Reviews are up!
Welcome back, everybody, to the 7th edition of the Automation Beginners League! We are here gathered at the staple starting track, the Beginners Course to take a look at the field of runners this year. The turnout is strong again this time with giants JohnWaldock, AirJordan, Gridghost and Newtonmeter making an appearance. Joining us again from the last few rounds, the not-so-new-newcomers Albacete, TR8R and KmFX are also back. The real fledglings are PinballWizard and dspgt, and we of course wish them a warm welcome. Teams are pulling up to their respective pit areas and are sorting out their workspaces, cars and materials, so in a few hours we’ll head down to take a look through the different cars that have turned up.
Before that, we’ll go over to race control to have a quick chat with race director Frank N. Stein to see what the changes are for this round. Over to you!
“First of all I’d like to wish everyone here a warm welcome. It’s a beautiful day outside, perfect for racing. Behind us, the cars and teams are gearing up for their first race of the season, what’s more, these cars are unlike anything seen in the ABL before. Succumbing to the speed rage of the 80s, we’ve moved on this time to glamorous speed queens, with exotic eight and twelve cylinder hearts - a first! A battle of naturally aspirated, gloriously screaming mid- and rear-engined cars will duke it out on our different tracks, Beginners Course, the ½ mile strip, Snetterton Circuit, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Trial Mountain and finally the tough Pikes Peak International Hillclimb.”
Thank you, Frank, it certainly appears to be quite the contrast to previous rounds with hot hatches and the like, now that the shift has been made to 4 litre supercars, no less, so the action should be all there. Right! Join us in a bit as we take a stroll through pit lane!
Here we are, standing at pit box 1!
This rather odd looking beast appears to be named after a Hendrix song, which is greatly approved. We can’t seem to make any sense of the fact that anything that’s actually supposed to make the car be drivable at night or be visible in the dark is even on the car, but I suppose it does make the car more aerodynamic, so fair game… sort of. There’s a massive gaping cutout on the rear midsection with a thin black grille covering the 3396cc V8 flatplane. This team has chosen to go for a modern approach with and MPI fuel system, and nice 185 section tyres in the front with 245s in the rear tyres.
Even if it loses, at the end of the season, we are absolutely playing Purple Haze instead of a national anthem!
The other neophyte has claimed the second pit box, so that’s where we shall go now to see what they have brought.
This is the FireBlade. Rightly called that because it makes me want to plunge a glowing hot knife into my eyeballs. I’m sorry, but I thought that abominations were supposed to end with the purposefully tasteless Crawlington from last round - then this happens! What is this?! Let’s hope the situation improves on the engineering end of matters. I’m wishing it improves on the engineering front… nope! A 3058cc V8. 3 litres. What is this, an engine for ants? In a field of players with engines an entire litre larger than this one, the future looks bleak for the FireBlade. It’s 131 horses down on the Purple Haze and weighs nearly 150kg more. Best of luck to these chaps. Anyway I shall hand over to my new colleague, Ken.
Hello everyone, before I move on to the reviews, I want to introduce myself. I’m Kenny, the newcomer of the team, the one that is going to continue where @nomade0013 left off. I am not quite used to doing this on a regular basis, but I will try to make it always entertaining the best I can while still putting my point out there. If you can’t understand my last sentence, that just means i’m already failing.
This is my first car to be reviewed, and I am already pleased. The Phantom GTI. This looks subtle yet it has a certain character to it that I like. Although, it really does not look like it’s following the trend. It’s something beyond that, since this is not what a typical car from the 1980s look like. Can’t quite grasp what it is yet.
From the front slim single beam headlights with wide indicators on the side of it stretching to the side of the car. The center grille that is divided down the middle, the lower foglamp, and the understated black matte plastic grille and vents lines. All pitching in to a very sensual look.
But going to the back. It’s all…….. Eh……..just a pair of mirrored mickey mouse head logo trying to pretend that it’s a combination of brake light, turn signal and reverse light. Although the 2 big exhaust tips poking out does make a nice break in the slightly mundane looking rear end.
All in all. It looks good. But since it goes away from the usual trend of square and assertive fixtures styling, the beauty is really in the eyes of the viewer.
MMMM, can I say, that is certainly a good looking car. And it’s light at 950-odd kilos all while packing a hefty 474hp… I wouldn’t hesitate to put my money on these lads.
And here we have the Smooth Cap SR. to put it concisely and bluntly, it’s a blob. The whole body shaped is either curvaceous or just flat. There’s no middle line between to the 2 shapes. The whole body shape is a blob. It has a blob of SQUARE taillights, a blob of SQUARE engine bay grilles, a blob of pair of roof scoops, and a blob of SQUARE headlights at the front.
So exterior wise, i can’t really say much about it. What I can say much about is what’s under it. DOHC 4 valve V8 in THE REAR, not the middle, driving the rear wheels. It’s a flatplane V8 too. So the screams are very distinct, and being a race car. You could notice the car coming before you could even see the car, thanks to the sounds. But will all of this wild curveball approach results in a good race results for them? We shall see together.
Typical Smooth work. And by god have they pulled off a right miracle. At 850kg on the dot, it’s another 100 kilos lighter yet than even the bloody Phantom!
The Penauld Mistral. If this name is a reference. I did not get it. And if so. Would somebody tell me what reference it is? So looks wise. It’s the complete opposite from the Phantom GTI that i reviewed. With big and pronounced headlights and square fog lamps down below. Moving to the back. Same story, it carries the same theme, which i like. Big square taillights with a big center grille connecting them, which may or may not be functional. But it is not just a black plastic faux grille.
But i have to question 1 thing. The hole or grille or intake, or whatever it is that is placed below the rear window. WHY THERE? From what i know about aerodynamic, that place is a place for turbulent air, and thus, not a good place for air intakes, although it will still work, no question. Another reason is, it’s so close to the rear window, doesn’t it compromise the structural integrity or the frame that’s holding the rear window? It looks like the gentlest bump on the back half of the car, would crack the glass. Which on a racing scenario, is not uncommon. Except, if this is they change the rear window to be a plexi glass. Now that’s a whole different story.
Right, to the next ca-WHAT THE HECK IS THIS……..someone tell me this is not a time machine right? ”no sir, it’s a 1981 model they said”
oh okay then…… WAIT, WHAT? 1981? So this car is not new? It’s a year late? So anyway….. Let me start with…….. Uhhhh…… ummmmm….. Where do i start? Let’s just make a list of things that makes me goes, WHY?!
HUGE BOOTY. No seriously. Why is that rear end so long? If you want to add weight, at least add it in the middle of the car, not on the front or rear end. That just makes the car harder to control
Lamps. Well actually all the fixtures……. I can’t decide if they are trying to make this thing looks retro or futuristic, or something that is pulled down from the heaven. But this is 150% not the current trends styling.
Space Frame Chassis. Well. i guess it is a race car, if they’re just a small garage making this car from scratch, i guess it’s acceptable. But in a field full of monocoque chassis, could it still be competitive?
Mechanical Injection???? This doesn’t make sense. Because it’s just outdated and there’s better option now. But what confuses me is. If they’re a small garage, why are they wasting their time a mechanical injection? SPFI is simpler and works as well, if not easier to work with. MPFI gives more control and is just a plainly better solution. Heck, i bet if they just used the Webber carbs it would be cheaper for them that works just as well
(no seriously buddy, just converting to Quad DCOE carburettors give you an extra 3 hp already, plus you will have the extra octane)
Air Filter. The engine is not gonna be running long enough for the filter to be doing anything. If anything it just kills power. (6hp of power to be exact)
STEEL RIMS?!?!? Alloy rims barely cost more is just plain better. Before that could matter
The tire size!! 195mm on the rear is normal performance car tyres size, far from the allowed limit. But the front! 135mm! Even your economy cars have at the very least 155mm. Yeah this is a rear engined car. But a 60 mm difference is just too big, this car just plainly need much wider tyres on the rear. And thus the front. Which are both not even semislick tires!
I’m sorry to be so hard. But forget winning. I’m gonna be impressed if the driver can manage to not be lapped twice during some of the shorter races.
Anyway. That’s not a review. That’s a rant. And i should stop there. And move on to...
Ooh. a proper supercar body. It looks nice. It looks really nice. But those air scoops. SO MANY AIR SCOOPS! And being a mid engined car with most of the cooling on the back, why does it even have an airscoop on the front hood even? But asice from that, the car looks really neat and proper with really T H I C C
tires. It said here it uses a plain steel chassis with fibre glass panels. knock knock
yup. That’s certainly not steel. It has a flatplane crank V8 engine beneath it pushing 449hp at the crank. Certainly a race engine through and through.
But It has an auto locker diff. Not an LSD. hmm interesting, wonder why they chose that though. I don’t think it’s because of wheel spin, but i do doubt myself. Since most of the weight of the car is already on the rear tires. I guess that’s all i have to say about this car. Seems like a good strong contender.
STOP THE PRESSES, DROP EVERYTHING! We didn’t have a design award, but we do now and the Scarab Aurora’s just won it. I’ve got to hand it to the Swedish boys, they’ve gone to town and back with this one, it perfectly matches the flamboyant outrageous style of the 80s supercar. Absolutely nailed the design. Well done, top job!
The THUNDERBEAST!, looks…… really not much of a beast. It looks pretty minimalistic if i do dare say so even. All in one headlights, a badge and a single chrome piece decorates the front end. And the rear end… is a little bit more filled. But mostly with functional air vents. And another simple one piece rear lights. It really doesn’t look menacing from a glance apart from the exhaust and the tires. That’s for sure. So what’s under it? A crossplane V8 making 435hp on the rear of the car. About what we expected. But what isn’t what we expected is that even with 165mm front wheel size, i’ve secretly heard their drivers still talking about some oversteer problem. Seems like they need a better mechanic that can tune the suspension setup better.
(i’m not the best at this. But here’s a general rule of thumb that i personally use in tuning a non-front engined car
You’d want the front suspension stiffness to be at least as hard as the rear if not more
Same thing with sway bar stiffness.
You’d want a lot more camber on the back than on the front.)
Well at least they’ve got the weight bit as an advantage, coming in at a slim 901kg, it could still do decent.
Excuse me. ahem WHAT?!?! again ahem WHAT?!?! i’m not gonna even talk about the exterior and just let you viewer bask it all it’s glory.
Anyway. Mid engine. It’s a……. 3.5L V12! But only outputting 353hp plus it has a catalytic converter…. Why?
They have….. 2 piston caliper on the front but 3 piston on the rear? Overkill much? With the car weighing less than 1 ton. I think even 2 pistons is more than enough. Also, again with the automatic locker. They must be experiencing something that i can’t quite grasp, so i won’t make any assumption.
Sadly though. I don’t think their engine is gonna bring them any wins this season, it just plainly don’t have enough power. But if they are trying to push something. We may be in for something really interesting next season.
Lynx? More like LYNCH THE BLOODY DESIGNER GOOD GOD WHAT IS THIS