed by the omission of four round tail lights and the greenhouse rear glass. Just when things couldn't seem more sacrilegious, the entire architecture of the Corvette was rearranged with the eighth generation Corvette, the C8.

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In fact, aside from a naturally aspirated 6.2L V8, there is just about nothing on the C8 Corvette that would've tipped industry spies off a few years ago that this rear mid–engined monstrosity was to be the next iteration of America's premier sports car; no manual gearbox, no shoddy interior, not even semi decent styling, and you'd actually have to rudely ask the car to kill you before it would consider doing so. But the car is here, and it's wearing unmistakable Corvette badges to let everybody know that America is finally getting serious not just about giving its snobby European rivals a bloody, broken nose up front, but now also about leaving a stinging sensation in the rear to remember them by.

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Me personally, I've always liked Corvettes. Not to the extent that I can give you an extensive history lesson of the 70 year strong journey of the Corvette, name every body colour and head engineer, or even know the reasons why Corvette owners have the stigmas that they do. They just look cool, sound amazing, and drive terrifyingly in a terrific way. In other words, I'm a casual fan: I like Corvettes, but I'm not super invested in them. And oddly enough, I think it's fringe fans like me that can best appreciate the C8 Corvette—in my eyes, a car I liked has gotten better. I don't know why Americans are so obsessively fixated on an FR layout. I don't care how many cylinders it has. On–track, I don't even care that it doesn't have a manual gearb–oh, sorry, transmission. All I know is that the C8 is the first ever 'Vette to be legal in my home country of Singapore, and seeing one in the flesh here was just surreal.

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Unfortunately, one area which I'm with the critics is the styling of the car: The Corvette's usual front–heavy aggression has been cut up, rearranged, and sprinkled over a mid–engine chassis, which is almost literally putting the carriage in front of the horse. I prefer my mid–engine supercars to look sleek, elegant, poised, and confident, but the C8 looks almost like an alien AI generated caricature of what a fast mid–engined supercar ought to look like, with a cartoonish, hard to take seriously aggression facilitated by its endless creases that all fight each other for dominance and attention, making the body of the car feel more like a war–torn territory than a purposeful, cohesive statement of intent. This being the first Corvette to ever be made available as a Right Hand Drive model and sold in export markets, I had really hoped that the Corvette would finally come with sensible, bespoke amber turn signals, but it still uses the same brake lights in the same red colour in the same hazardous cost cutting fashion. Even Vipers came with sensible amber turn signals, c'mon now, GM. Opening up the front bumper of the car reveals a bent, downward facing squarish plate, making it a nightmare for livery creation, and slapping a rectangular inline European plate on the car requires the Stingray to grow a pig stout. The whole car is just awkward and inelegant to look at. A Pontiac Fiero with a rocket strapped to its back looks better than this!

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A mid–engined supercar not looking good is certainly a shame, but a mid–engined supercar is primarily built for driving, yes? So how does it drive?

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Unlike some other mid engine car makes who imbue their showy creations with crippling understeer, utterly defeating the point of a mid engine supercar to begin with, the C8 'Vette handles extremely neutrally, with neither under nor oversteer dominating the driving experience. They're certainly there, but you'll have to really abuse the car for any of it to show. The oversteer part of that is particularly pleasant, as the chassis doesn't normally want to slide out the rear end, being rock solid and on–rails at all times, so the only way to get any oversteer out of the car is to turn off TCS and gun it like a goon; the 494HP capable NA LT2 V8 is as immediate and proportionate as a light dimmer hard wired to your right foot—ask it for torque at nearly any rev range from nearly any gear, and it's there in exactly the requested amount faster than you can even think. Even with chunky 305mm Michelin Pilot Sport ALS Sports Hard tyres in the rear without the Z51 Performance Package, the LT2 engine will break grip and start smoking tyres at the drop of a shoe. And when the rear end lets go, it lets go with plenty of buildup and warning, giving drivers ample time to either correct it, or encourage it. You could pull off some big smokescreen shows with relatively little effort in this thing.

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The other end of that equation, understeer, is a lot more nuanced to find. When driving the car on my own, I didn't notice any understeer; I just thought the car handled extremely neutrally. Instead, that understeer only appears when going wheel to wheel when racing others in equal machinery like we do in our weekly meets, despite the car being bone stock on fresh tyres and a full tank both times. Why the difference, then?

You see, the reason why I love having to race someone in equal machinery, especially someone who always faster than me, but always makes themselves an attainable goal, like Vic, is that it helps me undo a sort of subconscious limiter in my brain. I think I always drive the car at 90–95% of my capabilities when testing alone, because there's quite simply no reason to push it past that. I think I have a good idea of how a car behaves and what to do to get the most of it just like that. I could probably write a full length review just based off running it by my lonesome. But our weekly meets gives me a reason to try to push the car beyond its and my own limits, to perhaps try riskier, less consistent, slightly "cheatier" lines through corners, etc.. It forces me to re–evaluate my braking points and lines through corners. It makes me press the throttle pedal earlier and earlier and the brakes later and later, oftentimes with slower results, but it's only by repeatedly undershooting and overshooting that theoretical "100%" of the car's limits can one slowly get to know where that "100%" truly is, and more consistently stick close to it. And that "push" to risk it and experiment isn't present when testing alone, hence why I like to write only after our weekly meets: I feel like I get dragged by the ear to do things I normally wouldn't do to a car, in doing so getting to know the car more than I'd otherwise be able to.

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Unfortunately, that ear pulling has soured my opinion on the C8 after really liking my initial drive with it. The C8 Corvette feels like it was set up to be a 9 tenths car. It felt amazing when I ran it by my lonesome, but when subject to that subconscious limit break to find that last tenth of performance during race day, the car completely came apart at the bonded seams and tapped out the moment I put some pressure on it. It was just understeer, understeer, understeer. I think a lot of that neutrality I praised the car for comes via deliberately making sure the front end always goes before the rear by limiting front tyre grip, thereby ensuring that no driver can turn the car hard enough to even mildly challenge the rear end. For reference, the front tyres are only 245mm wide in comparison to the rears' 305. What I had thought was my and the car's 9 tenths was, in fact, the car's 10 tenths, and what that unfortunately results in is a car that doesn't engage or enthrall like a mid engined sports car should, because the car feels slower than me as a driver. To be clear, this has NOTHING to do with the car's speed; I love slow cars. The C8 just feels dead and done past its front tyres' grip, and offers no drama or alternatives. "Come on, just shave off that extra two centimetres from your turning radius, you can do it! Come on!" "Just rotate a bit more at the apex, oh why won't you?! Urgh! God!" It doesn't tease, it doesn't play, it doesn't bite, it doesn't give ultimatums, it doesn't threaten, it doesn't scare; it just gives up. And that's no fun.

To add insult to injury, cutting corners by taking a bit too much kerb or going into the grass, as a desperate man is wont to do, seems to give the E–Differential of the C8 Corvette an E–aneurysm. In fact, even taking some fairly innocuous, barely raised rumble strips on the inside of turns tends to cause the C8 to suddenly spin towards the inside barrier, and even if you do manage to save it and get it back on the paved stuff, the car seems to need a slight pause before it can sort itself out and start putting down power; force the issue by administering power in this state and the rear end just goes anywhere but straight.

View attachment 1250015

In spite of my misadventures pushing the C8 though, I have absolutely zero doubt whatsoever that the shift to rear mid engine is a much needed, highly beneficial one. I can say this with absolute certainty because I brought the C7 Stingray to the track against the C8, and, aside from the C7 being a slightly^ lighter car, there is nearly nothing on it I prefer to the C8.

View attachment 1250016

Not that the C7 is an incapable lunk in its own right; it's just that, when pit against the C8, the C7 feels... an incapable lunk. I cannot overstate how big a cheat being rear mid engine is on a racetrack; the C7 in direct comparison feels more lethargic in finding and biting apexes, and it has a harder time putting down less power. I even brought the C7 to Mount Panorama, the only track in the world I think that flips the script and gives the advantage to FR cars by being deeply upsetting to RMRs, and what I found there was that, the C7, despite being FR with less power, was no easier to drive than the more powerful RMR C8. The C8 was just a lot more stable, a lot better sorted, and of course, with the extra 41HP going through the 8 Speed Chevrolet Doppelkupplung gearbox, completely destrolished the C7 in a very unsportsmanlike and unfamilial showing. The only slight thing I preferred on the C7 is that, because most of its mass is concentrated up front, the driver is always made cognizant of the understeer in the car, which builds up a lot more gradually and predictably, as opposed to the C8 being great at 9.9 tenths and then immediately going limp at 10.1 tenths.

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I also brought a 981 Cayman GT4 to race the C8 Stingray at Deep Forest. I'll save you the read on what has already been an incredibly long piece: there was nothing I could do in my top trim, much more expensive Porsche to fend off the much more powerful, lightened^ "base model" Corvettes. But I found myself being indifferent when winning in the C8, while smiling ear to ear losing in a Cayman. And that to me justifies almost any price hike Stuttgart can extort from me.

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It's just such a shame that modern mid engine supercars have to protect their drivers from spins and manufacturers from lawsuits like this. I had hoped that, if anyone were to break this trend, it'd be balls to the wall, fearless America. Instead, it seems like it's the Germans of all people that's showing the world how to have fun. It's an American performance car, isn't it? It's America's premier sports car, right? Isn't half the fun of them is to be panicking? Aren't other people are supposed to see me in one and get sucked in by the gravitational pull of my titanium balls? But there's nothing to be afraid of in the C8 Stingray aside from falling asleep behind the wheel and braking too late because of it. That is to say, America's premier sports car isn't 'MURICA enough, and even someone living on the other side of the globe can see and feel that. It feels to me like GM is finally trying to make something for general consumption people over the world can get into, and it's a lovely, lovely car when driven on its own. I just don't like it when I have to push it hard to find those extra tenths of a second on a racetrack bone stock. It's a very, very exacting use case scenario, yes. One that most people will never experience. And to that vast majority, the C8 ought to be a fantastic car.

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But for me personally, I'm a bit of an 95/5 rule kind of guy: 95% of my appreciation for a sports car lie in how it behaves in that last 5% of its handling envelope, because that's where the purpose of a sports car lie, and where most of the work has to go to. If driven on its own, the Cayman feels like a soulless, boring car devoid of personality. I daresay one doesn't "get" the car if they don't push themselves in it; it's like a tour guide of the unknown, scary, and exciting. It felt more natural and consistent. I could play with it. It would play with me. It pushes me to become a better, faster driver. It duly threatens me when I do something stupid, and deservedly bites me back if I take things too far. It lets me make mistakes. It doesn't ever give me BS about dry weights. You don't ever need a stopwatch in the car; if you set a blazing lap in it, you'll know it in your head and heart. THAT, is what I'm looking for from a rear mid–engined, rear drive sports car. The fact that I wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen in one is also a very, very big plus.

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Overall, I deeply respect the balls of GM to have made the switch to a mid–engine platform. It was a move they didn't have to make; Corvettes will sell regardless, GM could've just rested on their laurels. But yet, they did it, knowing it will turn off many people. They haven't gotten many things right in their first try, in my estimation, some of it easier to fix than others, but hey, no one gets it perfect on their first try, right? As I said, being rear mid–engined is such a cheat on the track. I just wish they loosened the leash on the car a bit for future editions of the car, give it a bit of personality, let it scare drivers a bit, be more of a plaything. With the C8 possibly being the last internal combustion Corvette, it'd be such a shame to close that chapter with such a wet fart of a car.

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^I found out post race while writing that Chevy gave us specially lightened versions of the C8 Stingray for racing and review. We were given cars that weighed in at 1,530kg (3,373lbs), which is the dry weight of the car. Kerb, we're looking at something more like 1,654kg (3,647lbs). All driving impressions were done with the lightened cars. Yes, Chevy has gone full Italian supercar on me, and yes, I take offence to that. What next? Are they going to tell me I can't get ahold of this bargain world beater without a 20% dealer markup? Is that 494HP merely the gross power of the LT2? Hey, I weigh 30 kilos without all my bodily fluids! I'm sure that's useful and interesting information to someone out there, right?

Why the hell do manufacturers keep doing this nonsense? They do realise it makes them look like vain schoolchildren, right? And the cars still didn't impress in spite of it all.

********************​

"Es... Esther?"

"Sarah..."

"I'm sorry! I didn't... I wasn't..."

"It's okay. You've apologised enough. I called to say... I'm sorry too. For all the awful, awful things I said to you the other day. I feel I owe you an explanation."

"You don't have to, Es. I know I did something incredibly stupid, and it's obvious Square is someone hugely important to you, and I almost..."

"It's... um... obvious?"

"Yeah? I think so. It looks normal enough on the outside, but anyone who knows you knows you don't put up with that nonsense and incompetence from just anybody."

"H-hey, don't get the wrong idea about us! He just... He.. helps me feel the closest I've ever been to understanding my brother, is all..."

"You have a brother?!"

"I hope and pray with all my heart that I still do. He's... been in a coma for years. From a crash."

"Oh my god!"

"When I heard about the accident... I felt like I had lost my brother all over again. I-I...!"

"It's okay to cry, Es. You must've been holding it in for so long, right? I can tell."

"I've always wondered... what would possess a man to do these stupid things. It's why I... took this hic this job."

"I'm so sorry. I never knew..."

"I feel like I'm so stuck in the past, I can't see what's ahead of me at all. Sometimes I stop and wonder if I too, am in a coma."

"I... I can't even imagine..."

"I've spent my whole life supporting my brother and his expensive hobby. I've never had any direction or talent my whole life. Without him, I've been so lost for so long, it feels like darkness is all there is left to find in the world."

"It isn't like that, Es. I'm sure—"

"I hate you sometimes, Rahrah! I hate how jovial you can be. I envy your optimism. It disgusts me how everyone loves you. I begrudge the fact that you have hopes and dreams. I hate myself for not being able to be more like you. I'm the worst person alive you could call a friend!"

"It's not... that easy, Es. I wish I could be as honest as you too, all the time."

"But then when I saw Lee win that race in your Copen... I genuinely felt happy for you. It was such a painful, nostalgic rush. And I hate that all the happiness I can feel is for others, but never for myself."

"You're doing great, Es. We all love you for who you are and what you do, regardless of what happened in your past we can't see, or how it's been affecting you. It doesn't change the fact that we met after all that had happened to you, and I'm willing to call you my best friend in the world, and will be no matter what happens."

"Even after I said all that? How could you be so... you?"

"It's... not really the real me that you hate. But you're still my bestest best friend. Maybe we'll get to know each other again over some affogato like last time."

"Mm! Just... don't... leave me alone like that again, please. I don't know what I'd do if you or Lee..."

"I won't! I promise!"

"Take good care of him for me, please. He's... a deeply damaged soul, too."

"Heehee, now I know why you always felt like a big sis."

"S-stop it! You're embarrassing me!"

"How do they say it in Japan? Esu–nee chan?"

"Don't you DARE call me that in front of Lee—or anyone else—or I swear!"

********************​

"You know, I never thought the day would come where I would have my own car."

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Esther walks up slowly to the reborn alien almost as though in a dream, making sure to take it all in with excruciating detail in case she ever wakes. She runs her fingers through the right profile of the car as she walks around it. It's surreal to see Esther so interested in a car for the first time. She usually just throws me the keys and then disappears back into the office.

"Remember, it's only half yours", I jokingly quip.

"Still half a car more than I thought I'd ever have, and that other half is only yours on paper because they needed someone with a driving licence. And... I do need it in your garage. I plan to pay you back fully for your investment in this partnership when the time comes. I trust I won't have to draw up a contract to bind you to that."

"Wanna tell me why you're doing this?"

"I don't want that incident to scar Sarah. Park this here, let her aspire to it. I know she'll want this back one day. Give her the spare keys only when you feel she's worked her way up sufficiently to a car of its performance, understand?"

"What are you, her mom?"

"And you, holding onto the car with half the lease? Her dad?"

Ooh. The turnabout. Damn, my burns are good.

"Amazing how you can say that about Sarah without having seen her that night. She's willing to do anything to herself and question everything to win. Whether she realises it or not, she has a real racing driver's mentality. She just needs to pace herself a bit more."

"Do racing drivers... crash? A lot? Would that be like an editor making lots of grammar errors and spelling mistakes?"

"Not at all. All the fastest drivers have had to walk away from prolific crashes. It's not in the JD for the job, but it's almost a requirement. I guess it'd be like the printer jamming for you. Not your JD to get it unstuck, but you'll have to learn to do it one day. Let's just be glad Sarah walked away from her first crash relatively unscathed, off camera. She'll only get better from here."

"What if... that printer has been stuck for a very, very long time? And no one can get it unstuck?"

"Then... get a new printer?" The hell kinda question was that?

She stands there head down and hands clasped together at her waist, not saying anything for a good while. But just as I was about to leave, she speaks up again: "Seeing as this is our car and all, can you pick me up in this next time I have to visit?"

"Haaaah? Why don't you just get Jack o' Intern to ferry you? He'll probably learn more in a car ride with you than his whole tenure in the office."

"Hey, don't make me get my legal team to chop this car into half to ship into my custody... preferably without plasma cutters... oh god." She takes a brief pause to bury her face in her palms, slicking back her untied hair when coming up for air. With her eyes closed and head in the clouds still, she murmurs: "I'm... actually really terrified of being in a motor vehicle... driven by strangers." She lowers her head back down to level and opens an earnest set of eyes, almost tearful, to look at me as she continues: "Please. Could you please ferry me next time? In our car?"

Esther, expressing emotion? Wow. It must be serious. "Urgh, I GUESS I'll have to set aside some prime real estate for a 6.2L mid engine carbon body supercar so that some pretty editor without a driving licence can boss me around!"

Esther half pushes, half punches me in the forearm in response.

"OOOOUUUUCH! Oh! That broke something! I'm going to need to be hospitalised for another week!"

Esther pulls the arm she punched into her gentle, almost unsure embrace, resting her forehead where she hit me, using my arm almost like a rolled–up towel.

"Esther?"

She hangs onto me quietly for a while, only to quickly let go and scurry to the passenger side door of the C8 Corvette, all without letting me see her face. Pausing to collect herself before she opens the door, she folds herself away into the cockpit with a systematic display of prim usually reserved for origami, shutting the door with a dignified, yet satisfying thump.

You using that Cayman GT4.

i-understood-that-reference-chris-evans.gif


You belitteling this masterpiece of automotive engineering.
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So, how was the C8 Corvette, everyone? Did you like it? Did you hate it?

...are you willing to go to war for your opinion?

Because for Week 4 of GT7 COTW, we're featuring the Jeep Willys MB '45!

Trail at Lake Gunn_.jpeg


Now, does anyone here have a shovel or a sniper rifle so we can do something about @Alex p. choosing the SLOWEST cars in the game to suffer through in our weekly races while he sips some champagne from his evil villain lair?

Also, the number 4 when spoken aloud in Chinese and Japanese sounds like "death" in both languages. Fitting, I guess...

Jeep Willys livery by z12-ragingbull
 
Change

Some of us fear it, some of us embrace it.

Sometimes that change is the thing that makes something great from something terrible or something terrible from something great, like the third Godfather film for the latter example.


(bonk)

“Wha-?” I blurt out after snapping back to reality(oh there goes gravity :sly: ) courtesy of a thrown office paper ball.

“You really do zone out when you’re deep in thought Vic.” The soft, yet monotone voice of Esther gently echoing in my office.

“You tend to go that way on quiet days.” I responded. “I would say give yourself some time and try it yourself, but we both know you keeping us all somewhat in line is a full time deal unfortunately.”

She sighs in agreement, Any other outlet wouldn’t need someone as capable as her from a legal standpoint, “Over-🤬-qualified” my butt” was the exact phrasing she told Square after a job rejection sometime before joining COTW.

While a full time commitment, she embraced the chaos of COTW around her and could flex her legal mind to its fullest.

I still don’t understand how we turn a profit around here when we get hit with fines and suits every other week.” she said.

“Controversy creates clicks and cash apparently.”

“Deafening half of Tokyo at midnight with RB X2019’s would do that Vic.”

“So does bailing Yard out after he took a plasma cutter to the Sultan Of Brunei’s car collection Esh.”

“He’s a menace with that thing.” She shivered.

“Not his fault that the Sultan let his fire suppressions units fall into disrepair, felt sorry for the cars more than him to be honest.” I retorted.

She sighed and signalled that while we could get bogged down with who did what and who’s fault it was, that wasn’t why she was here.

“So what’s the ride for this week Esh?”

“A mid engined Corvette.”

“Well 🤬 me, they finally pulled the trigger on turning it into something that can justifiably be called a ‘Supercar’, not a ‘Sports Car’ that overdosed on Supercharger boost.” :lol:

“I’ve heard the Z06 version will have a flat plane V8 too.” Esh replied.

“What next? A 2-4 Rotor or an Indy TT V8?!” I balked.

“Er actually Vic..”

“I know, the prototype mid engined Vette’s that lasted up until 1990 had those engines in them.” I stated.

“Your C8 is down in the COTW parking bay and it’s funny you mentioned Indy Vic, yours wouldn’t look out of place driving around Indianapolis Speedway.”

“It’s the pace car isn’t it?”

“Yep” was her quick reply.

“These jokes keep writing themselves don’t they?” :P

“On that subject, will you go and wake Baron up on the way out?” Esh asked. “I need him to wrap up his long overdue return to write ups and he’s more of stubborn sod to wake up than you are when you’re stuck in that head of yours.”

“Well seeing as you asked so nicely Esh, I’ll do it.” I get up to leave and stop at the door. “Just for future reference Esh, An airhorn will probably be a better solution for waking him up.” I said with a mischievous grin.

“Duly Noted” she said while matching my mischievous grin.

“I’ll grab a couple on the way back.” I say as I walk out towards Barons office, only stopping to grab a magazine to roll up into a DIY club.

“You know the rules Baron, It’s open season if anyone nods off at the Office.”

(WHACK)

🤬🤬

(And cut 🎞️)

So the C8 Corvette Stingray.

Combining an old school OHV layout on its 6.2 V8 with a midship placement and a 8 speed dual clutch gearbox, the near 500hp C8 lays down the foundations for many more firsts in the Corvette’s future.

Some of those firsts include the aforementioned Flat Plane V8 for the Z06 and a hybrid version called the E Ray, which is already getting banned from certain events by the Corvette Club on safety grounds. :odd:

Weighing in at 1,530kgs, which is presumedly it’s dry weight as it’s around 1650kgs in its lightest form IIRC, the C8 has recorded 0-60 times under 3.0 seconds and low 11 second 1/4 mile times. :embarrassed:

And this is the base C8 with the optional Z51 Package, the E-Ray with its hybrid 4wd should crack mid 10’s easily.

As for its handling, it’s a 9 tenths car, great for the most part, until you try and get all 10 tenths out of it and that’s when you see its limits.

The previous update tweaked the physics so it’s uncertain how much of it is down to that or down to the C8’s natural handling, but it does wash out with understeer when you’re really on it.

Brakes do need a little more bite to them as well as the C8 does pick up more speed than you think and it takes longer than you think to reign it all in.

All in all, for 85k, it’s good value for money machine, but just take note of its weak points and it’ll serve you well. :)

Verdict: Sleeper 😉👍
 
So, how was the C8 Corvette, everyone? Did you like it? Did you hate it?

...are you willing to go to war for your opinion?

Because for Week 4 of GT7 COTW, we're featuring the Jeep Willys MB '45!

View attachment 1250326

Now, does anyone here have a shovel or a sniper rifle so we can do something about @Alex p. choosing the SLOWEST cars in the game to suffer through in our weekly races while he sips some champagne from his evil villain lair?

Also, the number 4 when spoken aloud in Chinese and Japanese sounds like "death" in both languages. Fitting, I guess...

Jeep Willys livery by z12-ragingbull

I prefer cocktails. Or a gin.

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SPD Writes Gran Turismo 7's Car Of The Week: Week 4 - Jeep Willys MB


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After many weeks on Mini Mexico, it's time to go GT.


So, in this unusually well timed epiphany, I told myself: after bringing Pinky around for one more highlight, it's enough connecting with Forza Horizon 5, and move on with original writing, original opinions, original story, and the vehicles that hasn't been toughened up by my hands on that miniscule Latino place..


OHHHHHH!
OF COURSE I CAN'T HAVE WHAT I WANT! THAT'S HOW THAT LIFE WORKS. THEY OFFER LEMONS, AND IN MY CASE IT'S GOING STRAIGHT IN THE EYES!



That's me the entire week. A degree of frustration seemed to build up in me, and I guess I'll have to make controlling that just another of my developing personal talents.

But it's time to reintroduce the MB back to my face for a second writeup. But well.. my writeup in Horizon 5 is just, for me at the time perhaps, just the pinnacle of my passion in cars. I still look back at it myself, which hardly happens.

After some battling with myself, I decided to just copy that writeup of the MB here..

Today in the world, we're in the midst of a tragic war, and guess what: we're gunning for an iconic car of war. But let's put that sourpuss mood aside, because we ain't in for a kill streak of epic proportions.

Just like the Miura pioneering the supercar name, the Willys Jeep would be the car that pioneered the American sports car name. What, you think it's a joke. It's not since it was reported that Enzo Ferrari is the one who quoted the MB "the only true American sports car". I'd agree, but I don't know what that even means anymore. If anything, the MB would be more appropriate to be pioneering the lighweight offroading SUV/mudpluggers instead, which is how I know it personally.

And since we usually associate the MB with war, the car's conceptualization would be birthed from how in World War 1, a fairly common way for quick transfer of troops and scouts would be the use of bikes and sidecars. The American government, preparing themselves for a future battle that's gonna happen in World War 2, wants to up this performance by going for something that can do better in rougher conditions.

They would eventually blueprint the specification for what looks to be a compact 4 wheel drive offroader that would weigh about a quarter ton, while also able to carry ample supplies. These specs would go to the many US manufacturers that exist, this value beaing at about 135 of them. However, due to the strict given time to begin production in 75 days from initial existance, we only got 2 of the 135 manufacturers that got this vehicle ready. They would be American Bantam, and Willys-Overland. If the name ain't so obvious, we're focusing on the latter.

While they got the initial bid and go ahead, Bantam went on to create the original prototype known as the Blitz Buggy, definitely a reference to what Nazi Germany's done to take over most of western Europe. But due to Bantam's lack of resources and production capacity for the US Army, they opted to send the efforts instead to Willys and Ford. And thus began a three horse race between Bantam, Willys and Ford to make little offroaders for war, with the weight limit now boosted to a more manageable nearly a ton.

After making prototypes from each company, it's time to choose. What'll it be? Bantam went on to make the best car of the lot in the BRC-40 (Bantam Reconnasaince Car), with a stand out suspension, braking and fuel. But with Bantam not being able to handle required production, we head to the other 2. Ford's version, known as the GP, was considered but had a less than willing engine put inside of it. This GP name would make up a part of the name Jeep that this car would carry.

This would lead to Willys getting the war contract down, and it's thanks to their produced vehicle: the MA with their Go Devil engine. But all is not lost for Bantam and Ford, for they have combined the best elements of their prototype offroaders with the MA to create what we know as the MB. So yeah: it's got Willys engine, Bantam performance and Ford aesthetics (design and naming). Not to waste on already manufactured metal, the other prototype jeeps would also go to war with the MB. The Allies efforts of scouting would be a whole league on its own, and it shows: when the Japanese managed to capture a Bantam BRC, they reverse engineered it thanks to a much lesser Toyota, and that would be the origin story of a base model of the iconic Toyota Land Cruiser. Wait till that car gets on COTW, be it the Arctic Trucks AT37 or the FJ40, then this is where we'll continue this historic tale.

And after the war, the resounding success of how this machine has brought to the war effort was quite astounding, so much a civilian version would be in the works, known as the Jeep CJ-2A. With that name said, you can tell Willys would then trademark the Jeep name that we now know today. Oh yes, long writeups preceding the analysis of something so beautifully historic. I definitely feel I can add a couple of paragraphs, but I should stop.

Slightly guilty? Yep, that's how I feel. So if a car from Forza Horizon 5 gets nominated here, the bridge has to be crossed once again. That I must accept, just like Week 34.

But let's get on with my story writing. Thanks to these recent events, I'm feeling kinda crazy this week, hinting a character with those words getting some light in. But also feeling that..

That.. ugh..

I definitely hinted it intentionally, but I can't help but feel disgust from.. that Nirvana.


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Episode 4: God complexes, and a complex God


Tsukuba Circuit
Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture
Afternoon



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Sitting comfortably in the confides of the viewing deck above the garages, Candy finds herself in a calm trance of motorsport heaven.

With various machines going around, she'd swear there's nothing she'd prefer to do on the day but listen to the collection of cars that drive past the straight.

Headphones on to a serene melody of her home lands, she then moved on to the songs that gave her energy. Her old music flame in Def Leppard comes to mind at that moment, sliding her fingers to get the device to play Photograph.

As the song gets started, she watched the beauty of power gracefully follow with brakes, red hot and slowing the marvels of engineering to a manageable speed around the famed first corner.



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Eyes squinted and head shaking to the beat, she thinks..


Candy: "Hmm.. hmm.. perfect conditions. I think the Yaris will love this place."


Ruining the calm air, a commotion brews underneath.

A young girl was running across the road, with clothes missing, and noticeably ahead of the track staff, in pursuit.

Obviously, seeing all of the disturbing content in this scene, she had a thought in disgust..



Candy: "THAT I didn't need to see.."


But that quick distraction didn't disturb the famed lone wolf, as she watches the daily Clubman Cup Plus race begin.


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Popular among tuners and locals, this high demand event attracts many kinds of cars..


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As the race carries on with the racers fighting hard, she saw something sore for her eyes..


Candy: "Oh.. oh no.."


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While the classic modified Skyline leads the pack and puts them aside for everyone to see how much faster it is, Candy's concern comes from the familiar racing suit, deducing who the driver behind it is:

A certain half Asian, half American man, backed with Bohemian Like You while he brings along this ego the size of Jupiter.



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As soon as that Skyline earns that chequered flag, Candy voices something pent up as she stands..


Candy: "Oh for God's sakes! Killjoy! URGH, even mere thought of that self loving jock just makes this day so much worse!! You hear me?!"

???: "Yes, Nirvana hears you quite clear."


Now realizing she's been sitting with another, Candy reacts with a bit of a hop..


Candy: "HWAH! Where in the blazes did you come from?"


Still looking on the track, the brunette exhumes a smell of tobacco, and obviously overacts as if she's hiding any visible clue.

Upon realizing this is a somewhat familiar face, the mystery woman: known only by her alias of Nirvana Kellen, speaks up.



Nirvana: "You have received, and processed Nirvana's gift?"


A name rings a bell, thus Candy takes out the written note she received from a certain racing animal last week.


Candy: "N-nirvana? Don't fault me if I'm mistaken, but you're that Nirvana?"


She points eagerly towards that small card. Nirvana finds pleasure that Candy's memory isn't a setback.


Candy: "The same one I saw on Blue Moon. On this card??"

Nirvana: "She still has it, then?"

Candy: "Of course.. It's creeping me out how many of these strange but probably prominent names are coming like the swarm."


The signal was clear. Nirvana gets up, and readies her motto..

Eyes hidden behind dark shaded spectacles, Nirvana holds her elbows in confidence..



Nirvana: "Very well. Nirvana Kellen is the name. Broker, dealer.. a grand master of information, mysteries, a secret or any convoluted riddle.."


.. then turns her back, looking behind with her sinister glare.


Nirvana: "THAT.. is the game."


Candy however didn't quite get the whole act.


Candy: "Oh.. peculiar. So you have come to me, for real, then. But for what?"

Nirvana: "You're smart enough to figure that riddle of I, Nirvana. Please.. sit."


Both taking their seats, Nirvana breaks the ice..


Nirvana: "Do tell me, Candy.. what is it your thoughts are regarding the very piece of Nirvana aside yourself?"


With a hint of tobacco, Nirvana gives off nothing but suspect looks.

She paused to scan, then commented..



Candy: "I.. uhh.. don't think an obvious answer can come until I know more of yourself."

Nirvana: "That is all within intent. The show of power in what you heard of.. something in regards for a bounty on your Blue MINI."

Candy: "She and that creepy accent knows.. how much else do you know??"


She may not be one to boast, but Nirvana can't hide how much she takes pride in her work..


Nirvana: "Well.. Nirvana was the instigator as much as she was also the solver of that problem.."


Unexpectedly, the revelation morphed what's left of her curiosity to rage.


Candy: "UGHH!! Just like that?!! For what? Don't tell me it's all fun and games??"

Nirvana: "Oh don't fret. It was to take your attention. You've made some.. very interesting friends in California."

Candy: "Geez, I figured you're just another creepy fan person, and that I feel sums you up more than enough."


Composure broken, Candy has had enough. She wants out and heads towards a way out.


Nirvana: "Nirvana recommends you do not leave."

Candy: "Oh, and why's that? Doesn't look like there's anyone able to stop me, so I'll just have my walk.."


But something nasty stands in front, standing tall and ready to greet with a playful game of arms wide open..


Sonny: "Candy, baby!!"

Candy: "AAAHH!"


As if she saw a ghost, she ran back and withdrew back to the chair she sat on.

Nirvana didn't even need to look on her side to know..



Nirvana: "The most hateful man in Nirvana's existence.. is here."

Candy: "Point taken.. and he's booby trapped the only way out.."


He may be exhausted, but Sonny finds himself in the presence of company he's used to.

Arch-nemesis Nirvana being his first target..



Sonny: "Phooey! I swear, that brand of tobacco just screams the she-devil Nirvana. Means you gotta be close, right? Yeah, I smell it so much, I gotta have the risks of you freaking chain smokers. Why is my bad ass self even attracted?!"

Nirvana: "You even sound like one, Sonny Meng.. That risk is for Nirvana to deal with. Besides, Nirvana NEEDS this smoke break right now."

Sonny: "Then I implore you go right ahead, baby. I can take care of this beautiful flower by my own lonesome self, lor.."


Handling Sonny's personality is Candy's most recent nightmare incarnate, and she thought to keep the enigma around just to cushion it..


Candy: "NO, DON'T GO! I mean.. she is staying! Yes.. umm.."


As awkward the situation seems, Nirvana raised her eyes in understanding... and pity. She sat back down.


Nirvana: "The crowd grows, but not Nirvana's tolerance.. lucky for you, Candy.. Nirvana adheres."


She can't get a grasp on how, but she tries to get the enigma to stay by beginning conversation.

And that leads to the first thing on her mind: Sonny's magazine headlined, in-house tuned Viper known as THE BEAST.



Candy: "Uhh.. that Viper is such a sight for sore eyes.."


It looked weird, and when old hatreds like Sonny and Nirvana stare at each other's eyes in concern, it was off the charts weird..


Nirvana: "Nirvana senses a hint of discord. Presumably.."

Sonny: "Guilty. Very guilty, the death penalty if you will. And y-you know it's d-deserved. [teeth glares awkwardly?]"


But Candy speaks from the heart on how a single American sports icon can put her on edge..


Candy: "It's an impressive machine combined with an impressive man behind it.. I've spent days on what can be done to beat it, but my thoughts haven't counted a conclusion, it's driving me to wits end.."


It's personal for Sonny, as it's his signature car being the topic at hand.

But to not give all of it away, he didn't hesitate to give his best piece of advice..



Sonny: "Yeah? Well, you made your intentions clear. Beh.. much as I hate to plot my downfall, go and ask this big tall smoking [BLEEP] that's also ugly and a bad role model. She's pretty good at making THE BEAST feel petty.. at times. [eyes shine]"


Candy's focus turns to Nirvana, which got Sonny the moment he needed to exit the strange situation.


Sonny: "And I believe I'm out to get some well earned credits from these losers. SONNY MENG, OUT!"


Nirvana knew she was being screwed, but he was right: she is the prime example of one who has taken on Sonny and THE BEAST, and trumped them in various occassions.

She put up her sinister proud face as soon as those thoughts come in mind, fully unleashed to the Hong Kongese lone wolf watching in awe.



Candy: "Fancy that. It looks to me you do have something I want."


The timing is perfect for Nirvana to make her slow and sensual exit..


Nirvana: "Keen minded, but impulsive. It pains to say Sonny Meng has greatly attracted your own interests to Nirvana IF that's what will make you co-operate. Come and follow Nirvana.."


On the way to a certain place through the pit lane, Nirvana didn't waste any time.


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Candy: "Street racing. At the dead of night? You mean like those video games years back?"

Nirvana: "Nirvana uses it to test her might in the underground circuit, but to use Sonny Meng is to help keen his racing sense. A double edged sword, but the blade cuts to whoever dominates the weapon."


The more she hears Nirvana's talking habits, the more she wants to intervene..


Candy: "I hate how you're talking in riddles like this, but.. umm.. sorry. And how's that going?"

Nirvana: "Nirvana versus Sonny now.. after accounting 54 races.. resides in completely neutral."


As they pass through car after car, Candy finds herself holding her chin in disbelief. That she's finally met the one person who, to Sonny Meng, is..


Candy: "His equal.. so they DO exist."


She's not the answer in the form of someone like The Guts, but any step closer to solving this mental debacle is fine by her.


Candy: "So, what'll you make me do to learn this secret?"


Still walking, Nirvana schemes this eye for an eye situation..


Nirvana: "It's like you come seeking advice when you're at the top of the game. Believe Nirvana, when Nirvana thinks this all is just all too ridiculous."

Candy: "These past few weeks taught me.. I guess I should never stop learning, and opening my own more."


To Nirvana, it all sounded corny..


Nirvana: "Hmph. It matters not your intentions. Nirvana thinks you too are capable of putting down a monster like he is. Nothing is unbeatable, but learning alone is insufficient."

Candy: "Agreed. All that sounds like YOU do have something for me?"

Nirvana: "You have figured the game, but how about the whole picture?"


As they closen in their destination, Nirvana takes out a cigarette, lights it and gets it in her mouth in record time.


Nirvana: "But yes, Nirvana has a.. something. You like to learn, yes? I may have something that needs driving."


She opens up the right garage door to reveal..


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Candy: "Hoho.. fascinating. I figured we might have misplaced the World War II expo."

Nirvana: "Jeep Willy's MB. 60 horsepower. 1.1 tons. A war hero, now in Nirvana's possession because some expat couldn't honor his agreement, and paid dearly with his life."

Candy: "Did I hear that correctly: LIFE?!"


What looked like a tarped up rear seat is revealed to be someone lay hidden under a blanket.


???: "Nyaaaa~"

Nirvana: "There you are, Peggy. Had your fun, Nirvana presumes?"


Peeking out with her head, the young, pale skinned woman throws aside the covers and jumps out of the cab. Now visible, Peigi Daitoku lands on her feet like a superhero.

Not even a moment's passed, Candy recognizes this person.



Candy: "Uhh, I already don't like this. You're affiliated with someone who can't decide clothes has to be 100% on.."


Hissing, she quickly slides across to Candy, feeling a small case of satisfaction as she shows off her eccentricity..


Peigi: "Watch your tongue, little miss, or you're about to become part of Daitoku ramen number 96!"


She's just as tall, but Peigi seems to have a more dominating vibe, while the enlargened eyes mixed with diminished pupils hint she's a bit more unhinged..


Candy: "I swear, I'm meeting cannibals left and right.."

Nirvana: "Somehow, you confuse Nirvana on why you can't tell a joke from those words.. Peggy, do you enjoy eating your own kin?"


Reacting with a casual closing of her eyes and batting it off with hand gestures, Peigi replies..


Peigi: "Pssshaww, of course not! Imagine the blokes at Hammersmith finding out I'm a man-eater in the most literal sense. It does garner the curious in me if Gilesie is a yummy snack.."


Candy however couldn't absorb this mischievous hint, as she crosses her fingers..


Candy: "Not a cannibal, not a cannibal, NOT A CANNIBAL.."

Nirvana: "Do calm yourself. Peggy's not a character to be taken at face value. She is an asset, and they are to be used wisely.. as per Nirvana's intentions."


As Nirvana moves on to the Jeep, Peigi cartwheels to Candy's side.


Candy: "Peggy was it? Tell me: how could she be using you right now?"

Peigi: "Something about her finding out I'm a boy in God's article. But enough of me~ why is Candy Lam here?? I hardly meet anyone my size.. Kee.. keekee..guukeekeekikeeki.."


She's already bad news, Candy thought, and took a step back.


Candy: "No. Stop. I'm not going to even.. She's not from around here."

Nirvana: "Very astute. However, a name like Peggy does ring that bell hard, no?"

Peigi: "Nyeeehhh, but I know someone like you getting along with Nirvana means you have SOME value."


To attempt a defusing of the situation, Nirvana asks..


Nirvana: "Nirvana believes a short introduction is in order. If you may?"


Gesturing towards Peigi, the pink haired menace knows it's time to start human to human relations, and she knows how proficient she is at that..


Peigi: "Call me Peggy. DJ Peggy, with a doubly meaning! London Radio DJ by day, slamming down the Hammersmith beats by night, at your service, love!!"


Eyes closed, and making a small jig, Candy sees an example of someone who she suspects might be high on energy fluids..

Nirvana stands her ground and turns..



Nirvana: "It's your turn."

Candy: "Umm..."


Still feeling uneasy such a person still exists in good graces, she froze.


Candy: "I.. ermm.."

Nirvana: "Something is wrong, and Nirvana knows. But you must tell the DJ."

Peigi: "YES! Do tell. We're friends here, right?"

Nirvana: "You jump so far ahead.. but in that case, as a 'friend', can you help?"


Peigi abruptly changes her face, but she knew it's the perfect face for the time being..


Peigi: "Candy? CANDY! You can chill a bit. We are in a safe space. Nobody is here to belittle you, insult you or what have you know. That's my job, and we can drive that negative energy away, keekee."


Coming from her, the amount of comfort Candy got as she sees this pink haired menace was more than needed to calm her senses.


Candy: "I.. uhh.. bless you and your words, Peggy."

Peigi: "I'm your DJ, keekeekee.."

Nirvana: "Let Nirvana clarify: she's out here in Tsukuba for more than just a good time. The DJ is seeking companionship."

Peigi: "You heard that? Comprehensionship!! Umm.. was that the word?"


The idea of being her friend already escaped her, so she said, dishonestly..


Candy: "Umm.. yeah! Yeah.."

Nirvana: "In any case, you're known quite well for who you are, so Nirvana figures your input isn't required.. you'd prefer that, no?"

Candy: "Astute. You know me as much as I do.. that I know so far."

Nirvana: "Nirvana knows to do her homework. But let's go to the Jeep and away from the Hammersmith nightclub feature."


While Peigi goes to the side, the other two head for the iconic car of war..


Candy: "Astounding. I'm no expert, but this wear and paint.. I'm sure this is the real deal."

Nirvana: "Correct. Recently had an associate to verify. One part of the same classic car enthusiast organization of the one you call 'Carlyle'."


Hearing that, Candy had to inquire..


Candy: "Oh? Sounds to me you have some old fellow get his eyeglasses out to inspect every nook and cranny. Where is that guy now?"

Nirvana: "Her."


And as if she rehearsed it, Peigi rolls in and leaps in the scene.


Peigi: "It's all full circle! AHAH! You come to the car, then to me, then back to the car. And after, where does that take you?? [slurps] TO ME!!"

Candy: "Eeh?!"

Nirvana: "Peggy holds a few dark secrets. Handling the smuggling of cars is one. Authenticity is another."

Peigi: "I'm your gal if you need a hot import in and out of God's country, sweet cheeks."


Hearing carefully, Candy gets an idea on Peigi's origins the more her UK based accent comes..


Candy: "She's bringing out the south Londoner in her. What's she doing in Japan anyhow?"

Nirvana: "It is not obvious Peggy is of partial Japanese descent. Her mother's hometown isn't far from Tsukuba."

Peigi: "Nyaa~ Consider yourself fortunate on meeting a hafu like me."

Candy: "It takes more than pink highlights and your unusual ancestry to get me impressed, Peggy-san.."


Now a bit more comforted, Peigi gets to laying out the parameters..


Peigi: "Anyways, big sis here wants you to take the Jeep out for a quick scouting mission around Tsukuba."


Confused by how simple it seems, Candy asks..


Candy: "That's it? Just to get the secret on how to be a step ahead of Sonny Meng?"

Nirvana: "It's for Nirvana to consider sharing even that."

Peigi: "Well, I know anyone can do it, but you must be SPECIAL to get that Nirvana lady's attention."


Candy now decides to not be afraid and get assertive..


Candy: "Just shut your trap or I'll do you in with last week's Anime special!"


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Not long later, Candy jumps in, with a full racing suit. But the lack of something vital concerns her..


Candy: "Hold on a minute.. there's no safety gear in here!!"


Watching closely, Peigi responds, with a giggle..


Peigi: "Teehee.. I gotcha, sis! Here you goes.."

Candy: "Well, it's nice to see you're actually useful for on..on.. ughh.. urhhh.."


Expecting something to help with safety, she received Peigi's tight sports bra.

It doesn't take long for any reader to imagine what the scene looks like.



Candy: "..HRRRR I DID NOT ASK FOR THIS!!!"


Peigi playfully decides to play with what just came out..


Peigi: "Don't you HIDE IT! Keeheehee!! I know, even with that helm on, when someone's turning red.. sounds like you really LIKE what you seeing, love? AHAHA!! AHAHAHAH!!"


Hearing the noise, Nirvana comes in to assess what's happened..


Peigi: "Lookie here! She's steaming like granny's kettle on boil! There's heat coming off them holes! SQUEEE~"

Nirvana: "Nirvana believes you're breaking her. It would be preferable that she can at least drive with focus.."


For some reason, the situation defused just as those words left the tall brunette..

The hyped up, half naked Peigi felt this air change, thus..



Peigi: "How are you NOT agitated with these bombshells??"


No emotion showing but her cool facade, Nirvana left slowly without a response.


Peigi: "Boo! Big sis is no fun! That stoic old hag!!"


Candy: "A bit stiff, but.. workable.."


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You might be thinking why I'm using Tsukuba as the backdrop for the MB. Well, to put it simply, it's the perfect place to see what the MB can do well in: going all out. That, and dirt racing in GT games are memed for being subpar if we compare to, say, the much more sophisticated but less than domesticated DiRT series.

But that doesn't mean you're not getting an analysis anyways.

With the Go Devil engine in bay, the Jeep's 60 horsepower engine might not be much, but it's apparently enough in 1942. Now, again with a car that I've reviewed before in Mini Mexico, I'm looking at my notes there as well. On the whole, it's a car that doesn't need a whole load of speed, because as it's built, the speed it's made for means it's got no notable traits. It's well built for however fast its going, and the all wheel drive nature means you can't possibly mess this up on the traction side of things.

Taking it off-road, you can tell by just how.. faultless it is travelling across the dirt. It's at a pace where handling problems are at a minimum. You're more likely to be at fault for something done rather than what the car does naturally if you're slower than usual. A good indicator to see if you're doing okay is if you're still on third, unless something quite like tight corners comes. And if you suffer from motion sickness, maybe stay away from certain camera views.


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On some locations, you're going to be stuck on the final gear of its 3 speed gearbox that tops out at around 70-ish MPH. Places like Tsukuba.. maybe not. But it's fun to get this car around short skirmishes (hah). I mean places like Suzuka East, where it can go all out on the S curves, only requiring you to just feather a bit just between turns 1 and 2. Even on the worst compound in the game it will grip fine. You're never going to use the brakes heavily, but just be careful if you're bringing its speed down: its soft and tall setup means it's going to be a bit wild when engine braking and will slip you up with steep reduction in speed, though not willing to punish you like the FC did on week 1.

With 60 horsepower, you might want to be careful on any incline, as I've noted in the Horizon 5 writeup. Any slowdown is bad. We don't have deep rivers or the many forms of wreckables we can find there, at least. Back to inclines: Alsace Test Track and Fisherman's Ranch comes to mind. They're going to be the place where you want to not stall, because if there's something Idiots of The Week taught me.. it's that stalling there is a death sentence.

A quick peek at the gearing, and.. it doesn't need mention that the car has too little power to worry about hitting the redline on third. Not to mention having 3 gears while trying to stay on third most of the time means a shifting guide's also just as moot (hint just shift as far as you can, it's a car that works better the later the RPM range is). But just like in Mini Mexico, the car always seem to never feel awfully slow. Just keeps going as hard as it can. I respect that trait there, and also here for that matter.

I wonder how I'm going to do the tuner's analysis just later underneath.


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???: "DOKE!! KONO.. KONO BAKAYAROU!!"

Candy: "What in the?!"


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Back in the garages, the egoist Sonny seemed to have made direct contact with Nirvana, having a cordial talk; fairly unusual to those familiar with their street racing rivalry.

It's not a complete camaraderie, but they're not at each other's necks at least.



Sonny: "The boxzilla's actually Adachi-san's car. Since THE BEAST is much too advanced, I borrowed it for this quick race, then he's owed a chunk of the credits for rent and Shin the dog related maintenance."

Nirvana: "Even outside the List, you are already familiar with The Street Racing Oni: Adachi Isamu? Hmph.. You must have driven him to insanity, like you did with this Candy.."

Sonny: "And I thought I was good at driving her nuts. You should've seen it at Blue Moon. She just grabbed this beauty of a marbled coffee table, ready to bring it on yours truly, no hassle! That strength scares me, yo."

Nirvana: "Nirvana has.. yet to comment on this Candy's physical ability.."


Cordial in Sonny's dictionary must mean him talking 50% about himself, but that proportion changes as the Jeep comes in after a half hour session..

She wasn't in any mood to see Sonny greeting him, but that more friendly guise of him was on the plate, so she didn't mind it.



Sonny: "Wor, here's the lady of the hour! You had a blast reliving World War II field ops?"


Taking off her helmet, Candy replies, exhausted..


Candy: "Not quite.. but it's not a bore either."

Sonny: "There's more to just joy in going fast, eh. Reliving its man killing past surely gives you appreciation on how the art of speed changes from then, to today."

Nirvana: "In any case, Nirvana knows you've earned some rest. Away from that crazy DJ who enjoys going commando with her bikini."


Hearing that name, Candy looked around to find Peigi..

..to only see Sonny and Nirvana at the same place.

But then she thought..



Candy: "Mr. Meng.. I thought she hated your guts and vice versa."

Sonny: "It's good to hear you saying that. Meh-ng, Meh-ngg.. like mung beans. Trust me, it hurts when they don't respect THE name. Sorry, I get real offended by racists, leh."


Sonny's plight was replied enthusiastically..


Candy: "Interesting. I find that quite relatable. But back to the question.."

Sonny: "Yeah. Hating guts, eh? That's what I heard last we met, though it was about the tamed racing animal. But our hatred's mainly on a competitive level these days. It was bad blood when we started out our ritual duelling, wasn't it?"

Nirvana: "Even to this day, Nirvana surely cannot tolerate this person, but to say the existence of a hatred so childish and emotion driven.. Nirvana knows enough that Sonny Meng isn't deserving of a cruel and painful death. Minor pain, on the other hand.."


Such a random question came, in which Sonny had to inquire..


Sonny: "You seem kinda bedazzled, Candy baby. Is something.. not good enough? [teeth glares]"

Candy: "Oh, nothing. I'll just take my leave before some crazy chick wants me off the road and stress my buns off.."


As Candy heads to the road, a purple Silvia decides to ruin her moment of calm exit..


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It wasn't the sudden braking, or the presence of that car heckling her earlier, but it was how close it was for Candy to become a victim of a nasty on pit car accident.

With more than just her legs on the floor, she didn't take it lightly..



Candy: "AAAARGHH THE NERVE OF THIS PUTRID HATEFUL LITTLE [BLEEP] [BLEEP]..."


She didn't change face, but Nirvana's question to Sonny hints how she's deeply concerned..


Nirvana: "Is it like this every episode?"

Sonny: "Beh, wait till we tell her the website's got a strict guideline for language, lor.."


Just as Candy prepares to bitter up her sour side, Peigi appears from the Silvia's driver door.


Peigi: "Hello hello, little miss Candy-san!"


And her unsettling aura began to defuse the moment..


Candy: "P-Peggy! It was you?"


Knowing Peigi purely as a musician, Candy takes in knowing her racer's side as a surprise..


Candy: "I.. uhh.. should calm myself. After that strip show, of course she'd push my buttons, but.. I wasn't expecting lap records to be nudged by a stock look S13.."

Peigi: "She thinks it's stock? Keehee, but wait till she takes a quick gander by the insides.."


Lifting the switch, Peigi makes a quick pirouette to the front of her Silvia's engine bay and opens it.

There's a sight to behold for how the engine's condition was. As Candy came closer to analyze, Sonny and Nirvana follows suit.



Candy: "What happened to the CA18DET?! So much different outsourced parts working together in harmony! I swear a turbo like that shouldn't even be here!"


Calculating what can be seen, Nirvana shows off with a bold guess..


Nirvana: "Nirvana guesses it has the power to even rival your monster Viper."

Sonny: "You kidding? Yo DJ! You got a request for a quick duel in?"

Peigi: "Nahh. For now, I'm beat. Unless you want a third in your night shenanigans.."


The rivals made space, and declared..


Nirvana: "Nirvana versus Sonny is an exclusive club for strictly two individuals."

Sonny: "It's mano a mano, toots. Am afraid the best you can get into is start the race, lor."


From having an unusual upbringing to being a racing talent, Candy sees Peigi's character starts to unfold, but not fully. She asks..


Candy: "Peggy.. DJ and some kind of street smart figure? Who are you, really?"


But that response came in suddenly charging, making hush noises..


Peigi: "SSSHHHHH!! SHSSHSHSHH, be quiet.."

Candy: "W-weird.."


As she made space, Nirvana makes something clear..


Nirvana: "By the way.. Nirvana has decided. Maybe you do deserve to learn how to beat Sonny Meng."

Candy: "Oh, finally. I can't wait."


On the side now, Sonny comments..


Sonny: "My instincts scream at me, telling me I should object, but let's see how this'll go.."


But as he sees Nirvana feeling a little chunk of grief, something else is made apparent..


Nirvana: "Just one thing.. Nirvana lied about your American warrant. Not my handiwork, but that comes from.. something much worse.."

Candy: "Huh?!"


Like he knew, Sonny gave the women some space as he sees Peigi grab something from her car.


Sonny: "Oh snap. I'm gonna be a gentleman and step back.."


Not in with the deception, Candy requests some clarity.


Candy: "So, what's this then?"

Nirvana: "In your feeble vocabulary, it's what the business calls.. a setup."


Nirvana remaining still as she's always been, she then sensed Peigi being up to no good..

..but then it was too late..



Candy: "What the.."


..with a taser aimed at her face, Peigi made her shot count.


Peigi: "Pika pika!! PIKA.. CHUUU~"

Candy: "Ggguuuu....."


Unsurprisingly she falls.

And not long after the jolt of electricity, Peigi gets to the other ordeal and opened a spare can of nitrous, drops it by her target and let it seep to the floor.

Just as Candy loses her senses, she still hears Nirvana speaking loud.



Nirvana: "Nirvana.. apologizes, but there's only one final challenge Nirvana has for you.."


And the final word..


Nirvana: "Survive.."


But just as the lone victim loses her worldly sense, Nirvana breaks her facade, now kneeling, visible with dread.


Nirvana: "[sigh] This is a risk Nirvana must bear weight upon.."


Even if she is the she-devil Nirvana, Sonny can't help but close in to comfort her, while moaning of the situation at the same time..


Sonny: "Urg.. I hope to see that lone wolf on the track again, Nirvana, you know that, toots. A racer like her comes.. like a.. uhh.. insert metaphor about extreme scarcity here, lah."


She didn't take long to recuperate her intentions with Candy, but the seeds of doubt still remain planted.

Pressing on, she replies to her nemesis..



Nirvana: "YOU: the incarnate of a very hateful presence even understands this tone of Nirvana.. releasing a potential regret, but this foe of hers must be exposed. Nirvana has no alternative. Peggy.. set up the Jeep."


And being part of her payroll, Peigi gets excited.. in some way, upon grabbing and moving Candy's knocked out body.

But dragging her by the behind in a certain way gets this playful response..



Peigi: "Well baby.. me so horny. Me so horny. Me love you long time!"


Later That Same Evening.jpg



Time passes to night, and the Jeep finds itself in a secluded spot in the wild Japanese forests.


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Expected or not, Candy wakes slowly to get the details on what happened.



Candy: "Uuuhh.. knocked out the second week in a row! This.. urgh.. tied up to the frame like a prisoner.. no bag and no phone.."


A quick struggle played out to no avail. Candy noted..


Candy: "Urghh, just.. what is that Nirvana plotting?"


And thinking back: the words she heard was to..


Candy: "Survive, she said.. if I even get out of here, I'm going to do more than just survive.."


But as she struggles further, a demon energetically appears: a short man wearing a rustic Japanese fox mask with hair strands.

His age not showing, Candy guesses he's probably just breaking out of his teenage years.

Nothing was apparent from the demon, but Candy read the kanji from his shirt, and it's an identity.



Yama-no-Kami: "Awake, eh?"

Candy: "A y-young man? Yamagami! W-what's going on?"

Yama-no-Kami: "Can't you see? You're about to be sold in slavery to the highest bidder! But they are L-A-T-E late.."


His voice seems unnatural, but whether he's real or not isn't the important question.


Candy: "Hang on.. D-don't I get a say at this? I mean.. who even wants me? Why do I have a bounty?! This is the Willy's MB from.. earlier today?"

Yama-no-Kami: "Earlier? That Jeep's part of the deal now."


The creepy Yamagami gives many creepy hints, knowing his trust isn't unfazed. Candy felt it's all over, drowning in sorrow..


Candy: "Oh, heaven and earth.."


A light starts to come, revealing an aged, suited Japanese man with a flashlight, oddly alone.


Yama-no-Kami: "Ahh.. when I say on time, I do mean ON TIME! Tick tock, buddy!"


Not wanting to reply of his blunder, he points to a tied up Candy.


Mobster: "That's her, is it?"

Yama-no-Kami: "Yessir!"


This mobster comes closer, and analyzes Candy, reddened in her face and sweating all over her racing suit.


Mobster: "Yeah, looks like the real deal, alright. What's a street racing savant like the Mountain Blazers own God doing out East anywho?"

Yama-no-Kami: "Import tuner [BLEEP].. very complex. Takes in account both here and the UK's laws.. On the whole it's really none of your beeswax. No offense."

Mobster: "None taken."


He was delicate and careful. Her erratic moves didn't stop him getting a close look at the lone wolf.


Mobster: "Lookie here. A real FIA racing talent in the shape of a lovely lady. The man above.. is gonna be pleased."


Questions were the only thing she had, and..


Candy: "If I may.. your boss.."

Mobster: "Being honest, love.. we also got no clue who he really is, or what he wants to do with you. He's looking for a race car driver worthy of his time."

Yama-no-Kami: "He's looking for.. a race car driver?"


The Yamagami felt personal hearing that, but kept his cool.


Mobster: "Yeah, that's right! He's looking for leverage so he too can be a viable competitor in official car racing or something."


Feeling offended, the Yamagami quietly murmurs to himself..


Yama-no-Kami: "There are a lot of fish in this ocean, so he must be a real [gestures] cuckoo-cuckoo.."


Candy didn't suspect it, but felt the aura was off from this little demon..


Candy: "It's real interesting what.. selling for slavery looks like these days.."

Mobster: "You got that right. Look, time's a wasting. I think we should get the payment done."

Yama-no-Kami: "Y-y-yes, of course. Just what I was thinking. The money, not the need of.. a drive car racer.."


The mobster leaves momentarily, which allowed the demon to slide towards Candy.

As she hangs with no more will to get away, she didn't realize the whole situation is sabotaged..



Yama-no-Kami: "Psst.."

Candy: "Are you here to grant my final wishes, Yamagami? Or whatever twisted thought you have.."


And the Yamagami makes an opportunity to change the situation, revealing to her..


Yama-no-Kami: "I've cut your bindings and put the keys in the ignition. Moment you see the signal, you cut loose, and floor it, like wham bam, thank you man."


With an obviously English statement, Candy shakes off her curiosity and begins to focus towards the escape plan..


Candy: "And then what? I don't even know what this part of Japan this looks like."

Yama-no-Kami: "Stop worrying. Just keep going, maybe away from the streets. I'll find you."

Candy: "But-"

Yama-no-Kami: "NO BUTS! I'll find you, Candy-san. Remember.. I'm your DJ.."


He's obviously hinting her, but Candy went back to her usual position seeing the mobster return.


Mobster: "And that's all covered. In this briefcase, you're going to find your money, all sorted and clean for immediate usage."

Yama-no-Kami: "Pleasure doing business with ye."


While the Yamagami receives a bag, he looks in, eyes checking for any signs of forgery.

He knew it's clean, but a question was raised..



Mobster: "Don't the like of you street racing royalty process this kind of cash pretty often."


And he responds, deliberately distraught.


Yama-no-Kami: "Hey! I'll let you know: we handle money much better than your kind."


As the mobster prepares to leave, the demon follows up on his scheme..


Yama-no-Kami: "Hang on a minute.."

Mobster: "Is something the matter?"

Yama-no-Kami: "Yessir, there is.. teehee.. come over here.."


Not liking what's happened, he comes by to see nothing obviously wrong with the money.


Mobster: "Like I said, the money's all in order, so what's the.."


But something else was wrong, and it was a familiar sound to the hostage.

And it came with the shape of a gun shooting high voltage..



Mobster: "Gggggurrrggrguggurr..."


Seeing the man downed, the Yamagami drops a dented nitrous can and releases all the gas..

Exactly the same way a certain DJ brought Candy into this situation earlier in Tsukuba.



Yama-no-Kami: "Oh yea! Pika pika! Double shot tasers.. I knew they were the BEST thing to buy for. Wait till the Cinderella hears of THIS."


Candy takes the hint, but hasn't realized..


Candy: "So, that's the.."

Yama-no-Kami: "AYO, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT'S GONNA BE?! LET'S GO, CHOP CHOP, LOVE! He might have backup!"


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Desert Plains
Judas Priest
Point of Entry

Note: this was written before the 1.34 update, when engine swaps were factored by luck.

Interestingly, since it's not a VGT, we can upgrade the Jeep. Oh goodness, I realize this is going to be empty as soon as a VGT gets in COTW. Or even a race car. What the heck am I gonna do here?

And since the power gain is directly proportional to the base power, we're getting very very little from the Go Devil. My first approach is to get everything on it that's available from the shops. Even on the softest slicks it won't even get it past 500pp.. which is super low. To my knowledge, the Jeep has one niche: be the only AWD option for the Human Comedy event in Alsace where you're racing other more uncontrollable 2WD classics.

But if we're going to get it out to the masses, engine swapping is the only option. Unlike Mini Mexico, the choices we have in GT world are both limited and extremely restricted. If you got lucky with certain wheelspins, you can shove in the 6.2 liter supercharged HEMI V8 from the Hellcat. With that transplant done, you are able to bring the little Jeep up to a supercar slaying level. But that's something I wish not to cover, mainly because it's probably hell for anyone to drive that thing in that regard.


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So for the sake of completion, I guess, all I did is just put everything on the car from what I can nab in the shops, put on Sports Hards, and observe. That got me to around 405 PP, for an AWD buggy with under a ton to bring around. Most of the power comes from the turbo, so those doing small money challenge with the Jeep will want this. You'll be fine with whatever selection it has. I went for high, because the power gradient is smoother here, and on low RPMs, you're not going to spike. Plus.. the turbo blowing, to me, sounds fitting. It's not Audi Quattro or Peugeot 205 amazing, but I dig it.

If you took the car out to the track immediately, you'll notice you're going to top out at 90 MPH, and reach it quick too. Well, it's time to go fix the transmission, which turns to a 4 speed. The speed range you want to reach with the gears is.. about 120-130. More of that, and you're going to feel a bit bogged down. Again, a track dependent variable. You gotta test this on the longest straight.

I don't have a direct idea on what is the exact numbers to get this car to handle perfectly. What I've done is generally have a front low ride height with massively stiffed up suspension so it handles better. The high powered Jeep generally is too soft for higher speeds, and having a hardened, more responsive setup makes it very nice to drive. The more I keep looking back and adjusting, the more I find this joy in getting to perfect such a car.

The differential and braking settings I kept mostly stock, but you're not going to get yourself under fire for messing with them. This is way too low a PP level to worry about having the exact numbers. But this is mostly a road going setup. I know how to do it in Forza, but you're on your own if you're going to rally your roided up MB.


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She had no idea how far she's gone into the wilderness..


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But just as she drives the Jeep as far as it could, her worst fears came to be.



Candy: "Jeep's got no more juice left."


And there's only one way she thinks of it..


Candy: "I'm.. [sobbing] I'm [BLEEP]ed, am I??"


Chucking aside the empty gas can, she starts to dread that the worst is to come.


Candy: "Whoever is it that wants me.. I truly h-hope.. hope that.."


Taking the shovel off the side, she hears a car approach: one with a powerful engine and a loud exhaust note.

Readying to fight, she knows her future is unclear.



Candy: "Some good will come from it.. however grim this fate might be.."


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But when she saw the lilac sports car sporting UK plates at full shine, she had to rub her reddened eyes to confirm..

That someone she knows arrived. Exhausted but relieved, she dropped to her knees with the shovel on the floor.

That driver jumped out quick, already having to pick her up in mind, who's still weak and vulnerable..



Peigi: "Hi there, sweet stuff! Let's get you up.."

Candy: "P-p-PEGGY.."


Bringing her to the passenger seat, Peigi hurries back to her spot as soon as Candy's secured, and reunited with her small handbag.

The S13 makes a quick exit from the scene, leaving the dried up Jeep to its fate.



Peigi: "Up and easy there, love. Cry all you want.. you've been through a lot, amirite?"


She took the crazy little hafu's advice and brought out all the emotion.

Losing track of time, she spoke up as soon as that's done..



Candy: "Oh, I just.. thought I'd be sold to those.. lunatics. It might not look like it, but I AM so f[BLEEP]ing happy to see you.."

Peigi: "Me too! That short young boy's told me everything. Chap's the real MVP.. hehe.. Yamagami, Yamagamii.."


And all his mannerisms, hints and behavior made it clear that the Yamagami was..


Candy: "THAT WAS YOU?! NOT EVEN A HINT OF HONESTY!! HOW DARE YOU!!"


Peigi received a slap she knew was deserving of.


Peigi: "AUGH, blimey she's a smart one, keekeekee.."


The pain is real, and Peigi still feels what might be a red imprint on her left cheek.

Still broken from the experience of a near loss of freedom, Candy had questions..



Candy: "That man said you're some kind of street racing king. At least that's what I heard. Peggy, what truly are you?"

Peigi: "You heard right, Candy-san! I'm one of the UK's Big 3. The biggest baddest lot in God's country. [slurping] Only that I'm as young and small as it gets.. oh not to mention [playful] a complete sweetie pie.."

Candy: "How about those mob people? You know they're going to come back harder and stronger."

Peigi: "Nyeehh, we've got that handled. Nirvana's got some connections. Real shady ones. Keekee! So shady, I too am afraid what happens the next time some crim's got a touch of your supple skin.. Them catching you is so that I get a good look at them, and even if they sent that man alone to be safe.. he probably is going to need to join another crime family sooner than you think."

Candy: "[sigh] I'm sorry. Even now, I feel.. terribly shaken.. I am not really into these gambits you've planned out."

Peigi: "Hey, Nirvana's the mastermind of this go big or go home malarkey. But you're alive and okay, [slurping] and I've come out a good.. say, 6 figures richer. We all win this night, love!"


It might be a victory, but Candy didn't really felt like she won.


Candy: "I have.. to process this."

Peigi: "You go do that. I've got a bag's full of dosh that's not going somewhere without me.."


much much much later.jpg



She was tired and worn out, but the sleep she got wasn't good, with the car's loud engine and the trauma to blame.

Before she knew it, Candy found the car now in the roads just entering Tokyo.



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Candy: "Uhh.. where we headed?"

Peigi: "Wakie wakie, my dear Cin-umm, Candy! We're almost there.."


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And arriving at a closed part of the expressway, a crowd made obvious that it wasn't exactly closed.

The Silvia drives in to see a sight for street racing fans to gobble up..



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Candy: "Sonny Meng's beastly Viper, and a.. that's a Diablo?"

Peigi: "You really are new to street racing icons, right? They're waiting for us."


Now placed aside in a parking spot, the Silvia makes a stop.

And as soon as Candy sees a certain brunette getting a quick smoke on the side, she jumped out.



Candy: "NIRVANA! You no good double crossing broad!"


In her heart, she's glad, but Nirvana chose to keep her facade as the burned out cigarette drops down.

To say it's broken or not remains unknown when she does a brief embrace..



Nirvana: "You've survived. Excellent. Outstanding to say all of today has been a success. Consider those events a formal invitation to the warm comforting protection of I, Nirvana Kellen. Should paranoia come.. be assured you'll never need to look behind anymore.."

Candy: "Well, massively k-kind of you. I-I.. I hope so too. I'd thank you, but.."

Nirvana: "We shall remain professional, Candy Lam. Do note how.. extremely elated Nirvana is to see you right now.. alive, well.. and a message sent that your abductors. Their hidden ways now revealed, thus.. in mere days, all their bases now belong to me.. NIRVANA."


And Peigi enters with the same bag of money from earlier..


Peigi: "Here's Miss lone wolf's bounty, Nirvana. All good, and I made sure there's no trackers or that kind of muck."

Nirvana: "It's how those men work.. under the guise of a false trust. Naive fools. Many thanks for your role in this. We will use half to handle the bets. The other half.."

Peigi: "That's MINE, right?"


Nirvana didn't even say it, but signed her hands that says yes.


Peigi: "The silence speaks to me. They say it's a resounding YES, KEEHEEHEE, NO TAKE BACKSIES!!"


Candy raised an opinion about the money..


Candy: "Umm.. should I.."

Nirvana: "Better not. Peggy knows how to handle massive stacks of money. Your compensation comes later. But Peggy.. a last request for tonight: you have the honors of starting this race."


She knew it was coming, and already makes a mad dash for the place in between the sports cars.


Peigi: "On it, big sis. Keeheehee.."


Candy, still in a daze from earlier, spoke up on her situation..


Candy: "And where do I go? I don't see my MINI in sight."

Nirvana: "Oh. Nirvana will honor her end of the bargain first. You are going to get first hand experience on how to best the likes of Sonny Meng. Then you will be home, in that MINI, ready for tomorrow with Nirvana's presence as a good memory."

Candy: "Okay. At long last. But with what? I'm seeing a less than legal race getting started here, but how am I going to see it happen? With the world's fastest drone?"


Strangely just like clockwork, Sonny opens his car's door and shouts..


Sonny: "Candy, baby! There you are! Head on in!"


Sonny reaches out for the passenger seat, with Candy unsure why she's coming along as co-pilot.

She doesn't like him much, but after what's happpened, she gladly takes the enthusiastic egoist's offer.

Approaching the car, she sees a personal flair to the SRT Viper's interior, with gothic themed trimmings and other accents.



Sonny: "Glad to see you in one piece. Welcome to THE BEAST's control center. I'm your pilot, and we are ready to go at the signal of one young streetwise DJ."


Candy enters the well decorated car, finally getting the idea presented to her..


Candy: "I see. To beat you.. I must.. understand you?"

Sonny: "That's what the tall b[BLEEP]h with the sunglasses presumes is the best course of action. You see.. Sonny Meng breathes and lives.. street racing. And boy do I LOVE show and tell. Nobody gets shotgun on THE BEAST when it's race day, until today."


Hearing Sonny's relation to street racing, Candy held her chin as she had a hunch with Peigi's fact..


Candy: "The UK's Big 3.. is that a name familiar to you?"

Sonny: "You'd be surprised. My talents behind any car was born under one of them. Guy goes by The Messiah, and these days, he drives a hybrid Ferrari with a big V12.."


The significance of Peigi now set in stone, Candy decides it's time to take advantage of seeing her rival Sonny's racing prowess. Her fatigue changed to observation, ready to learn and see the egotistical master at work.

But she feels a need to share today's tale..



Candy: "Oh.. it's been such a day. I should.. lay it out on the dark one."

Sonny: "Are you kidding? Jake will never believe me if I even told hard truths on what happened today."

Candy: "So far, it's been the most bizarre days. Outside my time in prison, that is.. How is it now it feels like there's more to come?"


He saw all that happened to her, and even as he retains that opptimistic vibe in him, he felt uneasy she shares that aura at that moment.

But before he delves deep into his self loving head of his, all the prep outside he sees finalizes as race was about to kick off.



Sonny: "Hah, I can't answer that.. but now I say you buckle up, little Glace Pacer.. you're getting a front seat at Sonny Meng's mythical inner mark of zen."


Dance
Ratt
Ratt & Roll: 8191


With Sonny and Nirvana readying up their cars and studying the given route, the crowd flares up in excitement.

Peigi, now holding two glowsticks, raises them above her head. With a mic on, she speaks, ecstatic..



Peigi: "It's Nirvana VS Sonny time! Are YOU ready to RUMBLE?!"


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The two cars rev high. A long running, legendary American V10..


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..blending its reptilian roars with the unholy choirs of a classic Lamborghini V12.

She's never nervous in front of a crowd, but to keep the potential nerves from coming in, she envisions the scene from her DJ booth..



Peigi: "GOOD EVENING HAMMERSMITH!! I'm your DJ!! Tonight, let's bring up the hype, the noise, the everything else with it.. UP TO ELEVEN!!"


And she swiftly lowers her posture, signing to the cars it's time to leave!


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I gave the Jeep a Sleeper on Forza Horizon 5, because for very little it offers, it can accelerate past the front lines without issue, not to mention its accessibility. On the end of that note, that's where the time honored tradition of engine swapping came in, and in here.. that's minimized to straight up casino mode. Or ticket spin exploit, but that's besides the point.

It's not terrible, in some way accessible (because Magic Mountain), actually much more fun than anything in its PP range, and I don't want to diminish the opportunity in terms of how great it has been for me to bring this car to the redline in both worlds. For here, a good Neutral should satisfy that quota. It's fullest potential is gated, and I'm sad to say that's how I feel about it. It definitely is, as noted by myself in Mini Mexico: a quaint little off-roader that wants to show you it has the stuff, and get you to tune it.


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Being gated by luck really sucks. I guess I can always enjoy the car in Horizon 5 more. Aside from the swaps and the customization, there's that time I played with its windows because they so happen to be flippable..


Ugh.. that Nirvana. The very she-devil that influenced my (at the time) last nominee in Forza Horizon's COTW. Funny enough, she didn't stand out so much as.. that other younger woman. Sure are a lot of females, eh? Whatever car comes next week, I'll get a guy in at least.

Nirvana is the antithesis of me. That's as much as I want to say it because for me, you mention Nirvana if you want me to have bad thoughts. Not Week 34. Her.

Peggy is a Sport era addition who I got to flesh out further with my upcoming GT7 writing: Tales of Cinderella. Where she's around, there's bound to be antics. And while I do have someone delegated as insane in my roster, she's.. completely taken that role to heart.

For Sonny Meng Xian Zhen (5)
see Episode 3

A definition of the mysterious benefactor to the American dark side, nobody truly knows who, where, what or how this Nirvana person came to be. Aside being one of California's biggest earners within its black market, the only thing people know about her is that you never want to be on her bad side..

Theme Song: Nirvana - All Apologies
Racing Duel Music: Peaches - Boys Wanna Be Her (Tommie Sunshine's Brooklyn Fire Retouch)
Gender: Female
Nationality: Unknown, presumably American
Age: Unknown, presumably in her late 30s
Current occupation: Black market information broker
Distinct features: Medium long straight brunette hair, with the left side slightly longer on the front. Broad and tall diamond shaped face, with heavy eyeshadow and deep red lipstick. Wide and narrow green eyes, covered with a bespoke pair of sunglasses. Wears a pair of ruby gemmed earrings. Tall, slender figure.
Choice of clothing: Isn't one for a certain clothing style, but her daily go to includes a designer cropped jacket and blouse. Underneath usually is seen with dark, long skinny jeans, with tall leather boots underneath. Never without her prized golden necklace, carrying the iconic Nirvana grunge band smile.
Cars: Lamborghini Diablo GT, Honda Civic Type R (EK)

If there's a dark American secret or two worth knowing, there's a very good chance it either came from, or is already been privy by the mysterious, unusually beautiful chain smoker known as Nirvana. While she's not hiding any association with it, it's unclear why she took up the name of a once popular 90's grunge icon.

Despite being in the game for approximately a decade, Nirvana's role as an information broker has been volatile for involved parties. Regardless of the risk, it's a very fruitful business that allowed her to make up a luxurious, albeit mysterious way of living. Every day passes with her face on at least one association wanting her death, be it from minor greivances or major groups, with rumors saying even involving the darkest organizations within national governments. But by being directly connected to the Assassin's Guild means that threat is non-existant for her. It's strongly rumored she is the one completely external individual with the unstoppable, absolute Trinita L'Assassina on speed dial, as various wealthy crime bosses that had her targeted once had their groups dissolved in a week.

Anyone knows Nirvana is one mysterious figure that probably intentionally overdelivers her speech with speaking in third person, combined with odd lingual skills and backed with an odd accent. While it's obvious she's hiding everything about her, there's no hiding her services mainly being stationed in Los Angeles. There's also no hiding that she likes to drive an old Lamborghini Diablo, and it's seen frequently street racing at night. Her presence often causes the racing at night to be mostly calm, a sign of her connection with the local police.

A worker of secrets, Nirvana also knows how to keep them, and over the years, she begun to even use them for her own benefits. While not exactly the most expensive of secrets, using The Outlaw's identity allows her to blackmail her way into The List, now part of them as code name "Enigma". But running with the self proclaimed fastest crew isn't the goal. She uses it as soon as she found out racing celebrity Sonny Meng serving as the group's backbone, and also being directly related to its leader. To her, Sonny is the one person she deems her nemesis. Nobody but the just as similarly egotistical Nirvana only knows why this grudge came to be.

Representing a Asian flair within The Big 3, this homebrew London based musician often alternates her dual heritage sides of crazy and insane, shaken, stirred and then blended together in a cocktail nobody wants to have a taste of.

Theme Song: Helloween - Hocus Pocus
Racing Duel Music: TOKYO MACHINE - TURBO
Gender: Female
Nationality: Half British, half Japanese
Age: 22
Current occupation: Radio DJ by day, Nightclub DJ by night
Distinct features: Paler than usual skin tone. Black short-medium bob, but with pink neon highlights. Round topped, but triangular bottomed face. Thin Asian brown eyes and wide thin mouth, but with a stubby nose and freckles. Blade shaped tongue. Thin and short, but with larger proportions.
Choice of clothing: Never seen without designer wireless headphones on neck. Whatever she wears, it's often sporty and revealing, not to mention how much it emphasizes towards her chest. The most modest she can get on her upper body would be a skin tight singlet that's easy to loosen.
Cars: Nissan CONCEPT 2020 Vision GT, Nissan Silvia K's Dia Selection (S13)

Peigi's grown and still residing in her current birthplace of Hammersmith in central London. Being an only child of her British father and Japanese mother, Peigi's a wild youth who hates being alone, and to keep her company aside her family, she has two different national cultures to play with in her life. This, along with an early young age addiction to stimulating drugs and aphrodisiacs however made her unequally, as mentioned by various witnesses, hyper crazy.

Growing up in international communities, Peigi's known for being a control freak who's often found herself in trouble not for any kind of misdemeanor or rule breaking. It was her incessant, eccentric behavior that's often led her to either become the apex of trouble. She usually finds herself feigning innocence by acting funny or being quick on her thinking. She's only managed to graduate past high school, and the best skills she's acquired in her childhood include talking quick, being a show of enthusiasm, and garnering top grades in musics and drama class.

By day: she's a Radio DJ, but by night, it turns around to her taking to the turn tables at select clubs around London. Often when she's not in a gig, she's out racing in the streets, taking charge of The Mountain Blazers: the UK's top street racing crew of high octane import tuners, under alias as it's anonymous head honcho: The Yama-no-Kami, or The Mountain God. These roots of racing on the streets are unknown, but the skills she's developed stemmed from her days as a serious Junior racing series competitor. There are rumors that something else's been done artificially; being a top tier illegal street racer aged at 22 is bound to set some red flags.

Her psyche may be fragile, and considering what kind of person she is behind the mask, breaking it is a risk nobody is willing to take. Within her peers, family, crewmates and The Cinderella, there's an official list of what not to mention to Peigi, such as certain names in music, society and movies to name a few..
 
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Interestingly, since it's not a VGT, we can upgrade the Jeep. Oh goodness, I realize this is going to be empty as soon as a VGT gets in COTW. Or even a race car. What the heck am I gonna do here?
Hope you figured that part out, Playa, because for Week 5 of Car of the Week, we're taking a look at...

The 2024 Honda Civic Type R-GT!*

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@Baron Blitz Red sure loves making us slave our lives away to afford his sky high roller fantasies, doesn't he?

Cue the music...



Muahahaha... Well, not really. It's not a high roller. But it will be the most expensive so far.

My reasoning for picking this car? It's new to the Gran Turismo series, and one of the most impressive additions seen recently. So impressive, I think it actually deserves the attention that COTW can give it.

Let's see if everyone else enjoys it as much as I did...

If you can muster up the 1 million credits to afford this car, feel free to join us on 2nd May, Tuesday, 10 P.M. CST or 6th May, Saturday, 5 P.M. Singapore time to see how far money gets you in the hot seat right beside the exhaust!

*Just kidding, this week's car is the Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM '19. Honda Civic livery by kiich-38.
 
"Congratulations, Es! You just saved your company hundreds of thousands of credits in medical claims, because I was THIS close to caving in XSquare's kneecaps with a shovel and waterboarding him with the roof of a Jeep before you called!", bellowed out Sarah on the phone. While usually bursting with positivity and cheerfulness, recent events have granted Sarah her long harboured wish of dragging out that uglier side of her she had kept locked away for so long, she had long since lost the keys to.

"I uh... I'm sorry for not calling sooner. It appears I was too late, but please, Rahrah, don't take this personally, ok—"

"DON'T TAKE THIS PERSONALLY?!" Twirling a full sized steel shovel with suspiciously adept motions with just one hand up to this point while talking, Sarah pokes the concrete floor of the garage with the pointy end to cause a deathly cold clang to ring out in the garage, so loud that no noise canceling technology could hope to hide it. "He just told me to shut up! After all the smiling I do and acting as a cheerleader for him, THIS is how I get treated?!" Perhaps it was her own odd way of expressing trust to someone, but finally being able to let loose felt so, so good. Almost too good.

"Rahrah, Rahrah, listen, please, Lee has an awful history with militaries, okay, so for—"

"And now I have an awful history with him, and he's about to have an awful history with this winch when it pulls the testicles out his crippled body!"

"Please don't! He's hurt enough! Please!"

That struck a chord with Sarah. She's never heard her best friend, the almost criminally cool and collected Esther, sound so desperate and concerned for someone before. "What are you even talking about? I haven't started! Your phone call let him bolt!"

"Lee, he... sigh Look, it's... really not my story to tell, so you're gonna have to keep this a secret, okay?"

Letting go of the handle of the shovel and causing it to fall over onto the ground, Sarah regains her gleeful personality, as though a switch had been flipped. "Well, Esu–nee, you sure know how to calm down an angry kid! Now I'm interested! Come on, spill it! What are friends for?" She skips her way over to rest her body on the slanted front left wheel arch of the 1945 Jeep Willys MB; the car that had instigated this whole ordeal. Only this time, her gleefulness needn't any exaggeration or forcing. Maybe she was genuinely happy for once, or it had already become a bad habit for her.

Esther hesitates. She's successfully diverted attention from the crisis at hand, but at the price of having to show the ill–gotten dirt on hers: "Lee... is a Singaporean male. They're made to serve in the military for two years by law when they turn 18—the most important time of their short and fast careers. I think it cost him his career, basically."

"The heck are you talking about? He seems to be doing just fine. He has two 2–door sports cars in his garage, and I'm willing to bet each of them have more money thrown at them than a whole new S Class Merc!"

"That's... only recent events, Rahrah. I feel like he... made an exception that time. He doesn't think he's good for much else other than driving, but at the same time, he's been trying to learn to live a life without being embroiled in competition and validation from the podium. Learning every week to lose gracefully. To live a normal life starting in his mid twenties, basically. He's not doing so good at it, but we're trying our hardest. I apologise on his behalf for his childish outburst—I'll give him a proper bop on the head later... um... with a... uh... magazine. Not the military kind! The paper kind... you read. His neck can't take any more."

That snapped Sarah out of her trance, and suddenly, her world became more than this elaborate knot she's taking her time tying around the stem of the left searchlight. "He has neck issues?"

"He sustained a very serious injury in that two–year time frame, which may go some way in explaining why he stopped racing at a high level. Hard to say from documentation alone what caused it—you know militaries and their secrets—but he never could get back to his usual pace after the two years. He used to be unstoppable in the fastest machinery of his age group, but now he putts around in slow cars and holds his neck in pain when no one's looking. Mentally, I... wouldn't know what it must feel like to have your hopes and dreams ripped away like that."

Sarah slowly pulls on her end of the rope with glee, tightening ever so slowly, but surely, the knot she made. "You... got all that from editing his reviews?"

"It helps to know your employer, you know?"

"You scare me sometimes, you know that, Es?"

"You're scaring me more right now, Rahrah."

"Nnmm? Why oo you fsay jaat?", asked Sarah in between nibbles of the rope with her soft, painted lips.

"I don't know if I'm wrong, Rahrah, but I sometimes feel a very similar anger and dissatisfaction emanating from the you too when we talk about... things. You and Lee... are a lot alike, despite appearances."

"HEY!" Sarah snaps up into a standing position, her fists clenched so tightly it almost towed the Jeep in park. "Watch your mouth! Don't compare me to... I'm the victim here! He abused me verbally! You're supposed to comfort me, Es!"

"sigh Look, Rahrah. We both know Lee won't go anywhere near the Jeep, much less review it. Do you think you could step in for him this week?"

"ARE YOU INSANE?!"

"You wanted to see how close you were to his skill level, didn't you?"

"I...!" And just like that, the Sarah that couldn't keep still the whole phone call froze in a daze, almost dropping her phone entirely. Flashbacks of her very recent crash with Lee flooded her mind, washing away any anger and resentment she had been feeling and replacing it all with guilt, still too fresh.

"It's in much slower machinery than last week, at sanctioned racetracks with paramedics on hand. It's a safe environment, I promise. Why don't you put on his racing suit and see if his friends notice anything? Our drivers are gentlemen... on their good days. I can vouch for most of them... sometimes. Okay, you know what, nevermind, scratch that, I spoke before thinking, and—"

"YES! YES! YES! I'LL DO IT! SEND IT OVER! I'll show that jerk!"

"Oh crud..."

********************

Jeepers Creepers! The Driving Experience of a 1945 Military... Sports Car?

by Sarah Çuhadaroğlu
Edited by Erina "Esther" Mami
May 1, 2023



Did you know? Rumours abound that Enzo Ferrari once called the Jeep Willys MB "the only true American sports car." Of course, evidence of this is hard to come by, but if you ever find yourself deployed into the hard, padded seats of an MB one day, you might well find yourself believing it with your butt more than your ears!

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With reportedly only 60 Gross HP (54HP Net) from a 2.2 Litre NA Inline 4 going through a 3–speed manual gearbox as standard issue, one would be pardoned for not believing that at first glance. That being said however, the MB is still good for a rather surprising 118km/h (73mph) when unfettered by loose surfaces or rough terrain, which is plenty for a car without doors, seatbelts, or airbags. Despite the low top speed, the Jeep gets up to it rather quickly, and being exposed to so much means it often feels faster than it is. On the handling side, the Jeep may only be armed with primitive leaf spring suspension and live axles, which would quickly make many dismiss it on–track. However, these leaf springs have very little compression travel in them, making the off road specialist surprisingly taut and agile on a paved track, as though a soldier at attention. Any pitching and rolling that the Jeep undergoes is done with in an instant, making the Jeep feel more poised and immediate than many sporty and GT cars. In fact, despite the fact that it has 1,113kg (2,454lbs) being propped up at an ample 222mm (8.74in) above ground by skinny Comfort Hard tyres and leaf springs, the Jeep I daresay corners slightly faster than my 2002 Copen on modern Comfort Medium tyres—imagine that! Its cornering speed is comparable to that of a lightweight Kei sports car, some 60 years younger than it with three quarters its weight! Being completely unable to reach 120km/h in clean air, the meek looking 180.18PP of a showroom condition Jeep is utterly misrepresentative of its absurd on–track capabilities: It will obliterate any car within its PP range, most notably the Abarth 595, so badly that the Geneva Conventions might have to step in and take a look. Below speeds of 70km/h, it will still outperform many civilian sports cars, such as Britain's beloved Mini Cooper. In other words, the Jeep is more Mini in spirit than the Mini itself!

The Jeep, a sports car? I can certainly see the reason why that intel spread, even if the source cannot be verified.

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Time to see how it fares in racing conditions, then! The Jeep may not have been built for that purpose, but there's another saying I quite like: "adapt and survive", and this week, we're going to see how well the Jeep adapts to the racetrack! Recon has already established that it can corner well, and its low speeds often mean that most corners won't involve the brakes coming into play; partial lifts are all that will be required for most corners, especially if in the high rev ranges of the 4,200rpm capable engine. This results in a car that places extra heavy emphasis on being smooth and measured in your driving to preserve every bit of speed you've built. The leaf springs may not have much travel in them, but the setup is still very soft within their travel, and so the Jeep can often find itself tangled up by quick, sudden asks by a driver, and because of its live axle setup and passive transfer case, one tyre losing grip and slipping quickly brings the others with it if not immediately eased, paralysing the whole car. My advice to driving the Jeep fast, therefore, is to not only be very smooth with your inputs, but also to make sure you use every millimetre of the track on offer; the Jeep is surprisingly narrow by modern standards, and you as a driver sit far further to the edge of the car without a door, and so oftentimes you can bring yourself much, much closer to the walls than your brain is likely wired to think is safe. Ditto for competitor cars!

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In practice, the racing may look incredibly tight quarters and closely contested, with us drivers often getting close enough to bop the other over the head with our shovels if we so chose, but it's extremely difficult to actually overtake a comrade in equal machinery owing to the very poor top end acceleration once past 70km/h. There isn't much gaining on a competitor even with a solid corner exit, especially outside of slipstream. A lot of times, races in the Jeep end up with everyone in a straight, orderly file, with nobody being able to step out of line, lest they get dropped from the battalion. The only chance for a promotion then, is to hope that someone ahead makes a costly mistake and gets dishonoroubly discharged from the pack, or by forcibly engineering an opportunity for yourself like a true gentleman on a good day.

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While cheap, cheerful, modest, and maybe a little meek on a pretty racetrack, the MB does have a VERY lethal side to it if even lightly provoked by the right conditions. You might think a vehicle built primarily to handle rough terrain would be adept at landing from jumps, but its stiff leaf springs will very often launch the car from mild kerbs, and the MB lands from jumps with all the grace of stepping onto a landmine, often bouncing every which way there is a barrier or a spectator instead of following the road. Mind you, this is a car with no seatbelts, airbags, or even doors, and so a high impact landing can fling a driver clean from the car... in the best case scenario. I highly recommend at the very least, a properly fitting helmet for anyone looking to drive the Jeep; ask your local friendly GT Auto or logistics department for a custom fit if you don't want your soul shaken loose from within an ill fitting helmet! Another point of caution to note is that the Jeep came at a time way before ABS was invented, and while the drum brakes on the Jeep aren't strong enough to cause a skid on their own, they are strong enough to make the entire car extremely nervous under full braking, and it's nigh impossible to use more than a mere fifth of the brake pedal's travel with any sort of steering lock applied. The rear end also becomes incredibly airy on downhill sections, lacking any damping in the springs, and so braking your Jeep willy nilly is a surefire way to cause the car to go rouge and get oneself K.I.A..

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But don't let any of that discourage you from trying the Jeep for yourself if you're able to one day! "Know thyself, know thy enemy, and victory shalt be yours". You have to know what you have to be able to maximise it and avoid its weaknesses, right? The Jeep may look incapable based on its exposed hardware and meek numbers on the spec sheet, but it has an unbelievably violent bite for both its competitors and its own driver alike if anyone dares disrespect it. It blends together an ease of access with difficulty of mastery, something even video games struggle to get right. GT Auto, to this day, still has a wide array of period correct parts for the Jeep, and I had an utterly otherworldly experience being able to superimpose the MB into photographs of the world with the help of my friend, Oliver! Tom Matano, head of Mazda design US with a hand in designing some of the brand's most influential and beautiful cars, even approached me to talk about the Jeep in GT Café! Now, you didn't hear this from me, but I've been hearing whispers about people somehow slipping Hellcat engines into this thing, but the stiff necks at Car of the Week won't let me cover it! Something about insurance not extending far enough for a temporary staff? Boo!

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That little bummer aside, I think the Jeep Willys MB '45 is a certifiable Sleeper of a car. I think it really suits me :cool:
 
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