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Round 1: A new Racing Class: Winner.
Round 1: A new Racing Class: Winner.
New Racing Class
The non-FIA is looking to establish a new racing class which needs to be both cost effective and environmentally conscious. They have opened the design stage to all manufacturers, with the following demands:
Year: 2016 [ as this is the first round let me point out that the rules allow for 5 years movement this means that you can use trims from up to 5 years below the specified year date, this rule is in place in the hope of entrants using cars tied to their company lore ] Chassis: Monocoque Aero: Only 1 rear wing permitted, free front and rear lips Max Engine displacement if Naturally Aspirated: 1999cc Max Engine displacement if Turbocharged: 1350cc Fuel: Ultimate Direct Injection High Flow Three-way catalytic converter 18" wheels, 225mm maximum width
Main Judged Statistics: [ again as this is the first round let me explain that these will be judged on, so the minimum to qualify not only must be reached but cars will be given points based on their overall stats ]
Drive-ability over 10 Sportiness over 30 Average reliability greater than 60 Safety greater than 30 Budget: @0% 20,000
Extra Scoring Statistics [ these are added rules specific for this first round the minimum must be achieved and you will be scored on how much above the minimum you are in relation to the other entrants ]
Economy: Less than 10L/100km Emissions below 100
In the end this car didn’t have what it took to hang with our competitors. I’m not sure if it was the fact that this puppy was only on 215mm tires, that the interior was quite supple for a race car, or that it was loaded with all kinds of high tech, safety features, and driver assists. This car was nigh the most powerful thing non-turbo here, but you could not drive it quickly. Even though it was the second most powerful naturally aspirated car, it laid down the slowest track times, even in a quarter-mile drag. On the Airfield it was almost 4 seconds slower than the second slowest car and at the Automation Test Track it was over 6 ticks behind on the stopwatch. It’s a shame, because this car would have been in bonus points territory if not for the underwhelming track performance.
On the track the MR2 didn’t pull as much g-force on the skid pad thanks to a lack of front-end aero, but that also led to this car achieving a much higher top speed than its closest competitors. While the Hamster and OMG would beat you to 60, the MR2 would reel either of them just a few seconds later. Then it would leave both for dead after hurtling to a top speed of 186.6 MPH. This car was rewarding to drive on a track. It was much more tactile than the OMG and much more sporty than the Hamster. It was a good balance. We did start to develop a vibration after one too many hard launches at full boost. The crankshaft appears to be on the cusp of unreliability which brings the MR2 to register the second lowest reliability score after the underwhelming Verona. A sad blemish on an otherwise masterful track car that can do it all. The MR2, to it’s credit, took home silver at both the ATT and the drag strip (again, a mere 0.01s behind the OMG) while bringing home a bronze at the Airfield. This is a true circuit racer and it didn’t need a Smart Car body to do it.
Driving the Green Arrow was a real treat. The thing had monstrous acceleration. Shifts were crisp and precise as the dual-clutch 7-speed sequential flipped through the gears instantaneously. The car also had loads of grip. Pulling 1.2g was not an issue in this car. The gearing did prove to be a little too short, though. It really hurt this car on the straights. Now on the Taylor Stint of the ATT, that meant cracking 100 MPH before braking hard into Caswal’s Carousel. But, that also meant buzzing the limiter at 148 MPH on Sonory Roar, let alone Daffy Flyer. In the end, that cost the aerodynamic arrow as the engine could not make the most of the fact that at high speeds, this car created less drag. A box can accelerate quickly, but a car must be sleek to reach high speeds. The worst part was that the car was good to go much further. It felt like there should have been an 8th, or maybe even 9th gear. Either way, this car didn’t manage to crack the top 3 on any of our track tests, missing the podium by almost four seconds at its best outing.
Hey, it has a muffler… strange. You usually don’t see mufflers on racecars, but no matter. The Tare Rax NGI 1.9 had enough quirks from the 90s to keep my attention. I was born in the 90s, but there are very few 90s cars that appeal to me and this one doesn’t get to join those ranks. Also, holy mother of racing stripes. Regardless, things were symmetrical and the vents and moldings were well placed. So I decided to look under the hood with functional hood scoop. Wouldn’t you know that I found a naturally aspirated 1932cc I3? I was pleasantly surprised. I hadn’t seen an I3 in person yet, let alone have one to peruse at my leisure. I wondered how the 3-pot would stack up. There was a twin-turbo V8 in the competition for crying out loud. The 3 cylinder managed 265 HP at 8500 RPM and 172 ft-lbs @ 7500 RPM with a 9200 RPM redline. The thing also turned out to be bullet-proof with none of the parts becoming stressed until we were clear of the power peak. It even boasted high engine efficiency. This could be interesting on the track.
The 265 HP would be put to the ground through a nice 7-speed manual and nice sports tires. In between that combo, however, was an automatic locker. I was a little concerned about trying to pivot in tight corners while picking up the throttle with that design choice. But this car already was a muffled I3 racecar. Oddity seemed to be the design theme here.
“The rear of this car looks much better than the front.” That’s a good start considering that you want to be ahead of the competition. The slanted narrow headlights and indicators just strike me as odd, especially when the fog lights are quite large in a more square lower valence. The center grille also looks out of place with large portions of body panel flanking it on both sides. This looks like an assembly of two different cars. “I wonder if they got the part number correct for the bumper” fluttered through my mind considering that Erin had made a clerical error and delayed the car’s delivery and subsequent testing thanks to a labeling error. No matter; the car was here and it was pleasing to look at, even with an almighty wing mounted high on the deck lid. The Tauga Mk3 came with a naturally aspirated de-bored and massively de-stroked 2.4L I4 Pureron that now displaced 1998cc. This produced a modest 256 HP @ 8900 RPM and 163 ft-lbs @ 7200 RPM. Much like the Hermit, the Tauga’s redline was only 500 over redline @ 9400 RPM.
The Tauga was quite fun to take out on the tracks. It wasn’t as low slung as the Hermit, but it was a touch more compact front to back. This actually helped the car turn in slightly better so that it pulled 1.27g at low speed and 1.3g at high speed on the skid pads. You could tell the Hermit and the Tauga were built in the same class. These cars were tied to the hip at the tracks. The Tauga’s best outing was at the Airfield where it came home 6th, just 0.01 seconds ahead of the 7th place Hermit. At the ATT Erin lagged half a second behind Komodo while the Tauga again fell short to the Hermit at the drag strip by just over a tenth. Unfortunately, the Tauga was battling for tenths mid-pack and was completely out of the best cars’ league. However, it was second in the reliability camp while also being relatively economical.
“Oh, very nice.” The Komodo Hermit was probably the least aptly named car in the competition. Flashiness and the appearance of wealth would follow this car in all of its endeavors. The sticker still somehow only read $19800 and it was plenty desirable as a track car, so perhaps we had our competition poster-boy right here. Under the hood a naturally aspirated V6 1997cc produced 297 HP @ 9700 RPM with the rev limiter merely 500 higher at 10200 RPM. This engine scoffed at the use of turbos in the 1350cc club and belted out a very manageable 186 ft-lbs of torque at 7300 RPM that rolled in just as easily as it tapered off. This was sent to the ground in a MR setup with a proper manual transmission making this truly a driver’s delight. The tires were also a proportional 225/45R18 with nice sports tires that really hugged the road.
“Well, this is… different” I thought as I struggled to decide whether I liked or hated the JHW Stryker. It’s kind of like a Chrysler Prowler. At first glance it looks cool, but then you realize it’s a chopped PT Cruiser and your affinity for it plummets). This car was no PT Cruiser and I really liked the front of the car. They made due with the limited space well. The back left a lot to be desired, though: way too much body panel. This would make for a weird combo between closed and open wheel racing. I wondered if the lack of fenders would be an advantage or disadvantage. There seemed to be some weight savings with the scales set at 2008.1 lbs. Under the long slender hood was an rather appropriate I6 and yes, I was silently hoping for an absurd 2L V12. The 1991cc I6 made a quaint 238 HP @ 8600 RPM with the redline another 600 higher at 9200 RPM. Torque came in the form of 165 ft-lbs @ 7000 RPM. No need to spin this I6 to the moon, although I enjoyed the sound of the unmuffled engine at idle.
On the road the Stryker was average. The front brakes were a little overkill with 6-piston calipers, which was honestly four more than needed. That expense could have been invested in other components to maybe make the car stand out a little elsewhere. The transmission was a well-built, 6-speed, dual-clutch sequential, the brakes were otherwise fine, the undertray was fully-clad and created some downforce, the suspension wasn’t wonky, but it did bottom out from time to time. In the end, the Stryker was just too plain while maintaining a few questionable engineering choices to get it to perform on a track. That fancy, fully-clad, downforce-creating undertray wouldn’t be around long on bumpier tracks thanks to bottoming out either. Being able to watch the front suspension completely load up and not hit a bump stop before feeling the ground hit just below my seat was very unnerving. The car also was in the lower ranger of cornering ability, pulling a max of 1.15g on the low speed skid pad while only managing 1.04g at higher speeds. In the end, this led to a best of 5th at the drag strip while managing only a 7th at ATT and 8th at the Airfield. The low power output and lack of grip just didn’t equate to speed. The car’s most capable category turned out to be emissions, and even then it wasn’t enough for a podium spot, coming in fourth
225/25R19s… Seriously? And here I thought the OMG looked absurd. I didn’t think Bogliq folks did this kind of thing. Also, I think I’ve seen this car listed for sale in the classifieds before. Maybe it was a different trim level… Either way, the Bogliq Blue car was another one that almost got away due to clerical errors, but we saw the rollback go by from the shop thanks to the distinctive paint and were able to get everything sorted without much confusion. After getting over the wheel selection, I realized there was actually some appealing parts of the Slyde Nano. It did happen to be another instance of being appealing from the front fender and back. The nose just didn’t sit well with me. It was something about the headlights, but it was forgivable. I think they were just mounted a touch too high. Under the quite nicely sculpted hood rests a 1300cc turbo I4 making 299 HP @ 8000 RPM with a 8800 RPM redline. The little engine made a respectively impressive 207 ft-lbs @ 7000 RPM. I was quite surprised to see a sub 9000 RPM redline in the 1350cc club and was curious what that would mean in practice.
“The tires on this car are too small” was the first thought I had when looking at the Birch Cleanser XRS. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I really liked the look of this car. I liked the way the grilles and the fixtures really came together to give the car an aggressive, yet well put together look. I just knew that 225/40R18s just were not going to cut the mustard come track day, even if they were decent semi-slicks. Besides, they did a disservice to the profile of the car. The engine was a 1999cc V6 that made 275HP at 9200 RPM. The torque curve looks like it’s about to die out after 6000 RPM on the tachometer, but these heads use VVL magic to give the engine a new identity as a race powerplant, screaming all the way to a 9700 RPM redline. I will say that the torque is a little on the humble side at 168 ft-lbs with the peak not coming until the race cam takes over at 7900 RPM.
When I got to the track, I was already worn out from driving the Birch Cleanser. After one lap I had a feeling why it had been given it’s name. I pulled in the pits, opened the hood, and was aghast to find that this car was equipped with no form of power steering. Considering that even NASCAR has power steering nowadays, and not being impressed by the stop watch, I concluded that one lap was enough. This car was miserable to drive. It wasn’t racy enough for the power to make it a handful, it just didn’t hold the road. Sure it had managed 1.15g on the high speed skid pad, but you fought the wheel the whole time. The tires just didn’t hold the car through the turns and the brakes would fade. Also, with the rear brakes being larger than the front, but only one piston as opposed to two respectively; it felt unbalanced. Thus, the score sheet looked lopsided, too. It was one of the safer and more reliable things here on paper, but I felt more confident in other entries.
@one85db vs @Ornate
“You know, the Hamster 1350 does kind of look like a hamster…” I thought as I took the keys out of the envelope. It also looks like a sporty Smart Car and that excites me. See, I’ve driven a Smart Car at work and always commented that if it only had a manual it would be a load of fun, especially since it’s not mine and I don’t pay the maintenance on it. The same would be true for the Hamster, so I think I’m about to enjoy myself. I can already see a racing series dedicated to these little squirts beating and banging. I was a little nervous about turning into the corners, though. The wheels look massive on this small body, but the front tires are only 155mm wide. There’s not exactly much car to handle, so we’ll have to wait and see. The engine is a - you guessed it - 1350 cc I4 that still bangs out 272 HP @ 8200 RPM and 183 ft-lbs @ 7200 RPM thanks to a turbo pushing over 20 PSI of boost. This should be fun.
“This car is going to be an embarrassment to be seen in” was all I could think of when I first looked at the OMG PL-1. Another aptly named car, but for all the wrong reasons. Who in their right mind thought that 215/25 R18s were a good idea. 25 on the sidewall… really? Hitting a curb isn’t just liable to bend a rim; it might break a front shock and knock loose the strut tower sending it hurtling to carve out the front wheel well. The vents on the hood also look like they’re an afterthought and the fact that they’re black and don’t match the blue body panels makes the car look stupid, not sporty. Okay, so no points awarded in the looks department on this one. However, this car has a redeeming quality: the engine.
Under the hood, in the front of this ugly ball of metal is a 1350cc V8 that makes 325 HP @ 9600 RPM with a stratospheric 10900 RPM redline. If it wasn’t a V8, I’d swear this was a motorcycle engine. It sounded like it was going to explode as it the revs broke the 10k mark. It sounded like a turbine rather than an engine, but it held together and the power just kept going thanks to the turbos shoving 19.99 PSI of boost back to the intake.
This car will make you say its name every time you drive it and I learned that the hard way. 0-60 is in 3.3 seconds. It can pull over 1.5g on the high speed skid pad. It owned the drag strip with a best-in-competition time of 11.75 seconds (although, a mere 0.01 over second place). It was second fastest at the airfield missing the gold medal by 0.18 seconds and third fastest at the ATT missing gold by just over a second and missing second by about two-tenths. This thing was deceptively fast and would make for a racing spectacle. We’d just need really good helmets since it’s the least safe thing here, although decently drivable and reliable.
It was close, so damn close that I have had to implement a tie breaker rule to find an outright winner in this first round and even then it came down to 0.01. Thank you to all of the competitors and to @KLinardo for the commentary on the vehicles and @Detsikeulii for the Images.
OK without further delay I announce that the Winner of the First Ever Automation Pro League series is… one85db below are the results and the tiebreaker results.