Motor (Australia)

Alex Affat



IT’S 9:49PM, FEBRUARY 4 2022. I’m sitting on the floor of my balcony, writing in the notes app of my phone, seeking relief in the 19 degree breeze that never seems to blow quite strongly enough to cool me down.

I’m buzzing. I’ve just arrived home. My partner is out and I’m left alone to reflect on one of the most mind-blowing weeks of my life: Performanc­e Car of the Year.

One working week (hah!) with 18 of the best performanc­e cars released in the last 12 months. Yes, I came along last year, to transit cars, wash them, position them for our photograph­ers and drive them for video. Most of all to learn the ropes so that this year I’d be ready for the big stage as a rookie judge, helping decide the two best performanc­e cars, above and below $100k.

You’ve consumed all of PCOTY by now, I’m sure. If not, flick back to page 42 for the full proceeding­s. You, the readers, see the results, the stories, the thick stock pages of our magazine, the world-class photos and all of the glorious videos on MOTOR’s Youtube channel. But what you don’t see are the failed takes, the spins, the 14-hour days, the equipment failures and, last but not least, the huge team that make it all happen. With the biggest PCOTY field ever, let me tell you, boy, did we all MAKE it happen.

The judging panel has some arcane skills but none of us has yet mastered driving more than one car at once. So while we get much of the limelight, it truly takes a village to see PCOTY through to the end. So may I take this opportunit­y to share thank yous to everyone behind the scenes. Everyone without a byline, and everyone, without whom, PCOTY ’22 simply wouldn’t have happened: the people who move cars, clean them, charge them, fill them, film them and shoot them. And so much more you readers will never ever see. Like young Nick, our car booker and the event’s wrangler of walkie-talkies, who was asked to sprint back to Melbourne and back at a moment’s notice to fetch a forgotten camera lens. Or a drastic bout of hypermilin­g in the Taycan, after its batteries were depleted by a hard day on the road loops, arriving at the nearest charger - 64 kms awaywith just a single kilometre of range to spare. It’s here that I’m reminded of a line from the late Paul Cockburn’s tale of driving from Adelaide to Darwin in under 24 hours, which had long resonated: “a surprising blend of blind luck and management that distinguis­hes most things

Luck only goes so far in surmountin­g the near-impossible logistical task of photograph­ing, filming, testing and comprehens­ively assessing 18 cars in just five days. It takes huge contributi­ons from an equally large team, many of whom spend most days at the news desk and not, as you might expect, on a perpetual summer camp with supercars. We simply wouldn’t have gotten to the end without the jokes (often induced by fatigue, caffeine and sunburn) while standing around, the team dinners and the chats at the Airbnb with a drink at the very end of a very long day. So here’s a cheers to the planners, the fixers and, yes you too, the readers.

The near-spiritual experience that is Turn 1 at Phillip Island in a 992 GT3 doesn’t happen without you. In fact, none of this does. Of course there’s an inherent level of indulgence and dreaming to Performanc­e Car of the Year, but it’s yours to keep and not merely for us to enjoy.

The spirit of is more a fraternity than a magazine. It’s the spirit of adventure and the camaraderi­e in a shared passion. It’s that which we strive to inspire in you, the readers, not just with PCOTY but with every issue of our magazine. Talk is already afoot of what might turn up at next year’s competitio­n. It’s going to be unpreceden­ted. Until then, we hope you enjoy the ride.

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