So I've been a little quiet for the last week or so, ploughing through the game and hooning around 'testing' various cars for a potential upcoming car review series (stay tuned...). However, the bug for a good, close race never goes away with me, so it was time to go hunting for one once again Now the Dream Car Championship is an oddity, in that it has a very closely-matched field. Except for when the Jaguar XJR-9 turns up Why PD took the inexplicable desicion to screw up the balance of the field by introducing a real, proven prototype car into a field of fictional GT cars is utterly beyond me So my initial attempts at a close race involved the GT By Citroen Race Car vs the XJR-9...and nothing else. So I decided to downgrade my choice of car and instead wait until the XJR-9 had better things to do and left to race cars in it's own class...and THEN the true potential of this series revealed itself A field with sometimes as much as 6-7 cars within a few seconds of each other on pace is a thrilling one to race in, let alone one where all of these cars are much superior to you in terms of horsepower. This is gonna be fun Sweet Dreams are Made of This: The Dream Car Championship Round 1: Indianapolis Motor Speedway 'The Brickyard' (The standard hat tip to AMG for the track map ) Championship Event Round 1. 10 Laps, 25 Miles. 12 Cars, Between 587 and 648PP. Time then to unveil my weapon to use in this series...there's me mocking the Jaguar for being a real car in a dream car championship, as my car is very much a real one as well 2009 Audi R8 LMS Race Car (Team Playstation) Drivetrain: MR Power: 502hp Weight: 1300kg Performance Points: 592PP Tyres: Racing Hard This is one of my favourite cars in GT5 - it handles so well, it's grippy, and won't bite your arm off if you make a hash of things. Just my kind of car then With a HP deficit of up to 100+HP, it's gonna need those handling characteristics - and look where we are for the first round, one of the fastest ovals in the world Here are my opponents for the championship, as they roll off the grid for round 1... 1. B. Gallego - Honda NSX-R Prototype LM Race Car 2. U. Timonen - Nissan 350Z Concept LM Race Car 3. E. Janssen - Nissan GTR Concept LM Race Car 4. J. Jarvinen - Jaguar XJ220 LM Race Car 5. J. Naumann - Mazda RX7 LM Race Car 6. I. Lopez - Ford GT LM Race Car Spec II 7. A. Johnson (Myself) - Audi R8 LMS Race Car (Team Playstation) 8. I. Kwiatkowski - Nissan Fairlady Z Concept LM Race Car 9. R. Butler - GT By Citroen Race Car 10. O. Schwartz - Mitsubishi FTO Super Touring Car 11. D. Sugimoto - Chevrolet Camaro LM Race Car 12. D. Nicolau - Pagani Zonda LM Race Car Backed by a decent crowd here at Indy to witness something other than Indycars or NASCAR taxi cabs pounding the hallowed yard of bricks, the tension and revs climb towards the start...the green flag drops and we're away! Laps 1-10 Kwiatkowski (Fairlady Z) gets a superior jump on me at the start, as to be expected throughout this series, but we hit T1 and I steam back by, as well as putting a pass on Naumann in the RX7. Timonen (350Z) and Gallego (NSX-R) both got what could be called atrocious starts, as Timonen bashes the wall off of T2 and I sweep by him, before slipstreaming and slingshotting by Gallego down the back straight at nearly 200mph. Boy, if this was fun in NASCARs, what'll it be like in GT cars? I've got a good run on the front three, and I sneak straight to the bottom, hanging tough on the inside through T4 and passing Lopez (Ford GT), Jarvinen (XJ220) AND Janssen (GTR) all in one fell swoop! As we fly across the line to conclude lap 1, I'm in the lead, and the rest of the field are bemused as to how one of the least powerful cars on the grid is leading at a speed-centric race circuit! However, it won't last that way for long. As you can see, I'm not the only one slicing my way through the field - Nicolau (Zonda) and Butler (Citroen GT) have also charged through, and I have a feeling they will be mixing it at the sharp end sooner rather than later - did anyone order a 190mph dogfight?! A pattern settles in rather quickly - several cars take a run at me down the straightaways, slipstreaming up to my back bumper or around me, but as soon as we hit T1 or 3, I slide back by. My advantage in the corners is just enough for me to keep my nose enough in front on the straights - for a few laps anyway. By lap 4, Nicolau and Lopez are getting frustrated, and so they throw a pincer move on me down the front stretch - 3-wide anyone?! However, as has been the case, by T2 I return to the lead. It's a fast-moving pendulum, which is thrilling for me at the head of the field, but infuriating for those behind me who just cannot turf me out of their way, no matter how hard they try! It's also worth noting that by now, Janssen has faded to 6th overall, but is still hanging on the coat-tails of this epic lead battle, occasionally skirmishing with Jarvinen in the Jaguar for 5th. As we cross the yard of bricks for lap 6 and halfway in the race, the top 6 are covered by just over half a second - I told you it'd be close! By lap 7 Butler has maneuvered himself towards the front, and has a tilt at me down the backstraight whilst I'm preoccupied with Nicolau superglueing himself to my rear spoiler for the umpteenth time... ...but once again his efforts are futile, as I sweep through T3-4 at the head of the train once again As the laps wind down my opponents are getting more and more angry, and on lap 8 Lopez gives me a solid whack down the fairway on the backstraight - I don't remember NASCAR ever using the bump-drafting technique at Indy?! Nicolau joins in on the following lap, but I still just won't budge! Coming across the line for the penultimate time, the white flag drops. I've got two and a half miles to cling on to the lead, and my opponents have two and a half miles to get me out the way by any means nessecery Jarvinen tries the slide job into T1, but skids up the track a little more, and Butler cuts low to clear him whilst Lopez and Nicolau tandem-draft round the outside of him. Who said the two-car tango was dead?! One down and out, but still three angry cars swarming my tail as we hit the back straight. I slam the throttle to the floor and concentrate on my rear view mirror. The distraction of Jarvinen's Jaguar means I've got a decent head start on them down the back, and I'm gonna need it. In the blink of an eye they're back on my tail. Lopez feints left, then feints left again. Nicolau breaks draft behind him and goes for the outside, but he's too far back as we hit T3 for the last time. Coming out of T4 for the last time, I check my mirror to see all four cars (Jarvinen having caught a draft off of Butler) lined up line astern right behind me. Surely I won't make the line! Lopez feints again, but this time I buy the dummy and swerve to the left, giving him a vital split second to move to the right! He's got the run as well! And here comes Nicolau and Butler on my left side!! Come on Audi, hang in there!!! Final Results 1. A. Johnson (Myself) - Audi R8 LMS Race Car (Team Playstation) 8:34.183 2. I. Lopez - Ford GT LM Race Car Spec II -0.047s 3. D. Nicolau - Pagani Zonda LM Race Car -0.073s 4. R. Butler - GT By Citroen Race Car -0.123s 5. J. Jarvinen - Jaguar XJ220 LM Race Car -0.457s 6. E. Janssen - Nissan GTR Concept LM Race Car -1.586s 7. B. Gallego - Honda NSX-R Prototype LM Race Car -7s 8. I. Kwiatkowski - Nissan Fairlady Z Concept LM Race Car -7s 9. D. Sugimoto - Chevrolet Camaro LM Race Car -11s 10. J. Naumann - Mazda RX7 LM Race Car -12s 11. U. Timonen - Nissan 350Z Concept LM Race Car -13s 12. O. Schwartz - Mitsubishi FTO Super Touring Car -26s What an EPIC finish! It couldn't have been any closer if I'd tried. Breathtaking stuff, and somehow my Audi clung on in there right to the death. I'm not entirely sure how, but it did, and the champagne in victory lane tastes sweet...yeah, they wouldn't let me have any milk, spoilsports Anyway, that's all from the first round of the Dream Car Championship, as it only gets tougher from here - no more ovals, but the next round at Monza is another high-speed fest, which means me and my Audi will have to be on full defensive alert once again. Bring it on Thanks for reading!