Well, if those rather disturbing dreams I've been having lately about brain tumours are trying to tell me something, at least I can go to my grave happy that I've ticked off one of the major "must achieve" milestones on my life list.
Yes, last night I cracked the seven minute barrier around the Nurburgring Nordschleife on Project Gotham Racing 2, taking a full six seconds off my previous best. It was still quite a scrappy lap, with several missed apexes and a couple of minor excursions onto the grass, plus I dropped a second or two in the sequence of corners leading up to the mini-Karrussel, because I made the mistake of looking at my split time and eased off after seeing just how quick the lap time was, since I didn't want to stuff it into a barrier in the last quarter of the lap.
I checked my profile stats, and it "only" took me 61 hours and about 2800 miles of game play. I reckon about half of those miles and about a quarter of the time was on the Nurburgring itself, which works out to around something between 100 and 120 laps, which isn't bad, I suppose, given that there are so many corners, and that stuffing up one is guaranteed to take *at least* a second or two off your lap time.
Ironically, the biggest contributing factor for me being able to take so much time off my previous best was paying a visit to Ben Lovejoy's Nordschleife website and looking at his track guide to give me pointers on how to take the corners I most regularly have trouble with. I've been frequenting this website for quite a while now, ever since the infamous Top Gear piece where Jeremy Clarkson took a diesel Jaguar S-class around it in under 10 minutes and Olly (a workmate of mine) and I decided it would be rather cool to thrash around the track in reality.
I'm not entirely sure I'd ever want to do it in my car (I'd probably hire one, because as lovely as my 406 coupé is, with only 136bhp it might be a bit too slow, and I value it far too much to risk tanking it into an armco barrier), and I'd want to be able to lap it consistently in under 10 minutes on Forza Motorsport (i.e. without ever leaving the tarmac) before I'd ever want to consider doing it for real.
So that's my next videogame challenge: beating a 10 minute lap around the Nurburgring on Forza Motorsport. I wonder if that'll take another 100 laps? If so, I'm sure it'll be time well spent...