Wednesday, August 13, 2014

FAST FORWARD: 4000 - Number of the Future

The upcoming Turbo Sliders version will now have a maximum track size of track width, which is double the normal. Even though that it is already employed in the current version (although it requires a working mod to play and edit 4000x4000 tracks), driving 4000x4000 tracks will have its own charm. Expect a working version of Nurburgring Nordschleife in TS or an ability to drive Circuit de la Sarthe (from GT3 Endurance Series mod) with default cars in a distant future as the new version is released. It's not just the 4000x4000 track size limit that's highlighted in the game's future release; don't forget that it will also have tire wear, drafting, and now a color change option which can change the red color's status in each car with a player's defined color or not, which is useful because some cars are not meant to have their red colors changeable, like GT3ES and SCARTS cars for example. Last but not least, cars with 360 rotation will now be usable in the game, allowing cars with more "dynamic" lighting to be playable.

Mind you, this post tells the "joy" of making 4000x4000 tracks. Let this post be a "sneak peek" for you to make your own 4000x4000 track(s) whenever the new Turbo Sliders version is out.


When 2000x2000 isn't enough for you and you need to fill the grass on the 4000x4000 track... Wondering how much time would it take for filling the 4000x4000 track with grass using ONLY default tiles? Mind you.

Back then when default tiles were used, making default car tracks requires quite a time, especially if they're 2000x2000 in size. Even if it's a 640x400 track, you need to make sure that each width in each section and even each turn has consistent track width. At that time when I was making earlier tracks (in my RendyTUNED years, starting from Arashi), I somehow couldn't able to do such thing; some sections have inconsistent track widths which can make or break your pair of eyes. However, these tracks are a delight to drive, and puts the legacy in the game itself.

Everything has changed when Photoshop tracks started, with its trend ever growing for years since its first inception and eventually become the majorly-used track types in online racing; F1 servers are the most evident subjects for such type of tracks. Easier, quicker process and more detailed workaround are the main reasons why these tracks quickly stand out from default tracks. From some of Jazzyclub's real-world touring car race tracks, to Keppana's simplistic F1 race tracks, and the more modern, contemporary and innovative TSE tracks, utilizing bigger sizes to ensure a full F1 experience on Turbo Sliders. Despite that, it seems that everyone creates Photoshop tracks and no new normal tracks are being made, so to speak.

With the inception of 4000x4000 track size limit, the work is doubled, unless anyone ever wants to make a very big version of Trooper Speedway using normal tiles and the size of 4000x4000, it would take a long time to work on the track and of course requires great amount of patience. For the record, Trooper Speedway is a track created by Mouse known for its long length, and is used in GPOR Antislider competitions, with three tracks within the series. Due to length, Trooper Speedway is christened as the Nurburgring Nordschleife of Turbo Sliders. Unless there's a normal track that can contend Trooper Speedway, trackmaking using normal tiles is anything but alive.


Tell me if it looks familiar to you.

On the other hand, it opens new possibilities to create even bigger tracks that can't be made with 2000x2000 limit, like the Shuto Circular Expressway track above, which consists of C1, New Belt Line, and Yaesu. I've worked this track since 2012, but in that year I just made up the layout based on the satellite map, and I didn't include Yaesu back then. The track's map is then reworked again this year after I haven't touch this track for almost two years using memories of the junctions and such thanks to me being a Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune player, adding details, junction details, and Yaesu. Take note that it is not the accurate replication of the Shutokou line, but at least I could port what can be considered as the house of the now-defunct MidNight Club. If I were to work the Shutokou with 2000x2000 limit, then the track width would be 30, which is not enough because that would only fit two cars, assuming that one Turbo Sliders car is sixteen pixels wide, unless you're making a Mount Haruna pass or a Rallye Monte Carlo stage for that matter, and that doesn't include the junctions, which have smaller pixel sizes.

Shuto Circular is just a part of my project; still in WMMT context, if this track is finished, I would continue making Wangan line, Minato Mirai, Fukuoka Expressway, Hanshin Expressway, and even Nagoya Speed Ring. The last two names are actually tracks that can even be worked in 2000x2000, so does Minato Mirai. For Wangan line, the thing that matters most is to fit both Wangan line and Yokohane line with 64-pixel road width within 4000x4000 track limit, and for Fukuoka, it's just the separator that matters me. For non-Wangan tracks, I could go for either Circuit de la Sarthe, Nurburgring Nordschleife, or even the Isle of Man track (a.k.a Snaefell Mountain Course). Although Endurance Series mod has got this circuit even before this new version is being worked, I'm not a fan of diagonal starts. I'd like to keep it "straight"...

Also with the bigger limit, it is possible to make bigger rally stages. With this, we could say goodbye to rally stages that use small track width in order to fit that one car that had to have half of the normal size sadly in favor of long stage length, enhancing the rallying experience even further. There apparently is a Rally server that consists of select stages of various environment and you can check out how good you are in those stages because the server will record your fastest time everytime you complete a stage and will eventually calculate your total time if you drive all the tracks in the server. If you'd like some rally section, download Turbo Sliders and search for "Rally server", but not before you download power79's rally tiles first (link above) and try for some runs to flesh out your lines. I remember that I would like to make Rally New Zealand pack, but my indecisiveness of what kind of texture I have to use detered me in putting even one stage in works. I guess I should work on tarmac rallies like Tour de Corse for example, or even Monte Carlo (sans snowy parts on track). I could try slapping some touge tracks and put it into one "Japanese Touge Tour" rally, but that means I had to implement staggered starts on start/finish parts of courses, and this might lose the exact touge feeling, but since it's only implemented on start/finish sections, it doesn't matter anyway.


Even though that this post points out the 4000x4000 track limit feature, the topic isn't limited to that. Turbo Sliders is now in a continuous phase of development, refinements, and additions as long as the game's creator, Ande, is active. Tire Wear and Drafting are self-explanatory, so I guess I'm going to point out the other new features.

Let's start with things that WILL also work in the new TS version aside from the tire wear and drafting, beginning with car rotations. In previous versions, a car can have 64 images to emulate its rotation, which can be found on all default cars you drive. That limit will change as the new version will slate 360 rotation images, which can increase the "realism" of the car. To demonstrate this rotation, below are two images: the left side is a 64-rotation GIF and the right side is the 360-rotation one. You can obviously tell the difference by looking at how realistic the rotation is.

Aside this, there's the "changecolor" feature that can be implemented on custom cars. Here's a short description of it:

"Changingcolor can be used to alter which color is changed for different players. By default, the value is 1, which means red pixels are converted to player colors. If the value is 0, nothing is changed. If the value is 2, green pixels are changed."

Sometimes there are things that can't fulfill its expectations.

Unfortunately, this thing faces a trouble of its own: stripes and gradients won't work when using this color. I've tested on one of my WIP cars and it's revealed that the green color does change, but without the stripes and gradients. The above image shows the should-be colors on the left side and the green color's result on the right side. Even though that this is far from perfect, it has done its job to simply change the green color. In case of putting a custom-colored car whose colors contain red and you don't want to change the red pixels, slapping it with a green windshield color plus using the changecolor parameter could work.

Another new feature is the free camera ability when being disabled by Pro Rules, watching race recordings or when spectating an online race. Simply activate it by pressing Player 2's fire key (Left Shift by default) and the control keys of the mentioned player can be used to toggle the free camera. You can also go back to change the camera's focus to the player once again by pressing the same key. Also when watching a race recording, Shift+Left rewinds the record by 20 seconds, and it can take up a long time if the recording is very long. And if you are tired by how painful it is to press up and down to focus to your favorite player in the recording, next and previous focused cars are now determined by latest race positions, so in case there's a race between A, B, C and D and the race positions go C-A-D-B, next and previous focused cars will all be based on the positions per lap and not the player order.

Finally, other fixes in the future version are following:
  •  New track record format and directory, old records not valid any more
  •  Fixed limit speed being less if accelerating compared to when decelerating
  •  Added AutomaticFullRepairTime (set to get damage fixed automatically)
  •  Lap record messages not given if no times before
  •  Fixed some erroneous lap record messages in special situations
  •  Fixed ghost images not working with certain cars
  •  Exposed parameter -p <n> allowing n local players and added control support
  •  Added /sayadminmono <msg>, sends an admin message with a monospaced font
  •  Fixed /listtracks skipping some tracks in subfolders
  •  /source now searches for scripts under sources/ directory if not in root
  •  Added car parameter 'changingcolor', affects car coloring. Set to 2 to change green instead of red, set to 0 to not change anything
  •  In-game stats show cars in the starting order in the beginning
  •  Fixed Windows XP support and editor DLL issues introduced in 2.5.0
  •  Cannot reduce damage when disabled, fixes AutomaticFullRepairTime issues
  •  Fixed /listtracks showing some tracks two times
  •  Fixed damage bars and fuel bars sometimes being on top of each other.

Hopefully with the new version coming out, Turbo Sliders will have more interest than it currently has. Also stay tuned to this blog for updates on Turbo Sliders add-ons as well as other games.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

FAST FORWARD: Tapio - The one that almost made it

Were this year's Le Mans race recap posted no later than a week, I could talk about this around... well, probably a week after the post, but once again, I had a brutal Software Engineering final project that needed to be finished at that time. Nevertheless, this post is born regardless when actually. The sheer lateness of the previous post sums up why "Fast Forward" is in the title.

This post brings up my recent GeneRally track Tapio, a small race track that crosses the park and the city streets, spelling "technical" to its name. The reason why I post this late is because that as the track was released, it was nominated for Track of the Month, raising its prestige more albeit its simple environment, but failing to get the podium was hard, even if your track finished fourth. Despite of that, the track itself is really good, and the concept is nice.


The reason why I named it Tapio because it just flew on my mind while trying to make up a name for this track, such that it isn't related to either "tapir" or "tapioca" at all. The city, in its GRIF thread, is described as "New York and Los Angeles set to 'liquefy' to make a busy city with a park, recreational buildings, and a beach where everyone can have varied choices of taking their leisure times". In essence, the fact that there are lots of recreational places makes up for how citizens of Tapio City are pretty much relaxed living in this city, unless they want a trip to any recreational places located on a mountain that is or they want to go to their relatives who live far away from the city. The thread also states that Tapio City is also one of the highly sought-after destinations for vacations. For your information, one of the city's biggest malls is located 5 kilometers southward from the track, and it has pretty much anything, even a department store that occasionally holds big discount events, and if a shopping mall isn't your fancy, a beach can be accessed northwards, approximately 10 kilometers from the track.

But where's the "New York" in this city? Yup, this is the downtown Tapio City used for racing, full of New York-inspired buildings and a park that looks like a carbon copy of Central Park. The bottom right building is in fact given a New York building feel. The downtown of the city is heralded as its busiest part of the city, with corporate buildings almost everywhere, alongside stores and stuff. Because of how busy this part is, don't be surprised that there's always traffic jam, even on Mondays. Don't let the "attractions" posted in its GRIF thread fool you, but don't let the fact that it's always congested consume you further; these one-way roads used for racing is actually a solution to this whole enchilada. These changes were made from its initial state after a series of complaints filed to the city's mayor regarding to the roads always being subject to standstill traffic.

No matter how much they hate the city, Tapio City Park is always a refresher for every citizen living there. The park itself has been a long time there and is an irreplaceable landmark of the city, complete with its park roads and greeneries, and don't forget the lake located inside the park.


"A good mixture of street track and a regular track." -RobertRacer99

The track takes parts from the City Park and link it to the two one-way roads with hairpins made out of a turning road and a crossing zone, eventually entering the park once again for "the Snake", the track's own series of tight turns which lives up to its name.

The opening part's 90-degree corner takes you to the park's exit, entering the one-way road portion. Taking this corner requires avoiding the sunk tires planted inside the corner, especially if you're racing with AIs. They would "fly" from that corner and chaos can ensue right away. The course then proceeds to the turning road, which you can pass the New York-styled buildings as you drift the hairpin.

There's a small chicane that utilizes the supposed parking lot of one of the buildings, and it then takes you to the track's second hairpin which is actually the road's crossing zone, and then it takes you yet again to the park entrance, once again a 90-degree turn as opposed to the first turn, this time it's less chaotic than the first turn does. Actually, there is a small crossing zone at the bottom-right part, right below the first hairpin, so technically there are two crossing zones. Yet, the above one leads to a street complex with lots of stores around it, while the small one is... well, a normal crossing zone.

"It's a very well made track. The layout is what I really like in it -especially the section between 1st turn-2nd hairpin- and the "snake" section is really tricky to take it well. Lmap is really good too. I think, I race this track many times." - david999

The park section is where the action actually starts, with a series of tight turns dubbed as "The Snake", talk about being true to its name. The Snake consists of four consecutive turns (if you also count the right hander after the entrance) before leading to the final turn. The last two turns of this section has a gravel runoff, which, although I felt that it might be impossible for the cars to be thrown off track while snaking through these last two turns, makes up the circuit feel of the track. Also visible are the straight wall outside the first The Snake turn which was initially to follow the second turn's shape (the straight wall is a suggestion by Mad Dan actually :D ), the walkway inside the third Snake that makes up the "Central Park" feel, and the house that leads to the first gravel run-off. It's projected as a small house made of wood actually, even though that there is only ONE house shape in GeneRally (mind you), and we thought we just leave it as it is; we don't even know whose house it is...

The last section lies after the Snake, which is actually a fast left hander that you can take even without lifting your throttle if you're able to figure out the right exit line from the last Snake turn, and of course the pit stop which only consists of three pit stations. Mind you, the pit stations might look a little too "oblique" as you look at the pit lane and the pit crew, but it's just my awfully-perfectionist eye.

Last but not least, though, is the paddock section. Yup, it's not a raceable section but this one's essential, very essential. Every good track has one, right? The object here is that the paddock has to be filled with a couple of buildings, and the two visible buildings are my work of art... More like "mix and match", but both terms are perfect. The paddock also had problems with the density of "Person" objects, yet I'm able to overcome this one easily. Overall, the paddock is good, although certain things looked "oblique".


During my GeneRally days, my tracks have never tasted a higher place than this track does. I had Frappe Snowland track which unfortunately ended up last in May 2013 ToM election, even with two votes, then there's Cilandak Town Square with no votes in July 2013. Last but not least my newer release Grupard has 2 votes and ended up 16th out of 19 tracks. This time, in April 2014, the track is placed higher than all my tracks combined, I thought this track is my best so far because I had plenty of passion while making this track. Despite that, it finished seventh out of fifteen tracks, sporting eight votes, with six tracks that snatched that month's podium, with Dragon's Rontemey with 12 votes as the victor, Maciej1's Pau-Arnos with 11 votes and a 10-vote 4-way tie with david999's Dusty, Areen's Sepang, AeroWiewiur's Termas de Rio Hondo, and Maciej1's Yahuarcocha. Full results here.

Despite not getting the podium, I've finally had a joy making tracks, and able to execute it right away, unlike most of my WIPs where I had a couple of doubts putting things here and there. But if I were to rework them once again and make all of them published, why not? Trackmaking in GeneRally never sleeps and is always evolving as the time goes.


GRID Hat-trick @ Audru Ring competition marked my first 2014 compo after a long hiatus from All In One Championship S2 due to my Typhus, and that I joined NAGRCA GT Series Management Competition before this even though that not only was I outbid on the drivers, but also short on cash and didn't score a good result (the only best result would be Matias Maldonado reaching the Last Chance Dash in the final round, which should be Round 5 of 10 but shortened due to the host's, puttz's, real-life activities). My run on GRID Hat-trick sadly was full of awful bad lucks, starting from how I forgot to save my game at the Hotlap, how my laptop didn't charge throughout my trying to submit Time Trial session files that it eventually died, and how my pace was slower than my practice races. My teammate ACM, however, did score a better result which should be enough to counter my bad luck. Full results go here.

In the end, I had to suck my bitter pills of bad results, and probably scored a black mark in the history of Team [R]GARAGE, but even every good team can have a black mark too, like the Swedish DoTA 2 team Alliance in this year's The International 4 for instance. Being the champion of last year's the International, the team unfortunately didn't pass the qualifying phase due to series of subpar plays and had to say its second title goodbye, even Natus Vincere (Na'Vi), its Ukrainian rival that fought the Swede team last year and is the first season's champion, is also subject this. I guess I shouldn't vent my bad results online next time... orz

This time, Team [R]GARAGE entered two competitions; GR Formula Cup Season 4 by zgr, and GeneRally Touring Car Challenge Season 3 by Marcinho. In GR Formula Cup Season 4, Team [R]GARAGE plots its open-wheel revenge in the non-login competition after the bad luck that struck the team in the previous open wheel race, which, in return, is actually the GRID Hat-trick race, with the Polish driver Marcinho taking the second seat. The livery I used may look like Hispania Racing Team's livery due to the similarities of the theme colors used. Thankfully, I leave certain parts with 0-4 colors so that each driver's car is different. Performance-wise, I am able to snuggle in for a couple of test laps and races to see how fast I could go, especially with the fact that it's fast yet somehow hard to control, requiring every driver especially me to think more of the perfect racing line while dodging the AIs, plus the perfect pit strategy due to the fact that the fuel settings make the car deplete the fuel faster than how Queen Elsa makes her castle from ice.

[R]GARAGE Pandawa RTC. RTC in its name stands for "Racing-spec Touring Car"

GeneRally Touring Car Challenge also marks the team's second Touring car competition venture after GeneRally Touring Car World Cup. Upon the team's entrance, I decided to make the team's new car: [R]GARAGE Pandawa RTC, the touring car racer that looks like Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II Touring Car from Gran Turismo 6. Not only that, I also give RobertRacer99 the teammate's seat for this season, hoping for a good result in the competition's fourth season (if you count Season 0 that is). Here's my car's description as written on the competition's thread:

"After a long hiatus, Team [R]GARAGE returns to the GeneRally racing scene once again, bringing its creation to the play, this time in the world of Touring cars. The team initially planned to use its SST Sports R to the competition but it is far from being eligible, so for the last 40 days (including holiday breaks), the staffs worked on a new touring car that can be competed in GRTCC's third/fourth season. While the team already expanded its ventures to open-wheel races, its closed-wheel business continues here with the arrival of its new touring car racer: Pandawa RTC. The name Pandawa is taken from Mahabharata, a Hindu epic text in which Pandava (the car's originated name) are five acknowledged sons of Pandu, whose names are Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. The RTC in its name is short for "Racing-spec Touring Car", which is an obvious nod to the car itself and is based on GRTCC regulations, with the car's aesthetics look similar to Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II touring car. A road going version of the Pandawa will be released shortly to comply the regulations."

Semester break is long enough, but it feels like the days are numbered as the new semester approaches, plus I'm unable to manage ALL of my social media and the site plus my game add-ons before the break so hopefully I could manage all of them in style, yet I owe myself skins from variety of racing games (including TMUF and GTR2) and learning some PHP coding so in case [R]GARAGE has to use a new look, it deserves one. In the end, I have to treat everything as if I'm making an application using RAD Programming method.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans - The Beginning of a New Le Mans Era (Warning: TL;DR)

11 to 15 June 2014, at the famed, legendary, Circuit de la Sarthe in France. 55 racers vying for the supremacy of Endurance racing, whose legacy dates back to 90 years and now has reached its 82nd year...

WELCOME TO THE 2014 LE MANS 24 HOURS, where this year has undergone one of the craziest yet the best Le Mans years ever, with the return of the legendary manufacturer Porsche in the LMP1 field, the star-studded appearances of F1 star Mark Webber, the doctor Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd Patrick Dempsey, the former footballer/soccer player Fabien Barthez, and the former Stig Ben Collins, plus the Garage 56 entry of NISMO - the ZEOD RC, the all-electric effort of NISMO's with Lucas Ordóñez, Wolfgang Reip, and Satoshi Motoyama, not to forget this year we had a young driver in a form of Matt McMurry, the 16 year-old American driving for Caterham Racing Zytek, one of LMP2's entries, and #79 Prospeed Competition Porsche forced to move to the GTE Pro category from its initial category of GTE Am due to Bret Curtis, its third driver, sustained a concussion after an accident during qualifying and was not cleared for the race. The team nominated Sebastien Crubilé as a replacement, but the ACO did not allow him to participate due to a lack of laps driven at night, leaving only Cooper MacNeil and Jeroen Bleekemolen as its drivers. The Le Mans race has never been complete with all the drama, all the trainwreck and all the effort put by both teams and stewards to make it yet another successful Le Mans year, although that most invited teams didn't take their entry invitations, like Muscle Milk Pickett Racing from the American Le Mans fame as one of the names.

The track, compared to the last year, also underwent circuit changes post Allan Simonsen's death. ACO announced improvements to several sections of the circuit, most prominently Tertre Rouge's reprofile and additions of new barriers and new tire walls at its exit. This year also sees the "Code 60" dubbed as the Slow Zone where, like Code 60, requires car to run at no more than 60 kmh (37 mph) speed in a certain zone(s), this also means that GPS systems are installed on every car and so does the onboard marshalling system that simultaneously warns all drivers of the slow zones' locations. Finally, what was in Dubai 24 Hours race is finally implemented in the blue-riband endurance racing event...

#WelcomeChallenges; Audi doing burnouts at Porsche's base, where welcomed Porsche's return to the 24-hour race with its video montage found here. Porsche returned to Le Mans with its 919 Hybrid LMP1 car and vowed to spell the end to Audi's winning streak. You may also check out another of its "Welcome Challenges" video here.

The 2014 Le Mans race may have been over, but that doesn't mean the race loses its charm since the race's finish. This post recaps both qualifying and race sessions due to... well, their sensational series of events. Also, be warned that this is a recap on TL;DR level...


The biggest Ouch! in Le Mans history; #1 Audi crashed in the Porsche Curve, destroying the car in process

Early in the session, the #1 Audi of Belgian Loïc Duval spun and became airborne in the Porsche Curve, impacting catch fencing above the barriers and destroying the car. But credits were given to someone who made the car so safe to even sustain such accident, Duval was able to walk out of his car with only scratches and injuries, but this also meant that Duval was excused from his #1 Audi drive and was replaced by Marc Gené, the Spaniard who were to drive the #38 Jota Sport Zytek before being called up to replace him, which Jota replaced him with the Brit Oliver Turvey in return.

Also in the Porsche Curves, the late-night Wednesday qualifying was where Regina Mills put her curse to one of the GTE Am Aston Martin entries driven by Fernando Rees*, in which he crashed in the said section and not only forced the session to be ended half an hour earlier than expected in favor of the reparation of barriers but also forced the entry's withdrawal from the race due to damage. More crashes abound in the Thursday qualifying with James Calado's AF Corse crashed in the (unsurprisingly, once again) Porsche Curves, the #1 Audi's spin-off in Indianapolis,  Bret Curtis's #79 Prospeed Porsche's spin-off at the Dunlop entrance in which he was knocked unconscious, and Frankie Montecalvo's 8 Star Ferrari's spin into the Porsche's gravel

* = While we know that putting a Once Upon A Time reference in Le Mans a good idea for a witty humor in a recap, the serious side is that Fernando Rees really was crashed on his own and that Grey's Anatomy is the only fandom to reach the Sarthe circuit. Even better fandoms like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who, Harry Potter and Hunger Games "cannot into Le Mans". But if they were to enter Le Mans... Ah forget it.


Toyota Slayed; Toyota TS040 finally managed to get pole once again after fifteen years. Driven by Kazuki Nakajima in qualifying, it set 3:21.789 fastest. (image: Ausmotive)

Although the qualifying sessions were full of massive trainwrecks that triggered red flags and slow zones to play, the third session's expansion proved to give chances and even advantages to most, if not all, teams. Fifteen minutes into the session Nakajima set a new fastest time of 3:21.789 and would hold the top of the time charts to take Toyota's first pole position at Le Mans since 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans, even being the first Japanese to take the pole of the 24-hour race. Porsche's entries both tail Toyota's entries by one position, while all of the Audis were unfortunate after scoring positions 5th to 7th, and Rebellion Racing's LMP1-L entries completed the LMP1 grid.

The debuting chassis Ligier JS P2 also proved to be a success in the qualifying, with Thiriet by TDS Racing entry claimed the 10th place, tailed by #38 Jota (using Zytek chassis) and #35 G-Drive by OAK Racing (a.k.a the GT Academy guys - Jann Mardenborough, Mark Shulzhitskiy and Alex Brundle) by seconds. GTE categories also saw both AF Corse entries taking pole in both their Pro and Am ventures, with #73 Corvette and #94 Aston Martin tailing the Pro car and two Aston Martins tailing the Am car way behind within six positions. The Dempsey team qualified seventh in the GTE Am category and 41st overall out of 54 cars (not counting the withdrawn #99 Aston Martin and the ZEOD RC).

Electric Energy; ZEOD RC (Zero Emission On-Demand Race Car) of Nissan winding down the Mulsanne. It finally set a fastest time of 3:50.185 out of three qualifying sessions after an endless wave of woes and was driven by Lucas Ordóñez, Wolfgang Reip and Satoshi Motoyama. (Image: Build Race Party)

Also note that the ZEOD RC has also completed its full-electric lap of Sarthe and also reached the 300 kmh (186 mph) barrier down the Mulsanne, despite the earlier problems that suffered it. NISMO's determination to make this Ridge Racer-ish car run the race's full distance made it clear that ZEOD RC had what it takes to make another set of all-electric laps at the Sarthe. Video available here.


Flag of Honor; Fernando Alonso took the honor of waving the French flag. The French flag itself is Le Mans 24 Hours's language of "boogity, boogity, boogity!" (Image credit visible)

The race started with F1 driver Fernando Alonso taking the honor of waving the French flag, and with the Toyota LMP getting the holeshot out of all LMPs, and Audi and Porsche battled just behind the Toyota. Unfortunately after five laps of racing, ZEOD RC, the Garage 56 entry of this year must walk out from the race after suffering a transmission failure. I rooted them to stay longer in a race but unfortunately the car that's driven by Satoshi Motoyama, Lucas Ordonez and Wolfgang Reip (the latter actually took the wheel) with a big prospect of being the all-electric racer had to end its run... AARGH!

More first hour drama follows as the #8 Toyota driven by Nicolas Lapierre spun out at the Mulsanne chicane exit and later #14 Porsche that unexpectedly slowed down because its pit lane speed limiter switched on unexpectedly and Neel Jani, the driver at that time, had issues in trying to turn it off. The second hour of the race saw raining conditions and that some cars pitted in for tire changes. Unfortunately in Mulsanne section things went awry for #3 Audi, #8 Toyota and the GTE Am AF Corse Ferrari driven by Sam Bird as they were involved in a crash with the Toyota aquaplaning under braking. Beforehand, the rain also caught the victim in a form of hydroplaned KCMG Oreca which battled against the Jota Zytek as it bumped the tire barriers in the first Mulsanne chicane. Fortunately in the LMP1 accident, the Toyota was still alive while it was all goodbye for the Audi and the GTE Am AF Corse as they were the next retirees of the race.

First hours in a picture; Above is Neel Jani, Swiss driver of #14 Porsche putting his WTF face due to its pit lane speed limiter switched on, below is the KCMG Oreca 03 spinning out, costing it its stay on the race after the car crashed beforehand.

Shortly after the green, the rain returned and more chaos ensued, this time for Murphy Prototypes and Greaves Motorsport where both collected one another while spinning as they exit Tertre Rouge, bringing the Safety Car once more. As the rain tapered off and racing resumed once more, the remaining Toyota and pursuing Porsches were now on different pit stop sequences, allowing Timo Bernhard and later Brendon Hartley to briefly take the overall race lead before #7 Toyota took the lead for the remainder of the race. From this point on, the battle ensued in certain categories where Audi and Porsche fought for position in LMP1 and Porsche and Corvette in GTE Pro class. As the sun set, the former Red Bull F1 team star Mark Webber had his hand dirty hours later to drive the #20 Porsche, with Toyota continuing the lead and two Audis tailing.

The LMP2 battle was also spiced up with Race Performance and Signatech Alpine fighting for category lead before joined by the #35 OAK Racing Ligier which drivers consist of GT Academy graduates Jann Mardenborough and Mark Shulzhitskiy plus Mark Brundle at the fourth hour, following the retirement of KCMG Oreca, and the competition in GTE Pro was no different with four different makers fighting for the lead that was up for grabs. Yet again, the #14 Porsche LMP1 was cursed by Regina Mills experienced fuel pressure problems and went to the garage before going back to the race.

One of the perks of driving in any 24-hour races, especially Le Mans 24 Hours, is that you race in the midnight where there's less to none lightning at certain parts of the track, greatly requiring your focus.

A variety of things happen during the night, like how #7 Toyota extending its category lead over its adversaries Audi and Porsche, how #35 Ligier took its lead after battling Race Performance and Signatech, how the GTE Pro fight for the lead was played out with #51 AF Corse, #97 Gulf Aston Martin and #74 Works Corvette playing cat and mouse with each other until the Corvette suffered problems that the cat and mouse game was left with AF Corse and Gulf Aston Martin playing, and how two GTE Am Aston Martins extend their lead, except that the #98 had its power steering failed and had to give its lead to the #95 that was behind it. Sadly for Team Dempsey, their spinning tires when exiting the pits granted them nothing but penalty that costed them their race, to which the black Porsche somehow not sponsored by Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital ( :v ) had to drop to seventh.

#7 Toyota had a comfortable lead for approximately nine hours, until its wiring loom melted and lost drive after Arnage before it went for a full stop alongside the barriers. At that time, the pit crew also lost contact to the car and, there you go, Regina Mills mechanical failures brought the game-changer, and #2 was the new leader at the time the Toyota retired. Yet, the leader also suffered a problem in which its turbocharger was failed and had to be replaced on the pit garage, causing them to drop to third, but Audi still took the lead, this time the #1 car did, with #20 Porsche tailing behind a lap. The #74 Corvette also had to abandon its "cat and mouse" game between GTE Pro top placers #51 AF Corse and #97 Aston Martin due to the failed alternator belt, and that it costed the car three laps and later the Aston Martin with power steering failures, ending the "cat and mouse" victory to the GTE Pro AF Corse and allowed them to put on their trollface expression to both and the #92 Porsche which enjoyed the second place in the class.

As the daylight came, #72 GTE Am entry of SMP Racing crashed in the Porsche Curves, damaging the barriers in process and forced not only the entry's retirement but also a lengthy yellow flag, which included safety cars and a safety zone rule as the barriers underwent reparations post-crash, with more woes to LMP1 where the #1 Audi forced to perform its lengthy second turbocharger replacement, giving the lead to the #20 Porsche in process, and, in LMP2, both Ligiers from OAK Racing (GT Academy guys :D) and Thiriet by TDS Racing were forced to perform repairs of their engine, brake, and suspension respectively (the former had two mentioned parts repaired). Team Dempsey also gave its all to maintain its sixth place in class from the JMW Ferrari.

#58 GTE Am Sofrev ASP Ferrari stuck in the gravel of Ford Chicane after spinning out. The car is driven by three Frenchmen Anthony Pons, Soheil Ayari, and Fabien Barthez. The last name mentioned is France soccer national team's goalkeeper who puts his interest to motorsports and joined the ranks of "star" drivers like former F1 racer Mark Webber in Porsche LMP1, former The Stig Ben Collins in GTE Am Krohn Ferrari and "Dr. McDreamy" Patrick Dempsey in GTE Am Dempsey-Proton Porsche.

#20 Porsche's overall lead didn't last for long as it suffered from a broken anti-roll bar and was forced to the garage, with the #14 also forced to go to the garage after it suffered mechanical failures, abruptly ending Porsche's Le Mans run even though that the #20 car did drove the final lap. This meant #2 Audi's lead, followed by #1 Audi and the last Toyota standing; the #8 Toyota. The sole LMP1-L entry of Rebellion Racing snuggled to fourth, with the #12 being the remaining Lola-Toyota-powered Rebellion. Thiriet Ligier and Jota Zytek were also met head-on and eventually met the LMP2 leader G-Drive/OAK Racing/GT Academy (whatever you see fit -_-) Ligier, making it a three-way battle of Harry Tincknell, Tristan Gommendy, and Alex Brundle. Was it just me or I felt that the battle was a... sandwich, driver-wise?

By the time the GT Academy Ligier slowed down, the sandwich broke and two cars behind it taken its place, with Thiriet leading the LMP2 and the #35 underwent engine repairs, drawing themselves out of the contention. The top two LMP2 cars finally changed their drivers for the final time, which can be described in the following ToQGer fashion:

Get it? (Image:



Say what you want, but the battle in the LMP2 has taken lots of attention, with profits on popcorns, sodas, and other snacks around the world increasing just to see the battle between the Zytek and the Ligier, two of which are powered by Nissan. Finally, Zytek has made the Ligier hand down the lead and Olivier Turvey took the class lead in the closing minutes of the race.


Sweet Victory; Audi started the race behind Toyotas and got overtaken by Porsche due to its in-race woes, yet they managed to take their victory once again (Image: Motor Authority)

And after a series of hot mess qualifying session dramas and the grueling battle in the 24-hour race, Audi has once again taken the victory of the 82nd edition of the race. Swiss Marcel Fässler, German André Lotterer, and Frenchman Benoît Tréluyer has claimed their victory with its teammate, the #1 Audi of Dane Tom Kristensen, Spaniard Marc Gené and Brazillian Lucas di Grassi tailing behind albeit its three-lap gap to the lead, and the last Toyota standing of Brit Anthony Davidson, Swiss Sébastien Buemi and Frenchman Nicolas Lapierre being LMP1 podium's cherry topping in third.

Face of the Rebellion; Rebellion ran the 24-hour race without any problems compared to LMP1-H cars (Image: Rebellion Racing's official site)

Rebellion Racing's #12 guaranteed fourth, while even though that they are the sole LMP1-L entry due to Lotus's exit, Rebellion's attrition-free clean race made them this far and is deserved to be saluted. I just wish that there were more LMP1-L entries this year because having just Rebellion Racing's Rebellion R-One seemed like that LMP1-L isn't enough. The other Rebellion, the #13, retired after 73 laps. The only underlying question now is "was the #13's retirement another case of '#13 car always have bad luck' or not?"

True Victor; Jota Sports ran a tight race against Thiriet by TDS Racing and G-Drive by OAK Racing throughout the race, fighting for LMP2 lead (Image:

The LMP2 is won by Jota Sport's Zytek driven by Brits Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Olivier Turvey with Thiriet by TDS Racing's Ligier of Frenchmen Pierre Thiriet, Ludovic Badey and Tristan Gommendy in second, and completing the class's podium is Signatech Alpine of Frenchmen Paul-Loup Chatin and Nelson Panciatici plus Brit Oliver Webb. Three different chassi, one engine dominance: Nissan. It's sad to see the GT Academy guys ended their Le Mans story in fifth due to the last-hour attritions, including the tire puncture, but having these guys racing, even leading the whole night is a bless. I demand a victorious revenge next year in LMP1 with a rotation of these three drivers plus Lucas Lucas Ordóñez and Wolfgang Reip knowing that Nissan will be there with its LMP1 attire next year, but even with that bombshell, the bottom line doesn't change: LMP2 finishers 1-5 are powered by Nissan, ha! :D

Winning it was Red; #51 AF Corse, at the hands of Gianmaria Bruni, won the GTE Pro class after a midnight game of "cat and mouse" with Corvette, Aston Martin, and Porsche. (Image: Timezone Forums)

In GTE Pro class, the #51 AF Corse Ferrari that took the race's pole position in class won the race all thanks to the solid teamwork of Italians Gianmaria Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella and Finn Toni Vilander with the remaining two places filled by #73 Corvette of Jan Magnussen, Antonio García and Jordan Taylor and #92 Team Manthey Porsche of Marco Holzer, Frédéric Makowiecki and Richard Lietz. Despite this ending, the cat-and-mouse game of the three plus the Aston Martin that went overnight was breathtaking, and this kind of game lived up the midnight of La Sarthe. The Corvette C7.R race car is also the one to be also saluted for its great results.

Dedicated Victory; #95 Aston Martin won the GTE Am class with its all-Dane lineup of Heinemeier Hansson, Poulsen and Thiim, all dedicated to the late Allan Simonsen (Image: Aston Martin's official site)

Finally in the GTE Am class, the All-Dane #95 Aston Martin Racing car driven by David Heinemeier Hansson, Kristian Poulsen, and Nicki Thiim took the well-deserved victory dedicated to the late Allan Simonsen, with the #88 Porsche of Christian Ried, Klaus Bachler and Khalid Al Qubaisi, and the #61 AF Corse Ferrari of Luis Perez Companc, Marco Cioci and Mirko Venturi completed the podium. If only Team Dempsey didn't get a penalty, they would likely be in the podium finish, but nevertheless they have done a great job, even though their finish isn't better than last year's fourth place.

Overall, this year's Le Mans race has been declared one of the most interesting years yet, with the return of the legend, the infinite number of trainwrecks, and the battle for positions in all categories. With the new era of Le Mans, I hope that the next year's race will have more drama, especially with Lotus finished its T129 LMP1-L car that denied this year's race due to development and Nissan announced its LMP1 competitor for next year.

I would also apologize for the maximum lateness of this post to the end of this year's Le Mans. My college life has been brutal to the point that I couldn't succeed at making an application for one of the modules. Well, better late than never, right? In the end, I'd like to conclude this post with a "Thank you" video from Audi, honoring its LMP1 competitors...

See you at next year's Le Mans 24 Hours!