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article details
Author Jeff Palmer
Categories Audio/Video, TOV Lifestyle
Create Date March 16, 2005 08:00
Last Update March 16, 2005 08:10
Volume 13

It's no secret that we've been longtime fans of Japan's monthly series of Best Motoring videos. For over 10 years I've personally enjoyed the legendary "battles" that are staged in each issue, featuring your favorite J-spec hardware taking on the cars we could only hope to buy stateside.

Chapter 1 - Enduro Challenge

While the typical Best Motoring feature "battle" involves a 5-lap sprint at Tsukuba or perhaps a mindnumbing blast through the Touge, this one pits two classes of vehicles against each other in an enduro challenge race at Tsukuba. The upper classification of vehicles consists of four vehicles possessing "over 280ps": Mitsubishi EVO MR RS, Subaru WRX STi Spec C, NSX-R and BMW M3 CSL (360hp). The second class is the "under 250ps" class, and that is made up of the Honda S2000, Mazda RX-8 Type S, and the Integra Type R. The enduro puts all of the cars through two 20 minute heats, with a brief cooldown period and driver switch. To make things interesting, each of the cars are fitted with oil and water temperature readouts and are limited to a max water temperature of 110° C and a max oil temp 140° C. If they exceed these limits, they are penalized points. They earn points by setting the fastest time attack lap, deviation from that time during the heat, heat results, and fuel economy, For those who want to wait to see the video, I won't spoil the results, but they are a bit of a surprise in one of the classes.

Chapter 2 - Porsche Carrera GT First Drive

If Gan-san wasn't already one of the luckiest guys in the world, now you may envy him even more. Apparently he was due to take delivery of a Carrera GT this past fall, but before he got his, he was able to take one out to the Suzuka Circuit and get a little taste of what his future ride would be like. As expected there's some great in-car and exterior videography of the car and the naturally-aspirated V10 at full song sounds incredible. Gan-san's commentary is always interesting and while he's overall very favorable about the Carrera GT, he does offer a few points of critique as well.

Chapter 3 - Mitsubishi EVO MR Time Attack Battle

In this segment, Best Motoring pits two rally racers (Fumio Nutahara and Gilles Panizzi) against two circuit drivers in a Time Attack Battle. They all take turns driving an EVO around the short course of the Hero Sinoi Circuit - each having 5 laps to set the fastest lap. In this segment it's interesting seeing the contrasting driving styles and how they impact lap times.

Chapter 4 - Ferrari Challenge Stradale Super Test

This chapter features over $1M in exotic machinery duking it out for the title of top supercar. The Lamborghini Gallardo has won the past two supercar shootouts, so in addition to the Gallardo, the Challenge Stradale is being pitted against a standard Ferrari F360 Modena F1, Porsche 911 GT3 Club Sport, BMW M3 CSL, and Honda NSX-R. The segment opens with a static introduction of the Challenge Stradale, followed by a few shakedown laps at Twin Ring Motegi's East Course with Naoki Hattori offering his commentary from behind the wheel. I've been fortunate enough to have driven a Challenge Stradale on a circuit, and Best Motoring's typical excellent camera and audio work really provides a good feel for what the car's really like to drive.

Following the brief Motegi segment, the actual comparison testing (which takes place at the Itabe high speed oval course) opens with testing the 0-400m (~1/4 mile), 0-1km, and max speed of each car. Actually, BM wasn't allowed to test the standing start acceleration times of the Gallardo. I can only surmise that this is due to the fact that the Gallardo has put up relatively lackluster figures in similar tests by other publications. Instead, the BM crew quotes Lamborghini's figures for 0-400m and 0-1000m. Cars with launch control (Challenge Stradale and BMW M3) are tested two times, once with the launch control active, and once with it deactivated. Despite being down by at least 80ps against the competitors, the NSX-R actually puts forth a pretty good showing - My favorite quote regarding the venerable NSX: "Wow! Cornering G's are enormous! My vision is actually affected." Apparently the downforce generated by the NSX-R is quite astounding.

Next, the cars are paired up in a rolling "midrange acceleration battle". It's quite interesting to be able to see the real world, side by side differences between the various cars, particularly considering the contrasts in design philosophies. Unfortunately the NSX-R's disadvantage in terms of outright power comes to light in this comparison.

The remainder of this battle is left for a future issue of Best Motoring International. I look forward to seeing that one in my mailbox.

Chapter 5 - Subaru Rally Meet

This brief segment features Petter Solberg and Mikko Hirvonen in some sort of exhibition hosted by Subaru in a parking lot. This is one of those segments that seems to have been inserted to pad up the content a little bit, but nevertheless it's worth a look, particularly if you're a WRC or Subaru fan.

Video Sampler

Download this compilation of scenes from Best Motoring International Volume 13.

Windows Media V9 - 8.03MB

DivX 5.2.1 - 7.59MB
Right Click and "Save Target As..."

Conclusion

All in all, I think this episode of Best Motoring International was pretty entertaining. Hard-core Hondaphiles might want for a bit more H-car action, but the NSX-R appears in two of the features, albeit playing more of a supporting role. There is plenty of eye and ear candy but I always enjoy the more technical segments presented by Best Motoring, and this episode probably could have used a tiny bit more substance in that area as well, so overall I'm giving this one an 8.7 out of 10.

This Just In

I suppose it's already been nearly a month since Best Motoring Volume 13 hit my mailbox. I know that because the latest Hot Version International just arrived, and from what I can see on the cover it appears to be a dandy. The features include a "10000 RPM Battle", and and "S2000 Mega Test & Battle" which pits the '04 vs. Mark I S2000s. Stay tuned for our review of this video.

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