Weekly Roundup: Understeer At The Limit Edition

When is a $117,000 Lotus three seconds a lap slower around Mid-Ohio than a Honda Accord? When the Accord is a caged race car on Toyo Proxes RR slicks and the Lotus is in street trim on Michelin Pilot Sports, naturally.

The above video is from the twilight session that ended my cross-country, two-track Evora torture test. It was a “torture test” for me, not the Lotus, which had no trouble whatsoever. I’m getting a little old to run two trackdays in a row with eleven hours of freeway driving and four hours of sleep in-between.

As you can see, the Evora UNDERSTEERS AT THE LIMIT a tiny bit. But a more attentive and rested driver would have done a better job of mitigating that. For a comparison video, you can check Ralph Gilles in a Viper ACR on Pirelli World Challenge slicks; he runs 7.8 seconds faster around the same track layout, reaching about 20mph more on the back straight and 10-15mph more between each of the turns. I’m sure Ralph had a good time in his video — I know I had a good time in mine.


In addition to the Evora test, I told R&T readers about what the West Virginia fracking boom is doing to their roads.

My Cycle World feature on the Yamaha FZ-1 is now available online.

I didn’t write anything for TTAC this week, but brother Bark discussed the disappearance of Ford cars.

Tomorrow, right here at Riverside Green, we will be covering one of my all-time favorite cars — the early downsized Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight. Come on back, why dontcha?

24 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Understeer At The Limit Edition”

  1. Bigtruckseriesreview

    FORD IS STUPID.

    Make the cars BIGGER, FASTER and less expensive.

    That’s what Dodge did and that’s why $30,000 Challengers and Chargers are selling over $70,000 reliability issues and maintenance costs BE DAMNED.

    This isn’t rocket science.

    #1 AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
    #2 ALL WHEEL DRIVE
    #3 Less than $70,000 ($1000 a month)
    #4 More power than everyone else
    #5 FUCKING HUGE INSIDE.

    The Lincoln Continental is a PATHETIC JOKE even compared to the Hyundai Genesis HTRAC…let alone the G90.

    That ain’t no “flagship”. Your NAVIGATOR is your Flasgship. The ESCALADE is Cadillac’s Flagship.

    Why?

    Because they are
    #1 AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
    #2 ALL WHEEL DRIVE
    #5 FUCKING HUGE INSIDE.

    Even Lamborghini is building SUV’s now.

    If they don’t listen to me they deserve to BURN.

    Reply
    • roamer

      I would replace “less expensive’ with ‘less complex’. When BMW and MB started making their high-end cars complex just for the sake of being more high-tech, the resale value fell off a cliff. Despite this, the other manufacturers saw the bling and immediately turned into a bunch of lemmings running after Ze Chermans toward the nearest cliff. Today there are two models I can get without Ford’s stupid Sync system – the $64K Mustang Shelby GT350R or the $24K F-150 XL. And you’d have to special order it to keep it off either, because of course the dealers are going to want to slam every possible extra cost option onto them.
      I literally can’t find a car I want to buy that doesn’t have these crap design touchscreen control systems running vital systems. I work in enterprise IT, and I know how complex and delicate these systems are. No, I’n not going accept computer control of a car’s HVAC. Ten years down the road, the replacement computer will come with a version of the system that will not work with some combination of options. The lack of testing in modern coding guarantees it. When that happens, buyers of $80K Expedition SUVs will be left frothing at the mouth in the forums and praying that the aftermarket can kludge up a way to let you actually let you control the most basic features of your car, while Ford’s resale values follow Mercedes’ into the toilet.
      There will be backlash. Only question is, will anyone learn the right lessons?

      Reply
      • Compaq Deskpro

        Listen to BTSR, the answer is Mopar or no car. The touchscreen is a regular double din head unit, that can be swapped for a dumb Sony one with a big volume knob, on all of their models.

        Reply
      • Michael B

        Good insights. Used car owners will not be happy when future programs don’t play nice with our dated ones.

        Reply
    • Eric H

      Why on earth should they listen to you?

      1. I will never buy a car with an automatic transmission.
      2. Unneeded weight and complexity for very limited utility. Get some damn snow tires. As long as the driven wheels are the rear wheels I’m good.
      3. Whatever.
      4. Surprisingly OK with this one.
      5. Not everyone is over 6-5 and 300+ lbs. Large cars handle like shit and require replacement of consumables far more often, especially with automatic transmissions. I won’t buy a car over 3000lbs, my current is right around 2700.

      I do understand that I’m in a very small minority, but you are as well. The vast people don’t care about engine power so long as they can (poorly) merge on to the highway without feeling scared. Only people in snow country care about AWD. Most people want an automatic transmission to free up a hand to text while driving, these people should be fired into the sun.

      Now, I do think Ford is dumb but not for the reasons you stated, but I’ll wait to see what electric cars they have before passing judgment.

      Reply
      • roamer

        ‘Only people in snow country care about AWD’ – a perfectly understandable and common misconception. You’re absolutely right about the snow tires being the thing for snow. But having lived in the two states where Subaru is the most popular – Colorado and Washington – it’s *not* about the snow. Denver gets a lot less snow than you would suspect, and it doesn’t stick once the sun comes out. But both Denver and the western side of the mountains in Washington have very quick weather state changes – variability in the types of weather you get in a short time. Snow tires won’t help when the weather changes from sunshine, to rain, hail, snow, and back to sunshine. Which I have had happen in the course of a twenty minute drive in Denver. When you’ve got black ice under the right side tires and the left side is totally dry, that’s when AWD is useful. It adds weight, it adds complexity, it adds cost, and I wouldn’t be without it in either area.

        Reply
        • Bigtruckseriesreview

          ‘Only people in snow country care about AWD’

          100% WRONG

          The weather is becoming unpredictable and the storms are becoming more violent. THE MAJORITY want cars with AWD .

          That whole “snow tires” and RWD nonsense goes out the window when someone has to spend more time digging out than driving out.

          Let’s look at WHAT’S SELLING above $30,000 and then see what I am talking about.

          Not those PATHETIC cheap Hondas and Toyotas…under $30,000

          Crossovers > cars for a reason.

          Reply
      • Bigtruckseriesreview

        “Why on earth should they listen to you?

        1. I will never buy a car with an automatic transmission.
        2. Unneeded weight and complexity for very limited utility. Get some damn snow tires. As long as the driven wheels are the rear wheels I’m good.
        3. Whatever.
        4. Surprisingly OK with this one.
        5. Not everyone is over 6-5 and 300+ lbs. Large cars handle like shit and require replacement of consumables far more often, especially with automatic transmissions. I won’t buy a car over 3000lbs, my current is right around 2700.”

        YOU are ABSOLUTELY the person I will ALIENATE FROM MY PRODUCT.

        By the time I’m done you’ll be driving a small PATHETIC econocar and getting TOASTED off the line every single time you try to accelerate from a stop.

        Your manual is DEAD.

        More safety regulations will add more weight.

        WALK

        Take the Train.

        I care nothing for you or your plight.

        Reply
        • Eric H

          Wow, what a hot take.
          Autos suck, they’re for lazy drivers who don’t care.
          Certainly a hellcat will take my car off the line but not by much. A 2700lb car with 350HP is no slouch.
          The difference is once the road has a corner I’ll drive right by you.

          We could have a big flame war here but you have much more experience bloviating and I have better things to do.

          Reply
  2. ScottS

    I bought a copy of the newly buff Cycle World and I have to say I enjoyed every article. Now, can you explain to me why a guy would buy a new CB1100 over a well cared for low miles FZ-1? Neither can I.

    I am intrigued by the Evora, and Lotus cars in general. Still, I can’t escape the nagging feeling that the Evora has a bit of a problem not unlike a slightly overweight beauty. Am I fat shaming? Why does it weigh ~1,400 kg?

    Reply
  3. MrFixit1599

    Route 26 behind Marietta OH used to be a fun drive I grew up on. Haven’t been back there recently, but I doubt it has changed much. Lot’s of side roads off of it as well.

    Reply
  4. tyates

    Bark M: “At the end of the day, the only person that can be held responsible for the death of Ford’s passenger cars is You.”

    Me: “But we all saw the video! The murder took place at nine o’clock when I was at the wedding!”

    Bark M: “Yes, that’s what you wanted us to think. But look carefully at the desk in the video. Can you tell me what that is next to the vase of flowers?”

    Me: “My…. My wedding invitation? Oh no!”

    Bark M: “And the only way that could have happened is if this video was recorded before you left. Sergeant, please arrest this man.”

    Reply
  5. Fred Lee

    That Viper/911 video reminds me why I stopped doing track-days. Too many 20 minute sessions where my BRZ was following an M3, stuck behind a bunch of fox-body mustangs and the occasional poorly driven 911. Several laps to get around them, and then I’m riding the M3 in the corners waiting for a point-by. Which I finally get after a couple laps, but of course he points-by while keeping the pedal buried and my 200 horses can’t pass an M3 on the straights no matter how much speed I carry out of a corner. The Viper guy apparently didn’t mind from his comment on the video, but I’ve had guys stop by between sessions saying “Hey man that was really fun, driving with you”, and I have to explain that point-bys are kind but lifting is kinder.

    So you move up to advanced, where you’re completely out-matched by the ZO6s and GT-Rs. Fortunately in my BRZ I don’t have to lift to let them pass me. I have had fun following a spec-miata who I definitely couldn’t hang with but fun to try. But tough to justify the $500+ all-in cost of a track-day when you might get a half-dozen clean laps. The exception is the Alfa track-days. By mid-day all the Alfas are off the track. Either the car is broken or the driver is. I once got a 20-minute session entirely to myself on an Alfa day…

    About Ford cars.. As an owner of a Focus RS (sold it after a year), I’m thinking of getting a FiST before it’s too late… I’m not sure if prices will go up or down with their imminent departure. Deals to be had perhaps at dealers that focus on truck sales?

    Reply
  6. hank chinaski

    One Internet buck says the Mustang II piece will birth a ‘Critics Respond’ rebuttal.
    Regarding gas prices: if they’re gonna act like sheep, shear them, both at the pump and soon after, the car lot.

    Reply
  7. ComfortablyNumb

    Mark, could you prognosticate on what the shift away from cars means for pricing? Correct me if I’m wrong, but a primarily truck/SUV/CUV portfolio will mean higher transaction prices and margins (talking about real cars here…not vaporware with government subsidies) than if there were more cars in the mix. So this product shift should help Ford’s bottom line, but at the same time could price out a good chunk of customers. Will they offer decontented models to lower transaction prices? Will there be more money available for incentives? Will leasing or super-long loan terms become even more prevalent to upsell customers? Or will they just have to forsake (even more than they currently do) the portion of the population that can’t pay to play?

    Reply
  8. Michael B

    In the Evora article, LRP’s West Bend has barely any elevation change… it’s the turn AFTER the no-runoff Uphill righthander 🙂

    /pedantry

    Reply

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