I’m normally more interested in performing hot laps than sitting in for what the drivers call a “taxi ride.”
It can certainly be an interesting re-calibrator of your own skills, though.
After all, to paraphrase Jack Carter, “you may be fast man, but you’re out of practice, and these guys do it for a living.”
So having an Andretti back it into the corner at a speed you would normally reserve for a suicide mission can add a helpful dose of humility and humble pie to otherwise life-threatening hubris.
Why this consideration of hot laps, navel fluff and frippery you may rightly ask?
Well, someone asked this week if I’d like to go hop in a Red Bull Global Rallycross car for a hot lap or three.
Which for some reason made the hair on my forearms stand to attention.
If memory serves correctly, this was the realm of former Group B rally cars.
The ones that back in the 1980s (when a top of the line Porsche 911 Turbo had about 280hp) were running with 500bhp+.
Off road. In the snow and ice and gravel. With no traction control. Or ABS.
Or anything. Just pure balls, adrenaline and small frontal lobes.
Which is why they were just the best thing ever to watch.
Until they weren’t.
One too many fatal accidents involving the loss of life not just of the barking mad drivers, but also swathes of the public audience.
Which quickly led to the cars being banned from the world of rallying. Forever.
So no more Ford RS200, MG Metro 6R4, Lancia Delta S4 Integrale, Audi Quattro Sport… at least not in their guise as of 1986.
And in some cases not at all.
Some of the most aggressive, sexy machinery every to burn carbon-based fuel, gone in a puff of high-octane smoke.
Naturally, there was no way such beasts could be left to sit and rot.
And so they found new life in the lesser-known world of Rallycross.
Sort of what MMA is to normal wrestling or boxing.
The hopped-up, angrier, faster version.
And so to this week… when I have been asked to shoehorn myself into the passenger seat of a Red Bull GRC car with the demented lunatic who races it for company.
Sort of the modern incarnation of these winged beasts of old.
That’s a little like being invited over for breakfast by Hannibal Lecter—at once both thrilling and chilling.
So we shall see…
- Posted July 15, 2014
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