Thursday, 28 December 2006

Mister Slimm versus Jeremy Clarkson

Just watched a rerun of the Top Gear Christmas 2005 episode with the film where Jeremy Clarkson takes an NSX around Laguna Seca in Polyphony Digital's brilliant PlayStation 2 driving game Gran Turismo 4 and then takes a real NSX around the real Laguna Seca in Monterrey, California, USA.

I know when I watched it first time, I thought, I'll have a bash at Jeremy's lap time. I never got around to it, though, and it didn't help that I hadn't made a note of his lap time, anyhoo. This time with finger hovering on the pause key I made a note of his lap time and tried to determine which car settings he had used.

The circuit was selected from the World Circuits menu in Gran Turismo mode but the car was selected from Arcade mode. I imagine the reason for this is that the circuit selection is more visually interesting in the Gran Turismo mode than Arcade, so I decided that Jeremy had performed the lap as an Arcade Mode Timed Run. This left only the tyres as the setup question and I suspect that he chose the default Sports Medium tyres. The other arcade setup options are more related to drivability with a gamepad than actual car performance.

His car (in the game) was a NSX '01 though it is reported that he had to use a more modern Acura-badged NSX in the real-life attempt. According to the video, the real-life attempt also used the car's standard tyres (at least, they were treaded).

I drove my runs according to strict rules of sportsmanship so any lap where all four wheels left the track (demarked by the white lines, this includes Turn 1 - the start-finish curve) I made sure I slowed down and let the ghost driver pass and finish the lap ahead of me. Jeremy also appeared to drive a clean lap without cutting Turn 4 or The Corkscrew.

His time in the game was 1'41.148, a time I figured would be a bit ho-hum because of an entirely unjustified prejudice concerning his age and curly hair.

I was wrong. It is an entirely respectable lap and it took me nearly half-an-hour to beat it. I hadn't played the game for several months but even when I was re-acclimatised to the game (I had previously been playing Ridge Racer V, very different) I was still not nailing the lap satisfactorily.

Eventually, I got the following lap times and, it should be noted, an increased respect for Jeremy Clarkson's Gran Turismo 4 ability. I also thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. It was a pleasure to revisit this superb driving game.

Gran Turismo 4 mode

Arcade Mode
World Circuits: Laguna Seca
Honda: NSX '01

Lap times

GT4 Jeremy Clarkson (unknown tyres): 1'41.148
Laguna Seca Jeremy Clarkson: 1'57
GT4 Mister Slimm (Road tyres): 1'44.615
GT4 Mister Slimm (Sports Medium tyres): 1'40.580
GT4 Mister Slimm (Sports Soft tyres): 1'39.963

Photos and links

1'40.580 (Sports Medium)1'44.615 (Road)

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