2010 Volkswagen GTI: Virtue and Virtual
October 01, 2010
Forza Motorsport 3 week continues, as I snagged the GTI keys with the firm notion of giving it a real and simulated shakedown. First, the real bits. I still love the GTI - way more than the Mazdaspeed 3. But perfect, it's not.
Before I even got it into first gear, I realized that the iPod jack wasn't finding my iPhone. It would charge it, but I couldn't get it to play through the AUX menu. A short while later, I noticed that the brake pedal is just a wee bit too tall (close to me) to do low-speed heel-toe downshifts. Higher speeds are fine because I have to give it more brake pedal pressure, pushing it closer to the throttle. Finally, I found the shifter just a little out of reach. And by al little, I mean about an inch or so too far forward.
Now for some hot laps.
I settled into the couch, Xbox controller in hand. Regrettably, I lacked a plaid blanket to simulate the GTI's seats. Like the Mazdaspeed, the GTI sounded way better in the game than it does in real life. Again, it was that wonderful turbo whoosh, hiss and pop. My biggest issue was gearing, it seemed, as the GTI would bog down in third gear coming out of some turns. In second gear, I was bouncing off the rev limiter. I suppose I'll just have to wrestle it through a slight slide to keep the momentum.
I managed to turn in a 1:43.747 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Predictably slower than the Mazdaspeed 3. I was satisfied with that time and moved on to the Corvette Z06 in an attempt to come close to Niebuhr's time of 1:34.131.
I changed my driving style from smooth to ragged, with uneven throttle inputs and lots of steering correction - the opposite of how I drive in real life. Figuring that tire damage and the consequences of having to pay for it shouldn't concern me, I ended up with a 1:34.555. That's an improvement of about 3.5 seconds. Still, I think there's more to be gained.
I have the Z06 for the weekend, so I'll be spending countless hours trying to find that elusive perfect lap.