EXTERIOR / HISTORY
Güten tag und wie gehts? In case you're unfamiliar with the famous videogame melée that's
been going on between Sony and Electronic Arts, here's the summary. EA has exclusive rights to several carmakers such as Porsche,
Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati...basically most of the best. Which really sucks. It means some of the world's best sports
car manufacturers are stuck in this ridiculous contract in a series of videogames that are lesser to our beloved Gran Turismo.
Sorry to any Need For Speed fans, but we all know which game is superior to which. However, when GT2 was in its development
stages, Polyphony Digital did an amazing thing: they managed to squeak by, breaking the rules to get RUF into the game! Tho
RUF's are basically SuperPorsches, i personally wish we could have some basic Porsches, too. It's like the opposite of the
BMW syndrome in a way (no M series in Gran Turismo 2).
There are 8 different RUF models to choose from in GT2! I've chosen the CTR Yellow Bird because it happens to be the
most powerful rear-drive off the dealer's lot. Some of the RUF's are 4-wheel drive, some of them wind up having more power
than the Yellow Bird after upgrades, but for right now i'm not concerned with these. I specifically raced my Bird stock or
nearly so just to test its limits.
The Yellow Bird is based on the Porsche Carerra / 964 from the late 80's, and displays the most classic Porsche shape
unlike some later RUFs.
One thing to note when exploring the 'net trying to find info on the Yellow Bird is how contradictory various sites are.
At first, it seems Gran Turismo has goofed again as stats pop up from site to site which differs from the game's info; but
after awhile, i realized it's not GT's fault since each website tells us a different story from the last. For instance, www.Fast-Autos.net
says the CTR Yellow Bird had a 5-speed transmission. Supercars.net and http://www.webbpages.com/cgi-bin/supercarworld
says it's a 6-speed and make a note of how innovative and rare it was for a production vehicle to have that extra gear.
Fast-Autos and Supercars say the CTR's bodyshell, fenders, hoods, and doors were made with a combination of aluminum
and steel, while that other site with the long name tells us in detail that RUF shocked the automotive world with its use
of carbon fibre parts. Was the engine a single-overhead cam as the game claims, or a DOHC? Again, the websites i visited contradict
here! Don't even get me started on the power...nobody agrees here....even the game gives us 3 different stock figures: 462
horsepower at the dealer, 463 in the garage, and 470 on the test track. And the sites i visited were all over the map as well.
2 of the sites mentioned above quote 469 hp with 408 ft-lbs, while the 3rd quotes 469 with 479 ft-lbs.
One area where the game and the websites differ (and finally, the web agrees here) is the weight. The game car is a very
satisfactory 2,645 pounds, but ALL the websites quote 3,040 for the Yellow Bird. Actually, that's not true. That site with
the long name quotes 2,425 lbs as the correct weight. And (sorry to spoil the surprise) but the main thing that sucks about
RUF's (any of them) is they won't accept racing mods. Stage 3, yes...Racing Mod, no. Now when you actually race one of these
Porsche-look alikes, you'll find they do pretty well without the extra downforce. But still, the R-bodies are missed and i
would gladly fork over the 80,000 credits just to have one.
ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN
Alright, now it's time to hit the tracks and SLAY SOME EGGBRAIN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE!!!
Don't be bummed cause you just left North City and are now $330,000 poorer, WHO CARES! It's time to ROCK! It's time to SHOW
THE DRONES WHO'S BOSS!!!! Get ready Ai, you are about to be ROASTED!! WHO'S WITH ME!!!!???
That's better! Tha'ts the spirit!!! You may have just spent enough money to afford yourself a small mansion in Ohio,
but your purchase was wise!!! Little do you know that you're now part of a very exclusive club of automotive elitists. In
real life just 25 (count 'em) Yellow Birds were produced, so don't feel bad about all the scratch you just unloaded....all
the races you won in your crappy Supra have paid off BIG TIME!! HA ha haaa. Even stock, this beautiful machine hits 100 mph
like it's bored. 120 mph? 140? 200??? Assuming you have enough space (like at the Test Track), the RUF will gladly comply!
Okay. ......just....one minor detail. Uh, looks like we'll need some parts. Let's see...tires, suspension, brakes? It's
not included in the package, which means you'll have to spend some more. How much more? This isn't an LM machine, after all,
so break out those credits. $100,000? $200,00? Keep going....i wound up spending just over $237,000 on the aftermarket parts,
and that didn't include such unnecessaries as the 1-way differential and simulation tires!
I don't know yet about all the other RUF's. So far i've driven the Yellow Bird and the ‘bargain’ priced BTR2
($258,000!) and both these cars only accept one turbo, which happens to be MIGHTY expensive....$74,000 to be exact. Kind of
a shocker since usually a Stage 1 turbo costs about 4 or $5,000. Anyone else feel cheated a little?...like maybe you were
expecting more options for less money? Am i just being picky?
Anyways, my point here is that speed will never be a problem for this car. It may have its lacks in other areas, but
acceleration and keeping a rocket-like pace? No problemo. One of the minuses (for some drivers) will be the 5-speed gearbox.
It is set really tall for obvious reasons, but during races you may find you'll want closer gears since it's not too often
you'll be needing to hit 200 miles per hour during a sim race.
CHASSIS / HANDLING
This section shocked me, quite frankly. I'm talking about the handling, the way the RUF CTR
needs to attack curves was not at all the way i imagined!
Since we're driving a rear-engine / rear-drive here, the thing i most feared was lots and lots of oversteer. Sliding,
uncontrollable fishtailing...that sort of thing. So i was pretty surprised that mainly it's UNDERSTEER that plagues the Yellow
Bird. Also, on the high banks of the Test Track, i was expecting the usual squirrelyness you see in most mid-engine cars...only
doubled. The Yellow Bird does act like it wants to get sideways here and there, but for the most part this behavior is easily
corrected, even when at 200+ miles an hour well into the Test Track.
Most of you won't spend much time driving a stock RUF around the tracks, but this is exactly what i did to test it, cause
i care and i wanted to see if the actual car was raceable without all those extra parts.
First, i was at Rome Short reversed doing an Event Generator (one of my least favorite tracks. Blea). Surprisingly, i
found the stock tires and suspension keep up with the speed pretty well during my practice runs. Assuming you make your braking
time before corners longer than usual, the Yellow Bird corners with precision, and the main issue was actually (as i said
before) front-end sliding. Once i installed a racing suspension and started dialing it in, i spent most of my time trying
to minimize the understeer. I even put soft slicks up front and mediums in the rear. Still....understeer! Tho by now it was
pretty much watered down.
When powering out of corners, it's rare you'll see excessive oversteer or wheelspin, matter of fact, and this is WITHOUT
a limited-slip device. As long as the turns are flat, the rear-end handling is amazing. Well i guess after 40+ years of making
the 911 series and its derivatives, Porsche has got it down.
Now....everything changes once you get on a course like Seattle or Route 5! Add some good-sized bumps to the equation,
and the beautifully neutral handling starts to dwindle. What happens is the rear-engine (where alot of weight is, of course)
takes over, and the car winds up getting extremely twitchy as it jumps around and traction gets lost. Beware the bumps! There's
not much you can do here...even adding ground clearance doesn't help much.
But for the most part, the RUF / Porsche opened my eyes. I've also raced the BTR2 a bit but the Yellow Bird is more of
a handful since it starts off with more power. My only other experience with rear-engine cars is the Subaru 360. What a world
of difference. All the Subie needs is another 400 horsepower and then we can um..never mind.
1. 80 '% of the time, the RUF CTR Yellow Bird just gets it down. Porsche is already the ultimate sports
car--only this is a BETTER Porsche.
2. Accelerates like a rocket. It'll make 200 mph in less time than it takes to microwave popcorn.
3. Even stock, the handling, tires, suspension, and brakes are amazing. They'd better be for all the money you just payed!
Sports tires will go a long way.
4. Rear-end grip out of turns is surprisingly good. Who says rear-engine cars love to spin?
5. The body's got some extra downforce which helps with stability, tho the [R] kit is still the missing link.
6. Gearboxes all tuned for racing. Only the most diehard techs will demand a racing gearbox for simple races.
1. No [R] body. :(
2. Not just expensive, REALLY expensive. On top of this, you'll still need to buy alot of parts to compete in some of
the games finest races.
3. No 6-speed, even after you buy full-modifyed gears. :(
4. Unexpected understeer. And it's untypically difficult to eliminate.
5. Only one stage of turbo available aftermarket, and it's pretty costly.
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Published: October 5th, 2005
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