MISS­ING THE APEX?

Motor (Australia) - - THE VENT -

Thanks for an­other great BFYB com­par­i­son. When I worked in en­gi­neer­ing at Fish­er­mans Bend my favourite car to take home was al­ways a man­ual Com­modore SS Ute, so it was nice to see it take home the $0-$50K gong in its fi­nal year. I was a lit­tle sur­prised at the com­ment: “who cares that it can’t carry the same apex speeds as some other cars here”.

Books like Drive To Win by Carroll Smith state a rule that “the faster the car, the later the apex”. Tak­ing the later apex means you have to slow the car down ear­lier and turn it sharper (tighter ra­dius), which results in a slower min­i­mum speed, but the pay back is in ac­cel­er­at­ing ear­lier.

In con­trast, an un­der­pow­ered car will take a more con­stant (and larger) ra­dius, which it must be­cause you can’t af­ford to wash off any speed. Sup­port­ing this, the Polo GTI was slower for ac­cel­er­a­tion, but faster for both apex speeds.

Apex speeds are very mis­lead­ing so per­haps you can find a bet­ter met­ric, such as skid pad g-forces. Slaloms are okay, but they pe­nalise wide cars be­cause they have to take a dif­fer­ent path to fit be­tween the witches hats (also true on a tight cor­ner, and the Ute was the widest car in the com­par­i­son?).

And please, af­ter the big bucks com­par­i­son don’t pull the Polo GTI, out of no where, from your fun­da­men­tal ori­fice as the over­all win­ner like last year. Neil Silke, via email Cheers for your feed­back re­gard­ing

BFYB, Neil. How­ever, the im­pres­sive dual char­ac­ter of the SS Ute means that it can hit an apex, or drift right past it with end­less op­po­site lock and in a haze of tyre smoke. As for the Polo, you’ll have to flick through the mag to see where it placed, how­ever, against the BFYB cri­te­ria, it was a de­serv­ing win­ner in 2016. It cer­tainly didn’t hap­pen by chance.

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