TEST DRIVE LE MANS: GAME GUIDE

by

Jamie Stafford/Wolf Feather
feather7@ix.netcom.com



Initial Version Completed: July 4, 2002
FINAL VERSION Completed:   July 10, 2002

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CONTENTS
Spacing and Length
Permissions
Introduction
Game Modes
Tuning
Tips
Circuit Details: Le Mans
Circuit Details: Test Course (Bugatti)
Contact Information

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SPACING AND LENGTH
For optimum readability, this driving guide should be
viewed/printed using a monowidth font, such as Courier.
Check for font setting by making sure the numbers and letters
below line up:

1234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012
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This guide is nearly 20 pages in length using Courier 12 font
in the Macintosh version of Microsoft Word 98.

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PERMISSIONS
Permission is hereby granted for a user to download and/or
print out a copy of this driving guide for personal use.
However, due to the extreme length, printing this driving
guide may not be such a good idea.

This driving guide may only be posted on: FeatherGuides,
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Gameguru, cheatingplanet.com, neoseeker.com, RobsGaming.com,
ps2fantasy.com, gamespot.com, and vgstrategies.com.  Please
contact me for permission to post elsewhere on the Internet.

Should anyone wish to translate this driving guide into other
languages, please contact me for permission(s) and provide me
with a copy when complete.

Remember:  Plagiarism in ANY form is NOT tolerated!!!!!

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INTRODUCTION
Shortly after I bought my original PlayStation console in
1999, I happened upon Test Drive Le Mans.  I remember really
liking the game at the time, although my driving skills were
not truly up to par at that time, so I eventually sold off
the game.

Since then, I have upgraded to a PlayStation2 and greatly
improved my driving skills.  I have also owned Le Mans 24
Hours (for PS2) since its release in August 2001 and have
recently been thinking that it would be great to reacquire
Test Drive Le Mans to see how the two games compare,
especially in their renditions of the famous Le Mans circuit
(La Circuit de la Sarthe).

Stepping backward from the PS2 Le Mans 24 Hours to the PSX
Test Drive Le Mans is very a eye-opening experience.  In
Quick Race mode, where car adjustments such as fuel and
aerodynamics are not available, car handling is VERY twitchy,
to the extent that even the cars with the best handling
characteristics are simply not driveable.  Some of the other
game modes, however, DO allow for car adjustments; if the
right combination can be found, the cars can be driven fairly
well... although the cars will still be somewhat twitchy in
terms of handling.  Le Mans 24 Hours is also more of a
simulation-style game, whereas Test Drive Le Mans is much
more of an arcade-style game with a (very) few tuning and
adjustment options available.

What disappointed me most, however, is the 'lack of
faithfulness' to the real-world Le Mans circuit.  Le Mans 24
Hours does an excellent job of this; real-world drivers can
complete a lap at Le Mans in about 3:40, give or take a few
seconds.  Test Drive Le Mans, however, severely compresses
the Le Mans circuit, to the point that I currently have a
record lap time of 1:24.86 :-(   This is most likely due to
the limitations of the PlayStation itself (the console for
which the game was designed), but this also means that there
is no true sense of the immense length of the world-famous
Mulsanne/Hunaudieres straight; also, there are also virtually
NO elevation changes in Test Drive Le Mans.  For those with
any level of familiarity with Le Mans 24 Hours, the Le Mans
circuit in Test Drive Le Mans is definitely recognizable, but
also very much an abomination :-(

Just to clarify, Test Drive Le Mans is definitely NOT a bad
game!!!!!  However, despite being an arcade-style game, Test
Drive Le Mans definitely does require better-than-average
driving skills.  As such, it is NOT a good game for young
children, as they will quickly become frustrated at their
lack of success (especially in Quick Race mode).  Some
measure of patience is certainly required in any driving
game, but Test Drive Le Mans requires a lot more patience
than any other driving/racing game I have ever played -
either on PlayStation OR PlayStation2.

Portions - primarily the two Circuit Details sections - of
this guide have been lifted from my Le Mans 24 Hours Game
Guide and Le Mans 24 Hours: Le Mans 2000 Guide, with
alterations made where appropriate.  In the Le Mans and Test
Course (Bugatti) circuit details, where the corner/segment
names are known, I have translated these names to English and
dropped any accent markings, as standard text-only Internet
documents are based on the English-language ASCII character
set.  Also, circuit detail information is for dry-conditions
daylight driving; appropriate modifications are required for
nighttime driving and driving in other weather conditions.

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GAME MODES
There are several game modes available in Test Drive Le Mans.
To check progress in the various game modes (except
Multiplayer Mode), go to Game Progress (available within
Options from the Main Menu).

Le Mans: This mode comprises both Amateur and Professional
difficulties.  The options here are 12-minute, 24-minute, 2-
hour, and 24-hour races at Le Mans (La Circuit de la Sarthe).
The 12-minute, 24-minute, and 2-hour races condense a full
24-hour race into the chosen time frame, so that events in Le
Mans mode are run during both day and night.  Once a
difficulty level has been selected, players must choose a
team for which to drive based upon offers via e-mail; each
team has a particular car, so team choice affects the car
available for the big race.  Each team's car can be first
tested, using the Test Course (based upon the real-world
Bugatti Circuit).  Qualifying is a good option, used to
attain the best possible starting position for the big race.

Arcade:
   Challenge: There are six different Challenge series.
      There are no opportunities to adjust car
      characteristics before a race, and there are also
      initially only two cars from which to choose.  New
      cars are unlocked as you progress through Challenge
      series.  A win is required to advance to new
      Challenges.
   Time Attack: There are six different Time Attack series.
      There are no opportunities to adjust car
      characteristics before a race, and there are also
      initially only two cars from which to choose.  New
      cars are unlocked as you progress through Time Attack
      series.  A win is required to advance to new
      Time Attack series.  However, as you progress through
      Time Attack, the object is to try to set new lap
      records.  Also, there is a countdown timer, which is
      reset every time you pass through a Checkpoint; if you
      fail to reach the next Checkpoint before the timer runs
      out, you will automatically fail/lose that Time Attack
      attempt, and must restart.
   Quick Race: This is certainly the most unforgiving mode in
      the game, as there are NO opportunities to adjust car
      characteristics before a race.  The player DOES get to
      choose the venue for the race, however.

Championship Mode: Once a team has been selected for the
      ten-race season, the action begins!!!  For each race,
      players are given the option to qualify for the ten-
      lap races.  Points are awarded in FIA style:
         First Place:  10 points
         Second Place: 6 points
         Third Place:  4 points
         Fourth Place: 3 points
         Fifth Place:  2 points
         Sixth Place:  1 point
      This means that, with twelve cars in the field, only
      half the entrants will receive points in each race.
      The object is to have the most possible points at the
      end of the season to thus win the Championship :-)

Multiplayer Mode: Le Mans, 3-race Championship, and 5-race
   Championship for two players at once.

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TUNING
Tuning options in Test Drive: Le Mans are extremely limited.
Here are the options presented (only in certain game modes)
and what adjustments will do to affect car handling:

Aerodynamics
   Aerodynamics affects the airflow over the car, which in
      turn affects car handling in acceleration, top-end
      speed, and cornering ability.
      Low: This setting will provide the fastest-possible
         acceleration and highest-possible top-end speed, but
         cornering will be more difficult.
      Medium: This is the 'middle ground' setting, and may be
         just fine for many players.
      High: This is the opposite of the Low setting, thus
         resulting in a low top-end speed (important on long
         straightaways, such as at the Mulsanne Circuit) and
         slower acceleration (important from a standing start
         and when exiting slow corners), but will improve
         cornering ability.

Fuel: Players can select the amount of fuel a car has at the
   beginning of a race or qualifying attempt, and how much
   fuel to put into the car when serviced in Pit Lane during
   a race.  The amount of fuel does affect car handling, as a
   full fuel tank weighs more than a nearly-empty fuel tank.
   Car handling will most be affected in acceleration from a
   standing start or from slow corners, and in cornering.

Steering: This affects how quickly the car reacts to steering
   inputs by the driver/player.  For many players, this can
   usually be kept at its neutral/middle setting.

Tires
   Hard Slicks: Hard Slicks have the longest possible tire
      durability, but provide the least amount of pavement
      grip.  Only experts should use Hard Slicks.
   Soft Slicks: Soft Slicks are the exact opposite of Hard
      Slicks, providing maximum pavement grip but the
      shortest durability.  Using Soft Slicks will mean more
      trips to Pit Lane just to change tires; also, off-
      course excursions (through sand and grass) will
      shorted tire durability through increased tire wear.
   Intermediates: These are good tires to use when the road
      conditions are damp.
   Wets: Wets should be used in rainy conditions.  The other
      tire compounds do not adequately shove the water out of
      the way to allow the car to move forward and corner as
      well as it should in wet conditions.

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TIPS
In most race modes, the player will always start from the
final position on the grid.  Once the race begins, passing
can legally take place; there is absolutely NO reason to wait
until crossing the Start/Finish Line to begin passing other
cars.  This can mean gaining valuable positions immediately,
as the other cars at the rear of the field tend to accelerate
quite slowly and/or make mistakes (such as knocking each
other off the circuit).

While Yellow Flags (slow and do not pass) and Blue Flags
(pull aside to let faster cars pass) are used in Test Drive
Le Mans, there are no penalties for not obeying the flags
shown.  Therefore, make use of Yellow Flags to pass one or
more cars as they are greatly slowed, and continue fending
off challengers even if the Blue Flag is shown.

Also relating to flags, the Oil Flag will occasionally
appear.  When it does, speed is still important, but
cornering is likely to be trickier than normal, possibly
resulting in a major spin (and thus possibly a collision).

To win the Le Mans Mode races, you need only win at any ONE
time period given.  Therefore, for fastest advancement
through the game, select the 12-minute race for each of the
car categories (GT2, Prototype, and GT1).  When you go to
Game Progress (in the Options selection from the Main Menu),
you will see that you have been credited with completing Le
Mans for the car category and difficulty level (Amateur or
Pro) selected.  For those stepping backward from Le Mans 24
Hours, this is different from LM24H, which requires winning
the Le Mans (and Petit Le Mans) races at ALL the time periods
provided in the game in order to attain the 100% game
completion rating.

At Arnage, there is a point about 2/3 through the course (in
the standard configuration; this is about 1/3 through the
course in the reverse configuration) where the barrier gives
way on the inside of a corner, revealing a nice wide patch of
grass.  To gain time and hopefully make a few passes, make
use of this grassy area.  However, the grass will cause the
car to slide, so it is best to turn sharply into the grass
well before the corner, and allow the slipperiness of the
grass and the momentum of the car to carry the vehicle
through this 'shortcut' to the pavement on the other side,
where the wheels will regain grip; it may be best to lift off
the accelerator while taking this 'shortcut.'  It is possible
that the car will bang the outside barrier on corner exit,
but it should only be a sideswipe which will not slow the car
much.  This is an excellent place to make passes (especially
around packs of traffic), as the official corner is a sharp
perpendicular turn, thus the CPU-controlled cars will slow
tremendously to clear the official corner.

Near the end of Maison Blanche, there is a tight left-right-
left segment.  Because races at Maison Blanche are typically
run at dusk, it is difficult to discern the corners, as the
barriers all look essentially the same.  Slowing a little is
certainly a good idea here until intimate familiarity of the
circuit is gained.  In the reverse configuration, this
segment is much easier to see, and can be cleared easily at
full acceleration unless encumbered by traffic.

Especially in Time Attack Mode, be careful about banging
other cars or bumping the barriers.  Time Attack Mode
requires placing first AND finishing each segment of the
given circuit before time expires.  One or two minor offs
during a Time Attack race will not usually be detrimental to
success.  However, banging a barrier or another car and
getting spun around WILL be detrimental to success; in this
case, restart.  This same advice also holds true for EVERY
race at Pro level.

For those stepping backward from Le Mans 24 Hours, Test
Drive: Le Mans does NOT have the bands of red lights to
indicate corners or the entrance to Pit Lane at the Le Mans
circuit.  Therefore, until intimate familiarity with the
circuit is attained, be wary of missing the Michelin and
Motorola Chicanes and instead banging the barriers.

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CIRCUIT DETAILS: LE MANS
This is without question the longest circuit of the game...
and quite likely the reason players buy or rent this game!!!
It is IMPERATIVE to learn this circuit flawlessly during
daylight conditions, as visibility is unbelievably poor at
night and in wet-weather conditions.

Turn 1 (Dunlop Curve): This is a rather nice right-hand fade
which can be taken flat-out.  However, it may be a good idea
to begin braking for Dunlop Chicane when exiting Dunlop
Curve.  An elevation change begins here.  Pit Exit rejoins
the main circuit at the entry to Dunlop Curve.

Turns 2-4 (Dunlop Chicane): Given the continual upward slope
through Dunlop Chicane, it is extremely easy to slip off the
pavement on either side of the circuit... and both sides are
filled with plenty of kitty litter.  Braking well before
entering the Dunlop Chicane is of UTMOST importance -
especially in wet conditions - as the corners of the chicane
are rather tight.  At the beginning of a race, all the
traffic can make this segment even more treacherous than it
would be normally - which should be enough incentive to try
to qualify on pole.

Straightaway: The significant hill crests as you pass
underneath the big Dunlop tire.

Turns 5-6 (Red Mound S): This left-right chicane begins just
after passing the Ferris Wheel (lit with bright red lights at
night) on the left side of the course, and is a good
reference point to use in picking your braking zone.  The
barriers are rather close to the pavement on both sides
through the chicane, so any off-pavement excursions will
certainly result in sliding along the rails; this is
especially important in case you carry too much speed through
this chicane.

Turns 7-9 (Red Mound Curve): This is a set of three right-
hand semi-corners which can usually be taken flat-out, unless
you find yourself encumbered by traffic.  However, keep a
tight line to the apex of each of the three semi-corners, or
you may find yourself with a few wheels in the sand and grass
on the outside of the course.  The outside of the final
corner is actually paved (where public roads form the major
portion of the circuit), so this can be used as a good swing-
out area if necessary, and can also be used to pass a small
group of cars on the inside of the corner; beware the outside
barrier here as you will be likely be carrying A LOT of
speed.

The 'Back Stretch:' Approximately one minute, forty seconds
is spent here on the back side of the circuit.  This is
without question the best place for drafting and passing
other cars.  The 'Back Stretch' (the Hunaudieres Straight) is
broken by two chicanes.

   Straightaway (Hunaudieres Straight - Part I): This is the
   longest straightaway of the circuit, and very good top-end
   speeds can be achieved here, especially if you were able
   to blast your way through Red Mound Curve without even
   tapping the brakes.  However, there is no room for error
   if you get involved in a three-abreast situation, as the
   barriers come almost directly up to the pavement.  During
   the day, look for the distance-to-corner markers or else
   you will miss Motorola Chicane (flashing red lights alert
   you to the chicane at night and in poor-visibility
   conditions).  All along this straightaway, make use of the
   draft if at all possible to increase your overall speed.

   Turns 10-12 (Motorola Chicane): This is the same chicane
   format as the Dunlop Chicane (right-left-right), but wider
   and without the hill.  Beware the barriers.  In poor
   visibility conditions, the first corner of the chicane is
   easily identifiable by the red lights; during the day,
   however, the chicane is very difficult to see from a
   distance, so be sure to look for the distance-to-corner
   markers.

   Straightaway (Hunaudieres Straight - Part II): Very good
   top-end speeds can be achieved here.  However, there is no
   room for error if you get involved in a three-abreast
   situation, as the barriers come almost directly up to the
   pavement.  During the day, look for the distance-to-corner
   markers or else you will miss Michelin Chicane (flashing
   red lights alert you to the chicane at night).  All along
   this straightaway, make use of the draft if at all
   possible to increase your overall speed.

   Turns 13-15 (Michelin Chicane): This is exactly like the
   Motorola Chicane, but is a left-right-left combination
   with a tighter initial turn.  In poor-visibility
   conditions, the first corner of the chicane is easily
   identifiable by the red lights; during the day, however,
   the chicane is very difficult to see from a distance, so
   be sure to look for the distance-to-corner markers.

   Straightaway (Hunaudieres Straight - Part III): Yet
   another long straightaway, but with a small fade to the
   right almost one-third of the way along its length.
   After clearing the small rise (similar to a bridge over a
   small country stream, about two-thirds of the way along
   the straightaway), look for the distance-to-corner markers
   for Mulsanne Curve.  All along this straightaway, make use
   of the draft if at all possible to increase your overall
   speed.

Mulsanne: If you can carry enough speed into Mulsanne and
have sufficient tire grip, you can essentially treat both
Mulsanne Hump and Mulsanne Curve as one long double-apex
corner by riding up on the inside rumble strip of Mulsanne
Curve.  Mulsanne Hump and Mulsanne Curve together essentially
form a 135-degree (double-apex) megacorner.  It is very easy
to go too wide exiting this megacorner, and CPU-controlled
cars often will find themselves in the sand trap, so keep
watch for such activity as you round Mulsanne Curve.

   Turn 16 (Mulsanne Hump): The distance-to-corner markers
   actually are for the following right-hand turn, but no one
   can afford to miss Mulsanne Hump, whose apex is almost
   exactly in line with the 100m marker and bounded on the
   left by a nasty barrier.

   Turn 17 (Mulsanne Curve): The distance-to-corner markers
   are actually for THIS corner.  This is a ninety-degree
   corner requiring moderate braking and a solid, clean
   racing line to keep out of the sand trap.  It may help
   to keep tight to the apex and roll the right tires up on
   the inside rumble strips; however, the barrier is just
   barely off the pavement, so do not edge TOO far toward
   the inside of the corner here, or your car will be bounced
   back across the pavement and possibly into the sand trap
   on the outside of Mulsanne Curve.

Straightaway: This straightaway has three fades to the right
along its length.  All along this straightaway, make use of
the draft if at all possible to increase your overall speed.
At the apex of the third fade, begin braking for the
Indianapolis Curve.

Turn 18 (Indianapolis Curve): This left-hand right-angle
corner can easily be missed, so use plenty of braking
beginning at the apex of the third fade along the previous
straightaway.  Do not cut this corner too sharp or you will
likely bang the barrier on the inside of the turn, which is
set rather close to the pavement.  Indianapolis Curve is
marked by bright red lights.

Turn 19 (Arnage Curve): After a very brief straightaway, this
is a right-hand right-angle corner.  The trick here is to NOT
come up to full speed following the Indianapolis Curve, thus
saving your brakes a little (which is extremely important in
endurance races).  Do not cut this corner too sharp or you
will likely bang the barrier on the inside of the turn, which
is set very close to the pavement.  If you go wide, say
'Bonjour' (daytime) or 'Bonsoir' (evening/nighttime) to the
outside barrier.  Likewise, if you carry too much speed over
the inside rumble strip, countersteer immediately to avoid a
spin (and that still may not help).  Arnage Curve is marked
by bright red lights.

Straightaway: This 'straightaway' has four fades (left-right-
left-right).  After the fourth fade, get ready for the fast-
approaching Porsche Curve.

'Chicane:' This next segment essentially forms an extra-wide
right-left-left-right (classic 'bus stop') chicane as it
leaves the public roads.  Extreme care is required here, as
the pavement is extremely narrow.

   Turn 20 (Porsche Curve): Light braking will likely be
   needed here, although - with a tight racing line - experts
   can probably blast through here at top speed if not
   encumbered by traffic.  An uphill rise begins here.

   Turn 21: The rise crests here as the course turns to the
   left.  The barrier on the left is very close to the
   pavement here.

   Turns 22-23: The course elevation drops at Turn 22 as the
   circuit turns to the left, making this corner more
   challenging than it would at first appear.  Turn 23
   follows immediately, turning to the right.  The left-side
   barrier is extremely close to the pavement through these
   two corners.

Turns 24-27 (Prairie): There are four significant semi-
corners (right-left-right-left) here.  Top speed can be
carried all the way through Prairie, but only with a flawless
racing line, else you risk dropping a wheel in the grass and
slowing yourself down.  On exiting Turn 27, the single yellow
line marking the Pit Entry begins on the right; often, even
the computer-controlled cars which are not going to Pit Lane
will be straddling or driving to the right of this Pit Lane
Line.

Turns 28-31 (White House): These tight left-right-left-right
S-curves are the finale of a rather lengthy lap of the Le
Mans circuit.  The pavement here is extremely narrow, making
safe passing impossible; if any passing is to be done here,
it is only by ramming another car off the pavement and into
the kitty litter.  The entire area is surrounded by massive
sand traps, so if you slip off the pavement, you will be
slowed almost to a snail's crawl, losing valuable time and
allowing those behind you to pass with the greatest of ease.
A VERY brief straightaway separates the first left-right
combination from the second.  Note that to keep your time in
this section to a minimum, you will need to make use of the
rumble strips on the inside of each corner; however, if you
come through ANY corner of White House carrying too much
speed (especially in wet racing conditions), the car will
bounce severely and perhaps spin or slide out into the kitty
litter.

Pit Entry: Just like White House, Pit Entry is a double-
chicane, so severe braking is required before reaching the
first corner.  Pit Entry is also surrounded by sand traps,
and the outside of the second corner of the double-chicane
has a barrier to protect cars in Pit Entry from out-of-
control cars sliding off the main circuit.

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CIRCUIT DETAILS: TEST COURSE (BUGATTI)
The Test Course in Test Drive: Le Mans is actually the real-
world Bugatti Circuit, the permanent section of the Le Mans
Circuit.  Bugatti is a rather technical circuit, so top-end
speed is generally not the best way to set up a car here.
Those familiar with the Nevers Magny-Cours F1 circuit will
certainly appreciate its similarity to the four semi-parallel
straightaways on the first half of the Bugatti circuit.

Turn 1 (Dunlop Curve): This is a rather nice right-hand fade
which can be taken flat-out.  However, it may be a good idea
to begin braking for Dunlop Chicane when exiting Dunlop
Curve.  An elevation change begins here.

Turns 2-4 (Dunlop Chicane): Given the continual upward slope
through Dunlop Chicane, it is extremely easy to slip off the
pavement on either side of the circuitŠ and both sides are
filled with plenty of kitty litter.  Braking well before
entering the Dunlop Chicane is of UTMOST importance as the
corners of the chicane are rather tight.  At the beginning of
a race, all the traffic can make this segment even more
treacherous than it would be normally.

Semi-parallel Straightaways: These four semi-parallel
straightaways can produce an unexpected aural effect.  Once
traffic stretches out all around the circuit, whenever you
are on the middle straightaways, you will almost certainly
hear cars speeding past you on the straightaways to either
side of you.

   Straightaway: The significant hill crests as you pass
   underneath the big Dunlop tire.

   Turn 5 (Chapel): This is a rather tight right-hand hairpin
   which will require moderate breaking on entrance.  Chapel
   begins immediately after passing the tall Ferris Wheel on
   the left.

   Turn 6 (Museum Curve): This is a wide left-hand hairpin
   with an extensive sand trap to the outside of the
   pavement.  Of the three consecutive hairpins, this is by
   far the easiest to handle, allowing for most cars to still
   carry some considerable speed through the hairpin, but
   braking is still required before entry.

   Turn 7 (Green Garage): Yet another tight right-hand
   hairpin requiring harsh braking.  If you miss your braking
   zone, you will find yourself beached in the kitty litter
   to the outside of the hairpin.

Turns 8-9 (Ox Way S): Hard braking is required here after the
fourth of the semi-parallel straightaways.   Beware the sand
traps to the outside of each corner, and make sure not to
overcompensate and roll through the grass on the inside of
the corners.  Turn 8 begins immediately after passing
underneath the Bridgestone bridge.

Turns 10-11 (Blues S): Brake early or Turn 10 will have you
either out in the kitty litter or spinning around in the
middle of the pavement.  The right-handed Turn 10 is rather
straightforward.

Turns 12-13 (Connection): Pit Entry is to the right
immediately before entering Connection, so beware of slower
cars here.  The Connection complex is extremely complex, as
the final chicanes and the Pit Entry of the Le Mans course
rejoin the Bugatti course here.  Just make two right-hand,
ninety-degree turns at a moderate pace (likely making good
use of the rumble strips) and you will soon find yourself
safely back on the Pit Straight.  The pavement here is
extremely narrow, making safe passing impossible; if any
passing is to be done here, it is only by ramming another car
off the pavement and into the kitty litter.

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CONTACT INFORMATION
For questions, rants, raves, comments of appreciation, etc.,
or to be added to my e-mail list for updates to this driving
guide, please contact me at: FEATHER7@IX.NETCOM.COM; also, if
you have enjoyed this guide and feel that it has been helpful
to you, I would certainly appreciate a small donation via
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address.

To find the latest version of this and all my other PSX/PS2
game guides, please visit FeatherGuides
(http://www.angelcities.com/members/feathersites/).  The
latest version will always be immediately available at
FeatherGuides, while other Web sites may lag behind by
several days in their regularly-scheduled posting updates.

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