May 22, 2012 4:48 PM |
Posted By: HenryCatchpole
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by 4 members
Last week I unashamedly lucked out and got to spend three days in a McLaren MP4-12C. There are lots of moments that will stay with me for some time and most of them will appear elsewhere, but here are a few random ones...
The comfiest uncomfy-looking chairs in the ‘Juice Bar’ at McLaren
I think I preferred these stands before they were repainted but I still love Reims.
Some people would say I’d got my priorities wrong in this photo, but I don’t think so. There's something oh so cool about a Peugeot 505 GTD with a Dangel 4x4 conversion. Or is it just me...?
Someone at McLaren reads my @HenryCatchpole Twitter feed…
Only in Monaco would you go in search of Pizza and find not just a Ferrari 599 but none-other than a 599 GTO parked/dumped like this half on the pavement…
But there was one moment that will stay with me for a long time. High up on a col shooting the video (which I’m really rather excited about), the road was dusty and the drops were big (although to be honest I only really thought about that later. And shivered slightly). The MP4-12C doesn’t really slide very much or very often. You can change its balance and work it through a corner but it’s got so much grip that it never really lets go on the road. (Don’t think that makes it boring though; I’d driven for miles and miles on an amazing piece of road near Dijon the day before and been utterly immersed in just how fast you can drive the McLaren. You shouldn’t be able to trail-brake late and hard from big speeds into tight corners in a mid-engined supercar, let alone enjoy it, but you can. It’s incredible).
There’s a lovely feeling in a rally car on gravel when you get it sliding on the way into the corner. You flick the nose, the tail moves too and all four wheels drift as one so that you arrive at the apex pointing out of the corner. It’s one of the best feelings in a car in my opinion. However, I didn’t expect it to happen in the MP4-12C in the thin air nearly 2500 metres up on this col. As I say, the road was dusty because it was the first day this year the raod had been open. I’d driven the corner a couple of times before and this time I carried the same amount of speed into it, but my line of attack had changed slightly because of where Sam was filming from. I turned in hard and after the initial dart of the nose into the corner I could instantly feel that lightness underneath when you know that all four tyres are floating across the surface of the road. A fast four-wheel drift on the way into the corner is a bit of a heart-stopper on a narrow road to be honest and there’s not a great deal to do other than add a bit of lock and try to enjoy the ride while you wait for the grip to return. It was oversteering very slightly as the snow pole went past the nose of the car and then grip was back and I carried on into the sunset. (Eat your heart out Troy Queef!)
Then Sam crackled over the radio and asked if I could do just one more pass as he didn’t quite get the shot.