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Vector M12

GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

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SPEX

Year: 1999? 
Class: Sports Car
Type: 2-door coupe
 
Country: USA ```````````````````````````````````` Host: GT2
 
 
Price: $192,890

 
Length: 188.2" // Width: 79.4" // Height: 44.48"
Wheelbase: 108"
Overhang: @6' 8"
F. track: 63.2" // R. track: 64.3"
Ground Clearance: 4.1"
Weight: 3,606 lbs.
Weight Distribution: 40/60%
Turning Circle: 40'
F. Tires: 235/40ZR-18 // R. Tires: 325/30ZR-18
Brakes: vented discs + vacuum assist
Suspension: double A-arms, coils, a. roll bars, shox
 
Engine: 5.7 liter DOHC V12
Tested HP: ``496 @ 6,900 rpm
Tstd Torque: 426 @ 5,000 rpm

 
Lbs. per Power: 7.27
Hp/ liter: 86.5
Credits per HP: $388.89
 
Aspiration: normal
Fuel System: SePFi
Valves per Cylinder: 4
Bore x Stroke: 3.43 x 3.15"
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
Redline: 7,000 // Rev Limit: 8,000
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Layout: Mid-Engine / Rear Drive
 
0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
0-100mph: 11.6 seconds
 
400 M: 14.343 @ 117 mph
1 Kilom:
24.296 @ 151 mph
 
Test Track Time: not recorded
 
Top Speed at Redline
1st: 84 mph @ 7,700 rpm
2nd: 128 mph
3rd: 168 mph
4th: 192 mph
5th: 195.34 @ 5,100 rpm
 
 

 

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

American exotic car-maker Vector was America's answer to European supercars, and it turns out there's quite a story to Vector. Towards the end of the 1970s, there basically were no American supercars. It was Gerald Weigert's vision to change this.
 
Vector appears in just one Gran Turismo game to date. GT2. There's a story behind what might have happened, but first: Congratulations to Polyphony Digital for doing the necessary footwork, getting Vector in GT2! PD wanted to get European supercars in this second game, but Electronic Arts (makers of Need for Speed) held a contract to several supercar makers at the time, like Ferrari and Porsche, and for whatever reason PD couldn't get these into GT2. So they looked for other avenues to travel. If they couldn't get Ferrari, if they couldn't get Lamborhini, where else could they look?

The Vector M12 is an awesome space-ship of a vehicle, but it's still...not a Countach. The Countach seems like a higher-production vechicle in comparison to the M12. Very few Vectors exist. They were hand-built one at a time; I just read that only seventeen W8s were made, for instance, before production ceased. In comparison, there have been just over 2,000 Countachs made over the years.
 
It's apparently not just a question of manpower or technology; Vector has had a tumultuous history. Hopping from website to website, there is a huge variety of stories as to what exactly happened, keep in mind some of these stories could be false.
 
Gerald Weigert started Vector way back in 1970 or '71. He was fresh from college with a background in engineering, and teamed up with a designer in southern California. Their vision was to create an American supercar. They produced their first (and only) car named simply "The Vector". The Vector was just a prototype, it didn't actually run. It made an apperance at some car show, was put on Motor Trend's cover for 1972, but never saw production. Gerald and his partner envisioned The Vector would sell for $100,000 (*gasp*) and have a Wankel rotary engine (*chuckle*) but none of this ever happened.
 
Gerald was an enterprising young man, apparently uninterested in America's raging disco scene at the time. :-0      In 1978 he produced another concept.

My question is: How was he getting all this money? What did he do for a day job? I couldn't find an answer here, but to make a concept it costs money. Anyways, the second concept was the W2. It also made a stir when it appeared in some car show. This car eventually became a running prototype, and over its life span has made over 100,000 miles. It had "systems taken from jet fighters", like the seat harnesses and an HUD which allowed the driver to see intstrumentation upon the car's windshield. But again, never saw actual production.
 
By 1989, Vector Aeromobiles (clever) was now in business, after the company won a lawsuit against Goodyear, who for a while was producing Goodyear Vector tires. This got Gerald the financial backing he needed. Vector was also now public, and their stock was rising on the market. Unfortunately, at some point Gerald didn't actually own Vector anymore. Vector was now owned by mysterious Indonesian consortium Megatech, who also owned Lamborghini. Websites conflict here; some say Gerald was fired, others make no mention of what happened to Gerald. But the bottom-line: he was no longer in control of the company he started.
 
For whatever reason, Megatech moved Vector's office from California to Florida, which means Vector and Lamborghini would now share office space. Here, the M12  began its life. "M" stands for Megatech, but why the 12? Well it turns out Vector's next car was supposed to have an 8-cylinder engine while Gerald was still calling the shots. Megatech upped this however, getting a 12-cylinder Lamborghini engine instead. Hey, I'm not complaining.
 
The M12 sold for $189,890, which is slightly less than it costs in GT2 (192,000 cr.). Accounts conflict, but from 1996 to 1999 just fourteen or fifteen were made. The car was not profitable, so Megatech sold both Lamborghini and Vector. It's been rumored that some guy over at Megatech embezzled money from Vector before the company was sold, and this guy actually served time in jail for charges unrelated to this. Whatever happened, Vector was going bankrupt at some point before Gerald regained control.
 
 
The main issue we have with the M12 is weight. Aerodynamically, this car is virtually a prototype racer without sponsorship decals and modifyable downforce, at least this is how PD portrays it. So shaving pounds is what we want to do. This costs money. Er...so there's two issues: weight and credits. You've already dropped enough money to afford a small house if you've bought this car, so it's rather disheartening to learn that parting with another $32,500 only takes the M12 down to 3,209 pounds. Oh well, it's just a videogame.
 
Another issue (okay, so there's three) is the lack of colors, though this is based purely on reality. We can get an M12 in black, brass, purple, and a metallic aqua. Cool colors, but it would be nice to see more. As mentioned before, the Vector M12 can't receive racing body modifications. Go get the M12 LM if you want to win such races as the GT World Cup and GT500. Ach, more money!
 
The LM is much lighter and a lot more controllable. Since it's an LM, you won't be able to modify engine power, brakes, or exhaust equipment but the tranny, downforce, tires, differential and suspension are all tweakable. One might wonder how the "regular" M12 does.
 

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

Anybody who pays attention to the above acceleration figures in the SPECS section above will notice that my test results were rather disappointing. The V12 Lamboghini engine in this beast is fast, but has really poor torque below 4000 rpms, at which point the car is producing 'only' 250 horsepower. But from here on up, it really perks up. In my tests, I start accelerating from idle, so the 0 to 60 time can easily be improved under normal racing conditions. In other words, if somebody starts acceleration from 4,000 rpms, there will be no problems with speed gathering up very fast.
 
The problem? 1st gear pretty damn tall: the M12 redlines at 84 mph in 1st! Theoretically, one could drive an M12 and never shift gears if he or she were actually obeying American speed limits. In the game, we can use a super-close gearbox and still approach 200 mph on most of the longer race tracks, matter of fact. You won't ever need 5th gear if you race this car with its stock transmission.
 
The superstar V12 can only be modified with one stage of tuning, which will carry power up to 610 @ 7,200 rpm with 482 ft-lbs. @ 5,200. It's easy to forget that even though this is a big engine, its twelve cylinders only displace 29 cubic-inches apiece. Also...this is basically a short-stoke engine, meaning that high revs are where power is to be found.
 
The LM car doesn't get much extra power; however, it is several hundred pounds lighter than a street M12, and it also has modifyable downforce. There shouldn't be any races in which you'll lose with an LM unless you aren't good with speed yet. It's a surprisingly forgiving car even though it's got a mid-engine layout; much easier to race than a Ford GT40 or GT90, for instance.
 
 

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

79" of girth + aeronautically-approved downforce = a mid-engine car that is for the most part very stable. The suspension has good spring rates, the tires are nice and wide. Even though 60% of the weight is towards the rear of the car, the car's body shell is well-crafted, with plenty of air-tunnels that create a lot of high-speed downforce. This wind-tunnel friendly development seems to make the Vector balanced once we're above 100 mph.
 
The M12 is not always easy to drive. Lose it in a corner, and minor high-speed slides can become a disaster in the hands of an intermediate driver. But in my opinion this is an easy car to drive when compared to many other mid-engine cars for those more experienced. In most races, the M12 won't even need racing slicks, unless the engine is modifed to Stage 1.
 
Likewise, the suspension doesn't need much help. Anything past the Sports level is optional, since the Vector is only 4.1 inches above the ground! When we get fully-modifyable parts, we can lower the car to just 2.59 inches. I've done most of my M12 races with this cheapie Sport suspension in place. 
 
Vector LM
Again, the Vector LM series car goes a few steps further, but I still find that I rarely need anything stickier than medium-grade slick tires. Some exceptions occur during the World Cup races at Laguna Seca, Rome, and Trail Mountain; here, you'll need soft or super-softs, no doubt. The only problem is brakes, which we can't modify in a GT2 LM.
 
 
Brake upgradess are an optional buy for the regular M12, however. You should get better brakes BUT you won't need to immediately. The M12 will do just fine in many of the races it enters with its stock brakes, as well. Oddly, there are a few Arcade-disc races that really show the M12 at its worst: sliding off the track at Grand Valley...bumping into walls at Rome and Seattle, which might make the casual gamer think it's a car to be avoided so far as racing goes. Ignore all this nonsense, it's due to poor programming on PD's part. Better driving is all that's needed.
 
In any case, enjoy your 6-figures of credits as you baste the competition.
 


  

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PROS

1). An aeronautically-inspired sports car. Need I say more?
 
2). Surprisingly good aeodynamic downforce for racing. High-speed stability comes standard. This car was basically born in a wind-tunnel.
 
3). Lots of power from that Diablo V12 engine! 490 hp makes the Vector M12 eligible to race in more horsepower-limited events than you'd think.
 
4). Race-ready tires, brakes, and suspension parts. The car is race-ready as well as fast.
 
5). 200 mph top speed is easy to acheive with just a few modifications.
 
6). Lamborghini engine sounds fantastic.
 

CONS

1). Expensive. Duh.
 
2). Lack of available color choices (no red, for instance). Yet another reason I'm missing my Lamborghini in GT2.
 
3). Tall gearing makes for a good top speed, but acceleration is rather lackluster. 5th gear is basically dead-weight and never gets used unless you've got super-close or racing gears.
 
4). Race-worthy power is only available above 4,000 rpms.
 
5). It takes some mad skill to control this car at times. Beginners and intermediates need not apply. Unfortunately, it's such a player who might want to buy an M12, especially if he or she has somehow earned this sort of money.
 
6). Oh yeah. This one is heavy, despite all the light-weight composite alloys used in its body construction.
 
7). And no racing kit available. You'll need to get a Vector LM.
 

Originally Published: August 24th, 2004
Edited: December 1st, 2010 
 

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