Tuner Challenge 5 Judging and Results!

Discussion in 'GT4 Tuning' started by mafia_boy, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. in.s@ne

    in.s@ne

    Messages:
    644
    PF Elise Type 72 - PF

    Yet another Elise, and yet another opinion. I didn’t expect so many of these to be in lightweights, that’s for sure.

    The standard one here feels a bit different, it’s very neutral, and rather nice. If only it had a bit more power though.

    Summon, the PF Elise. Power has been boosted by… a lot, and the handling’s pretty good too.

    If I’m honest, I love this car. It’s so nicely balanced and easy to drive, yet still quick enough to dominate most vehicles in it’s class. There’s still a bit of power understeer, but there’s nothing the left foot can’t stop. I call this a masterpiece!

    In my incredibly uncapable hands, a 1’ 26.796 was posted, making it 3 seconds faster than the battle monster.

    Scores:
    Speed: 23
    Handling: 25
    Versatility: 19
    Battle Monster: 16
    Improvement: 8

    Total: 91
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2009
  2. in.s@ne

    in.s@ne

    Messages:
    644
    N-Tune Elise - CamryFan

    In it’s standard, sports form, this Elise feels like most of the others. It’s quite understeery, but quite nice. Very simple to drive, and very rewarding. Let’s see what N-Tune can do to one of the best sportscars on the planet.

    And on your first lap, you’ll think this is also a masterpiece. The understeer is gone, and it handles like a dream.

    The grip is there all the way through the corner, and unless you’re a real idiot, you’ll never get it wrong. Don’t think it’s all perfect though, because there is one crucial thing wrong with this car.

    I swear, hand on heart, that the brakes are not attached to the wheels.
    This car will not slow down for a corner. I ended up using the rev limiter to slow me down, I could not believe it.

    The gearbox, perfect. The suspension, perfect. The power, bang on. This one little thing though, ruined the whole car, and unfortunately for the scores, also ruined the lap time – a 1’ 33.531.

    So close to being an all Elise show down, but it’s not to be.

    Scores:
    Speed: 24
    Handling: 16
    Versatility: 12
    Battle Monster: 6
    Improvement: 4

    Total: 62
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2009
  3. in.s@ne

    in.s@ne

    Messages:
    644
    ABud Lancia Stratos

    In it's usual factory (expensive) fresh form, this I can see why this car made such a good rally version. It's slidey, it's unpredictable and the brakes are horrible. As a track car though, I'm not so sure.

    The ABud Stratos however, changed a whole lot of things.

    The car is hugely unforgiving - drop a wheel, it will kill you; brake milliseconds too late, it will kill you; lift off while turning, it will will you. This, though, added to the fun for me.
    And what fun it was! Slides, power oversteer, power understeer, using the rev limiter for brakes, it was all great (if difficult fun).

    While on the topic of brakes, these for me needed work. The car didn't stop as quickly as I'd hoped, and it certainly seemed to let the car down.

    Power was good, we reached 140mph at the end of the straight. All in all, great fun, and an awesome car.

    Lap time: 1' 28.573

    Scores:
    Speed: 23
    Handling: 23
    Versatility: 10
    Battle Monster: 17
    Improvement: 9

    Total: 82
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2009
  4. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    For Heavyweight scoring, I added a new dimension for Versatility. I noticed Macca did some Family Cup and Track Meets to further define his Versatility score, and I totally think this is a good idea. I think everyone should start doing this (if they have time and want to). When doing these races, the obstacles you face as you drive around various opponents makes it clearer which cars can travel a greater variety of racing lines, and which can't.

    How I did these. I would start the race at a variety of difficulties (anywhere from +2 to +10, depending on the vehicle). Any slams or other such nonsense on my part, and the race would be restarted. I would TRY to avoid having the Ai hit me, but better said than done, right? If I LOST a race, and all my driving was clean, that was it. I wouldn't try it again. Usually I lost because the car I was driving wouldn't let me do the things I wanted to do during both corners and straights.

    Here was my benchmark Heavyweight GTR R-Tune time, by the way:

    1:26.917

    Top Speed: 140.4 mph

    Oh, and I took pictures of "your" cars, as well. Hope nobody minds. :) So without further ado...
     
  5. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0002.jpg

    Car: Mazdaspeed6 AWD

    Tuner: Jonn79

    Garage: Killer Chinchilla Garages

    Best Lap: 1:26.172


    Jonn79 was the first to get a Heavyweight-class car up, so here goes. All this time, I had no idea the '05 Mazdaspeed 6 is an all-wheel drive (AWD). This is one of the cars I've always wound up getting rid of when I've won it in the past.

    Speed

    Top Speed: 146.5 mph

    Here's another car which PD didn't provide any torque & horsepower stats for. :tdown::mad: This is why I've always wound up getting rid of the Mazdaspeed 6 in the past..I'm real anal about specs. If I can't see them in the garage, I generally don't keep the car around. :shrugs:

    If I were to make a guess (after looking at the power graph in the Settings menu), I'd say peak power rests at about 6,000 rpms from this 2.3 liter 4-cylinder. The real-life Mazda 6 makes peak at 6,000, according to an online spec sheet I read from www.Carfolio.com, so that was a pretty good guess on my part. It means this one can typically be shifted at about redline, which is 6,500 rpms.

    This is one of those very busy gearboxes, busier than necessary in my opinion, though I'm not docking points for this alone because there's alot of flexibility offered by this box (more on this in a moment). But it's a busy scenario. We're expected to keep our R and L fingers active quite a bit when piloting the Mazdaspeed 6 around. The direct-injection engine produces plenty of torque starting at about 2,500 rpms (according to Carfolio and the GT Settings engine graph), but we don't have to make any torque-grabs down that low if we don't want to. There's a choice here.

    I found myself using gears 3rd thru 6th, with an option for 2nd out of Turns 1, 6, and 11. When using 2nd, the tach stays nice and high, ready to attack those peak revs. But like I said, I often used 3rd gear instead, which provides a deeper grab down to 3,000 rpms. The engine, despite its Stage 2 intercooled turbo, feels plenty confident with this. :tup: Turbo lag apparently out on vacation somewhere.

    The fact that I didn't absolutely need 2nd out of Turns 1 and 6 means I didn't need to make those four downshifts from 6th gear. But the problem with using 3rd out of corners is it can create more understeer than 2nd will, which is a bummer because it means you gotta keep that throttle reigned back at times when you want to just bury it. More on this in the next section, actually...

    So gearing is busy, but flexible. :tup: The only areas where I hit the RPM limiter is between Turns 1 and 2, and turns 9 and 10. I tried keeping the shifter in 3rd gear while it redlines, but to do so means the RPM limit shows its ugly face; killing that extra bit of speed gained by keeping the car in gear longer. So a brief upshift into 4th becomes necessary. Then you gotta shift back down right away.

    Entering the 2nd S-turn, there's a similar situation. Fortunately, the car starts redlining in 5th, but doesn't make the limit here.

    Overall traction is great in this car, which helps speed out of corners. We would expect nothing less from an AWD. The problem is, there's so much front-end push, and not enough throttlesteer even if you try your best to get the car balanced and prepared for it. All of this kills acceleration; and is basically about 90% of the reason I couldn't get this car towards a better lap time.

    12
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    Mentioned understeer before. Actually, the problem is not understeer per se. Understeer assumes the front wheels have lost traction; so that the front-end is plowing forward instead of turning. That's not what's happening here.

    Instead..it's the fact that the steering angle itself only cranks so far if any amount of speed or throttle is involved. The KC Mazdaspeed6 does one thing very well: it never loses its poise. Problem is, it requires very wide cornering paths to get thru those turns...and we all know that at Twin Ring, there's only so much of a cornering path to exploit before you're eating some grass.

    Getting the Killer Chinchilla Mazdaspeed6 to turn-in is like trying to bend a New York telephone book's spine. There's alot of wrestling involved. :mad: Alot of moments where the Mazdaspeed is coasting, and DON'T YOU DARE touch that throttle! Not if you want to keep the best line, that is. Too many moments where I could have gassed out earlier while driving the BATTLE MONSTER Skyline, but needed to wait excruciating extra moments in the Killer Chinchilla Mazdaspeed.

    On top of this, there's no throttle-steer hardly at all, which really kills flexibility. The car doesn't want to let us in, but it won't help us out, either. Hmmm. Some cars may understeer, or take wide cornering paths, but they'll at least save you with good throttlesteer as you're leaving. Not this poor Mazdaspeed.

    We can't blame this on the fact that this is an all-wheel drive, and all-wheel drives sometimes plow. I'm blaming it on those full-custom limited-slip devices front and rear. There's also some negative toe, which I'm assuming is supposed to help the KC Mazdaspeed turn-in (and when you let-off brakes or throttle, it DOES start turning-in with greater ease), but toe hurts overall flexibility and flow during the rest of the corner, creating some numbness instead.

    I'm not sure what natural movement this car is supposed to provide (haven't driven it stock yet), but I'm betting alot of beneficial performance has been killed, and I'm not sure why.

    The real-life Mazdaspeed6 is supposed to have torque-sensing differentials (also used on the RX8), which allows flexibility when traction is guaranteed, yet locks more firmly when a wheel is losing it. I'm betting that the KC version probably doesn't need any extra limited-slip action, even with 455 horses on tap. We'll find out during the Improvement over Stock category for sure...

    Now the funny thing is, I'm sure everyone is expecting me to bust on Jonn's entry because it's another super-stiff automobile. Honestly, I didn't have as much of an issue with all of this over most inside-rumblies, mostly because this car doesn't have enough flexibility to make it in that far! In other words, I'd go to turn-into a curve. The Mazdaspeed protests so strongly, its inside wheels barely make an impression over those rumble strips! Therefore, this car doesn't get as much of a chance to stay inwards, where rumble strips often lie.

    The only time rumble strips hurt this car's racing lines is when it rolled over them with its outside tires. Exiting Turn 5 is a great example: you're fighting your way thru these esses, steering with all your might while the car isn't reacting as much as you'd like. As you exit Turn 5, there's simply no way the car isn't gonna NOT roll over that final rumble strip.

    RARARARARARARRRR it goes. If the Mazdaspeed is approaching just a little too aggressively, it'll get disturbed by this bouncing action..and sometimes winds up in the grassy area just off-track as the outside tires lose their grip. Yikes.

    But overall, this car isn't affected by rumble strips the way most Lightweight and some Middleweight cars are affected, despite all those stiff settings. Now, these settings (max sway bars, maxed dampers, stiff coils, and rollcage) DO make the car not as flexible overall while it's cornering over paved areas, and not touching rumble strips. Actually, let's discuss this topic further...

    In conjunction with those limted-slip devices Jonn installed, the body hasn't got much movement independent from the chassis; which means it can't dive into corners so much. We can't help this car's inflexible cornering situation by throwing weight around. Know what I mean?

    As I drove the Skyline GTR BATTLE MONSTER, for instance, I could swing the rear around certain curves, letting natural movement carry the car before easing the throttle in. Sometimes, it's NOT good to kill a car's capacity for diving and rolling as it corners; to do so means to kill all its natural movement as well. This is one of those situations.

    Weight transferrence is minimal, which theoretically should be desireable; but in this case, I would prefer to be able to use the body's weight as a tool, to help throw the car around at times. And make it more tossable overall by ditching those limited-slip devices Jonn added. Couldn't do any of this at all since it's so stiff. You get the point...

    Well so far, this Handling review has been fairly dreadful. I DID like the brakes, though, so that's something positive. Matter of fact, the Mazdaspeed6 has better-than-average braking ability. I could brake later into some areas than I have been. No doubt that wing kit helps, too.

    This is a GOOD thing, because it's really important to get this car to slow down as much as possible before ALL of Twin Ring's bends, corners, and curves. It's got the brakes, but it hasn't got much ability to turn-in while braking, so getting most of it done in a straight line is recommended.


    8
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    A good way to describe this car as per this category? It's a very SOLID machine. Like a locomotive, this one acts as if it's always riding on a set of rails. Which is unfortunately the problem so far as Versatility goes. Getting off those rails is a really bad idea. This car allows about as much experimentation with racing lines as a dictator allows his peasants to have money.

    Even when I was warming up, and driving rather casually, it's obvious early-on just how stiff this car is. That grass made its way onto my tires, staining them green more often than it should have. Racing lines are so stiff, I found myself over-compensating into many turns, steering far too early in an effort to create a workable path. I'd then wind up in some grass on the INSIDE of the turn, rather than the outside. RESET!!! :indiff:

    As mentioned above, I'm taking each Heavyweight and Supercar to do some quick Family Cup races, in an effort to further define each car's Versatility. So with the Mazdaspeed, I started with one at +5 difficulty. And got murdered in those corners because there's too much downtime when needing to power-out of them. Managed 2nd place, with a Ford GT winning many seconds ahead of the Mazdaspeed.

    Tried another race, this time with a difficulty of +2. This time, I beat the 2nd place Pagani Zonda by 2.209 seconds. Anyways, the point is: this car has some limits as to who it can race against.

    One unexpected bonus when racing the Family Cups (rather than doing Time Trials) is those front tires heat up very fast, which helps the Mazdaspeed's braking and turning-in ability. But there's still lots of "waiting" mid-corner, and the car still understeers while powering-out. :indiff:

    There's some help with gearing, as I could mix and match lower gears for some corners. I could also keep the Mazdaspeed in 5th longer as I approached Turn 8. So, at least some some helpful points added here.

    7
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster

    It took me alot of laps to beat the BATTLE MONSTER. I lost count how many it took, matter of fact. All the while, I was trying to learn how and where to turn this car in. Where I should place a dab of brakes, etc. So this is about as good as I can do for ya Jonn.

    11
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock

    I've read that the Mazdaspeed6 is supposed to be "an adult's play toy". It's got Evo/Sti type performance (or at least a meager imitation of it), but presents itself in an understated way; which means no giant wings, off-color boy racer rims, hood scoops...none of that nonsense. So far as perfomance goes, I read a real-life car review over at www.Edmonds.com which had more praise than criticism about the 6. I didn't read anything about the Mazdaspeed6 being a stiff, understeery automobile.

    So it was no surprise that the stock version is way more flexible than the tuned one--in almost every way possible. The stock version is still a little stiff with its overall delivery, yet turns-in way more sharply than the Killer Chinchilla Mazdaspeed...brakes or no brakes. I could even turn-in very aggressively with the stock car, and could actually break the rear tires' traction to a small degree into various turns.

    While it doesn't truely throttlesteer the way a rear-drive car does, the stock version needs much less path as it exits corners because the front-end is allowed to steer with more vigor. Like I said before, I blame those limited-slip devices (and toe to a lesser extent) for the KC's lack of assistance while cornering in and out. I should have done a retest (for fun) without Jonn's limited-slips, but I think the point has been made.

    The stock version isn't as affected by rumble strips...no surprise. One area where the tuned version wins, however, is the fact that it displays much less body movement; and is less nervous overall. There were some times (while driving the stock Mazdaspeed) when its body/chassis twitched a bit, throwing the car out of the exact racing line I wanted, and I'd need to counteract this somehow. But at least the stock version allows you to screw up, and then immediately correct yourself. The KC version does not.

    Gearing is an improvement, since we're keeping those revs locked up where they do the most damage. So is the lessened weight. Both cars have good brakes, but I couldn't use the KC version's brakes as effectively while steering-in. Both cars have lots of traction, too, so no improvement there.

    Overall, I'd say Jonn79 is wrong with his original assessment--in which he stated his car "behaves like a stock AWD". It certainly does not. I'd say it behaves more like a full-time 4-wheel drive truck. On the other hand, he seems to have implied that his car's behaviors are finer than a stock 6. I'd agree with him there; problem is, they're too fine.

    3

    Total Score: 41
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  6. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0001.jpg

    Car: Dodge Viper GTS '99

    Tuner: Adamgp

    Tuning Shop: Muscle Car Garages

    Best Lap: 1:22.644


    Adamgp's Shelby Series 1 got high marks from me during Middleweight. Let's see how things go with this Heavyweight entry.

    Speed

    Top Speed: 149.3 mph

    The engine's an all-aluminum 487 cubic-inch monster, which means (as we all know) lotso torque. Acceleration in 2nd or 3rd gear is a piece of cake, from just about any rpms over 2,000. But when comparing the engine to its gearmate, there are some question marks that are raised.

    Honestly, I HATE the gearbox in this car. It keeps us shifting from 2nd to 6th gear (if we're to be staying near peak power, which is at 5,200 rpms). What I hate about it is it's simply too busy. It doesn't focus on the V10's torque enough. Instead, it has us dipping and blipping thru, like quick splashes into a wading pool. However, I'm not factoring my hatred into scoring. I'd prefer to keep this car in gear longer (especially 4th and 5th), but I'm not sure if there would be a true advantage by doing so.

    6th (in my opinion) shouldn't even become an option at this track...it should be reserved for the super-long straights of Route 246, Route 5, Grand Valley, and the Nurb. :indiff: I would have prefered a taller 5th gear. I would have preferred to keep torque propelling the car, keeping that tach needle in the frying pan a bit longer in 5th, rather than needing that upshift into 6th. But, I didn't do a seperate retest with taller gears, because I just wanna get Heavyweight done, and so does everyone else I'm sure. :idea:

    Now the good thing? There's plenty of flexibility to be had with gearing. Once again, we can leave tight areas in 2nd, or we can use 3rd. Peak torque officially starts at 3,700 rpms, but useful torque starts well before this...more like 2,700. I could safely make eXtReMe torque grabs in 3rd gear from here. In fact, on what could have been my best lap, I made a mistake in Turn 6 and didn't shift down far enough, although I did turn-in nice and strong. Didn't matter, the Viper still maintained a workable lead over the ghost, walking from this turn in 3rd gear without a hitch. If I hadn't lost it in the upcoming esses, perhaps this would have become my Best Lap. Oh well..

    The flexibility doesn't end there. Even tho (technically) an upshift into 6th is needed down the longest straight, in practice, I could keep it in 5th. Now, I didn't like to do this. The GTS gets too far from its peak, and starts redlining. Speed drops off quick once you're on the down side of the horsepower slope, but it's useful to stay in 5th since the RPM limit isn't met. It's useful...but actually, it's better to upshift into 6th than stay in 5th down the longest straight. Confusing, so let me try to explain further...

    ** There was a lap during which I was rolling down Motegi's first straight. The ghost and I were exactly nose-on-nose. I chose to leave the car in 5th, while the ghost shifted up to 6th. I nosed ever-so-slightly ahead of the ghost since I didn't upshift, HOWEVER, the ghost soon nosed slightly ahead of me, even tho I had kept full-throttle. But how can this be?

    Well during the ghost's upshift, it lost a small bit of momentum, and I got ahead. But as the V10 motor pushes towards redline, horsepower starts to vanish, and the Viper doesn't build speed as fast. Since the ghost is now sucessfully running thru its peak power area again (4,900 to 5,500 rpms), it nosed slightly ahead of me, even in a higher gear!

    It just goes to show, there's alot of capability in this V10, if you shift early. I'd typically shift about 500 rpms before redline. No0bs usually don't seem to understand this stuff, and sometimes they think they're getting the best performance from an engine like the Viper's, even with an automatic tranny. They sometimes think there's no difference between MT and AT...that automatics are actually better, since they shift for you, which means all you gotta do is concentrate on steering, fuel, and braking. :lol: No...you gotta shift early with an engine like this; which means use MT instead of AT.

    Anyways, back on topic. :rolleyes: Rolling between turns 1 and 2, the engine again starts redlining in 3rd. Thankfully, the RPM limit isn't met here. Luckily. There's a couple other spots where one has flexibility with keeping the car in 5th (or 4th), rather than needing an upshift, so there's some points gained for this.

    So far as down-low acceleration goes, there's plenty of traction, thanks to those massive 335 width tires and the weight of the transaxle between those rear axles. :tup:

    Compared to others in the Middleweight, Adam's Viper is rating towards the top, but hasn't got either the best Lap Time or the highest Top Speed.


    22
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    I don't think Dodge named this car "Viper" just for something intimidating to call it; I think they realized just how snake-like it can be in turns. The way Dodge Vipers coil and slip around as they're driven feels very snake-like at times.

    The first and most-important thing to learn first when driving this one is to brake early. Everything else falls into place if you just remember this rule: BRAKE....EARLY. Learn it. LIVE it.

    The greatest fault with this car are its brakes, no doubt about it. Again, with these default Muscle Car Garages front brake settings. :ouch: Grrrrr...:mad:

    I may have been able to make solid 1:21's, instead of the 1:22.6xx I had settled for. But the good news: get your braking done nice and early, and everything else falls into place. The MC Viper GTS lends a helping hand too, since it trail-brakes to a limited degree. :tup:

    Here's a tip. Braking usually can start before the skid marks on the track into Turns 1, 6, and 8. In other words, as you approach the skids which lead up to any of these Motegi corners, start braking just before these marks begin. Into Turn 2, the backwards-bend, and the final hairpin, I could brake just where the skid marks start, instead of a hair earlier.

    This one turns-in gracefully, and with a very solid feel. The steering works. It's definately useful, but it's also very heavy. You gotta prepare as you turn-in. On the other hand, the front-end is quite predictable. There isn't too much grabbing, and it's also easy to find where the land of understeer starts so you can avoid it. There's a safe window in-between grabbing and understeer, which I found easy to work with lap after lap.

    The Muscle Car Viper isn't truely inflexible (so far as steering-in goes), but neither does it have a true sports-car feel. The Viper GTS is miles and miles away from the Miatas, S2000s, and Solstices of this world, folks! While the front-end's ability to steer-in is useful, it is a tad too slow for hot-lapping at Twin Ring East.

    But if you find that racing line, all is good; there is some variation and play involved once you discover it. There is a window. You're not just stuck with one solid racing line like you are with Jonn's Mazdaspeed, even when pushing the Viper to newer and newer heights. Just make sure you've heated up those brake rotors first. :idea:

    What else is there...lift-off oversteer. The GTS lifts-off about as much as it trail-brakes; which is just enough to be useful, but not over-excessively. I'm glad the limited-slip's Initial and Decel ratings are at minimum....I think both these settings allow the Muscle Car Garages GTS what flexibility it has. :tup:

    And when powering out of corners, there's plenty of traction (like I mentioned above in the Speed section), and the car throttlesteers if you want it to. Again, it doesn't throttlesteer excessively, but just enough to be useful. I found that there's lots of racing lines that this car can use out of both of Motegi's hairpins. But when powering out of the esses portions, there's some throttlesteer, but there's also the risk of understeer (or at least, not enough of a steering angle) which can show up. Launching this car out of esses therefore takes a bit more care than launching out of hairpins.

    Over the funble strips, the Viper rarely gets upset, partially because it's a heavier car with wings, partially since it's got a massive footprint (huge tires), and partially because Adamgp didn't set those sway bars and coils too strong. The times when I found the rumble strips to be annoying were the times when I wasn't in the racing line I wanted.

    But it's the little things (other than those soapy brakes)that also hurt the GTS, even when the racing line is 100% solid. The moments (which feels like an entire week going by) between letting-off the brakes, and true lift-off taking over.

    ...The moment (as the Viper finally locks into its groove) where you can't do ANYTHING with the gas. Don't even look at it! Even when stomping on the gas after a good wait, there's still not a guarantee there will be enough throttlesteer to carry you out without rolling over a rumble strip or even some grass. But it's also possible to find the exact moment to let the Viper strike. Once you find it, it's alot easier to employ than in some other Heavyweights.

    So the car is predictable. It's got some flexibility once you start to nail it. But also muscle-car worthy brakes, heavy steering. Be patient, and the car works with you (while pushing harder).


    18
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    Warming up, and driving for fun, there's LOTS of versatility to be had, even while punishing the BATTLE MONSTER. When I did a Family Cup race at Twin Ring East, I tried a bunch of different difficulty ratings: from +3 to +10. :mischievous: Oddly, the +3 race felt about as challenging as the +10. :odd: Anyways, the point is clear--it didn't matter where I set the Difficulty slider, the Viper can conquer all. My main competition ranged from Pagnanis, to Saleens, to the Honda NSX-R Prototype. When racing the Muscle Car Viper GTS (rather than just driving it on an empty track), it becomes even clearer where its true plusses and minuses are.

    The front-end is limited while braking (we need a long distance to slow), BUT the Viper lets us trail-brake to a degree. :tup: So while racing, I found I could trample some Ai in every category EXCEPT braking-in, unless the Ai driver happened to really suck at braking, and started even earlier than I did. :lol:

    When leaving corners (driving casually on an empty track), there's alot of experimenting to be discovered out of hairpins, and to a lesser degree out of the esses. From hairpins, we have plenty of moments when the rear-end just gets slightly drifty....you can feel the sideways motion...you're countersteering to correct this, yet you maintain the drift a little longer anyways, just cuz you can. :D During these moments, there's hardly any tire-smoke or squeal! Fun times.

    The Muscle Car Garage Viper GTS feels confident passing cars while throttling-out on the inside or the outside (assuming there's enough path on the outside of the track to save the Viper from some grass. During these moments, if the path you need isn't immediately accessable, you can possibly explore a different path on-the-spot, assuming there's no brain-dead Ai driver ahead of you. Like I said, the main thing that really hurts are those "muscle car" brakes.

    For instance, as I was leaving a corner too hot out of 2nd gear, I could upshift into 3rd, but let the car coast a moment. I didn't get all I could get from 2nd because I had upshifted earlier than I normally would have--but once the front-end stops pushing, I could use the extra time I had needed to shift up into 3rd more efficiently, if that makes any sense. ...Basically, it's better than exiting in 2nd, encountering understeer, backing off the throttle till the Viper orients itself, but then powering back out using 2nd again. By shifting into 3rd early, I've saved a bit of time for a later upshift. Which doesn't matter in the long run since the V10 feels confident powering-out in 3rd.

    When going for Best Lap, the MC Viper GTS only keeps about 10% of its original versatility, so here's where the score gets hurt an extra point. On the other hand, there is still some versatility left, as well as predictability in keeping those lap times consistent, so you get that point back. BRAKE EARLY, is the main rule.

    Overall, things are looking good, but there's still some things hurting the score. Mainly those brakes.


    15
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster

    It took me a couple laps to bring the MONSTER down...and let the Viper savor some roasted Skyline meat. :mischievous:

    The first lap was all bumbles and scrambles, as I struggled to figure out where and when to brake & turn-in and stuff. In the second lap, I decided just to brake early everywhere, and it worked. The GTR was now history. :cool:

    18
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock

    Power between a stock Viper and the Muscle Cars version is just 8 horses in difference, which really makes for a truer comparison between stock and tuned in certain ways; especially so far as braking and powering out are concerned, since both cars have the ability to tap approximately the same well.

    One can't ignore there are other forces at work, though. Especially when comparing lap times between stock and tuned. With the tuned car, I was making consistent 1:23's with speed running towards 147+ mph down Motegi's longest straight...1:22's when I nailed it better. In the stock GTS, it was 1:29's, with Top Speed at about 141+. So something has been improved here.

    Gearing is the first obvious improvement. The tuned Viper assumes all of those gears (except 1st) come into use. As demonstrated above, even 6th is required down Motegi's longest straight. A stock GTS needs just gears 2 thru 4. Although my heart prefers the stock box (love them torque grabs), it IS too tall for Twin Ring. So that's the first improvement. There are weight reductions, too. :tup: All 3 stages. I'm awarding 2 points for this, rather than one, since there's lots weight removed: 574 pounds of it.

    The stock GTS has staggeringly BAD brakes...really awful. All my brake distances needed to be even longer than in the Muscle Car GTS, which slows down at little better, but still could use improvement. It's the wings that really help the tuned car. I'm thinking that wing kit (the airflow resistance that is being created by having wings) helps slow the car more than Adamgp's actual brake settings. Both cars trail-brake to a limited degree, so no improvement possible there.

    There are some improvements in the tuned version's cornering behavior, which is gonna help Adam alot.

    I noticed both cars turn-in while braking, but the stock version wallows and dips alot more; in ways that aren't helpful. All this extra movement creates small wobbles in our racing line, which doesn't matter when you're driving casually, but when Best Lap is being hunted, you'll want your Viper's chassis/body relationship to feel more controlled. I was thinking that the stock version might grab into corners better, but this turns out NOT to be the case. Both cars have about the same amount of front-end grabbing once those brakes are off. The tuned version actually understeers a little less mid-corner, matter of fact; courtesy of the maxed spoiler up front. That was a smart move putting the Initial and Decel settings at minimum, Adam; letting the Viper you tuned keep what flexibility it has. :D

    The Tuned version is a little more affected by rumble strips than the stock one, but doesn't get bothered enough for me to remove a point. While powering-out, both cars have loads of traction, but the tuned version displays a little less understeer than the stock one--odd, since the stock car hasn't got an aftermarket limited-slip installed; so it must be something in Adam's tuning that's helping here. Adam's remake locks-in with mild to moderate throttlesteer which feels more confident. :tup:

    So lots of improvements here, some expected, and some unexpected. :cheers:

    8

    Total Score: 81
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  7. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0003.jpg

    Car: Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II Nür (R34)

    Tuner: Drifting 24/7

    Garage: Red Zone Autoworks

    Best Lap: 1:24.053


    I screwed up, and bought a blue Skyline instead of a black one. By the time I had realized my mistake, it was too late--I had already bought all the parts and stuff. :guilty:

    I thought D24/7's Lightweight and Middleweight cars (Spoon Civic and Protomotors Spirra) were great, challenging retunes. But both had their lacks when compared to others in the contest. So let's see if we can tackle the Heavyweights.


    Speed

    Top Speed: 145.4 mph

    The 2002 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II Nür was one of Nissan's final R34 production models. Named (obviously) after the Nürburgring, the 2.6 liter straight-6 has components built to N1 racing specs, a ceramic intercooled twin-turbo, and so it's a very racy engine from the start. As racy as it gets with Japan's Gentleman's Agreement, which prohibits power to 276. But Nissan pushed the envelope with this model (as well as many other GTRs). Screw the Gentlemen and their agreement!

    With 438 horsepower and a weight of 1,327 kilograms, this one has a power-to-weight ratio of 3.03...nowhere near the minimal limit. The car's got a Stage 1 weight reduction, as per D24/7's instructions. I double, triple, and quadruple-checked all this just to make sure I got it right. Don't want any embarrassing retunes after posting the final tally. :O

    Anyways, all this means the Red Zone Skyline GTR Vspec II Nür is underpowered as per this contest, especially compared to Adam's Viper. Which is the sole reason I couldn't keep up with the Viper. The Red Zone Skyline actually out-handles Adam's Viper in several ways... too bad it hasn't got the speed. :(

    Anyways, gearing. D24/7's gears assume we use 2nd thru 5th. One can upshift into 6th for the first straight section, but it would be a waste of time because the braking zone into Turn 1 is now approaching very fast. :nervous: Overall, I liked the way Drifting 24/7 set his gears. He's keeping the Nür's fantastic engine located just where it should be, so far as revs go. I'm glad he didn't force us to use 6th. :tup:

    2nd gear can be used anywhere, and at any revs. Once you're out of 2nd, things need to be more cautious. It seems boost doesn't start picking up till about 4,000 rpms. This is not horrible '80s-era turbo-lag, but it seems suggested that one never steps below 5,000 rpms in 3rd gear or higher. No deep 3rd-gear torque-grabs are to be accomplished in this machine like they could be in Adam's Viper and Jonn's Mazdaspeed6.

    Keep those revs high, and everything is great. :) Peak power is at 6,800 rpms, so I found myself shifting at about 7,500, which places the tach needle safely back to @6,000. :tup: There are options when approaching some corners; you don't need to shift up for every one you approach. :tup: We can find the perfect gear for every corner, and never need to even touch redline if we don't want to.

    So, great gears help us accelerate and keep the Nur within its proper power-band. Plenty of traction, too. The Nür only lacks when compared to others that are speedier, with better lap times. :(

    16
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    When I perused Drifting 24/7's Skyline Nür, I got a bit giddy. Even before I drove the Red Zone Nür, I was liking some of the settings I saw.

    ....'Till I noticed a full-custom limited slip would be involved. :boggled: And no brake balancer! :scared: Anyways, I'll keep an open mind...maybe there will be some hidden capabilities to discover.

    Let's pretend we're approaching a Twin Ring corner. Actually, the brakes aren't that bad, even without a balancer. This car out-brakes Adam's Viper by far, for instance; and just about equals Jonn's Mazdaspeed (which has decent brakes). But the Red Zone Nür beats Jonn's entry because it let's us trail-brake with greater success. A balancer would have helped further, making slowing-down in the Nür even more promising than it already is.

    When I originally added parts for this car, I thought YESSSSSSSS!!!! No limited-slip added!!!! :D The R34 GTR Vspec Nür, after all, has Nissan's patented ATTESA and Super-HICAS systems, built to make the car attack turns like no other. As I drove the BATTLE MONSTER Skyline R-Tune around, I clearly felt PD's rendering of these systems as the car gets just loose enough to be flexible, yet keeps plenty of poise and traction. The R-Tune balances itself no matter how hard you push it (within reason), helping it perfectly get the exact cornering angle you desire. Most of the time, the car's got a RWD bias, and it feels like a RWD with front-end assistance, rather than a pushy AWD.

    So I was psyched Drifting 24/7 kept all this in place...

    Then I got to the track, and saw those LSD settings. DOH! :ouch::dunce::banghead: Turns out D24/7 forgot to list a FC LSD, but we're supposed to install one anyways, since full settings are listed. Doh, indeed.

    But actually driving this car, I realized what Drifting 24/7 was after: a carefully-crafted automobile that uses its LSD settings wisely. Once I found good racing lines in this car for instance, it was extremely easy to keep them lap after lap. The Red Zone Nür is very predictable in this regard. There are some limits, however. Limits I really, really, really wish were not part of the package.

    It brakes in fine. If anything, the decel settings seem set to make sure you don't OVER TRAIL-BRAKE the car too far towards the inside. I had no problem with this. In the esses, the Nür feels absolutely FANTASTIC. It transitions from side-to-side with ease, despite a rather heavy delivery. It enters like its on rails, yet has more flexibility than Jonn's Mazdaspeed. Completely useful. Let off the throttle, and you've got the perfect amount of lift-off, so long as you're not travelling too fast to overwhelm those tires. It takes a lap or two (or more if you're not so experienced) to find this zone of perfect lift-off, but once you find it, it's safe to re-travel it in future laps, unless you brake way late or something.

    Travelling out of esses, again, the Nür throttlesteers just so, as long as you wait to attack at just the right moment. And travelling over rumblies? Sheesh! It's like ironing a T-shirt! ...the Skyline doesn't get upset at all!

    The problems start to occur in Twin Ring's tighter areas. Turns 1, 2, 6, 10, and 11. Braking-in is usually fine (once you find the proper braking area), but the wait between braking, mid-corner, and re-introducing throttle can be painstakingly long. Longer than it would be if I didn't need to install those Mine's aftermarket limited-slips. :indiff:

    Jump on the gas too early, and by golly....there's that understeer! There were also some areas in which I felt I got the perfect launch, especially out of both hairpins. I had waited before dropping fuel. I had turned-in significantly. But the late-corner understeer which finally showed up destroyed everything! :mad:

    During moments of understeer, it gets frustrating because *all a sudden* I needed to tame back the fuel-mushroom. Or force an extra brake-tap. While the ghost car sped dangerously by. :sick:

    I blame all this on the limited-slips. The actual suspension tuning itself is decent and workable. Ah well. Overall, the Nür works with us, once you find its requirements. But I would prefer more flexibility.


    19
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    This car (despite its AWD layout and aftermarket limited-slips) is actually more flexible than Adamgp's Viper in alot of ways. It's got better brakes. Its tranny allows more freedom since we're not forced to use 6th gear in the Skyline, and shifting doesn't feel as busy. But so far as actual cornering goes, both cars have their plusses and their faults.

    Mainly, the Viper can't brake into turns very well, but it does everything else well (within reason). The Skyline, on the other hand, brakes in with full confidence; it's everything else that can get a bit touchy if you don't follow the "rules".

    I set the first Family Cup on +5. The top cars in first and 2nd place were a couple of RUFs, but they got their asses handed to them. Easy, since both RUFs wiped out on lap two while exiting Turn 9. :lol: I took it all the way to +10 difficulty. Let's not fool around here. The game provided me with a Supercar Challenge line-up of cars including: a VW Nardo, Audi LeMans, Pagani Zonda, AMG Benz McLaren, and a Tommykaira ZZIII. Didn't matter. I passed each and every one of them in corners (except for the Benz, which saw my ass as I drove by on a straight section), sometimes on the inside, and sometimes on the outside. I got by that Audi in the final hairpin, slyly nudging far inside where the rumble strip lies.

    Therefore, the Red Zone Nur offers us about the same possibilities as Adamgp's Viper. It can kill any Family Cup, and allows us to try new and exciting routes thru corners while doing so. Only that annoying understeer and other assorted minor difficulties gets in our way.

    15
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster

    The BATTLE MONSTER GTR gets its second healthy dose of pwnage, as I defeated it in the very first lap!

    15
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock

    The usual stuff. The Red Zone is lighter by almost 200 kgs. Both cars assume 2nd thru 5th gear are used, but the tuned version features shorter, more effective throws. One must shift up to 5th towards the end of Motegi East's longest straights in a stock Vspec II Nür...problem is, those revs drop way below the peak power area with the stock version. Obviously, the Nür's stock 6-speed was made for some seriously high top speeds--which doesn't help us at Twin Ring, where bursts of acceleration are more important.

    So that's two improvements. Once we start comparing the way both cars handle, things get trickier.

    A third possible improvement are those wings on the tuned version, but it's hard to award a point here since they aren't cranked very strongly. The stock version gets thru the twisty bits with about the same prowess as the tuned one, and does so without added wings. Yea, I know it has less power, but I could push the stock Nür just as hard as the tuned one, with less chance of understeer showing up under power, most likely since it hasn't got aftermarket limited-slips interfering.

    More stuff. The stock version has more uncontained body movements than the tuned one, but in the stock Nür, I could use its natural movement to help me dance and swing thru certain curves. The stock car also features more cornering path flexibility, which makes it more accessible to attack turns in a greater variety of ways.

    The tuned version has great traction, even with about 90 extra horses, it never loses its compusure. But the same can be said about the stock Nür. The stock version displays more excessive body movement overall, and this includes occasional front-end grabbing, which can be undesirable at times; but I'd rather have this grabbing than extra understeer found in the Red Zone version.

    When comparing braking, I'm not docking or adding points. The stock Nur uses shorter braking distances, but it's also heavier and slower. If D24/7 had installed a balancer, and bumped its settings up a few notches (or gave us stronger wings), I would definately give an extra point or two for an true improvement since the car should slow even more effectively. Both cars trail-brake, too.

    But so far as overall handling goes, the final punch is: the tuned version understeers more than stock, especially on exits. Its front-end doesn't lock into corners as early, either. Bad news for Drifting 24/7. :guilty::indiff: The tuned version does allow us to work with it, but it requires a stricter set of rules to get the job done.

    3

    Total Score: 68
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  8. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0004.jpg

    Car: '02 Jaguar XK-R Sport

    Tuner: Camry Fan

    Garage: N Tune Performance

    Best Lap: 1:25.816


    For some reason, I'm really psyched about this next car. I'd love to see this Jag possibly provide some competition for Adamgp's Viper, and Drifting 24/7's Skyline Nür. :mischievous:

    Speed

    Top Speed: 143.3 mph

    First thing I noticed when buying parts for this car is...it looks as if the shopping cart is leaving the store partially-empty! No lighter flywheel. No carbon shaft, either. No brake balancer device. And no wing kit. :eek: Okay, buddy, you're the boss! :lol: On the other hand, I'm not missing the money I saved on not needing to buy an aftermarket limited-slip device. :tup:

    There's no 2nd weight reduction either. The N Tune Jaguar XKR Sport is just a few horses shy of the TCV5 Heavyweight limit, but could it have been at least lightened a bit more?? I'm noticing it's way above the power to weight limit.

    Well, it's not my bizness to play sleuth or pit crew boss...I'm here to judge. So let's get to it. :rolleyes:

    Jaguar uses a higher-performance version of its supercharged 4.2 liter V8, so speed probably isn't something we'll have to worry about down those straights and out of curves & corners. The supercharger guarantees plenty of action from just about any revs above idle in either 2nd or 3rd gear. 4th is used for the bulk of Motegi's straights, with 5th making a late appearance down the longest one. We won't be needing 5th in any other area of the track.

    From about 5,000 rpms up, there's a solid set of revs for the longer straights. Peak Hp is at 6,100, and the redline is at 6,500. There's barely any redline area, too. This seems like it'll be too short; but honestly, it's best to shift at redline or slightly before it. This motor feels happiest once it's digging back out of 5 grand again, so dig deep and dig hard. :yuck:

    I had no true gripes with the gearbox except for the area between turns 9 and 10--which is where we leave the 2nd S-curve, roll down a short straight, and then prepare to enter the backwards bend. Down this straight, I felt shortchanged a bit, as it looked like I might be able to use 3rd for the bulk of it. But no....the engine hits its RPM limiter, requiring a short, awkward shift up into 4th.

    One can avoid this and just hit the limiter instead, but this creates a weird situation where speed is increasing, suddenly decreses (not by our choice) and then we have to brake. It's actually better to upshift into 4th before downshifting twice to 2nd, but it's still awkward.

    Could gearing have been improved further? Possibly. I could see maybe a shorter 4th and 5th, as well as a carbon shaft & lighter flywheel for better acceleration; although I don't think this is the main issue which should have been tackled.

    So why is this car feeling so sluggish (when compared to a couple other Heavyweights??) Why is its lap time several seconds slower than the Nür and Viper?

    I blame it on too much weight, but Camry Fan could have added just a little extra power as well. Turns out, I did wind up doing a bit of sleuthing...curiosity was killing me. Camry Fan could have reduced weight further, and bought engine balancing + had the engine ported, placing the Jaguar XKR Sport closer to the TCV5 limit.

    There's plenty of traction in this car, a few more horses wouldn't destroy it.

    13
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    So far as this section goes, it seems as if our tuner got halfway thru tuning the suspension before calling it a day. :lol: Camber, toe, and sway bars are all at default. Hey, why get into fine-tuning? Life is short!

    There's better brake hardware installed, but no greater settings (created by a balancer). There's also no wings. And no limited-slip....although I'm not missing the limited-slip. All of this might be just fine if it works okay...I'll keep an open mind. :) So let's find out.

    Like I said, there's no brake balancer, and there should have been one installed to help slow this heavy cat. As it is, the N-Tune XKR Sport actually has better straight-line braking than Adamgp's Viper, although it can't touch the Skyline Nür or the Mazdaspeed. Also, both cars (Viper and Jaguar) trail-brake in with about the same ability. But a balancer and/or a wing kit could have made things even better.

    But I'm SO GLAD there's no aftermarket limited-slip device. :tup: The XKR (when stock) is a rather lazy car in those corners, it's happier with straight sections. :D But at least there is some flexibility when cornering, and at least Camry Fan kept what flexibility there is by not adding LSD. :tup:

    It means the XKR Sport travels in as best it can. Mid-corner, there is some variation, but overall, this beast locks in solidly. The front-end doesn't grab in far enough in my opinion, which means there is some downtime as we wait for a few weak moments of lift-off. Throttling out; again, the car does the best it can. There is some throttlesteer, but it's not Viperish by any means.

    Travelling over bumblies, the Jag feels like all the other Heavyweights except Jonn's Mazdaspeed. Bumps barely upset the Jaguar, even if you're in the wrong racing line. Grass, on the other hand, does upset the Jag, but we're not supposed to be driving over grass, except for those unavoidable dips here and there.

    So there are some good points in the Handling department, but I think they could have been better had Camry Fan played with those suspension settings a bit more. I would have liked to see a tighter steering angle, stronger brakes, and quicker reactions overall (except over rumblies). As it is, this cat feels more like a lazy lion which hunts half-heartedly, instead of an agile, stealthy jaguar. ;)

    16
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    This car does fine with corners till you need to take an odd angle. Understeer is actually minimal (a bit of a surprise) if you brake massively and early...it's when you need to make surprise adjustments that the Jag doesn't purr quite as contently.

    Again, I did some Family Cups to further fine-tune this score. Started at +5, which put the N-Tune Jaguar up against a couple Vipers (GTS and Concept), an ancient Shelby Cobra, a Nissan R390, and an ASL (not in that order). Despite a few awkward moments and lots of finessing, the Jag walked away with an easy win. But it's obvious where this long-body, long wheelbase auto's weakness lies; for as I needed to out-brake the Ai, I'd often wind up too deep and too hot into the upcoming turn, slowing to a crawl while struggling to maintain my pass. I also noticed some moments when I wanted to keep the XKR Sport in gear longer than I should have; not realizing I was redlining. OH, there's the RPM limit! :ouch:

    Did a 2nd race with full difficulty (+10), which brought out all the Supercar Challenge folks. :D Saleen S7, AMG SLR McLaren, Audi Quattro LM, etc. This was a closer race. Matter of fact, I lost to the Saleen, which beat me by just +.202 of a second! I could have won if I had tried again, of course, but that's not the goal of scoring Versatility..the goal is to see how consistent these cars are at helping us maintain solid, similar lap times.

    So when rolling around an empty track, it's the brakes, the occasional inflexibility, and other details which hurt the score. :indiff: But the lack of added LSD helps. :)

    12
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster

    That BATTLE MONSTER Skyline looked as if it might win the contest. But I showed him a little taste of the Bone. Parnelli Bone, that is. ;):yuck:

    12
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock

    The N-Tune version is lightened, so there's a bonus point. It should have been lightened further...I would have awarded another point since the Jag XKR Performance is an elephant.

    The gearbox from a stock Performance is honestly about the same as from the N Tune. :confused: I mean, the same exact gears come into play around Motegi East...stock or tuned! There's that same brief upshift into 5th as we roll down Motegi East's longest straight, but 5th isn't needed in any other area. 3rd is needed for most of the esses...in both cars. Etc. There ain't much difference, not enough to award serious points.

    But the tuned version wins out slightly because it feels more eager below 5,000 rpms, which is necessary for use as we stomp out of those esses. The stock XKR Performance bogs down at these moments, its supercharger apparently out of breath, but the tuned car scrambles out with more vigor. I felt this was due to the N-Tune's gearing / final gear relationship, rather than merely extra power. So there's another point for ya.

    A third point gets awarded since the N-tune remake doesn't display as much of the stock car's "fullback" qualities. The stock car feels like a big, hunky football player...a fullback who's there to hold a defensive line, rather than a more-agile quarterback, who feels more adept at charging thru it. This isn't just a lack of weight; it's also caused by Camry Fan's lowered suspension and beefier coils. :tup: There is a little less "preparing" in the tuned version to get it to angle-in and drive out.

    The brakes feel exactly the same. I could brake in the same zones in either the Performance or Camry Fan's Sport. :odd: No point added or docked. So far as actual driving lines go, both cars also travel thru corners with about the same prowess....they corner-in with about the same flexibility, lift-off about the same, have equal amounts of traction, and throttlesteer similarly, although the N Tune car gets to business here with more gusto; but this is merely caused by the fact that it's got more power, and less weight to pull.

    It's great that this car hasn't got an added LSD, which is why there's no points docked, but there's also no points gained here. :guilty: A wing kit + some extra playing with ride height, camber, and sway bars definately could have improved the score, no doubt.

    4

    Total Score: 57
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  9. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0005.jpg

    Car: Dodge Charger 440/465 hp R/T

    Tuner: Rotary Junkie

    Garage: RRV Motor Works

    Best Lap: 1:26.431


    I had just finished up testing Camry Fan's Jaguar and looked to see which car was next. Yes! The Charger! I really wanted to just jump in, but instead MADE myself go to bed! Ah....gotta get some sleep, gotta make myself WAIT THOSE upcoming 20 HOURS before I can drive this one! :D:cheers::)

    Speed

    Top Speed: 143.7 mph

    Lots of muscle translates to stratospheric acceleration and some good straight speed, of course, but not the BEST straight speed. Lots of torque translates to some freedom when leaving those tighter corners. You can play around while gearing up in this car....2nd, 3rd, and 4th gear are all an option here and there.

    We can get around Twin Ring East using only gears 3 thru 6, effectively making this car a 4-speed. :tup: There were some times I "cheated" and dropped down to 2nd gear, since 2nd makes for a great engine-brake (and we're gonna need all the help we can get to slow this brawny vehicle), but most of the time, I was using 3 thru 6. I'm not sure if RJ meant for us to be using 2nd at Twin Ring or not.

    When dropping down to 2nd (out of curiosity) I found the expected wheelspin made the 440's massive torque just about useless, unless I was really careful with that throttle. Honesty, I found it easier (and got better lap times) when I left the tranny in 3rd. The tach needle dips way down to 2,000 rpms at times, but it don't matter. The Charger is just like Codename's Vette from the Middleweight: useful revs are given out like free candy. The RPM band is nice and compact; almost all of it can be exploited. :tup:

    I did shift early, though. :idea: After the 440 cubic-inch monster passes its 4,400 rpm peak horsepower area, it starts running out of breath quick. We can save it by avoiding redline, and up shifting early. Gearing is flexible...there was one area (approaching Turn 8) where I could leave the car in 5th, or upshift into 6th. My choice. I could take some portions of the esses in either 3rd or 4th, and scooted out of turns 1, 6, 10, and 11 in 3rd.

    When leaving corners in 3rd, what we mostly get is lots of traction, which helps overall acceleration, and is helping the Speed score. Now the cool thing is, it's possible to get the rear a little sideways in 3rd, so that it's barely slipping, which looks really cool in replays (and will help the Versatility score). But it's also totally possible to avoid all this, and go for MAXIMUM TRACTION instead.

    So this car's got the speed, although there are a couple others which are faster overall that can use their speed more effectively, which puts the Charger 440/465 hp R/T down some points.

    14
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    Here's where it all falls apart. A '60s-era muscle sedan going up against a field of modern sports coupes...you do the math! I know RJ said something about this car making lap times similar to modern vehicles, but when up against some of the Heavyweight autos, the Charger does have some lacks.

    But actually, there are many fine points to be made where Rotary Junkie has improved this car, so that it doesn't feel so "musclecar-ish" all the time. The brakes (and braking ability), unfortunately, are not one of these areas. :indiff:

    Just like Adamgp's Viper, this Charger is. Even on soft sports tires and with modern brake hardware, it requires massive braking zones to slow it, even in a straight line. The good news is there is a lack of understeer while braking, assuming one starts nice & early. Perhaps that's what RJ was going for. There is also some ability to trail-brake this car inwards as we get close to the turning point. :tup: Personally, I would prefer stronger brakes, tho, especially up front.

    Turning-in requires care and dexterity. This car's got almost eight feet of overhang front and rear. In case you don't know, overhang is usually measured from axle to bumper (unless the car hasn't got a bumper, in which case, it's measured as far forward or backward that the body extends). A Viper GTS, for instance, only has about 6 and a quarter feet, and its overhangs (while somewhat long) also happen to be more aerodynamically sound.

    Anyways, the Charger's got lots of overhang, as well as a higher center of gravity than usual, which means there's lots and lots of weight getting transfered fore & aft as we brake, steer, and accelerate. It makes the car fun to drive in Dukes of Hazzard/'70s action TV show kind of way; because you can use this weight/overhang to throw the car around and get sideways. But it's also a curse at times when you're really buckling down for some good lap times.

    But like I said, I could use this extra weight transference to my advantage at times. Matter of fact, I found when going for Turn 3, sometimes I could suddenly steer-in sharply, let the rear get loose, and let the following movement from the rear get the Charger into a better angle. :D There were a couple other areas at Twin Ring East where the Charger R/T lets us use its weight in such a fashion, but this is a dangerous operation. Get it wrong, and the rear-end gets too loose. You try to correct this, and now the front-end "snaps back", and you're possibly in a mini-spin heading towards some grass.

    But for some reason, I found I could use the Charger 440/465 hp R/T's natural movement in Turn 3. Probably since there's a wider path to follow here. :tup:

    Entering L-turns and hairpins was nightmarish when trying to defeat the BATTLE MONSTER. The [color="Purple]Charger[/color] brakes-in poorly, and then there's a gap of time before you can [i]finally[/i] nail the gas. :nervous: But I will say this: [b]at least there's a lack of musclecar-type understeer[/b], assuming you don't push too hard. This Charger (with RJ's settings) does allow some leeway before understeer shows up. :tup:

    Also, I liked the way the [b]limited-slip device[/b] was set-up. It allows for the [u]perfect[/u] amount of traction, but also allows us to get loose if we so desire. The Initial and Decel ratings aren't set too high; instead, we can use that mid-ground Accel settings to plaster the Charger safely out of turns. :tup:

    Overall, it's those poor brakes, goofy weight transference, and [i]occasional[/i] understeer (if you step just a little too far out of place) and various other nigglies which are hurting the Handling score.

    [color="Red"]14[/color]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    Adamgp's Viper lost points here due to ineffective brakes, but gained them just about everywhere else. The problem with RJ's Charger is it's got the weak brakes, but also loses in other areas when cornering.

    I did a couple Family Cups. First one was at +5, which put the Charger against a Pagani, Viper SRT-10, Mercedes AMG McLaren, AC Cobra, and some other car I'm forgetting. One flaw I didn't expect was in the Charger 440/465 hp R/T's gearing. Upshifts are too constant, the tranny very busy. With that 440 OHV V8 in charge, could always reliably walk away from the enemies out of corner area, but some of them were then passing the R/T on straights, simply because they could stay in gear longer. I walked over this crowd anyways. By Turn 6/Lap 2, the leading AMG McLaren was history.

    Did a second race on +8 difficulty, which the Charger lost by +.481 to a Cobra. So I did a +7 race, which the Charger killed.

    One thing positive to note: despite the massive body, tricky weight transference, and mediocre brakes, there were a few times I could get the Charger 440/465 hp R/T by my opponents at an odd angle, with inches to spare, and with a lack of damaging understeer or other such nonsense. I'm crediting RJ's suspension & LSD tuning for this assistance.

    Also, I could have a bit of fun with this car (Family Cups or not), getting slightly sideways and stuff, all while getting predictable lap times. Plant that throttle like a bag of mulch, and let whatever happens happens! :dopey:

    To sum it uphe rear-end of the car is alot more versatile than the front.

    12
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster

    When going up against the R-Tune ghost, it always looked as if I might defeat it. Rolling down straight #1, the R-Tune would wind up 2 or 3 car-lengths behind me. But then the first corner approached. :indiff: I brake super-early. The R-Tune does not. :mad:

    Sometimes I'd manage to catch and pass the R-Tune thru the upcoming L-turn and start of the esses...but it was here the BATTLE MONSTER showed me exactly who's boss here.

    Finally, I did it...a near-perfect lap. Showed the R-Tune some of the RJ-Tune's magic. ;)

    11
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock

    Just like with other old clunkers, there's alot of points gained here because Rotary Junky started with a car which has lots of faults.

    There's a couple weight reductions, which starts this section with a couple of easy points (since lots of weight is removed with each reduction).

    I wasn't too crazy about the RRV transmission, but it IS an improvement in several ways. It keeps the 440 reving where it revs the best, and doesn't redline down a couple straights the way a stock Charger does. Matter of fact, the stock 4-speed allows such a poor top gear, the Charger actually hits its RPM limit down the first straight! :lol: The stock car only provides two wheelspin-free gears (assuming we're using full throttle), while the remake provide four (gears 3 thru 6). So that's actually THREE points gained just for gearing.

    The stock Charger 440 R/T displays gargantuan dipping and rolling thru corners. Fun stuff, but it really hurts when you're trying to stick to a racing line. The Charger 440/465 hp R/T remake feels alot more planted...more controllable simply because its weight isn't being thrown around with as carelessly.

    There's the areas where there's no true improvement, but no points docked, either. Braking. The stock version actually requires shorter braking zones than the tuned one, especially into Turns 1 and 6. Since it's also heavier and has less power (it approaches turns at a lower speed), I'd say both cars have about the same braking prowess. I can't get too scientific about this without taking a week to do it; hence this is why there's no points docked.

    Both cars have lots of traction, but the ability to get a little loose (if you want). The stock version digs into corners with a little more grab, meaning there's less downtime between braking and steering-in. More lift-off oversteer, basically. But I'm not docking points or adding points here because, yea..it's able to do this..but there's a ton of risks involved. The front-end steers & grabs in with more force, but getting it pointed correctly (without excessive grabbing) is alot more work. Nosing a stock Charger in a corner is like hedging a bet at a roulette table. You might win, but you might also lose.

    Both cars display about the same amount of entry-understeer (if you miss the correct braking zone). When leaving corners, exit-understeer is somewhat easy to avoid with both cars, since both display a variety of behavior: from mild throttlesteer to mild slip to yeehaw!!! I'm awarding a final point to the RRV Charger 440/465 hp R/T, since it's overall more controllable in this regard.


    8

    Total Score: 59
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  10. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0007.jpg

    Car: Subaru Impreza WRX STi Spec C

    Tuner: king of weasels

    Garage: Bellomo Motorsports SPA

    Best Lap: 1:22.923


    With a power to weight ratio of 2.88 for the Bellomo Motorsports Sti, it looks like Adamgp's Viper GTS may have some competition after all.

    Speed

    Top Speed: 149.9 mph

    Blindingly fast this car is, and yes..it trumps the Viper's Top Speed of 149.3 mph by 0.6 mph. I thought the Impreza might suffer a lower Top Speed than this, since it's a boxier car with wings, but I'm also noticing the king of weasels didn't set the wings to MAX; perhaps so the car can go just a little faster down straights. The Viper could probably get a slightly higher Top Speed than the Impreza if it didn't need to brake so early. :ouch:

    In other words, Top Speed is recorded at the end of the first straight. In Adam's Viper, I was needing to brake at about 120 meters (or thereabouts). Well the Impreza needed less braking distance...just 90 meters if I got it right. Therefore, it travels 30 more meters before needing to brake than the Viper. Those extra 30 meters may not sound like much, but this is where the Impreza is gaining an extra point. :idea:

    Somehow, the Viper wound up with a better lap time, though. I noticed the Bellomo Motorsports Impreza didn't have a carbon driveshaft as required fitting, so I didn't install. Could there have been true Viper dominance (basically, some extra acceleration & a lower lap time) if the Impreza had this final piece installed?

    So the Viper got a better lap time, and it felt like less work getting there because the Viper is more predictable. The Bellomo Motorsport Impreza can get the job done, but its driving mannerisms are more complicated. There's alot more finessing of the throttle mid-corner, for instance--to evade understeer. But that's really for the Handling and Versatility sections. Once I learned how to drive the Spec C, and fine-tuned my cornering, that's when I was able to nail the best lap time. :idea::cool: But it's still more work than in the Viper.

    One final comparison between Viper and Impreza. I noticed the Impreza would lose traction in the rear if I slowed way down to a near-crawl, then hammered its accelerator, even in 2nd gear. The Viper wouldn't do this. When driving more aggressively, the Impreza still loses traction, but it's a much smaller amount which is easier to control. To avoid it, all you gotta do is be aware of where the car is aimed, how much traction those rear tires have, and how much gas to give and when. All this must be accomplished intuitively in a split-second. It's easier than it sounds once the driver gets a feel for the car.

    I thought all this is interesting. Here you have an all-wheel drive with limited-slips set up, and its loses traction; while a front-engine/rear-drive doesn't! I'm thinking that the Viper (which has a slightly rearward 48/52 weight distribution caused by its gearbox being mounted between the rear axle) gets better traction over an Impreza, which is front-heavy.

    Anyways, the Subaru's 2.5 liter flat-4 creates peak power is at 6,400 rpms, but redline isn't till 8,000, which means there's plenty of flexibility with shifting. 2nd thru 6th possibly come into play, with plenty of options. :tup:
    2nd or 3rd gear can be used for corners 1, 6, 10, and 11, but you're not forced to choose either gear. If you decide to use 3rd, the tach dips down to the 4,000s, but you're okay--no turbo-lag shows up. I did find, however, that if I used 2nd out of both hairpins (Turns 6 and 11), acceleration is maximized. 3rd works better out of Turns 1 and 10.

    When approaching Turn 2, I could leave the car in 3rd while the 2.5 safely starts redlining, or shift up to 4th. I found it best to stay in 3rd, even though while doing so, the car escapes its peak-power area (@5,750 to 7,000 rpms). It's better to leave the car in gear rather than forcing a brief, awkward upshift into 4th. There were at least three other areas where the driver is given these "shift or no-shift" options. :tup: Which is great because it means I got to explore the absolute maximum speed I could carry before needing to brake. Never is one forced upon an RPM limit in this car, unless they really suck at MT shifting. :lol:

    When rolling down the first straight, it's best to shift into 6th gear, so that the car stays within its peak power area. :tup: And then you only need to downshift 3x to get to 3rd. Not too bad.

    So it looks like it might be a close race between the Viper and this Impreza. :scared:

    23
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    The king of weasels has set his suspension (or perhaps "MIKEY BE" did it), so that it's higher in comparison to others, but not too high. It features tuning that is simply firm...not too flimsy, but not overly stiff. This is a very timid tune, just like with this car's gearbox. Literally a few clicks here and there; nothing too extreme. The gearbox works, but does the suspension?

    So let's start by looking at those struts, shocks, and sway bars. :idea:

    Traveling over the rumblies with little drama is possible if you follow the rules. These moments only became a problem if I rolled over one on the inside, going at a rate of speed which was just a tad too fast. The Impreza doesn't bOuNcE, but it can lose its orbit, which means the car gets skittery on-exit. If you're going too fast, there's the chance those tires will need to regain their traction when rolling away from the inside rumble, which means now you're losing speed instead of going for it. :indiff:

    I mentioned before how complicated the Bellomo Motorsport Impreza is to drive. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it is tricky. These "complications" were mostly minor; small mannerisms that are needed to learn before driving this car to its absolute best.

    The brakes are one of these complications, but in a good way. :) This car has some awesome brakes, and notice it's also got stronger brake settings than most :sly: cars in the Heavyweight. Matter of fact, it took me awhile to figure out when to brake in this car...not because I was braking too late, but because I was braking too EARLY.

    While braking-in, the car can be trailed to some degree. The Decel setting in the limited-slip limits this, but not to the point of annoyance. One good thing I noticed about this Decel behavior is it makes the Impreza more tossable into corners. You can crank the steering hard without winding-up ass-first, letting the car get into a mild slide on entry. :cool:

    Now here's the 2nd small complication one must learn: figuring out where & when to start turning-in while braking. It takes practice. Not just the trail-braking itself, but figuring out just the right moment to LET OFF those brakes.

    When letting-off, the car's front-end can get very grabby. If you let-off those brakes too early, you'll blow your cornering line with a big, healthy grass-munch. :ouch: So it's important to get it right. It's very important to find that near-perfect racing line, and be going at a safe speed, as well; because if you avoid grabbing (but enter the corner too hot), the car will be lightly understeering mid-corner. You won't be able to nail the gas as early.

    And here's where the Viper wins out. Yea, its brakes suck, but it helps you out of corners in a more predictable, efficient way. It's easier to find its limits. In the Bellomo Motorsport Impreza WRX STi Spec C, applying gas while leaving is trickier. You can't go from zero to FULL as easily. Late-corner understeer will show up as those limited-slips transfer into their Accel mode. :banghead: At times, throttle must be given, taken back, and given again. It's possible to give half-throttle at some moments mid-corner. The front-end starts to grab, instead of understeering. See what I mean? This is a lot of activity. It's a struggle to get it right.

    So it took me awhile to "get it right". I'm glad those limited-slips weren't set any stronger than they are, though. :tup: We definatly don't need MORE understeer in this car.

    18
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    Thanks to the brakes, shift-anytime tranny, and firm AWD footprint, the Versatility score gets plenty of help. But there's plenty of possible late-corner understeer (and the multitude of small steering & throttle corrections needed to avoid it) that hurts.

    As usual, I did a couple Family Cups. Started at a diffculty of 7 instead of 5. I felt confident the Spec C could handle this, and it did just fine, tho it was a close finish. I could out-brake the Ai with ease. Matter of fact, I could brake even later than I was while doing Trials, because those front tires get to heat up. For this reason, the front ALSO gets even grabbier. I noticed I didn't need brakes when between curves in both S-turn areas. Lift-off throttle was alot more aggressive...almost like you feel you're hanging off a trapeze! :D

    But the bad part...if I was trying to pass in a bad spot (outside my opponent for instance), there's NO WAY I'd be able to be as aggressive on that throttle as I was in Adam's Viper.

    The second race was done at near full-throttle, with a difficulty of 9, which for some reason I creamed (passed the leading Pagani in Turn 6/Lap 2), so let's take it to 10. Again, I passed the leading Pagani, but it took me till Lap 2/Turn 10 to do it.

    Overall, great versatility going into corners, with gear-shifts, and fuel. And yes...I could garner predictable lap times in this car while going for Best once I learned its limits. But it displays plenty of possible understeer, which keeps us from pushing further.

    15
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster


    With a Lap Time just over 4 seconds faster than the GTR R-Tune, the BATTLE MONSTER gets its ass handed over once again. I think I just saw it crying over in the pit lane. :(

    18

    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock

    Unlike the other Heavyweight leader so far (Adam's Viper), the Impreza's "power while stock" starts well down--135 horses less than a stock Impreza STi Spec C. Compare this to literally a few horses in the Viper from stock to tuned. This creates some interesting situations.

    Gearing isn't much different. The stock gearbox feels slightly taller than the Bellomo one, but we're using pretty much the same gears per corner in each car. The main difference is that the king of weasels' car requires an upshift into 6th during Motegi's longest straight, and arguably during its 2nd longest. Is this a true improvement? I would say not. Both cars have gearing that fits their engine's power precisely.

    ARE there any true improvements with gearing? Not with gearing, but with there is with the gearbox/engine relationship, since in the tuned car, that triple-plate clutch + lighter flywheel means shifts fire into place with more authority.

    The Bellomo Motorsport's brakes are fantastic, but they feel even better in the stock Spec C, which requires less brake distance. But this is merely a matter of the stock version's slower speed, so no points gained or docked.

    Where the stock car wins? I could use its throttle with less care, sometimes giving FULL gas starting mid-corner. Understeer shows up at times, but it's easier to avoid than in the tuned version. The stock Spec C also throttlesteers with greater success. There's less downtime between braking, lift-off, and fueling out.

    Weight
    looks like it'll be an issue, since king of weasels has ADDED some. But he's also given the car a Stage 1 weight reduction, in a clever effort at getting the Spec C to its absolute minimum TCV5 Heavyweight uh....weight.

    Both cars have plenty of traction. When stock, an Impreza Spec C features a heliacal differential up front, with a mechanical one in the rear. The split of power runs 41/59 front to rear. If the tuned version didn't have full-custom PD limited-slips involved, it might be a little more flexible while cornering; problem is it also might have more wheelspin in 2nd gear. :ouch: Which means it would be even harder to launch from turn to straight areas.

    So the full-custom limited slips. Are they an improvement? No. They're more like a trade-off. The tuned car actually requires them, but they're not needed (and can actually hurt) while the car is stock. The stock car doesn't make its rear tires smokey because it's got less power. Therefore, it's got exactly what it requires, but stock diffs aren't gonna work for the tuned car. Bit unfortunately, the Bellomo Motorsport Impreza loses some flexibility that the stock Spec C has. There's not much we can do about this, or if there is something we can do about it, I'm not sure what.

    Those wings also can't be called a true improvement. Both cars travel thru the esses (where wings matter most) with about the same confidence. The stock version is slower, of course, but I could push it harder. Where there is an improvement is with overall firmness in the tuned car. Less body movement...that sort of stuff.

    So this is another case of "it's hard to improve upon that which is already good to begin with".:indiff: Changes have been made to the Bellomo Motorsports Impreza Spec C, but they are merely put in place for issues which come up once more power is involved. Issues a stock Impreza Spec C doesn't even have to deal with.


    3

    Total Score: 77
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  11. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0008.jpg

    Car: BMW M3 '03

    Tuner: VTiRoj

    Garage: RRV Motorworks

    Best Lap: 1:22.332


    With a claimed weight to power ratio of 2.850, VTiRoj puts this Bimmer smack-dab in the middle of the Heavyweight war.

    Speed

    Top Speed: 149.7 mph

    It was looking like a competition soley between Adamgp and the king of weasels, which would have created an interesting showdown as it was. Sports coupe versus sports sedan. America versus Japan. The Viper's giant V10 versus a miniscule 2.5 liter flat-4. Natural-aspirated versus intercooled turbo. Rear-drive versus all-wheel drive. And on and on...

    But now VTiRoj has shown up with a car that looks as if it'll further thicken the plot. An epic moment in the history of the TCV5. :D Let's see what happens...

    Within the first 11 miles on this new car's odometer, it looks as if those other guys could be in some serious trouble, as I was able to easily make a time of 1:22.666. This was one of those intuitive moments, and I struggled for many more laps 'till I was able to beat .666 with .322. I feel that the Bimmer has even more capability, but I wanna get Heavyweight judging done. Going for a lower time could mean an extra day of driving...an extra day before I can get those scores up. VTiRoj's got the best Parnelli lap time, he's getting rewarded for it, that's all that matters.

    The 3.2 liter straight-6 M3 engine is another stellar machine. Peak power is located at 7,900 rpms, which is just before the redline of 8,000, creating what looks like will be a difficult scenario for accelerating action and gear-shifting. Fortunately, the RRV Motorworks M3 has had the engine balancing service, which creates more redline area, which means more revving area. :tup: The RPM limit is at 9,000, instead of 8,500 in a regular M3. :tup:

    Its best advantage isn't just the fact that this is a high-revving engine, it is also extremely flexible. Just about any revs from idle to redline can be extracted while we're in 2nd gear. 3rd can be used out of some corners as a substitution for 2nd, but beware; for if you get below 5,000 rpms, there is a bit of hesitation, probably since the RRV M3 is using a Stage 3 NA kit. Some torque is sacrificed down-low, you see.

    2nd is therefore best-used out of Turns 6, 10, and 11, with an option in Turn 1. If you use 3rd in that first L-turn, you'll need to brake a little earlier (to avoid late-corner understeer), but it's very possible and very easy to just keep the car in 3rd here, to safely retain and harvest some extra speed a 2nd-gear drop could dispel.

    6th speed isn't truely needed down Motegi's first (and longest) straight. One can keep the car in 5th gear, letting it redline heavily but safely. There is no advantage to upshifting into 6th, but it can be done if you feel like. I had no problem with any of this.

    There's lots of traction to be had, which helps acceleration all the way. No wheelspin EVER in any gear outside of 1st, but (of course) we won't be using 1st.

    This car got the fastest lap time so far with room for improvement, but was just 0.2 mph slower than the Bellomo Impreza Spec C[/color], probably because the Impreza can go just a few meters further before needing to brake. I noticed (again) that there's no carbon driveshaft installed on this BMW. Tsk tsk...who knows...maybe a 1:21 could have been pulled effortlessly by me. :lol: Oh well...

    But the bottom line? Heavyweight just went from a simmer to a full boil.

    23
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    If we're to believe all the hype in the car mags, the M3 is supposed to be stellar in the Handling department. In many ways, VTiRoj's remake is certainly rating an A or an A+.

    Those corners can be carved up like a stick of soft butter. Seriously, there's so many good things to say, I fear I'll start sounding like a Rep for BMW if I spew them all now. So I'll start with one of the only criticisms I have. :mischievous: And it's not really that bad.

    The brakes, and braking ability, are simply average. That isn't to say they suck, tho. Braking distances simply fall midway between the best (STi Spec C, Mazdaspeed6) and the worst (Viper GTS). If you try and brake any later than 100 meters into Turn 1, for instance, you're risking some understeer on entry.

    But like I said, this is a small criticism in comparison to some of the damage you can inflict on other car's lap times while braking. Thanks to maxed-up wings and light Decel LSD tuning, the RRV M3 lets us trail-brake with plenty of options. If you start braking too early, matter of fact, beware: for you might find the front-end getting too grabby as you near the inside of the turn. :scared: I could even AVOID braking altogether while dashing into Turn 3 (start of the first esses), and into Turn 9...safely letting those tires and wings catch the brunt of wayward inertia.

    There is some searching, therefore; more searching than I needed when driving the Viper or D24/7's Skyline. Plenty of botched cornerings in the BMW, before I found those better racing lines, but it's a fruitful search with plenty of rewards at the end. :tup: And at least we have options. It's not like the Bellomo Impreza Spec C, which demands a series of small, complicated manuevers to get where it needs to be. And it's not like Adam's Viper GTS, which feels more predictable than the Impreza, but requires solid, early braking first. No, we've got options with this BMW. :tup: It may take awhile to find them, but eventually a skilled driver can do so.

    Mid-corner, the Bimmer just feels rock-solid with grip, without the Viper's heavy steering or the Impreza's list of steering/throttle chores. The M3's steering is much easier, and much more useful. Trasitioning thru the esses is frighteningly easy at times....did I just do that? And I found myself cornering with inches to spare at times...inches away from the rumblies that is (if I got it all right).

    So here's the other criticism, a bit more worrysome than just a set of average brakes. The RRV BMW M3 felt unpredictable when needing to travel over rumble strips. Sometimes, I'd drive over the strip out of Turn 5, for instance. I'd have a good, somewhat straight angle, so there was no consequence, other than a bit of bouncing. At other times, I'd drive over the same strip, but did so while needing to steer more aggressively. Now the car would pogo like ska fan at a Misfits concert, it would totally get thrown sideways. Those tires have some of the best grip I've ever seen, so it's not like the BMW would get totally thrown out of its path; instead, the rear tires might lose a bit of grip. The car loses a bit of speed because of this. Now I'm getting passed by my previous Best Ghost. :mad:

    There were plenty of other times I'd have a great lap, but would need to reset it because a rumble strip would ruin. Obviously, it's the fact that the car's been lowered all the way to its minimum of 79 millimeters.. The suspension is also a little stiff, but not to "Jonn79" standards. Anyways, this antsyness is one of the few probs I had with this car.

    The rest is all good. Plenty of grip. Easy turn-in. Lots of options with steering and throttling-out. Little more to say, actually. Enjoy your Handling score, VTiRoj.

    22
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    So far as racing lines go, there's ALOT of exploring. It defeats any level of Family Cup, and does so with even less work than the Viper, Skyline, Impreza Spec C, or anyone else. Racing lines can be played with, even while going for Best Lap. Even if the car gets skewed slightly sideways by a rumbly. Only grass screws everything up, even if just a centimeter of tire path contacts it.

    But who cares about grass?

    20
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster


    On my very first lap as I blew braking points, missed proper steering paths, and even went slightly off-course, I was still able to show the BATTLE MONSTER just who owns Twin Ring East today. :lol: As I crossed the START/FINISH line, I took a gander at the little tiny red speck in my rearview mirror. :cheers:

    19
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock

    The RRV M3 has had full weight removed, which equates to almost 600 pounds, so there's a couple easy points. The stock 6-speed transmission is also rather disappointing at Twin Ring East after driving VTiRoj's car, as it doesn't feel racy at all. Shifts fire into place much faster in the RRV, since this tranny keeps the tach hovering up where the power is, and there's a triple-plate clutch with ultra-lite flywheel for further assistance.

    Another point gets gained since VTiRoj's car has had engine balancing. It's got a fatter redline area. The problem with a stock M3? One eventually WILL be forced upon its RPM limiter sooner or later, since there's only 600 rpms between Peak Power and the limit. :ouch: Not enough room to leave the car in gear while needing to pass somebody else.

    But there's no true improvement with braking ability. :indiff: The stock car requires less distance, bla bla bla. By virtue of the fact that the tuned version is going much faster (and requires a longer distance), it's not suffering any docked points, but neither is it gaining any points. The brake settings in the tuned car are adequate, but they could have been even stronger.

    Both cars trail-brake with EZ success. Both cars have loads of grip with minimal understeer and zero traction-loss under power. Driving lines can be played with in both cars to no abandon. Both are flexible, and offer options for us to employ spontaneously if we need to. Where the tuned version loses a point is over rumblies. The stock version NEVER gets upset by them, or even grass clips. The tuned one can get upset by both. :indiff:

    The stock car sits higher than the tuned one, and no-doubt has a weaker suspension, and this translates to some occasional extra body movements (dipping, rolling, etc). However, these movements never became a problem for me personally, and I could even USE the stock car's natural movement to help me thru corners at times. All of this would dock some points, if the RRV M3 didn't have those "Boy Racer" wings attached. :lol: Some natural movement is killed in the RRV car, but it's killed out of necessity.

    Overall, some points are being lost which could have been gained, but still a decent retune.


    5

    Total Score: 89
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  12. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0013.jpg

    Car: HSV VY Super-Clubby Prototype (Holden Commodore SS)

    Tuner: mafia_boy

    Garage: Grease Monkey Tuning

    Best Lap: 1:23.542


    FINALLY I get to drive a Grease Monkey vehicle. And it's not a pickup truck this time. ;)

    Speed

    Top Speed: 146.8 mph

    I actually know very little about Holden, or the Australian automotive market. All I know: is Holden is affiliated with General Motors, the latest Pontiac GTO is actually an Australian car remade for America, and that's (embarassingly) all.

    Right away, I do know this: the Grease Monkey Super-Clubby Prototype weighs over a hundred pounds more than the 3 Heavyweight contenders I've rated highest so far, which means I'll be up front in telling that the Super-Clubby ain't gonna make one of the top speed scores. But who knows...maybe it'll score favorably elsewhere.

    Peak power is at 5,600 rpms. 5,600 is just about where Corvettes make their peak, and Mafs has noted this is an LS1 engine. Very good, sir. Since the redline is at 5,500 rpms, this means we'll need to be redlining hard in this car, just as we did when driving Macca's Solstice during Middleweight. I personally had no problem with this, since I never hit the RPM limit, and there seems to be plenty of top-end to tap into.

    During the longest straight, we have the option of shifting up to 6th, or leaving it in 5th while the Super-Clubby heavily redlines. If we shift into 6th, the tach needle now falls to 4,900 rpms, and doesn't have enough time to travel back over peak before we brake into Turn 1. Therefore, it's not truely necessary to upshift during Motegi's longest straight. I saw no benefit in doing so like I did with Adam's Viper.

    Peak torque is at 4,000, but useful torque starts well before this, as it should with a fuel-injected small-block V8. :D There were some options with gearing, therefore. I could use 2nd or 3rd out of Turns 1, 6, 10, and 11, like I could with so many other Heavyweights. When using 3rd, the tach dips way down into the 3,000s. When gassing up again, there's sometimes just a small hesitation before the LS1 starts firing on all 8 cylinders more aggressively, but this hesitation isn't enough to dock a point.

    Other notes. Sometimes in both hairpins, I could use 2nd as an engine-brake, upshift into 3rd just before mid-corner, and blast-off in 3rd. 2nd felt more appropriate for the final two turns, though (backwards-bend and final hairpin).

    One issue happens when using 2nd gear, I'm sure mafs already knows what it is. :lol: Which is why he's using zero camber on his rear tires. :idea:

    If you're not careful, some real wicked musclecarish wheelspin can show up, while the Super-Clubby fishtails and the driver grins. :) When needing to really push this car, it's tough to find the exact spot that's best to push out in 2nd.

    While cornering heavily, one can wait till inner-weight is transferred back onto those inner tires before giving full-throttle in 2nd, or one can slyly introduce a lesser amount of gas (no more than 3/4 throttle) earlier. Either option is tricky. If you wait and lay gas fully, but do so a little too early, get ready for a tasty burnout! If you introduce a smaller amount of gas earlier, you may get tempted to progressively keep adding MORE, which can cause some wheelspin (and therefore, added time), but usually not a true burnout.

    I would just say "Just use 3rd" out of every slow corner, but the truth is 2nd works better at times, if you can finesse it. It's challenging in a way...a bit of fun, but obviously damaging to acceleration and lap times. There was one odd area (Turn 1) where I could even get wheelspin in 3rd and 4th gear! When slowing into Turn 1, if I started with the gas too early, and either of the rumble strips came in contact with a tire (on the inside OR the outside), there's the possibility of wheelspin galore.

    Like I said, I would use 3rd gear out of Turn 1. There's so much torque being laid down at this point, those rear tires start melting, even during that upshift from 3rd and into 4th!!! :cool::crazy:

    What could be done about all of this? Or should anything be done about it? A taller LSD/accel setting would possibly help. Problem is it might also create some understeer on-exit. :grumpy: Then again, Adam's Viper had a mighty-tall Accel setting, and there wasn't much throttle-understeer in his car. Not enough to kill lap times, anyways. :idea:

    But when the driver does get it, when he (or she) manages to avoid wheelspin...look out. There's plenty of small-block acceleration on tap, and suddenly traction turns massive. Then again, there were those moments when I'd start out of a corner or kink, everything felt fine, but as the tach neared 5,000, suddenly there would be a small amount of wheelspin....just enough to slug the car down. :(

    I tried to get this Holden-makeover towards the top of the pack, anyways...stubborn man that I am. :guilty: But I'm afraid the "Super-Clubby" has a little too high of a power/weight ratio when compared to others. So there ya have it.

    17
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    I wasn't too sure what to expect with this one, after looking at its suspension settings, which includes lots of toe. Mafia_Boy used alot of toe on his TRD Hillux for the TCV4 RWD class, which I thought was appropriate since it muted alot of the Tacoma's bad behaviors. But I don't know what's gonna happen for an actual car.

    But I had little to worry about. This car has some issues, but it's very driveable. Let's start with the brakes.

    There's a set of racing pads, rotors, and hardware installed, but no BBC installed. :boggled: I feel there should have been, but honestly the brakes on this car are plenty strong. I was able to start at slightly less than 100 meters (perhaps 95M) into Turn 1 with the Super-Clubby if I got it right.

    While trail-braking, there's several things happening at once, as the front toe setting contradicts the car's weakly-set limited-slip and full wing kit settings. The car turns in, feels like it wants to steer-in even further, but the front toe limits this. In a way, this is good. It means steering-in while trail-braking is further defined.

    For instance, with VTiRoj's BMW M3, one must "hunt" for a good racing line. It's possible to steer-in WAY TOO HARD with this car...while the front-end grabs like a possessive girlfriend who won't let you use your cell phone (don't ask). With Mafs' Super-Clubby, this isn't as much of an issue, especially while braking. This car offers you fewer choices--true--but it also further defines which choices are the safest ones to go for.

    As we near various corners, and let go of the brakes, sometimes it's all good...sometimes it's not all good. :indiff:

    Into Turns 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, and 10, the Super-Clubby did just what I wanted, which is corner into a good line with solid grip (assuming I had braked firmly. If I hadn't braked early, some entry-understeer might show up).

    In Turns 3, 6, 9, and 11, there were usually a few moments where the car would take its time before properly steering-in more sharply, while gritting my teeth. I blame this on the front toe setting. I would wait for the front-end to dig-in with more gusto, but it wouldn't happen. For this reason, lift-off throttle is also rather stiff (although it does happen eventually). It was a small issue to be honest...nowhere near the Mazdaspeed6's lack of lift-off, but something I had to prepare for just the same.

    On the other hand, at least Mafs' entry is very predictable in these regards. :tup: Which makes the Super-Clubby somewhat easy to drive once you learn its tricks.

    The maxed wings-up are great. Travelling thru the esses was not a problem...only the BMW felt more commandable and safer. The rumblies also rarely caused me any concern, except for that Turn 1 business mentioned earlier.

    The Super-Clubby often couldn't be counted on to throttle-steer much out of the esses and at other miscellaneous times, unless I took a little time to re-orient the car with a brake-tap. Then it's like the car says: "okayyyyy...if you insist, I'll perform a little party trick. There. Ya happy mate?". :lol: I blame this partially on the rear toe setting. Sometimes, it's not worth the hassle to try and create throttlesteer. So instead of a brake-tap while preparing to leave Turn 9, for instance, I'd let the car coast; letting its front-end stay in its pre-approved racing line.

    18
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    Versatility is happening here, but with a few limits in place like the slow turn-in and possible wheelspin I spoke of earlier.

    To further define this score, here come the Family Cups. I did a +6 race, which I creamed, and then a +10 race, in which I placed an embarassing 3rd place. While watching the replay, it's obvious where things would go wrong. I'd try to take a car on the outside, but run out of steering angle. I'd go to zoom out of a corner, but those rear tires would start getting smokey while the NSX-R Prototype I was battling would maintain its lead. Oops. :scared:

    The Super-Clubby has solid, useful braking ability, though. :tup: And it does offer some flexibility and stuff. Only when you're pushing toward the MAX do things get hairy.

    14
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster

    The BATTLE MONSTER's pit crew didn't even show up to watch yet another defeat. I wouldn't either if I were on the R-Tune team. :lol:

    17
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock

    As usual, a mixed bag of goodies and snares. Unlike Adam's Viper, the Grease Monkey HSV VY Super-Clubby Prototype starts with 333 horses, which is way down when comparing stock to tuned. For this reason, issues which the tuned car exhibits don't even factor with a stock Commodore SS.

    But let's start with the good. All the weight which can possibly be removed, as been axed. There's a couple easy points. Also, overall gearing is more useful in the tuned car. 5th (and 6th if you want it) possibly make an appearance. While stock, 4th is tops. The reason this is an improvement is the tuned car uses more of its top revs successfully.

    I also noticed that the tuned car (with its supercharger) feels a hell of a lot more confident when grabbing way down to 4,000 rpms and below. The Commodore didn't like to do this, and responded like a slug if I tried to pull it out of tight areas in 3rd gear. 2nd MUST be used.

    The stock Commodore also wallows and sways with fatty body movements. The tuned version felt more contained, displaying less of these extra unnecessary body movements. The BMW M3, for instance, can be tossed around while it's stock...most of its lateral movement can actually put to use. Not in a stock Holden Commodore.

    Then there's the area where the Super-Clubby is losing a couple points. :ouch: TRACTION. The stock version never loses it...even in 1st gear. That's the advantage of being a slowboy, I guess. The Commodore also felt more eager to attack hairpins and other slower areas; its front-end grabbing-in while the tuned version needed a moment to get oriented.

    Then there's the areas where there is no true vast improvement, and therefore no points docked or added. Brakes is a good example. When needing to slow from 100 mph during a sterile test, the Super-Clubby does outbrake its stocker cousin, but points don't count for a fixed test such as this, sorry man.

    When driving around Twin Ring East, the Commodore needed less distance to slow, noticably less. And (again), I know it's not travelling nearly as fast as the Super-Clubby, so therefore it doesn't need as much distance to slow, but that BBC could have made for a truer improvement. Both cars have the ability to trail-brake. If the Commodore SS had power nearer to the Super-Clubby, it would no-doubt display more entry-understeer when braking into corners at the higher speeds being created.

    The stocker car also displayed a greater ability to throttlesteer than the tuned version, with less fear of wheelspin showing up. It felt about as exciting as doing a crossword while doing so, but I can't discount the fact that the stock version does this intuitively, while the tuned one requires some preparing. Now, the Commodore doesn't "steer from the rear" with any great extent, mind you, but there's still a point being docked.

    Where a point is added is travelling thru esses. The tuned version felt honestly more able to do so. I encountered some understeer out of Turns 5 and 8 while driving the Commodore, which the Super-Clubby didn't display at all. So there ya go.

    Yay! I'm done with Heavyweight! Let's hope....:guilty:

    5

    Total Score: 71
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  13. mafia_boy

    mafia_boy (Banned)

    Messages:
    5,570
    Mafs!! Heavyweight Judging Preamble

    Before I start, I must thank everyone who entered TCv5 and made this judging such a massive task for the four of us involved. Now, onto business.

    I had a simple formula for working out laptimes against the battle monster. Every car got a 10 lap blast around Motegi, and if I had made a grievous mistake (like an off) then I concentrated that particular lap towards versatility and minimising the time damage. I looked at the following areas for the cars:

    *Traction and acceleration for speed
    *Handling characteristics and chuckability for handling
    *An ability to run consistent times on various lines on the track and while doing various things to the cars (like going stupidly sideways!! :mischievous: )
    *Capability to improve on the current tune to it's limits &
    *The overall improvement of the car compared to it's stock cousin's.

    From this I was able to get a decent range of how every car performed and the times and comments will reflect this time blasting around Motegi.

    I started off with the R-Tune battle monster and posted a time of 1.27.078 to get my baseline for scoring.

    So, with that said, onto the results.
     
  14. mafia_boy

    mafia_boy (Banned)

    Messages:
    5,570
    Jonn 79’s Mazda 6 MPS – 1.26.788

    Speed – 16

    While it wasn’t the quickest out of the box, it’s straight line speed was up there with the best. I constantly hit the 235km/h mark before slamming on the brakes for Turn 1. It had a very seamless power delivery which helped it in the traction stakes aswell, despite its AWD advantages. I had quite a few times where the acceleration ranked alongside some of the other quicker cars, especially from lower speeds. The gearing was nicely spaced out too, with no real urgency to slam through the gears one way or another.

    Handling – 11

    The handling on this was very difficult to judge, especially with a maxed out spring and damper rate and extreme LSD settings. It caused me to totally change my driving style to compensate for the amount of understeer I was getting around EVERY corner. If it was one or two, I could understand but all of them?? Nonetheless, I discovered that this car loves to turn under braking and hates turning under acceleration because the 455hp this car packed would make it tramline towards the nearest grassy area whenever the pedal was pressed. But this really affected it’s laptimes as I will get to in a second. However, it was the slowest around most of the turns which was surprising for an AWD car.

    Versatility – 4

    This was an area where I couldn’t give it many points. It turned itself into a one line car and ANY deviation from that line found you eating grass or gravel very quickly. It became an exercise in futility to try other lines because the MPS would not want to go anywhere but the racing line. Very frustrating for a driver who likes to play with and chuck his cars around.

    Laptime – 10

    It was getting a bit hairy there for Jonn, because no matter what I tried initially, I couldn’t get anywhere near the battle monster. But by changing driving styles, the times dropped and by the last lap I found the ammunition to put the BM away, but only just. The amount of understeer is what killed it’s laptimes overall, and I expected a lot faster than what I did get. It was faster, but 0.3sec isn’t enough to get any bonus points but a moral victory for the MPS as it did post a faster time.

    Improvement – 4

    I found that while Jonn’s MPS did have an improvement over stock, it was more from its boosted performance rather than its handling prowess. If the suspension was softened to allow for more body roll and flexibility then it would’ve scored a lot higher in all areas. But because of the extreme settings, it made this horse a one trick pony.

    TOTAL SCORE = 45/100
     
  15. mafia_boy

    mafia_boy (Banned)

    Messages:
    5,570
    Rotary Junkie’s Dodge Charger – 1.26.871

    Speed – 15

    I found this to be one of the slowest of the bunch under acceleration and speed, struggling to top 230km/h down the straight. Combine that with a truckload of wheelspin and it hampered its ability to be quick all the time. I don’t know why it doesn’t go like it should for the power figures provided but for some strange reason it wasn’t as fast.

    Handling – 18

    Now, while it might have been slow, its handling prowess and speed allowed it to remain in the game with cars that might have otherwise destroyed it because of its performance. The turn-in was fine and sometimes a little bit of oversteer crept in, but was more than controllable at the best of times. A frustrating item however was when you tried to match the pace of the faster cars, the Dodge would say, “hmm, let me think about it......think more.....think more.....NO!” and send you off towards the grass & gravel. It was very quick to flick around the corners. Maybe the LSD settings needed slight tweaking to stop the understeer but I don’t think there was much more you could do to it.

    Versatility – 16

    This is one of the weird ones. I found that this car was great to drive at any angle but only when you decided to disrespect it. It’s like the masochistic person who asks to get slapped around by a dominatrix. When I did this however, the car responded in such a way that I was close to matching the fastest laps I performed in this car, to within a second. After 5 laps I felt like I was Bo & Luke Duke and was waiting for Boss Hogg to chase me with the amount of sideways action I achieved while maintaining a good speed. :D

    Laptime – 10

    The Dodge Charger, despite being a big muscle car came up as the slowest on the time sheets, but by less than 0.1sec. Once again, this means it just defeated the battle monster by 0.2sec so it’s a moral victory for RJ. But I was staying in the 1.26’s & 1.27’s throughout the whole run.

    Improvement – 7

    While I enjoyed the car I felt that it could’ve been bumped up that little bit more with a bit of lard being put back onto the car to keep it more grounded to the track and give it the ability to use all the torque it has. But comparing the car to the stock version is like comparing day & night.

    TOTAL SCORE = 66/100
     
  16. mafia_boy

    mafia_boy (Banned)

    Messages:
    5,570
    Adamgp’s Dodge Viper GTS – 1.23.455

    Speed – 24

    I jumped into the Viper with the thought of, “here we go, wheelspin city time”. And boy was I mistaken. The slight tweak made to get it to the hp limit was just the right one. It allowed the car to be able to rev out properly rather than being stuck to 5000rpm. On the straight because of its traction, it easily hit the 240km/h mark before having to slow down for Turn 1. Through slow and fast bends, the Viper just gets the pavement, digs it’s tyres into it and launches towards the horizon. I was astounded at the pace I was achieving after just a lap or two.

    Handling – 22

    While there are some “different” settings to what I’m used to with a Viper, the truth is that the choices made by Adam transform the car to a modern muscle car to a track bred sports car. The wing, the really stiff stabilisers and the LSD allow the car to change its attitude in split seconds and allowed the rear end to rotate perfectly around the hairpin bends without chewing up rubber. The rear wing settings also allow this to occur with great ease.

    Versatility – 18

    After tearing some amazing laps in the 1.23 range, I was then able to take the car and be really nasty with it and it responded in the same way RJ’s Charger did, but with even more enthusiasm. Send it through the chicane (turns 4 & 5) and get really sideways, and it would hold its angle and keep it’s pace up, other times I could outbrake myself and the Viper wouldn’t tear my head off in punishment and I’d only be a second off the pace. Very nice to drive all around.

    Laptime – 17

    There was a battle monster I was supposed to face with this car?? Where?? A blistering 3.6secs faster than the BM meant that adam scored big points here. The performance showed in its times.

    Improvement – 9

    There wasn’t anything I could really fault with the car in any way, shape or form. It’s a pure animal waiting to sink it’s fangs into its next victim!

    TOTAL SCORE = 90/100 :eek:
     
  17. mafia_boy

    mafia_boy (Banned)

    Messages:
    5,570
    Camryfan’s Jaguar XKR-R Performance – 1.26.013

    Speed – 13

    The XKR-R was an interesting car to play with, in a few different ways. First off, it might have been the heaviest, but it allowed the Jaguar to put its power down effectively, without any hint of wheelspin whatsoever. It blasted down the main straight at just over 230km/h and maintained its speed throughout the whole lap. The fact it has only 440hp made it a bit suspect when compared to its competitors but it more than made it up in tractability and acceleration. Plus that supercharged 4.2L V8 is heavenly to listen to. But another 20hp would’ve given this cat the fangs it needs!

    Handling – 25

    What the XKR-R lacked in straight line performance, it more than made up for it in handling. This was the only car in the field that would go ANYWHERE I put it. Accelerate out of the corner, next to zero understeer. Hard brake and turn, it just turns. It doesn’t slide or get all bent out of shape because you ask it to change directions, it becomes a yes man, agreeing to go wherever you take it. It was also one of the fastest when it came to the mid range corners, being 5-10km/h faster than its nearest rivals. An amazing job of handling done by N-Tune here.

    Versatility – 19

    Like I said with the handling, it was a case of the car doing what I told it to do, not the car fight me every time I wanted to drive like a lunatic. It affected the cars times very minimally but my only gripe was that I couldn’t keep the stupid angles for long periods of time. Other than that, it was absolutely gorgeous to chuck around Motegi.

    Laptime – 12

    The Jaguar took a couple of warm up laps to get the times reeling off, but once I got in that range of 1.26’s, I didn’t look back. It was a decent margin of victory by 1.0sec so it gets a couple of extra points here.

    Improvement – 7

    This is where I had my real gripe at the car. While it was a marvellous handling car, the lack of power or high WPR was frustrating as I felt that with those things changed (say the 20hp more and going S3 weight) would’ve kept the car like it is but with even more firepower and able to compete for the victory in this class.

    TOTAL SCORE = 76/100
     
  18. mafia_boy

    mafia_boy (Banned)

    Messages:
    5,570
    VTiRoj’s BMW M3 – 1.23.641

    Speed – 23

    Roj has really done his homework on this one. Having nearly 460hp and a weight that was only 2kg above minimum weight, I was anticipating what to get. I was not disappointed. The car has a good amount of traction, only hampered in the low range corners with a little bit of steering lock on the car enabling it to chew up some rubber. On the very first lap I was already in the 1.23’s, clocked a 240km/h top speed down the straight and dominated around the corners in speed, being only 3rd to Camryfan and KoW’s cars.

    Handling – 19

    I had mixed feelings about the handling of the car overall. Sure, it’s a BMW, they always handle well, and while Roj has turned up the wick more, the fact is that it got very frustrating to get those corners right. The braking was slightly off to me and I kept second guessing whether the car was actually going to stop and turn in time. Being conservative is the name of the game with this car to getting quick laps....the line between hero and zero is razor thin on this car and I wound up being a gravel trap living zero on more than one occasion.

    Versatility – 14

    With the line between hero and zero being so thin, it restricted me from being able to give the Beemer what it deserves, a huge thrashing! I tried to throw the car around for a bit, but when I did that it restricted the times greatly, being more than 2sec’s off on most laps that I did such a thing. And that’s a frustrating thing to me.....I want to be driving it stupid and quick, not stupid OR quick.

    Laptime – 16

    Another case of “where did the battle monster go??” Being 3.4sec faster than the BM resulted in roj taking a chunk of bonus points with him and the R-Tune team wondering what went wrong with the R34.

    Improvement – 9

    While it might not do what I wanted it to do, the fact is that the M3 from roj is like comparing apples and bananas with a standard M3. A wonderful performance overall makes this one evil Beemer to play with and should be a welcome addition to your garage.

    TOTAL SCORE = 81/100
     
  19. mafia_boy

    mafia_boy (Banned)

    Messages:
    5,570
    =Drifting24/7=’s Nissan Skyline GT-R – 1.24.626

    Speed – 19

    Here we have the least powerful car of the bunch with drifting24/7 only giving the car 439hp to play with. It’s not the fastest in a straight line and at times it felt like it was labouring very hard to get its speed up with the others. It was the slowest down the straight, getting just under 230km/h and that was with me giving up braking room and full locking it into the corner. The car just didn’t have enough power to make me go WOW. If it’s power level was similar to the R-Tune it would’ve helped a lot, not to mention the ability to take another stage or two of weight reduction without any fear of breaking the rules. But around corners it was a dream, maintaining speeds that should not have been possible.

    Handling – 22

    Another car in the bag of “what it lacks in power, it makes up with handling”. And what a handling package d24/7 has created for the V-Spec II Nur. It soaks up corners with ease and doesn’t get disturbed by rumble strips or other potential hazards. It keeps wanting to be pushed that little bit harder each lap and rewards you with quicker and quicker times. There is a hint of understeer on exit but it’s not enough to affect your driving lines or to make you ease off the accelerator.

    Versatility – 20

    I have nothing but praise for the way the car behaved. I ran 4 different lines through Turns 4 & 5 and kept consistent times each time I tried, even improving on most laps. It’s so deceptive that unless you were actually looking for it that you would feel that you are going slower than you are. It didn’t want to spit me off the track no matter what I was doing to it.

    Laptime – 14

    From the very first lap it was bye bye BM. Starting off with high 1.25’s, it improved lap by lap to a 1.24.6, putting it right in the middle of the pack, but giving it some decent bonus points.

    Improvement – 6

    There were a few areas I noticed that could’ve been bumped up to make the car that little bit more vicious, to allow it to show its teeth some more. Another 25hp and another 70kg off would’ve been marvellous. But as it stands it seems about 3/4 done and needs that little bit more to make it a beast.

    TOTAL SCORE = 81/100
     
  20. mafia_boy

    mafia_boy (Banned)

    Messages:
    5,570
    kingofweasles’ Subaru WRX STi Spec-C – 1.22.834

    Speed – 25

    Anytime I jump into a Spec-C I know I’m in for a wild ride, and kingofweasles (KOW) has provided us judges with just that. At 461hp (5hp over what was claimed!), it scrapes in the hp limit and delivers chaos in a minimum weight package. The only car to use ballast to make weight, it was interesting to see what would occur. And the figures just blew me away! The quickest around most corners, and the fastest by far down the straight, hitting well over 240km/h! It was absolutely ballistic and to a crazy driver like me, this car fitted like a glove.

    Handling – 24

    Where all the other cars had a case of speed or handling, this car has the combination of both set just right. I could find myself pointing at corners at insane speeds, go through them without any hint of understeer and blasted away from the corner without any hesitation. I thought the lack of a VCD would hurt this car, but it came away with some of the best handling characteristics I’ve seen on a Spec-C....ever! My only deduction came from me having to let off through turns 4 & 5 to keep the car 100% stable, but apart from that area, it was an absolute dream!

    Versatility – 20

    This car was willing to take abuse, and maintain driving angles like I’d never seen in any car! There were occasions where I late braked and turned making the car break traction. Did the car spin out? No, it turned itself into a WRC spec animal, getting through Turn 6 at absolutely stupid angles....any other car I would’ve 360’d and been spending a huge time in the gravel trap. Another time one wheel was on the grass and the car cut sideways under braking....oh oh, I thought until the car once again performed it’s magic and I’d actually caught up to the ghost lap!!

    Laptime – 18

    The battle monster was absolutely embarrassed this time. The quickest car on track, it ripped off 1.23 after 1.23 and then a 1.22.8 came up on Lap 7. This scored the most in this category, getting a massive laptime score.

    Improvement – 10

    What else can I say about this car?? It’s fast, handles wonderfully in my hands, can drive at ridiculous angles and I’d say at ANY TRACK aswell. I may have well found my ultimate race/rally car, thanks to the tuning skills from KOW. Absolutely superb effort mate and I’d be proud to test cars of yours in the future.

    TOTAL SCORE = 97/100 :eek::eek::eek::eek:
     
  21. mafia_boy

    mafia_boy (Banned)

    Messages:
    5,570
    mafia_boy's SS Commodore - 1.24.352

    I can't say anything about my ride, because I cannot judge it. But that was the laptime I got with it and to be honest, I was driving like an absolute moron for that time. :O
     
  22. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    My SUPERCAR preamble​

    ...not so rambling this time. :dunce:

    Just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for any headaches I've caused and such. It's been a great contest, and Jen (my gf) will have me full-time again (or PT with benefits at least ;)).

    I should have done this from the very start, but for whatever reason, I never explained clearly how I scored various categories. I'll do this now, although back when I was doing Lightweight, I was a little more nebulous with scoring, not so fastidious as I am now. .


    Speed:

    (1). Assume 25 pts. to start for every car.

    (2). Dock a point for every 1/2 a second slower than the Best Lap leader. In this case, the pack leader is Macca's 350Z, in which I managed a 1:21.456.

    (3). Dock a point for each mph slower than the best Top Speed leader. If a car is just anywhere from 0.1 mph to 1.0 mph slower than the pack leaders, there's 1 docked point, as well. In this case, the pack leaders were the Jaguar XJ220 and Fudge Aston GT, both of which tied at 153.1 mph down Motegi East's longest straight.

    (4). In some cases, points are rounded up or down if the car "almost" makes it to target Best Lap or Top Speed.

    (5). Miscellaneous points can also be docked from Spedd for cars which lose traction easily, have awkward gearing arrangements, and which generally don't "work" with the driver to help maintain the best speed possible.

    ...some of you may be wondering why during the Lightweight, Middleweight, and Heavyweight portions of the TCV5, you had what seemed to be a lower score, even if your car was near-fastest. :confused: #5 above is why.




    Handling:

    (1). Assume 25 pts. to start

    (2). Points could get docked from there if the car had issues with: braking, trail-braking, traction, lateral grip, understeer, unhelpful oversteer, bouncing & other rumble-strip issues, vagueness with steering, and God knows how many other categories.

    (3). I remove from 1 to 5 points for each issue I notice, depending on severity.




    Versatility:

    Very similar to Handling, actually....

    (1). Assume 20 pts. to start.

    (2). Again, from 1 to 5 points can get docked for each issue, although I don't think I docked any SUPERCAR an entire 5 points for just one issue.

    (3). For Heavyweight and SUPERCAR, I also factored in the Family Cups. Your car wins a +10 race? It gets 10 points. Your car can only win a +5 race in my hands? 5 points.

    (4). I combined the Family Cup totals with any points or minused points for the final score.



    Car vs. BATTLE MONSTER:

    As per the TCV5 rules....:rolleyes:



    Improvement over Stock:

    (1). Assume zero (0) points to start.

    (2). The rest has been well-explained in each case.


    Oh, and let's have that SUPERCAR BATTLE MONSTER time, Vanna:


    Supercar: 1:25.235 / 148.2 mph top speed


    Sooooooo. Without further ado....
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2009
  23. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0020.jpg

    Car: BMW M3 CSL (RRV N3 CSL)

    Tuner: VTiRoj

    Garage: RRV Motorworks

    Best Lap: 1:22.393


    VTiRoj's entry into Heavyweight created a surprise ending for me as a judge. And the RRV N3 CSL looks as if it may have a good start.

    Speed

    Top Speed: 147.9 mph

    This car was originally entered into the TCV4, wearing dry-weather Bridgestone or Yokohama radials (perhaps) for the N3 class. But how does it translate here in the TCV5, where actual lap times, BATTLE MONSTERS, and other competitors are waiting for their shot?

    Although somewhat down on power, VTiRoj has made sure his car's power/weight ratio isn't too far above minimum. Good move.

    The CSL engine is the same straight-6 found in an M3. VTiRoj again did the smart thing by getting engine balancing, which extends our redline area. :tup: This helps a little...making sure we get as much action before the evil RPM limit cuts us off. This happens at about 7,700 rpms in the CSL as tuned by VTiRoj. Still not enough upper revs before the cutoff, but we'll take all we can get. :idea: There is some flexibility with revs in the CSL, but not quite as much as found with VTiRoj's "other" Beemer.

    The gearbox is different from the Heavyweight RRV M3. Down that first straight for instance, the N3 CSL makes it solidly into 4th gear. It looks as if we might be able to keep it in 4th, but then the RPM limit forces us to use 5th for 3 or 4 seconds. 6th is dead weight. All of this is fine, but I couldn't help thinking that since 5th is a brief gear reserved only down the longest straight (with an option down Motegi East's 2nd longest), why not make it much shorter like they do sometimes for real-life racing? As things are, that upshift into 5th puts us down to 7,200 rpms, and the tach needle hasn't got enough time to cross over peak-power before we gotta brake and downshift into Turn 1. A shorter 5th could have perhaps eased just that much more top-end.

    Some other differences between VTiRoj's BMWs. Into the first turn, I could use 3rd (with an option for 2nd) in his Heavyweight M3. With the RRV N3 CSL, I felt more forced to use 2nd here, at least when going for Best Lap. This isn't a criticism, it's merely a fact. What IS a criticism is (again) VTiRoj once again forgot to install a carbon driveshaft as standard, or at least he forgot to list it for us to install. :lol: I'm not sure what he has against carbon driveshafts. :boggled: Again and again, they aren't installed. Such a shame. :guilty:

    I hate to say, but I accidentally installed one anyways. This car was looking at the edge of some 1:21's, till I remembered this is VTiRoj's car, and re-checked the parts list. No carbon driveshaft. So the best I could do was 1:22.393 without one, which is still pretty decent, but not quite as fast as could have been. :indiff:

    Around the rest of the track, the RRV N3 CSL generally feels about the same as the Heavyweight M3, with minor differences here and there...3rd can be used during the majority of the esses, with 2nd more useful for Turns 1, 6, 10, and 11. The main difference is, the CSL feels even less confident below 5,000 rpms than VTiRoj's M3, really bogging down instead of merely hesitating. 3rd-gear pulls from lower revs are not recommended in the CSL if you want the best laps. I'm not sure why this is, since the CSL has a Stage 1 NA kit, which in theory should provide better action from lower revs than the M3's more advanced Stage 3 kit. No points docked or anything like that...it's just a curiosity.

    Accelerating out of tight areas is mostly uneventful, since the CSL has loads of traction. It's actually hard to get this car to misbehave on tarmac...I know 'cause I tried. Very tossable...very safe. The weakly-set limited-slip makes sure we get to play with our use of this traction too. :tup: Rather than train-rail type traction, what we have here is traction crossed with variety.

    So, not much to say here. It all depends on who else enters the Supercar division, but for now, that 1:22.393 time is looking pretty sweet, and it's notable that I was able to pull it without some of the insane power found in other SUPERCARS. :tup:

    17
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    In lots of ways, the RRV N3 CSL is similar to the RRV Beamer from Heavyweight. Same average brakes. Same mid-corner grip & loads of traction. Same "getting to know" period, in which I needed several laps of searching for the best lines before nailing it.

    Honestly, the RRV N3 CSL is a little boring, simply because it's so commandable! Such a Yesser. No surprises. Nor are there any quirks. Its character is that of a quiet, well-dressed suit who simply gets the job done, with no back-talk. :lol: I woulda docked a point or 2 during TCV4 for all this, since Comfort and Attitude counted, but it doesn't hurt to be a little boring during TCV5. :idea:

    Those corners were carved up like a piece of Thanksgiving turkey during my 30-mile run (I drove more miles than this, but initially I had that carbon driveshaft installed, so those laps don't count). Anyways like I said, there was some searching involved before I found the best lines. Which is fine. I got time. :)

    Understeer is minimal...no surprise. One can get mid-corner, crank the steering very hard, and dip the throttle into the inkwell early. There's never any wheelspin, so the N3 gets off like a pardoned killer with a top-notch lawyer. I found to this car to be so easy to drive, (how easy is it???) and it offers plenty of options.

    ...What a boring write-up so far, eh? :lol:

    Enter a curve too hot, and the CSL will work with you. Despite being a yuppie, it's got a very well-constructed Social Services program for bad drivers! :lol: har har. No seriously, lift-off oversteer and trail-braking are a little stiff, but the N3 CSL's Initial and Decel settings are set nice and weak...just as I'd like them to be. :D This allows enough variation to keep me in that racing line when I got it right (with options for more tightness or looseness); yet I could try and regroup if I blew it with sloppy driving.

    The only major criticism are those brakes, which (again) simply feel average...slightly below average, matter of fact. :indiff: Just being honest, dude.

    I needed more distance to slow the CSL than I needed to slow VTiRoj's M3 from Heavyweight, oddly. :odd: That's not what I expected at all. :indiff: And again, there were those moments when the CSL got too squirrely over those rumblies, courtesy of the fact that it hasn't got much suspension travel. Granted, it doesn't get bothered every single time a rumble strip needs to be traversed, but it happens occasionally. Enough to dock a point.

    But overall, good marks. Little to criticize.


    21
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    The RRV N3 CSL feels a little stiffer than VTiRoj's Heavyweight BMW, but overall it scores well here.

    The lesser braking ability of the CSL hurt a bit, but not enough for serious point-dockage so far as Versatility laps are concerned.

    The redline area still is short, but at least there's plenty of useful revs before redline, and the flexibility with gearing to use almost all these revs, which helps us focus on attempting different driving lines on-the-spot. Mistakes can be made, this Beemer will work with you. :tup: +Rep

    Still, one must be more careful when driving the CSL (when compared to the regular RRV M3 VTiRoj provided). The CSL's revs must always be kept highish, something I didn't notice as much with VTiRoj's other BMW. The CSL is very tossable (as a Bimmer should be), but doesn't get as loose as I'd like while just driving for fun.

    During Family Cups, the RRV N3 CSL displays its virtuoso behavior. Yea, the brakes are a tad less than I'd like, but I still could enter a corner way too hot, flinging the car at a bad angle, and STILL manage to find room to carve. :mischievous::p

    I started with a +8 race, which the BMW murdered by over 2 and a half seconds, despite plenty of moments when I'd find myself bottlenecked behind Ai. During the +10 race, it was (again) simple pwnage. During the very first lap, I braked way too late into the first turn, rolled into the grass, yet won by similar margin of about 2 seconds over the 2nd-place Pagani.

    Very versatile this car is, but some limits (finally) show up here and there. Not enough to kill serious points, tho.

    18
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster

    In my very first lap, I braked too late into Turn 1, and wound up in the grass. :mad: The BATTLE MONSTER reached Turn 2 while I was still struggling! :scared::banghead: Didn't matter...

    By the end of the lap, I posted a 1:24.775, which means the Gran Turismo Skyline crew gets its first taste of some SUPERCAR pwnage. And of course, I blew this record away by something like 2.4xx seconds by the end of this session.

    16
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock

    Time to put on that skipping CD again, as the RRV N3 CSL gains a couple easy points just for being several hundred pounds lighter than a base CSL. Another easy point is added since I noticed tuned version has slightly more redline area, thanks to its re-balanced crankshaft. :tup: There is just 200 extra RPMs before the limit cuts the tuned engine off (I checked this thoroughly). Still not enough in my opinion, but an improvement is an improvement.

    The CD keeps skipping and ski skiskiskiskiskiskiskipping*, :nervous: as VTiRoj's gearbox offers another improvment: those gear-shifts take less time, and need less room for travelling from clutch disengagement, to re-engagement. The stock box drops way into the 5,000s when some upshifts take place. VTiRoj's car keeps us up where the action is. :tup: When needing to downshift into 2nd while driving the stock CSL, there were times the tach needle gets way too hot with revs. One must wait a moment before engine-braking this car, lest that RPM limit throw in some extra "wuumph" moments. In the tuned car, I could safely use 1st gear as an engine brake when I was just messing around, especially into hairpins and the backwards-bend area.

    From here on, things get hairy. :indiff: And the points stop rolling.

    Both cars are tossable, with minimal understeer, but the stock CSL displayed some of that looseness & fun I was missing earlier during Versatility, since it hasn't got wings. One can use its body/chassis relationship to further get it into dazzling corner angles which the tuned car can't do. The front-end of the stock CSL digs-in just when you need it to, WITHOUT help from a wing-kit. Lift-off oversteer is even more of a tool, therefore. Both cars got plenty of traction, so no improvement possible there...

    Finally, the brakes. There's simply no excuse for the fact that the tuned version suffers longer brake distances than a stock CSL; it's got wings and only about 45 extra horsepower. :rolleyes: Yet, I could SAFELY out-brake the RRV N3 CSL time after time. I'm docking a point here, sorry to say. :(


    4

    Total Score: 76
     
  24. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0026.jpg

    Car: Aston Martin DB9 Coupe

    Tuner: Jonn79


    Tuning Shop: Killer Chinchilla Garages

    Best Lap: 1:22.002


    I'm not sure why the 'girls should use a napkin' when dealing with this car...my mind is conjuring up all sorts of nasty scenes. :indiff:

    Speed

    Top Speed: 150.4 mph

    First thing I noticed while driving this Aston is...how it doesn't feel an Aston at all. At least it doesn't feel like I remember Astons drive. To be fair, it's been since my GT2 days that I've even touched an Aston Martin, and that was a DB7 Coupe, not a DB9. I remember it being an understeery, fishtailing mess, about as awful as an automobile can be..nothing like the Killer Chinchilla DB9 Coupe, which displays none of this. We're off to a good start. :tup:

    First of all, the engine is a small V12 that feels comfortable pulling from ANY revs in 2nd gear (as tuned by Jonn79), even from a dead stop. And with NO wheelspin ever under normal driving. Peak torque is at 5,000 rpms, but useful torque begins far before this, meaning 3rd gear becomes an option out of Turns 1, 6, and 10. But for the best, safest lap times, use 2nd. 3rd can get the job done, but too much understeer can result too easily when exiting.

    There's plenty of top-end as well as low-end torque. Down the longest straight, I shifted into 6th so the engine could re-travel over its peak area (6,000 rpm), but didn't need 6th for any other straight. One can use it during Motegi's 2nd longest, but it's not necessary. By the time you're there, you'll need to be braking soon, anyways.

    Peak power is located 1,000 rpms south of redline, which is good. It means we never have to worry about an RPM limit. I'm not going into detail here, but I'll say there were several areas where I didn't need an upshift when approaching corners...I could instead keep the car in gear longer. :tup:

    One thing Jonn79 is getting some massive credit for is this car's rear-wheel traction. I'm liking the fact that he's installed a limited-slip, but hasn't set it too strongly. Doesn't matter when you step on the gas...as long as you're in 2nd gear or higher, wheelspin is extremely rare. Rear wheel trouble only shows up if you sit there weaving back and forth under throttle, in an effort to artificially break the rear tire's traction. Normally, I'd have no reason to do this, of course.

    And there's a lot of flexibility allowed by the way Jonn set the limited-slip as well, which means we can leave hairpins and elles with lots of throttle, while keeping the front end steering. I could often use full-throttle (or close to it) while exiting Turns 6, 10, and 11...fueling up even before I crossed the apex of these turns.

    Another positive thing to note is that 150+ mph top speed. Oh yea, that's healthy. :D This is the first car I've driven in TCV5 which has passed the 150 mph threshold, and is able to still brake safely into that first turn. Only if other TCV5 Supercar entrants are able to safely beat this will Jonn lose a point or 2.

    21
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    First thing to notice here. Again, we've got these maxed stabilizers, dampers, stiff coils, and a rollcage. Does Jonn set all his cars this way? :confused: It's looking to be so. :boggled: But honestly, I didn't have as much of an issue with this when driving the DB9 as I did in the Integra, Silvia, and Mazdaspeed; hence lap times were usually pretty decent. It didn't take as much work to re-create them over and over like it did in Jonn's other cars. :idea:

    Matter of fact, it was only when getting to the very core of those faster laps that problems began to arise. And it wasn't the rumble strips. The rumblies only bothered my drives just occasionally, rather than every single lap as seen with Jonn's other entries. Rather than bouncing over rumblies, it was a simple matter of inflexibility the rest of the time; especially when entering and (sometimes) exiting corners. Let's do so now...

    Those brakes have been doubled up front (as compared to default), and are stronger by 2 clicks in the rear. 6/8. I wish it were the fronts which were even stronger, as you can guess. What else is new, right? :lol: Braking in the DB9 is its worst trait by far...above-average distances were involved into Motegi's Turns 1 and 6, which is a shame. Ah well....not the end of the world. :shrugs:

    The DB9 doesn't trail-brake very effectively into sharp turns, but it does okay when entering the smoother esses (Turns 3, 8, and 9). Looking at those stiff settings, I can only blame this lack of trail-braking flexibility on the fact that there isn't enough movement being allowed between body & chassis, just like with the Killer Chinchilla Silvia and Mazdaspeed. If you don't get enough braking in a straight line, God help you, you're in trouble. :( The car understeers on-entry if you miss that braking zone by just a few meters; and to top it off, the DB9 doesn't allow for much re-calculating and damage control like VTiRoj's BMW does. Make your mistake on entry? Live with it or restart the lap. :indiff:

    But....get your braking right with plenty of stopping-time, and I noticed there still isn't enough grabbing from the front-end when needing to steer-in more sharply. :( This isn't understeer, this is simply the front-end needing a wide zone to get the job done. Somehow, I'm sure those stiff settings are hurting. After about a half-second of dallying, the front finally grabs more forcefully...but by then it's usually too late. :indiff:

    The cornering line is too wide..you can't paste that throttle and use the KC DB9's awesome traction to save you if you've entered at a bad angle, with just a hair too much speed. :mad: Could this lazy front-end be the result of the -2 of toe up front? Perhaps.

    But the good news? All of this really only becomes an issue during those fastest of fast laps. Reel it back some, and the KC Aston Martin DB9 Coupe feels more compliant.

    All these negatives I've noted so far (below-average brakes, stiff turn-in, numb front-end) are only docking a point or 2 each, rather than the huge 5-point chunks I removed when driving Jonn's other TCV5s, since these cars were out-of-control extreme with stiffness & inflexibility. The DB9 displays these negative behaviors, but only when you're hunting for the very best laps do these negatives become annoyances.

    Traction out of slower areas is Absolutely Fabulous, just like that silly British TV show, dahhling. :) There is some throttle-steer involved if you want it to show up, and the front-end starts working with us as well when we're exiting. So...assuming you've made it into the turn with no drama, you'll have no fear leaving it. None.

    Understeer is rather minimal (assuming brakes are well-used). It really only became a problem for me while navigating the first set of esses...turns 3, 4, and 5. I could use lots of throttle in both of VTiRoj's BMW M3s in this area, with plenty of gymnastic cornering to keep me in the lines I wanted. Not so in the Aston. Instead, I found I had to reel back the throttle (painfully) in these areas, lest some understeer ruins everything. :banghead:

    But overall, decent marks here. :) Like I said, every issue I had with the DB9 usually showed up only under extreme pressure...so that a few points are being removed for each problem, rather than large chunks of points.

    17
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    In lots of ways, I found the KC Aston Martin DB9 Coupe easy to drive. Versatility obviously at a higher premium than in his other efforts. :tup:

    The gearing? Lots of versatility and options there. Same with that rear-end as it plastered those wide tires out of corners. But there is a bit of stiffness involved (due to those settings as I already discussed), which hurts the score a few points. Most of the time, this inflexibility doesn't get in the way, especially when hunting for various lines at a lowered speed. I even managed to surprise myself, getting the car into an honest-to-goodness drift out of hairpins if I wanted to! :D:cool: Love that stuff, man.

    But there is some stiffness which shows up if any sort of major speed is involved. Also, the DB9 doesn't allow enough lift-off oversteer. Its front-end doesn't grab enough (despite a maxed front spoiler), which is a huge minus when needing to experiment with racing lines. Such a shame, since the rear-end traction & its ability to throttle steer without getting excessively loose is so commandable. The car gets a little lost mid-corner..mid S, mid-elle. You gotta work with it or lose your edge.

    The DB9 does well with Family Cups, tho. There wasn't a level I couldn't destroy, and easily :D...all of the negatives I've noted so far not enough to get in the way of some Aritificial Idiocy dominance.

    But there is some inflexibility. This car isn't as eager to explore as I'd like, but it's also not another Mazdaspeed. Like several others so far, it has alot more confidence when leaving corners than it does when entering and trying to lock into them.

    13
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster

    Before starting my DB9 run, I got on my cell and shot a text message over to the BATTLE MONSTER crew.

    "Be afraid....be VERY afraid" was all it said. :scared::nervous::(:(:(

    They apparently thought I was joking, and sent back this:

    "An Astn vs a GTR? How abt u buy us a 6 pck of Hamms NOW. L8R G8tR" :D

    They want to make a bet over a 6-pack of beer? :p Fine! Here's what I sent back:

    "Make it a 12-pack, and make it Yuengling."

    *Urrrp..hic* :cheers: Mmmm beeeer....

    16
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock


    LIke I said earlier, the last time I drove an Aston Martin was over 3 years ago during my GT2 days. It would have been a DB7 Vantage or Coupe. How does the DB9 stack up? Especially as compared to Jonn's entry? Answer: well, the DB9 is definately an improvement over that DB7, but Jonn's car beats them both by far. :tup:

    Stock gearing is very smooth, but very tall. There's often a HUGE space of time needed as the clutch dis and re-engages. In contrast, the Killer Chinchilla version gets to business with lots more vigor, and keeps us up where the action is.

    All the weight which can be removed, has been. :tup: There's almost a "rowboat" feeling when driving the stock DB9, as it leans this way and that, almost like it's in a body of water. Not so with the Killer Chinchilla DB9. The wings on the tuned car help, as well, once we're at speed.

    The braking ability (even tho I complained about it earlier) IS an improvement over stock. Lucky Jonn. I found I needed to brake in the exact same spots in both cars; but since the tuned version is travelling much faster when it needs to brake, there is an improvement. In both cars, there is understeer-on-entry if one doesn't brake early enough, but the stock version takes even more time for damage control to make a difference.

    Areas where there is no improvement? Traction & throttle steer. Both cars do so with great success.

    The only area where there is a couple of docked points? The stock version allows itself to grab into corners with more vigor (assuming one brakes firmly first). It feels more flexible while cornering overall, despite the fact that it's also leaning and diving alot while doing so. Rescuing the car's lines with some mid-corner lift-off oversteer is also done more easily. It's those toe + the concrete-like settings the tuned car has in place which are hurting here.

    But overall...a decent remake. :tup:

    7

    Total Score: 75
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2009
  25. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0027.jpg

    Car: Fudge V12 GT (Aston Martin Vanquish)

    Tuner: ABud

    Garage: Fudge Tuners

    Best Lap: 1:21.937


    Looks as if we're in the middle of a British luxury GT war. lol

    Speed

    Top Speed: 153.1 mph

    It's hard for me not to compare cars when they're from the same manufacturer, and sitting side-by-side. So here goes.

    The Aston Martin Vanquish begins its life with more power (but substantially more weight) than the DB9 when both cars are stock. Comparing Jonn's DB9 to ABud's Vanquish, we can see that there's just .05 of difference between their power-to-weight ratios. ABud's Vanquish has about 50 more horsepower, but it's also packing more weight. 100 kilograms more. :scared: On the other hand, those wings are cranked, so it won't be much of a surprise if both cars wind up running about the same laps.

    *gets in Vanquish*​

    Right away, I'm noticing there isn't much area to play with from peak to redline, just 200 rpms. :( Bummer, man. ABud got the engine balancing parts & service, which sometimes extends the area tach needles can go before hitting their cutoff. But as it turns out, a stock Vanquish already has 1,000 rpms of useful redline area. The limit is at 8K. We won't need to be getting that far.

    Therefore, the Fudge Vanquish V12 is often needing to be redlined, but this isn't a bad thing. Like I said, that evil RPM limit is just too far away. Only the most clueless of MT drivers will ever find themselves bumping off it. :guilty: Power is silky-smooth, just like it is in the DB9. In both cars, I found I could make torque-pulls from lower revs in 3rd gear, but 2nd is best out of Motegi's tightest.

    6th gear isn't needed (and creates no benefit) down Motegi East's longest straight, which is different from Jonn's car. One can try using 6th, but it would be a very late upshift; not enough time till braking is needed. Like I said, there's no benefit like there was in the Viper from TCV5 Heavyweight. It's simply better to let the Fudge V12 GT heavily redline.

    So here's the first issue with the Fudge V12 GT. 2nd gear. ABud noted that one must be careful with it, and I'm not disagreeing. LOTS of wheelspin can happen very easily if you're applying more than half-throttle at times, which is in direct contrast with Jonn's Aston because his DB9 never gets antsy with normal driving lines, no matter what the throttle. Neither does the M3 CSL VTiRoj provided.

    There's a few things I noticed. ABud says we're supposed to be careful with his car (so far as rear-tire slipping goes) merely because it hasn't got TCS activated. Actually, it goes a bit further than this...

    1). ABud's car has 3 degrees of camber at the rear.

    2). He had us install that transmission, change the Final Drive, and that's it. No other changes.

    3). +2 degrees of toe on those rear wheels.

    I personally got curious and lessened camber to 0.8, and got rid of that rear toe. I also lowered 2nd gear to its minimum (without changing the Auto setting or Final Drive), basically making 2nd taller. :idea:

    Result? There was still some wheelspin, but overall it was more controlable. Matter of fact, it only showed up reliably if I slowed to a crawl (less than 40 mph) and then hammered it. When using my regular racing lines, this wheelspin felt a hell of alot more tamed; easier to work with. There wasn't so much of an "on/off" feeling when trying to introduce throttle out of Turns 1, 2, 6, 10, and 11. Instead, I found myself with more of a window in which I could gas up and out. :idea:

    I only bring this up because with ABud's car, I couldn't use as much throttle as early like I could with Jonn's and VTiRoj's. Which means the Fudge Vanquish Best Lap Time could have been even better than it was. :indiff:

    It's something I'm noticing with tuners as I'm doing the TCV5...some of you guys are locked into these habits, you choose the same setting scenarios with every car you tune, perhaps subconsciously to some degree. With Jonn79, it's "make it stiff as can be". ABud is a lover of lots of camber, apparently, since the Fudge Stratos also has more camber than usual. I have no problem with strong camber when the situation calls for it, or if it doesn't create any negative effects. But those 3 degrees are hurting, rather than helping the Aston. Lots of rear camber didn't hurt the Stratos's traction at all, but there's a difference here with the Vanquish, and it's not such a good one. :indiff:

    *gets off soapbox*

    But, speed is good. This is the third SUPERCAR I've tested, and it's the fastest so far. Its lap times are up there with everyone else so far. Like I said, Supercar is looking like it'll be a closer competition overall.


    21
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    Again, it's hard not to compare the DB9 to the Vanquish.

    Oddly, the Fudge V12 GT has slightly better braking ability than Jonn's DB9, despite the fact that its brake settings are slightly weaker, and there's more camber on ABud's wheels. The Fudge V12's brakes are still average, tho, which is better than below-average, of course.

    Another + to ABud is the fact that his car turns-in with better success into tight areas (Turns 1, 6, 10, and 11). It locks-in with greater potential. Perhaps this is a positive benefit of that rear +2 of toe. Trail-braking in both cars is similar, but I could start slightly later in the Vanquish.

    Entry-corner understeer wasn't as much of an issue as I'd thought it would be, unless I braked too late. IF I braked too late, both Astons reacted about the same, which is not enough. :indiff: But get the braking right in ABud's car, and it rewards by locking-in more solidly, with no understeer whatsoever. Nor does the Fudge V12 GT require as wide a steering zone. :tup:

    Oddly, it was in those wider curves (the S....turns 8 and 9) that the Fudge V12's front-end doesn't lock down enough, even with proper brakes. For whatever reason, I found I needed more down-time in these particular turns; the Vanquish won't give enough lift-off oversteer to change direction as easily (like with VTiRoj's BMW). I noticed ABud didn't play with those damper settings at all. Those front coils are also very stiff, which keeps the front-end stable, but won't allow it to dive enough when simply lifting-off the throttle is called for.

    Another small criticism is: not much throttlesteer. Jonn's DB9 didn't throttlesteer much either, but it was definately more useful about it than the Vanquish. It's a small criticism because I was still able to get some good lap times, but it limits our ability to lay down some killer racing lines under pressure, which is gonna hurt Versatility more than it hurts Handling.

    The Fudge V12 GT is also another very stiff car...not as stiff as Jonn's, though. Rumble strips don't affect either car as much as they affect lighter machines, but there's still a point being tossed to the rubbage because there were those rare times when the Fudge V12 GT would get squirrly over bumps, sometimes just as I was nailing a great lap for ABud. :indiff:

    Travelling thru the earlier esses (Turns 3, 4, 5) throttle must be introduced with caution, lest understeer shows up on-exit, but surprisingly, throttle-understeer doesn't take as much of a bite out of most laps..perhaps since we're spending so much time trying to get the rear end not to lash out. :scared:

    It's that wheelspin that's really zapping points> hurting the Handling score with the maxiumum minus I allow -5. I already went into detail about this earlier.


    15
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    I gave both Astons the same Versatility score because they both have their faults, but in different ways. Jonn's Aston DB9 has issues with entering corners, which is to say you must keep your entrances strict and by the book, but it leaves corners with greater efficiency. The Fudge V12 GT, on the other hand, really needs lots of babying out, not so much in.

    ...and both cars kill the Family Cups, but have opposite issues while doing so.


    13
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster

    This time, the Gran Turismo Skyline crew didn't even bother with placing a bet. I found a case of Yuengling stashed in the backseat of the Fudge V12 GT. :D:tup:

    "You win" ​

    was what the note said on top of the case.

    *BELCH*

    16
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock

    Lots of weight removed, so two easy points gained. I LOVE the way a stock Aston sounds, but can't award or subtract any points for this. :indiff: TCV5 isn't about looking or sounding pretty. :guilty:

    Gearing
    is improved. The stock Vanquish assumes gears 2 thru 4 are used, but the tach needle falls way below the best horsepower area while upshifting. ABud's Fudge V12 GT makes sure 5th is used, and that we're allowed to keep ourselves closer to where peak is. There is also an improvement with the quicker way the tuned car shifts gears. Lighter flywheel + heavier clutch helps. :tup:

    ABud's car also has engine balancing, which I thought would make for a sure improvement; but unfortunately, a stock Vanquish also uses all 1,000 rpms of its redline area, just like the tuned Aston ABud provided. :(

    Like the comparison between Jonn's Aston and the DB9, ABud's Vanquish remake also displays a firmer set of body movements, a definate improvement since the stock version feels genuinely gargantuan and hulkish as it dips and rolls; more like a Rolls Royce than a true GT. The Fudge V12 GT feels more confident mid-corner since there isn't as much "bobbing and weaving" like a stock Aston displays. Wings help as well at controlling some of this.

    There is an improvement with brakes as well. :tup: Both cars (stock and tuned) brake at nearly the same spots around Motegi East, but since the Fudge V12 GT is travelling at a faster rate of speed while doing so....you know the rest.

    Areas where there is no improvement? Both cars lock-in with about the same accuracy into slower areas. Into turns 3, 4, 5, 8, and 9, the stock version wins because its front-end grabs with greater usefulness. I could push the stock Vanquish a little harder out of these turns, as well, throttlesteer helping me out since there's no full-custom limited-slip, toe settings, or other goofyness gettting in the way of "steering from the rear".

    Where the Fudge V12 GT is losing a couple points? Traction. The stock Vanquish NEVER loses it, even in 1st gear from dead-idle. Wheelspin only shows up if you peg the tach needle anywhere above 4,500 rpms in 1st gear, but this is an artificial test which doesn't apply to hot-lapping around Motegi East. The Fudge V12 GT diplays easy, frighteningly easy wheelspin which could have been avoided with further tuning. :(:nervous:

    Another point is lost because the stock Vanquish never gets bothered by rumblies. Instead, it rolls over them in a ho-hum fashion, apparently a requirement from real-life Aston Martin customers. Although the tuned car doesn't get upset every time a rumble strip makes an apperance, there were those times when it did, when I almost had best lap, but needed to try again due to some rumbly-madness. :mad:

    4

    Total Score: 69
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
  26. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0028.jpg

    Car: '02 Jaguar XKR Performance

    Tuner: Adamgp

    Garage: Muscle Car Garages

    Best Lap: 1:21.942


    Yet another luxury car with a competitive power/weight ratio & wing kit.

    Speed

    Top Speed: 152.8 mph

    We saw an XKR-Performance during Heavyweight, provided by Camry Fan. I compared his XKR to a lazy lion. In contrast, the Muscle Car Garages XKR Performance feels alot more agile; alot more hungry in many ways. But...still kinda ponderous.

    Not much you can do with a long wheelbase, long body car with lots of overhang to kill this feeling, but Adamgp has certainly given it a try. :idea: His car has all the stuff not applied to Camry Fan's Jag, including that Stage 3 reduction service. :tup:

    I already wrote about how I liked to shift gears while driving Camry Fan's XKR, and there ain't so much difference with Adam's. Not much redline area, but the butter-smooth supercharged V8 feels happier when it's rolling out of those middle-high revs, anyways. The gearbox isn't too busy, but it manages to keep us up where the action is. :tup:

    Adam's car has a better 5th gear (compared to Camry Fan's) which gets more use around the track, rather than just a late appearance down one straightaway. Down Motegi's longest, the V8 starts to safely redline near the end, but doesn't hit the RPM limit. :tup: 6th is therefore not needed at all. 5th is used again as we roll towards the first hairpin (Turn 6), and makes a third appearance between Turns 7 and 8 as we approach the second S-turn area. But it's never an awkward, last-moment upshift. We actually get to stay in 5th here for a few seconds during each account. :tup:

    So no real issues with gearing. I wish there were more redline area, but we'll live. Perhaps Adam could have eschewed that oil change for engine balancing, but I'm not sure if this would have provided more useful redline, or if it would have put his car over the legal TCV5 SUPERCAR limit. Like I said, this supercharged engine reacts best with a shift just after redline is passed. But be careful. There will still be times when it seemed I had shifted at the right moment, only to realize I had just lost speed after getting zapped by the RPM limiter. :mad:

    Thankfully, there were no issues with traction. The Muscle Car XKR Performance never loses it under "normal" driving conditions. I was able to break traction during my Versatility driving, during which I'd slow down in a hairpin, and tag the throttle fully. But I'd normally not have a need to do this, so (again) no points docked. Traction is always at a premium, unless you're doing something way stoopid. :dunce:

    So far as lap times and speed goes, this one is looking pretty good. As per my system described in the SUPERCAR preamble, only two are getting docked: one for being a half-mph slower than the 2 fastest cars, and another being tossed because this Jag is about a half-second slower than Macca's car. But i had no issues with gearing or traction, or anything else which can hurt pure speed.

    23
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    Remember what I was saying during ABud's essay about tuners often following the same habits with their settings, no matter which car they're tuning? Adamgp is a classic case. :lol:

    Many of the settings he used before (found on the Shelby from Middleweight, and the Viper from Heavyweight) are here again. Some of these settings worked really well with his Shelby and to a lesser extent on the Viper. What about this Jag?

    Again, with these Muscle-Car Garages brakes! :odd: Front brake setting has been doubled--from 3 to 6, and the rears are maxed all the way to 24. :boggled: Despite this action, the Jaguar XKR Performance has below-average braking ability. :( I kept braking slightly too late into many curves & corners, only to find myself understeering on-entry. What a shame. Braking ability isn't as bad as Adam's Viper from Heavyweight, but it's not too far off, either. :indiff:

    The good news is there's some flexibility while braking. In effect, the Jag trail-brakes just enough to be useful, just like Adam's Viper, which helped me get those fancy 1:22.xxx lap times with ease in either car. Now, this is NOT BMW or mid-engine/rear-drive style trail-braking (with lots of options), but it's not train-track "all aboard for the one-line express" style, either. There is a small window of variability we can play with. This Jag (as I said earlier) feels more agile than the one from Heavyweight. A cheetah (albeit a heavy one) compared to a slower male lion.

    Notice Adamgp has given us the full monte of parts missing from Camry Fan's XKR. Wings, lighter flywheel & driveshaft, heavier clutch, less weight etc. It's all here. Adam has modified more settings, too, while Camry Fan apparently seemed to give-up halfway; opting for default settings a few times. Adam has also installed a limited-slip, which is necessary (in my opinion) with his car, since it's got lots more power than Camry Fan's. Luckily, he didn't kill his Jag's flexibility completely. :tup: Initial and Decel settings are both at minimum.

    The Accel setting is mid-range, perhaps an effort to keep the rear's tires in check under extreme power loads; hence there's no wheelspin unless you're doing something very wrong. There is some possible understeer on-exit, but it's easy to avoid if you just minimize the gas pedal for a moment. I noticed during the Improvment over Stock section that the stock XKR also understeers on-exit to about the same degree. At least there's not more understeer showing up from stock to tuned, know what I mean?

    Ride height is about 30+ mm higher than the Fudge Aston V12 GT, which is fine. Adam has the rear staggered slightly higher than the front, as well...which I prefer for many front-engine cars. Staggering the rear too high can induce wheelspin sometimes, since the rear's weight is sitting higher. There isn't getting enough weight pressed on its tires if this staggering is excessive. But this doesn't happen with Adam's car; in fact, the front-end always has extra weight since it's lying lower, which helps those front tires from losing grip. Sometimes, they still lose it anyways, which is a tough problem to solve.

    I liked the way the springs were set (stonger up front), although they could have been even stronger than 8.0 kg/mm, to counteract those moments when the Jag felt as if its weight was getting tossed around too much under extreme braking and cornering. This Jag feels more agile than Camry Fan's...problem is, it loses its footing at times due to weight being transferred too much, too fast. Adam's car really had problems during the earlier esses (Turns 3, 4, and 5) due to this behavior. :indiff:

    The front sway bar setting of "1" also is too weak. All of this is a minor criticism, and I'm only docking a single point here. The good news, Adam's Jag travels over the rumblies with minimal drama due to these weaker settings, since there's enough suspension travel (and softness) to keep bounces from upsetting cornering lines. I personally never had any issue with rumble strips in this car, and found I needed to travel over them often, since the Jag prefers those wider cornering paths.

    Get the Muscle Car XKR Performance slowed and turned-in properly, and there's some very solid mid-corner grip. :tup: Don't follow the rules, and instead there's understeer, or at least some goofy wobbles which can destroy racing lines. :indiff:

    The odd damper settings Adam used for his Shelby Series 1 during Middleweight (very strong up front, very weak in the rear) worked, keeping the car from diving too much/too fast on-entry. Springs are also having their effect as well, of course. Adam is using these dampers again for the Jag, but unfortunately they don't work so well here. Or is it those weakish front coil springs? Whatever it is, I'm noticing the front-end reacts immediately when snap-decisions need to be made (thanks to no toe/no numbness), but steering is still a few hairs too slow, especially during the S-curves.

    The front-end dives under braking, but when lifting-off those brakes (or throttle during the esses), it feels like the front-end wants to grip-in more forcefully, but isn't being allowed to. Again, I'm not sure exactly what could be done to solve this, but I would start by playing with weaker front shocks. As things are now, mid-corner grip is fantastic in Adam's car, but to get it to work, you gotta sometimes wait a moment or two before things click.

    Summary. Overall, I could work with this one. Those lap times are certainly a testament.

    17
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    I must say, as I watched the replay of my Best Lap, watched this incredibly large car zooming into corners with (what looked like) ease, I couldn't help but think "now THAT'S a sexy replay". :D:lol: Something about watching a Jag attack corners with precision is really impressive. It looks as if there's not much work involved. But of course, there's LOTS of work involved.

    Versaility is NOT at a premium in this car, but there is some playing around with trail-braking, and some experimentation with cornering as well. But overall, it's not a gymnastic car. Still too clumsy at times. Even tho this is supposed to be Jaguar's "Performance" model, this is still just a modern Jag. It was made to impress rich people, not corner with the best. :indiff:

    The Jag destroyed all the Family Cups, tho. Like I said, I could work with it, but it's not a super-versatile machine.


    13
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster

    pwnage. lol.

    16
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock

    The usual. Lots of weight removed, for instance. :tup: I haven't always been awarding points for wings being added to various TCV5 automobiles, because I found I could sometimes use the stock car's natural behavior to influence its racing lines in positive ways. Wings can sometimes put a car into a different type of class, but if the original car (a BMW M3, TVR, or Lotus Elise, for instance) already had awesome cornering to start with, I can't say that wings have truely provided an improvement.

    Not so with this Jag. When it's stock, it gets way too sloppy and careless, understeering on-exit especially during those esses. :lol: There IS no beneficial high-speed behavior in a stock Performance. :lol: A highly-skilled driver might be able to eventually find some ways to sling this car around beneficially, but this car doesn't just OFFER such behavior like an Elise or an M3 does. So Adam gets another point because his car's wings help keep it planted down and pointed, making it somewhat easier to drive.

    Gearing is another improvement. Both cars use gears 2 thru 5, but the stock XKR Performance doesn't use 5th as efficiently down those straights. Instead, 5th makes a late appearance, and this upshift into 5th casts the tach needle too far down into those middle revs where's there's not as much of a high-speed benefit. Adam's car also has the clutch, flywheel, and driveshaft I was missing as I drove Camry Fan's Jag. Shifts drop into place faster, which means the engine gets to stomp that much more aggressively.

    Adam's car is also lower than stock, with an overall firmer feel. :tup: The stock car has a habit of getting too sloppy on its feet, diving and rolling and sliding around. The tuned car does this at times also, but this behavior is greatly diminished; easier to work with and avoid. Braking (even tho I think it's too weak) is another improvement over stock, as both cars need to be braked at approximately the same time. Since Adams car is going faster...bla bla bla.

    Both cars have great rear traction, so no improvement possible there. I'd award a point if the stock version got too loose or too smokey, but neither happens unless you're messing around in 1st gear. Both cars can also lock-into slower corners (not esses), but they both need to be "babied" to some extent. I didn't feel the tuned car had enough of an improvement here to award a further point.

    So there ya have it.

    7

    Total Score: 76
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2009
  27. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0029.jpg

    Car: '99 Jaguar XKR Coupe

    Tuner: drifting 24/7

    Garage: Red Zone Autoworks


    Best Lap: 1:26.128


    Another Shaguar for us to play with. Oh Behayyyve. :p

    Speed

    Top Speed: 145.5 mph

    It's a shame there weren't two classes created for TCV5: one class for winged cars, and one without them. Since this car hasn't got PD variable aerodynamics, it hasn't got much of a chance in the Speed category right off the bat. But that doesn't mean it automatically will score badly in other departments.

    I gotta say I really enjoyed testing this car. It's like a high-speed Sunday drive. Very relaxing, actually, once I got the hang of it. Driving too hard or too fast will ruin this with lots of undesireable behavior, so let's take it easy for a change. :dopey:

    ....That's apparently what the Red Zone Autoworks XKR wants us to do, take it easy.

    In contrast with the other SUPERCAR entrants so far, exactly zero kilograms have been removed from this Jag, which means: imagine yourself sitting in a plush Connoly leather seat, various shapes of burl walnut accenting the environment. The real quartz clock adds a true touch of class. You've got the choice of dual-zone air-conditioning or rolling down those quiet, electric windows (unless you live in Australia, they you can play with the heat controls). :D The 320-watt stereo with 6-disc CD changer can be programed by going into Options and turning music ON (I chose some classical music).

    You hear the engine and that straight-pipe exhuast, but it's a pleasant, muted sound deadened by lots of body panel insulation. This car (D24/7's Jag) is a used one, meaning perhaps you've encountered a perplexing electical gremlin that happens now and then, and even the Jag dealers are at a loss to immediately figure out how to solve it. :boggled:

    ....Lots of weight in other words. :rolleyes: This car's power to weight ratio is acres above the rest. That's where lots of the blame is to be placed, not really the fact that there's no enforced aerodynamics. :indiff: The feeling of slowness that results is relaxing but also way out of league when compared to all the others so far.

    The engine purrs just like a cat if you're in between 3 and 4 grand. It's necessary to cruise here ALOT in this car during the esses. Redline is at 6,500 rpms, and its best to simply OBEY the blinking red light on the tach right away if it starts to flash. Trying to toy with deeper redline explorations can be tried, but the RPM limit shows up fast. :tdown:

    Oddly, D24/7 gave us a close-ratio transmission to install. Does it work? Mostly it does. Torque
    is very smoothly doled out ANYTIME in 2nd gear. In 3rd, it's best to try and stay above 4,500, but the really cool thing I discovered was during the entire area into Turns 8 thru 10. We can leave it in 3rd this entire time. :tup: I looked forward to doing this every single lap.

    There were two issues I had with gearing. First occurs while nearing the final hairpin. We need a brief upshift into 4th here....only staying in 4th for barely a second, before needing two mega-downshifts into 2nd. :scared: When rolling down the longest straight, there's an upshift into 5th. We get to stay in 5th for slightly longer--just under two seconds. Anyways, these two moments created unnecesary tension during my otherwise mild driving runs. It's unfortunate because they could have been avoided with full-custom transmission work. :(

    Lots of traction helps acceleration. :tup: This is another car that NEVER loses traction, unless you're in 1st gear.

    7
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    Driving this car around, I really got the feeling I was driving a big, heavy, eccentric British luxury car. I occasionally get to test drive Jaguars in real-life for my job; the latest one I drove was an S-type. These cars have a "feel" to them. A properly-weighted feel, as if there's a reason for this weight, and this reason is you get to feel "special" as you drive such a car. So yea, they're heavy and slower than many others, but the mixture of opulence, heavyness, but also dignified power feels completely different from that of a Benz, BMW, or a Lexus.

    This really comes through when driving D24/7's XKR. The good thing is I always had a good feel for exactly what was going on when driving his car, at all times. If something bad is happening, you know it immediately! This Jag was very predictable for me.

    My earliest laps were really bad. Heavy understeers into the grass, or into really bizarre cornering lines. :lol: I've been driving so many winged cars lately, I had to take a few steps back and get re-acquainted with this unwinged automobile. :idea:

    But once slowing down, and really concentrating, it becomes possible to find the way in which this Jag wants us to drive it. It's possible to get to this zone, but it took me about 7 laps before I REALLY started to find it.

    D24/7 is up front with us testers, and admits his car hasn't got great brakes. Yea, they're pretty bad! :lol: Again, they lend the Red Zone XKR a very relaxing feeling, assuming you start EARLY with your braking. This car's feels even worse than the Muscle Car Garges Viper. Not only are braking distances long, but the Jag doesn't let you trail-brake much at all, even if you plan way ahead. There is some trail-braking ability, however. It's possible to find it and use it eventually, but it takes lots of patience.

    Let off the throttle or brakes, and the front-end responds almost catatonicly. :indiff: We have another wide steering angle to attack, so prepare in advance or the front-end will understeer. :ouch: And if it's not understeering, you still have a very narrow window of steering provided to us. You better get it right.

    There is also some understeer on-exit when throttling out. :ouch: And I'm really wishing this car didn't have a limited-slip installed. I KNOW this is the source. Throttlesteering can be done here and there, but it occurs with an extremely mild fashion. It's a shame, because this Jag feels lots more confident leaving corners than it does entering them, with all that traction to deliver.

    I tried removing the FC LSD just to see if there was any additional wheelspin. There wasn't. I braced myself for the understeer D24/7's car was dealing out with aggressive throttle, but it never showed up, or at least not as readily. :indiff: I would trade the limited-slip for a brake balancer if I could. :indiff: But I can't. :(

    There are some tricks we can try when driving this car, which help Handling and Versatility a little. The Red Zone Jaguar XKR Coupe isn't tossable at all, but it is "twitchable". I found i could occasionally twitch this car; just a nudge here and there, and it would respond into a better line immediately. This helped during both esses and slower areas. Those mild sway bars allow us to mildly twitch from side to side, so that I could at least change direction on-the-spot if I needed to.

    Another benefit of weaker sway bars? This Jag NEVER got upset by rumble strips. Even small dips into the grass usually didn't bother this heavy car. It's like a tank!

    I would have played around with settings more. The springs are fine...the stabilizers are fine...camber's fine, but I would have increased those rebound dampers, and messed with ground clearance to try and get this car set up for more aggressive cornering, even tho this is a somewhat futile pursuit. And I woulda ditched the differential for sure.

    14
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    It's really easy to overburden the tires, which immediately hurts our Versatility scores. Snap judgements simply cannot be made if any sort of excessive speed or G-forces are being employed. This Jag is very deceptive about this. While it's slipping off to oblivion, its tires are sometimes barely registering any protest sounds. Sometimes, painful brake-taps are needed mid-corner, even when it seems you're already going too slow.

    Ooof. Those Family Cups did not go well. I was starting to get just a tad bored doing them so far, as I've been in the habit of blowing away all of them with all four SUPERCARS so far. Like several other contestants so far, the Red Zone XKR feels lots more comfortable leaving corners than it does while entering them. I could blow away the Ai out of turns if I had a clear path ahead of me, no problem. But there's so many other limits.

    I lost the very first race I tried to a Dodge Viper GTS Concept by just .053 of a second. Me and the Viper were in a virtual drag-race by the end, and he won by a fender-length. :indiff: I could have won this race; problem is there simply wasn't an offset racing line I could take into Turns 8 thru 11 that would have NOT rubbed too aggressively into the Viper's path. Remember, I'm only doing 2 laps of racing, and contact must be very minor. Fender & door contact allowed, pushing and slams not allowed, lest a RESTART be called by the marshalls. :)

    And those brakes sucked. :lol: I was braking right alongside the Ai, not always able to out-brake them. And we all know the Ai isn't so hot at braking.

    The +4 race went better. :tup: I discovered during this race an unexpected new trick available as the tires warmed: I could steer-in while braking, let off the brakes, and stomp the throttle while steering. The Jag responded by getting its rear into a very mild pivot. :tup: Very cool. And a few points for Drifting 24/7.

    There are also a few moments of Versatility to be found here and there. This car isn't totally stiff or hopeless.

    8
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster

    Score? Parnelli: 4

    .............Gran Turismo GTR BATTLE MONSTER team: 1

    :(:(:(

    9
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock



    What a dreadful score so far. Sorry, man. :indiff: I'm not gonna cream-puff a score if I feel the car doesn't deserve it. There are a few points to be picked up here, tho, so let's grab them.

    There's no weight removed, unfortunately. So these are points finally not being awarded.

    Gearing is a HUGE improvement on the other hand, even tho all D24/7 did was substitute a close-ratio box for the stock one. While driving the stock XKR Coupe, I sometimes found this car revving way down to 3,800 rpms in 3rd gear during those sweepers. I was tempted to even shift into 2nd at times, but this is bad 'cause now the Jag is nearing redline. 4th gear barely makes an apperance twice, before we need to ditch it, and it casts us way into the 4,000s when we upshift; nowhere near peak. There were too many moments in the stock version during which I wasn't sure which gear I should be in.

    The Red Zone XKR Coupe was alot more flexible in this regard...alot more track-ready. :tup: There is about a half-second or more of downtime between shifts in the stock XKR. D24/7 makes sure this doesn't happen with his version.

    His car also felt more confident with G-forces, and corners with a firmer feel. Less rowing, less goofyness. From here on, there isn't much to say. Those points just stop rolling in. :mad:

    The stock car requires less braking zone, but it's travelling slower when it needs to brake, so no true improvement with the tuned car. Both cars travel over bumps with minimal drama. Both cars have loads of traction, but the stock XKR lets us use this traction with less fear of understeer showing up on-exit. :indiff:

    Judge mode completed.

    4

    Total Score: 42
     
  28. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0030.jpg

    Car: '92 Jaguar XJ220

    Tuner: Kingofweasels

    Garage: Bellomo Motorsports SPA

    Best Lap: 1:22.505


    Here is one of the biggest disappointments of TCV5 so far. The XJ220 is based on its Group C cousin to some extent, and therefore really is a supercar from the get-go. That's all fine, except now TCV5 SUPERCAR may have just gone from a close, exciting contest between multiple entrants to one in which a single car will dominate.

    ....or so it would seem! ;)

    Speed

    Top Speed: 153.1 mph

    In reality, the XJ220 comes across as being simply average, so far as lap times go, as compared to several other TCV5 SUPERCARS. Really a huge shock. It ties with ABud's Aston for the highest Top Speed down Motegi's longest straight, but (as I'll explain) I couldn't translate this pure speed into the lowest lap times. :indiff:

    The race-proven engine has such stratospheric acceleration, I was SURE it would be able to easily make some 1:21s or even lower. Instead, I wound up putting close to 100 miles on its odometer, to the point I was getting frustrated because those lap times just weren't falling any further. :banghead: Just as I feared I might go into Pete Townsend mode (broken dual-shock) I gave up. :guilty:

    There may be lower lap times possible with this car, but I'm afraid I can't fathom how to get there. :guilty: As it is, the 1:22.505 I wound up with took lots of work. :exasperated: It's not bad, but originally I thought the XJ220 would wind up being the "Excuseo" cheater-car of the pack. Which it definately aint.

    So far, every single SUPERCAR except D24/7's Jaguar has been able to get better lap times, and with less work, than this "supercar". The Bellomo XJ220 merely equals the Fudge V12 GT Aston Martin's best Top Speed rating, rather than truely dominating. Why is this? Shouldn't it be the other way around? :confused: The XJ220 was once the fastest street-legal car in the world!!!!!!!!!!!! Jaguar chose the numbers "220" to reflect the fact that the XJ220 was supposed to be able to make 220 mph. So how the hell is it getting its ass handed over by a BMW, a couple Astons, and a couple more Jags????!? :lol:

    It's not the engine's power. 550 horses + some wickedly high downforce settings + the lowest power-to-weight ratio so far should = pure dominance. In theory.

    Is it gearing? This car is "only" a 5-speed, which means we've got 4 gears to play with around Motegi East. I used 1st as an engine-brake into the final hairpin of my Best Lap (to friggin' slow the poor XJ220 properly), but 1st is not usually to be used. The 3.5 liter intercooled twin-turbo V6 never seems to run out breath with the king of weasel's gearing set up. I never had any issues with gearing in this car, despite the fact that it must be heavily redlined to pass over its peak area of 7,200 rpms. I personally never hit the RPM limit in this car, except maybe one or two slips.

    Traction is also at a premium. We should expect nothing less from a car which was modeled to mirror its Group C counterpart.

    So...WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? :mad::irked:

    23
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    Here's where the trouble starts, oddly...not what I expected at all.

    HORRIBLE brakes. I mean, really unacceptably weak settings. I just HAD to do a retest with my own stronger settings, just to see if I'm imagining things. I'm not. It just boggles me. :boggled: I don't get it, the whole brakes thing. XJ220 braking ability (as tuned by the king) is about the same as the XKR Coupe I just drove, which hasn't got aftermarket wings & spoilers installed!. :eek: The XJ220 trail-brakes a little better than the Coupe, but not by much.

    It's really easy to overwhelm those front tires while braking-in, too...meaning trail-braking is not as easy a task as you might think it would be, even with wings and downforce. It got frustrating braking very early, only to find I STILL hadn't braked enough, and needed to add even MORE braking zone. :banghead: I expected this with that Viper from Heavyweight, but not with this so-called "supercar".

    Let-off those brakes, and the Bellomo Motorsports XJ220 lifts-off to some degree, but requires a wide cornering path to get the job done. The front-end doesn't dig-in enough, which was a shocker. There's a very finite area of grip versus no-grip. Running 1:24s? There's plenty of grip. Running 1:23s? Not so much anymore 100% of the time, but still plenty left for most driving. Running 1:22s? Traction is still stellar, but you'll be fighting to maintain all the mid-corner grip you can, while understeer fights back just as aggressively. :scared:

    2.5 degrees of camber seems alot for a car that's sitting so low, which could be part of the problem. Those front tires perhaps need to be getting a better kiss on the road. This car isn't overwhelminly stiff with its settings, but it doesn't seem to manuever very well. :confused:

    When leaving corners, traction is awesome (as mentioned before at least 3x now). But be careful, for it's easy....frighteningly easy, to create understeer under throttle! :scared: Especially when going for the best of laps. Therefore, there was alot of downtime mid-corner where I couldn't touch the gas "yet", or even a split second from now. Really frustrating after awhile. :banghead:

    And it seemed no matter how careful I'd been, the XJ220 still had a chance of winding up in some grass. I can't tell you how many times I wound up in some grass while driving this car, sometimes a clip, sometimes a mow. :mad: The XJ220 is a very W I D E machine, 87 inches wide; really feels a bit out of place here at Twin Ring Motegi, which is suddenly feeling like a very narrow and claustrophobic track after 90 miles behind the wheel of this uh..."supercar". :rolleyes::lol:

    Grass clips (not true cuts...merely clips) happen more often than it seems they should. It's tough getting this car into a proper racing line, as it constantly seems to be too big to fit into compact areas! That's really the main issue it seems--much more than settings or parts. It's the fact that this car is so damn big.

    The Bellomo Motorsports XJ220 also suffers over those rumblies. Bouncing isn't so much of a problem, but I had several incidents where I'd find myself getting "pulled" inwards by a rumble strip from the inside. :irked: I'd say the bound dampers and coils (as well as a low ride height) are to blame here. "Don't drive over the rumblies then" seems the obvious answer. Problem is, this car is so wide, and understeers so strongly at times, it's really important to take as much cornering path as possible; even if it involves a rumbly. :nervous: They're impossible to avoid, basically, if you want the best laps.

    The XJ220 feels planted most of the time, if you can find its rare sweet spots. Traction is great, and there is some ability to "steer with the rear", but not as much as I'd like. Again, I'm questioning why there's a limited-slip device installed, or at least why that Accel setting is so strong. This seems to be the blame for alot of that understeer on-exit, as well some general flexibility-loss mid-corner.

    I haven't said much positive stuff during this Handling review, but there are a few merits. Perhaps it's mostly due to the fact that I'm taking them for granted. Half the time, I found myself simply at war while driving the XJ220, the other half, I was "okay". But I couldn't push any further.

    To be fair, there is lots of downforce helping, especially during those sweepers. Much more downforce than any SUPERCAR so far. This is why I initially thought the XJ220 would blow the rest of the field away, not so much because it's got 550 horses. If the car weren't so wide, it would be easy to keep it at speed while keeping it on-track, leaving lots of cornering path to explore.

    Another good thing to note: there were also moments when I could start with the throttle earlier than usual, especially out of hairpin areas. It took a lot of finessing to make sure this gets done right without excessive understeer showing up late-corner, though.

    12
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    Mostly, there's just two true issues when trying to attack corners from extraorbital angles: the XJ220 is a very BIG, WIDE automobile, and it understeers over and over under pressure. Don't brake enough? "Hi, nice to met ya, my name is Mr. Understeer". Give a tad too much gas too early? "Hey, I'm back! Remember me? Mr. Understeer?" :rolleyes:

    Perhaps this car really would feel more at home at Midfield or Grand Valley, as the king of the weasels notes, especially if aerodynamics got a chance to help more than they do at Twin Ring East.

    But, there's good news. When reigning back those lap times (so that I was making solid 1:23s and 1:24s), suddenly there was LOTS more versatility. Lots of odd-angle attacks become possible.

    ...And the XJ220 could dissolve all the Family Cups. The +10 race (rated at 90 A-spec points) created some challenge, but once I figured out how to GET THIS BULKY RIDE around the Ai, there were no further probs. I passed the leading NSX Concept out of Turn 6/Lap 2. There is some tossability involved, and the Bellomo XJ220 has some ability to retract bad racing-line decisions on the spot, so long as you're not pushing to in.s@ne levels.

    This aint a BMW, Spoon S2000, or an Elise, after all.

    14
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster

    As my team arrived at Motegi this particular morning, we noticed a giant banner scrolled across the BATTLE MONSTER team's garage:

    UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT TO SERVE YOU BETTER

    it said. WTF? I strolled over to the BATTLE MONSTER crew, to see what this was all about, only to be greeted by a huge, block-headed Russian with a military crew-cut. :scared: He introduced himself as "Uri Nalisys". :lol:

    "Yoo are this infamous Parsmelli?" Uri Nalisys asked.

    "Uh, that's ParNelli".

    He looked me dead in the eyes without a smile. "VEE VILL BREAK YOU". he said ominously.

    "Uh.... Um. You'll WHAT?"

    "VEE VILL BREEAK YOU. VEE HAFF VAYS OF MAKING YOU BREAK."

    I chalked all this up to a lame attempt at psychological warfare after FLAME-GRILLING the BATTLE MONSTER team got on my second lap, as I figured out how to corner in the XJ220 well enough that the GTR was history.

    Parnelli: 5 :D

    Gran Turismo GTR BATTLE MONSTER team: 1 :dunce:

    15
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock

    There are some improvements here. I noticed the stock car understeers even more on-entry and mid-corner than the tuned one, which gets downright frightening at times. On the other hand, it understeers less out of corners, and provides throttlesteer with greater success, although not a super amount. Wings are helping the tuned car into corners, but the lack of a limiting limited-slip is helping the stock XJ220 out of them.

    Gearing
    is an improvement. The stock car travels around the track mostly in 2nd and 3rd gear, 4th is needed briefly down the longest straight. Jaguar obviously geared this car very tall for Test Course type tracks & 200 mph+ runs, but that's not helping us at complicated Twin Ring Motegi East.

    But uh oh...the tuned car is actually heavier than the stock one. That minuses a point...sorry man. :indiff:

    Braking is another improvement. The stock XJ220 requires slightly longer distances than the Bellomo version. If you don't brake properly, understeer WILL show up fast. :scared:

    Both cars feel firm as they drive around. The XJ220 (when stock) features a softer suspension, but it's not like the luxury cars I've driven so far; it's merely softer in comparison to the Bellomo version. There's not any moments of extreme leaning or anything with either car (stock or tuned), so no possible points to be gained here. On the other hand, I really had trouble trying to get the stock XJ220 tossed into corners. It just understeers so damn much, so no points gained or lost because the tuned version isn't much different in this regard.

    Traction is another area where there's no real improvement possible. The stock XJ220 doesn't understeer as reliably under heavy throttle like the tuned one does, so (again) no points lost or gained.

    3

    Total Score: 67
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
  29. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0031.jpg

    Car: Ford Falcoln F427 GT

    Tuner: Camry Fan

    Garage: N-Tune Performance

    Best Lap: 1:25.491


    Just when it looks like this contest is gonna be all about British luxury cars, :lo: Camry Fan comes to the rescue to break up the monotony.

    Speed

    Top Speed: 146.9 mph

    Like Camry Fan's Jaguar from Heavyweight, the Ford Falcoln F427 GT is missing several parts, and has several more parts which are barely tuned (if at all). No wing kit. We're supposed to install a brake balancer, but not tune it?!? :boggled: No limited-slip device. And other miscellaneous tidbits I'll get into during the rest of this article.

    On top of all this, the F427 GT is heavy. A sedan rather than a coupe. It slogs around this technical track with an immediately obvious lack of ability (as compared to several others so far). There are some factors which help, though.

    The engine has been supercharged, and Camr Fan has tuned the box so either 2nd or 3rd can be used out of tighter areas. Accleration from lower revs means we're not stuck with always using 2nd, and this engine pulls reliably in 3rd from about 3,000 rpms on up. :tup: I found myself using either 2nd or 3rd, depending on how the F427 GT was pointed as I was needing to exit. The reason it's great we can use 3rd is obvious. There's no aftermarket limited-slip installed, and we've got 562 horsepower on tap! This means 2nd is prone to some serious wheelspin if you're not careful.

    To be fair, I found that I could use 2nd quite often, with minimal consequences. It's not super-touchy with wheelspin, like the Fudge Aston V12 GT is. There is a greater window of throttle we can play with when exiting Turns 6, 10, and 11. I'm still docking a point, tho. :indiff: Wheelspin in Camry Fan's car varies from fun to painful, but it's easy to keep things from becoming painful if you just modulate that gas, rather than hammer it, but the fact that you CAN'T just hammer it is hurtful. On the other hand, traction can be created while the Ford Falcoln F427 GT gets into an exciting slip-angle, its rear wheels barely losing their grip. :tup:

    There is a HUGE variety of rear behavior possible with this car....light drifting could possibly be included at another track, but not with my ham-handedness here at Twin Ring East. This isn't helping it score better in the TCV5, it just deserves a quick mention. I had a bit of FUN with this car. :)

    The transmission is an odd, zigzaggy arrangement of gears which hold from short to shorter to longer to shorter (3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th), but never does the tach needle stray too far from its peak power area. I noticed that shorter 4th gear came into play perfectly in between Turns 9 and 10. Not a brief upshift, yet not too tall...it seems Camry Fan dialed 4th so that it fits perfectly here? It would seem so.

    But overall, the N-Tune F427 GT just can't keep up with (or come anywhere near) most of the others in the Speed category. Occasional wheelspin (and the lack of ability to play with gas as much as I would have liked for an even better time) are hurting.

    9
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    First thing I noticed was (again) the long list of parts missing or barely tuned. Perhaps "N" stands for "Non"? As in "non-tuned"? Bad joke. Anyways, some of this raises some quick question marks, with few immediate answers. :confused:

    First question. Why install a brake balancer but not tune it???{/b] I checked this again and again, not sure if my eyes are finally starting to go bad. Yes. I'm not seeing any brake settings in Camry Fan's list, yet we're supposed to install the balancer. As in 3/3. :boggled::eek:

    As it is, this car still has average braking ability (compared to other TCV5 SUPERCARS), it would have been easy to improve them further with literally just a couple clicks front & back. As it is, braking must be FIRM in this car. No messing around. Understeer, or at least a longer wait between braking and throttle, will result if you get sloppy and brake too late.

    And when nearing turns 1, 6, 10, and 11 (once brakes are off), the front-end sometimes needs a struggle to get it to turn-in effectively. Lift-off oversteer is "off" on a vacation to Tahiti.

    No wing kit. I wouldn't be bothered by this (so far as Handling goes) if the Ford could still get thru Twin Ring East, manuevering with finesse as several others without wings have done. I don't think every car in the TCV5 should have a wing kit, but I do wish a lesser class of cars (without wings) had been created. Whatever.

    Unfortunately, this Ford has some issues which could have been addressed if wings were in place. This is not one of those cars which can manuever around with prowess while at high speeds without a wig kit. There is plenty of downtime when cornering thru those esses. I'd be ahead of the BATTLE MONSTER GTR, for instance, but during the esses I'd fall behind; simply because I'd have to taper back the gas to allow the Ford Falcoln F427 GT downtime so it wouldn't understeer off-track. :mad: Gas is completely off-limits, and there goes the BATTLE MONSTER.

    In slower areas where wings don't make so much of a difference, I'd still need to give some extra downtime, even after firm braking. Those front tires get overwhelmed for some reason very easily, which could have possibly been solved if more effort was put into suspension settings. Play with camber; stagger the height, whatever. Maybe even give us a degree of minus toe up front. Bottom line: the car's front-end doesn't grab-in enough as-is, which means lift-off oversteer can't lend a helping hand. If it could, throttle could be eked in earlier. :idea:

    Well, I've been fairly negative so far, let's talk about the good stuff for a change. :idea:

    One thing I thought I might have an issue with would be the lack of a limited-slip. I thought there would be major wheelspin in 2nd gear if I even looked at the throttle. :lol: But like I said, I could work with this car when exiting slower areas, even in 2nd. The lack of a limited-slip helped in a way, as I found I could get the rear-end to throttlesteer to a small degree at times. If not throttlesteer, there was still plenty of flexibility when leaving corners under power. :tup:

    But the fact that I couldn't HAMMER the throttle ever in 2nd is hurting a point; it's the reason I couldn't blow away the BATTLE MONSTER, to be honest, for as you can see, I ran a pretty close 2nd to the GTR. The GTR brakes into corners better, which lends it prowess. If I'd had a weakly-tuned LSD, I could have possibly blown the BATTLE MONSTER away out of corners, with even less fear of wheelspin ruining things.

    On top of all this, the Ford Falcoln F427 GT's coils are too softly tuned for such a heavy car. Or perhaps its center of gravity is too high. Again and again, this Ford would start leaning too much with quick directional changes. This occasionally caused those tires to lose their grip mid-corner. Not the sort of stuff you're looking for when hot-lapping Twin Ring East. :indiff:

    Damn....getting negative again. :ouch: One positive side-effect of this softly-tuned suspension is the car would just float over those rumblies. I never had any issue with these areas. Also, this heavy car always feels nice and planted, even as it leans alot. It doesn't easily slide around (despite lack of wings) or lose grip. I only wish it were more flexible. :indiff:

    11
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    A mid-size 4-door is gonna lose some points when compared to sportier 2-doors which manuever more spiffily, and offer more options. Thankfully for Camry Fan, he's up against a slew of long-wheelbase luxury cars, which would have made his car simply average in this crowd. Most of these Jags & Astons have immediate issues when it comes to true Versatility.

    But there's other issues involved with the FPV F427 GT which dock further points. :indiff:

    When needing to take an "outside line" to pass another car during my Family Cups, the Ford Falcoln F427 GT's front-end gets way boggy, and refuses to cooperate with a tighter steering angle. There's hardly any lift-off oversteer, basically. And when trying to pass on the inside (braking into a turn on the inside of an opponent) the Ford doesn't offer enough leeway once we're mid-corner. It's a shame, since its average braking ability can still allow it to out-brake the Ai. So you outbrake 'em, only to find the Ford can't follow-thru with a spontaneously tighter line. :(

    On the other hand, I could "kick" the car in 2nd gear out of some tighter areas, snapping its rear-end, getting the entire car into a more desireable line. :tup: Also, the fact that I could sometimes use 3rd out of slower areas means I passed a couple cars which struggled with an extra gear shift. Versatility is not just about racing lines IMO, it's also about using the rest of the car's features to help it with alternate decisions on-the-spot.

    The first race was a +5 event, which the Ford blew away with seconds to spare. Even if the leading RUF hadn't drove into the sand,:lol: I still woulda blown this one away. Tried a +7 next, which the Ford lost by 1.817 seconds. Came in an embarrassing 4th place. :mad: All a sudden, you really start to notice how heavy this machine is, and with such a lack of options.


    Even when slowing down...track empty...there's just so much downtime in this car if you're wanting to explore some alternate lines. This Ford blows away Jonn's Mazdaspeed from Heavyweight, but that's about all. It's yet another car which has more versatility leaving corners than it does entering them. :indiff:

    9
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster

    I feared "Uri Nalisys", the BATTLE MONSTER's new pit crew boss, would show up to try and intimidate me again. :lol: Fortunatly he got fired while trying to pour vodka into the Ford's brake lines. :p He was caught, and quickly deported. Hasta la vista, Uri. :lol:

    I hear he'll be getting a new job soon, playing the part of an army sergeant in an upcoming Call of Duty game. :boggled:

    Parnelli: 5

    Gran Turismo GTR BATTLE MONSTER team: 2

    :nervous:

    10
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock

    Hate to be cruel, but this IS a contest. :(

    The only true improvement I'm seeing is in the drivetrain department. Camry Fan's effort keeps those revs locked up where they should be. There's also a carbon shaft & lighter flywheel (both of which he neglected to install on his Jaguar from Heavyweight, but put on this Ford), as well as a triple-plate clutch. All of this allows less downtime between shifts.

    But the stock car...

    1). Brakes with less distance.

    2). Turns-in after braking with less drama...true lift-off oversteer helping along the way.

    3). Never loses traction in 2nd gear, yet still offers some flexibility when exiting like Camry Fan's F427 GT.

    4). Feels just as grippy mid-corner.

    Actually, let's back up. Concerning #3....I did like the fact that I could "kick" the rear-end in 2nd gear to get a better exit-angle. Since the stock FPV GT never loses traction, there's no surprises or fun involved. But is this a true improvement from stock to tuned? No...those moments when I'd kick the tuned car around were more of a compromise. They're not helping lower lap times, they're more like emergency rescues. It would be more useful if I DIDN'T need to do this; if I could instead keep full traction under full power, while the FPV truely throttlesteered.

    Both cars lean alot while cornering. Both cars weigh the same. The stock FPV gets bogged when travelling thru the esses in 3rd, but this is merely the fact that Camry Fan's car has more power, and its transmission is geared appropriately. And we already awarded a couple points for that. :indiff: I'm not awarding points for simply adding power. The other judges might, but I'm not. What's more important to me is how this extra power gets used. Can the tuned version handle it? In many cases, it does so, but problematically.

    So there ya have it.

    2

    Total Score: 41
     
  30. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

    Messages:
    10,448
    Location:
    United States
    img0036.jpg

    Car: FPV F6 Typhoon R Spec

    Tuner: mafia_boy+

    Garage: Grease Monkey Engineering

    Best Lap: 1:22.675


    And here's the other Aussiemobile. This time a bit more fully tuned. Mafs gives this advice: Enjoy responsibly and vote favorably. We'll see...

    Speed

    Top Speed: 152.6 mph


    With over 620 horses on tap, Speed comes easily to the FPV F6 Typhoon R Spec, as reflected via Top Speed above. But there's also lots of weight being slung around: 1,776 kg's of it. That's getting damn close 4,000 pounds for you Americans out there. :lol: Yikes.

    But the engine is a flexible one. Revs as low as 2,000 rpms (in 2nd gear) can get this car out of a corner, should you find yourself travelling that slow. Peak power is at 5,250, with a 6,500 rpm redline. Therefore, I never found any reason to explore or even nearredline.

    It's important to shift gears early with the Typhoon R Spec. When getting past peak, turbo boost drops off quickly, as we can observe by watching the boost dial. Therefore, I found myself shifting typically at 5,500 to 5,750. There are some options while cornering too, which keeps gear-shifts from becoming too busy.

    The gearbox also allows some flexibility. I found that the FPV F6 Typhoon R Spec would need 6th gear down Motegi East's longest straight, but I could downshift into 3rd when entering Turn 1 without too much fear of understeer while powering-out, if I did it right. Traction is always guaranteed in 3rd, so I could quickly lay some rubber without smoking it. Then, I could keep the car in 3rd gear for the L-corner, and throughout the entire upcoming esses section, finally upshifting into 4th as I left Turn 5. :tup:

    It seems as if there'll be immediate issues with wheelspin in 2nd gear, since there's so much power going to those rear wheels. Yes, there are some tricky moments to be sure, but this is the first TCV5 SUPERCAR which allows wheelspin, yet truely allows us to avoid it. It's less tricky than Camry Fan's Ford, and way less trick than the Fudge V12 GT. The only area where I really had problems is if I found myself far inwards into a hairpin or something, the inside rear tire rolling over a rumble strip. Employing a lesser amount of gas (3/4 throttle) would cause sudden MASSIVE wheelspin. I only had a couple such issues like this, fortunately..

    But as George W. Bush learned (let's hope) when he was our President: power ain't everything. I tried and tried till my fingers bled (well....), but couldn't topple the SUPERCAR leaders with a better lap time.

    22
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Handling

    Let's start with brakes. No brake controller on this one, just like Mafs's car from Heavyweight. The Typhoon's braking ability isn't horrible, but it is slightly below average. So I'm questioning...why not install a balancer, make the brakes stronger, so I can get shorter braking distances, and therefore a better lap? :confused: I'd only be helping YOU, the customer, right? :idea:

    The FPV F6 Typhoon R Spec allows minimal trail-braking, but it mostly felt best when simply braking in a straight line, and then turning-in more sharply after brakes were done with. Unfortunately, the Typhoon feels mighty stiff on turn-in. It feels "safe", which is a plus, but requires some heavy effort to get a minimal steering effect.

    But it's safe. A safe automobile. This is a car full of "safety nets". You can crank its steering very hard...with no fear of a spin, for instance. Problem is, there isn't much lift-off oversteer, either, for us more..uh.. 'competent' drivers. :indiff: This hurts all the categories except the Battle Monster one. Speed, Handling, and Versatility are all being hurt because there's a lot of downtime in those curves & corners. I simply couldn't eke any more throttle without understeer or at least a too-wide cornering path ruining, simply because the downtime mid-corner between braking and gas is painfully long at times.

    One might want to blame the limited-slip; problem is, it's weakly set. To make it weaker definately WILL increase oversteer & wheelspin issues.

    It's all that toe which is to blame. Lots and lots of toe on both the front and rear wheels. I could work with this car as-is, but I'd prefer more flexibility. Too many moments when I'd braked early, have the steering appropriately cranked, yet there'd still be a long moment of downtime mid-corner, before the front-end FINALLY starts to cooperate. Very "safe", but not enough steering reaction early enough, basically. Like Camry Fan's FPV, I could sometimes "kick" the rear-end into a tighter line, but this wasn't always reliable, especially out of wider curves.

    Other than the below-average brakes and inflexibility, I had few other issues. The Typhoon feels sufficiently firm, without all the rolling found in Camry Fan's FPV F427 GT, yet it maintains enough leeway between chassis & body movement to be helpful with some tossability. That friggin' toe tends to interfere with this, however. I'm noticing Mafia Boy's car isn't that much stiffer than Camry Fan's in regard to springs & stabilizers, although it does have stronger rebounds, and is about 15 millimeters lower. Hmmm...

    Despite its firmer nature, the FPV F6 Typhoon R Spec does not get upset by rumble strips, except for those rare times I used too much throttle while traveling over one.

    So, a mixed bag here in Handling.

    16
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Versatility

    When trying for alternate lines thru Twin Ring, the Typhoon unfortunately gets easily confused. "You want me to do WHAT?" it screams. Lots of downtime results, which is a shame. But there is some Versatility since those wings help with faster areas, and this car's suspension & LSD tuning (except that damn toe) are otherwise somewhat pliant.

    I started this time with a +7 Family Cup, since that's where the previous Aussie got destroyed. I was sure the Mafmobile could handle this, and it did. But the issues were apparent: mostly I couldn't take a tighter line without needing to perform damage control varying from minor to major. Get too hot into a corner, and this car suddenly doesn't want to work with us anymore. Mistakes be damned. :lol:

    Throttlsteering out of curves is generally a no-no as well, although there is a point of Versatility being added here because this car does allow some helpful behavior once you get to know it well. It's not reliable, though, and it takes an extra moment of "adjusting" mid-corner to throw the car's weight just so, so that a minimal amount of throttlesteer can show up. Or, you can choose not to let-off that gas, but you'll probably wind up feathering the throttle on-exit, rather than gassing fully while riding that minimal throttlesteer.

    So next, I went with a +9, which was more challenging, but again, we destroyed--passing the leading NSX LM Prototype between Turns 9 and 10.

    The final +10 almost looked as though it would be the Typhoon's waterloo, as the leading NSX Prototype got far ahead of the rest of the pack (which bottlenecked behind an AMG McLaren Benz). Actually, getting by that bottleneck of cars really showed how limiting the Versatility is in the Typhoon, as I kept needing to wait to make a good, safe pass using a safer line. Couldn't seek any "weirdo" lines like I might in VTiRoj's BMW or RJ's STi.

    But I won this +10 race despite a terrifying moment of understeer out of Turn 9/Lap 2, just as I was catching up to the NSX. I managed to out-brake him into the backwards-bend, and then made a 3rd-gear blast back onto the short straight while the NSX needed its extra upshift. :tup: The NSX caught me anyways, and the poor Typhoon got too hot as it entered the final hairpin with insufficient brakes.

    .....I saved the day with an engine-brake into 1st gear to slow the understeery Typhoon, carefully kicking back into 2nd, and winning the +10 race by a few hairs! :cheers:


    12
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Car versus Battle Monster

    Aussies score 1!

    15
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Improvement over Stock

    Let's compare stock to tuned once again, shall we. :D

    It's not looking good, honestly. There's no weight removed, for instance. And right away, I could tell the stock Typhoon gets down to business when entering those corners; locking-in with a tighter groove, and generally feeling more flexible with racing lines overall. There's less distance needed to slow the stock Typhoon, and if I missed my braking point, there wasn't as much damage control needed to get back into a more desireable line. Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch. :ouch::ouch::ouch::ouch::ouch::banghead:

    The stock Typhoon also doesn't lose traction EVER. While I could work with the tuned version, I had to be careful while doing so. I'd award a point here if there were some true throttlesteer (not the "kick in the pants" variety I was creating when thrusting the gas at odd moments out of slower areas, but true heavy-thottlesteer with full traction), but both cars steer from the rear with about the same ability. Matter of fact, the stock version is slightly less prone to exhibiting a wider line when exiting under such pressure. :indiff:

    On the other hand, the stock Typhoon leans so much in those turns, it's not even funny. Mafs's vehicle doesn't, so there's an added point. Feels much more firm, which means racing lines aren't as goofy, although they are less flexible. :tup: The stock car's gearbox is (no surprise) much too tall for Twin Ring. Its shifts don't fall into place with nearly as much vigor. I could think entire thoughts in the space it took to upshift in a stock typhoon.

    I was really hoping the tuned car would feature more tossability, but the reality is I could throw either car around with about the same vigor. The tuned car (with its 256 extra horses) only can keep itself intact, with less chance of a slide while doing so at higher speeds only via the fact that it's got wings + lots of toe to save it. But this ain't a true improvement, it's merely a set of safety nets. Let's pretend the stock Typhoon had 623 horsepower, then wings would be a true improvement! But the stock Typhoon simply doesn't need wings like the tuned one does.

    I could work with the stock car's extra cornering flexibility at a slower pace if I needed to "save" myself from some grass, you see.

    Ugh. Sorry Mafs. :indiff:

    3

    Total Score: 68