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Gary Skipp
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6,537 Posts
Last month's Top Gear had an article about BMW's new super saloon.

The M5 is tuned to reach 205mph. Thats pretty perky for a saloon, with four seats and a boot. Article went on to say it had good handling too.

It got me thinking. You could take that totally stock M5, do nothing to it, and still have half a chance at somehting like Le Mans or the Spa 24. But that M5 gutted of unessery stuff and tuned further could be much faster.

This is stupid. No credit taken from BMW, they've done a cracking job. But our sportscars should therefore be going twice the speed. Its ridiculous that you can pick up a stock road car that is just as fast as say, a Marcos Mantara thats been tuned till its nose bleeds.

What I'm saying is that our sportscars should be going much faster than some saloon. Much faster. And why don't they? Cos some governmental health and saftey exec nannies us into being safe. Its rubbish. The drivers know the risks. And quite frankyl, why should sports cars cost millions when you can pick up this M5? Its just silly.

I realise that an M5 is not going to go to Le Mans and beat the R8s staright away, and there are differences. But it sint going to be far off those GT bunch. I bet it'd give that Aero 8 a good kicking for one. And thats a proper racing car. Not just some 'hot saloon'. Yeah, its a saloon. Four dors and a boot. And it still goes 205mph and corners with enough grip to make the world turn the other way.

Sportscars shouldn't take this sort of rubbish from an M5. They should piss all over it without even looking. Why don't they? Blooming nannying prevent speed from being speedy.

Rant over, What do you think?
 

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Fast Co.
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1,240 Posts
I couldn't agree with you more Gary. The history of racing is a history of high risk and mishaps. What made the Can-Am series so glorious was it's virtual lack on technological limitations. If cars could run in the late sixties and early seventies with over 1200 horses than why can't we do better than that today?
I think spectator safety is an issue. We wouldn't want another Mercedes '54 event. And certainly cars should be built as safe as they can, but only when such measures do not stifle the cars' performance.
Steve
 

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Rob
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3,430 Posts
There seems to be something about the words 200mph that gives motorsport's ruling bodies the jitters.

Formula One has been much criticised over the past few years because of it's processional nature (let's all queue up behind Michael!!) but the reasons given for the latest rule changes are to cut costs and reduce speeds. These are supposed to be the fastest racing cars on the planet - let 'em go FAST.

It's the same story with sports cars. In 1969 a Ford GT40 was capable of 200mph. With less sophisticated brakes, tyres, suspension and crash protection.
Today's sportscars are light years ahead technologically, so why limit them to the same top speed?

I don't want to go back to the days of drivers being killed or seriously injured at every other race, but surely they can be given a bit more free rein?

I'm not sure that LMP04's tuned M5 would be really competitive at Le Mans (just look at the way the prototypes pee all over the Porsche GT3's) but it does make you wonder what's holding some of these cars back.

Rob
 

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800 Posts
I'd take the top speed claim of the BMW M5 with a grain of salt. You need awesome wheels and tires just to handle that kind of rotational speed and then the motor needs to pump out serious horsepower AND torque. Most factory wheels are only rated for 160mph and tires may well be rated for higher speeds but don't always survive. Aerodynamics would have to be top notch too. Around 175 mph many high powered street cars lift off the road from all the air packing under the car. Not that I'd know that first hand


Anyway, back to the race cars. I agree, many race cars are hindered terribly by rules that are supposed to make racing less expensive. This is absurd since any rules restricting components used automatically increases the cost of racing due to additional re-engineering and perfecting of existing components. Suddenly a $50 USD fuel injector costs $1000 USD because of the extra work making sure it's 'perfect'.

I've always felt that in SCCA racing one of the most expensive classes to race in was showroom stock. Think about it. It corresponds with my belief that one of the more expensive slot car classes to race is box stock.
 

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2,493 Posts
M5, super saloon.

ABill, I'm sure BMW can make wheels that are capable of 200+mph, and pretty sure tyres can also be made.

The M5 is another saloon as a flagship model to say, we have the fastest car dont bother buyin mercs audi's etc
 

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Anthony Bartlett
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3,255 Posts
To me - I think the essential reason why the M5 will get a kicking - even by the Aero 8 is - not how fast it is in a straight line - but how well it corners - that is where 90% the race car prep is aimed at - is it not?


I drive an Audi that is good for 165 (unmodified) in a straight line and even being a 'progressive' quattro, will still get hammered going round corners....

My son had been to several modern day races, but he was AMAZED when he saw Sir Stirling driving a DBR1 through the chicane at the Dunlop bridge at the Le Mans classic - he did not realise that was how older sports cars and new saloon cars corner. Look at the cars on Clarksons show - nearly all of them have car roll, and all the modern racers have no roll - including the Aero 8....... but 205 is a good sales pitch - I will say that!!
 

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As abie said an M5, good though it is, would get absolutely battered at Le Mans by all and sundry (not only the Morgans and Spykers but probably the pace car as well). It is undeniably a great car, fast in a straight line and corners well for a ton and a half of saloon car, but at best it'll probably only be seeing 0.9 lateral G in the corners, just over 1 G in the braking. Said Morgan with it's ground hugging undertray, diffusers, wings, wide slicks bigger brakes and MUCH lighter weight will be over double these values, at a guess.

In the 90's when McLaren's (no not you McLaren, McLaren International
) F1 ruled the roost, GT regs at the time meant the road car was more powerful than the race car and had a higher top speed, but round somewhere like Le Mans you would probably see a differance in lap time of somewhere near a minute between the slower road car and the race car

...and besides all that, the old M5 was way prettier, a V8, one of the easiest cars in the world to drive sideways and 400bhp is more than enough for the road...sorry, whinge over.
 
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