I just re-read this whole thread so I could laugh at our favourite nutcase again. And I've had an idea, which could possibly be funded by someone who's just won the EuroMillions jackpot and feels like a spot of philanthropy.
Jeremy Clarkson wrote:This is the new Lotus T125. And straight away, an anorak would say *nerdy adenoidal voice* "ooh! That's not a Formula 1 car!" *end nerd voice* And that's right. It isn't. But it does come with a Cosworth V8, a sequential gearbox, full downforce, a complicated steering wheel, a hand-operated clutch, and all the other F1 trimmings as well. For instance, included in the price is Geoff, who is a fitness instructor, Alfonso, who will cook for you and your friends, and a team of mechanics who will accompany you any racetrack... IN THE WORLD!. You also get a truck, which is fitted with all the things you need, including... a Jean Alesi.
The T125 is not a Formula 1 car because it isn't built to the very tight restrictions that the rules specify, and won't be disqualified if it isn't. The nose is longer, and wider, as is the cockpit, because all those who are going to be crazy-rich enough to afford it will have suffered the onset of middle-aged spread, which Jezza certainly has. But he's also very tall - 6'5", much more than a typical racing driver; even so, the car has been designed so that only the utterly gigantic won't
be able to fit in it. Justin Wilson could drive it with ease; so could Alan Jones. According to the Jean Alesi that comes with the package, it has more downforce than F1 cars are allowed as well; the engine is detuned to 640 hp and limited to 10,500 rpm, whereas the Cosworth CA2010 as fitted to Williams and the CRT cars in 2010 was rated at 750 hp and locked to 18,000 rpm. Even so, because of that extra downforce, Alesi says the car is still faster than a full-blown F1 car of the 1990s. And let's face it, when there are "F1 Racing Experience" companies out there running actual F1 cars from the 1990s, even if they're backmarkers such as a Forti FG01, or an updated AGS JH24 that's still used for the same purpose by the shed-based organisation from Gonfaron, this is more than fast enough for anyone lucky enough to experience it.
For all that's said about him, some of it deserved, some most definitely not, Jeremy Clarkson can
drive, and can
drive fast. Witness that Britcar race in the BMW 330d. But there's racing in a stock diesel saloon, there's racing in an old Mitsubishi Starion round a grass track, and then, there's this...
Jeremy Clarkson wrote:I've driven a car that's got this much power before, and I've driven a car on slicks before, and I've driven a car that weighs as little as this before, but I've never driven a car that has all those things...
(he switches to his own car, an AMG Mercedes CLK63, to find out what went wrong on his first lap)
My mind tells me that it's OK to turn into the Follow Through, which is coming up now, at 90 mph. The thing is, though, in the Lotus, I have to tell my mind it's OK to go through that corner at 160 mph. And what's more, if I try to do it in the Lotus at 90, there won't be enough air going over the wings, so there won't be much downforce, so the tyres will be cold, so there won't be much grip. If I do it at the speed my mind says is safe, I will crash and I will be killed. To stay alive, I have to go faster than my mind thinks is possible.
It was much the same with the braking; brake at the same point in the Lotus as in the Merc, and the Lotus will come to a complete stop before it hits what would be its own braking point.
The Stig - the current one - set a time round the short circuit of 36.2 seconds in an Ariel Atom V8, a car capable of lapping the full circuit (in ex-Stig Ben Collins' hands) in 1'15.1. Jeremy eventually managed to beat that, lapping the same short circuit in the T125 in 35.7 seconds; the T125 was (a week later, when it wasn't raining) shown to be capable of 1'03.8, again driven by the current Stig. The unrestricted, 19,000 rpm, 3.0-litre V10 powered Renault R24 from the 2004 season, in the hands of a "guest Stig" who we now know to be Heikki Kovalainen (who was then Renault's test driver back in the days when they were allowed), lapped the circuit in 59.0 seconds.
So, some number crunching. The Atom lapped the full circuit in 117.71% of the time of the T125. So, that's a DNQ-by-a-chasm pace compared to the almost-F1 machine, but the Atom is a road legal car and has regulations to comply with. The Clarkson-versus-Stig lap round the short circuit saw The Stig record a time that was 101.40% of Jezza's. Or, alternatively, Jezza lapped in the T125 in 98.62% of The Stig's time in the Atom. From this, I can extrapolate a lap time for Jezza round the full circuit in the T125 of 1'14.1 - 116.09% of The Stig's time in the T125. Thus is shown the gulf between a professional racing driver and a more-than-middle-aged TV presenter, who had had to put away all this tendencies to arse around in a way that makes the other two refer to him as "the orang-utan" and instead concentrate fully on the job in hand, and all this just so he didn't completely disgrace himself.
Going back to the original sentence of this post, there was even talk after the T125 segment had ended that the £650,000 cost of the car, and all that comes with it, could be easily met by the coming-up-to-retirement-age couple who had just won a EuroMillions jackpot that would put them as a single entity on the Sunday Times Rich List.
So, with all this in mind, had I won that jackpot instead, I could buy my own Lotus T125. I could have it shipped to America. And I could personally
challenge Don Pentecost to prove his worth. If he is the real deal that he says he is, he should be able to set a lap time faster
than Jean Alesi. After all, he's not a champion
, is he? He only won one race and that was with some bunch of pinko Euro-commies who no TRUE AMERICAN would give the time of day to. Neither, I suspect, would he care to race at Sears Point, which is in goddamn hippy Librulfornia, but then, there's not a lot of point racing on a TRUE AMERICAN oval if you're trying to succeed in F1, is there? (NASCAR, incidentally, has been held at Sears Point, and there's no oval there at all.) So, Don, given the chance of machinery that's as close to F1 as it's possible for Joe Public (or at least Joe Public with a lot of money but still not F1 amounts of it) to get, can you do it
? Or even, can you beat the benchmark set by a man who is (or was at the time) 51 years old and a bit flabby, but who has (or had at the time) 22 years' worth of experience of POWER! and DRIVING FAST! in road cars, and doing so with TV cameras rolling that will reach an audience of millions?
If only it was possible to get this result.