Tag Archives: Gran Turismo 4

Race Report – Super Speedway 150 Miles (GT4) – Attempt 1, August 2007

This dates back to August 2007, and is pretty much my first ever attempt at endurance race reporting from Gran Turismo 4 – it still astonishes me just how basic some of it sounds nowadays, but I suppose we all have to start somewhere, don’t we? ūüôā

Super Speedway 150 Miles
Date: August 22nd 2007
Car Used: 1991 Mazda 787B

Ok…first proper A-spec¬†endurance¬†race (all my previous ones were B-spec¬†) so now Im doing it¬†for real. Fresh off of winning the GT All Stars in my now-beloved Mazda 787B, I fancy an endurance race. One I haven’t done yet due to B-spec Bob’s habit of throwing the car into the wall was Super¬†Speedway150 miles. My 787B has recently had an¬†oil change¬†but has not had a chassis strengthen since I bought it, which was before I did the GT All Stars…as in GTAS, R1 tires on¬†the rear, R2s on the front. I made sure I have a strong lineup to race against, and with potential of 43 A-spec points here is the lineup.

1. AMG-Mercedes CLK GTR
2. Jaguar XJR-9
3. Sauber C9
4. Toyota GT-One ’99¬†
5. Peugeout 905
6. Mazda 787B (me)

Now Ill start by admitting Im no great A-spec driver, but I hope to improve. So, over the course of the 100 laps I shall update every 20 or so laps.

1st segment – laps 1 – 20
Blew by the 905 and Gt-one in the first 2 laps, but then ran into a slight problem with the Jaguar XJR-9 and Merc CLK-GTR, in the way the Jaguar seemed to form a rolling roadblock trying to get round the Mercedes. Once I’d got round them, it was lap 7 and the Sauber, the scourge of many an endurance race, was leading to the tune of about 3.5 seconds. I cut this lead down in about 3 laps, but passing prooved more difficult – whatever I did in the corners, he still managed to squeeze back in front coming off. I finally nailed it past him on lap 12, but shaking him off was even harder. Turn 1 was ok, I could normally gain a couple of tenths on him, but turn 2 would see my mirrors full of a big silver shape, especially as my right front tire started to turn yellow from lap 15 onwards. In fact, since I passed him I haven’t been able to get over a second lead on him, its that tight. Whether that will change come the first pitstops, we shall see. Lapped the Mercedes CLK-GTR at lap 18, Sauber slipped by on the first turn of that lap but I snatched a draft on him and blew back by on the exit. Nearly slammed into the slowed Jaguar on lap 20, he’d obviously hit the wall and slowed right down in turn 1, and completed lap 20 with a 0.600 second lead on the Sauber, right front tire going orange, left front yellow, and rear tires bright green.

2nd segment – lap 21-40
Looking bad…I grossely misinterpreted the wear rate on the R2s on the front, and after dropping to over a second behind the Sauber, I decided I couldn’t take it any longer and dived into the pits on lap 23. Put R1s on all round, topped up with fuel and reemerged 5th, soon 4th after¬†the Jag¬†again piled himself into the wall at turn 1. Unfortunatly I was now a whole lap behind the Sauber¬†¬†Sauber himself pits on lap 29, leaving the¬†Peugeot¬†905 out front by about 18 seconds. Having R1s on all around meant that I lost a substantial amount of grip, which meant for a few laps I was running 30.xxx laps and it took a while before a change of lane in turn 1 and 2 meant i was back down running 29.xxx laps again. Others started peeling off into the pits at various intervals and by lap 38 I had repassed the Sauber and was up into
2nd, with the 905 15 seconds ahead. Finished lap 40 scrapping again with the Sauber and the Pegeout 14.066 seconds ahead.

Segment 3 – lap 41-60
The Peugeout’s tyres are wearing thin – the gap decreases from 14 to 12 then again to 9 seconds in the space of 5 laps. Meanwhile my new line is enabling me to gain the upper hand on the Sauber and I’m beginning to pull away…but will my early pitstop for tires cost me later?¬†¬†A hard bump into the wall on lap 49 and a small altercation with that damn Mercedes means the gap doesn’t decrease any further until he pits on lap 52 – theoretically that means he can go the rest of the race without another stop…¬†for the rest of this segment I manage to stay a comfortable 2 seconds or more ahead of the Sauber, but once again that orange right front tire is appearing again. Ended lap 60 with a 3.052 second lead on the Sauber, whose stuck behind the Mercedes whom Ive just lapped (again). Right side tires turning dark orange, left side tires light orange, 3 units of fuel left on the gauge. I’ll push as hard as I can to get as much as I can out of this, then it should be straightforward run to the finish – I think…

Segment 4 – lap 61-80
Sauber pits on lap 62 РIve outlasted him! I finally pit on lap 66/67 with only one unit left on the fuel gauge. Only topped up to about 65 units of fuel, Im hoping i wont need the full 80 for the final 34 or so laps. Re-emerge with a 1.5 second lead over the Sauber, and to my surprise, mr Peugeout 905 man is nowhere  by this point the race is getting a lot easier, and as the laps reel off im gradually getting away from the Sauber. A quick draft from the Jaguar XJR-9 on lap 78 enables me to put in my new fastest lap, 28.561. Finished lap 80 with a 7.015 second lead on the Sauber, tires warmed up nicely.

Segment 5 – lap 81 – 100 (finish)
Sadly this looked to be the most boring segment so far. Lap 80-90 was simply me stretching my lead further, and it wasn’t until lap 92 – when i looked at my fuel gauge – that anything interesting happened. The fact I was already on only 3 bars left scared me initially, but then I realised that the 8 laps remaining in the race was barely anything. Even so, I had an 11-second¬†cushion¬†back to the Sauber, so I stopped changing down to 4th coming off the corners, thus saving RPMs and hopefully fuel. Even that wasn’t nessecery – the Sauber required¬†another¬†pitstop on lap 93, which left me pretty much in the clear to the finish. My initial¬†prediction¬†that the Peugeot 905 would only have to pit once was correct, but the fact he was so much behind myself and the Sauber interms of speed meant he passed the Sauber, but not me – by lap 96 i had a good 24 second lead on the 905. Sorry, it didn’t show the final gaps back to my rivals, so Ive had to guess.

Final results
1. Mazda 787B – 50’40.370
2. Pegeout 905 – 27 seconds behind roughly
3. Sauber C9 – 1 lap
4. Toyota GT-One – 3 laps
5. Jaguar XJR-9 – 4/5 laps
6. AMG Mercedes CLK-GTR – 7/8/9 laps (i passed him a hell of a lot of times!)

Good first half of the race but IMO after lap 66 and my second pitstop the race kidn of trailed off. Might re-attempt it at a later date in a BMW Mclaren F1 GTR or something once Ive improved my driving a bit more.

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Car Test – 2000 Hommell Berlinette R/S Coupe (GT4)

Front View
Side View
Rear View

As I’ve already referenced in this blog, there are certain small manufacturers that end up getting brilliant exposure in the various Gran Turismo games due to the refusal of certain more well-known marques (I’m looking at you Ferrari,Lamborghini and Porsche, although Ferrari have finally relented and will be appearing in GT5). In Gran Turismo 2, the two notable examples were Vector, the American supercar maker, and Venturi, the eccentric Frenchmen responsible for producing the fabulous 400GT (reviewed elsewhere on this blog) and the outrageous 600LM. Polyphony have famously long countered the refusal of Porsche to officially licence their cars in the game by simply using RUF, a Porsche tuning company, as an alternative. in GT4, the niche marques return in earnest, with brands like Proto Motors, Cizeta, and Hommel, and it’s the lattermost marque that I shall be looking at today.

When I first saw the Berlinette, it looked to my mind like a baby GT40 – it has that same elegant body shape, with the cockpit seemingly perfectly mounted amidships, and the front dipping down in an aggressive, shark-like manner. I say baby GT40 as it certainly carries none of the muscular menace of that legendary machine, but it’s a pretty-looking car nonetheless. The colours available also compliment it nicely – a mix of traditional silvers, blacks and such, as well as bright yellow or several shades of deep blue. All good so far then, if a little inoffensive. It also has a crucial sports car characteristic – it looks fast. This is certainly no Q-car (i.e. a car which looks relatively dull and tedious but in fact possesses face-bending performance) – this car states its sportscar intentions right off the bat, and is a head-turner on the street.

Which is all well and good, until you actually look at the powerplant it’s packing.

What were you expecting? A throbbing V8 like the car which inspired its looks? A shouting V12? Maybe a turbocharged V6?

Errm, no, no, and no again. It’s a 2-litre 4-cylinder.

Now, I know most small sportscar manufacturers are hardly over-endowed with cash, but is this seriously the best they could find? And before you say anything, I’m well aware that a humble 4-cylinder can be made into a giant-killer. But we aren’t talking about a Honda VTEC powerplant here – the motor is actually sourced from Citroen. Performance credentials are therefore thin on the ground, and you sense this as soon as you depress the accelerator. Depress is the right word, as it is quite depressing.

It has 165hp, but what it seems to do with them I’m not quite sure. They certainly aren’t pushing the car forward, that’s all I know. This car doesn’t seem to accelerate…more marginally gather speed. It has all the pulling power of an exhausted moth, and you cannot escape the inner feeling of ‘is this it?!’ To give you an example, my test bed for this car was the Tous France Championnat series, where I competed against various French hot hatches, and in one event, I distinctly remember the embarressing feeling of being out-accelerated out of a corner by a Peugeot 106 Rallye. I since discovered that all cars in the series are PD-tuned to around 200hp, so it’s highly likely he did have a horsepower advantage on me, but it was still a little galling – the sight of a dinky hatch pulling away from a sportscar must have been pretty hilarious for the crowds in the grandstands.

If I seem like I’m being harsh on this car, I’m going to compare it to my beloved Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA, one of my all-time favourite cars in GT. This car is around 35 years the Berlinette’s senior, and in standard trim it cedes 428cc’s and around 50hp to the French machine, but it takes off like the proverbial scalded feline, and pulls really nicely – so much so that it actually feels like it has much more horsepower than it actually does. It certainly does more with its 115hp than the Berlinette appears to do with its 165hp. Granted, the little Alfa is around 200kg lighter, but I’m still convinced that the Berlinette spectacularly flatters to decieve in this department.

So, if you’re taking my experiance above with the 106 as a snapshot of my performance across the whole championship, you would assume that I was smashed out of sight, right? Especially considering that the 106 was far from the most potent opponent in that series – other competitors included a Renault 5 Turbo, a Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 and a menacing-looking Renault Clio Renault Sport V6 Phase 2. So, with that sort of lineup, you’d assume that I got completly bagged by the Hot Hatch Mafia and was sent fleeing from France with tail well and truly between my four-cylinder legs, right?

(cue Family Fortunes buzzer noise) Incorrect!

In Race 1 at Opera Paris, I sliced through the pack from 6th and happily hunted down the Clio V6, overturning a 4-second deficit in under 2 laps to take a comfortable opening win. At Circuit de la Sarthe, the lack of power was well and truly exposed, yet I still managed 3rd, and could’ve sprung an upset had I not made some silly errors. These were atoned for with another comfortable win at Special Stage Route 5, and the only reason the championship went down to the wire at the final round was a complete gaffe from me at Grand Valley Reverse, where I spun out of the lead on the final lap. Even there, I recovered to finish a respectable 2nd, before dominating the final round at Cote d’Azur and taking a comfortable championship victory.

All of this was achieved using the car’s one spectacular trump card – fantastic handling.

To my mind, this handles just as well going into and through a corner as any Elise, and though the lack of acceleration out of a corner is a hindrence, nine times out of 10 you will have your opponent well beaten under braking for the corner anyway, therefore meaning that the hamster-esque acceleration is nicely negated.

It really is an absolute joy to drive. The feedback I got through the force feedback steering wheel was crisp and clear, and when I turned the wheel, I was confident the car would go where I told it to. It turned on a sixpence, hugged apexes with ease, and in completely standard trim, drove like a Scalextric car. No traces of oversteer, and the only time understeer entered the equation was when I carried a little too much speed into the corner, but then again, that’s hardly the car’s fault, is it? Overall, it was a real blast, and a fantastic confidence booster – I would recommend this for anybody learning the art of race driving, or new full stop to the world of Gran Turismo. It doesn’t punish you particularly harshly if you get it wrong, but it rewards you tremendously if you get it right. I have absolute confidence that this car, on a twisty circuit such as Cote d’Azur, Opera Paris or something similar like Citta di Aria, Costa di Amalfi, George V Paris, or even a real-world track like Tsukuba, I’m convinced this car could pull off some real giant-killing with it’s magnetic handling alone.

So then, the pathetic way this car gets from corner to corner is nicely balanced out by the way it takes the corners when it gets to them. It’s also worth remembering that this is the world of Gran Turismo, where nearly everything with wheels has a rich catalogue of hop-up parts readily available to improve performance, so you can probably guess what my recommendation will be when you buy this machine – part with some more cash to not only improve the already fantastic roadholding with uprated brakes and suspension, but bring the performance levels up to par with some engine tweaks. Particularly focus on engine mods that will improve acceleration and torque off the line, as like I say, this is certainly this machine’s the massive Achilles heel.

Speaking of money (or credits, if we’re being accurate), this particular machine costs around 47,000 of them to buy new, and as far as I know, it doesn’t appear in the used car lots at any stage. This seems like a lot, but if you compare the Berlinette to it’s closest rival from across the Channel, the Lotus Elise, it shows up favourably – the base-level 2000 Elise costs 41,000 and cedes about 40hp in performance, and despite having not driven one, I’m fairly confident that the Berlinette can hold it’s own in terms of handling against¬†le rosbifs.

So in final summary then, we have a sportscar here that nicely bucks the trend of small sportscar manufacturers in Gran Turismo – rather than being a loud and proud beast, all noise and smoking tyres, the little Berlinette quietly goes about it’s business focusing on the parts of the track that are the most important in road racing – the corners. Like the Elise and other under-powered cars before it – I’m thinking of the original Mini Cooper – it may well be blown away in a straight line, but as soon as the straight ends, watch out for the Berlinette, as I can guarentee it will be snapping at your heels under braking. It’s also a delighfully easy car to drive in the bargain, so novices, take note – if you want to learn cornering technique quickly, the Berlinette is an ideal training car for you, and I guarentee you will have a whole bucketload of fun in the process too.

Handling/Control: 90%
Power/Speed: 66%
Style: 79%
Grin Factor: 82%

Rating: 78%

At-A-Glance Specifications

Engine Type: L4:DOHC
Displacement: 1998cc
Power: 165hp/6500rpm
Torque: 144.59ft.lb/5500rpm
Dimensions: 4120x1780x1150
Weight: 950kg
Pwr/Wgt ratio: 5.692
Drivetrain: MR

Specifications taken from GTPlanet.net
Photos taken by me using the Gran Turismo 4 Photomode.

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