Sunday, June 17, 2018

Project CARS 2: Remembering the "French Kiss of Death"

As much as you're enjoying Le Mans right now, here's something worth enjoying at home because thanks to the new Spirit of Le Mans pack on Project CARS 2, players got the chance to relive the rivalry as depicted from the legendary Le Mans film that starred Steve McQueen on it.

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Coined as the "French Kiss of Death", the Le Mans film sees Steve McQueen reenacting the legendary rivalry of the Porsche 917 and the Ferrari 512 at Le Mans and many years later, that rivalry is still regarded as a legend in the history of motorsports. With the rivals now at hand, I wonder what is like to be with them?

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We are already familiar with the tale of the Porsche 917 but the one that I drove earlier was the shorter K version. This is the LH version and it translates to "long tail" due to its longer rear shape compared to the K. Whereas the K can take on numerous races like Sebring or Monza, it was made specifically for Le Mans and this version generates more downforce than the previous 1969 one. They fitted it with the 4.9L engine but it was proven to be unreliable during endurance races. While it was capable of reaching 240mph at the Mulsanne, it was proven to be quite difficult to drive and it's clear that they prefer the 917K because they're much stable to get through.

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Nicknamed the "Coda Lunga", the Ferrari 512S the result of three months of creation penned by Mauro Forghieri. Powering it is an all-alloy V12 engine which produces slightly more than the 917 while it uses the same tubular space frame as the P4 and the 612. Its only shot at fame was winning Sebring and Kyalami at the Manufacturers' World Championship in 1970 and 1971 but because the 917s were proven to be a dominant force to be reckoned with, Ferrari thrown the towel on their 512 S and replaced it with the 312PB in 1972. Although not one of the most dominant Group 5 race cars ever built and not as successful as the 917, it remains a beauty to drive, despite the feeling that that's somewhat twitchy to drive.

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Checking through the stats, the Ferrari's got 10 more horsepower than the Porsche but because the Porsche is surprisingly lighter than the Ferrari, that said the 917 LH is faster than the Ferrari 512 S but this is no time for silly talks because while on the subject of the French Kiss of Death, the producers managed to provide drivers a 1970's recreation of Le Mans, just to give them what is like to drive at Le Mans during the 1970's and although the turns were unfamiliar for millennials like me, doing a historical reenactment with these machines are a sure fire way to get to know Le Mans from a different timeline and for historians, this is a welcome treat worth giving a try.

Having my Le Mans vibes on, I decided to take these two for a quick lap round 1970's Le Mans to see if that legend proves any point and here goes...



And here are the results...

1970 Ferrari 512 S - 3:29.144
1971 Porsche 917 LH - 3:23.780

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There is a clear saying that when times change, legends never die, and in the case of the rivalry between the Porsche 917 and the Ferrari 512 as reenacted by Steve McQueen in the Le Mans film, it all makes perfect sense why it was regarded to be one of the most iconic moments in both cinema and motorsports alike and it's great to have the 1970's layout of Le Mans provided so drivers can have some historical reenactment using cars like these. Looking back time, you'll know that these cars are worth beauty to behold and by reenacting the past, history goes like smooth clockwork and it really makes them believe at the stuff they love about motor racing.

Enjoy what remains at Le Mans right now, folks. You'll need it.

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