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Vector W8 Twin Turbo

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SPEX
Year: 1989-1993 ``````````````````````````````` Country: USA
 
Class: Sports Car
Type: 2-door coupe
 Host: GT2
 
 
Price: $420,000

 
Length: 172.0" // Width: 76.0" // Height: 42.5"
Wheelbase: 103.0"
Overhang: 5' 9"
Track: 63.0" [F] 65.0" [R]
Ground Clear: 5.5"
Weight: 3,417 pounds
Layout: Mid Engine / Rear Drive
Tires: 255/45ZR-16 [F] 315/40ZR-16 [R]
F. Suspension: unequal length control arms
R. Suspension: DeDion axle
Brakes: vented discs
 
Engine: 366 cubic-inch OHV V8
Aspiration: twin turbo (intercooled?)
Fuel System: ?
Valves / Cyl: 2
Bore x Stroke: 4.0 x 3.6"
Compression: 8.0:1
 
Tested HP: 643 @ 5,800 rpm
Tstd. Trque:
631 @ 5,000 rpm
 
 
Credits per HP: $653.19
Lbs. per HP: 5.31
Hp per Liter: @107.17
 
Redline: 7,000 // Rpm Limit: 8,000
 
Transmission: 3-speed manual
 
```````````````From Idle ``````````````````Drop Clutch near Redline
0-60 mph: 6.279 seconds             3.337 seconds
0-100 mph: 10.236 seconds          6.503 seconds
 
400 M: 13.705 @ 123 mph
1 Kilo:
22.65 @ 171 mph
 
100-0 mph: 3.493 seconds
Top Gear RPM @ 60 mph: 1,750
 
Top Speed at Redline
1st: 94 mph
2nd: 172 mph
3rd: 219.33 mph @ 6,200 rpm
 


---------------EXTERIOR / HISTORY---------------

Believe it or not, tonite I was gonna break my summer-long writing hiatus with a review of the Ford Puma! I drove a Puma in the GT2 FF Series races, and really dug the spiffy ways it handles itself ...
 
...but let's just say I got a little sidetracked!
 
Here's another "believe it or not". The date is September 27th 2005, and tonite happened to be the very first time I've ever driven a Vector W8 Twin Turbo! This means I've owned a copy of GT2 for over two years and have never touched this super-exotic, not 'cause I wanted to ignore it...but because it took me this long to finally get to it!
 
The Vector W8 is arguably the most stunning car in Gran Turismo 2. Agreed? I think everyone who's owned GT2 for any length of time has seen the Vector W8; one of two cars sold in South City that somewhat resemble Lamborghinis. But it seems few have driven the W8, and even fewer have mastered it. And for many reasons, this is a car that takes mastering folks.
 
Fact #1: Although the W8 is endowed with enough power to topple any AI freak from the top, it is also quite heavy.
 
Fact #2: In real life, nobody actually races Vectors, despite the way they comfortably cruise up to 200 miles per hour and beyond. Despite the car's imaginary track prowess, the W8 Twin is really a car for showoffs. Tennis God Andre Agassi owns one, for instance. A W8 was also briefly shown in some movie in the early '90s (dammit I'm forgetting the name of it now).
 
Fact #3: I'll call this the "Stradivarius factor". Just 22 Vector W8s were created...17 for rich customers, 2 were prototypes, and 2 were specially-endowed models with extras). Just now I looked up a website that claims these cars still sell for anywhere from $180,000 to well over a million. Their mere rarity makes them treasures. Who would dare drive one Gran Turismo-style down the boulevards of South Miami?!!!!?
 
Pete Townsend once said something like "....would I break a Stradivarius? NO! But a Stratocaster off the assembly line? Fuck it!" This is no Corvette folks. It's not even a Ferrari. The Vector W8 walks into a very exclusive forum.
 
The bodyshell, doors, and other extremities are made entirely of fiberglass, Kevlar, or carbon-fibre, and Vector used genuine aircraft rivets to keep everything in place. The chassis & engine block are aluminum, but despite all this, the car is still very much on the heavy side. It better be! Once you're pacing past 200 mph, you're gonna want things to be sturdy, stable, and secure, and I suspect much of this weight is in place to make sure the W8 stays rigid.

But since we can remove weight, ...let's see what happens. Ah....three weight reductions later and the car now tips at 3,040 pounds. And so here's the last of the problems we shall face, W8 drivers: this car has plenty of downforce. Matter of fact, you can win alot of GT2's finest races solely because it generates lots of downforce. Problem is, the downforce isn't modifyable (unlike the Ford GT90) and at really high speeds, there are times when there just doesn't seem to be enough wind keeping the front-end in place.
 
But there are ways around this dilemna. These dillemas. How the hell do you spell "dilemma" anyways? Never mind! Let me try and teach you how and why your W8 can bury the competition.
 

---------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN--------------

As you sit in your rocket and turn the key (I'm assuming they use keys in Vectors, but who knows...perhaps this is one of those cars that only accepts fingerprint ID or an eyeball scan) listen to the virtual symphony going on just inches behind you. It's none other than the famous Overhead-Valve Turbo Octet ready to play their finest concerto, and you get to be both conductor and listener. ;-)
 
Plant your foot, and listen to the sweetness. The horn section, the strings, the percussion....is all kicking in at full tilt, and now we're ready to boogie down!!!
 
And for the most part, that's just what'll happen. Most cars on the tracks simply can't touch the W8 once it's got itself going. Generally, the small-block Chevrolet aluminum engine creates massive power after its peak torque. There is a flat area of premium horsepower after this peak (after 5,000 rpms or so) that lasts a good 2,000 more revs. So there's little problem with horses. But are the issues? Yes.
 
First and foremost....the freakishly useless transmission! 3 SPEEDS?
 
In real-life, the Vector could only be purchased as an automatic...but I just had to fudge this in my testing. Even as a manual, the Wee 3 should be discarded! Since the 6-liter V8 engine is endowed with the torque of a sperm whale, you may find it possible to live with this car's stock gears in some races, but eventually they'll get in the way. First gear is extremely tall. Check out my Zero to Sixty test results up above. Toking the W8 up from idle, and then doing a second test (letting the clutch at 7,500 rpm) ...there are 3 seconds of difference. The car can barely move below 4,000 rpms in first gear. Let's toss these bits to the scrapyard, whatdoya say?
 
Perhaps in real-life, the 3-speed was chosen for durability? Less gears, less parts, less problems? I'm just guessing. One thing for sure: unless you're on a wet surface, it must be rather difficult to launch a Vector W8 with lots of smoke in real-life. It's gotta be!
 
But other than this, you should have few problems. The power is great. I found that the super-close gearbox was perfect
 

-----------------CHASSIS / HANDLING----------------

Now comes the most difficult portion of Vector W8 behavior. Like a visitor to a mental ward, you'll witness plenty of different behaviors as you race this difficult machine, and most of them don't tend to the pretty side if you know what I mean.
 
Driven stock, the back-end tends to behave most of the time. Those giant 315 size tires simply love it when you glue them to the tarmac, leaving corners behind with dizzying amounts of speed. It's entering those corners that tends to be problematic! The back-end really loves to slide under braking, so the best defense is to practice countersteer and dial in a brake controller. Now let's add some more parts.
 
At the speeds you'll be driving and the races you oughta be racing (Gran Turismo All Stars comes to mind), mostly you'll want to be on super-slick tires with a well-tuned racing suspension to keep things proper. The W8 really firms up quick, and drives like a completely different car all of a sudden. Actually, with its superior (but non-modifyable) downforce, the Vector W8 keeps up with other AI mobiles pretty well, even some full-fledged racing machines. The only minus at this point will be its weight.
 
Many folks will add a limited-slip, too. Personally, I decline here, unless I'm at super-tight courses like Laguna Seca and need more control. But at Midfield or Route 5? I'll remove the LSD, a rare moment in such a high-powered insect for sure. Even softly dialed, I just found the LSD adds way too much understeer. Ugh. I HATE understeer!!! So I removed it. And you know what? In this particular car, for some reason I didn't miss the limited-slip. Things became more simply flexible, and never did power-oversteer become a problem for me.
 
Hey, one thing for sure...this is no GT90!
 
 


PROS

1). Good downforce & aerodynamics. This is pretty much half of what we pay for when we drop $420,000: all that wind-tested technology. It helps that Vector has more experience making airplane parts than it does making cars.
 
2). Enough power to keep up with many cars in sim races...including the Vector LM. Although there are no turbo upgrades, I personally never missed them.
 
3). Extremely grippy underneath. For those who have some skills, this is one machine you can push...there are times I found myself able to outbrake other cars (like the Vector LM), enter a corner on a bad angle, and still get thru with near-maximum throttle and no banged walls.
 
4). It's just a good-looking car. A BEAUTIFUL car. The Vector W8 Twin Turbo is right up there with the Aston Martin DB6, '69 Chevrolet Stingray, and other head-turners when it comes to looks. Of course, there are those reading this who totally disagree with me! Okay, let's just say the W8 has uh...'unique' looks.
 
5). Stratospheric speed. Since this car is only a 3-speed, I was assuming it wouldn't top 150 mph. Boy was I wrong.
 
6). Good stability in those gentler turns.
 

CONS

1). PRICEY
 
2). Tho the downforce is useful, there are times when it would be great to modify it. No racing kit available, tho.
 
3). Definately on the heavy side.
 
4). Tricky handling. At times (especially entering corners) the mid-engine starts to swing the car around like a pendulum. This aint the most difficult car to drive, but it's right up there for newbs & intermediates.
 
5). A lack of colors. Red looks sexy as hell, though.
 
6). A 3-speed transmission? And after upgrading, no 6-speeds are available like they are for the Vector LM. First gear is way too tall in that stock gearbox; can make the W8 hard to launch.
 


Originally Published: October 1st, 2006
 

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