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Rear View Mirror 03/26/12

John Schommer
Monday, April 2, 2012

What happened in racing this past weekend and what is going on in the Forza community racing scene. Rear View Mirror will give you the highlights and hopefully spark a response.  I’ll also reach into my grab bag of 63 previously owned vehicles to tell a story about one. This week I picked a couple of my favorite photos to showcase from the Community photo contest as well.


So here we go, here, here we go… 


2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix 

Well, the forecasted rain didn’t disappoint, in fact, it came down so hard the race had to be stopped for quite a while until it subsided. Being somewhat new to F1, I thought the rooster tails and additional strategic element the rain provided were pretty cool. It also taught me to set my DVR to record more than the allotted program time for live events that can be delayed.


The race itself was full of action from the start. Sadly, Romain Grosjean, and his Lotus, spun into the deep gravel and were out for his second race of the season. Do you think he deserves another chance? Or should he be replaced? The commentators seemed to think he is done for. Comment on his future in the RVM thread. Michael Schumacher and Mercedes delivered a somewhat disappointing tenth place and continue to try and dial in the Mercedes. It seems the Mercedes literally eats tires, and in track conditions requiring intermediate tires on a drying track, the rubber was an issue for all teams. Do you think Schumacher and Mercedes will make a better showing next week? Schumacher holds the track record in Shanghai.


Ferrari and Fernando Alonso held first most of the race and won. A credit to the driving skill of Alonso, versus the speed of the Ferrari, said most experts. Congratulations, to the Ferrari team on a challenging win. Second was strategically taken by Sergio Perez in his Sauber. Very opportune tire choices and pit timing kept him in the battle with Alonso. It’s amazing how a couple seconds can make all the difference in F1. Third went to Lewis Hamilton who ran problem-free despite the in climate weather and race stoppage. Team mate and last week’s winner Jenson Button was keeping a smart pace until destroying his front wing which set him up to struggle the remainder of the race. Team McLaren still leads the field in points.


The next race is April 15th in Shanghai, China and the circuit looks to be a fast one.


Check out the full season race schedule.



Community photo contest favorite from LAZARUSspirit 

NASCAR Auto Club 400 

Rain became a factor in this week’s Sprint Cup Series at Auto Club Speedway as well, causing a shortened race due to safety concerns. The race was called due to weather with 71 laps of the scheduled 200 remaining. Earnhardt and several others increased their positions by boldly staying out on the track during a caution for rain. Once it started raining it didn’t stop.


There are such a variety of drivers, cars and sponsors in NASCAR all with very loyal followings. Earnhardt who seems to be the ranking favorite has had a strong season thus far. Jimmie Johnson seems to be struggling to repeat his past championship performances and Jeff Gordon seems to find a new challenge to overcome each week. This week he was dinged with two penalties for safety violations when he drug a fuel can and fueler out of his pit box, and later when a tire got away from the crew. 


The race was won by Tony Stewart and the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet.  Second was carried by Kyle Busch in the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota and third was taken by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet. You can check out the rest of the race results here.


Here is the full NASCAR racing season schedule.


With the DTM series starting at the end of the month and Aussie Supercars already underway I’d like to get a feel for what you would like to see coverage of.  Please post your thoughts in the RVM thread.


Community photo contest favorite from MAX350Z 

April Alpinestars DLC pack 

We will be announcing next month’s DLC pack cars tomorrow. This pack has something for everyone, and a couple cars that I am very excited to see, including one I have owned in real life, well, almost. I have realized it’s impossible to please everyone, but we do make a lot of effort to include cars that make every facet of the game more fun for those that want to add DLC. Forza fans sure can be passionate about what they want to see. It is my super-cool job to write the brief stories about the DLC packs and I love researching the details. I hope you all, dig them all!


It’s also worth noting here, we are now offering some older DLC Car Packs at amazing discounts. Check them out here.


Rivals -- Community Bounty 

Last week, ID TimberWolf, a member of the Moderation Team, was chosen as the bounty. “The Regatta,” was a Community Monthly Rivals drag race event featuring cars that could be affectionately referred to as “boats.” ID TimberWolf and his garage BBTD, or BigBroTuning and Design, contributed to an awesome event that drew over 40,000 participants. Even Forza Community Manager, Gamertag, Mechberg T10, got into the action, racing his tricked-out, Ford Country Squire Wagon.  He continues to race it and has enticed the community to build ultimate Squire drag tunes, with promises of unicorns to tuner’s that improve his time. His best time thus far was somewhere around 16.7 flat.


This week’s Bounty is Me monkey 8 me, a Forza Community VIP. He will be competing in the Community Monthly Rivals event, “Among Giants.” This is a track day event featuring huge SUV’s that must be avoided using a small roadster. His best time so far is 57.351. The prize car is yet to be determined but Monkey’s thread is full of discussion, tips and comments.


RAND0M GRAFFITI_9633623.jpg 
Community photo contest favorite from RAND0M GRAFFITI 

What NHRA class does your Forza 4 drag car fit in? 

The popularity of “The Regatta,” and all the mods people are making to Forza cars got me thinking about the NHRA and their classes. Given the deep variety of cars to pick from and the range of horsepower and modifications, where does your drag car sit among the real world NHRA classes? Only classes that can be built in Forza 4 are listed. I’d love to see some more specific drag classes run by the community. Know of any? Planning one? Mention it in the RVM thread.


Comp-There are 87 Comp sub-classes that cover just about anything that is entered. This is essentially an “anything goes” class. Cars with similar weight-to-horsepower ratios are matched. Vintage cars, imports, front-wheel drive four-cylinder turbos to 12-cylinder supercars with all-wheel drive compete in this class.


Stock-Stock cars are just that, stock with minimal enhancements. Cars cannot be lightened and bodies must be unaltered. No larger than a nine-inch racing slick may be used. Engines must be correct for the make and model vehicle and must retain stock cylinder heads, intake manifold, and carburetor or fuel injection system. Nothing that alters the cars original components or horsepower may be added. Race liveries are, of course, encouraged.


Super Stock-Super Stock racers will look like the stock car but can be highly upgraded. Modifications and enhancements are permitted, but the vehicle must keep the correct engine block, cylinder heads, and carburetor or fuel injection system. The car can be lightened, the body may be altered and drivetrain modifications are acceptable.


Super Gas-Cars run on a 9.90 second index, meaning they run no faster than 9.90 in the quarter-mile, and are primarily full-bodied cars and street roadsters. Rules regarding engine and chassis modifications are many, but the car must run on gasoline. Cars with more than four-cylinders can weigh no less than 2,100 pounds. Four-cylinder powered cars, can weigh as little as 1,200 pounds. 


Super Street-All vehicles with more than six-cylinders must not be lighter than 2,800 pounds. Six-cylinder cars can be no less than 2,000 pounds, four-cylinder and rotary-powered cars must weigh no less than 1,200 pounds. Engine and chassis modifications are limitless. This class runs on a minimum 10.90 second index.


Forum Forefront--Tuning 

Being exposed to a group of players that have hundreds or thousands of hours invested in Forza is teaching me all kinds of things, the advantages of tuning for one. Fortunately, for folks than have not endeavored to understand tuning there are many who have, and they are willing to share their expertise. By share, I mean either spewing the details in the forums for others to consume, or actually making their knowledge available in the marketplace. I did a bit of exploring in the forums and with some guidance from Fred have found some excellent resources for DIY’ers or those willing to throw down for the finished product.


Those that want to learn about tuning should start with Forza Community VIP, VVV Worm’s Tuning Guide. He covers everything in easy to understand detail. Spend a few minutes reading his guide and you can throw a quick tune in any car. I’m sure there are other tuning gurus out there, if so, call out your work in this week’s RVM thread.


If shopping for proven track performance is what you prefer, here is a list of Tuning Shop Catalogs. If these guys haven’t already thought of a setup for your needs, chances are you can find someone to build something for you.


Community photo contest favorite from Turkeyboy696X 

Fast Driving Songs 

One of the classes I took when I spent time in college was a research psychology class. One of our experiments was to try and prove whether listening to music loud while driving, naturally increased speed. The results of our experiment were inconclusive, but I do find some songs do encourage a heavy foot. For me, “Red Barchetta” by Rush, or “Kickstart my Heart” by Motley Crüe always makes me want to “blow out the carbon,” as my Dad used to say. What are your favorite fast driving songs? Post them in this week’s RVM Thread.


Schommer’s Rides -- 1979 Mazda RX-7 

Back in the summer of my senior year, in Seattle, I had a VW my grandma helped me buy from my uncle, but I was always struggling to keep it running. So, I had to have a reliable ride to get around and visit my friends in. This year that car happened to be a 1979 Mazda RX-7. A sweet sports car with a perfect 50/50 weight ratio and the unbelievable revability of the Wankel rotary motor. 1979 was the beginning of the RX-7 and this was the late eighties. The car was a bit tired, had horrible rubber, but ran well and looked decent. It was all black, with black interior and had a five-speed. My mom’s boyfriend’s business ended up having to buy it after one of his company vehicles was involved in an accident with it. 


A Mazda RX-7 is a really small car, and black cars are hard to see in the first place. Hence, the excuse for why the car was hit, but I found it to be very true. People just did not see the thing. Folks were always pulling right out in front of me or jumping into my lane and jerking away just before hitting me. It’s safe to say, I saved this car from many more trips to the body shop. This was the first car I always drove with the lights on, long before such things as daytime running lamps existed. I put quite a few miles on it too. My mom rented this cool place, out in the country on a small private lake with a big barn. All my friends lived in town, so I had a forty-minute drive just to get near them. Of course, the thing to do at the time was cruise around town looking for trouble or girls or both so it got even more miles. Gas was fairly priced then and an RX-7 delivers pretty good mileage as well as performance.


I was always wary of the cars poor rubber and found out quickly that while oversteer can be your friend, learning to control the live-axle, rear-end takes time and a few spins. Having worn rubber wasn’t all bad though, because I didn’t feel bad roasting the tires and boy could that Mazda lay a patch. I can remember going out one night with the specific intent of hitting some curvy roads and learning to corner aggressively. I believe I scared my friend Dennis half out of his pants as I came into a corner too fast and did a 360˚on a dark, hilly road at about 50mph. I think his exact words were, “I wanna go home now.”


 My 79’ Schmazda as I called it, served me well, my only regret was that I didn’t get to drive it more. What happened to it, I don’t know. When I moved out here full-time a year and a half later, my mom had sold it. More than likely someone has modded it somehow, maybe it turned into a drifter or maybe it’s one of those RX-7’s I’ve seen on Pinks blowing the doors off V8 hot-rods. That’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.