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GTlife #1 February 2011


Introduction | Welcome.

Welcome. As a long time enthusiast of racing games in general and Gran Turismo in particular, I’m incredibly happy to announce this the first issue of the GTlife magazine! A lot of people have put in some serious blood, sweat and tears to make this happen and I want to take the opportunity to thank each and every one of you for making this possible. When I first posted my Idea about a community contributed magazine the positive response was overwhelmingly positive and throughout the development I’ve been getting some great advice about the design and layout of GTlife. I wish this wonderful creation filled with amazing articles will help spread the fantastic spirit of Gran Turismo and its drivers thoughts and feelings with the written word in shape of articles, reviews and a whole lot more. I’m very proud of this first issue, and I know that together we can do even better, and the best part of it all is that anyone can contribute with ideas, photos and articles! I’m sure there’s a lot of interesting things yet to be written in the future of GTlife.

Cover courtesy of Etienne Albeau

If you would like to write an article of your own, please contact granturismo.mag@gmail.com for instructions on how to get started or visit the forum at gtplanet.com for further information. All authors get credited by name or gamertag in their respective article. All contributions are nonprofit.

GTlife is an inofficial fan made magazine and is not endorsed or sanctioned by Polyphony Digital Inc. or The Sony Computer Entertainment Group. All opinions in any of the articles in GTlife is the authors personal thoughts and opinions and does not necessarily the ones of GTlife itself.


Introduction | Index

Index

01 A Venomous Snake...................... 03 Back through the Future............ 05 Drag racing in GT5........................17 Taming the Prancing horse....... 19 The Teutonic battle...................... 21 The Junker files..............................26 La fiesta Cavallino........................27 RKM Motorsports interview..... 29 3 Cars, years, & thousand miles.32 Nissan Fairlady 370Z review.... 39 The birth of an Addiction...........

Reprint of this magazine is encouraged to help spread the joy of the Gran Turismo franshise, as long as all content is not tampered or edited in any way. You’re free to quote articles from the magazine, but please do always refer to the source. GTlife is a free Internet magazine produced by the community of gtplanet.net with the intention of being distributed as a print-ready digital magazine

throughout the world. Our authors and contributors originate from all over the globe. GTlife aims to give its readers news, exclusive interviews, reports and informative articles to enhance the Gran Turismo experience. For more information send an email to granturismo.mag@gmail.com or visit the forum at www.gtplanet.net.


Article | The birth of an Addiction

The birth of an Addiction

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Love for cars. It has always been in my family. My grandmother once owned a beautiful ‘67 Ford Mustang. My mother drove a stylish Jaguar when she was 22 and my father was at an early age busy with making an absolutely wicked motorized go-kart that could go up to 45 mph. My obsession with cars started when my father bought me a beautiful model car of a beach buggy. He bought it in England when he was there for work. It really was nothing special, just a generic toy car. But I could drive it over the furniture in the living room for hours. From that moment (unconsciously) an addiction started. You might also want to call it an obsession.

I had this feeling for the first time when I was about 9 years old. My dad took me to a classic car show in Germany. The only thing I can remember from that day was the feeling I got when the stunning 3 liter V12 125 Colombo awaked. The engine of the Ferrari roared up with the unmistakable deep hum of the 250 GTO. The grumbling about the ‘’current affairs’’ from my grandfather always reminds me of that day.

All ‘petrol heads’ knows the feeling. The feeling of a car coming to life. The vibrations shivers through your body, the sound waves cuffed out by the exhaust shouts in your ears, the smell of combustion reaches your smelling senses. This is an extraordinary feeling. Not every car gives you this feeling. It only gives you that feeling if it is a special car. Cars with a soul, you might say. Cars that make you feel like they are living beings with a beating heart and soul.

Now I feel privileged to have heard the heartbeat of that car since there only have been build a few GTO’s and they are very rarely seen.

Few years later, I started to watch car programs. It started with Top Gear. Top Gear has always been very good to uncover the soul of a car. The real purpose of a car. This is of course accompanied by the boundless humor of Sir Jeremy Clarkson. From there on, I got interested in anything that had to do something with cars. I have countless books, magazines, clippings and photographs of cars and car related

“Now I feel privileged to have heard the heartbeat of that car ”

From that moment my addiction began. I started to mention all the cars I saw. I knew the regular cars on the road by name very quickly. I knew which car it was upon seeing only the headlight or other striking features of the car.

items. I regularly visit car shows, have saved dozens of model cars and as culmination I started to refurbish an E-Type from ‘62 with my father. Now I must confess that I don’t even have a license. Unfortunately I’m too young to go for a license, but from around a year and a half from now , I’ll finally be able to control the mighty machine called the car. This is what I see as the birth of an addiction to cars. The birth of my addiction.


Article | The birth of an Addiction

This addiction is only made worse by the arrival of Gran Turismo 5. Finally it was here. The package I’ve been waiting for weeks. After opening of the beautiful glossy black box I came face to face with everything a car enthusiast could wish for to have a great evening. GranTurismo 5, a model of a SLS AMG , a booklet full of photos from dream cars, and the ultimate guide about the every basic of the car and cornering. After installation, I was welcomed by a stunning film about the making of a car. After I went through all the menus and start up stuff, I finally could step in my first car. A Toyota Yaris. Not exactly what you call the pinnacle of car technology, but you have to start somewhere. Precisely what happens after that I cannot remember very well. My memory is in some sort of haze in that point. What I do know is that I very quickly sat in a Lamborghini, trying to set a quick lap on the Top Gear Test Track and not much later raging on the Nürburgring with a nerve wrecking speed trying to set a quick lap time.

At this time you might be wondering where I’m going to with my story. To find out , you have to read through it a little bit longer. At the time of writing I did not yet quite know it either. Back to the main menu. The garage. A list of about 60 cars appears. Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s, Nissan’s, Mitsubishi’s. From an iconic car like the Lambo Miura, to a fully tuned custom Evo ‘96. Every time I start up A-spec. doing that race for the 20th time this week it never gets boring because you know what will be the reward. Money. Or rather credits in the terms of Gran Turismo. Another load of money comes in. What should I buy this time? That Mustang? Or should I save up for the Yellowhead. Tough choice. GT5 has become an extension of my obsession with cars. I want every car in GT5, I want every car pushed to its limit’s, I want to control every turn on every track! All this with the knowing I never will accomplish it, unfortunately. GT5 allows me to

finally drive that dream car. To actually drive at all! But is it still a typical racing game you may ask? The answer is no. The Gran Turismo series has become a genre itself. Compare it with model cars. Most people see it as a toy, while most of them are actually collector items. Made to be beautiful in a display case. GT5 is just that. GT5 is still seen as a game. It’s more than a game. It is a collector’s item. Rather a showcase. Made for you to collect cars in. The items, the cars in GT5. The racing is a bonus. A welcome bonus I say. With racing it distinguishes itself from all other obsessions of petrol heads. GT5 enables you to take a drive in your dream car. To possess them and admire them, but also to take them on the track. For me, it’s not a game. It is an extension of the boundless love for cars from people all around the world.

Text & photo: Bart Schreurs

Now every time I take a car for a spin on the famous ‘Ring’, I get nervous again. With a deafening sound I rage up a steep hill to come face to face with a dazzling blind corner to the left. For me it’s the hardest corner of the whole track. I drive dozens of laps in a row to push that corner to perfection. Many times the corner took its toll and it turned out in an enormous failure. Most crashes with a lethal ending in real life. The Swedenkreuz , a corner I fear.

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Article | On the limits of grip with a Venomous Snake

On the limits of grip with a

Venomous Snake The Iconic AC Shelby Cobra. Phrases such as ‘7 Litre Engine’, ‘Big Block V-8’ and ‘425 Horsepower’ conjure images of a snarling American muscle saloon, with more weight than an elephant and more power than a bull, even for those who are maybe less knowledgeable of cars. And, although this may be one of the ‘snarliest’ of them all, do not be fooled. This is no muscle car. The engine may be a Ford 427ci V-8 and it may produce huge amounts of torque, but the Chassis, Suspension and everything else is British, made by AC. These combined, the American brute force with British handling expertise, the final result was incredible. They had produced, in my opinion, the best Anglo-American car ever. Now the Cobra is without doubt my favourite car of all time. It’s curvaceous body, sleek and elegant, yet low and muscular is simply stunning. Not only does it have the looks, but it has the break-neck performance with jaw dropping speeds in excess of 160 mph, and acceleration times such as 0-60 in 4.2 seconds.

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Remember, this car is from 1966! My love for this car is helped by the fact that my father started building a Cobra replica when I was at the impressionable age of 3, and I am now in my late teens. So when the list of cars available within Gran Turismo 5 was released upon the online forums of GTPlanet, I raked the list for a sign for the Cobra. And I found it. Now all I had to do was acquire the game, and acquire the money to purchase the car. About a week after owning the game, I finally had some money spare, and I almost was at the level to purchase the Cobra. By chance, I came across an old Mini in the UCD (Used Car Dealership) in a familiar pearlescent red. I recognised it at once to be ‘Nightfire red’, the same colour that my fathers Cobra sitting in the garage outside has been sprayed. I jumped at the opportunity, snatching up that rare ol’ Mini for around 15k. Bargain. The time arrived when I had gained enough XP to be deemed worthy of purchasing the Cobra. After loading up the Shelby dealership,


Article | On the limits of grip with a Venomous Snake

and then loading the Cobra’s screen, I took a good stare at the virtual representation of my favourite car. Good work, PD, Brilliant job on the detailing, but I couldn’t help noticing the bonnet scoop did not have an entrance into the engine, and the fact that you couldn’t get rid of the ugly Chrome bumper rings surrounding the cars mouth and under the boot at the back. Overall, though, it looked stunning. So, after clicking ‘Buy Now’ and ‘Use Car Now’ with the intention of changing the paint pronto, the engine starts and revs slightly. As the V8 pulsated, I couldn’t help it, I grinned. At least I didn’t giggle... After some considerable loading times later, I had visited GTAuto to respray the aluminium body ‘Nightfire Red Pearl’ and I had changed the oil. I stayed clear of the wheel shop, I wasn’t going to be tempted to add some boy racer rims. Now I was waiting for the Top Gear Test Track to load. This track is where I usually come to test my cars out, here or Trial Mountain. I feel that they both have a good variety of corners and straights, and Trial Mt also tests the suspensions ability to cope with bumps. The track loaded, I switched all driving aids off bar ABS (Set to 1) and clicked Race. The screen flashed ‘GO’, and I was finally in control of my own virtual Cobra. I feathered the throttle through Gambon, gave it a short burst to the final corner of the track, rounded it to face the start line and opened the taps. Big mistake. Although I was in 3rd, my tyres were still cold and I simply lost all traction. The Cobra had already struck, already made an impression. It was telling me to try harder. So I did. After a few more laps, I finally learnt the cars handling capabilities, its grip levels, where to floor it and when to brake. It was fast, not the best handling in the world, but it was damn fast when you showed it a straight. It’s handling wasn’t exactly like a boat, but it was not on par with a Lotus Elise either. So, I set about fixing that. After a trip down to the Tuning Shop, I came back with a completely empty wallet, but quite a few performance enhancing goodies. I fitted Racing Soft Tyres, Fully Customisable Suspension, replaced the drive-train components and fitted a 5-speed Close Ratio Gearbox. This was becoming more of a project than I first intended. So, after some shakedown tests and some fine tuning, I had finally got the ride height and camber rates set up nicely and the suspension was stiffer. The snake was finally starting to handle a bit better, and the grip levels had increased dramatically. But then I thought, what’s the point of a docile Cobra? Surely it’s all about a white-knuckle ride, the car scaring you into driving her perfectly, almost daring you to make a mistake?

I decided then, to ruin - I mean, enhance my Cobra’s performance tenfold. And I did. I bought, well, everything. By the end of it I was left with an empty bank and a Cobra that handled like an angry pig. But after another day’s worth of tuning (and at one point trying my fathers real suspension settings) the Cobra was handling controllably again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still as aggressive and feral as it was, more so if anything, but with a lot of skill and even more patience, the monster is controllable. Just be careful with the throttle out of corners.After about 5 attempts, I finally set a lap time at Trial Mountain of 1:27.1xx, and I feel that I could improve on it by quite a bit, as I seem to kamikaze Turn 1 and Turn 2, messing up my line for Turn 3. But, it’s a super car smashing time, none the less. This thing kills Zonda R’s in drag races, and eats Caterham 7’s around tracks.

“it was damn fast when you showed it a straight“ With performance figures like 0-62 in 2.8 seconds and a top speed in excess of 190 achievable in only 15 seconds, it certainly has a lot to shout about. And shout it does. Have I mentioned the noise? Wow, it sounds like, to loosely quote Jeremy Clarkson, ‘The God of Thunder gargling on a hammer.’ To sum the Venomous Snake up, it’s a raw, lean, powerful car. It comes from an era where drivers and their cars were at one, on the edge of grip with no Driving Aids to interrupt their crash - I mean, race. This car, in my view, is the essence of motor sport. A pure car, just Man and machine with a beautiful growling soundtrack. Nothing electronic to spoil the experience. And what an experience it is.

Text & photo: Jake Ringwood

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Back through the Future

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T

he Corvette. Always known for its head turning style and amazing speed. It has been with us for over 55 years, and has captured the imaginations of young and old alike. With that in mind, we are taking 9 Corvettes that ages span 55 years around the world in their stock form to test their speed, prowess, design, and how enjoyable they really are. All cars in this test will have all assists

off and use either their stock tire or sports soft tire. They will all be driven with a Driving Force GT with a driving type of Simulation, a force feedback rating of 7, and a manual transmission, using the stick shift exclusively. No upgrades have been done to any car.

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Article | Back through the Future

For our first test, we go to the sunny shores of Daytona Beach, Florida, to race at America’s most famous track, Daytona Superspeedway, in its Road Course form. We will be starting out with the original Corvette, the 149-horsepower 1954 Corvette Convertible. In its black finish, and the design of the body, it is a beautiful sight to see. The curves, lines, and whitewall tires come together to make a masterpiece that could win any Concourse de Elegance. The car performed surprisingly well too. With a 2 speed transmission,

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I was not expecting much, but the car maxed out with a top speed of 103 mph. The car‘s handling, even though it wasn’t the best, was still very good compared to American cars of the time (and for the next 25 years). It was very fun to drive, it seemed “zippy” around the course. After 10 laps, it only spun out once, and it was most likely operator error. After this test, it became clearly evident why America fell in love with the Corvette, and how it grew into an American Icon.


Article | Back through the Future

“The car has a great design, with curves slightly reminiscent of the Ferrari 458 Italia” For our second test, we will be going to the Gran Turismo classic High Speed Ring course to test the 245-horsepower 1963 Corvette Coupe. This is a second generation Corvette (referred to as C2), and you can see the roots of today’s Corvette in this cars design. The car has a sleek front end, and a beautiful back end, with a great red paint job. The 1963 version is also the only Corvette to date with a split back window, and it looks great (The Corvette Sting Ray (C7) Concept is partly based off this car and has a split back window as well). This car had an improved 3 speed transmission with a top speed of 140 mph. The car also has a much improved acceleration over the C1 model. The car had terrible handling though, spinning out 4 times in 10 laps, despite High Speed Ring’s lack of sharp corners. The car was very fun to drive in the straights, but very frustrating in corners. Despite the bad handling, this car is one of the greatest Corvettes of all time, due to its great design and superb top speed.

In this next test, we head to the Land of the Rising Sun to drive at the world’s premier testing circuit, Tsukuba Circuit. The 290-horsepower 1969 Corvette Stingray Convertible is next up, and it is a C3 Corvette. The car has a great design, with curves slightly reminiscent of the Ferrari 458 Italia. It is in a beautiful gold metallic that enhances the car’s beauty. This is also the first premium car tested, so the interior was viewable. The cockpit had a great classic styling, with a nice dashboard. The center of the dashboard was beautiful in its design alone. This car has a 4 speed transmission with a top speed of 137 mph, which is actually 3 mph slower than the 1963 Corvette, which came out 6 years before! The handling was no better than the 1963 either. The car seemed to spin out any time it was turned, and was very frustrating in general. In the end, this car’s only purpose is to make some pretty Photo Mode pictures.

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Article | Back through the Future

Now we are moving ahead 21 years to drive the 1990 Corvette ZR-1 in Special Stage Route 5. The 1990 Corvette is a C4, and it gets a lot of its design from the C3 corvettes, especially in the front end. The car itself is ugly compared to the older Corvettes, with lots of straight lines, and little curves. It does look nice for a car coming from the nineties (but that’s not saying much). Its bright yellow paint actually does improve the looks, though. The car follows the trend with a 5 speed transmission and a great 181 mph top speed. It also has 374-horsepower.

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The car still has some remnants of the terrible steering of previous Corvettes, but it turns much better most of the time. This was the first fun to drive car since the C1, and it was “zippy” too. The car could drift reasonably well, too. I found myself drifting through a few corners, and I’ve never drifted in GT5 before. The car spun out 2 times in 10 laps, showing that the handling still isn’t perfect. All in all, this was a fun car, and a great car to start the rebirth of the Corvette.


Article | Back through the Future

“a great car to start the rebirth of the Corvette�

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Article | Back through the Future

At Trial Mountain we get to test the 330-horsepower 1996 Corvette Grand Sport. Though this limited production Corvette has 47 less horsepower than the 1990 Corvette, it is 110 kg lighter. This Corvette is a C4, so it looks practically identical to the 1990 Corvette. The only difference is the paint, and my god, the paint looks spectacular. The car is painted Admiral Blue Metallic with a White stripe down the middle. It also has the iconic dual red stripes painted above the front left tire that look like war paint.

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This car has a 5 speed transmission with a 173 mph top speed, which is 8 less than the 1990 Corvette, but is pretty good considering the lower horsepower. The acceleration was better than the 1990 Corvette, though. This car also had better handling, and I was having loads of fun flying around Trial Mountain. The car did spin out 2 times in 10 laps, but they were caused by late braking. The Grand Sport really is a Grand Sportscar, and it should be a great addition to anyone’s garage.


Article | Back through the Future

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Article | Back through the Future

For our sixth test, we go to Surrey, England to drive the Top Gear Test Track. The car being tested is the 375-horsepower 2000 Corvette Z06. First off- This car is very ugly. This is a C5 Corvette, and the new design is terrible. The curves very awkward, the back is too flat, the front is just ugly. This car looks ugly from almost every angle. Considering there were some well-designed cars coming out in 2000, this is a disappointment. Continuing the trend, this car has a 6 speed gearbox, but a 171 mph top speed. 171! Despite having 1 more horsepower and weighing 200 kilograms less than the 1990 Corvette, it’s 10 mph slower!

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The handling is also absolutely absurd, after trying to make the first turn, the wheels locked up, and the car wanted to do nothing but spin in circles. I had to completely stop and sit until the wheels cooled down. After countless spinouts and wheel locks, the car was pitted in pure frustration. GM managed to turn a great car into a terrible car in 10 years, making it worse in almost every way.


Article | Back through the Future

For test number 7, we take the 394-horsepower 2004 Corvette Z06 to legendary American track Laguna Seca Raceway. The car is a C5 Corvette, so it has the same look as the 2000 Corvette, but since it is a Premium model, it does look a little better. The paint though, is much improved. Though normal paints are available, a special “Le Mans Blue with Red and Silver Striping” is available as well. It looks like a classy redesign of the Grand Sport’s paint job, with a silver half stripe on the hood with a red stripe around that. It helps take away the ugliness of the car by a lot, almost making it look decent. The interior, though, is nothing to write home about, as it feels very clunky and generic. It has a 6 speed transmission with a top speed of 187mph, which is a great improvement over the 2000’s 171 mph top speed. The acceleration was also better than the 2000’s. The handling was still very bad, but it was improved over the 2000. The car corrected its slides a little more, and wouldn’t endlessly spin in circles. It did have trouble in the braking leading up to the corkscrew, as it loved to lock its wheels if you braked early or hit the wall if you braked late. The car spun out 4 times in 10 laps, showing improvement, but still not as sound as the 1996 Grand Sport. So, even though it is a much improved car, improving crap still doesn’t do much.

“It looks like a classy redesign of the Grand Sport’s paint job”

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Article | Back through the Future

Moving on from the horrid C5 generation, we now enter the C6 generation. First off, we have the 488-horsepower 2006 Corvette Z06, which we are taking to famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Road Course. The design, you ask? Well, it’s absolutely stunning. They took the few good parts of the C5’s design and kept them, while completely redesigning all of the ugly parts. It has a definite look of speed to it, but while keeping the Corvette’s style. The interior is also much improved, with a sporty steering wheel, dashboard, and (not functional) Sat-Nav Screen. But it also has a very useful addition- right under the windscreen there is a large digital speedometer that makes it very easy to know your speed without the HUD on. The Orange metallic tint coat also makes this car look ready to take anyone on in a race. The car has a six speed transmission with a superb 202 mph top speed. It also has great acceleration. And the handling? Well, GM finally got it right. Though it’s nowhere near a Lotus, I was entering and exiting corners with ease. The car also only spun out 1 time in 10 laps. I was having fun driving for the first time since the Grand Sport. At 98,000, with a RM option too, this car is great for any Gran Turismo fan.

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Lastly, we head to France’s historic Circuit de la Sarthe in its no chicane form. We brought the most modern Corvette we could to the home of the 24 hours of Le Mans- The 650-horsepower 2009 Corvette ZR1. That’s a 162 horsepower increase from the 2006 Corvette! Now this is still a C6 Corvette, so the styling is similar to the 2006, but they managed to make it look even cooler with redesigned sides and back. The ride height was also lowered, making it look sleeker. They also made it clear over the engine’s supercharger to give it the look of pure muscle. The interior is identical to the 2006, but that isn’t a problem. This car has a six speed transmission and an amazing 218 mph top speed. The acceleration is better than the 2006’s as well. The handling even manages to top the 2006’s. I could speed in and out of corners with ease, and with minimal slip. And the feel and noise of the car blazing down Sarthe’s straightaway was my best Corvette experience yet. And the best part is that the car didn’t even spin out once during the ten laps.


Article | Back through the Future

After hours and hours of testing Corvettes, I come to feel a bond with the cars. Driving them through the years, you could feel them evolve, little changes or noises the previous one didn’t have. But Corvettes aren’t about going around a Circuit as fast as you can, but are about blazing down the highway with enjoyment (or SSR7 in GT5). From the humble 1954 Corvette to the Circuit-crushing 2009 Corvette, all Corvettes have a certain undeniable character. No, it’s not going to turn like a Lotus. No, it’s not going to run like a Bugatti. But it’s not supposed to. It not meant to be an imitation, its meant to be a Corvette. Also, in my Grand Tour through the world and time itself, I learned a lesson about GT5. It’s not to complain about that one car or one track isn’t in it, but to enjoy what’s in it, from Midget to Veyron. Well, it’s in the name even. Gran Turismo means “Grand Tour” in Italian. So after over 500 miles of testing, my imagination is still captivated by the Corvette, and still will be, for generations to come.

“I come to feel a bond with the cars. Driving them through the years, you could feel them evolve, little changes or noises the previous one didn’t have.“

Text & photo: David Mackey

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Article | Drag racing in GT5

Drag racing in GT5 I’ve been playing GT5 now for a few weeks and dipped into the online racing section once or twice. I’m not a fan of online racing mainly due to the fact that a lot of people can’t race fair or take losing. It really puts a damper on the whole online racing for me as a whole. However since I played Forza motorsport 3 online a few months back, I quickly became addicted to online drag racing. Racing against Datsun 510’s and Veyrons using cars such as R34 and R32 skylines and beating the seemingly unbeatable really was fun for me. In GT5 my friends and I started by looking at the very basics. This brought many questions; where would we do it? How would we do it? How would we keep it fair and competitive? We decided to tackle what seemed like the easiest question first. Where would we do the racing? Someone suggested the top gear test track, so we all quickly jumped into a room and looked over the Top Gear test track. After a few practice runs inspecting the track we came to the conclusion that the Top Gear test track

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was a good place to race several cars at once and go for high speed. Since this wasn’t our prime aim we scrapped the top gear track in favour of someplace that would favour 1/4 mile style racing. A few unsuccessful tracks later we eventually came to the Circuit de la Sarthe (Le Mans). After a quick look around the track it seemed too good to be true. Not only did we have a nice straight but we had a start and finish point that everyone could see. We also had an area for people to wait for their race. It was almost perfect. I decided that we would try and keep the rules to a minimum and somewhat realistic. So 2 cars max run at any one time. Both cars setup with their rear bumper touching the tyre wall. They then agree a start time, e.g. 10 mins or 10 mins 30 secs on the overall clock in the top right of the screen. The race starts once the time is reached and both drivers launch. The first car to pass the sign on the left is the winner. Deliberate contact between the


Article | Drag racing in GT5

“the choice of car for each category can be rather tricky” cars will result in a re run of the race. Jump starts are an instant loss. However sometimes because we all know each other we will more than likely just re run the race. That’s the basic rules so now some car categories to keep things competitive and fair. all tyres and weights are permitted. I begin with deciding if the event should feature fwd, rwd or 4wd cars and whether or not they would be allowed to have race modification installed. Then I set the hp limit ranging from 200hp or under up to and above 700hp, but always under the 1000hp limit. Sometimes I also including race modified cars with the same rules as above really but specifically for race and race modified cars. Then of course there is the High rollers class with 900hp or more with no limits which is open for access by all cars. As we are all friends we don’t really take things too seriously, but we follow the rules to keep the races close and interesting. I’ve also noticed that car type is crucial to your choice. I found this out the hard way, in the 200hp or under fwd category I was racing a Mini Cooper against a Toyota Glanza wth similar power. Alas, I was destroyed so back to the drawing board on that one. I did however manage to redeem myself as my Ferrari Enzo was up against a Dodge Viper which had more power. Because the Enzo is a MR car the engines weight is over the driven wheels and gives better traction off the line. Needless to say I won that race. So the choice of the car for each category can be rather tricky.

Setups are also crucial, as with a poor setup and improper gearing you’ll either loose precious time off the line while your spinning away those wheels or your gears won’t be short enough to max the acceleration of the car. Suspension setup is not as crucial but it can shave a tenth or two which could be all that’s in it. Getting a good suspension setup could eliminate a lot of wheel spin off the line and thus give you a better start. Your driving technique is by far the most crucial thing when drag racing. Reaction times to the timer and gearing have to be spot on when racing similar cars. Launching in the best gear for the car to maximise wheel slip and grip at the same time. Making sure your tyres are always at optimum temperature is crucial too as this can help maximise your grip levels. Making sure your tyres are not new but are not worn either can help in launching. It’s a bit technical at times but It’s a lot of a fun and I recommend trying this with a few friends as it becomes addictive and little grudge matches form. I hope you enjoyed reading this and will try my method for drag racing. Bernard

Text & photo: Bernard Conway

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Article | Taming the Prancing Horse

Taming the

Prancing Horse The challenge is to drive a Ferrari F2007 F1 car around the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife – The Green Hell. If this wasn’t a big enough challenge I chose to attempt to drive the lap in less than five minutes, a tall task for most people. To make this a proper challenge I decided to challenge my skills to their fullest. This meant doing the challenge with zero driving aids and manual gears.

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hy did I decide to do this? Well I was beginning to get bored with GT5. There are not enough seriously challenging races to keep my appetite at bay. I had recently acquired the F2007 and really wanted to take it for a drive, so I said why not make it a real drive. By taking off all driving aids and using manual gears was a real insight into how hard it would be to drive a car like this on the limit in real life. The “Green Hell” was chosen because I absolutely love this track. It’s a real test of driver and car. To achieve a seriously quick time takes dedication, a lack of fear to keep your foot planted in blind corners and a good car setup.

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I initially took the car for a quick spin around the ring to see if it would even be possible. For this exploratory lap I used automatic gears and abs set to one. My time was 5:22.255, a respectable time but more was needed. So the very first thing I did was softened the suspension and changed the differential settings to suit my driving style and the bumpy surface of the ring. The next thing was to set up my brakes to cope with the lack of abs and my heavy left foot. I turned off abs and went about adjusting the brake bias. I eventually came across the perfect setup. Lastly I had to learn when to shift and how fast to down change gears in the F2007, for this I needed to run a few more practice laps.

Initially I was changing gear when the green light came up on the steering wheel. I later found out that this wasn’t the optimum shift point so I started to delay my shifts till the light turned red. Shifting at this point meant you had to be quick or else you will hit the rev limiter thus costing you precise time. I set about the monumental task of learning all the correct gears for the rings seventy plus corners. The first few laps I was all over the place with my gear changes but I quickly learned the basic gearing for the first two segments of the lap. However learning the optimum and fastest gears was something that would be learned later. Now I had the setup, the knowledge of which way the track goes and the basic gears necessary


Article | Taming the Prancing Horse

to get a fast time. I set off to try for the five minute target time. I had to use cockpit view to see the little red light gear change indicator but the cockpit view in the F2007 is actually very good. Visibility was excellent and I could put the wheels on the apex with ease. My first few attempts went wrong before I had even the first sector complete. The very first corner is something that annoyed me to no end. The proceeding right-lefts would pose a new challenge. Getting the correct gear and maximising my corner exit and apex grip was essential. This part of the track would yield a time almost 2 seconds faster if done perfectly. After a number of attempts I started to get into a rhythm. The first sector became second nature.

The second sector now started to do what the first one did to me. I had to learn another set of corners and relearn everything I knew about how fast a car could go around the ring. The F2007 allowed me to brake later and keep on full throttle around corners I didn’t think were possible to go around without braking. The second sector proved to be easier than the first and the third sector wasn’t too bad either. The forth sector however was almost my downfall. Every time I had a good lap going I would push the car that little bit too hard and clip the grass and spin. After about thirty minutes of this happening I needed to have a break. I left my PS3 and went in pursuit of food. Adequately fed I retackled the forth sector.

About another twenty minutes I finally got a good lap, the time was a 4:59.730 but I went off on the last corner so I didn’t count this lap. I knew the car and I could go faster, the lap I broke the five minute mark was slow through the first and second sector so I knew more time could be achieved. I continued to try and get a perfect lap sub five minutes. This proved to be more difficult than I first thought. Partly because every time I messed up was because I pushed the car too hard through a corner and hit the grass and spun. Unfortunately I never learned from these mistakes and kept pushing hard.

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Article | Taming the Prancing Horse

Something was running around in my head saying faster, faster. After spinning yet again I restarted the time trial. I pushed hard into the first corner and through the proceeding right-left corners of the first sector. I hit the split time and I am almost one and a half seconds up on my fastest time. Still pushing hard I go flat out through Flugplatz. Still flat out all the way down to Aremberg where I’d have to brake hard. Once out of Aremberg I was flat out again until Adenauer Forst. Time can be made up here if you are brave and carry a good line. The next few corners felt average but the main thing was I didn’t lose any time. Flat out again from Bergwerk down to Steiltreckekurve. Next up was the Karussel, brake hard down to 3rd gear and then flat out shift up to forth just after exiting the Karussel. I believed I was on for a good lap as I was much faster through all the splits. Through Wippermann with no problems this time but next up was my trouble spot, Brünnchen the famous photographer’s corner.

I still didn’t lift off more than I normally would but somehow I made it through from Brünnchen through Eiskurve and past Pflanzgarten with no mistakes. I was now surely going to make it to the finish faster than I previously did and without any mistakes. At this point even the course was spurring me on (the words “‘ave it” are written on the tarmac)! From Pflanzgarten down to Hohenrain was pretty much a breeze. I did however this time make sure not to go off on the last corner. The lap was complete but did I lose time in the final two sectors? Well no, I managed to actually gain time slightly so I finished the lap with a time of 4:56.207. After lots of frustration and determination I finally completed what I set out to do. Despite all the frustration I did really enjoy doing this challenge and would recommend you to do something similar. I hope you have as much fun as I did. Text & photo: Bernard Conway

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The teutonic

battle Which car deserves to reign supreme?

Mercedes’ AMG versus BMW’s M-power. As far as statements go, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more correct than that. It borders on amusing, watching two large corporations go tit-for-tat with one another for years on end. Nevertheless, we shamelessly benefit from their one-upmanship. The result is plain to see; here we have the C63 AMG from Mercedes and the M3 from BMW. Both remarkable, unavoidable cars in their own right. Now, I shall delve deeper into their respective characters and determine which one deserves to reign supreme.


Article | The teutonic battle

Right of the top, it’s worth noting that the Merc has considerably more presence than the M3. This is in no small part thanks to it being physically bigger than the 2-door M3. It’s a full 10 centimetres longer and nearly 3 centimetres taller. Oh well, that’s one rare advantage of being a full 4-door sedan. Presence doesn’t necessarily translate into better looks though, depending on taste. I, for one, prefer the more in-your-face approach that M-B took with the C63. The M3 is without doubt a good looking machine, but you may actually be found struggling to spot it from a normal 3-series. The Merc? You’ll know it’s a performance car. The rear diffuser and quad tailpipes are far more prominent than those on the BMW. The same can be said for the front bumper, with its 3 huge air dams dominating the front of the car. The Beemer, too, has tri-ducts on its front bumper. They’re actually more elaborate in shape than the AMG’s, but they blend into the front of the car in a far more forgettable manner. It must be said though, that the M3 has the better wheels of the two. Its dark, 20-spokers are far more eye-catching than the rather disappointing 5-spoke on the Merc. I do find it remarkable how AMG found it possible to make a 4-door look as sporty as a coupe, though. The big Merc could never pull off the more dignified style of the M3 – not without coming off totally bland. So, the more brutal styling works in its favour, both adhering to its character and giving it a unique stance. Design, then, largely depends on your

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personal taste. Me, I would go for the C63 since the exterior simply does much more justice to the price tag. In terms of power, the Mercedes has the BMW licked on just about all counts. The BMW gets a 4.0l naturally aspirated V8 that makes a perfectly respectable 414bhp. It’s a real gem of a unit, revving all the way to 9000rpm – impressive for reasonably sized V8 like this one. Unfortunately, that technical accomplishment paves the way for the cars own weakness. The power simply comes in too high up the rev-range. 8300rpm, to be precise. Credit where it’s due, though, the power is never anything but butter-smooth. Torque is the element that keeps this engine in contention. There’s 40.79kgfm, which is exactly the right amount for when it comes in at 3900rpm. There’s inevitably wheel spin (It’s a V8 rear-driver, remember?), but once that’s over, the M3 pulls away in a rapid, uniform manner, hitting 100km/h in 4.8 seconds on my watch. If it’s straight line speed you desire, though, AMG is who you want to turn to. Power and speed are the Merc’s forte. It gets a N/A V8 too, albeit one that displaces a colossal 6.2l (ignore the 63 moniker, the displacement’s actually 6208cc). This power plant comes in, guns blazing, with 437bhp at 7000rpm. That’s more power than in the BM, being made available earlier than in the BM.


Article | The teutonic battle

However, it’s the monstrous torque, 59kgfm at just 5000rpm that really steals the show. It got the Merc from 0-100km/h in just 4.5 seconds – and that was with plenty of inevitable wheel spin. Needless to say, when traction is finally found, the Merc blitzes the BMW from a standing start. Part of the no-contest acceleration is due to weight. Despite the extra doors, length, height, and engine capacity, the C63 weighs just 75kg more than the M3. I’ll bet most of that 75kg is on the larger engine itself, which makes more than enough power to offset its own weight. Also – and this is a purely subject point – the 6.2 V8 sounds much better than the 4.0. The BMW does sound good, but it’s a much more refined engine note, unlike the gruff growl and burble of the Merc.

Displacement Max Power Max Torque Drivetrain Length Width Height Weight

So, as far as engines go, the BMW scores for smoothness and power, whilst the Merc takes top trumps for outstanding power, torque and sound. It’s when you get to a corner that the M3 finally starts to find its footing. Even though it’s by far the slower accelerating car of these two, the M3 is the one you’d want to drive around a track. The steering has the correct weight and feels tight. Turn and the car changes direction. There’s no dead zone and no lag. You always know what the wheels are doing, but without any unpleasant wheel shudder and kick-back. The brakes are another strong point. With ABS set to 1, the BM had no trouble hauling up to the corners in minimal distance. When you enter a corner, you’ll find that this car has plenty of grip, but over-doing it on the way out will easily get the tail out.

Mercedes C63

BMW M3

6208cc V8 437 bhp/7000 rpm 59kgfm/5000 rpm FR 4720 mm 1795 mm 1440 mm 1730 kg

3999cc V8 414 bhp/8300 rpm 40.79kgfm/3900rpm FR 4615 mm 1804 mm 1418 mm 1655 kg

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Article | The teutonic battle

Change over to the Merc and you find a much lighter steering, with a disappointingly sluggish turn in. This car will go where you want it to, but you’d best be very careful with the throttle and brakes. Ah, the brakes. They aren’t very good. They’re good enough at low-speed corners, but they can give you a nasty scare at higher velocity. Occasionally, when I braked just a little bit later, the steering simply went dead and the car terrifyingly overshot the turn. Once you successfully get the nose into a turn, the wheel gives you an adequate amount of feel, but it falls way behind the BMW. On the way out, one must be very, very careful with the throttle if you’re trying to set lap times. If it’s just fun you’re after, the Merc delivers in spades. When the back steps out, you’re presented with a pleasant, easy to control slide. The tail can be effortlessly kept in check with the slightest of corrections. At this

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point the normally soft wheel actually begins to tighten up and feel extraordinarily good. Nevertheless, the BMW is without doubt the better car through the corners. There is one issue that I haven’t addressed as yet. Price. The BMW, at around 92000Cr, is give or take 12000Cr cheaper than the Merc. It’s clear that you get a far more special driving experience for extra money, as well as more lavish exterior detail. However, even though it’s out-powered by its rival, the BMW simply remains the better choice for the money. What’s more, with the extra 12k, the smaller V8 can be easily brought up to pace with the 6.2. Just a hint.

Text & photo: GT5anticip8r


Tips | The Junker files

The Junker files E

verybody like racing in fast cars, it’s human nature to want to go faster. But in the mix of all those high-powered exotic racing machines, many of the cars that the game makers took painstaking amounts of time to put in the game go completely unnoticed. I love finding those little cars that no one else would bother driving. If it’s old, has no power, or looks like a shoe I probably love driving it. I’m hoping to help people reconnect with those cars that have become lost in the dust of the supercars. Picking the car to start with was very difficult for me. I own many high-speed shoes to pick from. Whether it’s racing, drifting, or rallying I have at least four oddball cars to pick from. But my friends have dubbed my most recent favorite vehicle the “VTEC Rally Van.” It is an ’03 Honda Odyssey minivan painted in Hawaiian Blue Metallic from the ’98 Mini Cooper. Quite a spectacle to see a bright blue van ripping across a rally circuit. I picked the van for the obvious reason of it being AWD, and after some time setting it up it really has turned into something hilarious. Fully upgraded it puts down 406BHP and out of the racing exhaust it makes a sound that no minivan ever should. It drifts around the rally course like a dream, which was quite surprising to me given its weight and size. For the suspension I maxed out the ride height, dropped the spring rates and dampers pretty low, camber is one degree both ways, and toe was set to -0.20 front and rear. Differential torque split is 35/65, LSD is dropped to 5 on all counts, and I keep the transmission at 124. The best track for this van is, at least in my opinion, Eiger Nordwand G Trail Reverse. The weight helps keep it planted on those tricky uphill corners and it can maintain a high climbing speed. Watch your entry speed and lines carefully on the downhill hairpins as it can be a handful to get around in a tight space, but once you get it going sideways you shouldn’t have a problem. Text & photo: Chad Diedrich

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Article | La fiesta Cavallino

La fiesta

Cavallino T

here it was, the stuff of dreams. Parked up right in front of me was a Ferrari 458 Italia. I eagerly jumped in, started the engine and the noise of a V8 greeted me. Crawling out Monza’s pits, I pressed the accelerator hard and the car rocketed towards the chicane. With all my enthusiasm I missed the breaking point into the chicane and stomped on the carbonceramic brakes, slowing down just in time. Through the chicane I got a taste of the grip this Ferrari has to offer, which is boosted by the Racing slicks this car has been specially fitted with.

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Speeding away from the corner, with the wonderful engine noise coming out the 3 exhausts at the back I come to think what a fitting tribute to the F40, which was the fastest road car in the world at its release, this is. Back to the 458 however, speeding through the next corner and down the straight, I had some time to marvel about the ridiculously quick gear changes thanks to the dual-clutch transmission. The whole car felt much planted and always had plenty of grip available, although with a little bit of encouragement you could get the back end to step out.

All my sliding around though was taking its toll on the tyres, plus it was starting to rain. On the final corner I slipped up when one of my worn-down tyres touched the grass and I lost control, spinning into the gravel. ‘Dammit’ I thought while also praying that the Ferrari wouldn’t hit the barrier. Luckily, it didn’t and I managed to get of the grass and crawled back in the pits. After a bit of thinking, the Ferrari guys decided that I’d had enough, and they took the car back to Maranello. But I didn’t mind as I was heading off to sienna to drive the legendary F40.


Article | La fiesta Cavallino

When I finally arrived I was incredibly excited. The car was parked amongst the tourists with its owner standing next to it. I took a moment to admire it as I looked inside and noticed the lack of, well, anything inside the car. You only had the essentials but that didn’t matter. Driving it out of town wasn’t fun, in a car designed to be driven fast, with a top speed of 203mph and was intended for the track. Out on the roads near Toscana the F40 was incredible. It may not be the easiest or most comfortable car to drive, but it’s certainly one of the most fun ones.

It could only get better though, as when we got to Rome at night we found the street circuit was set up in preparation for a race. After some chatting to officials the next day they let us on the track and the F40 got better. Racing round the Coliseum the back end stepped out, but I kept it under control. Down at the hairpin I braked cautiously and pushed hard on the accelerator out of the bend. Down the straight I found myself watching the speedo and looked up just in time to make it through the high-speed section without a scratch. I felt relieved to get past that part, and pulled up in

the pits breathing hard. The 458 will most likely be one of the Ferrari greats, with those stunning looks, lightning-fast gear changes and stunning grip, but it can’t match the sheer thrill of driving an F40.

Text & photo: Ryan Bruce

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Interview | Tuners insight

RKM Motorsports Tuners insight

RVV Motorworks was one of the premier tuning companies in the days of GT4. Made up of Rojer, Kyle and Vince, RVV focused on tuning production cars that were not just fun to drive, but could also run with purpose built racers. Their cars, along with ff friendly attitude towards customers, gained them quite a few fans throughout the racing community. Unfortunatly Vince had to leave the company due to other commitments, and with the release of GT5, just like the companies famed Mazda RX-7 and Honda NSX-R, RVV Motorworks has undergone a few changes. Now known as RKM Motorsports, Rojer and Kyle (who insist they aren’t brothers, but may as well be) continue the ethos of cars that are fun to drive on the road, but can also run alongside the big boys on the track. I caught up with them for an insight into what makes them tick(over). First of all, who are you? Rojer: I’m Rojer, or Roj as most people call me. I’m one half of RKM Motorsports and if you want to add me on PSN, my ID is RoJJieE. Kyle: Kyle Mallender, better known as Rotary Junkie, the other half of RKM Motorsports. What first got you interested in cars and when? R: Well naturally from a young age, I was playing with toy cars. It was only until I was about 5 or 6 that I begun being interested in what makes a car work. I’d watch my uncle work on his Saab and after a couple of years, he started letting me help him change spark plugs, check if the lights worked, small stuff like that. Since then my main interest has always been cars. K: Brain damage perhaps! I’d say it started around the time I could talk, and at the time, more involved anything with wheels and a motor which slowly refined itself into being 90% car addiction.

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When did you get into the GT series? R: In 1997 or ’98, a few months before GT2 was released. My friend brought GT1 over and we did a few split-screen races. It was one of the first PlayStation games I played that actually had road legal cars and not just rally or touring cars. I liked the whole “turn everyday cars into supercar beaters” thing. The moment GT2 came out, I bought it and started playing it religiously. K: My neighbour had GT2 circa 2001 and I quite liked it. I eventually got an original PlayStation from Gamestop post-PS2 launch for $30 and a copy of GT2 for myself. When did you first get into tuning cars after getting hooked on the GT series? R: Well, the very first time I tuned a car was my first day playing GT2, although I had no idea what I was doing and I just ended up changing the gearbox autoset and making a mess of everything else. It wasn’t until a few weeks into playing GT2 that I


Interview | Tuners insight

started learning what the suspension did and how adjusting it changed the car’s performance and behaviour. Same with the LSD, gearbox etc. I was still young so my tuning wasn’t exactly good. In fact, it was only when I tuned a car in GT4 that I started becoming somewhat good at it. K: Probably about that same time. I wasn’t any good at driving and I was likely making the cars worse, but GT2 is the game I started the tweaking with. What was the first car you properly tuned? R: A racing modified Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32) ’89. It was in GT2 and the racing modification gave it the classic Calsonic paintjob. Even now, I always make sure to pick up an ’89 GT-R and a Calsonic R32, just because I’m still very fond of that car. K: I honestly have no idea! I do recall having made a Mercury Cougar in GT2 that, when running automatic transmission on the 400M test, would be slower by a full tenth of a second if I changed first through 3rd gear even by 0.001 or the final drive by the same amount. Oh, the joy of being fairly young with masses of time and a gigantic attention span! Have you had to change any of your tuning methods with GT5’s new physics engine? R: Surprisingly not that much. Of course the settings from GT4 aren’t directly transferable to GT5. There’s a new tyre model, new suspension model, parts changes and a lot more. But it’s completely possible to use a GT4 setting as a base and work from there. K: Not really, much of what worked in GT4 does here as well. Some things have changed slightly, mostly due to the tire model, but it’s a fairly small difference. What cars do you specialise in tuning? R: In general, 300bhp to 500bhp road cars on sports soft tyres. As for a specific car, I like to think I’ve got a magic touch with the Honda NSX Type R ’02. It’s been my flagship tuner car for 3 years now, from GT4 to GT5. K: Anything on sport tires. It would also seem that I get rather stunning results from FWD cars by tuning them exactly backwards versus common knowledge! What is your favourite car to tune and drive? R: I have to say the NSX again. It’s one of those cars that I can spend months tuning to perfection and still enjoy driving it. It’s also the first car I drive when trying a new controller, like when I migrated from the DS3 to the HKS controller that I picked up last month.

K: My RX-7 Spirit R Type A. So far, the current car has done 700 some tuning miles and I’m looking at building a second to go that little bit faster while remaining under 400bhp. What car would you like to do a tune for in the future? R: I’d like to tune the 370Z GT Academy version. Just because ever since the Time Trial Demo, I’ve been wanting to make that car faster and more fun to drive. K: I can’t entirely say what will be next, what I do know is that there are several hundred vehicles I’d like to eventually tune! What car, if any, do you think is perfect enough without a tune? R: The Honda Civic Type R ’08 is my favourite stock car. It handles amazingly out of the box. But I think no car is perfect enough to not require a tune once you start adding power. K: Personally, I haven’t met one yet honestly. The default settings are never quite right, some camber/toe change will always result in a bit more performance and the dampers are always a bit off as well. What’s your preferred track/tracks for testing out your tunes? R: Trial Mountain has been my test track for 3 years now. Sometimes I deviate a bit and use Grand Valley Speedway or the Nürburgring. K: I use Trial Mountain for basically all of my initial tuning and then usually follow up with a bit of time at the Ring. Grand Valley Speedway is a good track for making checkout runs at as well. What is your favourite discipline of motorsport? R: My all time favourite will always be BTCC, although I don’t follow it as closely now. I prefer the older BTCC, where you had Ford Mondeo’s trading paint with Nissan Primera’s and Honda Accord’s. I’m glad that the current BTCC is still very fun to watch, but it doesn’t compare to BTCC of old. K: None, really. NASCAR I cannot see any attachment to; perhaps when the production cars had some impact on what was raced this would have been different (rather, it was), F1 puts me to sleep, and we don’t get to see V8 Supercars, touring car racing, etc here in the states.

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Interview | Tuners insight

Anybody you would like to thank? R: I’d like to thank Rotary Junkie (Kyle) for being my partner in crime for these past 2 years, Leonidae from Mad FinnTuners for introducing me to Rotary Junkie two years ago and my girlfriend for not getting mad when I play GT5 too much some nights! K: Leonidae and Greycap for getting the entire tuning garage rolling, Vince247 for getting the ball rolling on what was then RRV Motor Works, VtiRoj (Rojer) for putting up with me these past few years, and Leonidae again for introducing me to Roj, as well as also putting up with me. So there you have it, a little insight into the inner workings of RKM Motorsports and what inspires them to churn out great tune after great tune for the racers of Gran Turismo 5. It goes without saying, but I’d like to extend my thanks to both Kyle and Rojer for agreeing to take part in this interview, and wish them all the best for the future of GT5 and hope that we see them return in GT6. RKM’s various tunes can be found in the Tuning Section of GT Planets GT5 Forum. With a large variety of cars there’s sure to be a tune to suit your needs.

Text: Krystan

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” no car is perfect enough to not require a tune once you start adding power”

What is your favourite car of all time? R: This’ll surprise a lot of people. I always loved the Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth from the early 90’s. Even though I’m very much into my Honda’s now, that Sapphire will always be my favourite among favourites. K: SA/FB chassis Mazda RX-7 if we’re thinking of a toy, 2003-2008 (US, 2002-6/7 rest of world) Mazda6/ Atenza for something to use daily.


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cars years thousand miles

It had been something I always wanted to do: travel across Europe. While I had been to England earlier where I watched a race at Donington Park and visited the TVR factory to inspect my Tuscan Speed Six before it went home with me, I had never been to Continental Europe, or even Scandinavia for that matter. So when things slowed down at our shop, I decided it was time to take a week off and make this dream a reality. But then it occurred to me. Did I really want to ride a train around Europe? I loved to drive and had quite an array of cars at my disposal, so I decided that taking a car over with me was going to be the way to go.


Article | Back through the Future

I just couldn’t decide which one I wanted to take. There were three cars I had it narrowed down to; a 1988 Toyota Supra, a 1989 Nissan 300Zx and a 1990 Mazda RX7. So I got the crazy idea that all three needed to go. But how would I drive all 3 without leaving them sit unattended in a strange city thousands of miles from home? Well, I’ll tell you how. I talked my business partner into letting his daughter drive the cars to the airport and having them sent to an airport in a city along the way where I could pick them up. I would then send the car I had been driving back to the States, where she would pick it up and drive it home. All I can say is thank god he taught her to drive stick. It would be expensive, but I guess that’s another reason to be decisive, which I wasn’t.

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A few weeks later, the Supra and I were on a plane bound for Rome, Italy, where this one week, the 3000 mile escapade through Europe would begin. Early the first morning, I began what would be one of the most exhausting of my life: a ten plus hour drive from Rome to Vienna. Having just got off the plane, I wasn’t what you might call wellrested. I spent six hours driving through Northern Italy, across the A1, A13 and A4 motorways. Near the Austrian border, I stopped at a tiny restaurant so I could try a real Italian pizza. Being a pizza connoisseur, I have to say it was very different, closer to a white pizza than your typical pizza we have in America. It was still quite tasty though.


Article | Back through the Future

After lunch, I jumped on the A2 and drove the last four hours to Vienna. Upon reaching the hotel in Vienna, I checked in, grabbed a drink from the bar and small bite to eat, and it was off to bed. I was beat and I had another early start tomorrow. The next day the Supra and I departed for Red Bull Hangar 7 in Salzburg. It didn’t take too long to get there, but I couldn’t stick around very long because I still had a lot of driving to do. Not far from there, my route took me into Southern Germany, and the enforced speed limit of 80 miles per hour became advisory, so it was time to cut the Supra loose. It didn’t take long to hit 140 miles per hour, but in the ever thickening morning rush hour traffic I didn’t care

to go any faster and eventually slowed to 90 with the rest of the traffic. After a couple hours I crossed back into Austria and their 80 mile per hour speed limits. Around noon, I crossed into the beautiful country of Switzerland, and by one o’clock, I was starving. So I made a stop in Zurich, where I ate lunch and purchased some real Swiss chocolate and cheese to take home with me. It was also in Zurich where the Supra got on a plane bound for home and I would be waiting another six hours for a shipping container with a Nissan Fairlady 300ZX in it to show up. Or so I thought. Well, sixteen hours later it finally showed up. I had cancelled my hotel reservation for the night in Bern and slept in the airport waiting for it to show.

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Article | Back through the Future

“a lot can happen at 171 miles per hour, and it can happen in a short amount of time“

When it did, I was on the road and gone. An hour later I was in Bern for breakfast. Then it was a five hour drive to Paris, which ended up being a four and a half hour drive in the 300ZX. Upon reaching Paris, I checked into the hotel. I actually had the whole afternoon to relax and walk around the city. The next morning it was off to Berlin. It was still dark when I left and began an eleven hour trip to Germany’s capital. Despite being longer than the first day’s trip, I was actually well rested for this one so it wasn’t as bad. After an hour or two of driving through France, I

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began a 3 hour drive through Belgium, passing through Charleroi, Namur and Liege. When I began to see signs for Aachen, I realized that I was closing in on the German border. I got excited, as I knew it would be mid to late morning when I would cross the border and the Autobahns would be somewhat clear. As soon as I entered the land of beer and bratwurst, I got all over the Z. I watched its little metric speedometer max out, so I had to turn on the digital on I had installed on the dash. When I did, it flashed 150 miles per hour and was still slowly climbing. I had never gone that fast on public roads


Article | Back through the Future

before and was scared to death, but I couldn’t back down. I had to see what it could do. Another motorist in his E36 M3 decided he wanted to challenge the Japanese invader, so I accepted and pushed the Z even further, passing his 155 mile per hour limit with ease and leaving him in the dust. I realized that that my Z32 on steroids was capable of eclipsing 165. And it did. And it kept going. But I decided a lot can happen at 171 miles per hour, and it can happen in a short amount of time, and I slowed down. I peeked in my mirror and there was no Bimmer in sight. Despite supposedly being an eleven hour trip,

halfway through the ninth hour I could see Berlin. From here it was straight to the airport to drop off a tired Fairlady and then to the hotel to drop off a tired driver. The next morning after a hearty breakfast I was off to the airport to pick up the wedge-shaped Rotary that awaited me there.

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Article | Back through the Future

From here it was a seven and a half hour journey north to Hirstshals, Denmark, where I would catch a ferry to Norway. After driving for three hours at 100 miles per hour, I reached the Danish border, where I stopped and ate lunch. I then got on the E45 motorway and later the E39 and finished the last three and a half hours driving for the day. I went to my room upon reaching Hirstshals, and spent the evening admiring the North Sea from a small cafĂŠ on the coast. My final day of driving began with a two hour, 84 mile ferry ride across the North Sea to Kristiansand, Norway. The day was not off to a good start as I fumbled around searching for my wallet to pay the toll for the ferry and held up traffic for five minutes in the process. But the collector could tell I was a foreigner as remained kind and courteous as many people I had encountered on

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my journey did. After two hours of motion sickness and getting wet, I was on dry land again and felt it was time to try some Norwegian cuisine. A large breakfast of eggs, cheese, fish, bacon, fresh bread, and milk was in order, as I decided I would not be stopping until I reached Bergen in the afternoon. After this wonderful meal, the six and a half hour journey up the southwestern coast of Norway began. The RX7 cruised nicely on the E39. It was bit refreshing knowing I would not be changing roads again after spending the last 4 days listening to a monotonous GPS. Along the way the E39 crossed over two beautiful fjords, two beautiful fjords that I would be taking ferries across.


Article | Back through the Future

The boat rides were uneventful as the water had calmed and the rain had stopped, but the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. By three I was in Bergen, dining on some expertly prepared fresh seafood. That evening, the Mazda was taken to the airport and put on the plane bound for home. I was put in public transportation and bound for a little bed and breakfast where I would spend the night. The next morning, I was leaving for home again. Was it an expensive trip? Yes. Did I see everything I wanted to see? Maybe not. Was it worth it? Definitely. So I didn’t get to stop at the many automotive museums throughout Europe. That was OK; I still saw more of Europe in a week than most see in their life. I had driven 3,000 miles through eight countries in

three different cars. How many people could say that? Even though it was stressful at times, it was still the long needed break I had to have from the shop. I was glad when I finally did get home but it was still the adventure of a lifetime. Who knows, maybe I’ll drive across Asia in some European performance sedans or some American muscle cars sometime. But that’s a story that has yet to be written.

Text & photo: Calvin pfeil

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Review | Nissan Fairlady

Nissan Fairlady

370Z (Z34) ‘08

H

ave you ever finished taking a brand new car for a test drive, and just thought to yourself, “Wow!” That has happened to me quite a few times, and the first time I drove this car was one of them. The Z34 Fairlady Z (or 370z as it is called outside of Japan) is one of those cars that falls in the awkward position of being too fast to be considered an everyday car, yet too slow to be grouped with the more exotic sports car and supercars. So what it ends up being is just a car to have fun in. Bad news is, you won’t be taking this car to any A-spec championships, nor will it be in the lame races with Prius’ and Insight’s. It’s really quite useless in the grand scheme of things. Good news is, it’s alternate role, a fun car, is a role is fills outstandingly well. When I want to relax and just have fun, I look past the Ferrari’s and the Lambo’s, and even the Corvette’s and Viper’s, and look to this car.

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The 370z has many positives. It is the near perfect balance between easy to drive and lively enough to not bore the driver to death. It carries 343 horsies, with 279 lb-ft of torque. In my testing it got to 60 in just 5.4 seconds, eventually hitting a top speed of 175 mph. It weighs in at 1530 kg. This thing is a mound of torque. From a standing start, drop the clutch and step on the gas and you are to 40 in about 3 seconds, with the engine screaming at you to shift up. The thing is, it feels instantaneous. When you are hitting high speeds in this car, it actually feels like you are hitting high speeds. I’ve driven other cars where I look at the speedometer and think “No way I’m going that fast!” Not this car. The 370z is not only fun for it’s believable high speeds and it’s abundance of torque. It’s also a great choice for a drift car or a stunt


Review | Nissan Fairlady

car. With minimal tuning, this car is a perfect drifting car. It also is a great car to practice doing 180’s, 360’s, reverse-spins, everything, this is your car. Pricing at 43,750 credits, it isn’t going to be a dip into anybody’s pocketbook to get it if you are at all progressing through the game. This thing is off the charts on the entertainment-for-money scale. Lastly, this car is just plain fun to drive. It’s pretty easy going, if you play nice with it, there is loads of grip to be found, even with no assists. Obviously, nothing is perfect. Everything, including this car, has flaws The 370z doesn’t have many, but they are there. Firstly, although this car is easy to drive, it does have a limit. It takes a while to get there, but once you do, cut your losses and cover your eyes. If you step one half-millimeter over the limit, this car will kill you. Not a particularly violent death, but in short, you will be into a wall before you can say “Fairlady”. Like I said before, play nice and it drives like a dream, just don’t try and “drift” into any corners unless you actually know what you are doing, or else be prepared to ruin your lap and look like an idiot to anyone who may be watching you. Next, and this goes along with the first point, make sure you mind is on driving while you drive this car. It can sense when you are not paying attention, and its wakeup call is a meeting with Mr. Wall. While I did say this car was the perfect car for a relaxing drive, it may get cut short when you start thinking about that hot chick in your world history class. In closing, I would just like to say this is a fantastic car. Great for those times when you are fed up with the game and you just want to have some fun. While I did go on for a while about not going over this car limit, understand there is lots of leeway until you get to that limit. For its low price, and the fun it provides, buy it if you haven’t already, and if it is just one of those cars sitting in your garage unused, take it out. Go for a drive. You just might find a new favorite car.

Performance While this car handles great, you do have to know what you are doing, and it kills you if you step past the limit.

Control

8/10

Great for someone not so great at driving. Average driving skill required. Even better in the hands of a master. Takes corners calm, cool, and collected, but still exciting.

9/10 Enjoyment This is the cars high point. Great fun to drive, even more fun to drive fast. Just watch that you don’t push it too hard.

Sound

9/10

Engine noise is good. Nothing to stand in awe of, but a heck of a lot better than background music.

Design

7/10

For what it is, I think it looks great. Not a DB9 or a Murcielago at all, but I really don’t expect it to be.

8/10

Overall

9/10

Text & photo: H Nielsen

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GTlife

GTlife #1 February 2011  

GTlife is a magazine filled with amazing articles that will help spread the fantastic spirit of Gran Turismo and its drivers thoughts and fe...

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