The Geneva Motor Show is not really the place to come with subtle yearly refreshes and facelifts, it demands the newest and very best each brand has to offer. Porsche and McLaren had these projects in the works for years, but 2017 was the culmination and assembly of these ideas in one place.
Performance cars are climbing and climbing to what seems like an inevitable plateau, which makes the ridiculous numbers associated with them seem less and less impressive each year. But if there’s any battlefield to truly fight for the industry’s attention, it’s the Geneva Motor Show.
The Swiss show centralizes the top European brands to sculpt the landscape of the next generation of cars. That next generation, for McLaren and Porsche, aims to stave off and elevate that plateau for at least a handful of years.
With the debut of the McLaren F1 GTR, the F1 road car was stripped and sent to the track where at Le Mans it had never competed before, let alone won. Lanzante Motorsport, a specialist in classic car service and restoration, took the GTR and made it an instant classic.
The McLaren became the first car, and Lanzante the first team, to win at Le Mans in their respective debuts. The resulting success led to Lanzante Limited earning service capabilities for McLaren road and race cars, thus beginning the next chapter in the history of the F1 GTR and an unprecedented one: road conversion.
When it comes to accomplishments and acting like you’ve been there before, McLaren prefers to go a little bigger with its celebrations.
Up until the 1995 24h of Le Mans, McLaren actually hadn’t been there before, which made its overall victory in the race that much more impressive. The F1 GTR, the race-reserved variant of the highly-praised F1 road car, took the overall win in its debut with four other GTRs. What followed in homage was a run of potentially the greatest road car ever built.
The accessibility of the McLaren 570 is nearly boundless; it attacks a new price point for the brand, and we already proved where it can go when you put your mind to it. So when McLaren debuted the 570GT as a car made for the journey, it was inevitable what would happen when we got into it.
Sports cars are built to maximize performance, sure, but the reason people pay the super high premiums for them is for the sheer enjoyment. And that’s not something you can pick out on paper.
The only fair and proper – and legal – way to fully enjoy a sports car at its limit is in a track setting. Motor Trend’s “Best Driver’s Car” annual experience drops the year’s best sports cars into Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Ca., and has at it with its features team. But atypical to the norm, it’s not a race there.
Despite what many believe, stickers don’t actually add any horsepower to a car. Somehow, Bentley seems to have defied logic and done just that.
The Bentley Continental GT3-R was inspired by the GT3 race car, with graphics and aero bits stuck on all over to denote its uniqueness. The production numbers backed up its exclusive appeal, with just 300 units being sold worldwide and 99 of them coming to the United States, all of those receiving their own individual chassis number.
The basic colorway was Glacier White with two-tone striping and logo graphics adorning each side. The Akrapovič titanium exhaust system saves 7 kg of weight in the GT3-R, which hardly seems like much in a car the size of the Continental, but its retuned acoustics are the far more noticeable difference as the car roars to life then pops and crackles once you let off the accelerator.
It looks and sounds like no other Bentley before it, but most importantly, it performs as such too.
572 horsepower is competitive among leagues of supercars, but Bentley doesn’t cater to those comparisons. Bentley swoons its customers with defining presence and luxury, so adding supercar-level performance to its most popular model was an entirely new venture. The 4-liter twin-turbo V8 isn’t changed so much on paper – its displacement is the same as the V8 S model – but new turbos and gear ratios allow the GT3-R to be quicker than any Bentley before it. Tested as quick as 3.3 seconds but advertised at 3.8, the GT3-R more or less loses the concept of time as it blasts off the line with a drama lacking from any Continental prior.
Even with every sense telling you the GT3-R is a new and different thing, a more ferocious thing, it still is what it is. It’s still a Bentley, for better or for worse.
The endearing thing about the modern supercar is the little foibles here and there that make it just a bit imperfect, a bit impractical. It’s what makes you save it only for special occasions. It, itself, is its own special occasion. But Bentleys have always been superior everyday cruisers, and the GT3-R is just the most superior one.
So you don’t have to save this supercar for simply a weekend drive. Drive it every day, because you can. It rides like a Bentley should – OK, maybe just a tad stiffer, but you need that with this performance – and features all the luxuries you’d be accustomed to, they just might be coated in carbon fiber or touched with Alcantara.
And the stickers, of course. Stickers make any car faster.
Ushering in the next generation of the most desirable luxury and supercars in the world has become the norm at Monterey’s car week, but it wasn’t always that way. The Pebble Beach Concours, the fireworks display at the finale of the weekend, was the celebration of decades of historic and significant vehicles, but up-and-coming events like The Quail Motorsports Gathering have shifted the focus to the new era of exotic cars.
Realigning public roads as a closed course racetrack allows for the most literal use of the phrase “race cars for the road.” It may be the only chance for some of McLaren’s racing variants to take to the street. Continue reading…
The ultimate enjoyment of the RDS Experience takes place at the RDS Road Rally. Customers who partake are treated to miles upon miles of the area’s finest back roads while they partake in route and general trivia challenge questions. Only a few spots remain, so email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in receiving the registration link!