2010 Mazdaspeed 3: More Virtual Insanity
September 30, 2010
Yesterday, I fired the first salvo in the Forza Motorsport 3 challenge in our 2002 Corvette Z06. As I predicted, Photo Editor Kurt Niebuhr beat my time of 1:37.968. What I didn't expect was his blistering time of 1:34.131. Some of our esteemed commenters also threw down some times that put me to shame. It looks like it's going to be a long, loud night at CasaHashi.
Last night, I drove out long-term Mazdaspeed 3 home with the intention of wringing it out virtually in Forza, but I had to buy the Summer Velocity Car Pack to get the 2010 model. OK, fine, paid, downloaded and boom, I'm on track.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3, no traction or stability control, no racing lines and only ABS on, I managed to turn a 1:42.978. Sad. If Niebuhr puts up the money for the upgrade pack, I'm doomed. I have it on good authority that this car should be able to turn a 1:50 in real life, so that either means I'm REALLY just that good, or the game is not a realistic measure of lap times. I'm inclined to believe the former (just let me live my little fantasy for a bit, shall we?).
While "driving" the MS3 around Laguna, I realized one major shortcoming with this game - the lack of torque steer. I suppose if it were a good enough simulation, every time I got on the throttle, the controller should have wrenched itself out of my hands and shot across the room. Oh well. Another discrepancy I ran into was the sound of the engine. In the game the MS3 had a wonderful turbo hiss and pop, like our tuned-up Mitsubishi Evo GSR from last year. If our Mazda sounded like that, I'd be fighting for the keys every night.
While I'm not a fan of front-wheel-drive, I admit the MS3 was pretty easy to keep on the pavement. That probably means I need to shave another three seconds off my lap time. Carpal Tunnel, here we come.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor