Circuit de la Sarthe 24h II (28th May 2007)
After winning the Sauber Mercedes C9 from the Forumula Gran Turismo World Championship I wanted to see if it could reach 400km/h down the famous 6km Mulsanne straight.
This involved a lot of testing and setup time:
- an oil change;
- reducing downforce to its minimum settings;
- adjusting ride heights to soak up the bumps (it’s a public road for most of the year);
- a lot of fine-tuning the gear ratios;
- and trying various lines through the preceeding corner.
After all this, it would regularly hit 399km/h using the super hard compound tyres (ideal for endurance races). Being really accurate and committed through the preceeding turn made it hit 400–402km/h. Succcess!
In the race, I reached a top speed of 418km/h due to the slipstream effect from cars I was lapping. There was one about quarter of the way down the straight and another about halfway down the straight. I regularly got over 400km/h thanks to slipstreaming cars as I lapped them, so there was still plenty of high-speed action throughout the race.
However, GT4 simulates the engine oil getting old. So after about an hour, engine power starts to go down and that awesome top speed is not quite achievable. By the end of the 24 hour race, power had dropped by nearly 100bhp but that’ss still 889bhp. The top speed was only down to 387km/h because the straight has some long downhill sections.
The chassis rigidity had taken a hammering as well, so the car wasn’t responding quite as well for the last few hours. This was good; I liked this always-changing balancing act. It kept the race interesting and challenging from the start to the finish.
The finishing order was:
- Sauber Mercedes C9 (me)
- Sauber Mercedes C9
- Jaguar XJR-9
- Toyota 88C-V
- Nissan R89C
- Peugeot 905
I completed 448 laps, 25 laps ahead of the next car. The event finished on game day 996, just before the end of the third game year. This race was everything I’d always wanted it to be.