Has the auto industry lost its way?

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300 km/h.
300 km/h.

I am sitting here with a copy of the UK magazine Car in front of me. The cover promises a New M5 BMW which does zero to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 318 km/h. Inside there is a comparison test between a Porsche Macan GTS and a Range Rover Velar P380. Both are officially SUV’s, can do very close to five seconds to 100 km/h and can top out at 240 km/h. All the while with a boot load of groceries.

How many of my readers have gone more than 300 km/h? On our roads chock a block with pick-ups and motorcycles?

Now I have done 300 km/h in a Formula 5000 V8 racing car on an FIA approved race track, and let me assure you that you have to be very alert at that kind of speed.

How alert? Simple maths: 300 km/h is 5 kays per minute. Or put another way, that is 83 meters per second. Or even simpler, by the time you have finished reading that last sentence you would have covered 400 meters (or gone through the wall backwards)!

These “supercars” really are “super”, but it was Professor Max Born (1882 – 1970) who said (in 1958), “Space travel is a triumph of intellect but a tragic failure of reason.” Can you see where I’m headed here? Substitute Supercar for space travel and the good Professor’s words become prophetic.

We are now so clever that we can offer supercars to the general public (at a price premium) but the auto industry does not supply the driving skills to go along with a shopping cart that can do 240 km/h. So why are we making these things?

And before you start to point fingers at me, I have raced cars, all the way from old MG’s that got out of breath at 100 km/h and graduating with a 300 km/h Formula 5000. I’ve done my apprenticeship. The person with 30 million baht to spare hasn’t done any.

The auto industry might say they build supercars for super money, but the truth is they lose money on every supercar. It is a case of (as the old song went) “Anything you can do, I can do better.” The morality of making cars that only Formula 1 drivers can use is not taken into account.

Did you know that there are some models of Ferrari that cannot be road registered? After you buy it, they keep it for you in Maranello and you make an appointment to drive your own car on the track, complete with a pit crew of garlic eating mechanics. Some Ferrari’s you can take home, but the majority of the FXX cars are stored in Maranello in the Corse Clienti department, but customers are free to have them at home. It is mandatory, however, to have a full review of the car by the Ferrari crew team before the car hits the track in any event or private testing session. Anytime the car is taken to the track, for an official Ferrari event or personal test session, there is always a mechanic and technician. He’ll do the full check up when the car arrives at that said track.

So there you are, start saving but if you haven’t got you a friend who will lend you his Ferrari and a Richard Mille watch, it might be better to look at a Ford Ranger.