Journal

Forza Challenge One

I finally broke down and bought an Xbox 360 so my friend Bobby and I could have Forza Time Attack battles. We’re both competitive people that have a passion for cars and racing, and since we’re currently living on opposite sides of the world this seems like our best option for bench racing and shit talking. The most recent challenge is as follows:

The Car- 2000 SVT Cobra Mustang R
The Track- Mugello Grand Prix Circuit

Bobby set the pace with a 2.05.354 which is a respectable lap time with that car. He forewarned, “Be careful that car has milk bottle caps for brakes.” That’s bad news for me because I’m a late braker.

I did ten laps with my ninth lap being the fastest at a 2.05.606, less than three tenths of a second off Bobby’s time. I lost time on the last chicane because I was trying to settle the chassis prior to corner entry, which put me off line, and my entry speed was 10-15 mph slower than it should have been. I think that lap could have been a high 2.04.xx if I could have kept it under control.
Since I love evaluating cars I’m going to share my thoughts of the Cobra R solely from a base-of-the-thumbs perspective. I must note that I don’t like Mustangs to begin with, so this may read more like slander. As unfair as that may be, keep in mind that you’re reading a car review based on its electronic reincarnation and it’s being piloted through a controller, not a steering wheel with force-feedback.

My initial realization when entering the first braking zone at 135 mph is that Bobby was right, these brakes are incompetent. I ended up in the very back of the first corner, almost at a dead stop. After fixing my trajectory I find something positive, it’s powerful. I can tell it’s powerful not by the feel of the car, but by the speedometer. The downside to this sense of speed is that corner entry speeds have to be closely monitored to avoid off-course shenanigans. In addition, gearing makes the car feel slow. I then made my way to corners two and three which create a larger chicane that can be taken at almost 100 mph. After I laid on the brakes nice and early I made a gently sweeping motion to the left in an attempt to clip the first apex. It turns out that hitting that apex was harder than I had anticipated because of the sub par turn-in and numb steering. This car was turning out to be an absolute mess. I approached turn four, which is a descending right-hander, with what I would soon find out was a bit too much speed. This mistake made me aware of the heavy understeer that notoriously plagues Mustangs, but it actual brought the best quality of this car to my attention as I fought to stay on the track; it comes equipped with great tires. I’m sure the main reason is for traction in the lower three gears but they sure help this car in the corners. Turn five, which is a long descending off-camber left, yielded the rest of the flaws. After adjusting my speed and turning in early I was met by a feeling of an under damped suspension, which is characterized by a floating or wavy feeling in the chassis. Once the suspension settled and I got closer to the apex, the weight of the car shifted to the outside of the corner (which a basic lesson in physics will tell you that’s immanent) and the classic trait of all powerful and heavy front-engine rear wheel drive cars showed its face, weight transition oversteer. It was manageable with counter-steering and throttle modulation, but again the tires are this car’s savior.

So in short, the Mustang Cobra R is a good engine surrounded by a chassis made of Legos and wet noodles with great tires. Great choice in car Bobby!