Friday, January 27, 2006

T#14: GT(2)4(hours)

Sorry for the delay in posting this.

Right, now, to explain. Just in case you were wondering about the sorts of things we get up to, us motoring journalism students, here’s a little insight into my evening…!

Friday 27 January, 2006.

18:45 ish.

Hey, well arrived here at 5.45pm

By here I mean Tim and Andy’s, where Matt and Andy are taking on Gran Turismo 4 – in a 24 hour race at the Playstation game’s representation of the Nurburgring…

They kickedoff racing at 11am this morning, and as I write this are seven hours and 40 minutes into the session. The plan is for them to take to hour stints, and race right through to 11 on Saturday morning.

The pizza’s been bought, snack foods and Red Bull abound – already there’s a collection of Mars Bar wrappers littering the floor, with the accompanying detritus of camera equipment, lap diagrams, magazines and recording paperwork. There’s a clock on the wall showing them the time, and the PS2 is being held above ground level in the aid of cooling and air circulation, supported by copies of F1 ’05 (another PS racing game) and Le Mans (the Steve McQueen movie). The control interface is a rocking chair kitted out with a plank of wood, some clamps and a Logitech special edition Gran Turismo steering well. The car they’ve picked is a BMW M3 GTR, rated at 450bhp, similar to the winning car at the real event in 2005.

Andy is about an hour and three-quarters through his second stint, with about half an hour to go before Matt takes over (Andy having had to cut his first effort short in the aid of a comfort break). Matt also started the race. Both are complaining of muscle pain in the left shoulder already. They’ve crashed the car a total of 30 times so far, had 13 pitstops, and are literally just lapping the second place car for the second time as I type this. Fastest lap at this stage stands at 6’53.380, completed by Andy during his opening attack.

Music on the stereo so far:

Rock Godz

Tenacious D

The Pixies


Matt’s just taken over for his third stint. The Chemical Brothers are on the stereo, and his first lap – number 72 so far – was somewhat rent with incidents. But he has just stuck in a 6’55…which is the closest either of them have got to Andy’s fastest lap time in a while.

Currently the accident counter is at 34, and they’ve taken their 15th pitstop. The change-over highlighted the difficulties they may face as the night goes on and they grow more tired, as not only did Andy fluff the exit, but the seat got skewed and Matt found himself without total authority over the control surfaces, resulting in a slow minute or so as cables and pedals were re-arranged. Pizza has been distributed and gratefully received (Tim acting as catering manager).

Lap 75, and counting.

21:00 and counting

Various conversation have ensued, more music has gone on the stereo (Red Hot Chili Peppers By The Way seems to have been a favourite). More provisions have been purchased by yours truly – although they in fact have more than adequate supplies, I decided that there was definitely not enough chocolate.

Between stints, Matt snoozes (or tries to; mostly he just lies down) and Andy showers. They change drivers again, although this time the only major incident is when Andy forgets to press the button and inadvertently ends up with a full tank of fuel (a tank lasts longer than a set of tires, and since they’re well in the lead it is seen as overkill to attempt any unnecessary stop strategies).


It’s been a heavy week in various ways, so I decide it’d be wise for me to leave and try and get some sleep. The next party from the support crew, namely Sean, should be along in the not too distant future, to be followed by a threatened visit from Graeme at about 4am when he finishes work. A third lap is put on the second place BMW – which briefly undoes the damage when Andy makes a mistake, but is soon banished from the rearview mirror.

Just before I go, however, I do get to witness Andy make an effort to beat his own fastest circuit of the track. At this point the race’s been running for 11 hours; first lap with tyres up to temperature after pitting, Andy puts the hammer down – with much encouragement from Matt, who realises after a minute in just how fast he’s going – and pulls out a 6’53.708. Watching the level of concentration necessary to achieve this in isolation is impressive, but coming about eight hours after the original effort, it’s a pretty fierce mental achievement. And to prove the point, Andy crashes almost immediately after crossing the line and stating he’s going to try again.

Which makes you think. These guys are performing an impressive feat of endurance despite the limitations of its virtual reality; imagine what it must be like in the real thing.

Matt and Andy are using their experience for the basis of an article in our upcoming MA Magazine Project.

For further information about the magazine, or to sponsor the production, please contact:


Blogger seaniemort said...

Ok C,J

Update. 3.1.3am
I have just returned to my residence after visitng the race venue. When I left Matt was sound asleep i the make shift bed in the dining room.He is due to take over right about now. The crew are 15 hours in to the event , nine hours left , hours now be counted in single figures which was considered a mile stone. Andy's not tiring as much as Matt but both will strugle to beat the 6.53 beanhmark set early in the race.Red Bull and Mars bar been cosummed at an alarming rate . Support crew # due to arrive on scene around now , should be able to oversee the next driver change and write notes in the log.Tim is in bed since just after mid night as he has work at 9am , but should be up and about around 7.30. for A.M moral support. Temperature in the ron room is dropping since the heating swithed off at midnight ,Andy has taken to wearing a jacket while racing.
Sean 3.22 am

3:23 am  
Blogger InfinityReversed said...

Cheers for the update, Sean!

1:25 pm  
Blogger Torquesteer said...

Well the threatened vist did happen, but slightly later than first thought due to taking 20 mins to de-ice my personal transport and explaining to some curious (and at this time of the A.M, drunk) young ladies just where i was going at 4am. My arrival was greeted with a fidgeting from behind the door, and as it transpired Andy was upstairs getting some R+R and had to make the perilous trip down the near vertical staircase to let me in. At this point the music was set at an almost silent level, with only the whining of the wheel as the drivers sawed their way out of power oversteer moments to provide aural stimulation. As i had just finished a 10 hour shift, i was felling a little peaky myself and the thing that struck me was how the engine drone was effectively acting as white noise, and making me yawn for britain. One of the drivers demonstrated this fact admirably by having a "moment" after a long straight full of monotone ear assault. To be honest, during my visit i did notice a lot of "moments" some more serious than others. It did make me wonder how the mortals achieve it in reality, released of the safety net of virtual life. Apart from these spikes, driving ability seemed to be alright but there was little chance of re-creating the best time achieved earlier in the day. As you said in your update CJ, eyes showed little signs of being shot with blood, but mouths (Matts in particular) were very telling as to how long this adventure had been ongoing. Verbal wheelspin was how Matt put it, and for purposes of keeping this comment tasteful is how i shall leave it. When he decided to compare something to particle physics (at 5am in the morning for gods sake) andys plea of not even bothering to follow through with the rest of the comment made sense. Sometime after 5, all of us slightly tired, the chat seemed to stop. I did point out that time of the day is not the most sociable whether you have just got up or have been up for a day and half as they had. So just after 6am i decided that it was time to leave them to it. I had witnessed around an hour of each persons driving and although generally impressed, i was glad i was driving myself home that morning!


6:29 pm  
Blogger InfinityReversed said...

Cheers, G!

6:39 pm  

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