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  •   Nigel Lawford reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    Colin Goodwin updated the cover photo for Maserati GranTurismo
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  •   Dan Goodyer reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Conceived amid the oil crisis of the 1970s, Toyota’s brave vision for a sports car that could sip fuel but still give the driver something to think about was a stroke of genius. Text by Colin Goodwin. Photography by Gus Gregory. Icon: Toyota MR2 Mk1. The original MR2 came about because of the oil crisis of the 1970s. It also happened to be a truly captivating drivers’ car.

    When my Mate Marcus bought a new car, we’d drop everything and go round to his place at the double. It would always be something dramatic, eight-cylindered and American. His high-point was a 1973 Pontiac Trans-Am in Brewster Green. Not just any Trans- Am, but one of only 252 that left the factory fitted with the mighty Super Duty 455 engine. In the early 1980s, it felt unbelievably fast. So when, in the summer of 1985, the jungle drums rang out that Marcus had got a new car, there was the usual excitement. The car? A bloody Toyota. We couldn’t believe it. Turned out he’d bought a new MR2, which I hadn’t even heard of. Just under sixteen-hundred cubic centimetres, four cylinders and horsepower barely worth counting.

    Then, one rainy day, I had a go in this new Toyota. I couldn’t believe the car’s handling and the way the engine revved past 7000rpm. I felt like a committed atheist who had just seen someone walking on the Thames. In the wet, the Trans Am would have kept up for a few yards and then disappeared through a hedge.

    While Pontiac and other American companies were fiddling around with smog-pumps and wondering what on earth to do about the mid-’70s oil crisis, Toyota was thinking about the sort of car it could make that would be fun to drive yet economical. Many layouts were considered and prototypes mulled over until the boss of the testing department, Akio Yoshida, and his colleagues decided that a mid-engine with transverse mounting was the way to go. A prototype codenamed SA-X was built in 1976 but the aforementioned crisis put the mockers on the project until it was revived in 1980. The SA-X was then substantially reworked and a concept called SV-3 built. We’ll be dropping a name or two later, but for now all you need to know is that the prototype was tested at length at Willow Springs raceway by Dan Gurney.

    The SV-3 broke ground at the Tokyo motor show in 1983. Little would change on the journey from concept to production car, with the only obvious differences being new front and rear spoilers that were designed to improve the car’s stability in crosswinds. And a name change, of course, to MR2, for ‘Midship Runabout Two-seater’. In June 1984 the MR2 went on sale in Japan, and sixth months later in the UK. European MR2s were exclusively fitted with Toyota’s 4A-GE engine, which had already been used in the AE86 Corolla – the car that inspired today’s GT86 coupe. The engine displaced 1587cc and was fitted with Denso electronic port fuel injection. Fairly exotic to have fuel injection and a sixteen-valve head (both of which warranted special badging) in the mid-’80s, let alone multipoint injection. Toyota’s T-VIS variable intake system was also fitted and that really was advanced stuff on a small and affordable sports car. Power outputs varied market to market, but UK-spec cars (which didn’t feature a catalytic converter) produced 122bhp. Even a five-speed gearbox was a bit sexy with sports cars such as the Triumph Spitfire and MGB still warm in their graves.

    The mid-engined layout brought with it five steel bulkheads, and this in the days before high-strength steel was put into strategic positions via the wizardry of computer simulation – a combination that today sees body-in-whites shed kilograms with each new generation. All the same, the MR2 weighed 977kg (split 44:56, front to rear), making it a bit of a fatty compared to contemporary hatchbacks but still commendably light bearing in mind its semi-exotic spec.

    MacPherson struts were used at each corner with disc brakes all-round. No power-steering was required in a small and light mid-engined car, of course, so there’s just a simple rack and pinion to do the turning. All this slipped under a very distinctive body – lots of flat surfaces and a wedge profile. I challenge you to look from bumper to bumper at the Mk1 MR2 and find a detail half-inched from a rival manufacturer. It’s not something that can be said of the Mk2, which as we know can be converted into a comedy Ferrari replica.

    The reason Marcus defected from Stars & Stripes to the Rising Sun was that a new job brought with it a car allowance. There was no list of ‘allowed’ machines, but the car had to be new, which, annoyingly, ruled out a 440 Six-Pack Plymouth Superbird (this would have been my young friend’s first choice). So he went for the then-new Toyota MR2 instead. Several years later, in 1987, Jim Harrison was going through the opposite experience. He’d just been made redundant and did the only sensible thing with his redundancy cheque: ‘I bought a sports car,’ he says, standing next to his blue MR2 outside his Essex home. Harrison is a very loyal Toyota customer but not a particularly profitable one from the accountants’ point of view. Not only has he owned his MR2 from new, but five years later he bought a Carina E GTI, which he also still owns.

    And it’s not as if Harrison has spent a fortune at the parts counter buying spares for the MR2, either. ‘It’s had an alternator, a water pump and a cambelt,’ he says. You don’t get away from the tin-worm in a car built in 1987, even if over its 30 years and 120,000 miles it has been lovingly cared for by one owner. Frilly rear arches were replaced some years ago and now look perfect. Harrison warned us that his car isn’t concours but did say that it was totally original. It wouldn’t take much to bring the car up to snuff. Our friend Richard Tipper, the master detailer, could have it looking stunning with a day’s work. What would be far harder would be to find a car that hasn’t been messed about with.

    Harrison’s car is a facelifted Mk1, or an AW11B in MR2- speak. A redesigned air intake, different alloys and the availability of a T-roof are the main differences. I never liked the T-bar version, so it’s nice that this car has only the factory sunroof (which, as I am about to find out, you need on a hot day because there’s no air conditioning).

    It’s 32 years since I last sat in one of these; the Mk2 had arrived by the time I started writing about cars. The passage of time is fascinating. If you go back 32 years from the launch of the MR2, you are in 1952, before the Mini, before the E-type, and the year Lotus was born. Today, we’d probably call the MR2 a modern classic, but I’d never have referred to a Ford Prefect as a modern classic in 1985.

    I remember how the MR2 drove but I remember nothing of its interior. It takes little time to change the ergonomics from the owner’s settings to something I’m comfortable with. The steering is adjustable for height, not reach, but the seat is fully adjustable. The bliss of a simple instrument and control layout. There’s only one stalk and that’s for the indicators, and in Japanese fashion for the time, it is on the right. An extended finger from each hand can easily reach the simple knobs that sit each side of the instrument binnacle and control wipers and lights. They’re a bit Citroën, which is meant as a compliment.

    The engine starts with an immediacy that would have been astonishing to an owner coming in 1985 from a sports car with a pushrod engine, carburettor and choke. Perfectly placed pedals and a footrest in just the right place. There’s a dent in the armrest, just in front of the gearlever.

    ‘Thirty years of enthusiastic shifting, Jim?’

    ‘No, a mechanic dented it with his elbow.’

    The first thing you notice, and it takes as long as the first pothole or bump, is the Toyota’s ride. I don’t know which tyre companies supplied the OEM fitment in the day, but this car rides on 185/60 Continentals and original 14in alloys. Perfectly sized aesthetically, and for the power-to-weight ratio of the car. And, it seems, perfectly matched to the suspension. If you go to the Wikipedia page for the MR2 you will read that the suspension had the magic wand of Roger Becker, Lotus’s legendary engineer, waved over it. I wasn’t so sure about this, so did a bit of detective work. Sadly, Roger Becker died earlier this year. I spoke to his son Matt, who after a career at Lotus is now responsible for the chassis dynamics of all Astons, much to the benefit of its customers. Matt remembers projects with Toyota but can’t recall his father mentioning the original MR2.

    ‘I’d give John Miles a call,’ he suggested. Which I did. Miles, who raced in F1 for Lotus in the late-1960s before working on the firm’s road cars, confirmed that they used an MR2 as a benchmark for the front-drive Elan, but had no recollection of Becker having worked on the Toyota’s suspension. And neither is there any mention of Lotus having done so in Toyota’s records. Supra and Corolla, yes, but not the little mid-engined car. Whatever, the MR2 most definitely has a Lotus feel about it.

    The dampers, bushes and every part of this car’s suspension are original, including the track rod ends. That’s amazing. There is a little bit of vagueness in the steering in a straight line, but it’s negligible. Could be down to tyre pressures or geometry. We tend to wax on about unassisted steering from cars of this era, but many of them were good on the go yet miserable at parking speeds. I owned a 205 GTI at the time and that is a good example. Try a Griffith with manual steering for further proof. The MR2 combines light steering weight with fantastic feel.

    Even mildly sporty family cars today have deeply bolstered seats and I can’t remember the last time I drove a car whose seats didn’t offer enough support in committed corners. The MR2 is easily capable of generating forces that will have you floating out of your chair. The gearshift isn’t as smooth as a modern gearbox’s, either, but it’s precise and, if you guide the lever accurately, fast. The whole car feels in rude health, with a smooth clutch and well-weighted, firm brake pedal.

    Harrison has no idea what his cherished MR2 is worth because he has no intention of selling it. I had no idea, either, but looking in the classifieds revealed several good-looking Mk1s available for around £4000, although they might not be in as fine fettle as this one. I don’t think that there is a classic car out there that is as good to drive and as entertaining as a Mk1 MR2 for anything like that money. Series 1 Lotus Elises are at least double, and we know the ridiculous prices being asked for Peugeot 205 GTIs. Perhaps the MR2 has an image of being a bit ‘hairdresser’, or excessive customising has tainted the car. Either way, driving Jim Harrison’s example has been a revelation.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Toyota-MR2-Mk1 / #Toyota-MR2 / #Toyota / #Toyota-W10 / #Toyota-MR2-W10 / #1984

    Engine In-line 4-cyl, 1587cc
    Power 122bhp @ 6600rpm DIN
    Torque 105lb ft @ 5000rpm DIN
    Transmission Five-speed manual, rear-wheel-drive
    Front suspension MacPherson struts, coil springs, dampers
    Rear suspension MacPherson struts, coil springs, dampers
    Brakes Ventilated front discs, solid rear discs
    Wheels 5.5in x 14in front and rear
    Tyres 185/60 R14 front and rear
    Weight 977kg
    Power-to-weight 127bhp/ton
    0-60mph 8.2sec (claimed)
    Top speed 124mph (claimed)
    Price when new £9295.16 (1985)
    Price now £3000-6000
    Rating: 4+

    ‘Even a five-speed gearbox was a bit sexy with sports cars such as the Triumph Spitfire and MGB still warm in their graves’

    doesn’t have to compromise cohesion’ ‘I challenge you to look from bumper to bumper at a Mk1 MR2 and find a detail half-inched from a rival manufacturer’

    Clockwise from top left: air intakes are emblematic of the MR2’s geometrically rigid design; 1.6-litre twin-cam not pretty but good for 122bhp; interior hits the spot in terms of ergonomics, but the seats can’t match the cornering forces generated; that’s a red line that rewards driver commitment.

    Below: Harrison’s car looks superb in blue, and is equally good to drive; Goodwin reckons an original Mk1 MR2 is something of an underrated bargain.
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  •   Dan Goodyer reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Colin Goodwin updated the cover photo for Toyota MR2 Mk1
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  •   Andy Heywood reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Surprisingly simple pleasures. You wouldn’t think it, but Maserati’s revamped GranTurismo delivers old-school charm. Words Colin Goodwin. Photography Barry Hayden. #Maserati-GranTurismo / #Maserati-GranTurismo-MC / #Maserati

    Hidden under an acreage of plastic, but visible if you lean in and have a good look, are the crackle-finish red cam covers of the Maserati GranTurismo’s Ferrari-built 4.7-litre #V8 .

    This seductive power plant goes back a long way; it’s essentially the same engine that was fitted to the Ferrari 360 Modena, which in turn was a tweaked version of the motor in the F355.

    We don’t know when the replacement for the current GranTurismo will be here (it’s several years late already) but one thing’s for sure – it will have a turbocharged engine under its bonnet. Emissions targets will demand it. For now we have this facelifted GranTurismo and its open-topped brother the GranCabrio. It’s a typical cosmetic job with only the bits that are not too expensive to change coming under the scalpel. There are new bumpers front and back and a deeper front grille that’s been influenced by the one fitted to the Alfieri concept car. The MC versions (MC standing for Maserati Corse and sitting above the standard Sport) get a carbonfibre bonnet with scoops and cooling ducts. Inside there’s a new infotainment system which is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible.

    For anyone who is frustrated by car manufacturers’ incessant addition of features and systems that actually reduce the pleasure of driving, the GranTurismo is a great relief. That engine in particular is a wondrous thing. It delivers its 460bhp the old-fashioned way, with the power increasing as the revs rise. There’s nothing of the flat torque curve that modern turbochargers bring but instead a thrilling increase in thrust as the 7500rpm red line is approached. And, in case you’re wondering, the previous model’s 4.2-litre option has been dropped due to lack of demand.

    Eight- and even nine-speed automatic gearboxes are the norm these days but the Maserati makes do with its six-speed ZF torque converter transmission. That might sound behind the times for a modern GT but, like the GranTurismo’s hydraulic power steering, it works more than adequately. Simply kicking down a gear coming out of a corner is enough to give you decent thrust but you can tap down a couple of ratios with the always-active column-mounted paddles if you want to.

    Maserati may well wince at the comparison, but the 2018 model-year GranTurismo is similar in many ways to the current Ford Mustang. Both are cars that remind us that you don’t need 600bhp under the bonnet and that in the modern world a car that is a pleasure to drive at 30mph is more desirable than one that can deliver 300kg of downforce at 175mph. The next generation GranTurismo will probably be faster, cleaner and more sophisticated. Maserati’s challenge will be to create a car that achieves these goals without losing any of the current car’s simple appeal.

    Left and below The looks have been tweaked, the interior updated, but the big appeal is the muscular driving experience.
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  • Colin Goodwin created a new group

    Maserati GranTurismo

    Maserati GranTurismo 2007-2017
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  •   Mick Walsh reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    No ferries, said Ferrari, or racetracks, and no more than 356 miles / 500km. And 24 hours maximum. So, what to do with a 770hp / 574kW F12tdf for the day? 24 Heaven. / #Ferrari-F12tdf / #2017-Ferrari-F12tdf / #Ferrari-F12 / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-250GTO / #Ferrari-250 / #Ferrari-250-GTO /


    Twenty-four hours, 500km. That' s how long we can keep, and how far we are allowed to drive, this Ferrari F12tdf. What to do with it? Track use is off limits and the small print says that we must not cross the channel. There’s a brief thought of putting it on a trailer and taking it to the Scottish Highlands, but that would be a right faff and would leave us with about ten minutes at the wheel. So we’ll simply go for a nice drive in the country and pop in to see some friends for tea. Car-minded sort of friends.

    There’s some good history in Slough, apart from being the location for Ricky Gervais’s The Office. Ford Advanced Vehicles’ workshop was on the Slough Trading Estate (in a building that was later the home of JW Automotive, of Gulf GT40 and 917 fame) and so was Team Surtees before it moved to Kent. In the mid-’60s Lola was in premises on Yeovil Road, which is just around the corner from Ferrari’s main office. You go to the showroom at the old Maranello Concessionaires in Egham to buy your Ferrari but test cars are collected from a nondescript building in Slough.

    If I was Ferrari I’d get the council to re-lay the road outside its office. It’s bumpy as hell and even with the tdf’s suspension in the softest, Bumpy Road setting, it’s not doing my back much good. I might not be able to walk by the end of today. Thankfully, when we reach a better bit of blacktop the ride becomes acceptable. Stiff, but no need for the osteopath yet.

    What an engine. The tdf’s 6.3-litre #Ferrari-V12 produces 770hp / 574kW at 8500rpm (DIN power). It is the most powerful naturally aspirated engine I’ve ever experienced, and that includes the 8.2-litre Chevy in a McLaren M8F Can-Am car. But it’s not just the power output that’s staggering, it’s how refined those 12 cylinders are. Barely above tickover with the seven-speed dual-clutch ’box already in fifth along Slough’s Bath Road and today’s electronics act like an IV drip of Strepsils to prevent any coughing or hesitation. Twenty years ago an engine producing this amount of power per litre would have been cammy and agitated in traffic. Forty years ago it wouldn’t have ticked over under 2000rpm and would have oiled its plugs at the first set of traffic lights unless you sat there with the throttles wide open.

    The roads are rather damp this morning. This worries me. I have briefed myself by reading Jethro Bovingdon’s pilot’s notes from the F12tdf’s launch in Italy. He was only allowed a few laps around Fiorano and a few hours on local roads but gathered enough thoughts to give me the impression that this is a car that needs to be treated with utmost caution. No understeer, very direct steering and a rather unusual sensation provided by its rear-wheel- steering system. I think it unlikely that I will twiddle the manettino to the ESC Off position today, but to keep it in the Wet setting would show a lack of self-confidence that might worry photographer Aston Parrott, so Race will do, with the suspension still set to Bumpy Road. At least the interior ergonomics are superb – what you don’t need in a car that can do 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds are distractions.

    We have a plan: we’re going to visit the Prescott Hill Climb course, near Cheltenham. I love the place and Parrott will be able to do some photography undisturbed. Stuart Webster, who runs Prescott, has said that when the hill isn’t used for competition it’s the driveway to several houses, so there’ll be no blasting up it in the tdf at full bore. This should keep us within Ferrari’s ‘no tracks’ rule.

    Prescott House and its hill were bought in 1937 by the Bugatti Owners’ Club, which was looking for its own hillclimb course having been kicked out of most venues because of noise complaints. Nothing new under the sun or in motorsport. The first meeting at Prescott was in 1938 and apart from the war getting in the way it has been used ever since. The original course was 880 yards long but in 1960 a loop was added, called Ettore’s, extending it to 1127 yards, or just over a kilometre. Today all meetings run on the longer course except for the annual Vintage Sports Car Club event.

    Unlike Shelsley Walsh, which has one significant corner to get wrong, Prescott is seriously technical with many sections and details to catch you out and ruin a time, and quite a few places to have a substantial shunt. I’ve driven it a few times in anger and it’s very challenging. Traversing it at a more sensible pace today, I’m glad I’m not against the clock. It would be a very serious challenge in the tdf, as apart from traction being an issue for virtually the whole length of the course, the Ferrari is not a narrow car. Accuracy would be key.

    For lunch I’m going to have to eat my own words. For the last few years I’ve been on a campaign against ridiculous power outputs in road cars. Hot hatches with 250kW and SUVs with 350kW are missing the point and in 2017 are totally out of step with reality. Of course, the F12 doesn’t need even the 545kW it has in standard form; with an extra 29kW the tdf is even more excessive, but I can’t help loving this engine, even though it only adds to the fear that one day all engines will have some form of forced induction. This V12 is up there with Lamborghini’s V12 and the 4.0-litre flat-six in the GT3 RS as one of the great engines of today. And it ranks above these because even the Aventador’s motor feels tame in comparison. The first proper trip I made in a Ferrari was in a 456 GT.

    Ferrari gave us a mileage limit with that car, too, but I was more of a rebel in those days and gave it back with an extra 5000km on the clock. It was a road trip of flat-out blasts and disregard for French speed limits. I’ve never forgotten it, or the car, and it started a love affair with front-engined Ferraris. Now the tdf is proving to be the most dramatic of the lot.

    We spot a plaque that celebrates the life of FitzRoy Somerset, 5th Baron Raglan. A Bugatti fanatic and chairman of the Bugatti Owners’ Club from the late ’80s and into the ’90s, he kept his Type 51 in the kitchen of his house. Yonks ago I was having a curry in Abergavenny when there was the scream of supercharged engine as a car pulled up outside. It was Baron Raglan in his 51 come to collect his takeaway. Class.

    Under Webster’s guidance Prescott has developed hill climbing at the venue to be more of a family day out, with a lot more entertainment than watching a weird and wonderful selection of cars blasting by. Not that I need much else apart from a loo and a picnic.

    We depart and set off to see my mate Vic Norman. He runs the Breitling wing-walking team that flies Boeing-Stearman biplanes with Lycra-clad girls up on their wings. The team is based near Cirencester – suitably close to Prescott for us to not commit an odometric crime and upset Ferrari.

    Four Stearman biplanes are sufficient to draw me regularly to the airfield. But like many of us, Vic’s into anything with an engine and as well as owning a 550 Maranello, a Porsche 356, an AC Ace and an ex-Stirling Moss XK120, he has a collection of motorbikes that includes a 1912 Flying Merkel. It was once used to power a generator in a gold mine previously owned by Bud Ekins, the stuntman and friend of Steve McQueen who performed the jump in The Great Escape.

    It’s not so much what he owns now that makes Norman interesting, it’s what he’s owned in the past. Particularly V12 Ferraris. For example, the 250 GTO that’s now owned by Nick Mason. “I bought it in the early ’70s,” explains Norman. “I’d heard on the grapevine that Peter Newens, whose family owned the Maids of Honour tearoom in Kew, was thinking of selling his GTO. I wasted no time and went around to Pete’s house and started negotiations. He wanted about 13 grand for the car [circa $22,000]. Anyway, while I was talking to him I saw Brian Classic, the racer and classic car dealer, coming up the front path. Guessing that Brian had also heard about the GTO, I immediately offered the asking price and shook on it. Brian was a bit peeved.”

    After keeping it for a few years, during which time it delivered young Normans to school and completed other domestic tasks, the GTO was moved on. “I got £16,000 [circa $27K] for it,” says Norman, “which I thought was amazing.” As well as the GTO, Norman has owned a couple of 275 GTBs, a 250 GT SWB and a Daytona. “Ironically my favourite Ferrari is the original 250 GT TdF. I never owned one but I’ve driven a few.”

    I’ve never taken the kids to school in a GTO but I’ve been shopping in Vic’s, now Mason’s, GTO. Cammy, as to be expected, but easy to drive and with as much soul as a car could have. Mason’s Ten Tenths, the company that runs and prepares his collection, is based at the same airfield. And since any excuse to fire up and listen to a classic Ferrari V12 mustn’t be missed, engineers Charles Knill-Jones and Ben de Chair (double-overhead surnames aren’t compulsory: the outfit is managed by Mike Hallowes) are persuaded to start the GTO and bring it outside for Parrott’s and my pleasure.

    Mason has just taken delivery of his own F12tdf. Unlike ours, it has lightweight carpets covering the industriallooking anti-slip material that’s standard and rather more comfortable seats. “That,” says Knill-Jones, pointing at the tdf, “is the best road car in the world. I drove Nick’s at Goodwood and it was doing 270km/h at the end of the Lavant Straight.” I didn’t need to hear that. I’d dearly love to drive this car on a track, particularly at Goodwood. I wish I’d risked being put on the naughty step by Ferrari.

    It is true that a 574kW Ferrari capable of over 340km/h is of limited practical use, but it is a very good thing that it exists. The tdf is one of the most dramatic Ferraris that I’ve ever driven (in fact it’s up there with a McLaren F1) yet it’s perfectly useable on the road and, if you’re damned careful, in any conditions, too. I’d like to hope that among the lucky 799 who have ordered one, there will be people like Baron Raglan and Vic Norman who use their cars. I suspect most will go into collections or heated garages.

    At least this one is getting some proper use. Back at Slough, with the Tour de Force in one piece, the trip meter reads 508km. Today was not the day to start obeying rules.

    It’s one of the most dramatic Ferraris I’ve driven, yet it’s perfectly useable on the road

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #2017 / #Ferrari-F12tdf
    Engine 6262cc #V12 , dohc, 48v
    Power 770hp / 574kW @ 8500rpm DIN
    Torque 520lb ft / 705Nm @ 6250rpm DIN
    Transmission #Seven-speed-DCT , rear-wheel drive, #E-diff-3 , #F1-Trac , #ESC
    Front suspension Double wishbones, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar
    Rear suspension Multi-link, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar, rear-wheel steer
    Brakes Ventilated carbon-ceramic discs, 398mm front, 360mm rear, #ABS , #EBD
    Wheels 20 x 10.0-inch front, 20 x 11.5-inch rear
    Tyres 275/35 ZR20 front, 315/35 ZR20 rear
    Weight 1520kg
    Power-to-weight 507 hp / 378kW/tonne
    0-62MPH / 0-100km/h 2.9sec (claimed)
    Top speed 212 MPH / 340km/h+ (claimed)
    Basic price $808,888 (sold out)
    Rating 4+

    Above: Goodwin guides the F12 up the technical Prescott course, being careful not to prang any carbonfibre bodywork. Below: tdf with Nick Mason’s #1962 250 GTO.

    Above and right: 110kg weight saving over the standard F12 plus an extra 29kW give the tdf a truly explosive power-toweight ratio of 378kW per tonne – more than enough for the Prescott hill climb.

    What you don’t need in a car that can do 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds are distractions
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  • Colin Goodwin created a new group

    Toyota MR2 Mk1

    Toyota MR2 Mk1
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  •   Dan Furr reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    PORSCHE MOMENTS by Colin Goodwin

    Colin Goodwin ponders the races he hit, those he missed, and wonders if contemporary motorsport might be more exciting than we realise…

    Another working day that should have been a productive one wrecked by too much YouTubery. The usual stuff: a bit of vintage #CanAm racing, some #F1 and to wrap up a five-minute snippet of a documentary on the #1970 #BOAC 1000km at Brands Hatch.

    Everyone knows that race, the epic drive by #Pedro-Rodriquez in a #Gulf-Porsche 917. I think the clip is from a documentary film made about the John Wyer-run and #Gulf -sponsored team and I have a feeling that I’ve seen the whole film, but that could be my ageing brain playing up. Sadly a brain that may be old, but not one installed in a body that was old enough in #1970 to take itself the 45 miles from my home in Woking to Brands Hatch to watch that epic race. My dad wasn’t interested in motor racing; he was into boxing, tennis, athletics and never drove a car in his life. He did take me to see the film Le Mans the next year, though, so he can be forgiven.

    What I can’t forgive myself for is not going to watch more sports car races in the 1980s. What on earth was I thinking? I’d like to put forward the argument that the 1980s through to the early ‘90s was the golden era of sports car racing. Yes, the #Porsche-917 and #Ferrari-512 battles were amazing with fantastic drivers on mighty circuits in cars that were hugely challenging to drive on the limit but look at the depth of the field and the variety in the Group C period: There was #Porsche , of course, with its #Porsche-956 and then #Porsche-962 , Jaguar, Mercedes, Lancia, Nissan, Dome, Mazda and more; the #Mulsanne straight without the chicanes; #Jacky-Ickx , Bell and #Pescarolo – all legends from the years that I missed when I was in short trousers; and Brundle, Wallace, Dumfries and other younger talents at the top of their game.

    I caught a few good races but I should have been to more of them. I guess you don’t realise that you’re going through a peachy period when you’re in it at the time. Well, I think we’re entering another one and this time I’m not going to make the same mistake. Reading Frankel’s report on Porsche’s magnificent performance at Le Mans in June has been a particularly strong wake up call that something wonderful is happening in sports car racing. Reading a nice long, well written and emotive feature backed up by excellent photographs is still an unbeatable medium. Many Tweets and blogs came my way after this year’s race but it was reading Andrew’s feature that brought the event to life. 140 characters in a Tweet can’t do that.

    And there’s another reason why I’m revved up about the current scene. I’m beginning to think that we’re getting a bit too wrapped up in the past. I have a subscription to Motor Sport magazine and love (and am quite knowledgeable about) the machinery and personalities from the ‘60s and ‘70s but I have a feeling that supporting and enthusing about contemporary motor racing, if it is good, is important.

    And another thing: I have had enough of the Gulf and #Steve-McQueen worship. If you own one of those fake Gulf racing jackets you’ll probably be spitting carpet tacks at this point but once I wore a No Fear t-shirt into the Autocar office and was quite rightly shot down by Steve Sutcliffe and Monkey Harris. I knew I had sinned and I repented before the onslaught from my peers.

    Right then, June 18-19 have been blanked off in the 2016 diary. See you there perhaps. “You don’t realise that you’re going through a peachy period when you’re in it at the time”
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