Car of the Week | Week 66: GG (Genesis G70 GR4)

For as fast as the cult classic, 3rd–generation "FD3S" RX-7 could move on a racetrack, one thing it absolutely sucked at doing was moving off dealership floors, for which its upmarket price tag was the easiest to blame. With the sudden burst of the economic bubble in their past and stricter emission standards in their future, Mazda very clearly red the big, bold Kanji on the wall: the next Rotary sports car had to be cheaper and burn a lot cleaner, which is to say that from conceptual stages, the next–generation RX sports car was never going to be as exciting or performance–oriented as the outgoing FD3S.

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But what would be the next logical step from the supercar–harassing FD, if not something that can out–perform it? The most obvious answer would seem to be for the 4th–generation RX-7 to return to its roots, scaling back down in both cost and performance to something more akin to the 1st–generation SA/FB RX-7, a cheaper, smaller, and simpler sports car—but that seemingly obvious solution had an even more obvious problem: the Guinness World Record holder and brand new stable mate, the Roadster, which had the niche role of a cheap, simple, and affordable sports car steelclad in its minuscule boot. Thankfully however, common sense hadn't managed to stop the mad engineers at Mazda, who, in a borderline comical move, almost literally smushed an FD RX-7 and a NA Roadster together, resulting in my favourite concept car ever: the Mazda RX-01.

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Photo: Mazda

Unveiled at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show, the RX-01 was to be a "back–to–basics" sports car that wrapped the timeless beauty of the FD3S around a Roadster–sized chassis... that was also somehow meant to be a 2+2, probably only for insurance bracket shenanigans. Beyond its questionable intent to carry four adults, the RX-01 offers other glimpses into the FD3S' eventual successor, most notably the red/black two–tone interior and novel wheels featuring Rotary triangles, but most significant of them all is the heart of the RX-01: a naturally aspirated 2–Rotor engine dubbed the "13B-MSP". Mazda claimed that this new engine was capable of 220HP, which is some 30HP down on what FDs were churning out at the time, sure, but said power only happened at rev ranges higher than the twin turbocharged FD could ever rev to in stock form: 8,500rpm! More importantly than that perhaps, is that the new engine had its intake and exhaust ports cut into its side housings instead of being on the peripheral housings, hence its name, "Multi Side Port". This reportedly helped the otherwise familiar 13B burn cleaner and improved fuel efficiency by eliminating intake and exhaust overlap, hopefully future proofing the new Wankel Engine. Absent the miles upon miles of pipes from the heinously complex twin sequential turbos, the powerplant could be mounted lower and closer to the cockpit of the car, so much so that a comically large pathway could be cut straight from its front bumper to the middle of the bonnet, acting like an oversized front wing! (Or jaywalker Katana!)



Unfortunately, the RX-01 was not meant to be. In 1996, Ford acquired a controlling 33.4% stake in Mazda, laser focusing on profitability for the ailing company caught out by the burst of the economical bubble, thereby binning any development of a frivolous, low profit margin sports car. All hope for a Rotary sports car successor seemed completely lost, let alone one that could measure up to the FD3S. This however, hadn't sat well with those mad engineers at Mazda, which formed an unofficial, after hours team that secretly toiled away at making their dream sports car a reality—a tale that sounds eerily familiar to that of the XJ220 not a decade prior, except this time, the engineers managed to keep the defining engine of the car, but not the rest of it!


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Photo: Mazda

The 13B-MSP engine found itself nestled into a Frankensteined Roadster chassis with 4 doors, 4 seats, 2 bonnets, and a debilitating case of the Severe Acute Fugly Syndrome. Quite how that team came to the conclusion and design of a 4–door sedan with suicide doors to succeed the FD RX-7, I don't claim to know, but I do have a guess: Mazda engineers have historically been rather obsessed with Porsches, and so maybe one of them really, really liked the one–off 928 Studie H50. This new prototype of theirs was an FR sports car platform stretched out to fit four seats accessed via suicide doors, just like the Porsche's unborn child. It even kept the Studie H50's unfortunate transmission tunnel hump that extends through the cabin, dividing the rear seats into two. The skunkworks team came to know the car as the "cockroach car", presumably named for being something that refused to die no matter how much it was beat on by those that wanted it dead, gone, and out of sight. The engineers knew that if word of the cockroach car got out, they would be severely reprimanded at the very least, and were gambling with their careers to bring a Rotary sports car to market.

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Photo: Mazda

But, a prototype by any other name would be just as effective, because that unlikely package impressed who it needed to in an impromptu test drive around Mazda's testing facility: a racing enthusiast exec at Ford who worked as a test driver for Mazda, finally letting the monster born in the shadows see green light. The cockroach car was then given a more palatable name: "RX-EVOLV", for its reveal under the big lights of the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show. Sanding off its heinous looks and rough edges that hadn't been a priority in its development thus far, the RX-EVOLV eventually gave way to the RX-8 Concept cars, which Gran Turismo 4 players may already be familiar with. While I very much lament the loss of the RX-01, it probably was a happy coincidence for Mazda to not have sunk any more time and money into that tiny black hole, given the adhesives that were being inhaled at Hethel around that time, and it was probably a good call to not cannibalise on the Roadster's market share as well.

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After a short year without a Rotary Engined car in Mazda's Japanese dealers, the Mazda RX-8 brought the Passion of Dr. Wankel back to showrooms worldwide with a passionate bang in 2003. With 4 doors, 4 seats, and 2 rotors, it was clearly distinct from the Roadster, but because it had 4 doors, 4 seats, and 0 turbos, it was never going to have its predecessor's raw numbers. What the RX-8 did have however, is the classic front engine, rear drive layout, a near perfect 50/50 weight distribution, a free revving, cleaner burning, naturally aspirated 2 rotor engine displacing 1,308cc and capable of 247HP at 8,500rpm (in its most powerful 6MT trim), a Torsen LSD as standard, double wishbones up front and a multilink rear suspension setup, ventilated disc brakes all four corners, and even a carbon propshaft for the 6MT models! All this ensured that the RX-8 still had the sporty spirit of the RX-7, if not its spec sheet numbers. Plus, to appeal to a wider market, the RX-8 actually came with basic electronic aids, like stability and traction control, which the RX-7 never had. And, hey, it didn't have the FD's price tag, either: comparing the top of the line grades of both models, the RX-7 Type RS had a suggested retail price of ¥3,778,000. The RX-8 Type S' suggested retail price? Just ¥2,750,000—cheaper than even the cheapest FD.

So, it's cheaper, and burns a lot cleaner than the FD. Sounds like the RX-8 achieved all of its goals, then?

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Unlike the RX-01, or indeed most other sports cars, the RX-8 could even carry four adults, though this rather depends on the front seat positions, and if the occupants are Asian sized or not. Almost as though trying to steal the novelty spotlight away from the Rotary Engine itself, the RX-8's most distinct and readily visible quirk are in its rear–hinged rear half doors, which Mazda dubbed as "Freestyle Doors". With the front doors opening forward as usual, the tiny rear doors swing backwards to an ample 80°—almost perpendicular to the car—to allow for a single, expansive entry point into the car, uninterrupted by a traditional B–pillar in the middle. This not only helps with ingress and egress, but also allows the rear doors to be much shorter in length to retain sports car proportions and minimise wheelbase.

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Of course, as with any novel way of doing things, the Freestyle Doors of the RX-8 come with their fair share of quirks and trade–offs that might take some getting used to. Absent a traditional B–pillar, the rear doors have a load bearing column built into them to act as a B–pillar, with the rear doors latching onto both the roof and bottom of the car to become a key structural member in the event of a side impact. While the RX-8 did manage a 4/5 star rating in NHTSA's side impact test, the rear doors still can't be opened without the corresponding front door opening first, as the front doors latch onto the rears, hiding their door handles. The front seatbelts are also hinged on the rear doors as well, meaning the front occupants would have to undo their seatbelts before opening the rear doors, lest they get choked out by their own kids for their inheritance of the RX-8. In the event of a crash that jams the front doors, the rears essentially get jammed as well, and to account for this, the front seats of the RX-8 fold forward to allow the rear occupants an escape route, but it's still a scary thought with deployed airbags and maybe even unconscious front occupants.

And, before you ask, here's how little the tiny rear windows open.

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So, the novelty Freestyle Doors are there to minimise wheelbase and maintain sports car proportions, but why the raised transmission tunnel that allows the car to only seat four? Sportiness, obviously! With 4 doors and 4 seats, it goes without saying that the wheelbase of the RX-8 is longer than that of the FD3S; 275mm longer in fact, at 2,700mm. Coupled with the lack of a B–pillar, the car's structural rigidity is a pressing concern, both for driving dynamics and safety. Even the 2–door FD had long struggled with rigidity issues before and after its launch, and its also the reason why the Studie H50 didn't make it past a single build. To this end, Mazda engineers made good use of the raised transmission tunnel that divides the left and right seats by making it act as a brace for the chassis, sheathing its already rigid "power plant frame" drivetrain. These, among other reinforcing structures, reportedly gave the RX-8 better structural strength in comparison to its less compromised and more focused predecessor in spite of its longer wheelbase, making the SE3P a much more surefooted and predictable drive than the FD3S, inspiring more confidence in me to bring it closer to its limits for much longer. This disparity in confidence only grows when both cars are tuned to go faster, making the RX-8 a much easier car to tune up to all but the most extreme levels of performance in my opinion. The only downside to the divided rear seats, of course, is perhaps best described by the wise and eloquent "Drift King" Tsuchiya Keiichi: "LOVE LOVE dekinai! NO CHANCE!"

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But, as quirky as the Freestyle Doors and Rotary triangle motifs are, they're almost a red herring, a distraction, from the real weirdness of the RX-8, which naturally lies under the now single–piece bonnet—and no, I'm not even talking about the Rotary Engine itself. Despite lacking the twin sequential turbocharging system of the FD, the naturally aspirated RX-8 has its own sequential chicanery up its pipes: a Sequential Dynamic Air Intake System, or S-DAIS for short. Only equipped on the top of the line, "high power" spec engines with one extra intake and exhaust port per rotor over the standard engines, said S-DAIS electronically controls the intake port opening area and air intake length according to engine speed to emulate piston engine trickery like velocity trumpets and VVT, which Mazda claims to help with both low end life and high end oomph. Even the Le Mans conquering 787B racecar employed very similar trickery to achieve a shockingly balanced power curve for its naturally aspirated 4–Rotor, and absent the crutch of forced induction, the lessons learned from Mazda's tireless Le Mans efforts could finally trickle down onto a production sports car in the RX-8, and I think that is exceedingly cool. S-DAIS has too many phases to list even in this long writeup, but most crucially at 5,500rpm, another air intake upstream of the entire contraption opens up to provide max power for high revs. On a dry track, one most likely will never dip below that threshold, given the NA Rotary's notorious need to be revved out for whatever meagre power it can manage. On a wet road however, many drivers will use high gears and low revs to better manage power oversteer, and it's precisely in these low–grip scenarios where that 5,500rpm switchover can make itself prominent: that stealthy increase in power can very suddenly break loose the rear tyres in the wet, not helped by the NA Rotary's reputation for being gutless in low revs, meaning most drivers probably don't think much of mashing the noise pedal when the engine isn't screaming bloody murder.

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This issue is only compounded by Mazda's "Super Torsen LSD" system fitted as standard on the RX-8 and some grades of its platform sibling, the NC Roadster. It works magic in the dry, but I find that it tends to overexaggerate rear end yaw moments in the wet. I vividly recall Jeremy Clarkson's review of the RX-8 on Top Gear, where he cites the rear end being "awfully twitchy" in the wet as one of the only real knocks against the car, and Super GT drivers testing the then new NC Roadster in Best Motoring under torrential downpour noted the same nervousness of the rear end, right after it threw "Drift King" Tsuchiya Keiichi off track at Tsukuba. In all three instances, the tyres are cited as a possible cause, but I genuinely think it's the diff: an aftermarket full custom LSD in the game set to the same arbitrary values as stock gives just a hint more understeer in the dry, but makes the car a lot more predictable in the wet. Granted, these are issues a person will only encounter when driving like a maniac in a canal with all aids off, but it's still very much worth mentioning, nonetheless.

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The increased power and coolness that S-DAIS brings, Mazda's renowned shift action feel, and the Rotary Engine's inherent need to be revved out, all combine to mean that the 6MT is THE RX-8 to get if the driver is able to operate three pedals and a stick. The RX-8's insistence on being shifted by its driver even extends across the digital divide into Gran Turismo 7—while the Spirit R RX-8 in this game is indeed the 6MT with the high output engine spec, the game will prematurely climax at a mere 9k rpm if left to make its own bad decisions. Coupled with its extremely pure and engaging driving experience, the RX-8 Spirit R is one of the very, very few cars in the game that makes me want to turn off the in–game HUD when driving, because the HUD becomes genuinely annoying and distracting when trying to drive the car right. Switch that lying piece of crap off; it's not your friend. Shift the car by ear, but leave common sense at the Freestyle Doors. Rev it. Here's where a normal car really ought to have shifted, judging by the sound. Not yet. Hell no. Still not yet. Something sounds like it ought to have blown up by now. Still not yet. You steal a glance at the large, centre tachometer, the rev needle approaching the "9" digit, past which the entire tachometer turns red. Hit that. And then go past that still. Ignore that twisting sensation in your stomach that tells you you're breaking the car; the car needs this abuse to feel alive. Most gears are fine with being brought all the way to the car's 9,5 rev limit, but the extremely close 4th to 5th shift I find is best done at around 9,2.

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In my reviews of the turbocharged FC and FD RX-7s, I've said that the beeper traditionally built into those cars to remind drivers to upshift is unnecessary at best and annoying at worst. That's because those turbocharged rotaries have a somewhat sensible 8,000rpm rev limit, and have their boost set in a way to give well balanced power across the mid to high range, instead of hiding it all up top, meaning that I often shift before the beeper even comes on in those cars. Here in the RX-8 however, that beeper is more than necessary, as the naturally aspirated unit revs to a common sense defying 9,500rpm, near which the engine always needs to be kept, and a beeper to reaffirm to the driver that they aren't going to blow the car up would be a super nice thing to have when getting used to the car. But, wouldn't you know it, when it's needed the most, the bloody beeper of the RX-8 isn't reproduced in Gran Turismo 7!

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In 2008, the RX-8 received a facelift that mainly targeted QoL improvements. Dynamically, the chassis was strengthened even further, but max power was actually lowered from 247HP to 232HP, in so doing also slightly making the engine less peaky, with peak power coming in at 8,2 instead of 8,5. Peak torque stayed completely unchanged though, maintaining 216N⋅m (159.3lbf⋅ft) at 5,5. To compensate for the lowered power, the 6MT models got a shortened final gear ratio for snappier acceleration. Visually, the facelift finally brought back the RX-01's funky Rotary Triangle wheels, the swapping of which to other wheel designs ought to be a crime. They ditched the rather "meh" Winning Blue Metallic and Stormy Blue Mica for the astounding Aurora Blue Mica. That's... probably not a big deal to anyone but me. I just want to complain about the utterly boneheaded decision for the Spirit R RX-8 to not be offered with any paint choices containing hue. I mean, come on, Mazda. You know I love you guys, but nani the actual heck were you kangaetoru when deciding that the RX-8 Spirit R should only come in white, black, or silver? I know it's the sendoff model for the Rotary sports car, but you didn't have to make the paint options resemble the dress code of a freaking funeral...

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As is customary with Mazda sports cars, a few special editions of the car were released in its life cycle, featuring mostly aesthetic changes, but the ones that went beyond that were exceptionally cool: the RX-8 Type S could actually be fitted with an NR-A package for a cost, which would quite literally turn the RX-8 into a road–legal racecar, qualifying the car for entry into a grassroots RX-8 one–make race held in Japan, similar to the Roadster NR-A. Can you imagine rocking up to a trackday, bro, with a pink roll cage that completely blocks off the still existing rear seats? Heck, if you'd like to sacrifice all boot space instead, you could stuff a tank of hydrogen back there: the RX-8 Hydrogen RE is an RX-8 with minimal modifications to run on either hydrogen or gasoline, offering drivers the choice via a switch in the centre console (in the shape of a Rotary triangle, naturally!).

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The RX-8 may have been cheaper and burned cleaner than the RX-7, and in some scenarios, it could even carry four people. Heck, it drives well too, but there's one almost unsaid goal that the RX-8 hadn't managed to achieve: sell well. Even beyond its weird door and breathing shenanigans, the RX-8 is a completely bewildering prospect. It's a 247–at–most–HP car that only does a claimed 16 US MPG combined; freaking muscle cars can match that with thrice the RX-8's displacement. For raw sportiness and outright pace, the immaculate S2000 has the RX-8 whooped any day of the week. For practicality and performance, a WRX STi or even a Crown Athlete would outdo the RX-8. For cheap fun without reliability being a worrying concern, hell, there's always the Roadster.

But, honestly? Caring about any of that is missing the point of the RX-8 entirely.

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Style by XSquareStickIt: RE雨宮µ過給圧上昇8
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Its original ragtag team of engineers knew this better than anyone: the RX-8 is a car that's meant to be driven, and driven hard. I don't even mean, "spirited driving" kind of hard; I mean, "drive it to and past its limits on a track" hard. Then, and only then, does the car start to make its case. As if a peaky car with a 9,5 rev limit needed this to be spelled out! The RX-8 sits squarely in a very narrow window of performance that I consider to be THE sweet spot for sports cars, populated by the industry's best of the best of any era, such as the 901 Carrera RS, M3 Sport Evo, and S2000. At this performance level, I opine that the engine has enough personality to stand out, but not dominate the entire experience. Fast enough to excite, but not too fast to become dangerous and unapproachable. Given the right amount of grip, these power levels can form a symbiotic dance with the chassis, allowing their drivers to be surgically neat, smooth, and well behaved to put on a driving clinic, or to swing the entirely opposite direction to cause utter mayhem should the driver so wish. Everything at this speed happens with just enough of a warning and transition to really communicate with the driver and to be a raw, engaging, and mechanical drive, the likes of which the industry might never see again, chasing after spec sheet numbers while being choked by ever tightening regulations.

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The RX-8 may perform at a similar level to the aforementioned hall of fame cars, but it's a slight bit more muted and sedate to drive than those benchmarks. Make no mistake, however, that the RX-8 still fits all those lofty descriptions I laid out in the previous paragraph. What the RX-8 offers in exchange for sheer, raw sportiness is a driving experience that combines the seemingly impossible mix of becalming and exciting. The RX-8 will never get away from its driver on a dry, paved road. It will never let go unless specifically asked to. It remains composed over bumps, adverse camber, and silly elevation changes. It just promptly does whatever is asked of it without complaints or even hints of stress; only an enthusiastically talkative car juxtaposed into an almost therapeutically calm drive at reckless speeds, done almost entirely with intuitive, communicative mechanical engineering. Its brakes are strong. The front end feels less like commandeering a 1.4 tonne hunk of metal to manoeuvre a bend via a steering wheel, and more like me reaching my hand down to the pavement and then drawing a precise line through the road as I please. The rear end helpfully comes around ever so slightly when trail braking, proportionately rotating the car to my brake and steering input to rotate the car into an apex, and it can be reined back in with a mere thought should the driver misjudge it. The amount of trust it so effortlessly earns from me is just stupid, reckless, even. It never feels urgent; just brisk, like a jog with a loved one.

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Style edited from Speedsource GrandAm RX-8 GT Ver2 by toshi-se3p
#speedsource #daytona #grandam

Style by XSquareStickIt: RX-822R
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To me, 95% of my appreciation for a sports car lies in its last 5% of its handling envelope, and it's here that the RX-8 shames the vast majority of sports cars, regardless of era. While other cars just give up with instant, surrendering understeer or lash out with fumbling oversteer, the RX-8 instead meekly hints at the driver of its stress, speaking up politely to inform its driver of the things that are upsetting it if ignored, before drafting with its driver the terms and conditions of the controlled, staggered cessation of grip, effective immediately at the driver's convenience in a readily terminable contract if push comes to shove. It's such a clear communicator that it made me hyper aware for the first time, how smaller things like different wheel sizes affect a car's handling, and how awful Sports tyres are in this game, because they seem to let go so suddenly at their limit. I much prefer my RX-8 on Comfort Soft tyres, because those let go a lot slower and are more communicative. It's such a well–mannered, charismatic, and effective communicator of a sports car, the likes of which makes other supposed sports cars look like uncultured, boorish swine, and I suspect that's why I don't often like cars we test. Often, after I test a car that left a really bad taste in my mouth or even made me angry, I just want to slip into my RX-8 and just... drive. Forget. Heal, even. It's impossible to be mad when driving a working RX-8. It's almost like my automotive tea: so neutral and understated on its own, but has an amazing capability to wash away stronger flavours and reset a person's palate. In so doing, the RX-8 inadvertently becomes a standard to which other cars are compared to and judged against. That "automotive tea" of mine used to be the FD RX-7, but I think my obsessive longing for the RX-8 after work the past three weeks have told me that the RX-8 has succeeded that role for the 7 in my mind. In other words, I genuinely believe that the RX-8 drives better than the FD RX-7, and that's coming from someone who came to love cars because of the FD, and spent almost his entire life idolising and yearning for one. The RX-8 might not be nearly as photogenic as the FD, but every time after I drive my RX-8, I just sit and stare at it with a dumb, wide grin on my face and think, "daaaaamn!" While the RX-7 left the factory built to be beautiful, the RX-8 drives so damn well that it becomes beautiful to me.

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Isn't that the entire point of a sports car? To amaze its driver every drive, to engage and involve them, and make them laugh and smile? Every day for the past few weeks, as I end another monotonous day at work, my body longs for, my soul yearns for the unshakable embrace of the RX-8 to wash it all away. It's impossible to be upset or mad when driving a working RX-8. I don't have any goals to achieve with it. I have nowhere to drive it to. Get that nonsensical HUD off the screen, forget the irrelevant time deltas. I just want to watch the rev needle climb and fall. I just want to hear the smooth wail of the Rotary Engine at 9,5, the wait, the anticipation, that feeling of "this ought to have blown up by now, what the hell?", never gets old. I want to be swept away in the exciting flow of its calm waters. And that, I think, is a sure sign that the car has become more than the sum of its parts, becoming an art form I can't explain or rationalise. Mazda have taken something that ought to be a subjective notion—driving pleasure—and not only perfected it into a science, but distilled it into artistic performance. There is nothing in it I want to change, nor anything beyond it that really matters. I just want to drive it hard, as it is. And that, quite simply, makes it belong in an elite list of cars that one hand would be plenty to count with. I can't even begin to imagine what having a real one must be like, highs and lows alike. I was even on the fence on buying GT7 on the leadup to launch, with the RX-8 Spirit R being one of the three things that would make me instantly buy the game and a PS5 at the then inflated prices. And you know what, it was worth every penny and more.

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The RX-8 makes no sense on paper. There is nothing here that appeals to the logical side of the human brain. I can't recommend it for its practicality. Its fuel economy is woeful. Horror stories of the car's reliability probably killed the car more than emission standards. I can't even recommend it in the game, where it will never break; it's roughly the same PP level as a goddamn GD Impreza STi for some stupid reason. You'll probably be wise to not buy the car, in the same way so many were wise to not have bought an FD RX-7, an NA NSX, McLaren F1, or an E30 M3. The same way a health conscious nut would avoid bubble tea. The same way a frugal person wouldn't ever pay for porn or music. The same way no rational person could ever find a reason to adopt a pet.

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But if the RX-8 speaks to you, I think that makes you one of the luckiest people alive. When I see an RX-8, I don't see a confused, ugly car; I see a monster who had gone through hell, who almost didn't make it through to see the light of day, just trying its best to find a place to belong, and I just want to go over and give it a hug if I could. Its engineers risked their livelihoods to bring this to us, and god damn are they in a class of their own. The vast majority of the people who drive it most likely won't ever give it a proper chance to speak its weird language, and even when allowed to speak, even fewer would understand it. But the RX-8 spoke to me, loudly, clearly, convincingly, captivatingly, bewitchingly, hypnotising me each and every time. And now I feel like I can't live without it.

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If Mazda engineers could make a 4–door sedan drive better than an FD RX-7, imagine what they could create if they had access to modern technology, with the creative liberty to create something like the FD RX-7, a no frills, raw sports car again, free of any constraints, political or financial. It's the reason why the RX-Vision doesn't sit well with me, and why I disagree with the direction of the Iconic SP; I want a no–nonsense, focused Rotary sports car from Mazda. I don't want them to care about having 4 doors, adopt an existing chassis, or to shoehorn a hybrid system into a sports car, because their engineers do their best work when they just go off and make what they want to. I know they have the talent and passion to make something truly exceptional before the Internal Combustion Engine becomes consigned to history. As one of the last few enthusiast–centric brands left in the market, I truly hope we get a no–compromise 2 door rotary sports car from Mazda before it's too late.

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For as fast as the cult classic, 3rd–generation "FD3S" RX-7 could move on a racetrack, one thing it absolutely sucked at doing was moving off dealership floors, for which its upmarket price tag was the easiest to blame. With the sudden burst of the economic bubble in their past and stricter emission standards in their future, Mazda very clearly red the big, bold Kanji on the wall: the next Rotary sports car had to be cheaper and burn a lot cleaner, which is to say that from conceptual stages, the next–generation RX sports car was never going to be as exciting or performance–oriented as the outgoing FD3S.

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But what would be the next logical step from the supercar–harassing FD, if not something that can out–perform it? The most obvious answer would seem to be for the 4th–generation RX-7 to return to its roots, scaling back down in both cost and performance to something more akin to the 1st–generation SA/FB RX-7, a cheaper, smaller, and simpler sports car—but that seemingly obvious solution had an even more obvious problem: the Guinness World Record holder and brand new stable mate, the Roadster, which had the niche role of a cheap, simple, and affordable sports car steelclad in its minuscule boot. Thankfully however, common sense hadn't managed to stop the mad engineers at Mazda, who, in a borderline comical move, almost literally smushed an FD RX-7 and a NA Roadster together, resulting in my favourite concept car ever: the Mazda RX-01.

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Photo: Mazda

Unveiled at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show, the RX-01 was to be a "back–to–basics" sports car that wrapped the timeless beauty of the FD3S around a Roadster–sized chassis... that was also somehow meant to be a 2+2, probably only for insurance bracket shenanigans. Beyond its questionable intent to carry four adults, the RX-01 offers other glimpses into the FD3S' eventual successor, most notably the red/black two–tone interior and novel wheels featuring Rotary triangles, but most significant of them all is the heart of the RX-01: a naturally aspirated 2–Rotor engine dubbed the "13B-MSP". Mazda claimed that this new engine was capable of 220HP, which is some 30HP down on what FDs were churning out at the time, sure, but said power only happened at rev ranges higher than the twin turbocharged FD could ever rev to in stock form: 8,500rpm! More importantly than that perhaps, is that the new engine had its intake and exhaust ports cut into its side housings instead of being on the peripheral housings, hence its name, "Multi Side Port". This reportedly helped the otherwise familiar 13B burn cleaner and improved fuel efficiency by eliminating intake and exhaust overlap, hopefully future proofing the new Wankel Engine. Absent the miles upon miles of pipes from the heinously complex twin sequential turbos, the powerplant could be mounted lower and closer to the cockpit of the car, so much so that a comically large pathway could be cut straight from its front bumper to the middle of the bonnet, acting like an oversized front wing! (Or jaywalker Katana!)



Unfortunately, the RX-01 was not meant to be. In 1996, Ford acquired a controlling 33.4% stake in Mazda, laser focusing on profitability for the ailing company caught out by the burst of the economical bubble, thereby binning any development of a frivolous, low profit margin sports car. All hope for a Rotary sports car successor seemed completely lost, let alone one that could measure up to the FD3S. This however, hadn't sat well with those mad engineers at Mazda, which formed an unofficial, after hours team that secretly toiled away at making their dream sports car a reality—a tale that sounds eerily familiar to that of the XJ220 not a decade prior, except this time, the engineers managed to keep the defining engine of the car, but not the rest of it!


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Photo: Mazda

The 13B-MSP engine found itself nestled into a Frankensteined Roadster chassis with 4 doors, 4 seats, 2 bonnets, and a debilitating case of the Severe Acute Fugly Syndrome. Quite how that team came to the conclusion and design of a 4–door sedan with suicide doors to succeed the FD RX-7, I don't claim to know, but I do have a guess: Mazda engineers have historically been rather obsessed with Porsches, and so maybe one of them really, really liked the one–off 928 Studie H50. This new prototype of theirs was an FR sports car platform stretched out to fit four seats accessed via suicide doors, just like the Porsche's unborn child. It even kept the Studie H50's unfortunate transmission tunnel hump that extends through the cabin, dividing the rear seats into two. The skunkworks team came to know the car as the "cockroach car", presumably named for being something that refused to die no matter how much it was beat on by those that wanted it dead, gone, and out of sight. The engineers knew that if word of the cockroach car got out, they would be severely reprimanded at the very least, and were gambling with their careers to bring a Rotary sports car to market.

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Photo: Mazda

But, a prototype by any other name would be just as effective, because that unlikely package impressed who it needed to in an impromptu test drive around Mazda's testing facility: a racing enthusiast exec at Ford who worked as a test driver for Mazda, finally letting the monster born in the shadows see green light. The cockroach car was then given a more palatable name: "RX-EVOLV", for its reveal under the big lights of the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show. Sanding off its heinous looks and rough edges that hadn't been a priority in its development thus far, the RX-EVOLV eventually gave way to the RX-8 Concept cars, which Gran Turismo 4 players may already be familiar with. While I very much lament the loss of the RX-01, it probably was a happy coincidence for Mazda to not have sunk any more time and money into that tiny black hole, given the adhesives that were being inhaled at Hethel around that time, and it was probably a good call to not cannibalise on the Roadster's market share as well.

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After a short year without a Rotary Engined car in Mazda's Japanese dealers, the Mazda RX-8 brought the Passion of Dr. Wankel back to showrooms worldwide with a passionate bang in 2003. With 4 doors, 4 seats, and 2 rotors, it was clearly distinct from the Roadster, but because it had 4 doors, 4 seats, and 0 turbos, it was never going to have its predecessor's raw numbers. What the RX-8 did have however, is the classic front engine, rear drive layout, a near perfect 50/50 weight distribution, a free revving, cleaner burning, naturally aspirated 2 rotor engine displacing 1,308cc and capable of 247HP at 8,500rpm (in its most powerful 6MT trim), a Torsen LSD as standard, double wishbones up front and a multilink rear suspension setup, ventilated disc brakes all four corners, and even a carbon propshaft for the 6MT models! All this ensured that the RX-8 still had the sporty spirit of the RX-7, if not its spec sheet numbers. Plus, to appeal to a wider market, the RX-8 actually came with basic electronic aids, like stability and traction control, which the RX-7 never had. And, hey, it didn't have the FD's price tag, either: comparing the top of the line grades of both models, the RX-7 Type RS had a suggested retail price of ¥3,778,000. The RX-8 Type S' suggested retail price? Just ¥2,750,000—cheaper than even the cheapest FD.

So, it's cheaper, and burns a lot cleaner than the FD. Sounds like the RX-8 achieved all of its goals, then?

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Unlike the RX-01, or indeed most other sports cars, the RX-8 could even carry four adults, though this rather depends on the front seat positions, and if the occupants are Asian sized or not. Almost as though trying to steal the novelty spotlight away from the Rotary Engine itself, the RX-8's most distinct and readily visible quirk are in its rear–hinged rear half doors, which Mazda dubbed as "Freestyle Doors". With the front doors opening forward as usual, the tiny rear doors swing backwards to an ample 80°—almost perpendicular to the car—to allow for a single, expansive entry point into the car, uninterrupted by a traditional B–pillar in the middle. This not only helps with ingress and egress, but also allows the rear doors to be much shorter in length to retain sports car proportions and minimise wheelbase.

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Of course, as with any novel way of doing things, the Freestyle Doors of the RX-8 come with their fair share of quirks and trade–offs that might take some getting used to. Absent a traditional B–pillar, the rear doors have a load bearing column built into them to act as a B–pillar, with the rear doors latching onto both the roof and bottom of the car to become a key structural member in the event of a side impact. While the RX-8 did manage a 4/5 star rating in NHTSA's side impact test, the rear doors still can't be opened without the corresponding front door opening first, as the front doors latch onto the rears, hiding their door handles. The front seatbelts are also hinged on the rear doors as well, meaning the front occupants would have to undo their seatbelts before opening the rear doors, lest they get choked out by their own kids for their inheritance of the RX-8. In the event of a crash that jams the front doors, the rears essentially get jammed as well, and to account for this, the front seats of the RX-8 fold forward to allow the rear occupants an escape route, but it's still a scary thought with deployed airbags and maybe even unconscious front occupants.

And, before you ask, here's how little the tiny rear windows open.

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So, the novelty Freestyle Doors are there to minimise wheelbase and maintain sports car proportions, but why the raised transmission tunnel that allows the car to only seat four? Sportiness, obviously! With 4 doors and 4 seats, it goes without saying that the wheelbase of the RX-8 is longer than that of the FD3S; 275mm longer in fact, at 2,700mm. Coupled with the lack of a B–pillar, the car's structural rigidity is a pressing concern, both for driving dynamics and safety. Even the 2–door FD had long struggled with rigidity issues before and after its launch, and its also the reason why the Studie H50 didn't make it past a single build. To this end, Mazda engineers made good use of the raised transmission tunnel that divides the left and right seats by making it act as a brace for the chassis, sheathing its already rigid "power plant frame" drivetrain. These, among other reinforcing structures, reportedly gave the RX-8 better structural strength in comparison to its less compromised and more focused predecessor in spite of its longer wheelbase, making the SE3P a much more surefooted and predictable drive than the FD3S, inspiring more confidence in me to bring it closer to its limits for much longer. This disparity in confidence only grows when both cars are tuned to go faster, making the RX-8 a much easier car to tune up to all but the most extreme levels of performance in my opinion. The only downside to the divided rear seats, of course, is perhaps best described by the wise and eloquent "Drift King" Tsuchiya Keiichi: "LOVE LOVE dekinai! NO CHANCE!"

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But, as quirky as the Freestyle Doors and Rotary triangle motifs are, they're almost a red herring, a distraction, from the real weirdness of the RX-8, which naturally lies under the now single–piece bonnet—and no, I'm not even talking about the Rotary Engine itself. Despite lacking the twin sequential turbocharging system of the FD, the naturally aspirated RX-8 has its own sequential chicanery up its pipes: a Sequential Dynamic Air Intake System, or S-DAIS for short. Only equipped on the top of the line, "high power" spec engines with one extra intake and exhaust port per rotor over the standard engines, said S-DAIS electronically controls the intake port opening area and air intake length according to engine speed to emulate piston engine trickery like velocity trumpets and VVT, which Mazda claims to help with both low end life and high end oomph. Even the Le Mans conquering 787B racecar employed very similar trickery to achieve a shockingly balanced power curve for its naturally aspirated 4–Rotor, and absent the crutch of forced induction, the lessons learned from Mazda's tireless Le Mans efforts could finally trickle down onto a production sports car in the RX-8, and I think that is exceedingly cool. S-DAIS has too many phases to list even in this long writeup, but most crucially at 5,500rpm, another air intake upstream of the entire contraption opens up to provide max power for high revs. On a dry track, one most likely will never dip below that threshold, given the NA Rotary's notorious need to be revved out for whatever meagre power it can manage. On a wet road however, many drivers will use high gears and low revs to better manage power oversteer, and it's precisely in these low–grip scenarios where that 5,500rpm switchover can make itself prominent: that stealthy increase in power can very suddenly break loose the rear tyres in the wet, not helped by the NA Rotary's reputation for being gutless in low revs, meaning most drivers probably don't think much of mashing the noise pedal when the engine isn't screaming bloody murder.

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This issue is only compounded by Mazda's "Super Torsen LSD" system fitted as standard on the RX-8 and some grades of its platform sibling, the NC Roadster. It works magic in the dry, but I find that it tends to overexaggerate rear end yaw moments in the wet. I vividly recall Jeremy Clarkson's review of the RX-8 on Top Gear, where he cites the rear end being "awfully twitchy" in the wet as one of the only real knocks against the car, and Super GT drivers testing the then new NC Roadster in Best Motoring under torrential downpour noted the same nervousness of the rear end, right after it threw "Drift King" Tsuchiya Keiichi off track at Tsukuba. In all three instances, the tyres are cited as a possible cause, but I genuinely think it's the diff: an aftermarket full custom LSD in the game set to the same arbitrary values as stock gives just a hint more understeer in the dry, but makes the car a lot more predictable in the wet. Granted, these are issues a person will only encounter when driving like a maniac in a canal with all aids off, but it's still very much worth mentioning, nonetheless.

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The increased power and coolness that S-DAIS brings, Mazda's renowned shift action feel, and the Rotary Engine's inherent need to be revved out, all combine to mean that the 6MT is THE RX-8 to get if the driver is able to operate three pedals and a stick. The RX-8's insistence on being shifted by its driver even extends across the digital divide into Gran Turismo 7—while the Spirit R RX-8 in this game is indeed the 6MT with the high output engine spec, the game will prematurely climax at a mere 9k rpm if left to make its own bad decisions. Coupled with its extremely pure and engaging driving experience, the RX-8 Spirit R is one of the very, very few cars in the game that makes me want to turn off the in–game HUD when driving, because the HUD becomes genuinely annoying and distracting when trying to drive the car right. Switch that lying piece of crap off; it's not your friend. Shift the car by ear, but leave common sense at the Freestyle Doors. Rev it. Here's where a normal car really ought to have shifted, judging by the sound. Not yet. Hell no. Still not yet. Something sounds like it ought to have blown up by now. Still not yet. You steal a glance at the large, centre tachometer, the rev needle approaching the "9" digit, past which the entire tachometer turns red. Hit that. And then go past that still. Ignore that twisting sensation in your stomach that tells you you're breaking the car; the car needs this abuse to feel alive. Most gears are fine with being brought all the way to the car's 9,5 rev limit, but the extremely close 4th to 5th shift I find is best done at around 9,2.

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In my reviews of the turbocharged FC and FD RX-7s, I've said that the beeper traditionally built into those cars to remind drivers to upshift is unnecessary at best and annoying at worst. That's because those turbocharged rotaries have a somewhat sensible 8,000rpm rev limit, and have their boost set in a way to give well balanced power across the mid to high range, instead of hiding it all up top, meaning that I often shift before the beeper even comes on in those cars. Here in the RX-8 however, that beeper is more than necessary, as the naturally aspirated unit revs to a common sense defying 9,500rpm, near which the engine always needs to be kept, and a beeper to reaffirm to the driver that they aren't going to blow the car up would be a super nice thing to have when getting used to the car. But, wouldn't you know it, when it's needed the most, the bloody beeper of the RX-8 isn't reproduced in Gran Turismo 7!

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In 2008, the RX-8 received a facelift that mainly targeted QoL improvements. Dynamically, the chassis was strengthened even further, but max power was actually lowered from 247HP to 232HP, in so doing also slightly making the engine less peaky, with peak power coming in at 8,2 instead of 8,5. Peak torque stayed completely unchanged though, maintaining 216N⋅m (159.3lbf⋅ft) at 5,5. To compensate for the lowered power, the 6MT models got a shortened final gear ratio for snappier acceleration. Visually, the facelift finally brought back the RX-01's funky Rotary Triangle wheels, the swapping of which to other wheel designs ought to be a crime. They ditched the rather "meh" Winning Blue Metallic and Stormy Blue Mica for the astounding Aurora Blue Mica. That's... probably not a big deal to anyone but me. I just want to complain about the utterly boneheaded decision for the Spirit R RX-8 to not be offered with any paint choices containing hue. I mean, come on, Mazda. You know I love you guys, but nani the actual heck were you kangaetoru when deciding that the RX-8 Spirit R should only come in white, black, or silver? I know it's the sendoff model for the Rotary sports car, but you didn't have to make the paint options resemble the dress code of a freaking funeral...

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As is customary with Mazda sports cars, a few special editions of the car were released in its life cycle, featuring mostly aesthetic changes, but the ones that went beyond that were exceptionally cool: the RX-8 Type S could actually be fitted with an NR-A package for a cost, which would quite literally turn the RX-8 into a road–legal racecar, qualifying the car for entry into a grassroots RX-8 one–make race held in Japan, similar to the Roadster NR-A. Can you imagine rocking up to a trackday, bro, with a pink roll cage that completely blocks off the still existing rear seats? Heck, if you'd like to sacrifice all boot space instead, you could stuff a tank of hydrogen back there: the RX-8 Hydrogen RE is an RX-8 with minimal modifications to run on either hydrogen or gasoline, offering drivers the choice via a switch in the centre console (in the shape of a Rotary triangle, naturally!).

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The RX-8 may have been cheaper and burned cleaner than the RX-7, and in some scenarios, it could even carry four people. Heck, it drives well too, but there's one almost unsaid goal that the RX-8 hadn't managed to achieve: sell well. Even beyond its weird door and breathing shenanigans, the RX-8 is a completely bewildering prospect. It's a 247–at–most–HP car that only does a claimed 16 US MPG combined; freaking muscle cars can match that with thrice the RX-8's displacement. For raw sportiness and outright pace, the immaculate S2000 has the RX-8 whooped any day of the week. For practicality and performance, a WRX STi or even a Crown Athlete would outdo the RX-8. For cheap fun without reliability being a worrying concern, hell, there's always the Roadster.

But, honestly? Caring about any of that is missing the point of the RX-8 entirely.

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Style by XSquareStickIt: RE雨宮µ過給圧上昇8
#REAmemiya #BoostUp #tuner

Its original ragtag team of engineers knew this better than anyone: the RX-8 is a car that's meant to be driven, and driven hard. I don't even mean, "spirited driving" kind of hard; I mean, "drive it to and past its limits on a track" hard. Then, and only then, does the car start to make its case. As if a peaky car with a 9,5 rev limit needed this to be spelled out! The RX-8 sits squarely in a very narrow window of performance that I consider to be THE sweet spot for sports cars, populated by the industry's best of the best of any era, such as the 901 Carrera RS, M3 Sport Evo, and S2000. At this performance level, I opine that the engine has enough personality to stand out, but not dominate the entire experience. Fast enough to excite, but not too fast to become dangerous and unapproachable. Given the right amount of grip, these power levels can form a symbiotic dance with the chassis, allowing their drivers to be surgically neat, smooth, and well behaved to put on a driving clinic, or to swing the entirely opposite direction to cause utter mayhem should the driver so wish. Everything at this speed happens with just enough of a warning and transition to really communicate with the driver and to be a raw, engaging, and mechanical drive, the likes of which the industry might never see again, chasing after spec sheet numbers while being choked by ever tightening regulations.

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The RX-8 may perform at a similar level to the aforementioned hall of fame cars, but it's a slight bit more muted and sedate to drive than those benchmarks. Make no mistake, however, that the RX-8 still fits all those lofty descriptions I laid out in the previous paragraph. What the RX-8 offers in exchange for sheer, raw sportiness is a driving experience that combines the seemingly impossible mix of becalming and exciting. The RX-8 will never get away from its driver on a dry, paved road. It will never let go unless specifically asked to. It remains composed over bumps, adverse camber, and silly elevation changes. It just promptly does whatever is asked of it without complaints or even hints of stress; only an enthusiastically talkative car juxtaposed into an almost therapeutically calm drive at reckless speeds, done almost entirely with intuitive, communicative mechanical engineering. Its brakes are strong. The front end feels less like commandeering a 1.4 tonne hunk of metal to manoeuvre a bend via a steering wheel, and more like me reaching my hand down to the pavement and then drawing a precise line through the road as I please. The rear end helpfully comes around ever so slightly when trail braking, proportionately rotating the car to my brake and steering input to rotate the car into an apex, and it can be reined back in with a mere thought should the driver misjudge it. The amount of trust it so effortlessly earns from me is just stupid, reckless, even. It never feels urgent; just brisk, like a jog with a loved one.

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Style edited from Speedsource GrandAm RX-8 GT Ver2 by toshi-se3p
#speedsource #daytona #grandam

Style by XSquareStickIt: RX-822R
#imsa #rx792p #racecar

To me, 95% of my appreciation for a sports car lies in its last 5% of its handling envelope, and it's here that the RX-8 shames the vast majority of sports cars, regardless of era. While other cars just give up with instant, surrendering understeer or lash out with fumbling oversteer, the RX-8 instead meekly hints at the driver of its stress, speaking up politely to inform its driver of the things that are upsetting it if ignored, before drafting with its driver the terms and conditions of the controlled, staggered cessation of grip, effective immediately at the driver's convenience in a readily terminable contract if push comes to shove. It's such a clear communicator that it made me hyper aware for the first time, how smaller things like different wheel sizes affect a car's handling, and how awful Sports tyres are in this game, because they seem to let go so suddenly at their limit. I much prefer my RX-8 on Comfort Soft tyres, because those let go a lot slower and are more communicative. It's such a well–mannered, charismatic, and effective communicator of a sports car, the likes of which makes other supposed sports cars look like uncultured, boorish swine, and I suspect that's why I don't often like cars we test. Often, after I test a car that left a really bad taste in my mouth or even made me angry, I just want to slip into my RX-8 and just... drive. Forget. Heal, even. It's impossible to be mad when driving a working RX-8. It's almost like my automotive tea: so neutral and understated on its own, but has an amazing capability to wash away stronger flavours and reset a person's palate. In so doing, the RX-8 inadvertently becomes a standard to which other cars are compared to and judged against. That "automotive tea" of mine used to be the FD RX-7, but I think my obsessive longing for the RX-8 after work the past three weeks have told me that the RX-8 has succeeded that role for the 7 in my mind. In other words, I genuinely believe that the RX-8 drives better than the FD RX-7, and that's coming from someone who came to love cars because of the FD, and spent almost his entire life idolising and yearning for one. The RX-8 might not be nearly as photogenic as the FD, but every time after I drive my RX-8, I just sit and stare at it with a dumb, wide grin on my face and think, "daaaaamn!" While the RX-7 left the factory built to be beautiful, the RX-8 drives so damn well that it becomes beautiful to me.

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Style by XSquareStickIt: RX-8 LM20
#lemans #anniversary #california

Isn't that the entire point of a sports car? To amaze its driver every drive, to engage and involve them, and make them laugh and smile? Every day for the past few weeks, as I end another monotonous day at work, my body longs for, my soul yearns for the unshakable embrace of the RX-8 to wash it all away. It's impossible to be upset or mad when driving a working RX-8. I don't have any goals to achieve with it. I have nowhere to drive it to. Get that nonsensical HUD off the screen, forget the irrelevant time deltas. I just want to watch the rev needle climb and fall. I just want to hear the smooth wail of the Rotary Engine at 9,5, the wait, the anticipation, that feeling of "this ought to have blown up by now, what the hell?", never gets old. I want to be swept away in the exciting flow of its calm waters. And that, I think, is a sure sign that the car has become more than the sum of its parts, becoming an art form I can't explain or rationalise. Mazda have taken something that ought to be a subjective notion—driving pleasure—and not only perfected it into a science, but distilled it into artistic performance. There is nothing in it I want to change, nor anything beyond it that really matters. I just want to drive it hard, as it is. And that, quite simply, makes it belong in an elite list of cars that one hand would be plenty to count with. I can't even begin to imagine what having a real one must be like, highs and lows alike. I was even on the fence on buying GT7 on the leadup to launch, with the RX-8 Spirit R being one of the three things that would make me instantly buy the game and a PS5 at the then inflated prices. And you know what, it was worth every penny and more.

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The RX-8 makes no sense on paper. There is nothing here that appeals to the logical side of the human brain. I can't recommend it for its practicality. Its fuel economy is woeful. Horror stories of the car's reliability probably killed the car more than emission standards. I can't even recommend it in the game, where it will never break; it's roughly the same PP level as a goddamn GD Impreza STi for some stupid reason. You'll probably be wise to not buy the car, in the same way so many were wise to not have bought an FD RX-7, an NA NSX, McLaren F1, or an E30 M3. The same way a health conscious nut would avoid bubble tea. The same way a frugal person wouldn't ever pay for porn or music. The same way no rational person could ever find a reason to adopt a pet.

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But if the RX-8 speaks to you, I think that makes you one of the luckiest people alive. When I see an RX-8, I don't see a confused, ugly car; I see a monster who had gone through hell, who almost didn't make it through to see the light of day, just trying its best to find a place to belong, and I just want to go over and give it a hug if I could. Its engineers risked their livelihoods to bring this to us, and god damn are they in a class of their own. The vast majority of the people who drive it most likely won't ever give it a proper chance to speak its weird language, and even when allowed to speak, even fewer would understand it. But the RX-8 spoke to me, loudly, clearly, convincingly, captivatingly, bewitchingly, hypnotising me each and every time. And now I feel like I can't live without it.

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If Mazda engineers could make a 4–door sedan drive better than an FD RX-7, imagine what they could create if they had access to modern technology, with the creative liberty to create something like the FD RX-7, a no frills, raw sports car again, free of any constraints, political or financial. It's the reason why the RX-Vision doesn't sit well with me, and why I disagree with the direction of the Iconic SP; I want a no–nonsense, focused Rotary sports car from Mazda. I don't want them to care about having 4 doors, adopt an existing chassis, or to shoehorn a hybrid system into a sports car, because their engineers do their best work when they just go off and make what they want to. I know they have the talent and passion to make something truly exceptional before the Internal Combustion Engine becomes consigned to history. As one of the last few enthusiast–centric brands left in the market, I truly hope we get a no–compromise 2 door rotary sports car from Mazda before it's too late.

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Just start writing books bro. Full support.

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For as fast as the cult classic, 3rd–generation "FD3S" RX-7 could move on a racetrack, one thing it absolutely sucked at doing was moving off dealership floors, for which its upmarket price tag was the easiest to blame. With the sudden burst of the economic bubble in their past and stricter emission standards in their future, Mazda very clearly red the big, bold Kanji on the wall: the next Rotary sports car had to be cheaper and burn a lot cleaner, which is to say that from conceptual stages, the next–generation RX sports car was never going to be as exciting or performance–oriented as the outgoing FD3S.

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But what would be the next logical step from the supercar–harassing FD, if not something that can out–perform it? The most obvious answer would seem to be for the 4th–generation RX-7 to return to its roots, scaling back down in both cost and performance to something more akin to the 1st–generation SA/FB RX-7, a cheaper, smaller, and simpler sports car—but that seemingly obvious solution had an even more obvious problem: the Guinness World Record holder and brand new stable mate, the Roadster, which had the niche role of a cheap, simple, and affordable sports car steelclad in its minuscule boot. Thankfully however, common sense hadn't managed to stop the mad engineers at Mazda, who, in a borderline comical move, almost literally smushed an FD RX-7 and a NA Roadster together, resulting in my favourite concept car ever: the Mazda RX-01.

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Photo: Mazda

Unveiled at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show, the RX-01 was to be a "back–to–basics" sports car that wrapped the timeless beauty of the FD3S around a Roadster–sized chassis... that was also somehow meant to be a 2+2, probably only for insurance bracket shenanigans. Beyond its questionable intent to carry four adults, the RX-01 offers other glimpses into the FD3S' eventual successor, most notably the red/black two–tone interior and novel wheels featuring Rotary triangles, but most significant of them all is the heart of the RX-01: a naturally aspirated 2–Rotor engine dubbed the "13B-MSP". Mazda claimed that this new engine was capable of 220HP, which is some 30HP down on what FDs were churning out at the time, sure, but said power only happened at rev ranges higher than the twin turbocharged FD could ever rev to in stock form: 8,500rpm! More importantly than that perhaps, is that the new engine had its intake and exhaust ports cut into its side housings instead of being on the peripheral housings, hence its name, "Multi Side Port". This reportedly helped the otherwise familiar 13B burn cleaner and improved fuel efficiency by eliminating intake and exhaust overlap, hopefully future proofing the new Wankel Engine. Absent the miles upon miles of pipes from the heinously complex twin sequential turbos, the powerplant could be mounted lower and closer to the cockpit of the car, so much so that a comically large pathway could be cut straight from its front bumper to the middle of the bonnet, acting like an oversized front wing! (Or jaywalker Katana!)



Unfortunately, the RX-01 was not meant to be. In 1996, Ford acquired a controlling 33.4% stake in Mazda, laser focusing on profitability for the ailing company caught out by the burst of the economical bubble, thereby binning any development of a frivolous, low profit margin sports car. All hope for a Rotary sports car successor seemed completely lost, let alone one that could measure up to the FD3S. This however, hadn't sat well with those mad engineers at Mazda, which formed an unofficial, after hours team that secretly toiled away at making their dream sports car a reality—a tale that sounds eerily familiar to that of the XJ220 not a decade prior, except this time, the engineers managed to keep the defining engine of the car, but not the rest of it!


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Photo: Mazda

The 13B-MSP engine found itself nestled into a Frankensteined Roadster chassis with 4 doors, 4 seats, 2 bonnets, and a debilitating case of the Severe Acute Fugly Syndrome. Quite how that team came to the conclusion and design of a 4–door sedan with suicide doors to succeed the FD RX-7, I don't claim to know, but I do have a guess: Mazda engineers have historically been rather obsessed with Porsches, and so maybe one of them really, really liked the one–off 928 Studie H50. This new prototype of theirs was an FR sports car platform stretched out to fit four seats accessed via suicide doors, just like the Porsche's unborn child. It even kept the Studie H50's unfortunate transmission tunnel hump that extends through the cabin, dividing the rear seats into two. The skunkworks team came to know the car as the "cockroach car", presumably named for being something that refused to die no matter how much it was beat on by those that wanted it dead, gone, and out of sight. The engineers knew that if word of the cockroach car got out, they would be severely reprimanded at the very least, and were gambling with their careers to bring a Rotary sports car to market.

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Photo: Mazda

But, a prototype by any other name would be just as effective, because that unlikely package impressed who it needed to in an impromptu test drive around Mazda's testing facility: a racing enthusiast exec at Ford who worked as a test driver for Mazda, finally letting the monster born in the shadows see green light. The cockroach car was then given a more palatable name: "RX-EVOLV", for its reveal under the big lights of the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show. Sanding off its heinous looks and rough edges that hadn't been a priority in its development thus far, the RX-EVOLV eventually gave way to the RX-8 Concept cars, which Gran Turismo 4 players may already be familiar with. While I very much lament the loss of the RX-01, it probably was a happy coincidence for Mazda to not have sunk any more time and money into that tiny black hole, given the adhesives that were being inhaled at Hethel around that time, and it was probably a good call to not cannibalise on the Roadster's market share as well.

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After a short year without a Rotary Engined car in Mazda's Japanese dealers, the Mazda RX-8 brought the Passion of Dr. Wankel back to showrooms worldwide with a passionate bang in 2003. With 4 doors, 4 seats, and 2 rotors, it was clearly distinct from the Roadster, but because it had 4 doors, 4 seats, and 0 turbos, it was never going to have its predecessor's raw numbers. What the RX-8 did have however, is the classic front engine, rear drive layout, a near perfect 50/50 weight distribution, a free revving, cleaner burning, naturally aspirated 2 rotor engine displacing 1,308cc and capable of 247HP at 8,500rpm (in its most powerful 6MT trim), a Torsen LSD as standard, double wishbones up front and a multilink rear suspension setup, ventilated disc brakes all four corners, and even a carbon propshaft for the 6MT models! All this ensured that the RX-8 still had the sporty spirit of the RX-7, if not its spec sheet numbers. Plus, to appeal to a wider market, the RX-8 actually came with basic electronic aids, like stability and traction control, which the RX-7 never had. And, hey, it didn't have the FD's price tag, either: comparing the top of the line grades of both models, the RX-7 Type RS had a suggested retail price of ¥3,778,000. The RX-8 Type S' suggested retail price? Just ¥2,750,000—cheaper than even the cheapest FD.

So, it's cheaper, and burns a lot cleaner than the FD. Sounds like the RX-8 achieved all of its goals, then?

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Unlike the RX-01, or indeed most other sports cars, the RX-8 could even carry four adults, though this rather depends on the front seat positions, and if the occupants are Asian sized or not. Almost as though trying to steal the novelty spotlight away from the Rotary Engine itself, the RX-8's most distinct and readily visible quirk are in its rear–hinged rear half doors, which Mazda dubbed as "Freestyle Doors". With the front doors opening forward as usual, the tiny rear doors swing backwards to an ample 80°—almost perpendicular to the car—to allow for a single, expansive entry point into the car, uninterrupted by a traditional B–pillar in the middle. This not only helps with ingress and egress, but also allows the rear doors to be much shorter in length to retain sports car proportions and minimise wheelbase.

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Of course, as with any novel way of doing things, the Freestyle Doors of the RX-8 come with their fair share of quirks and trade–offs that might take some getting used to. Absent a traditional B–pillar, the rear doors have a load bearing column built into them to act as a B–pillar, with the rear doors latching onto both the roof and bottom of the car to become a key structural member in the event of a side impact. While the RX-8 did manage a 4/5 star rating in NHTSA's side impact test, the rear doors still can't be opened without the corresponding front door opening first, as the front doors latch onto the rears, hiding their door handles. The front seatbelts are also hinged on the rear doors as well, meaning the front occupants would have to undo their seatbelts before opening the rear doors, lest they get choked out by their own kids for their inheritance of the RX-8. In the event of a crash that jams the front doors, the rears essentially get jammed as well, and to account for this, the front seats of the RX-8 fold forward to allow the rear occupants an escape route, but it's still a scary thought with deployed airbags and maybe even unconscious front occupants.

And, before you ask, here's how little the tiny rear windows open.

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So, the novelty Freestyle Doors are there to minimise wheelbase and maintain sports car proportions, but why the raised transmission tunnel that allows the car to only seat four? Sportiness, obviously! With 4 doors and 4 seats, it goes without saying that the wheelbase of the RX-8 is longer than that of the FD3S; 275mm longer in fact, at 2,700mm. Coupled with the lack of a B–pillar, the car's structural rigidity is a pressing concern, both for driving dynamics and safety. Even the 2–door FD had long struggled with rigidity issues before and after its launch, and its also the reason why the Studie H50 didn't make it past a single build. To this end, Mazda engineers made good use of the raised transmission tunnel that divides the left and right seats by making it act as a brace for the chassis, sheathing its already rigid "power plant frame" drivetrain. These, among other reinforcing structures, reportedly gave the RX-8 better structural strength in comparison to its less compromised and more focused predecessor in spite of its longer wheelbase, making the SE3P a much more surefooted and predictable drive than the FD3S, inspiring more confidence in me to bring it closer to its limits for much longer. This disparity in confidence only grows when both cars are tuned to go faster, making the RX-8 a much easier car to tune up to all but the most extreme levels of performance in my opinion. The only downside to the divided rear seats, of course, is perhaps best described by the wise and eloquent "Drift King" Tsuchiya Keiichi: "LOVE LOVE dekinai! NO CHANCE!"

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But, as quirky as the Freestyle Doors and Rotary triangle motifs are, they're almost a red herring, a distraction, from the real weirdness of the RX-8, which naturally lies under the now single–piece bonnet—and no, I'm not even talking about the Rotary Engine itself. Despite lacking the twin sequential turbocharging system of the FD, the naturally aspirated RX-8 has its own sequential chicanery up its pipes: a Sequential Dynamic Air Intake System, or S-DAIS for short. Only equipped on the top of the line, "high power" spec engines with one extra intake and exhaust port per rotor over the standard engines, said S-DAIS electronically controls the intake port opening area and air intake length according to engine speed to emulate piston engine trickery like velocity trumpets and VVT, which Mazda claims to help with both low end life and high end oomph. Even the Le Mans conquering 787B racecar employed very similar trickery to achieve a shockingly balanced power curve for its naturally aspirated 4–Rotor, and absent the crutch of forced induction, the lessons learned from Mazda's tireless Le Mans efforts could finally trickle down onto a production sports car in the RX-8, and I think that is exceedingly cool. S-DAIS has too many phases to list even in this long writeup, but most crucially at 5,500rpm, another air intake upstream of the entire contraption opens up to provide max power for high revs. On a dry track, one most likely will never dip below that threshold, given the NA Rotary's notorious need to be revved out for whatever meagre power it can manage. On a wet road however, many drivers will use high gears and low revs to better manage power oversteer, and it's precisely in these low–grip scenarios where that 5,500rpm switchover can make itself prominent: that stealthy increase in power can very suddenly break loose the rear tyres in the wet, not helped by the NA Rotary's reputation for being gutless in low revs, meaning most drivers probably don't think much of mashing the noise pedal when the engine isn't screaming bloody murder.

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This issue is only compounded by Mazda's "Super Torsen LSD" system fitted as standard on the RX-8 and some grades of its platform sibling, the NC Roadster. It works magic in the dry, but I find that it tends to overexaggerate rear end yaw moments in the wet. I vividly recall Jeremy Clarkson's review of the RX-8 on Top Gear, where he cites the rear end being "awfully twitchy" in the wet as one of the only real knocks against the car, and Super GT drivers testing the then new NC Roadster in Best Motoring under torrential downpour noted the same nervousness of the rear end, right after it threw "Drift King" Tsuchiya Keiichi off track at Tsukuba. In all three instances, the tyres are cited as a possible cause, but I genuinely think it's the diff: an aftermarket full custom LSD in the game set to the same arbitrary values as stock gives just a hint more understeer in the dry, but makes the car a lot more predictable in the wet. Granted, these are issues a person will only encounter when driving like a maniac in a canal with all aids off, but it's still very much worth mentioning, nonetheless.

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The increased power and coolness that S-DAIS brings, Mazda's renowned shift action feel, and the Rotary Engine's inherent need to be revved out, all combine to mean that the 6MT is THE RX-8 to get if the driver is able to operate three pedals and a stick. The RX-8's insistence on being shifted by its driver even extends across the digital divide into Gran Turismo 7—while the Spirit R RX-8 in this game is indeed the 6MT with the high output engine spec, the game will prematurely climax at a mere 9k rpm if left to make its own bad decisions. Coupled with its extremely pure and engaging driving experience, the RX-8 Spirit R is one of the very, very few cars in the game that makes me want to turn off the in–game HUD when driving, because the HUD becomes genuinely annoying and distracting when trying to drive the car right. Switch that lying piece of crap off; it's not your friend. Shift the car by ear, but leave common sense at the Freestyle Doors. Rev it. Here's where a normal car really ought to have shifted, judging by the sound. Not yet. Hell no. Still not yet. Something sounds like it ought to have blown up by now. Still not yet. You steal a glance at the large, centre tachometer, the rev needle approaching the "9" digit, past which the entire tachometer turns red. Hit that. And then go past that still. Ignore that twisting sensation in your stomach that tells you you're breaking the car; the car needs this abuse to feel alive. Most gears are fine with being brought all the way to the car's 9,5 rev limit, but the extremely close 4th to 5th shift I find is best done at around 9,2.

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In my reviews of the turbocharged FC and FD RX-7s, I've said that the beeper traditionally built into those cars to remind drivers to upshift is unnecessary at best and annoying at worst. That's because those turbocharged rotaries have a somewhat sensible 8,000rpm rev limit, and have their boost set in a way to give well balanced power across the mid to high range, instead of hiding it all up top, meaning that I often shift before the beeper even comes on in those cars. Here in the RX-8 however, that beeper is more than necessary, as the naturally aspirated unit revs to a common sense defying 9,500rpm, near which the engine always needs to be kept, and a beeper to reaffirm to the driver that they aren't going to blow the car up would be a super nice thing to have when getting used to the car. But, wouldn't you know it, when it's needed the most, the bloody beeper of the RX-8 isn't reproduced in Gran Turismo 7!

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In 2008, the RX-8 received a facelift that mainly targeted QoL improvements. Dynamically, the chassis was strengthened even further, but max power was actually lowered from 247HP to 232HP, in so doing also slightly making the engine less peaky, with peak power coming in at 8,2 instead of 8,5. Peak torque stayed completely unchanged though, maintaining 216N⋅m (159.3lbf⋅ft) at 5,5. To compensate for the lowered power, the 6MT models got a shortened final gear ratio for snappier acceleration. Visually, the facelift finally brought back the RX-01's funky Rotary Triangle wheels, the swapping of which to other wheel designs ought to be a crime. They ditched the rather "meh" Winning Blue Metallic and Stormy Blue Mica for the astounding Aurora Blue Mica. That's... probably not a big deal to anyone but me. I just want to complain about the utterly boneheaded decision for the Spirit R RX-8 to not be offered with any paint choices containing hue. I mean, come on, Mazda. You know I love you guys, but nani the actual heck were you kangaetoru when deciding that the RX-8 Spirit R should only come in white, black, or silver? I know it's the sendoff model for the Rotary sports car, but you didn't have to make the paint options resemble the dress code of a freaking funeral...

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As is customary with Mazda sports cars, a few special editions of the car were released in its life cycle, featuring mostly aesthetic changes, but the ones that went beyond that were exceptionally cool: the RX-8 Type S could actually be fitted with an NR-A package for a cost, which would quite literally turn the RX-8 into a road–legal racecar, qualifying the car for entry into a grassroots RX-8 one–make race held in Japan, similar to the Roadster NR-A. Can you imagine rocking up to a trackday, bro, with a pink roll cage that completely blocks off the still existing rear seats? Heck, if you'd like to sacrifice all boot space instead, you could stuff a tank of hydrogen back there: the RX-8 Hydrogen RE is an RX-8 with minimal modifications to run on either hydrogen or gasoline, offering drivers the choice via a switch in the centre console (in the shape of a Rotary triangle, naturally!).

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The RX-8 may have been cheaper and burned cleaner than the RX-7, and in some scenarios, it could even carry four people. Heck, it drives well too, but there's one almost unsaid goal that the RX-8 hadn't managed to achieve: sell well. Even beyond its weird door and breathing shenanigans, the RX-8 is a completely bewildering prospect. It's a 247–at–most–HP car that only does a claimed 16 US MPG combined; freaking muscle cars can match that with thrice the RX-8's displacement. For raw sportiness and outright pace, the immaculate S2000 has the RX-8 whooped any day of the week. For practicality and performance, a WRX STi or even a Crown Athlete would outdo the RX-8. For cheap fun without reliability being a worrying concern, hell, there's always the Roadster.

But, honestly? Caring about any of that is missing the point of the RX-8 entirely.

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Style by XSquareStickIt: RE雨宮µ過給圧上昇8
#REAmemiya #BoostUp #tuner

Its original ragtag team of engineers knew this better than anyone: the RX-8 is a car that's meant to be driven, and driven hard. I don't even mean, "spirited driving" kind of hard; I mean, "drive it to and past its limits on a track" hard. Then, and only then, does the car start to make its case. As if a peaky car with a 9,5 rev limit needed this to be spelled out! The RX-8 sits squarely in a very narrow window of performance that I consider to be THE sweet spot for sports cars, populated by the industry's best of the best of any era, such as the 901 Carrera RS, M3 Sport Evo, and S2000. At this performance level, I opine that the engine has enough personality to stand out, but not dominate the entire experience. Fast enough to excite, but not too fast to become dangerous and unapproachable. Given the right amount of grip, these power levels can form a symbiotic dance with the chassis, allowing their drivers to be surgically neat, smooth, and well behaved to put on a driving clinic, or to swing the entirely opposite direction to cause utter mayhem should the driver so wish. Everything at this speed happens with just enough of a warning and transition to really communicate with the driver and to be a raw, engaging, and mechanical drive, the likes of which the industry might never see again, chasing after spec sheet numbers while being choked by ever tightening regulations.

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The RX-8 may perform at a similar level to the aforementioned hall of fame cars, but it's a slight bit more muted and sedate to drive than those benchmarks. Make no mistake, however, that the RX-8 still fits all those lofty descriptions I laid out in the previous paragraph. What the RX-8 offers in exchange for sheer, raw sportiness is a driving experience that combines the seemingly impossible mix of becalming and exciting. The RX-8 will never get away from its driver on a dry, paved road. It will never let go unless specifically asked to. It remains composed over bumps, adverse camber, and silly elevation changes. It just promptly does whatever is asked of it without complaints or even hints of stress; only an enthusiastically talkative car juxtaposed into an almost therapeutically calm drive at reckless speeds, done almost entirely with intuitive, communicative mechanical engineering. Its brakes are strong. The front end feels less like commandeering a 1.4 tonne hunk of metal to manoeuvre a bend via a steering wheel, and more like me reaching my hand down to the pavement and then drawing a precise line through the road as I please. The rear end helpfully comes around ever so slightly when trail braking, proportionately rotating the car to my brake and steering input to rotate the car into an apex, and it can be reined back in with a mere thought should the driver misjudge it. The amount of trust it so effortlessly earns from me is just stupid, reckless, even. It never feels urgent; just brisk, like a jog with a loved one.

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Style edited from Speedsource GrandAm RX-8 GT Ver2 by toshi-se3p
#speedsource #daytona #grandam

Style by XSquareStickIt: RX-822R
#imsa #rx792p #racecar

To me, 95% of my appreciation for a sports car lies in its last 5% of its handling envelope, and it's here that the RX-8 shames the vast majority of sports cars, regardless of era. While other cars just give up with instant, surrendering understeer or lash out with fumbling oversteer, the RX-8 instead meekly hints at the driver of its stress, speaking up politely to inform its driver of the things that are upsetting it if ignored, before drafting with its driver the terms and conditions of the controlled, staggered cessation of grip, effective immediately at the driver's convenience in a readily terminable contract if push comes to shove. It's such a clear communicator that it made me hyper aware for the first time, how smaller things like different wheel sizes affect a car's handling, and how awful Sports tyres are in this game, because they seem to let go so suddenly at their limit. I much prefer my RX-8 on Comfort Soft tyres, because those let go a lot slower and are more communicative. It's such a well–mannered, charismatic, and effective communicator of a sports car, the likes of which makes other supposed sports cars look like uncultured, boorish swine, and I suspect that's why I don't often like cars we test. Often, after I test a car that left a really bad taste in my mouth or even made me angry, I just want to slip into my RX-8 and just... drive. Forget. Heal, even. It's impossible to be mad when driving a working RX-8. It's almost like my automotive tea: so neutral and understated on its own, but has an amazing capability to wash away stronger flavours and reset a person's palate. In so doing, the RX-8 inadvertently becomes a standard to which other cars are compared to and judged against. That "automotive tea" of mine used to be the FD RX-7, but I think my obsessive longing for the RX-8 after work the past three weeks have told me that the RX-8 has succeeded that role for the 7 in my mind. In other words, I genuinely believe that the RX-8 drives better than the FD RX-7, and that's coming from someone who came to love cars because of the FD, and spent almost his entire life idolising and yearning for one. The RX-8 might not be nearly as photogenic as the FD, but every time after I drive my RX-8, I just sit and stare at it with a dumb, wide grin on my face and think, "daaaaamn!" While the RX-7 left the factory built to be beautiful, the RX-8 drives so damn well that it becomes beautiful to me.

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Style by XSquareStickIt: RX-8 LM20
#lemans #anniversary #california

Isn't that the entire point of a sports car? To amaze its driver every drive, to engage and involve them, and make them laugh and smile? Every day for the past few weeks, as I end another monotonous day at work, my body longs for, my soul yearns for the unshakable embrace of the RX-8 to wash it all away. It's impossible to be upset or mad when driving a working RX-8. I don't have any goals to achieve with it. I have nowhere to drive it to. Get that nonsensical HUD off the screen, forget the irrelevant time deltas. I just want to watch the rev needle climb and fall. I just want to hear the smooth wail of the Rotary Engine at 9,5, the wait, the anticipation, that feeling of "this ought to have blown up by now, what the hell?", never gets old. I want to be swept away in the exciting flow of its calm waters. And that, I think, is a sure sign that the car has become more than the sum of its parts, becoming an art form I can't explain or rationalise. Mazda have taken something that ought to be a subjective notion—driving pleasure—and not only perfected it into a science, but distilled it into artistic performance. There is nothing in it I want to change, nor anything beyond it that really matters. I just want to drive it hard, as it is. And that, quite simply, makes it belong in an elite list of cars that one hand would be plenty to count with. I can't even begin to imagine what having a real one must be like, highs and lows alike. I was even on the fence on buying GT7 on the leadup to launch, with the RX-8 Spirit R being one of the three things that would make me instantly buy the game and a PS5 at the then inflated prices. And you know what, it was worth every penny and more.

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The RX-8 makes no sense on paper. There is nothing here that appeals to the logical side of the human brain. I can't recommend it for its practicality. Its fuel economy is woeful. Horror stories of the car's reliability probably killed the car more than emission standards. I can't even recommend it in the game, where it will never break; it's roughly the same PP level as a goddamn GD Impreza STi for some stupid reason. You'll probably be wise to not buy the car, in the same way so many were wise to not have bought an FD RX-7, an NA NSX, McLaren F1, or an E30 M3. The same way a health conscious nut would avoid bubble tea. The same way a frugal person wouldn't ever pay for porn or music. The same way no rational person could ever find a reason to adopt a pet.

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But if the RX-8 speaks to you, I think that makes you one of the luckiest people alive. When I see an RX-8, I don't see a confused, ugly car; I see a monster who had gone through hell, who almost didn't make it through to see the light of day, just trying its best to find a place to belong, and I just want to go over and give it a hug if I could. Its engineers risked their livelihoods to bring this to us, and god damn are they in a class of their own. The vast majority of the people who drive it most likely won't ever give it a proper chance to speak its weird language, and even when allowed to speak, even fewer would understand it. But the RX-8 spoke to me, loudly, clearly, convincingly, captivatingly, bewitchingly, hypnotising me each and every time. And now I feel like I can't live without it.

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If Mazda engineers could make a 4–door sedan drive better than an FD RX-7, imagine what they could create if they had access to modern technology, with the creative liberty to create something like the FD RX-7, a no frills, raw sports car again, free of any constraints, political or financial. It's the reason why the RX-Vision doesn't sit well with me, and why I disagree with the direction of the Iconic SP; I want a no–nonsense, focused Rotary sports car from Mazda. I don't want them to care about having 4 doors, adopt an existing chassis, or to shoehorn a hybrid system into a sports car, because their engineers do their best work when they just go off and make what they want to. I know they have the talent and passion to make something truly exceptional before the Internal Combustion Engine becomes consigned to history. As one of the last few enthusiast–centric brands left in the market, I truly hope we get a no–compromise 2 door rotary sports car from Mazda before it's too late.

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As someone who's lurking all the time in this thread just to read about cars in the game, this may be one of the best things I've read today and you've convinced me to give the RX-8 a chance in GT7.
Thanks!
Just start writing books bro. Full support.

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I second this, like WOW! Wish I had all of this writing skills! :lol:
 
Memories of GTS

I was young, stupid, and not quite so jaded, and so I bought my PS4 even before news of "the next Gran Turismo" even surfaced; I was THAT sure I'd get it. I was so sure I'd get it that I didn't pay much attention to the marketing material and discussion around "Gran Turismo Sport" when it was first announced. All I remember from that time was just me ogling at the ND Roadster, and getting so, SO excited for the Tokyo Expressway layouts. Those were all the marketing I needed.

Only to have all my hype for the game... burnt to the ground, shall we say? ;)

Yeah, I was one of those "old school" Gran Turismo fans. Gran Turismo has always had an unhealthily big influence on most of my life; it got me into cars as a kid, and I spent most of my time after school just playing GT1 and 2. GT Sport was a big shock, for sure. The driving physics at launch were terrible. The single player wasn't even enough to call "skin and bones". There wasn't even a single rotary car. It had been so bad that I even messaged a friend asking if they'd like my copy of GTS—that was just how little value I got out of it.

Thankfully, they declined my copy of the game that day.

The game gradually got better and better via monthly updates, fixing the physics and FFB while adding boatloads of content, and I started to become more and more invested. I got my eyes opened to this odd little image format called "vector image", stored as some weird file I had never seen before, called "svg", and I'd need to learn it to put my favourite Metal Slug sprites on my cars and suits. I dipped my toes into Sport Mode with the RX-7 Spirit R one–make at Tsukuba, and the first two wins there got me instantly hooked onto that high, and I'd spend the next two years chasing it (mostly in vain). I learned about racing rules and etiquette. My pace increased dramatically. And when I got tired of all that, I wrote a bit for this weird thread on GTPlanet called "Car of the Week" or something, and then I spent the next few years polishing my writing and people skills.

All that, from one silly little game I almost gave away day one.

Since we're going on a race sharing spree, let me share a few of mine, as well!

Middling DR:A lobby + FIA Nations Cup strong penalties + grid start + Tokyo + RAIN = Need I say more?



Man, I genuinely miss the Fittipaldi EF7 VGT. It actually drove well, and sounding like a 458 certainly did it no disservice. I recently raced one in Nismo's GTS lobby, and had a photo finish with a World Tour driver at Interlagos! Nothing but fun memories with the EF7. (@Nismonath5 maybe make those streams into a VOD? Hint hint, nudge nudge)

R34 GT-R Vs. E46 M3



We've had plenty of close battles since I joined COTW, but this one still sticks out in my memory as one of the best ones in my mind. I knew I had the faster car, but Vic wasn't having any of my crap!
 
Memories of GTS

I was young, stupid, and not quite so jaded, and so I bought my PS4 even before news of "the next Gran Turismo" even surfaced; I was THAT sure I'd get it. I was so sure I'd get it that I didn't pay much attention to the marketing material and discussion around "Gran Turismo Sport" when it was first announced. All I remember from that time was just me ogling at the ND Roadster, and getting so, SO excited for the Tokyo Expressway layouts. Those were all the marketing I needed.

Only to have all my hype for the game... burnt to the ground, shall we say? ;)

Yeah, I was one of those "old school" Gran Turismo fans. Gran Turismo has always had an unhealthily big influence on most of my life; it got me into cars as a kid, and I spent most of my time after school just playing GT1 and 2. GT Sport was a big shock, for sure. The driving physics at launch were terrible. The single player wasn't even enough to call "skin and bones". There wasn't even a single rotary car. It had been so bad that I even messaged a friend asking if they'd like my copy of GTS—that was just how little value I got out of it.

Thankfully, they declined my copy of the game that day.

The game gradually got better and better via monthly updates, fixing the physics and FFB while adding boatloads of content, and I started to become more and more invested. I got my eyes opened to this odd little image format called "vector image", stored as some weird file I had never seen before, called "svg", and I'd need to learn it to put my favourite Metal Slug sprites on my cars and suits. I dipped my toes into Sport Mode with the RX-7 Spirit R one–make at Tsukuba, and the first two wins there got me instantly hooked onto that high, and I'd spend the next two years chasing it (mostly in vain). I learned about racing rules and etiquette. My pace increased dramatically. And when I got tired of all that, I wrote a bit for this weird thread on GTPlanet called "Car of the Week" or something, and then I spent the next few years polishing my writing and people skills.

All that, from one silly little game I almost gave away day one.

Since we're going on a race sharing spree, let me share a few of mine, as well!

Middling DR:A lobby + FIA Nations Cup strong penalties + grid start + Tokyo + RAIN = Need I say more?



Man, I genuinely miss the Fittipaldi EF7 VGT. It actually drove well, and sounding like a 458 certainly did it no disservice. I recently raced one in Nismo's GTS lobby, and had a photo finish with a World Tour driver at Interlagos! Nothing but fun memories with the EF7. (@Nismonath5 maybe make those streams into a VOD? Hint hint, nudge nudge)

R34 GT-R Vs. E46 M3



We've had plenty of close battles since I joined COTW, but this one still sticks out in my memory as one of the best ones in my mind. I knew I had the faster car, but Vic wasn't having any of my crap!

I'm sure you'll enjoy my Fittipaldi GTS Nords hot lap then. :) Gonna be released sometime in July though...
 
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Honestly now: take a look at the achingly beautiful AMG GT, and tell me you need a wordy, nerdy review to convince you whether or not you want one.

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I don't know why, but Mercedes cars have always given me the impression that they're classy, comfy, and capable things. Despite all their success in motorsports, boy racer things like stripes and wings just never seemed to suit their cars. And it's for this reason that I much, much prefer the older, classier AMG GT S to the overbearing GT R and Black Series. Tasteless bits like gouged out bonnets, IKEA aero, and a boy racer paint job just ruin this shape, and decals feel like straight up vandalism in my eyes. I even showed up to this week's meet without a livery—It's that good.

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Yes, it's got a downsized engine. Yes, it's got twin turbos. Yes, it produces less power, and around most tracks, it's slower than the SLS AMG it succeeds. Yes, it needs a hint of a short shift to accelerate its best. But take this thing to redline gear after gear, and tell me that you care about a few hundredths on a stopwatch. Wrangle this surprisingly balanced feeling 1,570kg (3,461lbs) package into the apex of a corner, and tell me you'd rather be in an SLS. Park it, and tell me you can walk away without taking at least a look back thinking, "daaaaaamn!"

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The AMG GT S might not be lightweight sports car agile, and it's certainly not the kind of car that tries to hide its heft—this is a big, heavy car that feels big and heavy all the time. But, I think it almost uses its heft and luxobarge status to demand a certain level of respect and reverence from its driver, solely as leverage to surprise them with athleticism when push comes to shove. Look, I'm not the best driver out there. Sometimes I carry too much speed into a corner, and miss an apex. Doesn't help that Nismo inadvertently set boost and slipstream to "Strong" in his GTS lobby with the alien McEwen among the grid. In those dire situations, the AMG GT puts on a fierce face of a pissed off mob boss, but then takes care of me like I'm its own flesh and blood, bending physics with pure muscle and unseen influence alike to make sure no harm comes my way. It has an uncanny ability to rotate itself almost like a swivel chair deep into a corner, where most cars would have evaporated all their front rubber, and then offer a frantic powerslide to its driver to exit the turn. It's plenty capable, with almost an idiot proof quality to it, but you know what? It never feels like a punching bag that can be taken for granted. It commands respect both from its driver and those around it. It's safe, endless theatre, almost like a roller coaster ride.

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Outside of those "AMG help!" moments? The car behaves incredibly neutral. The 4.0L V8 may now be twin turbocharged, but I would've never guessed it without the game's boost gauge: the powerband just feels solid in the low and mid range, progressive throughout its rev band, satisfying to rev out, and barks out a tidal wave of sound that would make grown men weak in their knees. Weight distribution is slightly rear biased at 47:53 thanks to the cab back design of the car and its transaxle layout, but despite the front being the lighter end, it's the thinner, 265mm front tyres that will give up first as a hard stop before the 295mm rear tyres get into any real danger... unless of course, the driver buries their right foot in a low gear without TCS. No amount of engineering sorcery will save an idiot from that. On a "clean", "scientific" racetrack such as Suzuka, I get this very distinct feeling of utter chaos happening underneath the car, with the electronic dampers and rear steer systems scrambling to salvage or conjure up grip from out of thin air to shut the complaining tyres up, while the car almost seems to lay a thick carpet over it all to assure me that everything is fine. This isn't a sports car I want to push to find the bleeding edge of and romanticise about "being as one at the limits" with, so that's mostly fine as long as the car behaves, which it very much does. On a road less pretty like Bathurst and the Nordschleife, though? All of that just melts away, and the car would almost blend into the background of a mental zen if not for the respect that 502HP and 1,570kg passively demands. It just feels incredibly natural and neutral, in spite of its battleship mass and firepower, which in itself is a feat of engineering; after all, sometimes the best sign that you've done an impeccable job is if your customer doesn't notice a thing.

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The Safety Car version of the GT S is a bit of a peculiar one. I've previously said that the Safety Car and Base Car perform identical to one another, but upon spending more time with the cars, I've come to see that that isn't the case. The SC has Type A front, side, rear, and wing options of the BC applied by default, and only the wing can be removed. As a result, the SC has just a hint more downforce than the BC, up from 40/60 to 60/60 F/R, neither adjustable by default. While the BC sports very fitting Titanium twin 5–spoke wheels, the SC instead has black forged cross–spoke wheels, and to my knowledge, this is the only instance of an option wheel being fitted on a variation of a car, and it's so, so cool to see. I just wish there was an option to swap wheels between the two cars if they've gone through all that effort to scan the wheels!

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Despite sporting no discernible difference on the settings sheets aside from the slightly different downforce, the BC and SC drive notably different on a track; the SC is just a tad bit more eager to bite in to hunt an apex, but at the cost of being the same bit more tail happy on corner exit. It might be easy to point to the increased front downforce for this difference in behaviour, but said difference becomes apparent at speeds as middling as 120km/h (75mph). I've even tried matching downforce numbers on both cars via aftermarket parts, but I still couldn't get their PP values to align. It seems like there are more changes beyond visible numbers made to the two cars, but for what reason? I couldn't tell you.

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Whichever AMG GT you go for, though, it's exactly what it says on the tin: an excruciatingly beautiful GT car with on–track capabilities belying its unshakable demeanour, spec sheet, and category. In short, it's a "Sleeper and a Keeper", to borrow Baron's catchphrase. But, beyond its tangible hardware, the AMG GT S scores straight tens in the emotional checklist as well—It makes its driver feel all the right, magical things a car lover looks for in a car, and while that's something that's impossible to put into words, it's very much a sure sign that the folks at Mercedes not only know what they're doing, but they're car lovers as well. To me, the AMG GT S is a masterpiece as it is, and it doesn't need more of anything.

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My best races in GT Sport were these two:

March 2021 - Nations Exhibition Season 1: Gr.1 at BMB Infield B

i.e. The time I went from 12th to a podium because everyone was tripping over each other and the guy that started 2nd was gullible enough to make his car choice purely off the FP leaderboard and brought a GT-R LM to a tyre wear race. And because word of the wallriding exploit didn't get out yet.




June 2021 - Nations Season 1: Gr.2 at Fuji (Race report at bottom of linked post)

i.e. The time I went from 12th to a win because everyone was spinning, taking penalties, running out of fuel or in one guy's case, playing dirty and getting smacked by karma.






And the Toyota GR GT Cup that same year was how I found and joined you guys, because that season had a round at N24 with the Toyota 2000GT which happened to be the COTW back in late April. Joining COTW meant that I got to drive cars that I normally wouldn't touch, since I was and still am focused on Sport Mode championships. Driving and adapting to a variety of cars has made me a better driver, and I have you guys to thank for it!
 
Some crazy week it has been, eh? We bade goodbye to GT Sport, and then the Maestro himself, who featured in the game's DLC time attack challenges, ups and leaves Mercedes to join Ferrari of all teams?!

Don't go smashing expensive headsets on tables now, but from Week 42 to 43, we'll attempt to pull a Hamilton ourselves, jumping ship from Mercedes to Ferrari. Chosen by one of our Ferrari fanatics here in COTW, @Pickle_Rick74 has picked our first Ferrari to feature in GT7 COTW: the Ferrari F8 Tributo '19!

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Pickle_Rick74​

After today's amazing news, news that fills me with joy, it is going to have to be a Ferrari (...) I am choosing the Ferrari F8 Tributo '19. That and it looks and sounds fantastic. Hopefully, it will have less understeer than previous Ferraris.

The latest in Ferrari's flagship line of mid engine seductresses and quite possibly the last of its kind, the F8 Tributo succeeds some of the automotive industry's most sought after and salivated over models, including (but not limited to) the 458 Italia and 488. Big shoes to fill, for sure, but it also has big... well, everything. A twin–turbo 3.9L V8 engine slung amidships pushing out a whopping 710HP, propelling a car that weighs, according to the game, a mere 1,330kg (2,932lbs)! A big price tag too: it's available in Brand Central without an invite, but it'll set you back a whopping 330,500 Credits!

Our weekly Tuesday lobby is at the usual time. Bring a non wide–bodied F8, and BoP will reset everything temporarily to stock while you're there! Hosted by Victory_Reign93, the lobby will be hosted on Tuesday, 6th February, 10 P.M. CST. Unfortunately, the Saturday lobby will have to be called off, as it's Lunar New Year for us Singaporean Chinese, and we'll be away visiting relatives and being harassed by questions like, "what are you working as?", "do you have a girlfriend yet?", "when are you getting married?"

As for this week's ~Special Challenge~, we're sticking with the F1 theme, as Rick challenges anyone to make or replicate a Ferrari F1 livery from any era on the F8!

Pickle_Rick74​

My challenge is again related to the crazy Ferrari news, it is to make an F1 Ferrari livery from any era. I'm obviously going to do that anyways, so the contest is for everybody else. Just think it would make for a cool looking grid as well. Some of the early ones are pretty easy to throw on.

As always, we welcome any thoughts, opinions, stories, photos, videos, reviews, or liveries of the Car of the Week by anyone to be shared here in this thread! Let's see if this Ferrari is F8ted to be a Beater or a Sleeper... ;)
 
Oh nice the F8. The first Ferrari to be featured IN GT7 COTW and it's the worst of 'em all. Nice, getting the **** out of the way first.
So I BARELY managed to squeeze out a 06.56.790 on its stock SM tyres out of it.

YT review: "Ok, how to go about THIS one? I might just blur it out and I can't say it any nicer: This car is HORRENDOUS in this game! Look, it does look super sexy, it sounds nice, it is suuuper fast BUT THAT HANDLING IS UNACCEPTABLE on SM tyres for such a modern car. It is one of the WORST cars I've driven in the game. Considerung its age, power and SM tyres, I thought it would DESTROY the AMG Black Series and possibly handily beat the Aventador SV (both also on SM tyres), but NOPE, it was barely two seconds quicker, then the WEAKER Enzo FROM 2002! ON SH tyres, yeeeeesh! The car is just wayyyy too nervous all around, especially at high speeds when bumps are involved, and if you need to break in such a situation, then hold on TIGHT to the wheel! It is just so super unstable, nervous and twitchy. Having said that, the true potentiall of this car is WAY above what I could muster, but I'm just not talented enough to max this thing. Aliens, where are you...?"



Drag race battle: (at least it's quick in a straight line)


Verdict: one of the worst beaters of the game

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FINAL ENTRY

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This livery probably doesn’t need any introduction - the time in F1 when Ferrari didn’t compete in scarlet red.

Also, those that played Need for Speed Rivals probably raised some eyebrows at Ferrari’s choice in name for their successor to the 488. (Spoilers, but the plot is paper thin anyways)

In NFS Rivals, the cop protagonist is out on a crusade against the rampant street racing in the fictional Redview County after Zephyr (protagonist of the Racer side) filmed himself outrunning the law.

As the conflict escalates between police and racers, the police get suspended under allegations of excessive force, with the FBI’s Vehicle Response Team stepping in to replace the cops. Incensed, the cop protagonist goes rouge, taking an impounded red Enzo Ferrari and masquerading as a racer named F-8 to wreak havoc on other racers.

F-8’s violence result in the police being recalled back to active duty, with the cop protagonist being offered a place with the VRT. Dropping his F-8 persona, the cop protagonist climbs the ranks of the VRT, eventually being tasked with finding and stopping Zephyr for good.

The cop protagonist hunts down and takes out Zephyr, but his successful takedown also results in him crashing and severely injuring himself. On top of that, he gets ejected from the force for excessive and reckless use of force.

As the street racing in Redview County seems to die down, a video of a red Enzo Ferrari is posted, with F-8 seemingly picking up where Zephyr left off and throwing down the gauntlet to racers across the county.

This was from a game released in Nov 2013.

@Pickle_Rick74 probably didn’t intend this, but his choice of car is also especially appropriate for Chinese New Year.
Quothe Wikipedia:
Eight (八; accounting 捌; pinyin ) is considered a lucky number in Chinese culture because it sounds like the word meaning to generate wealth (發(T) 发(S); Pinyin: ).
 
Oh nice the F8. The first Ferrari to be featured IN GT7 COTW and it's the worst of 'em all. Nice, getting the **** out of the way first.
So I BARELY managed to squeeze out a 06.56.790 on its stock SM tyres out of it.

YT review: "Ok, how to go about THIS one? I might just blur it out and I can't say it any nicer: This car is HORRENDOUS in this game! Look, it does look super sexy, it sounds nice, it is suuuper fast BUT THAT HANDLING IS UNACCEPTABLE on SM tyres for such a modern car. It is one of the WORST cars I've driven in the game. Considerung its age, power and SM tyres, I thought it would DESTROY the AMG Black Series and possibly handily beat the Aventador SV (both also on SM tyres), but NOPE, it was barely two seconds quicker, then the WEAKER Enzo FROM 2002! ON SH tyres, yeeeeesh! The car is just wayyyy too nervous all around, especially at high speeds when bumps are involved, and if you need to break in such a situation, then hold on TIGHT to the wheel! It is just so super unstable, nervous and twitchy. Having said that, the true potentiall of this car is WAY above what I could muster, but I'm just not talented enough to max this thing. Aliens, where are you...?"



Drag race battle: (at least it's quick in a straight line)


Verdict: one of the worst beaters of the game

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It's funny how different peoples reactions to cars are especially in GT7.

I think the F8 is a great handling car that just so happens to have 700 turbo-charged hp strapped to it. It's very precise, both in chassis and power delivery, but is also a barely retrained killer ready to take down anyone not able to stay on top of it at all times. It may not be the fastest thing around a track in stock form, but it's an awesome and rewarding thing to drive around. If it weren't predictable I might agree with some of what you're saying, but I can't, because it is predictable, and it's fantastic.

It doesn't excessively understeer, you can pose it with the throttle, powerslide at will more controllably than most cars (within this physics model), and put down hypercar quick lap-times when you stop driving loose like me and concentrate on buckling it down. The F12 is much of the same, and all I'd heard of it before driving it was how it was impossible, but I loved it (and that's on the early handling models). You rarely get to put the throttle down to the floor very often, but you don't need to with all that power, just like the F8 and some other cars in the game.

I admit to being a fan of difficult to wrangle cars, but I don't find the F8 to be that. It's one of the more pleasant surprise drives in the game for me.

Here's a race I did in one a while back at Dragon Trail.




I just found this thread XSquareStickIt... and WOW. Wonderful stuff. Bravo! I will now be checking it every time I'm here!
 
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It's funny how different peoples reactions to cars are especially in GT7.

I think the F8 is a great handling car that just so happens to have 700 turbo-charged hp strapped to it. It's very precise, both in chassis and power delivery, but is also a barely retrained killer ready to take down anyone not able to stay on top of it at all times. It may not be the fastest thing around a track in stock form, but it's an awesome and rewarding thing to drive around. If it weren't predictable I might agree with some of what you're saying, but I can't, because it is predictable, and it's fantastic.

It doesn't excessively understeer, you can pose it with the throttle, powerslide at will more controllably than most cars (within this physics model), and put down hypercar quick lap-times when you stop driving loose like me and concentrate on buckling it down. The F12 is much of the same, and all I'd heard of it before driving it was how it was impossible, but I loved it (and that's on the early handling models). You rarely get to put the throttle down to the floor very often, but you don't need to with all that power, just like the F8 and some other cars in the game.

I admit to being a fan of difficult to wrangle cars, but I don't find the F8 to be that. It's one of the more pleasant surprise drives in the game for me.

Here's a race I did in one a while back at Dragon Trail.




I just found this thread XSquareStickIt... and WOW. Wonderful stuff. Bravo! I will now be checking it every time I'm here!

We have to agree to disagree then.

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It's funny how different peoples reactions to cars are especially in GT7.

I think the F8 is a great handling car that just so happens to have 700 turbo-charged hp strapped to it. It's very precise, both in chassis and power delivery, but is also a barely retrained killer ready to take down anyone not able to stay on top of it at all times. It may not be the fastest thing around a track in stock form, but it's an awesome and rewarding thing to drive around. If it weren't predictable I might agree with some of what you're saying, but I can't, because it is predictable, and it's fantastic.

It doesn't excessively understeer, you can pose it with the throttle, powerslide at will more controllably than most cars (within this physics model), and put down hypercar quick lap-times when you stop driving loose like me and concentrate on buckling it down. The F12 is much of the same, and all I'd heard of it before driving it was how it was impossible, but I loved it (and that's on the early handling models). You rarely get to put the throttle down to the floor very often, but you don't need to with all that power, just like the F8 and some other cars in the game.

I admit to being a fan of difficult to wrangle cars, but I don't find the F8 to be that. It's one of the more pleasant surprise drives in the game for me.

Here's a race I did in one a while back at Dragon Trail.




I just found this thread XSquareStickIt... and WOW. Wonderful stuff. Bravo! I will now be checking it every time I'm here!

It's worth noting that Alex's run of the F8 was done before this current physics model, and previous GT7 physics were bloody awful. His opinions of the car were formed back then and copied and pasted here.

I gave the F8 a quick spin, and I have to agree with LSFDRX on the F8. It's already leaps and bounds better than the 458 and LaFerrari, which were almost caricatures of understeer.

Thanks for your kind words, by the way! It makes all the time and effort I put into this worth it and more :)

@Alex p. , I think it might be worth it for you to give the F8 another try on your own time. ICYMI, the Saturday lobby this week isn't happening because it's an important holiday for me and RX8.
 
It's worth noting that Alex's run of the F8 was done before this current physics model, and previous GT7 physics were bloody awful. His opinions of the car were formed back then and copied and pasted here.

I gave the F8 a quick spin, and I have to agree with LSFDRX on the F8. It's already leaps and bounds better than the 458 and LaFerrari, which were almost caricatures of understeer.

Thanks for your kind words, by the way! It makes all the time and effort I put into this worth it and more :)

@Alex p. , I think it might be worth it for you to give the F8 another try on your own time. ICYMI, the Saturday lobby this week isn't happening because it's an important holiday for me and RX8.
Roger mate. And you're right.
 
The F8 isn’t as bad as @Alex p. makes it out to be, but the learning curve in trying to drive it felt less like a curve and more like a cliff. The wheelspin in lower gears can at least be mitigated with using 4th or 5th on exits, but my main issue with the F8 is the same I had with the Giulia: it doesn’t have the downforce I would like a car with this much power to have, especially with the brakes being typical road car brakes that take a while to stop. I had to be really cautious through the high speed sections to avoid yeeting myself off the track. Lifting off the throttle helps with rotation, but the lack of downforce is still painfully evident.

Despite these issues, I managed to clock a time about 2 seconds faster than Alex presumably did on the older physics, so he definitely can find some time here.

IMG_0251.jpeg


I’m not a fan of the F8. Short shifting can mitigate the wheelspin, but having the Giulia’s main issue magnified, especially with even more power on tap is a deal-breaker for someone who is more at home with Gr.1 and single-seaters. Getting behind the wheel of the F8 feels less like a sign of future prosperity and more like a grim omen of getting into a nasty crash and winding up in the hospital with some massive bills to pay.
 
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Uhh, here you go. See you next week.


SPD Writes Gran Turismo 7's Car Of The Week: Week 42 - Mercedes-AMG GT S


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How odd is it for me to say that the AMG GT series of cars has appeared before this week, but as someone's Signature Car, and someone else's tertiary car.


Mercedes and V8s have been going at it for a good time now, so I find it not surprising they've gotten quite good at it thanks to their in house AMG branding helping out with the grunt work. Last decade, we got the SLS AMG: a notable return to form for AMG that brings the classic styling cues of the Gullwing 300 SL to the modern era. And a V8, but I did say that earlier, no?

After the end of the SLS's production with the Black Series in 2013, it's time to succeed it. And what's this? It's tamer than the SLS? Not only does it have a new, more compact GT look than the SLS had, it also was missing the gullwing doors that made the SLS a notable beauty. To me, this is Mercedes saying: we don't need niche doors to tell you we have tamed a veritable monster. Look at that styling, that brash wide wheel arches, and that sporty fascia that makes you feel like a 991 Porsche 911's got to the gym.

Under the hood is, again repeating, a V8, but the AMG GT has a bespoke variant that has twin turbochargers. Unlike the kind you see with McLaren or Ferrari, V8s in Mercedes still sound like the kind of engine that makes your inner man crawl out of your esophagus. The main numbers from this specially made V8 has the car carrying 1.5 tons with 500 horses measured in. I can't measure how practical this car is, but on its years it's fresh hot, the car's been involved in a lot of Mercedes-AMG's carrying back in the motorsports division. Two I can think of would be safety car, and of course: GT racing. Funny thing: the AMG GT3 uses the SLS AMG's naturally aspirated engine rather than this turbocharged maniac, but that detail should go mentioned when that gets nominated.

Since we're saying goodbye to GT Sport, how about a not so special occassion to write about? To be honest, what am I gonna do? Pack together the main heroes of past and current SPD writing projects under one roof?

This is past SPD telling me I am going to do that, right?


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


Episode 42: Bear The Standards


Autodromo Lago Maggiore
Italia
Late Afternoon



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A quiet afternoon justifies itself with Candy.. not on track and requiring me to actually check..


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Oh, there she is: taking a quick nap in her Yaris.

It might not be a long slumber, but she slowly come awake upon experiencing a bitter dream.



Candy: "L-L-Huh? Oh, silly.. must've dozed off again. I swear that nightmare has to go."


Oblivious to the terrors of her sleep, she raises her arms and stretches them, as far as the car could allow her, leading to a..


Candy: "[ywans] I suppose Nash can impart some wisdom on how to beat jet lag."


As she then exits her car and secures it remotely, a man then approaches her.


"Scusami, madam?"


Visibly noted as one of the few security workers around, Candy made a response that however didn't show her good side, especially when her hair and makeup are a mess.


Candy: "Ugh.. what is it?"


Unfazed, the man replies with a jovial tone..


"Just to inform you of the track closing early to the public. A few racers have reserved the place until nightfall."

Candy: "Oh?"


Feeling a small sense of guilt, Candy then shifted back to her usual mood and spoke bake, leaning forwards, ready to bow.


Candy: "Umm.. Forgive my crass attitude. You can see I'm not from here and.. I suppose I can head back to the hotel.. umm.. thanks!"

"Don't mention it. Ciao."


As the man leaves, Candy retains her peace of her lone self, remarking quietly to herself as she heads back to the Yaris..


Candy: "Limited time? I suppose a few more rounds can satisfy me before qualifying tomorrow."

As Candy pushed her daily driver down the track, she couldn't help but feel sorrow, missing a piece of her within.


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Candy: "Huhh.. ohh, Lulu.."


She shook, hoping that she can bring her focus back to her pace, but she kept on mumbling..


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Candy: "I suppose I can't stop moping about you. I hope what's done is right.."


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As laps fly on by, Candy finds her moment alone phased away.


Make The Bass Go Boom
Peter Chapman
ModNation Racers Original Soundtrack


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Candy: "Eh? That's a Golf GTI?"


Thinking it was just her poor pace, she then notices her speed, and exclaimed..


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Candy: "This is Group 4 speeds?!"


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Trying to shake it off, Candy didn't have much of a way to keep her tail free.


Candy: "Relentless.."


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And eventually..


Candy: "N-no way that's possible! What kind of maniac is in that car?!"


On the contrary, inside the Golf was more than just one maniac.


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Graham: "I told you, guv. Told you lot I'd get her! Bet's done!"


Game psychologist slash biker Graham takes his Golf ahead, looking to his specially amnesiac co-driver after the overtake..


The Cinderella: "That was lovely jubbly driving! If only we got face cams. Think we can leave her in the dust?"

Graham: "Right? You dare doubt me?"


However, a man sitting behind steps out of the shadows, as he didn't approve of what was said, objecting with an intimidating aura..


Jake Ross: "[clears throat]"

Graham: "B-blimey! It's the boss fellow's catchphrase!! M-mate.. that wasn't meant to be, Jake!"


Spoke Graham with a sudden raise in pressure.

Jacob decided to intensify, as he gruffly replies..



Jake Ross: "Yeah? Screw your intent, Graham; I'm watching you.. how about you?"


He then nudged the passenger taking a quick nap on his side.


Paul: "Oi! Lest you want trouble, laddie, don't be nudging me! I mea.. umm.. pretend snoring~."

Graham: "What?! Are you.. bored?! Bollocks!! I'll show you some real driving."


Hearing Graham flustered, Jacob suggested calmly..


Jake Ross: "Gutsy, but.. save it for the race, boy."

Paul: "Aye. Don't be offended, lad: I'd like me some shut eye, if that's fine.."

The Cinderella: "Do tell if you drool. Like a lot. Peggy drools.."


Not liking the idea of the conversation, Graham objects loudly.


Graham: "EYAARRGH! Paul! Mate, I forbid you to!"


And even if she sits from another car, Candy then notices the kerfuffle within..


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Candy: "Is there like.. a whole family in that car?? At this speed?"

a few moments later.jpg



Upon throwing her bag into the Yaris' side seat, Candy rubbed her head and remembered what happened earlier..


Candy: "That was.. interesting. Who knew there are these kinds of crazies driving the fastest road legal Golf on the planet.."


Readying to leave the place, she then walks around her car, free of any blemishes caused by the unexpected duel earlier.


Candy: "But that's my day settled. Italian food will be.. well.. Sophia, however your allegiances, I appreciate your help."


After a quick browse her phone for suggestions, she then bellows..


Candy: "[yawns] I suppose I should get going now.. gotta be sharp for the weekend's festivities!"


And just as she was to enter her car, she notices another woman nearby.


The Cinderella: "Scuse me, ma'am? I happen to be around, but think you can tell me what time is it?"

Candy: "Uhh.. sure I can. But that's peculiar: don't you have a phone??"


Wearing one of Peigi's canvas jackets, the Cinderella wasn't so obvious with her look that had Candy question..


Candy: "Hold up.. there's only one person with style that can't hide that thick an accent. Cindy?"


And as that ends, she then puts back the hoodie and happily greets.


The Cinderella: "She remembers.. my one weakness! Hiya there, sweet cheeks. You miss me? Because with that horse's arse of a response, it's warranted I say it's TASER TIME?!"


She didn't want any more to do with Peigi and The Cinderella's reliance on tasers, she immediately thought, which led to her leaping forward, interrupting her attacker's act to get something out of the jacket.


Candy: "Oh no you don't!"


Managing to push aside The Cinderella, her jacket then gets loose, flowing down to the hard floor, proving there's nothing.


Candy: "Strange.. is.. umm.."

The Cinderella: "Ohh mashed potatoes, she's good. Fine! But lemme tell you I'm the bleedin' distraction, darling.. NOW!!"


Distracted still by the lack of a personal defense weapon, an arm reached from behind and latched on strong on Candy's one weak spot..

Her dress collar behind her neck where her braid always seems to fail make obscure.



Candy: "AHHH! Cindy!! How could you-ghk! Not the neck! Help! Help!!"

The Cinderella: "Hook line, and sinker! She's all yours, big'un!"


The man then dragged her away, with the whole staff on location watching on, waving goodbye..

He did however give out a satisfied smirk on his face that rarely shows, warning..



Jake Ross: "Spunky brat. Don't make me tell Jess you were slacking."


later 2.jpg



She accepted her fate, but with Jacob on the reins, he tosses her forwards into another garage.


Jake Ross: "Here."

Candy: "Rude! At least the dress is cheap.."


She looked up to see herself surrounded by one underdog Scotsman, and his friend the biker with a brain.


Candy: "Paul and.. wild with an e? Argh, puk gaai! I should've seen this coming!"


They watched her get up, smiling as if something nasty was coming for her, noticing Jacob and The Cinderella just watching as well.


Candy: "You all gathered without word to me needs explaining.. well? Not telling me [BLEEP]t like always!! How dare you.. you.. don't you know what kind of beast lies in me when these surprise meets keep ON COMING?!"

Jake Ross: "I ain't in the mood, trust me. Masks up!"

Candy: "Masks up?"


She then looked to see everyone but her with a filtered mask on, realizing that what has happened before is happening again.

Releasing a rose colored fume from a small gas tank, Candy's rage came out just as quick.

She was to act, only that as soon as her face gets a whiff..



Candy: "FOR CRYING OUT.. N-N.. loud?"


Unnaturally pacified, Candy remained still, then sniffing the pleasant, though artificial gas.


Candy: "This isn't some chemical concoction.. it's.. divine. What on Earth?"

Jake Ross: "Missy, you're looking at mix number 6. A variant of mix number 4, but aims to pacify rather than immobilize. Thing is.. thanks to that past escapade, you're once again the lab rat. Get comfortable."


He spoke with all seriousness, but Candy then takes in the gas and finds herself immersed in its main purpose.


Candy: "..ohh.. I.. suppose I don't mind that. Here's hoping I don't develop an immunity.."

Paul: "What a response. I say, Jake: I approve: this all be pretty good.."


He has high hopes, but Jacob remains cautious, responding..


Jake Ross: "Don't get your hopes up. I'm looking for any immediate side effects. Don't want her growing a third limb now."

Graham: "Using the less than ethical way to see if this can be used ethically.. Mate, I, umm, I am.. quite confused."

The Cinderella: "Don't look at me! I'm just the sideshow today!"


Seeing The Cinderella out and about without certain persons has Candy query..


Candy: "Right you are! I mean.. it's that one other time where I can't see you without Peggy."

The Cinderella: "No joke, Candy. No joke. Seems to me it's safer I hang out with these blokes the time being than risk running into that Atlas guy again."


Her expression may be hidden, but Candy can't say she's lying.


Jake Ross: "Alright, masks off."


And as the crowd reveal back their faces, Candy then asks with her hand flat on her head.


Candy: "Atlas? You must mean the RAF ace Atlas.. What's your beef with a guy like him anyways?"

The Cinderella: "Heck if I know.. yes, that's intentional."


Paul then stepped in..


Paul: "Anyhow.. been a while, lass? I know we're still sad about what happened."

Candy: "It helps if we don't talk about it. Wild with an E, hurry change the subject."


As if he could read her mind, Graham went to the next topic with eagerness.


Graham: "I was getting to that.. well.. since I won the wager, I get to drive the GT S."


He then sees an extended arm of Jacob's handing him the keys to a Mercedes, and grabs it.


Jake Ross: "Knock yourself out, rookie. You earned it."

Graham: "Ohh excellent!"


He didn't hesitate to leave and head down the lane, with exaggerated happy steps not withheld.


Candy: "And off he goes. Fill me in?"

Jake Ross: "Come along then.. how about you two get acquainted while I.. sort this out."


Candy and Jacob walks off, with the latter taking something out of his jacket.

Those who are left remained quiet for longer than usual..



The Cinderella: "Ohh right then.. awkward start we got off here, eh?"

Paul: "Aye, that I be agreeing on.. where do we start? I dinna think you remember a wee thing worth me time, honest.."

The Cinderella: "How about.. ahah! The night I met the UK's Big 3 of street racers?"

Paul: "Achh, don't be straining your fickle mind now, lass. I was told you hated that night.."

While walking to their destination, Candy finds herself flipping through a small bundle of Euros..


Candy: "48. 49. 50. That's all five hundred Euros accounted for."

Jake Ross: "Happy to see.. the concoction's not causing any brain damage."


Though she still remains at peace, she notices on Jacob's visage, thought something wasn't right, and asked..


Candy: "What's with the worrying look?"


He didn't even look back and replied..


Jake Ross: "One of the substances in that mix include a small amount of neurological agent that.. I suppose the less you know, the better?"

Candy: "I'm not quite in the mood to worry and stop smiling, just so you know.."

Jake Ross: "I guess I'll say.. Marijuana is also in that mix."


Just as that was to follow, they reach a spot of German sports engineering..


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Candy: "An AMG GT? Whatever the trim, this will get anyone's attention. It's not yours, is it?"

Jake Ross: "You'll find out."


Graham then steps out of the AMG and approached..


Graham: "Oh! Quick question: Might I wonder where you got the car from?"

Jake Ross: "I thought it'd be obvious. Place a bet, Graham."


Using that quote they've used as long they've known each other, Graham knew what he was going to cash in to..


Graham: "My money's on Carlyle. That bugger's just one hell of a snake these days. He keeps on babbling that Europe's a big market for him.. didn't even elaborate on the details."

Jake Ross: "I suppose your sleuthing skills are going to take you far.. like the day he ditched your Christmas."

Graham: "Being honest, guv.. I'm still a baby bit peeved he did that, even though mum's all fine with it."


Not unlike her big sis, Candy butted in with a cheeky..


Candy: "(in Miranda's tone) oh sweetie, let it go, eh."


He's a preparing type, but there was no preparing Graham for that, as he stammers..


Graham: "What in th-exactly! Like that. In that exact tone. It's creeping me out she's got that impression spot on."

Candy: "That's my big sis for you."


The dark man had other ideas..


Jake Ross: "Well, I'm not sure who Lyle is selling this to, but I figure this'll be the last we see of it before it heads off."

Graham: "What's it here for then?"

Jake Ross: "I'm making sure all systems are check. Performance, tires, that kind of malarkey. I'm thinking.. since we have my Ford, Paul has his One-77, that other girl has her own machine, think we can race it?"

Graham: "And the hot hatches? I mean, the Golf's done me quite a grand impression."


Hearing that, Candy raises her voice?


Candy: "Really? That's your Golf?"


Arms crossed, Graham replies with a small self smug sense.


Graham: "Yup. Got anything to say about it? I mean.. it's been perfected for a good chunk of these past 5 years. By me, I mean, no meaning of any big talk or anything, love."

Candy: "No. Not really. I've been taking some mean machines these days. THE BEAST, that one with all capital letters.. for instance."


Unintended or not, Graham received a sense of agitation, clenching his fist upon hearing of Sonny's personal sports car..


Graham: "Cripes.. Someday I'd like a go in THE BEAST. You got lucky, lady, real lucky."

Candy: "I suppose it's going to take more than a favor, really. Didn't know Sonny has a brother, though."


Upon mention, Graham gave some thought, while Jacob has the words..


Jake Ross: "You mean Kirk? Shy guy with a knack for good handiwork?"

Candy: "Yeah."

Jake Ross: "Good kid. Struggling to find his purpose in life. He's a saint, but Sonny can only provide so much, y'know. Lot like you, Graham."


He's teasing, she thought, and she then saw the truth of it.


Graham: "Sod off."

Candy: "You know, I don't think he's making fun of you."

Jake Ross: "Hear that? You dare doubt me, Graham?!"

Graham: "Yeesh, alright. No I don't."


Looking back at the AMG, she then asked..


Candy: "So.. how about this race?"

Not much later on, a quick rumble began as the sun begins to hide away.


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Candy: "Look at all these machinery.. and Graham looks like he's a natural with that AMG.."


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Even with such praise from overtaking her with a Golf earlier, it didn't phase her in the slightest.


Candy: "It's time to take him back to Volkswagen!"


Battlecry
Digitalism
Mirage


Are you a lover of muscle? I hope that's you nodding behind the screen, because that is for the most part what you're getting out of the more pure GT S of AMG GT series of machinery.


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But SPD: what kind of freak puts a turbocharger in their muscle cars? Good question. The thing is: would you like to call the AMG GT S a muscle car? I don't think so. It doesn't look the part. But let's let that jump to a conclusion end there. Because like my inner Sundowner always reminds me day to day: kids are.. Cruel? Well, I guess I have to credit that inner Sundowner for this week's experience. That's a brief way to say what these AMG V8 monsters are. They are not for the faint of heart, yet they appeal to those who are willing to step ahead of that gap.

Then again, I'm a sucker for these kind of V8s. So what's up? You might notice the real oddity that is the fact this is a twin turbo V8 that sounds like it's from America. An unusual combo, sure, but not straight up unbearable. Though, as I've observed the powerband, the car's not friendly to those who like to hang about the lower RPM ranges, with a steep incline of power that the turbo seems to have done. Though it's a dual turbo, which by usual means is just 2 smaller turbos, meaning less of the weaknesses, but less of why you want a turbo in the first place.

I keep coming back to muscle, and despite its compact GT offering, you might as well treat this like a muscle car. It has wheel spins, no mood to keep the traction in check on the corners, and some great straight line punching power. Though, it's more sophisticated than that, thanks to its 7-speed MCT dual clutch. It means, no matter if you short shift or late shift (do shift just before the game tells you to, by the way) the car will get some speed in, but not without some challenge.

Notably the corners. Is it just me, or does a German sports car designed with a widened profile and similarly made tires hint something is going to get loose? In terms of the cars that we've nominated in the past that's at this range, the AMG GT S is much more of a handful to take around the corner, especially with some power in. The handling isn't bad, per se. The brakes are sharp, at least workable unlike that we get from the Corvettes or the Vipers. And it turns nicely, unless in higher speeds where it's understeer for days. It's the traction. You're going to fly through with the rear just coming out if you're no care for throttle control. It's not.. Mangusta nasty, because that car is pain on pain, pain squared, or if you want to be quadratic about it? Easy now! I had an opportunity to have a major in mathematics, yo, so don't get your pitchforks up.


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Anyone in the lobbies would notice I've been driving the SLS to some degree. Even with an around 10 PP deficit, the SLS is much nicer on the power and traction, at the cost of (I'm not checking lalalala you can't tell me otherwise) lateral Gs and braking. Perhaps the lack of aspiration does that.. That and the SLS is not only the poster boy for Gran Turismo 5, but is also an SPD Mythic Verse Signature Car.. umm.. go ahead and look back who that is. But if you can't decide between the two: the difference isn't so day and night for you to have an entirely different experience. They're made with similar intent after all.

If we go to the tuner's segment, you can say the main benefit of working on the AMG GT S over the other 3 AMG GT models is that we have the lowest PP. Which means a detune can bring you down quite far to battle tuners at 600 PP. Speaking of which: a detune is the best way to get this car to work if you're keeping the stock compound. Any further ahead, and you should be able to handle that power oversteer without much issue. So pump up what you want and bring it down, or unleash Ragnarok by slapping on everything and not touch the power at all. Up to you.

What can go a long way is the addition of a spoiler. I too had one placed because I liked the look of the Edition 1 spoiler. But you can not be the same and just add those taller custom spoilers, and still get similar results in making the car more bearable to handle. And from what I can tell: it's the one thing that can be the miracle cure one needs to have this car battle the echelons of hypercars. Maybe my one advice is just treat this like a rear happy tuner car, but with muscle injected into it. Not to mention this car is notably easier to handle than any of the modern Mustangs as a bonus, so don't go too wild with the numbers.


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Speaking of spoilers, you might notice that this car has a variant in the Safety Car. The main difference you can notice is the car having a spoiler on stock, giving a miniscule advantage in controlling oversteer, and rims from the GT R. If you've been to lobbies where the BOP is enforced (outside of Grouped racing of course, it's so I can laugh about it), it's up to you if you want to flash those lights on the track or not. I for one have been utilizing these as police cars.. it's the only correct way to make these, like you saw in Episode 26.


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Paul: "Ach, Paul, you eejit. Done goofed up in the Aston.."

Graham: "You're careless, guv, is all. Jake's next."


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The Cinderella: "I've stepped up from Deep Forest, Candy.. looks like you haven't! Keekeekee.. oh snap!! GET OUT OF MY HEAD, PEGGY!"

Candy: "Peculiar.. she's levelled up."


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Graham: "I know he's the Outlaw, but Jesus Christ, what a pace."


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Graham: "He's crawling me from the inside.."

Paul: "You f[BLEEP] with me, it's high time I be f[BLEEP]ing with you, lad. Mess with the Wyrm at yer own peril."


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Jake Ross: "I suppose.. Candy ain't the only one slacking today."


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Graham: "Same spot! Same freaking spot!"

The Cinderella: "Graham, that was much too slow. I hope you aren't upset in there, mate!"


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Candy: "Graham's all shaken from those overtakes.. I suppose it's time I teach him a lesson."


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Candy: "He's got a nicer car, but what good is it if he can't make it work?"

Graham: "Where's that V8 rumble when you need it? Uhh, I give up.."


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Candy: "With that taken care of, let's finish this race. Cindy's Z must've gotten some improvements.."


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The Cinderella: "There's no sign hinting to keep away from the million pound supercar.."

Paul: "Aye, that's not a slow driver behind. She's a quick little ferret."


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Jake Ross: "No fuss.. how disappointing; I hoped it'd be more of a decent challenge."

Now away from the track, the group reconvenes at a nearby restaurant within a town just a few moments away from the circuit.


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With dinner proceedings done, chatter continues with these unlikely group of characters still sitting on the table.

Having eaten more then she usually does, Candy lets out more than just excess air..



Candy: "PHEW! I am NOT getting off this chair! Alright: tell me.. how do you know about this cafe?"

Jake Ross: "Bern. It might sound like a prank, but wait till you taste the food. It's no joke, amico! That's what he said, give or take."


She wanted to, but didn't muster the courage to how well done Jacob's impression of that wacky Interpol agent was.

Close to food coma, Candy then realizes, now with the effects of her recent pacification gone..



Candy: "Prank.. don't tell me you're sabotaging my chances at the race?!"


He crossed his arm and lowered his hat, acting cool..


Jake Ross: "It ain't part of my pride to do this kind of schtick."

Candy: "I refuse to believe that."

Jake Ross: "Seeing you having an iron stomach means.. well, I don't think I want to convince you."


Just by her side, Graham chimes in.


Graham: "Cut him some slack, Candy. You know he's the one footing the bill."

Candy: "After being 500 Euros short too?"

Paul: "Man like him's bound to have a whole room of expendable income, aye?"

Jake Ross: "Aye. I'm just in this sport to prove my worth, not for hard cash. That's just extra."

Graham: "Though that extra is just a grand extra, not just any coins in the coffers."

Jake Ross: "I've been throwing money left and right for no real reason.. I'm really thinking for a wise investment."


Thinking to tease, Candy follows..


Candy: "Like what? More chemical warfare? How do you even make that stuff up anyhow?"

Jake Ross: "Oh, a campervan in the middle of the desert.."


He's a serious fellow, but Paul was the first to take this as pure nonsense.


Paul: "We aren't buying the whole Breaking Bad gimmick, Jake."

Jake Ross: "Heh. You all ain't dumb. But for now, I guess I'll still keep that truth to myself then."


Graham then raised his hand.


Graham: "Question, guv."

Jake Ross: "Hmm?"

Graham: "Why's she here?"


Now back from the washing room, The Cinderella sits back and responds.


The Cinderella: "Honest, I don't remember. I know, boo, that's a lame joke, etcetera, etcetera.."


Seeing her return, then completing the table, Jacob predicts the answer..


Jake Ross: "She's one of us, even if she don't realize it."


Eyes crossed, Graham questions that.


Graham: "Well, if I may, I'm the one with the brains here, and I don't realize it as much as she can remember diddly squat."

The Cinderella: "Ehh, don't fret too much over it, laddies! Sorry, am a bit drunk. Lucky for us we don't have to drive, right?"


Graham's objection got Candy thinking too..


Candy: "Oh, well.. I think we want you to elaborate? What are we grouped as exactly?"

Paul: "I agree. Go for it, lad. Tell us a tale."


He might have the words for it, but how they are to be laid out troubles him.

Still, Jacob got off his relaxed sitting position and leaned forwards, trying to make sense of it all.



Jake Ross: "Well.. there comes a time in our lives where you feel.. it's been quite the adventure that made us who we are.. perhaps some of us haven't even reached the end of that road yet, even."

Candy: "Adven-ture?"

Paul: "I.. sort of have an idea?"

The Cinderella: "An idea? I mean.. Hey, don't look at me."


Looking at his past with a negative light, Jacob tells of..


Jake Ross: "Keith must've told you about The Great Split and The Legacy, and how I don't like looking back at it."


Remembering what he meant, Candy then spoke..


Candy: "Oh, I can see it. He went back into the darkest recesses of his psyche and brought out something nasty cause of it."


His mild disapproval isn't hiding as he sat back..


Jake Ross: "No objections here. Then it led to the beginning of.. some things I had to contend with, including myself."


Candy: "It's nice to reminisce, but I won't want to stay long, because, you know.. we have a race to deal with in a couple days, and my sleeping is all over the place."

Paul: "Well? Let's not dilly dally then. I got me something like what he mentioned. An adventure. I remember starkly how I have to mess with your boyfriend."


She didn't take long to tell..


Candy: "Bon?"

Paul: "What other savage hating aristocrat do be referring to, lass? Fancy pants tried to sabotage any chance I had in glory. Though, there was this one time he really kicked it to overdrive, using his family wealth to his gain. You know where this is going?"


Candy did pause to think..


Candy: "You can see I'm having trouble seeing him doing dastardly deeds."

Paul: "Tis easy to see he's the only sane fellow in that family of his. Take it from me: his biggest, most frequent victim of it all."


Ready for a tease, Graham came in, stating from what he deems obvious..


Graham: "If not for your marriage, I'd mistaken you two as some power couple, y'know."

Paul: "Lad, that's not how it really ended. Just that me and those French pieces of richness are in talks to work together. Not quite buddy buddy yet."


Not content, The Cinderella leans forwards in interest towards Graham.


The Cinderella: "Fight back, Paul! Let's see him say something. I feel you've got an adventure, Graham?"

Graham: "Yes, but I'm debating it's not much. It's not much an adventure if it's.. well, just me getting out of the business of not having a roof on me, to being a prospect GT racing expert. I play my cards right, it's staying that way with some added benefits."


And he was interrupted not long after..


Jake Ross: "You forgetting someone?"

Graham: "I was getting to it.. umm.. we met at a bank robbery, see.. turns out we both got our wings at the same racing school some time after, and that's history. But it's when it all started."

Paul: "How is it the lads get to talk about their greatest self defining past times. I don't want to be a bother, but we aren't leaving till we hear from ye both."


All the eyes of the men then turn towards the women around the table, pressuring them to speak..


Candy: "You let the men talk, Cindy.. it's your fault we're soo screwed."

The Cinderella: "Bugger off. Let ME satisfy them."


Wiping aside her curled burgundy locks, The Cinderella makes a small speech, trying her hardest to remember..


The Cinderella: "You want an 'adventure'? Being fair, I'm still on my.. well, adventure. I don't remember much of it, but.. well.. it's something to do with.. this evil empress Prisca Arnott."

Jake Ross: "Hmm.."

The Cinderella: "Then.. then.. things happen, and that Atlas Fowler's gone up me backside, demanding compensation for something I don't remember what I've done! Then you got the likes of Gary, Cierra, and the rest of those Big 3 blokes shielding me from that arse clown.."

Jake Ross: "Accurate.. as I heard from Adachi.."

The Cinderella: "Adachi? That dog loving Oni guy? What's up with him?"

Jake Ross: "As Clark would say.. it's on a need to know basis. Do you need to know?"


He turned straight to Candy, with a face that's without remorse.


Jake Ross: "Let's not stay longer. Last chance, Candy."


She didn't have to think hard, but then realized..

What is her story?



Candy: "Well.. I never really had a tale that.. defined me today. I feel it too is still going on. Like Cindy's. Just that.. it's something to do with.."


She made it up on the go, but it started to make sense.


Candy: "The two I've always called my only closest friends.. Lulu and Cierra.. I can't believe I found them, but also can't believe I might lose them for good."


And as their images pop in within her head, she then thought of them, beginning to fade away..


Candy: "I can't give up. I've been going all over the world, losing control of my own destiny because I was haunted by the past."


With that, she stood up, resolved..


Candy: "That's my adventure. That's what's going on, and I'm not going to let these villains in the shadows sway me.."

2 days later.jpg



It's race day in Lago Maggiore, with the sun shining and the crowds piled up.


full



In these bunch, The Cinderella, under a shaded hat and sunglasses to keep discreet, watches the main straight, currently empty.


The Cinderella: "Ahh, this is THE LIFE! Nice warm seats to a real GT race! Peggy, if only you were here.."


She then thought, with the forged ID and the rookie's racing license at hand, of a prospective look ahead.


The Cinderella: "I wonder if this is a future worth pursuing?"


Shortly after, sounds of tuned engines begin to blast through the straight, marking the beginning of the race's end.


Battlecry
Digitalism
Mirage


full



Observing, The Cinderella analyzes quietly..


The Cinderella: "Candy's Toyota leading a pair of Paul, and then Graham.."


full



And the car behind waves a nasty red flag..


The Cinderella: "But.. that Mustang.. isn't far back.. it's pacing up!"


Having a brief knowledge of the rest, to her, Jacob's presence instead is the odd one out.


The Cinderella: "Just who is this Jacob Ross bloke who's been taking on top tier contests.. without warning? A dark horse by name and definition.."


full



Inside the FT-1, Candy has one thought, driven by her decision two days ago..


Candy: "Hard working like Lulu. Focused like The Guts. Unrelenting like my big sis. Confident NOT like Sonny Meng. F[BLEEP] the naysayers: this is my race!"

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


Do I like the AMG GT S?

It never clicked to me. At all, and I plan to nominate and convince Sleeper on all the American muscle cars. But it's not until I looked back at myself in Mini Mexico and found the car I feel is the best comparison in the AMG Hammer. V8, powerful muscle in a big old Deutsch package that has trouble in the corners, though that car was a unicorn of sorts, and this car can kind of turn fine.

Keeping it brief: It's a madhouse AMG alright, but thanks to the SLS, I expected better, considering how much high praise I heard from just about any car nut around. Neutral.

Or say I just want to reserve words to just say good night for good on Gran Turismo Sport. If not the GT3 race car, it's not even remarkable then, and now, to even garner 2 of its more savage, souped up trims.

I'm seeing all these races you people had in that era, and I'm evidently the one left out; something negative seems to be festering within me. Like GT Sport has, could I foreshadow me hanging up my gloves in the future for me existing here at all? It's a small thought that's VERY real, and I wish I was joking. I'm doing my best to get this for future SPD to say: that was a phase, amirite?


A simple little writeup to keep me in check. I do have episodes 26-28 done (26 got unexpectedly long, and 27 is a doozy), so that's coming.. whenever.

No, I was listening to ModNation Racers OST when I was writing all this up. It was supposed to be Lenny Ibizarre, but the bass has to go boom sometime.

Yes, you're seeing this: all main protagonists in each era of Gran Turismo that I've made a writing universe in. Yes, the Cinderella is not only a last second addition, but also one that definitely didn't fit in.. especially without the Big 3 that buttresses her story relations.

You might also note that each of the roster's Signature Cars come from their supposed Gran Turismo game when I noted them as main character.. completely not planned despite how strangely poetic it is.

For The Outlaw/Jacob Ross (5)
see Episode 2

For Paul Henderson (5)
see Episode 5

For The Cinderella (7)
see Episode 11

For Graham Wilde (Sport)
see Episode 17

  • 26 Quinlan Bradley (7 COTW): Star Wimbledon tennis player. An overly muscular amazonian Aussie who hides her killer secret of being one of the Trinitia within the Assassin's Guild, as well as taking on racing with support from The Outlaw.
  • 29/30 Atlas Fowler (7): RAF ace pilot. A man with a sharp desire to keep being better than anyone he meets, notably with a score to settle with The Cinderella
  • 34 Williem Weiss (5): Lucia's older brother/Lena's boyfriend: the first of the newer List members, also an exotic driving specialist, especially on the Nordschliefe
  • 36 Kirk Ackepoke (6): Sonny's sworn brother; a shy bike mechanic, retooled to be a latent and potent hard worker for his brother's enjoyment and benefit
  • 37 Billy Bob Marsden (6): lawyer specializing in the racing world, while also the most sought out for a fair verdict, however impossible the odds
  • 39 Daphne Anders (6): V8 loving classics era nuthead with a huge love for drag/highway racing, a huger love for the tried and tested cars that pioneered American performance, and an even huger love for the Mustang.
  • 43 Demetrius Scott (Sport): Texan oil magnate with an eye on the green stuff, as well as a major stake at GT racing, particularly as Sonny's major sponsor
  • 43 Theodore 'Teddy Fabulous' Scott (Sport): Demetrius' more queer brother, who instead owns a worldwide toy corporation, now leaning into cars to boost his company's market value

What happens if you take the now legendary 458 Italia and pump it up a few levels?

Debuting in Gran Turismo 7 is the Tributo. Meant to be Ferrari's newest and most powerful V8 flagships, the Tributo has a twin turbocharged V8 they yoinked out of the Pista, running 710 horses with 1.3 tons to bring about. And everything inside was refined and redesigned..

Yawn, boring. It's a hypercar by the simplest definition. Though it is a Ferrari, so..

I'm not sure how I'm going to keep this quick intros up with new cars. When we get to a completely fictional Grouped car, it might be even shorter. Just: here: fake Jag race car, silk cut, story about a Group 3 race, end of print.

Oh well. I'll just say it's time to go to Goodwood for some rich people and rich people cars. This is the tertiary car of a certain rich Texan I've finally gotten the leverage to introduce proper. And expensive cars in Goodwood is pretty much in my head with all the Chinese New Year celebrations abound. It also means I'm going to bring out the Chinese characters out..

..which in it's purest sense is nobody. Candy probably is but she's more Japanese inclined. There's also a similar genetic halfway line with Izzy, and then there's.. umm.. that Asian-American Badass who not only needs no introduction, but is definitely not Chinese.


Story: The Scott Brothers Emerge
 
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GTPlanet's Acceptable Use Policy states that I can't link to content with profanity in them without sufficient warning, so here's your (hopefully) sufficient warning to not click on any of the hyperlinks in this post if you're not okay with profanity.

Why do I start this review with that dubious warning? Well, that's because it's a Ferrari.

The company has a nasty habit of massively underreporting their mass figures. I don't trust their power figures, either. They try to control the media. Choose who gets to "buy" their cars, and then threatens them should they do car owner things, like lend them out for reviews or put wraps on their cars. They even went as far as to C&D someone for replacing the prancing horse badge with one of a cat. It seems to me as if they understand and view the world through the competitive mindset of F1: everything beneficial is to be controlled and micromanaged, and anything detrimental is to be swiftly and surely crushed. Either that, or there just simply isn't a very direct translation to Italian for the words, "fairness" and "ownership". I'm surprised that they don't try to sue other car companies for daring to require oxygen to run just like a Ferrari™, or charge a royalty fee for every utterance or worded instance of its name.

Call me stupid if you want, but I literally cannot understand how someone can be a fan of a company that does all that.

But so what. Ferrari are free to conduct themselves and their business however they please as long as they don't violate any applicable laws. Supercars are toys for the rich, and only a microscopic subset of which have the skills and context to really exploit and judge the cars. A little exaggeration and showmanship never hurt anybody. No one watches porn or wrestling demanding that the actors love or hate each other for real. The problem is that, in spite of all this hype and "help", I've just never liked a single Ferrari I've ever driven in the GT series of video games. The vast majority of them drove horribly, even with unrealistically low mass figures, and those that weren't outright disgusting to drive were just "okay" to me at best. Their highly optimistic stats in the game mean that fair comparisons with cars made by other more sensible and ethical car makers are impossible. I have tried, for years, to understand what drives the Tifosi crazy, to understand the appeal, to breathe in the mystique, but every time I try, I just end up caked in horse manure, often missing a few million credits I'd very, very much love to have back. It's almost as if I was inadvertently left out of some mass brainwashing exercise, and it's like the Ferrari I see and the Ferrari others see are completely different things.

So yeah, the 2019 Ferrari F8 Tributo, and my very unhelpful writeup of my time with it.

%E3%82%B0%E3%83%A9%E3%83%B3%E3%83%84%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AA%E3%82%B9%E3%83%A2%E2%84%A2%207_20240208211846.png

C&D Incoming in 10... 9... 8...

On paper, this thing is a bloody menace. 710HP (529kW) and 1,330kg (2,932lbs) are just frankly irresponsible numbers, even in the hands of a pretend racing car driver with 1337 skillz. And as if that weren't enough, the gear ratios of this thing feel ripped straight from a car with a quarter of its power: 2nd gear is just good enough for 110km/h (68mph), and the brutal acceleration of the car means that 4th will be required even before reaching the end of the rumble strips out of Turn 11 at Suzuka... which is a hairpin.

So yeah, it's fast. But it wouldn't be a supercar if it wasn't.


The big story behind those fast numbers of course, is in its engine: a 3.9L V8 slung amidships with twin snails huffing into it, capable of revving up to a stratospheric 8,500rpm. Despite the F8 Tributo supposedly being a celebratory sendoff for the midship Ferrari V8, I don't feel any sort of magic or mystique from its centrepiece engine. It sounds undeniably muted from the fantastic shriek of the 458, and its turbos mean that this car gives its best acceleration when egregiously short shifted, which is to say that this is an engine that doesn't even want to sing. Its dual clutch gearbox works quickly and nigh seamlessly, so there isn't even much of an excuse to rev this thing out to save two shifts when approaching a braking zone. As vague as it sounds, it just doesn't seem to have much of a personality or soul to it. Rather than a mechanical concert, it feels like an appliance; like a 710HP, 7,500rpm washing machine. Even someone as ignorant about the brand as me can tell that that's not very Ferrari–ish.

%E3%82%B0%E3%83%A9%E3%83%B3%E3%83%84%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AA%E3%82%B9%E3%83%A2%E2%84%A2%207_20240208211725.png


Style by Fast-Killer-1996: AMG GT Black Series Gercollector
#amg #blackseries #gercollector

Thankfully, the F8's handling has been much improved over the last few Ferraris I drove: the 458, LaFerrari, and the heinous F12 of the Master Licence test. The F8 lacks that horrible understeer on power reminiscent of an FF hot hatch that the 458 and LaFerrari had, and as a result, it can actually put down its savage power out of a turn without getting into a legal dispute with Armco. The front end I find is a little vague and slow to respond when the steering wheel is initially pulled off centre, but set it up early and right, and the car absolutely will bite into an apex no problem, no doubt helped greatly by coming default with ample Sports Medium tyres, which need no fancy introduction or elaboration beyond, "they work". Same with the brakes.

%E3%82%B0%E3%83%A9%E3%83%B3%E3%83%84%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AA%E3%82%B9%E3%83%A2%E2%84%A2%207_20240208211821.png

I'll admit: I don't tend to like road cars at this performance level. The combination of road car tyres and aero with speeds exceeding that of GT3 racecars just results in a counterintuitive chore at best and a threat at worst, and to protect their clientele, cars at this level tend to have a lot of understeer baked into them. They're not at all allowed to have any flaws, or even any sort of a playful personality of their own. When I drive these cars, I'm just clinically watching the speedo figuring out when to shift, and memorising braking points in order to not die, instead of passively reacting to the track and car. Driving a car this fast feels like a one–way communication, like I can't ever let the car "talk" to me, because I always have to be on top of it. I don't fancy fooling around or experimenting with a car this obscenely powerful. Of course, none of that is Ferrari's fault: it's just where the industry and genre of car is at, and my weird personal preferences. But because I can't find any personality in the F8, it, to me, is an "okay" car at best, and I'm sure that's really unfair to the car.

%E3%82%B0%E3%83%A9%E3%83%B3%E3%83%84%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AA%E3%82%B9%E3%83%A2%E2%84%A2%207_20240208211813.png

The only time it made me feel anything was when I watched Vic chain stupidly ludicrous drifts together. That made me crack a smile.
 
My quick 45 minute take on the F8. A little too supercar-y for my tastes, but I like it nonetheless.


When benchmarked against the F50, 430 and 458…it seemed like the next logical manifestation in that lineage. To me it’s charming how relatively simple the interior is as opposed to the overly-busy interiors of cars whom are just pretending. Like the “Throttle House” YouTube channel said in their test of the F8 “we’d rather it have a naturally aspirated instead of one with turbos…but then, it’d just be an updated 458”…or something like that.

Even though they’re just merely a YouTube channel as opposed to our discerning group of misfits that have existed for a decade, I’d have to say that I agree with them
 
Last edited:
GTPlanet's Acceptable Use Policy states that I can't link to content with profanity in them without sufficient warning, so here's your (hopefully) sufficient warning to not click on any of the hyperlinks in this post if you're not okay with profanity.

Why do I start this review with that dubious warning? Well, that's because it's a Ferrari.

The company has a nasty habit of massively underreporting their mass figures. I don't trust their power figures, either. They try to control the media. Choose who gets to "buy" their cars, and then threatens them should they do car owner things, like lend them out for reviews or put wraps on their cars. They even went as far as to C&D someone for replacing the prancing horse badge with one of a cat. It seems to me as if they understand and view the world through the competitive mindset of F1: everything beneficial is to be controlled and micromanaged, and anything detrimental is to be swiftly and surely crushed. Either that, or there just simply isn't a very direct translation to Italian for the words, "fairness" and "ownership". I'm surprised that they don't try to sue other car companies for daring to require oxygen to run just like a Ferrari™, or charge a royalty fee for every utterance or worded instance of its name.

Call me stupid if you want, but I literally cannot understand how someone can be a fan of a company that does all that.

But so what. Ferrari are free to conduct themselves and their business however they please as long as they don't violate any applicable laws. Supercars are toys for the rich, and only a microscopic subset of which have the skills and context to really exploit and judge the cars. A little exaggeration and showmanship never hurt anybody. No one watches porn or wrestling demanding that the actors love or hate each other for real. The problem is that, in spite of all this hype and "help", I've just never liked a single Ferrari I've ever driven in the GT series of video games. The vast majority of them drove horribly, even with unrealistically low mass figures, and those that weren't outright disgusting to drive were just "okay" to me at best. Their highly optimistic stats in the game mean that fair comparisons with cars made by other more sensible and ethical car makers are impossible. I have tried, for years, to understand what drives the Tifosi crazy, to understand the appeal, to breathe in the mystique, but every time I try, I just end up caked in horse manure, often missing a few million credits I'd very, very much love to have back. It's almost as if I was inadvertently left out of some mass brainwashing exercise, and it's like the Ferrari I see and the Ferrari others see are completely different things.

So yeah, the 2019 Ferrari F8 Tributo, and my very unhelpful writeup of my time with it.

%E3%82%B0%E3%83%A9%E3%83%B3%E3%83%84%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AA%E3%82%B9%E3%83%A2%E2%84%A2%207_20240208211846.png

C&D Incoming in 10... 9... 8...

On paper, this thing is a bloody menace. 710HP (529kW) and 1,330kg (2,932lbs) are just frankly irresponsible numbers, even in the hands of a pretend racing car driver with 1337 skillz. And as if that weren't enough, the gear ratios of this thing feel ripped straight from a car with a quarter of its power: 2nd gear is just good enough for 110km/h (68mph), and the brutal acceleration of the car means that 4th will be required even before reaching the end of the rumble strips out of Turn 11 at Suzuka... which is a hairpin.

So yeah, it's fast. But it wouldn't be a supercar if it wasn't.


The big story behind those fast numbers of course, is in its engine: a 3.9L V8 slung amidships with twin snails huffing into it, capable of revving up to a stratospheric 8,500rpm. Despite the F8 Tributo supposedly being a celebratory sendoff for the midship Ferrari V8, I don't feel any sort of magic or mystique from its centrepiece engine. It sounds undeniably muted from the fantastic shriek of the 458, and its turbos mean that this car gives its best acceleration when egregiously short shifted, which is to say that this is an engine that doesn't even want to sing. Its dual clutch gearbox works quickly and nigh seamlessly, so there isn't even much of an excuse to rev this thing out to save two shifts when approaching a braking zone. As vague as it sounds, it just doesn't seem to have much of a personality or soul to it. Rather than a mechanical concert, it feels like an appliance; like a 710HP, 7,500rpm washing machine. Even someone as ignorant about the brand as me can tell that that's not very Ferrari–ish.

%E3%82%B0%E3%83%A9%E3%83%B3%E3%83%84%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AA%E3%82%B9%E3%83%A2%E2%84%A2%207_20240208211725.png


Style by Fast-Killer-1996: AMG GT Black Series Gercollector
#amg #blackseries #gercollector

Thankfully, the F8's handling has been much improved over the last few Ferraris I drove: the 458, LaFerrari, and the heinous F12 of the Master Licence test. The F8 lacks that horrible understeer on power reminiscent of an FF hot hatch that the 458 and LaFerrari had, and as a result, it can actually put down its savage power out of a turn without getting into a legal dispute with Armco. The front end I find is a little vague and slow to respond when the steering wheel is initially pulled off centre, but set it up early and right, and the car absolutely will bite into an apex no problem, no doubt helped greatly by coming default with ample Sports Medium tyres, which need no fancy introduction or elaboration beyond, "they work". Same with the brakes.

%E3%82%B0%E3%83%A9%E3%83%B3%E3%83%84%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AA%E3%82%B9%E3%83%A2%E2%84%A2%207_20240208211821.png

I'll admit: I don't tend to like road cars at this performance level. The combination of road car tyres and aero with speeds exceeding that of GT3 racecars just results in a counterintuitive chore at best and a threat at worst, and to protect their clientele, cars at this level tend to have a lot of understeer baked into them. They're not at all allowed to have any flaws, or even any sort of a playful personality of their own. When I drive these cars, I'm just clinically watching the speedo figuring out when to shift, and memorising braking points in order to not die, instead of passively reacting to the track and car. Driving a car this fast feels like a one–way communication, like I can't ever let the car "talk" to me, because I always have to be on top of it. I don't fancy fooling around or experimenting with a car this obscenely powerful. Of course, none of that is Ferrari's fault: it's just where the industry and genre of car is at, and my weird personal preferences. But because I can't find any personality in the F8, it, to me, is an "okay" car at best, and I'm sure that's really unfair to the car.

%E3%82%B0%E3%83%A9%E3%83%B3%E3%83%84%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AA%E3%82%B9%E3%83%A2%E2%84%A2%207_20240208211813.png

The only time it made me feel anything was when I watched Vic chain stupidly ludicrous drifts together. That made me crack a smile.

Second thoughts after sitting on it for a spell.


The only thing I disagreed with your review (and even disagreeing is too strong of a word) is that the F8 lacked personality in the motor department. I will agree that of the other turbo’d Ferrari I tested it against, the F40, it lacked a little pizaaaz in comparison - but that can be attributed to the turbo lag of the F40, I reckon.

When the motors is compared to the F50, 430 and my precious…yeah, the F8 doesn’t have nearly the breadth of those motors, but it’s also handicapped by the turbos in that regard.

I think the lackadaisical feel that the twin turbo’d F8 has compared to the previous flagship Turbo’d Ferrari’s, is a result of how far forced induction technology has come, robbing the driver of any cocaine-fueled adrenaline rush that the cars from the 80’s and early 90’s had (sniff, sniff).

The handling is exactly what I would expect from this current era of supercars; too hand-holdy for my tastes. It’ll twitch on you for subtle levels of supervised freedom and entertainment - akin to your SO buying you a lap dance when you find yourself in a strip club at one of those vomit-inducing joint bachelor/bachelorette parties. But make no mistake, she’s watching you like a hawk, making sure you don’t enjoy yourself a little too much.

When looking at the hand-holding nature of modern super cars pragmatically, I mean…it all adds up. How else are you supposed to get a 700+ horsepower super car legalized in all 50 states, and other even more EOF countries. In this regards, I’d say that the current crop of Porsche GT3’s are the best at toeing the line between controlled freedom and oppression, with the C8 corvette (if you even want to call that a supercar) being the worst.

I guess the only way to fully experience the thrill of what Ferrari MR cars epitomize, is to take a Time Machine back to the 90’s, jump in an F40 or F50…doesn’t really matter. Take a couple bumps of coke, and go for a rip from Calabasas to Malibu, by way of Topanga Canyon.



IMG_4195.png

Sorry Square, it was just too good of a photo NOT to use
 
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I was going to write a full review involving the F8 at the Herpderpring with a bunch of thematically-appropriate GT3's, a Porsche 919, and a bunch of old Ferraris, but nonstop errands and [REDACTED] power cuts keep ruining my fun. So in short:

Drivers are important, car only works, is too light, engine won't rev out, I still don't have a horsey brand invite, buy old Ferraris.
As-Rated.

0-100: 3.450s
0-160: 5.883s
0-200: 8.183s
0-250: 12.150s
0-300: 18.433s
300-0: 5.917s
200-0: 4.184s
100-0: 2.234s
VMax: 345kph
400m: 10.600s @231kph
1000m: 18.583s @301kph
100-150: 2.000s
 
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Us, Car of the Week, being culturally relevant and testing a car within a month of it being added to the game? Blasphemy!

No, it's not the Genesis VGT, and it sure as hell isn't the Bvlgari VGT. That leaves the one, the only Suzuki Jimny XC '18, and it's been chosen by our newest dad, @Racer283 !

グランツーリスモ™ 7_20240211204253.png


Style by IMAK2RS: SUZUKI JIMNY
#suzuki #jimny #military

Racer283​


Two of my favorite games have some of the best car selection and automotive history. Both games have your top of the line motorsport cars and some that very mundane or everyday vehicles. Top Drives introduced this car about 2 years ago in their Japan Pro Tour update and just recently Gran Turismo brought this car to consoles everywhere. My pick for this week is the Suzuki Jimny.

The Suzuki Jimny has been taking the real world by storm, charming many with its combination of cute looks, rugged ability, simplistic build, and low price, and this week at COTW, we'll try to see how much of the Jimny's charm translates across to the digital realm! Join us for our weekly lobbies at Tuesday, 13th Feb 10 P.M. CST (Host: Victory_Reign93) and/or Saturday, 17th Feb, 4 P.M. Singapore time (host: XSquareStickIt) where we will race Jimnys under BoP conditions on randomly selected tracks!

For this week's ~Special Challenge!~, we'll be taking the Jimny offroading, but don't bother with Dirt Tyres just yet... ;)

This week, we'll be seeing who can lap Horse Thief Mile in its forward configuration the fastest in a bone stock Jimny! The catch? You're not allowed to touch tarmac, at all. You might be thinking of cutting the entire course to form a triangle linking the three checkpoints à la Forza Horizon, but just keep in mind that going too far away from the paved roads will reset you onto the black stuff! Oh, and you probably don't want to catch too much air while you're at it...

Remember to save a replay of your best run and share it for me to verify the run!

Of course, as with every week, anyone and everyone is encouraged to share any opinions, stories, photos, or videos of the Jimny if they have any! Maybe they'll give the Jimny an engine swap in the next update... what do you guys think the Jimny will get?
 
Goddamnit!!



Of all the weeks I normally miss because of work, this has to be one of them.


Out of the number of months that I’ve spent in Central America over the years, no less than 2 of them were spent behind the wheel of a Jimny.


..I could tell you stories of Sex

….I could tell you stories of “Drugs”

……and I could tell you stories of Rock and Roll



But why have me flatly narrate story time, when Mr. @McClarenDesign was there for at least half of it?

If there was ever a time to come out of hiding and make a plea-deal pal, now’s the time 😳
 
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Ahhh the Jimny, good thing it's been selected by someone else, because it would've been my next pick! :P

Managed a 10.38.076 on the Nords.



YT review: "Yeah, this is no sports car. VERY leany under braking, lots of body roll. Slow as well. But hey, let's not shred this car too much. For the horsepower it has, and for the purpose it was built, it did pretty well I guess. Driven stock on its stock CM tyres without any driving aids, except ABS. All 3 laps are the same driven lap."

Verdict: slight beater?
 
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Quick thoughts on the Jimny...

Comfort Mediums are a touch too low of a tire grade for this micro-SUV. It fares a lot better on Comfort Softs. A little top heavy in stock form, but that's to be expected. It's alarmingly skittish under braking unless you left-foot brake, indicative of a very open decel setting on the differential or especially limp suspension.

Appropriately enough for a car of its purpose, it is absolutely phenomenal in low-grip conditions (heavy rain, dirt, snow) and I would absolutely recommend it to any beginners trying to learn the off road physics of GT.

The only downside is that it's a very small engine in a very brick-shaped car, meaning that you're not going to get a whole lot of straight line speed out of it.

However, it's also the lightest AWD/4WD car in the game when fully stripped out, so it could be an absolute terror when kitted out for Tsukuba or other short courses.

Calling it a Sleeper as it's anything but a joke car.
 
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