If there was one car I’d buy this game for just to drive, it’d be this one.
My love for the Lancia 037 is curious. I’d heard about it first as a WRC racer, one which had stuck with RWD whilst its rivals moved onto 4WD. Still, with the latter being relatively young the 037 performed well enough to capture the 1983 manufacturer’s title, which was generally considered more prestigious at the time. But it was outclassed as 4WD came further to the fore and, apart from a few notable exceptions, it has become the norm ever since.
4WD is my favourite drivetrain actually. I like the grip it affords, the best car I’ve seen in a video game is 4WD, my favourite car is 4WD, and in general I just feel safer if a car has it around.
So how can the last great 2WD rally racer possibly be one of my very favourite cars? Simple.
I sort of saw it one day at a motoring event with plenty of stuff in it. I saw it and just thought, “Wow. This thing is beautiful.” It was difficult to quantify how, since the way it’s all done doesn’t seem to lend itself to a good look, and yet…it’s just gorgeous.
Also, the owner put the whole boot of the car up, which in itself looked pretty spectacular, to reveal the innards within, including the supercharged 2.0L straight-4 engine. That’s always a good sign…a highly powerful, yet tiny engine.
And with that I fell in love with it. So much so that a while later I went and threw it up on GTP’s Cool Wall. It got many Sub-Zero votes…more than the rally cars from Lancia either side of it; the Stratos and the Delta. And I find that remarkable.
The Stratos is hugely celebrated and is a wonderful car in its own right, whilst the Delta S4 lies as one of the most important cars of Group B and its younger brother the Delta Integrale was Lancia’s most successful machine. But the 037 has often been left behind as a neglected middle child of the family.
Indeed, this effect has been so profound that the only two games I’d driven one in prior to this were Colin McRae Rally 3, which I’m rubbish at and even worse when in the 037, and GT Advance 2, which is an excellent game…but about as realistic as the chances of the dog I don’t have becoming PM.
So I relished the chance to try at last, in Forza 6, an environment where it could truly shine.
I was made to wait a while for it, if I’m honest. It didn’t get announced till the very last car update, and the pessimist in me refused to believe it would get in until it was actually set in stone.
It’s also the rather weaker Stradale version we have to deal with here, with just 202bhp. But if anything that means I can just enjoy the car more. I’m not always in the mood for a mad Group B spec Martini liveried replica, you understand.
The sound is fine, though obviously not being as souped up as it is it’s not the supercharged madness that you get from the rally car. There the whine totally dominates it, a totally unique sound quite unlike anything else you or I know. But this’ll do.
As for driving it, well I was being careful since I didn’t dare hit anything, for fear of hurting the 037’s brilliant body. In many ways though, this is the way to go anyway. Even with the lower power it’s still mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive so going all out is a difficult task with much peril ahead. You need to pay special care and attention to go fast in this thing, and if you do…well, the results are often noticeable.
If you keep this thing well within your grasp, it can hit so many turns, so perfectly. Rio de Janeiro’s full course is a labyrinth and yet the 037, apart from feeling rather shaky on bumps, took it in its stride so well. I even afforded myself a little slide on the wider bits where there really wasn’t much threat of anything going wrong at all.
In Forza 6’s economy it is sadly rather impractical. Quite apart from being slightly down on power, it costs a substantial 200,000 Cr. And even if you get one freshly powered up for, say, the Modern Sport Legends race, it seems a little outclassed by the cars around it…as I’ve found to my cost with the one I have.
I would have gone and put mine in a Martini livery but sadly I didn’t find one good enough for my liking. So I have one in a ZX Spectrum livery instead. It looks great, and the paintjob looks like naked carbon…which is awkward, since the 037 is made of kevlar reinforced with fibreglass.
But to worry about such practicalities is to miss the point of the 037. It’s built for rallying, for crying out loud…and who cares if you can’t do any such thing in this game, because the 037 was always best on tarmac anyway. So you know where you are with this car.
Some day I will make the one sitting in my garage closer to the Group B model that we all know and love. Some day I might take an 037 even further and see just how crazy I can get it to be. For now though, I’m just happy I can drive it in this. That’s the thing with Forza 6…it’s got everything you really want to drive.
Now bask in the beauty of the car in some of these pictures above…oh, and Rio’s not bad either.