Sunday, July 18, 2010

track test – lambos & porsches

Superleggera, Kettles and Turbos…
by Pierre Martins

They hosted another Supercar school at Kyalami a few Sundays ago. I was fortunate to get an invite to play instructor and was privileged to pilot a variety of cool machines at a decent pace around the track.

Lambo 1

scan2Yellow one. Nice car. Did two sessions in this car with ample opportunity to hoof it. Very, very nice car. Planted and composed, everywhere. It's the one with shorter ratios and more HP than the entry level jobby I drove last time.

A mate of mine flew up from Durban with his daughter for the day. A passenger ride in a Lamborghini was a dream come true for her and she thoroughly enjoyed herself, as you can see from the huge smile in the photo. (click on the pic) Nice birthday present for her.

PS - Did I mention it was a nice car...?

993 C4 Turbo

NC0358 There are very few pleasures in life equal to the sensation of a good-handling powerful turbo Porsche on full boost around a nice track like Kyalami. Manage the boost, time it to come in at the right places and you slingshot like a sunnafabitch out of Nashua corner, click the next slot up the shifter and hang on for the ride, hit the clamps briefly and peel into Sunset bend…

Feed the power back on and calculate the boost with your right foot so it hits you hard in the back as you exit Sunset. Catch that little tail slide and you know you are foooking off at a rate of knots. And believe you me, you kinda shit yourself a little when you realize your approach speed into Clubhouse corner as you hit the clamps...

Fantastic car!

996 C4S kettle

A kettle. Yes, a kettle. A thing that boils water…

Let's face it, all water-cooled nine-elevens are kettles. For old-school farts like me, the last honest-to-goodness true old school air-cooled jobby was the 993. After that they became kettles. Push a 996 hard on a track, wet sump and whatnot, long high speed sweeping corners and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out you might get oil starvation and we all know what's gonna happen when that happens.

But this particular car was nice to drive. Stock suspension was surprisingly adequate. I punted this puppy at a fairly decent pace, but kept a nervous eye on the oil pressure. Pop one of these engines and you throw the block away. Very, very costly exercise...

It's hard to have fun with that on your mind, especially when you're behind the wheel of another man's pride and joy.

993 C4S

NC0349 The Porsche 4WD thing works well on the 911 C4 Turbo, but normally aspirated 911? Well let's just a say I really didn't like it. It oscillates like a mofo and you never really get a proper feel from the front end.

Not my cup of tea. Gimme a 993 RWD or C4 turbo any day please.


NC0493 Wow! Yeah it's a kettle, but a different kettle of fish altogether, this one. It’s raw, yet refined. Very fast, very capable and does exactly what you ask from it, anywhere and everywhere.

All bullshit aside, if you want a proper driver's car for the street and track, this is it. Plenschhhh powah and then some, in fact, to put it mildly, it goes like stink in a straight line. And I gotta say the handling is superb. Front end goes where you point it. Hang the ass out coming out of Nashua, the Bowl and the Pit Corner…

Showboat where you want to. Drift it at will, muck around or go for serious lap times, this car will do exactly what you ask from it with a fairly good sense of precision. Nothing more, nothing less. That's what I love about it.

Black Lambo Superlegggeggegerra

NC0466 Another big WOW!

Massive improvement over the 'stock' Gallardos, methinks. On the track you feel the 80-odd kg's they shaved off with all the pretty carbon fibre bits & pieces. I'm no Lambo expert, but I tonked this thing properly for a good few laps and I gotta say it really IS all they've made it out to be. On a race track it really is a remarkable improvement.

Serious machine, this one. And the extra power puts this car into the 'rolling-your-foreskin-back' league of acceleration. On the down-side I found it too "new school". There is way too much electronic interference in this car. It's just too idiot-proof. Hell, I'm sure this thing would calculate and plot better racing lines for you if asked it to. But don't get me wrong, it's a serious track tool, I just don't like all them nanny aids in a track car...

But then, what do I know? I'm just one of those old farts who still believe you should first learn how to go around corners on your own ability as a driver before you start depending on all these modern day driver's aids and gimmicks.

Red MKII GT3, again

Got to drive this car again during the final session. If I had to pick a car on personal preference to drive all day long on a day like this, there would be no contest - I'd pick the GT3 every time. Come to think of it, with Superleggera money you can buy two MKII GT3’s - one for the street and one for the track and you’d still have enough change left to run both for a year…

Anyway, hope you enjoyed that.