GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Vince247 Lotus Elise 111R














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1:27.350
















[size=4][b][u]Car[/u]: Lotus Elise Type R

[u]Tuner[/u]: Vince247

[u]Garage[/u]: RRV Motor Works

[u]Best Lap[/u]: [color="Red"]1:27.350[/color][/size]

Vince's Elise was the first lightweight listed, so he gets to go first. :scared:


[u][size=4]Speed[/size][/u]: 139.6 mph top speed. [/b]

With a stock Lotus Elise Type R version, we have what is essentially a sports car ready-made for real-life amateur track driving, wheras a base Elise is more of an everyday-driver type of sports car. That's one of the differences between a Type R and the base Elise.

As tuned by Vince, it's easy to employ power and lay down acceleration out-of-corners. Acceleration is very [b]smooth[/b] in this one. Leaving tight corner areas was rarely something I had to worry about since traction is always guaranteed. It's also easy to modulate this car's throttle while navigating what I'll call those dreadful blind esses (turns 3, 4, and 5 as well as turns 8 and 9) and other tricky areas. No wheelspin [i]ever[/i] in this car. :tup: Perfect amount of traction 95% of the time.
[b]
[i]Note: for the TCV5/Speed section, I am considering how cars are geared, not just how fast they are or how much torque the engine has.[/b] I'm doing this because the relationship between a gearbox and its powerplant is very important when trying to build (and maintain) speed.

So with this first car, one very minor complaint I have hasn't got anything to do with power or acceleration or speed; it's [b]gearing[/b]. The gearing scheme is very [b]busy[/b] in this one. It's a 6-speed, after all. On the plus side, Vince has managed to fit the top five gears (2nd thru 6th) [i]perfectly[/i] at Twin Ring, which is great because you can always find the perfect gear for every turn. It's easy to keep this car within its narrow, high-revving Toyota powerband. But there's ALOT of shifting gears in this car, which gets tiring; especially when striving for a Best Lap run.

The worst area here is when needing to downshift from 6th gear down to 2nd in Turns 1 and 6 (Turn 1=90-degree elle..Turn 6=hairpin #1 at the end of the 2nd longish straight). While braking down for these 2 turns, I found myself needing to be [b]extremely aware[/b] of what gear I wound up in.

If planned and/or counted right, I'd end up exactly where I'd wanted: [b]2nd gear[/b]. But sometimes if I wasn't paying attention, I'd wind up in [b]3rd gear[/b]. :indiff: To be precise and wind up in the correct gear means to literally count down:
[i]
[b]6th....5th...4th....3rd....2nd.[/b][/i] Phew! :nervous:

It's easy to make a mistake and wind up in 3rd, though; since while all this activity is going on, [b]you're also trying to brake and steer-in.[/b] If you don't shift down far enough  and wind up in 3rd, you'll wind up just outside this car's narrow powerband. Which means you're in trouble. :trouble:

[b]....Torque is not this Toyota engine's forte, after all[/b]. Below 5,000 rpms is therefore not recommended if you want good cornering launches. THIS is the reason it's important to make it into 2nd gear for these slower corners. 3rd means for a soggier launch, killing acceleration when it's needed most.

I realize (therefore) that the [b]Elise Type R[/b] requires exactly the gearbox that it has, but the fact that this gearing scheme requires some extra work makes it difficult at times. There are a several other cars in the TCV5 which don't require such demanding gear changes to get a good lap time, even some other Elises. When stacked against these, the [b]Elise Type R[/b] is at a disadvantage.

The limited slip's accel setting is set too strong, which isn't necessary. It garners just a tad more understeer than needed, killing mid-to-late cornering speed launches. [i]"A tad"[/i] may not sound like much, but those tads add up. :) The advantage, of course, is that the LSD makes this playful car more stable. But after removing the limited-slip (going with an open diff), I actually improved my lap times slightly because accelerating out-of-corners  can be employed in a more progressive (and slightly more aggressive) manner with less fear of understeer showing up.

[size=4][b][color="Red"]22[/color][/b][/size]
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[b][size=4][u]Handling[/u][/size][/b]:

It's a Lotus Elise...arguably one of the only true full-production sports cars left on the planet that hasn't been burdened with too much weight, unnecessary stability & traction gadgets, and so on. So [i]of course[/i] it's gonna tackle those turns with a smile! And mostly, it does just this, but there are a few issues.

 The [b]RRV Motor Works Elise[/b] mostly handles & manuevers just like you want it to. Point it this way, it goes this way; point it that way, and it says "Yes". As Vince notes, it is addictingly fun to drive the Type R as tuned by him, and I fully agree.

Lift-off oversteer shows up easily (as Vince said in his description) and the longer you stay off the gas, the more the car oversteers. This happens in a [b][u]progressive[/u][/b] manner, which is just fantastic. What I mean is by "progressive" lift-off oversteer is: [b]the longer you stay off the gas, the more it oversteers[/b]. Want to [color="Red"]stop[/color] oversteer? Just jump on the gas again. It's like a perfect mixture of mathematics and art, the way this one dials its rear-end out. Very predictable.

So it's very controllable and oversteers progressively, which is beautiful. There are some issues, tho. :(


The Elise (as modeled by PD) has [b]really poor brakes[/b], which is partially PD's fault. I honestly don't think they're representing the real-life Elise's brakes very well within the game. This is something I've commented on before when I reviewed the Lotus Elise for my website. I even did some independant research to confirm this by looking up some back issues of Road & Track and Car & Driver. By all accounts, the Elise's brakes are supposed to be fantastic. :odd:

I'll even pull up this online page here, in which a [b]2000 Lotus Elise out-brakes a Mustang[/b] equipped with Brembos (60 to zero mph: Elise=119 feet, 'Stang=122).

http://www.modified.com/roadtests/0205_sccp_1999_lotus_elise_vs_2000_ford_mustang_cobra_r/yokohama_advan_tires.html

This is in direct contrast to GT4 modeling. In GT4, I've always been able to make a Mustang Cobra R outbrake an Elise by far. My GT4 test has the Mustang slowing from 100 to zero mph in 3.98 seconds....while a 2000 Elise does the same in 4.53. Some may disagree with me. Fine, I'll just post more and more braking results till my point is proven.

Anyways, my point is: the Elise's brakes are the [i]worst[/i] part of the car, and I blame PD for this more directly than I blame Vince. On the other hand, it's strange that Vince didn't include "[b]racing brakes[/b]" package in his parts list, so I didn't install. This is similar to the [color="Red"]Red Devil Z car[/color] from the TCV4: [b]brake balancer, but no DOT 5-approved racing brake hardware[/b]. :indiff: Did he forget? Or am I supposed to assume racing brakes are to be added without being asked to put them on? It doesn't really matter much, after I installed racing brakes, the braking abilities of the Elise barely make a difference.

 Due to these poor brakes, I had a hard time out-gunning the [b]Opera S2000[/b] during the BATTLE MONSTER portion, because I found myself constantly needing to brake [i]much earlier[/i] than my S2000 BATTLE MONSTER ghost. This actually bummed me out a bit. :( 

Some other issues, now...

There is some understeer under power (caused by the limited-slip/accel setting) which limits this car's ability to leave those clinically tight Motegi corners. I mean, there wasn't much understeer, but the understeer that [i]did[/i] show up did its small amounts of damage. It's hard when you want to press a car just that much further, but a limit like this shows up earlier than it should.

Also, the steering is hard to point at times since the front-end is very [b]grabby[/b]. The steering's grabby preciseness means you really gotta have your front-end action well-rehearsed. This is not a super-serious issue, but it's something which gets in the way if I wasn't careful.

Overall, it's another case of "C" for effort, since the car's suspension settings are so near default Racing Suspension settings. The brakes also have barely been altered. It's as if there wasn't a huge amount of experimentation taking place here.

After playing with the suspension (in an effort to make the front-end not so grabby), removing the limited-slip (doesn't need it, honestly), and vastly increasing the brake settings + adding racing brake package, my lap time lowered by an entire second and some change, but again, this is NOT reflected in the 1:27.350 lap time for the contest.

[color="Red"][size=4][b]
(18) [/b][/size][/color]

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[u][size=4][b]
Versatility[/b][/size][/u]:

Lots of playful behavior in corners, which is both good and bad, depending what kind of driver is behind the wheel. It's good, if you're looking for a car which constantly seems as if it's seeking to surprise the driver, bad if the driver isn't very skilled, and needs something with simpler extremes. Fortunately, I happen to to be the sort who's looking for the former stuff (some surprises and stuff like that).

This car has the [b]ability to take a variety of racing lines successfully[/b], making it quite versatile; helping its score here. Very controllable, this one is, but also very playful and versatile. As I drove it casually (not going into BATTLE MONSTER DEFEAT MODE yet), I was very pleased. Again, the limiting brake settings and limited-slip are the things which hurt here. One can't just throw this car into a curve without needing to brake heavily first, nor can one plant the throttle at any time without a little possible understeer showing up.

But overall, a good score. :)

[color="Red"][size=4][b](18)[/b][/size][/color]

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[b][size=4][u]Car vs. Battle Monster[/u][/size][/b]:

As we can see, I could beat the BATTLE MONSTER by just a small margin: [color="Red"]1:27.350[/color] versus [color="Red"]1:28.676[/color]. It took [i]alot[/i] of laps (like 12 or so) to finally get here, too. Most of the time, the Opera S2000 whupped the poor Elise around Motegi. But I had faith...I knew the Type R could beat the Opera, and finally it did. 

This is due (again) mostly due to those wimpy brakes. :( It took me awhile to figure out where this one likes to be braked, and as I did so, often the BATTLE MONSTER ghost would out-gun the Elise Type R into corners. Then I would pass the MONSTER ghost on the straight. :D Next corner: it out-brakes me again. "anghead:

So, I only beat the BATTLE MONSTER because the Lotus is faster on straights, honestly. It's got a better power-to-weight ratio. In theory, it should be better overall; in both corners and straights, but it was into those corners that I found the Type R struggling the most.

[size=4][color="Red"][b](13)[/b][/color][/size]
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[u][size=4][/b]
Improvement over Stock[/b][/size][/u]:

Ah..how does one improve something which is already so damn perfect? :)

Gotta be honest: there isn't much improvement between Vince's car and a stock Elise. I  don't mean this in a bad way. Like I said, it's hard to improve upon perfection...and a stock Elise is just about as perfect as a sports car can get. :indiff:

 Basically, Vince's Elise feels more stable than a stock Elise, but the tradeoff is it's also not as flexible. It corners smoother than a stock Elise, but it's not as playful. It also understeer slightly more. :ouch: Just slightly...but also just enough to hurt as we navigate Motegi. A stock Elise doesn't do this. Braking is barely improved over stock. Gearing is shorter than stock, and feels appropriate for Twin Ring Motegi East, so finally, a couple points here. 

[color="Red"][b][size=4](2)


TOTAL SCORE: 73[/size][/b][/color]