Holy shit, it is without a doubt the best car I’ve ever driven
I even have video evidence, but I’m dumb: I know the Session can autodetect orientation, but for some dumb reason I didn’t think UP or DOWN only. I saw a picture of one mounted to the side of a helmet and although I have a full on helmet mount, it wasn’t on my helmet because earlier I’d decided to test the Session alone. I did not rotate the camera 90 degrees in the mount cause I’m dumb. I wasn’t entirely expecting this drive and my camera was already set up on a suction mount on the side of my car so I grabbed it quickly and put it on sideways. So here is terrible profile video (when google finishes rotating it) evidence that I did indeed drive this car:
Here are my thoughts in “I’m tired so a bulleted list will do” form:
Holy. Fucking. Shit. I realize I can be labeled as a bit of an S550 Mustang fanboy at this point, having owned 2, but this car was without a doubt the best car I’ve ever driven, and here’s why:
- Power: it is really fast. Does it feel like 100 hp more than my GT? Maybe, I’d have to drive it more to give a better answer. The redline at 8500 RPM MY GAWD HOW IS THIS REAL?! I’m sure a lot of the “it feels faster” can be attributed to the long gearing. First gear must go close to 60, I didn’t feel a need to shift until the big sweeper at the turnaround, and I think it would have been fine in first the whole course. My GT redlined in 2nd before the finish, I think the GT350R was around 6k RPM at that point.
- Handling: The car feels very, very light on its feet. It felt almost STS Miata-like. Steering is quick with very good response. I drove a Focus RS a little later (more on that soon), it wasn’t quite that level of responsive but not far off. I noticed zero body roll. Today’s course had a lot of aggressive direction changes and the GT350R was in a different LEAGUE from my GTPP. For reference, I was nervous as hell to drive it and I still ripped off a 56 second run while in my own car that I drive extremely aggressively I only managed 55.5 or so. With another run or two I am positive I could have been at least a second faster than I was in the GT, maybe even more if I wasn’t intimidated by it being someone else’s very expensive car.
Some other thoughts:
- The sound is orgasmic. The redline is insanity, it’s straight up irresponsible. I want to marry this motor
- These are recaros done right. Every FoST I’ve been in with Recaros, and the Focus RS I drove later, feel way too tight. I’m big and I was comfortable
- I was very impressed with the tires. Good job Michelin. I just looked it up and they’re 180 TW, so I guess that’s not surprising. I wonder how it would do on RE-71Rs?
- I can’t get over how light it felt. I got out of it thinking it felt 500 pounds lighter than mine, but it’s really more like 200. Quick steering, the magical suspension, and the lighter weight really come together well
- The clutch is weirdly light. Like, annoying Honda clutch light. I thought that was weird.
- I didn’t get a chance to poke around too much, but the way the controls differ from mine is interesting. The toggle switches on the center console are different with the far right being exhaust and the one to the left of it being launch control IIRC. I think all the performance stuff (drive modes, traction control) is done in the center of the gauge cluster. I left it all in whatever the owner had set up, and there was a screen showing what mode the exhaust, suspension, steering, etc were in that doesn’t exist in my car.
- I cannot thank the owner enough. I wanted to ask for another run and I’m pretty sure he would have let me, but I didn’t want to be *that* guy. The only problem is I need a GT350 now...
About the RS...a new autocrosser came with his tuned Focus RS. He was at the previous event and had asked for tips, I offered to drive his car today and he obliged. He was running about 59 seconds, I pulled off a 56.5 in it. Thoughts:
- The tune has 2 step launch control, it’s fun
- Acceleration is impressive. Reasonably confident it’s faster than my car
- It drives like a FWD car for the most part. Reminded me a lot of driving my Sonic at autocross
- The tires suck for autocross. I know they were holding me back
- Steering response is really impressive. Fast and agile, made the care feel light and easy to place.
- It rotates reasonably well. I think he had it in drift mode for me. I would say most of the time it still feels like a FWD car, more than I’d expect, but it doesn’t understeer quite as bad as that would imply
- The combination of sitting low and further away from the wheel than I would like (owner asked me to not move the seat and I was happy to oblige) made the corners feel further away than my Mustang, which was odd
- The Recaros in it are too tight for me. I don’t know how many miles it has, and the owner is much thinner than I am so maybe the seats haven’t broken in for someone my size, but I could not live with them every day and be happy.
- Is it fast? Yes. Does it drive well? Absolutely. Would I buy one? Probably not. Sorry, for the money a Mustang GT is still better IMO
I have videos of my own car to share, they’re uploading now. Will post later.