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The 2020 VLN Endurance Series [DESIGN FOCUS] [GRID WALK 2/2]


#42

how the hell do you make liveries that don’t look like blocky trash like please help


#43

1995 Tristella Noctua GTR

H4 “VEX Sunset #47

:it: – Alonzo Milano –
:canada: – Amelia Marlow –
:hong_kong: – Andrew Ma –

Additional Images


#44

Another shot of the GMW 460
(BTW this simple livery is totally not the result of my lack of experience with liveries, I was just trying to replicate the typical simple design of a amateur/grassroots entry from a lower class :upside_down_face:)

Also, quick reminder that NLS/VLN round 4 is TODAY. Race starts 12pm/noon CET, qualifying is probably happening right now. German and english language streams are on youtube.


#45

GRID WALK [1/2]

The camera starts rolling, and the clear blue skies above Germany are revealed, panning quickly down to our journalist. He’s young, a bit inexperienced, and just here to look at cool cars. He looks American, and definitely has the accent to match when he opens his mouth, beginning to speak through the microphone clipped to the collar of his shirt.

“We’re rolling? Good. Sound all clear? Nice, let’s start over here.”

They start walking through the paddock of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, the day after practice and a few hours before the start of the legendary endurance race through the Green Hell.

“I’m Artie Packerman, thanks for joining us for our annual gridwalk of the VLN 24 Hours Nürburgring, where we look at some of the more interesting entries here at this incredible circuit. We’ve got a huge variety of cars here today, but before we get into some of the cars that look like winners, let’s go have some fun over by the scrutineering garage. We’ve been hearing rumblings all day about some pretty big names getting knocked out, so let’s get right to it.”



THE BINS [SCRUTINEERING GARAGES]


@nicholasrams774

The cameras start rolling again, and Artie is standing in front of a rather dirty looking Hirochi Exatima TC1. The hood is open, and multiple crew members and marshals are looking at the engine bay.

“A cult classic here among fans, you’ve got to remember this thing tearing up British circuits in the 90’s. It isn’t running one of the more famous liveries that I remember from videos I’ve seen, but that’s not the main problem. This car dumped a ton of oil all over the track yesterday about halfway through practice. Apparently this had something to do with a rod bearing and the oil pan gasket, but they thought they got that fixed. If you want to annoy the marshals here though, you do it by dumping oil on their circuit, so they’re going over the car with a fine tooth comb today, and it sounds like they found a sizeable crack in the engine block. So yeah, I’d say we won’t be seeing this one take the track today.”

(Engine reliability far below 50, stressed engine internals, bin. More could have been done with the livery, but the visual design of the car itself is actually quite nice.)

@Mikonp7

The next car that Artie moves over to is a Pfiel Vogtland Breitbau on all four jacks, mechanics trying to work frantically on the car. Again, marshals are there. Artie grimaces a bit as the camera turns back to him.

“I know, one of the cooler entries here, a bit of a shed build with a nice livery, fabricated on that famous rear engined formula that has worked so well at the ‘Ring before. But even if they were running pretty squarely in the middle of H4, none of that matters if you can’t keep oil in the turbochargers… And uh, from the look of the puddle underneath the rear of that car they’re trying to get cleaned up, I don’t think we’ll see them out there. Shame, really.”

(Engine reliability below 50, bin. Neat overall and well executed. Livery could have used a few more realistic components like a proper windshield banner. One of the fastest cars off the line in the H4 category. I don’t know if German television would allow you to run some of those decals though, heh.)

@micz244

This time, the garage for the Vernon Talisman VTR looks almost empty, with the crew members packing up parts and moving around an incredibly torn up chassis. They all looked ready to head home, and move on to the next race. The entire front right of the car looked to be missing, as well as a good chunk of the rear.

“If you weren’t with us yesterday for practice, then you missed the Vernon that’s currently behind me hit the wall hard at Tiergarten. All looked well as it was coming down the Döttinger Höhe, and then as it compressed at the bottom of the hill after the crest, something in the suspension gave way and shot the car right. The driver of the car is still in the local medical center, stable, but they’re saying he did actually suffer a broken rib. They were running a higher downforce setup than a lot of the cars here, and you just have to wonder if the suspension just had enough of being thrown over curbs with that much force pushing down on it. So despite having a beautiful livery, we’re definitely not going to get to see this machine hunting down a win today.”

(You went to emulate my favorite car, there’s so many little details that I love, the car in the picture you posted would’ve gone to the end of this challenge as a strong contender had you submitted that version. But in a challenge where I specifically said that lap times aren’t important, you slapped 18 canards on the front of the car, and duplicated the rear wing about a dozen times. I stopped counting after 8. So well done, you had the fastest car in SPX. But you have 0 trim reliability, so it’s a bin.)

@Falling_Comet

The camera next pans over to a very detailed and very anime Tengai Fuji G8. There are marshals currently examining the front bumper of the car, as well as a few of them looking under the engine bay.

“Now, a few of you here may know that a little over a decade ago, this car was doing very well over on the other side of the world in the Japanese racing scene. Well, this isn’t actually that car, it’s a replica, but it still tries to pull the same tricks. One of the things that Suisei was investigated for in that 2008 season was the use of some pretty impressive winglets just in front of the radiator. It’s like what Ferrari has used in some of their supercars in previous years. The winglets get pushed around by the airflow at speed, and actually suck up closer to the radiator, helping reduce its effective area, which means less drag at top speed. However, when teams caught on, they tried to get the car banned. Most of the way through the season, they allowed the car to keep running and banned the element for next season. Here though, in Germany, I don’t think they’re going to be as nice. Some teams noticed the flaps in a TV camera as the car was coming down the Döttinger Höhe, and… He’s shaking his head isn’t he? Oh no. Wow, that’s heartbreaking for the team. Their tribute to their success in 2008 isn’t going to be allowed to run under the active aero rules.”

(Yeah, this one is pretty sad to have to do, I thought about even letting it slide, but cooling flaps are pretty clearly under the active aero section, bin. I really do like the design on the car, what you managed to do with just a few basic shapes is incredible to say the least. I hope I was able to at least give you some cool lore out of this.)

Artie is back out walking under the sun again, now in front of the main paddock building, moving between the crews in the pitlane.

“Now that we’re out of the scrutineering bay, let’s take a look at some of the entries that actually have made it to a grid spot today.”



THE GOOD 8 [MAIN GRID]


@TheLapTopX20

The camera pans over the rather sleek looking long nosed body of the Alba Project GT Mark 2, the driver standing near the hood talking to a few fans.

“Now, this is one of the more interesting ones. It’s a team and a manufacturer not too familiar with SPX as a category, and I think everyone on the grid agrees with me when I say it shows. The livery on it doesn’t really match the energy of the rest of the cars here, I’m not grabbed by it, and it has some frankly weird design decisions, mostly with that shark fin that has been painted up to look like the rear window glass. The tires are thin as well, looking around at every other car here in these higher classes, and the tires are just puny on the front of this car, as well as on the rear. But, the car did some nice long stints in practice, which hints at a pretty gingerly fuel consumption. It’s fairly fast down the straights, but it does suffer a lot through the corners. I don’t know. Maybe they’ll be able to work out something in the race with this thing.”

(I’ve already seen you talking on the Discord, you know what you could’ve improved on in the looks department. Your safety car concept looked a lot more focused and detailed. Overall though, it’s a good look for a first go at this kind of car. You did a very good job with the engine, it’s reasonably powerful while also being efficient. The gear spacing is long for a race car, which is a trend for a lot of these entries. Reliability is above the threshold, but not great on average. 240’s up front and 275’s at the back are WAY too small for this class of racing. You should’ve been pushing the size limit with this class.)

@Alib

Further down the grid, the camera finds the 90’s curves of the Yorvik T-57. The mechanics seem to be doing a few checks under the hood, checking mixture, vibrations, and other things that could doom their race.

“Oh yes, now here’s a car with a story. I looked up that they found this chassis over in Bologna. It never ran that well in GT1, mostly due to the engine, but that should be sorted with some modern metallurgic magic. However, uh… Camera, follow me for a second, do you see that? That can’t be right. Uh… Well, looks like they’re going for a… Positive camber setup for this race. We’ll see how that works for them. Also, one of the marshals is going to come over here and tell them they’re missing something that they surely have. Their numbers are missing! Do you think they have one of those autocross magnetic numbers that we have in the States? Maybe they just fell off somewhere, heh.”

(It’s a good concept, using the Lister body style for a GT1 car, but its potential isn’t maximized here. On a design side, the fixtures look a bit slapped on, especially on the front and rear where it really looks like you took the “Speed holes make the car faster!” approach. The livery isn’t bad, but it’s fairly sloppy, especially in the rear where triangles are just kind of going any way they feel like. REALLY should have a number. GT1 stickers on the car are nice, but they probably wouldn’t be left on the car for VLN. As far as the car’s internals are concerned, you should’ve asked someone on the forums or the Discord to help you do a suspension setup, because positive camber, the top of the wheel pointing out of the wheel well, just doesn’t happen anymore. The engine and reliability are below average, but I like how you incorporated it into your lore.)

@Civic_owner

They walk past quite a few fanboys wearing Porsche clothing on their way to the next car, and the camera struggles to focus through the crowd on the next car, a Porsche 935 in its Group 5 trim.

“Hoh boy, you knew this one was going to get a lot of eyes, didn’t you? And I agree, it’s an interesting part of motorsports history, but something looks weird to me about this particular model. I don’t know if it’s the livery, or some of the parts, but it looks like the car had to be repaired front and rear, the headlights and taillights look glued on. I don’t know. Definitely not one of the best looking cars of the field even if it is a famous model. I was talking to one of the drivers earlier today, and they were telling me that this thing is going to be a handful over the course of the race. Apparently it’s still using the four speed manual gearbox from way back in its original run in Group 5. I’ll tell you what, if rain comes over the course of this race, I would NOT want to be in this thing.”

(Yeah, the unfortunate thing is that I’ve seen multiple people attempt a Moby Dick Porsche 935, and some have managed to pull it off far better than this entry. I don’t really like the colors, or the rims, or some of the fixture choices. There’s details missing that would really benefit the design, and the headlights and taillights are just monolithic, made of only a few fixtures that make the design seem lazy. There’s a lot of clipping issues as well at door and bumper seams. I don’t know if you ran out of time, or you ran out of willpower to continue trying to detail the car, but it just comes across as halfway finished. As for the actual engineering, you really pushed it close on reliability, and you have the worst fuel economy of the grid. One of very few entries with zero driveability. As harsh as I sound right now, I do really like that someone went for this concept. The execution just isn’t there though.)

@Borisu

Artie moves over towards a grey car with turquoise accents, nodding lightly. The Celestial BSR-10 was a pure modern race car, at least on the surface. There were a few other journalists by the machine, snapping pictures from various angles.

“Alright, so we get to our first SP9 entry, which of course is the category for any car homologated into FIA GT3 racing. Now, Celestial received a lot of flak when they announced this car, mainly because they were dropping that glorious roar of a V12 for a more efficient power plant in the shape of a twin-turbo V8. They’re here to try and show why they made the right decision. I have to say, I like the colors going on. It’s a bit basic, but I do like the Union Jack on the roof. Even as an American I can respect that. It’s sleek but… As I walk around the car, it does look pretty awkward from the side. The rims are massive, as are the actual height of the tires. I wonder if they’re doing that to appeal to the clout crowd. The drivers like the car though. It may not be as on edge as the other cars through the corners, but it looks planted and calm. It’s a good car to actually finish the race in.”

(Okay, this is a weird one for a few reasons. Firstly, because Borisu currently can’t post his front grill to the workshop, which is why I used his picture, and also because the wheelbase looks very short and awkward, even though it matches the Vantage’s wheelbase in real life. I think it comes down to how the body was molded, with the over exaggerated fender flares, and how tall the body in Automation is. The front bumper should also be pushed much further forwards. It just looks proportionally incorrect for the car it’s supposed to be influenced by. I discovered another factor that probably plays into this is the rim and wheel size. 21 inch rims on a GT3 car are nearing donk sizes. Pair those rims with 725mm diameter tires, and the look is pretty goofy. Plus, having larger brakes on the rear is just adding weight. I know you can do this to try and balance the weight towards the center of the car, but the brakes are too important to the unsprung weight of the car to do this for. It’s a good concept, I like the Vantage, nothing else with the car is really wrong besides my previous points. But as with a lot of these cars in this first gridwalk, it could’ve been done better.)

@Vri404

They can spot the next car a bit further down, past a ProStation display. The Delta Tantra X had roadster looks and race car performance. It’s currently jacked up by one of the crew members, fitting new tires to the car.

“If I called this thing a Radical entry, I don’t think I’d be too far off. It’s very exciting to see someone take this concept to the ring. We’ve seen KTM do it, but this takes that to the extreme going into the SPX category. The livery is good, but I think they got paid maybe a bit too much by SCH, given they have not one, but two of their very large stickers on the front of the car. Now this is another car that I’ve actually spoken to the driver on, and the poor guy looked like he had just escaped from a fight with an octopus. The car is all over the place, he said. And when you do get it under control, the brakes don’t give you the confidence you need for a downforce car like this. Hopefully they’ve made the right setup changes to the car overnight to actually remedy that.”

(Alright, I like the roadster aesthetic. It’s a chop-top Lotus body with a lot of good choices in the design, but still doesn’t pull it all off. There’s a lot of clipping, especially near the wheel wells, and the front of the car head on just looks like an extremely angry goldfish. Moving to the back, the skeleton frame look to the open rear is kind of cool, but pretty overdone and doesn’t look remotely functional. The double shark fin concept would work much better if you had lined up the posts of the rear wing with them. The engineering of the car, while less important, is pretty much a complete mess. Everything is just a bit weird. A 60 degree V8 with twin turbos that doesn’t use all of its octane, a first muffler resonator instead of putting the resonator on the second muffler, long gear spacing, and a completely untouched suspension setup that wasn’t even changed from baseline, giving it tons of oversteer. The biggest engineering problem though, has to be the brakes. Carbon ceramic, which is completely reasonable, but with default pads. This gives a rather light car a surprising sportiness brake fade rating of 6.8%, by far the most of the competition. The looks are a 6 out of 10. The engineering is a 2.)

@EnduRing

There’s a bunch of commotion up ahead as people try to get close to the next car, people with various things held up for autographs. The camera eventually gets a good angle of the GMW 460 Hayek Spezial, and its team principal flooded by fans.

“So that’s really… Thomas Hayek. Wow, it’s really cool to see him here in person. I remember watching some of his “Art of the Ring” videos on VHS a while back, just watching him throw his car around this very circuit. I’m not really that surprised to see him swamped by fans. The car he’s brought with him today is fairly average for such a talented driver though, but I have heard of how it got here, and that it has a Super 2000 engine sitting low in the engine bay. I think he’s just here to get his son up to speed on the ‘Ring, maybe move on to a bigger and better series after that, who knows. I do really like the look of the orange and black on the car, as well as some of the serious aerodynamic modifications on an old car. The engineers in their garage were telling me the other day that Mike was complaining of some body flex when coming through some of the sharper corners, which makes me think that chassis may have been sitting in their garage a bit too long. Anyways, they got the welders out and fixed whatever the problem was.”

(Oh man, I really do like some of the smaller details with this car. The thing that bumped this car up a few spots had to be when I noticed the metallic decal used as a heat shield above the exhaust. I’m definitely going to have to steal that idea for some of my builds. What holds the design back though is that at the end of the day, it’s a modified E30/E36 BMW with a minimalist livery. There’s plenty of those in VLN, and compared to the ideas from this point on, this car just can’t quite compete. There’s a few things with the way fixtures line up that make me hesitant to push this car any higher. Trust me though, this car is on the sharper end of the field. Competition is tight past this point. I do like the story about the car and the driver and it explains a lot of the design decisions. Having negative body quality is slightly worrying, especially since that plays heavily into trim reliability for not much gain. The gearing is pretty reasonable, as is the suspension setup.)

@sausageyeeter

The next car on the grid was barely visible until they got around the GMW. The diminutive Dabtushi Fodia '20 1.3 Turbo was one of the few entries in SP3T. A few of the mechanics for the team were amusing the crowd by demonstrating how easy it was to pick the small car up by lifting from the front wheel wells.

“I do love these little things. If I were in Japan, I’d probably be looking for one of these as a sports car. Small enough to toss around and hug the tight roads, but enough power to still have fun with. It’s nice to see they prepared a VLN entry. It looked pretty fast in practice, even competing with some of the GT4 entries over in SP10. It’s absolutely on edge everywhere though, a lot like the Tantra and the 935 from earlier. You want a small chihuahua of an underdog to root for this race, you definitely want to watch this machine.”

(I really don’t have too much to say on this car. It’s a solid entry, even if the livery is just a few stripes. I really like the feel that the design has, and all the engineering is pretty reasonable, except for the gears again being spaced out a bit too much. It makes more sense with this car because of the small power plant, at least. The turbo curve is pretty harsh, but pushing 350 HP from a 1.3L Boxer 4 is really impressive. It cuts reliability pretty tight though. The suspension setup seems pretty brutal on the driver, and reduces your drivability to a big fat zero. The one thing besides just polishing details that I would say about the car, is that the rear is overdesigned. There’s too much going on with different angles and directions, and nothing much is gained.)

@CriticalSet9849

The crew heads over to the next car in the line up, an entry into the growing H4 category, the Morton Gambol TA. The three drivers are all standing by the hood, just chatting about the car and their experiences on the ‘Ring.

“Right, so, this machine as far as I understand it, competed in Trans Am in the late 80’s. The livery is definitely appropriate for Trans Am, but here, surrounded by VLN cars… I dunno. It doesn’t really fit in. I do really like the looks of it, you have to appreciate that chiseled look to it. It’s that right amount of muscular design while still looking refined. Huh, if we come down here again though, I think you’ll pick this up… Yeah, looks like the same thing as the Yorvik from earlier. Maybe not positive camber, but they’re really not running that much of an aggressive setup on this car. A bit surprising considering the setups we’ve seen on Trans Am cars in the past. They really didn’t look that pacey in practice the other day, and the drivers were all talking to various news outlets saying they don’t really know why they’re that off the pace. It does look like a good car to drive though, plenty efficient and light on tires. I think we’ll be watching this thing do some pretty aggressive long stints when the race gets underway.”

(Very solid entry, I was struggling to look through and decide which car would have to take this last slot before the halfway split in the gridwalk. It mostly comes down to how the car isn’t really that well themed for the VLN, it just has racing stickers on it. There’s a lot with this car that is very nice visually, a lot of the edges and corners are handled really well, there’s some really good shaping going on with lips, and I love the way you integrated the diffuser. It works really well with the rest of the back end. The engine and the body are reliable, the only thing really holding you back is the meager suspension setup. At the very least, you could run more than 0 camber on the rear. I had to double check your car when I saw this, to make sure you weren’t running a solid rear axle. There’s so much good I have to say with this car aside from that, which should give you some indication of just how strong the final 13 are going to be.)


Artie looks up at the sun and then at the rest of the grid, wiping some sweat from his forehead.

“Man, it is… Not comfortable out here. Let’s cut for a bit, find a drink to cool down with or something, huh? Then we’ll look at some more cars on the grid. We still have a bit before they start.”

The camera cuts as the crew goes to relax for a little bit.


#46

Damn, First time i’ve survived a bin! I actually didn’t design the engine from scratch, I reused it from the Mk1 Project GT, Which was surprisingly good considering i was relatively new to automation then (Still is better than some of my more recent engines lul)
Most of the decisions i made (except the tyres being tiny) were related to lore, Such as the Gold secondary colour being a thing for a while in the team, Or the Shark fin, Which was a thing in a GT1 car Experiment.

I never actually expected the car to do well, Yet here we are. Competition looks pretty stronk i would say. It was fun participating!

edit:

The gear spacing is long for a race car

don’t most GT2 cars reach around 300 km/h at straights? Since the Green Hell has Döttinger Höhe, wouldn’t it make sense to gear it up there? If i’m misunderstanding, pls clarify.


#47

Don’t most GT2 cars reach around 300 km/h at straights?

That’s final gear ratio. What I’m talking about is gear spacing. Your first gear only goes to about 37 MPH (60 km/h) in your car. In a lot of modern GT3 cars, first gear usually goes to about 62 MPH (100 km/h). This reduces wheelspin in first gear, and also shifts the focus to mid-range acceleration, and getting the most out of each gear at track speed.

So in the transmission options, you’d want to make the spacing number lower. You can hover over the slider to see where each gear ends, instead of trying to interpret the graph. For my builds, I have found that a spacing between 10 and 20 usually winds up being the sweet spot.


#48

Ah, got it. Thanks for the advice, I’ll keep it in mind on future builds


#49

GRID WALK [2/2]

After a small break, a cold German beer, and some shade, the camera crew was back at it once more, moving around the grid and trying to get close to some more cars to talk about. Artie seemed just as energetic as when they started the day.


THE GREAT 8 [MAIN GRID]


@Repti

Moving along the grid, they come to an historic class entry from Japan, the Rhisuki Kuesa. As with a few of the cars, there were several mechanics making adjustments under the hood of the car. One of them had a spanner and was clearly working on getting the front left damper set at the correct position.

“Oooh, a Kuesa. Now, I really adore these things in road trim, and I think this thing looks great, but… They just mounted the racing slicks on the road wheels. That really bothers me. That front end also looks a bit blunt, like you can tell that it’s just going to be forcing its way through the air around the circuit. It doesn’t look like the team has gone to the trouble of developing a good undertray for the car either. There’s a minimal front lip, a bolted on wing, and no diffuser. There may be some downforce going on under the body but… It isn’t evident from the outside of the car. The car is generally very good looking though, with a very well prepared livery, and I’ve heard from around the paddock that while it may feel like the car is relying less on aero than other cars, it still manages to have a ton of mechanical grip around the corners. I wish them the best of luck in completing the race tomorrow. They look to be the best on long runs with fuel, so we’ll see what they can manage.”

(First, there was a small issue with the front bumper morph and the front bumper morph only that I didn’t notice until I went to take a picture, so I’ll be using your original image. Okay, for this one it’s easiest to just break it down to the good and the bad. The good is the livery, the thoughtfulness of the design, the engine, the suspension tuning, and most of the other engineering considerations. The bad is the complete lack of aerodynamic planning on the exterior of the body, the brakes, and some elements of the design. Sure, everything under the aero tab is set to max, and adding anything else would make this worse. But this was a challenge for aesthetics. It would’ve been worthwhile to invest more on the aerodynamic design with a proper splitter and diffuser. I really don’t like the look of those rims on a race car, either. Could’ve looked better with almost any other sporty rim. The front of the car is very square, like Artie said. The rear also winds up looking a bit bland. These are only things I can say though because I wanted to look at the car for so long and figure out what issues don’t make it perfect to me. With a few tweaks, this car would easily be a top five contender. The brakes are my main engineering problem with the car, given that under load, they can’t lock up the wheels, and the rear has larger pistons than the front. The engine is the most efficient of the entire challenge, which is fairly impressive.)

@VariationofVariables

Ahead in the grid is one of the four SPX entries in the grid, the Quezon Cordova GTR-R. Artie moves over to the side of the car, leaning down and putting his head next to the ornately stitched colors and the Philippines decal, just to provide an interesting background for the camera.

“I wonder if this is showing up well on the broadcast, or if video compression is going to do this an injustice. This car with a repetitive name- I don’t really know why that have to make it the GTR, and then slap another R on it- Is one of the cars that actually had the chance to compete in the global endurance series a few years ago. It was repurposed by this Philippines outfit for SPX, and despite being a bit down on power, it’s been doing pretty well. The livery is great, but where there isn’t that stitchwork pattern, I can’t help but feel the car looks empty. There’s this great flow that the chevron shape sets up from the hood, that just doesn’t connect anywhere. Same with the sides. The car does look like a proper super coupe though, and I really like the style of these cars that aren’t entirely super sleek record breakers. There’s something really special about taking a soft spoken body shape like this and making it fast and menacing. One of the things that’s interesting is that when Quezon designed this car, they didn’t have a reliable supplier for stitched carbon fiber. So they went with the older method of fiber glass panels. It’s a bit weird, and definitely something I thought they would’ve at least supplied an evolutionary upgrade kit for at this point, especially since the monocoque underneath is carbon fiber. Maybe if the car performs well today, we’ll see Quezon put out an EVO kit for this car.”

(There’s a ton of effort and a ton of fixtures that make up that stitched design, but since you already went and made your own custom decals for the text, I can’t help but feel you would’ve saved yourself a lot of effort by just custom making the pattern as one fixture. Definitely would’ve cut down on the time I had to spend loading the car. The design also just feels more like a sticker than an actual livery, it looks like it’s just there rather than flowing with the car. It’s a very neat concept that just doesn’t pay off. There’s also a few smaller things, like the AES Endurance decal not being flipped properly for the right side. The exhausts are not really in an attractive or good looking location, they just seem to be randomly peeking out of the rear bumper. The yellow headlights don’t work for me, especially since the texture that makes them yellow prevents you from making out any details you put into the lights behind the glass. Fiber glass panels are pretty weird, but not the biggest concern. There are no other real engineering issues with the car, apart from maybe being a bit low on power compared to what I expected SPX to run, especially with relatively low fuel efficiency.)

@Der_Bayer

Moving on, Artie moves over to a yellow and red colored BAM Bavaria 620 BRC, looking the car over for a moment before grinning and looking towards the camera. The driver of the car was busy suiting up, his helmet resting on top of the car while the crew filmed.

“Another car from the same era of touring cars that the unfortunately disqualified Hirochi is from, this car saw far greater success in this livery, and it looks just as good today as it did back then. A lot of people made fun of the weird rear design of this car back in the day, and I guess they have a point, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of my favorite H2 entries on the grid this weekend. It’s also one of the cheaper entries according to the team. They’re able to get this thing here year after year, almost on a hobbyist’s budget. It’s pretty impressive, really. Hearing this thing roar along at almost ten thousand RPM from that inline six really does get the spectators excited for this thing as well. But again, some of these cars aren’t without… Quirks. I’ve been told that the car has awful brake pedal feel. It gets stopped, but the drivers don’t feel that the brakes are consistent enough for them to keep pushing ten-tenths. That might be down to the age of the chassis and the brake system. If they win H2 today, I’m sure they’ll earn enough prize money to order a new brake system. Their main competition is going to be the GMW driven by Hayek, and with these drivers I don’t think they’ll be giving each other a single inch of track space.”

(Very good looking entry, well made for this challenge and this class. A very simple livery that winds up being really effective and follows the flow of the body. The car fits 90’s DTM a bit better than any of the other touring car series at the time, but that’s not too much of an issue. The rear almost works, but with how tall the body is, there’s not enough done in the design to make the rear look any more normal. The really weird rear lights in the middle of what was presumably the plate holder doesn’t help. The negative quality brakes would definitely make any driver cautious when entering a corner, especially at -5 quality.)


@TheTechnoVampire

They move past a large stand for Falcon Tires and a display for Polyfuel lubricants, before finding themselves at a very large energy drink can. That’s what it looked like at first anyways, before they realized they were actually looking at a Kazuki Kita Sport BTCC.

“Oh this is great, we’ve got some modern touring cars here as well! That’s going to show us the difference in pace over the years, and I’m really looking forwards to the pictures of them on the track together. As far as this car is concerned, I really do like the livery, it’s just such an iconic color combination and an extremely important sponsor in motorsports history, right up there with some of the older tobacco and alcohol sponsors. The aggressive cuts on the front of the fenders really do a great job in making this grocery getter shell look very aggressive. The body kit is great, just the right amount of aero for this era of car. I really wish we could’ve seen the Kuesa from earlier do something in this style. Properly good looking, properly quick, and properly good at staying out on track. I really look forwards to seeing this thing shoot through the course.”

(Probably the most well rounded entry outside of the top five. All the engineering makes sense, the design is good, everything is racey but not too over the top. The livery is good, the engine is efficient, and the design is okay. The rear comes across as a little plain, but I’m not exactly sure what I would do to make it more interesting. You’re kind of limited on that with this era of styling. My only complaint is that while the patchwork is cool, the area around the windows still winds up pretty messy. It’s impressive that you were able to almost entirely change the door seam in that area, but I’m not sure it was worth it. My last comment is on the smallest of details that doesn’t even impact your position, but the refueling port is on the wrong side. Being a clockwise circuit with pits on the right, the refueling port should be on the right. Since most race cars race at many different circuits, they provide a refueling port on both sides of the car. They just cover up the one they know that they won’t use that weekend.)


@Arvok1

The next car the group approaches is covered in decals in an ornate camouflage livery. Artie takes a moment to admire the Alfora Sagui Dragon VLN Special, nodding lightly before gesturing to it.

“Surprisingly, not a GT3 spec car. It’s GT4. A pretty aggressive looking one at that. I don’t know if I’ve seen this one running before in the Fruinian GT4 series, must be a new entry for this year. The livery is very nice, there was definitely a lot of design that went into making the camo work, but at some points it just feels a bit overdone. The black of the body kit doesn’t really flow well into the camo either. Really takes away from the whole thing. Oh wow, zoom in on this. Over here on the rear. Of course the taillights are gorgeous, but that’s not what I’m talking about. See this exhaust right under the wing? That’s… I’m not sure how to feel about that, seems like a lot of piping for a car like this. Not to mention any heat damage that might happen to the wing. I have heard a few weird things about this car from other teams over the weekend, running similar GT4 cars. They’re really confused by this car being here in the GT4 series. Apparently it has the drivetrain to be able to run all four wheels, but due to FIA guidelines, they took out the driveshaft to the front wheels. Talking to the drivers, they do not like this thing down the straights. The body is excessively draggy, even with the streamlined shape. They told me you get a road car feeling from the front end lifting up from underneath you when at speed. Definitely a car they need to return to the drawing board with, but a pretty good looker.”

(Extremely good livery work with too many weird quirks, poor engineering choices, and other problems to warrant a higher spot. There’s really no reason for the exhaust to exit in the middle of the trunk lid, road car or otherwise. FIA GT4 cars are certainly NOT all-wheel drive, but I’m letting that slide even with your 50/50 power distribution. Running no wing angle is definitely bad, especially to the point where you’re now generating front lift. The -5 aero quality also doesn’t look that good. You already know that you didn’t mirror the decals because you ran out of time, so I won’t go too much into that. There’s just a lot on the car that is trying very hard to be memorable while not pulling it off.)


@That-S-cop

The camera crew starts walking again, and after a few moments they settle in on a Marksman Sabre V8SC. Artie looks very excited, quickly moving over to the car and looking it over. There’s a decent sized crowd around the car that also seem to recognize it. Artie turns to the camera and begins.

“Right, so, the Australians get all the cool racing series, at least compared to the States. Let’s get that out of the way from the very beginning. They’ve got those miniature cars with bike engines, utes, production modifieds, stadium super trucks, you name it. But their staple, their best racing series has to be their supercars series. Yes, this sedan is a supercar. A V8 with plenty of power on tap, and they’re a blast to watch go up the mountain at Bathurst. So I heard about this thing when the team announced that they’d be modifying one to run under the SP8 regulations this year, and I’m so happy to see it here. It’s beautiful. It’s been left in right hand drive, it has that Sea Fuels livery on it, which I adore. However… Is this getting a bit repetitive? The drivers say this car is awful to throw around this circuit for one reason. The steering. The team decided to replace the power steering system with a first generation electric steering system. You know, like the kind you would find in an ecobox a few years ago, for cheap money. And apparently the gearbox is missing a gear. But hey, I love this thing.”

(The looks really are great. I could go without the rather bulbous hood latches, and maybe the patchwork could have a little bit more love put into it so it doesn’t look as messy, but this is another one of those entries towards the top end of this list where my reaction is, “This is almost perfect, but…” I really do want to slap you for using electric steering. For anyone here who hasn’t driven a car with electric steering, or steer-by-wire, whatever you want to call it, the steering wheel has no physical connection to the steering rack. It’s all handled by electronics. When you have this, that means you have no real feel of the road or what the car is doing underneath you. It’s very similar to driving a sim-rig with a very low force feedback setting. It all just doesn’t add up, every input is very light, so using it on a race car is a very big no-no. Electric variable at least attempts to more accurately sense and adapt the steering feel while the car is in motion.)


@Yurimacs/@chiefzach2018

There’s a glimpse of yellow as they approach the head of the field, and Artie just looks a bit stunned for a moment. There was a look of mixed emotions on his face, one of fear but also of interest. That was how the journalist felt about the RetroniX-Zacspeed L1GP.

“Uh… Phew, I… Didn’t think I had trypophobia. But that right side of the car, that really makes me uncomfortable. That out of the way, I do like the look of the car. Reminds me of some of the really quick roadsters here a few years ago. Double element wing, big turbo, insane bodywork, it’s got all of that, plus pace. This thing looked to be at the very tip of the field during practice. Rock solid reliable too. It’s a tad bit fuel hungry, and with the amount of force it’s putting into the wheels during cornering, definitely putting the heat onto those tires. I don’t really have too much more to say on the car until race day, it’s a very nice looking, very quick, entry to VLN this year. Just… Don’t stare at the car too much. It stares back. Let’s get moving.”

(I knew this car was coming, but nothing could prepare me for the sheer amount of eyes on this car. The bodywork is fantastic, the wing looks great, the car performs on another level compared with everything else here, but most of that performance comes from the lightweight nature of the kei body. The aerodynamic tuning has to be there obviously, but weighing just over 1500 lbs will surely make anything fast with only a decently powerful motor. All the engineering pretty much makes sense, there’s nothing that can really be done about making this car incredibly peaky when it comes to steering. What prevents this car from placing in the top five is the theme of the livery. I can’t really get behind the multicolored circles and blocks, which I think at one time you mentioned was supposed to be Puyo Puyo and Tetris. Everything else with the car is great though.)


@Lazar

As the camera crew approaches the front of the grid, they spot the #598 Mister Donut EFI Komi R with quite a few fans of the programme gathered around the machine. Artie heads over and waits for an opening to get a good camera angle with himself and the car.

“This is another entry from the homologated FIA GT3 series, but this one has an interesting history. I’ve been following the development of this car by the team for a little while now, and I’m sure many of you now have heard of the growing cup series using this car. Because it’s based off that cup car though, the model is a bit underpowered for the GT3 series, so I’m hoping they can find a way to increase their power output and be a bit more competitive in the coming races. That lack of power though means that they’re pretty damn efficient with tires out there, as well as having one of the slipperier chassis on the track. All the drivers say that this thing is extremely predictable and well balanced, by far one of the most drivable cars on the grid. You can really push the car and it’ll slide, but you can feel where that limit is. As far as what snacks the team is eating during these stressful pre-race hours, well, I think we can figure that out for ourselves just from the really nice livery. If something else happens to the rest of the SP9 field, as far as if they need to take an extra set of tires, stop for more fuel, whatever, I think this thing has a chance.”

(Not really a fan of the Koenigsegg wing being used on a GT3 car, but it’s grown on me over time. The extreme looks of some of the rear aero matches some of the other design considerations, like the lights and venting. The livery does very well in providing an interesting title sponsor and design elements, but it isn’t quite enough for me to push this thing into the top five. It could use a little bit more power, a bit more swoopy design lines on the livery, and maybe a click or two more of camber.)



#50

TOP 5 [FRONT GRID]


Artie looks excitedly at the cars in front of him, turning to the camera with a smile on his face. The intermittent clouds overhead had cleared for the moment, providing a good neutral lighting for the last few cars he wanted to talk about.

“Alright, these are some of the best looking cars here. And instead of just hopping straight in, I’m going to order them from worst to best. I mean, the word worst isn’t really fair here, but… I’ll let the camera do the talking. This way.”

#5

@HurtsJustALittleBit

The first car that Artie walked over to was a fairly small V3 roadster called the P Motors Halsema. There weren’t mechanics by it desperately trying to get things fixed, it didn’t have a full complement of crew by it at all times, the car just looked ready to go, without too much out of the ordinary from a road car.

“I’m so glad to see a production car entry up here in the showcase area. These cars are the boiled down spirit of VLN. You don’t have to do anything crazy, just get a car that can race and race it. All the proportions are right, nothing is overdone, the livery is absolutely fantastic, and the performance is spot on with how you want a roadster to behave. I just… It’s so good looking, from the flow of the red across the white, to the black that covers the lower half of the body, I really have zero complaints with looks. Unfortunately, I’ve been hearing that the brakes, again, with quite a few of these cars, maybe aren’t up to spec for an endurance race. I don’t know about you guys, but even if this is on the tail end of the field as far as pace is concerned, I want to see it achieve great things.”

(Absolutely was going into my top five since the first moment I saw it. It does everything with the looks right, the rims, the interior, livery, the headlights, the overall design for its class, and it’s the only entry for its class, which gives it a very large bonus. There is one thing I absolutely can’t excuse in that final engineering stage though, and that’s the use of solid disc brakes. For context and a little bit of explanation, solid disc brakes have no venting to their core, relying purely on air flow over the exterior surface of the disc to cool them. You can think of vented disc brakes like two solid discs sandwiched together with vents in the middle. This allows the core to cool, and is absolutely required for front brakes. This car would likely suffer from brake core overheat if it went out to the ‘Ring. If you have BeamNG, you can test this yourself with the brake thermals app, as it will tell you the brake core temperature as well as the surface temperature. If you hadn’t put solid discs on this car, there’s a very good chance this car would’ve been the winner. In conclusion, seeing solid discs on this car definitely hurts just a little bit.)

#4

@Ryan93/@Quotex

The next car in the order that Artie moved over to with the crew was another SP9 entry, the Serafini SVS-07 “Targaflorio” Gr.3. This factory effort did have a team of mechanics nearby, but they all looked fairly calm, not really showing any real need to work on the car for the time. There were a few other journalists nearby snapping pictures again of the new 2020 entry from the outfit.

“Right, the new entry from Serafini! I’ve been hearing rumblings from the paddock that their main goal this weekend is to drum up interest in customer teams in other series, most notably British GT. It definitely has the looks to compete at that level. I have to say right away, I love the white and blue. This is one of the best two-tone liveries on the grid, accented really well by that darker black around the lower edge and the lights. I’m really not feeling those front auxiliary lights though, I can’t help but feel they could’ve implemented those better… Using the older halogen lights instead of something more modern seems like a stop gap measure. The diffuser is a bit odd, but if it’s functional, it’s functional. Sometimes aerodynamic use overwrites aesthetics. One thing I noticed from practice is that this car does wear through tires just a bit faster than the other cars in its class, but the fuel economy is phenomenal. We’re definitely going to be seeing this one push to the front of the grid today.”

(Very nice work on this mid-engined GT3 car. There was obviously a clear design plan moving forwards, and the livery almost fooled me into thinking that the body was made with a secondary color you could use for that pattern. It’s very well executed with almost no holes in the patchwork or anything to give away how you were able to pull it off. The few things I have to criticize though is that the front end definitely looks a decade old for a 2020 GT3 car. It looks much more similar to a Lotus Elise front end. The front auxiliary lights definitely make this much worse, and is what places this car 4th. The rear diffuser is a bit weird, but I understand the style you were chasing with the design. Everything on the engineering side is excellent, and I don’t have much of a comment to make in that respect.)

#3

@Centurion_23/@Dorifto_Dorito

Artie looks over his shoulder as he finishes his thoughts on the Serafini, and looks over at the RGN Avarus 650R VLN, smiling again. The hood is open as he walks over, revealing the absolute beast of an engine to the public.

(That moment when your car is too long to fit in the preset properly.)

“One of two GT1 era cars that made it to the showcase slots of the grid, and this car does a lot to speak for itself. For one, the gigantic monster of an engine in that long, sleek, front-midship design. This thing looks like the peak of GT1 racers, and the livery certainly matches. I can’t help but love the font used for the sponsors on the car, especially the ‘Magic’ sponsor. It looks like a bit of a handful for the drivers, but I’m sure that roaring V12 more than makes up for it. It’s blisteringly quick down the Döttinger Höhe, but maybe not quite as quick around some of the bends here. For such a large engine, it does manage to be pretty fuel efficient in the longer runs here. You just can’t go wrong with such a sleek, long nose like that.”

(A front engined GT1 car similar to the Panoz, Marcos, Ferrari 550, and very well made. There are a lot of things on this car that I was surprised with how good they look, most notably the basic oval grill with integrated auxiliary lights and ducting. Really fits the era and adds to the character of the car. Some of the custom sponsors are very nice, and I do like the Magic sponsor, especially knowing that you had to mirror it by hand. The windshield banner, while fairly simple, is very nice and integrates the LED numbers very well. I don’t like how large the exhaust pipes are, that is my one complaint with the car. Sure you have a large engine, but if you pop under the chassis and actually look at the pipes you’ll see that your exhaust pipes absolutely DWARF the actual pipes, comically so. Oh, and there’s no windshield wiper. Otherwise, it’s a very nice, very well done entry.)

#2

@Speedyboi

A few spots down, Artie moves towards the #90 Hatzenbach Racing Hirochi Prasu. There was a very professional outfit of mechanics looking over the car one last time. Artie stares for a moment, before letting out a small laugh.

“You know, I’ve read about this thing, I’ve seen pictures of it, but nothing really beats actually seeing it here in person. This is the pinnacle of front engined racing machines for the modern era. To take a sports car like this, and completely transform it into a track master takes skill, and every part of this car conveys that skill. From the livery, to the headlights, all the aero bits and bobs, it’s all very, very good. But, for a manufacturer trying to get this thing racing in the States, GTD in IMSA and Tyrelli GT Challenge, there is a small issue. From the factory, they claim that this thing is unrestricted, meaning that BOP is able to do whatever it wants with it. Which makes the fact that coming from the factory, this thing has major issues with exhaust flow and heat build up within the exhaust, a problem. I so, so hope that doesn’t keep this thing from a good result today, because it is beautiful. But it isn’t my favorite car here. Just barely.”

(Absolutely incredible car, for sure the best modern sports car here. The exhaust thing is really the only point I have to say is very weird. I get messing with it and unrestricting it makes the engine knock, but it’s nothing that moving the cam timing forwards a bit from its current 63 couldn’t fix. I think it would’ve been worthwhile to do this and push closer to the horsepower limit especially since you call the engine BOP-less. I have nothing but compliments to say about the rest of the car. It came very close to first place, and I had to spend a lot of time thinking about these top two.)

#1

@Xepy

Finally, the last car that Artie quickly moves to, among many fans there, is the Tristella Noctua GTR. He just keeps his back turned to the camera for a bit, letting the camera crew get some good angles of the car. Eventually, as the crowd thins out a bit, Artie turns back to the camera.

“This is a very special Tristella to me. I remember when I first getting into motorsports, when I was maybe seven or eight, watching sports car racing with my dad, I always saw this thing flying down Hangar Straight at Silverstone, or bouncing through Sunset Bend at Sebring, but I think one of the most iconic memories I have is an onboard shot that was broadcast from Road Atlanta. This car, three corners away from the end of Petite Le Mans, gets on that long back straight, and overtakes the two cars it was battling with for the last two hours, to get itself up onto the podium. That three wide in the braking zone moment, in a livery not too different from this one, made me fall in love. Here I am, near that car, and I’m just as impressed with how good it looks now. It’s got the same, extremely efficient and very powerful engine, the cornering strengths, the same reliability, the same top speed… If I wanted to be behind the wheel of a car that I knew had a chance of winning and looked absolutely stunning doing so, this would be that car, ahead of any of the others here. I’d just have to brush up on my heel-toe, that’s for sure.”

(Really had to think about whether this car or the Prasu was going to take the top slot. But this car has two more things going for it than the Prasu, with only one minor detail missing. For the design, the Sunset themed livery is the best one on a historic car, and second overall only to the Halsema. It’s a much more involved livery than a still very interesting Castrol livery, but it follows the body lines, and the way that it swoops around the front of the hood is excellent. The gradient of orange on the lower edge of the white stripe is also very cool, as well as the smaller white and orange stripes on either side of the main stripe. Literally the only thing missing is a windshield banner, which maybe you didn’t add because it detracted from the rest of the livery, I’m trying to figure out the best way it would’ve been implemented as well. It may not have an interior, but I fully accept that my interior fixtures are difficult to work with, and I’m not going to take points away for something that could be my fault. With the body, I’m actually a little jealous of how good you got a 90’s era splitter looking. A bit bulky and angular, with an accent color distinguishing it from the rest of the body. In engineering, the engine is a far better engine for racing than what is in the Prasu, especially since it isn’t weirdly restricted. So, congratulations, it was very close, but I feel like this car pulled the challenge off the best.)


Artie was enjoying another cool drink from a nearby energy drink stand, just standing back and looking at the top five. The camera crew turned their cameras off and took a small breather, relaxing with him.

“You know, I think even just looking at my top five, you can see how much variety there is here. I mean, two GT3’s, two GT1’s, and a road car. All on track at the same time. That’s a unique race. I don’t think anything will ever top VLN. Let’s get to Flugplatz. I want to be there for the race start.”


Thank you everyone for taking part in this challenge, every entry that was sent in had at least one or two things to it that were neat design factors, and I appreciate how many entries I got. Once again, congratulations to @Xepy for winning the challenge, but it was extremely tight between the top five as far as one or two details making the difference. University is getting back on schedule, so I’m now dubious about whether or not I’ll be doing a race segment, or how I’ll even do it. If anything, it’ll be 6 small updates, every 4 hours of the 24 hour race.


#51

Are the Electric options under the steering assists meant to represent steer-by-wire? I always imagined them as electric power steering, utilizing an electric motor for power assist on a conventional steering rack, which is much more common than steer by wire systems.


#52

I may have misunderstood the game’s tooltip. You’re probably correct, but either way in game it does cause the sportiness of the car to tank heavily.

I think that’s what makes me believe it’s some system where you have very low road feel from the car. Doesn’t change my criticism for using it.


#53

Steer-by-wire doesn’t exist in Automation at this time. Electric power steering (both variable and non-variable) operate exactly as you envision.