News and views on motorsports

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Gran Turismo 4 : Ring Update

Last night, I was feeling dreadful, with a massive headache and a slight fever. However, this is nothing that a couple of Paracetemols and a spot of GT4 driving couldn't fix. Right now, in the Simulation mode as you can expect wish limited credits, you have to slowly build up the garage before some real fun begins. So, for now serious fun means Quick Race - Time Trials at the Nordschleife. And why not? The track is massive fun and its a tough one to remember.

My selection of cars were described in my last article, a short review of GT4. Anyway, without further ado, here are some selected times below. Now remember, these are standard cars with no modifications whatsoever, driven with the ASC and TCS very much switched off.

1. BMW M5 (2005) - 7m 42s (I think! I'm not exactly sure but I think this was the time)
2. Honda NSX Type R (2002) - 7m 58s (Very satisfying)
3. BMW M3 (2003 - non CSL) - 8m 05s (Tricky car with massive understeer!)
4. Toyota Altezza RS 200 (1998) - 8m 38s (Very proud of my baby!!)
5. BMW 330i (2005) - 8m 40s (A massive blow to my Mat Salleh car obsessed GT rivals!)
6. Honda Integra Type R (2001) - 8m 42s (Very suprised about this - see below)
7. Peaugot 206 S16 - ???? (I was so bored with this slow car I stopped halfway)

As you can see from the times, I am still in the process of learning the 'Ring. With all of these times, I was kinda making one mistake or another. The BMW M5 I described to you guys yesterday. Its absolutely unbelievable. But on second thoughts despite its surprising agility and undoubted straight line speed, 1700kg does tell. The NSX feels a lot more agile and with its downforce more stable. Perhaps its because the M5 is so bloody quick on the straights, its also a much more hairy ride.

I don't quite like the BMW M3. Yes its quick. In a straight line its 340 bhp has the NSX licked. But in the sweeps, it had more understeer and was not particularly agile in the slow ones. Its got grip but it hasn't got balance. I was quite disappointed by it and expected a whole lot more. You know the problem right? No, my rivals, I am good at GT, so its not me. The M3 has too much weight like all modern BMWs. Yes, yes I know an M3 CSL would cream it and there's the M3 GTR. Still a sports saloon ought not to be heavy.

With the NSX, I was looking to beat its real world Ring time of 7m 56s. Bloody hell, I could've beaten that too had I not be too enthusiastic a few corners from the end. Coming into the 3rd last corner (a second gear right), I approached it way too fast from 260 km/h and had a sort of half spin and lost loads of time. To Add to that I made some small errors in the middle sector. Otherwise, Mr Gan, you're going down baby! I believe a 7m 55s or even lower is entirely possible.

One time I was particularly proud of was the 8m 38s posted by my very own real world car, the Toyota Altezza RS200. Woo wooooo! It beat a car 7 years its junior (BMW 330i). So where's the 255 bhp now bozo? I'll tell you where, all gone to support your fat ass weight. Jeez, I mean BMW are so into cossetting cronies and mistresses in order to broaden its appeal and raise its sales that I sometimes think its lost all its essence. No, actually the essence is there but all this added weight gained to comply with regulations and please wannabes has completely hidden it. To the boys in Munchen. Please remember you once built great cars like the original Mk 1 BMW M3. That's the sort of car you ought to be building. Not these mistress mobiles.

OK, to be honest, the BMW 330i was the car I was using to learn the Ring with. Its actually a very good handling car, much more forgiving than the overrated M3. And it rolls less than my Altezza. So on its Banzai lap, I must admit to being a little cautious. I know I should be able to make up that 2 second gap to the Altezza. I'll bet it would actually be handy in a fight with the Altezza. Playing a two person game against your mates, one using the 330i and one using the Altezza should result in massive fun.

So we turn our attention to the Altezza RS 200. I was so proud of my little baby. Only 2.0 litres, but with good balance, neutral handling and massive body roll! She lacks ultimate grip. But when she breaks away, she does it nicely. As the people at Best Motoring and Hot Version would say, she's an adult sports car. If you and your mates organized a standard production battle limited to normally aspirated 2.0 litres (No Touring Cars!!), this would be the weapon of choice. Forget the BMW 120i, it would get creamed.

Last but one is the Honda Integra Type-R. Now, I'm a bit mystified but this one. I did make mistakes on its banzai lap. But still, I'd expect it to cream the Altezza and the 330i. That it did not was massively disappointing. Hmmm..... I'm not sure if I should get one in real life now. The problem is front wheel drive. It actually makes the Type-R very stable on the high speed straights. Its hard to unsettle the car over the Ring's dips and bumps. But it suffers frustrating understeer. Whereas with the M5, you can use its power and rear wheel drive to tighten your line, such antics will cause you to go straight ahead in the Integra. Its very quick in a straight line, enough to rival the 330i. But in the 2nd to 4th gear bends you have to slow down way too much to kill off the understeer. Very disappointing but this is probably true to real life.

The Peaugot 206 S16 suffers pretty much the same symptoms as the Integra. Understeer, understeer and more understeer. By now, it should dawn on you that I bloody well hate bloody understeer. I just don't know how my GT enemies cope with so much understeer. Oh well, I know for sure that if this is the quality of cars they expect to take me on with, I'm in for a winningly good time. Mwah ah ah. In the middle of the lap, I got really bored with the 206 and just stopped.

Yes, my rivals are by now screaming foul play. After all, there were no modifications to the cars. "Settings" have not been done, blah blah blah. But we'll get to that ok? In the meantime, I'm particularly looking forward to sampling cars like the M3 CSL and GTR, Bentley Speed 8, the Williams built BMW V12 LMR and especially the McLaren F1 GTR. Yummy. There's a whole host of other cars as well too many to list down.

I do have one particular gripe with the game though. Whilst the number of cars have increased, most of it are K-Cars, antique cars, sport trucks (what the f!@# ?), mini vans and the like. That is to say, lots of car irrelevant to the world of high performance. Of course if you were the sort thats into K-cars and sport trucks you can now really join in the fun. I suppose my rivals and I will be setting up some sort of categories for racing sport trucks. But no crony cars!!! No BMW 7 series or S Class Mercedes. I was bloody well looking forward to these but its not available in GT4. Not this Japanese version anyhow.

Some websites were mentioning the availability of the Lamborghini Murcielago and Gallardo (my favourite) but checking the credits on GT4 does not reveal any mention of Lamborghini at all. It seems that the big supercar makers Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche will not be joining us in GT. Such a pity. I'm not sure why this is the case but it must have something to do with perhaps Electronic Arts locking up the rights to these manufacturers. But good of Kazu to find us a way somehow to drive the McLaren F1.

Enough talk. Must go back to work. Tonight, more GT action!

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