2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Virtual Insanity
September 29, 2010
Nice burnout graffiti, eh? Track time has been hard to come by for me lately. To combat these doldrums, I've taken to racing in the virtual world via Forza Motorsport 3 for the Xbox 360. Over the weekend, Photo Editor Kurt Niebuhr and I turned a few laps online, and that got me thinking. I wonder how well the game simulates cars we drive in the real world.
I managed to sneak out last night with the Corvette keys and paid special attention to the sound and feel of the car. When I got home, I started up the home theater and popped in the game. The first thing I noticed was the lack of bass in the exhaust note. Our 2002 Z06 has a booming and raspy scream when the throttle is matted. The game has the rasp, but no boom.
Handling-wise, the game is pretty faithful. There's a ton of grip from the super wide tires and the suspension tends to bottom-out in the corkscrew (I ran laps at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca). In order to get the tail to whip around, I had to deliberately lift, turn and stomp - just like our real Z06.
I spent an hour chasing my best time, which came in at a disappointing 1:37.968. That's a "clean" lap, no pulling a Zanardi at the corkscrew and no other off-pavement excursions. It's also without traction and stability control or any other in-game aids besides ABS. I'm pretty sure Niebuhr can beat this, probably in the 2-second range. But this leads me to ask, "I wonder how fast I can turn a lap in our Z06 in the real world?"
At the very least, I think I can break the 1:40 mark.
I also tried the Camaro SS last night. It was quite a bit slower, but what really impressed me was the fact that the game designers faithfully recreated the cockpit - thick A-pillar and all. Just like in real life, I had a hard time looking through turns. I think I'll organize a shootout in the game using only our past and present long-term cars. My money's on the GT-R.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 52,510 miles