ĂŠcurie25 Supercar Club
OF F I C I A L F E R R A R I D E A L E R
Charles Hurst Ferrari is delighted to be associated with écurie25 and would be pleased to look after your Ferrari requirements As an Official Ferrari Dealer for over 15 years, Charles Hurst is part of a select network that ensures Ferrari ownership remains a truly unique and rewarding experience. In addition to our new and pre-owned sales department, our service department offers an enclosed truck collection and re-delivery service and very competitive menu pricing on a wide selection of models. For further information, contact Charles Hurst on 0844 558 6172 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles Hurst Ltd 62 Boucher Road, Belfast BT12 6LR Telephone: 0844 558 6172 www.dealer.ferrari.com/charleshurst All trademarks and copyrights are exclusively rights of Ferrari S.p.A
OPEN FOUR SUMMER
THE NEW GRANCABRIO BY MASERATI. EXPERIENCE MORE With the GranCabrio, Maserati has moved the open-top grand touring experience onto a new level. You expect the elegance of the Pininfarina design and the dynamic ability derived from the 4.7 litre, 440 horsepower, V8 engine, but the GranCabrio offers another dimension; spacious seating for four people. The Maserati GranCabrio is priced at £96,175 on the road, including 3 years/unlimited mileage warranty. Car shown with optional metallic paint at £552, coloured dashboard/tonneau cover at £705, titanium-coloured brake calipers at £423 and BOSE® Surround Sound system at £1,410. Official fuel consumption for the Maserati GranCabrio in mpg (litres/100km): urban 12.2 (23.2), extra urban 26.7 (10.6), combined 18.5 (15.2). CO2 emissions on combined cycle 354 g/km.
Charles Hurst Ltd 62 Boucher Road, Belfast BT12 6LR Tel: 0844 558 6172 www.maseratidealers.com/charleshurst
Welcome to the fourth edition of é25 magazine, neatly coinciding with écurie25’s fourth birthday…
ECURIE25 Chief Executive: Chirag Shah Managing Director London: Jon Eliel Managing Director Leeds: Paul Brown Managing Director Northern Ireland: Philip McAuley National Franchising Manager: Simon Grantley
In recent months we have seen several exciting new supercars being launched and I am proud to say that we secured at least one variant of each of the major arrivals including Lamborghini’s LP560-4, Ferrari’s California and Tesla Motors’ Roadster – the first all electric supercar in the world.
Editorial TEAM Creative Director: Paul Dedman Project Management: Alexandra Geudon Design and Art Direction: James Dale Writing: Aaron Weddell Photography: Julian Calverley Fashion Photography: Sean McMenomy
écurie25 has also opened branches in Ballymoney, Ireland and Wakefield, Yorkshire so now members not only have an amazing choice of cars but an amazing choice of locations to enjoy them from. Each of our feature articles showcases one of the new supercars at each of the new locations. One of the most significant recent changes for the club has been the addition of member events – these have been a runaway success but don’t take my word for it, read what two of our members think in our showcase reports on the Monaco Grand Prix and the Nurburgring Road Rally. This latter event has already become legendary within the é25 folklore – no membership experience is complete without earning your spurs driving 8 supercars across unrestricted autobahns to face “The Ring”! For a complete list of forthcoming members’ events, visit: www.ecurie25.co.uk/events Make every second count! Chirag Shah CEO écurie25 Mayfair Car Centre, Park Lane Car Park, London, W1K 7AN T: +44 (0) 20 7278 3010 www.ecurie25.co.uk
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MAIN FEATURES: California Dreamin’ 06 The Ferrari California is an all-new car for the chaps in Maranello. The F430 has been a firm favourite at écurie25, so we were one of the first to get our name down for the new prancing horse – and it hasn’t disappointed. We visit our new HQ in Northern Ireland and dream of the West Coast… California Dreamin’ 06 The Ferrari California is an all-new car for the chaps in Maranello. The F430 has been a firm favourite at écurie25, so we were one of the first to get our name down for the new prancing horse – and it hasn’t disappointed. In fact, we now have two of them on the fleet!
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Photography: Julian Calverley Copy: Aaron Weddell
We may not have the weather, but we’re certainly California Dreamin’ in our Ferrari…
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Something else that catches the eye is the marinetto steering wheel control as seen previously on the F430 only this time one is treated to a ‘Comfort’ setting and not a mention of ‘Race’.
Ferrari builds cars to stir the soul, focused machines in the business of looking great whilst serving up peerless driving thrills and dynamite performance. The first time you snick an open-gate shifter and bury the throttle of a Ferrari is a moment you never forget. Think Ferrari, think scarlet sculpture, think of that classic aluminiumball-topped gear shift and a soundtrack to make a grown man come over all unnecessary. I’m pondering this and reflecting on my good fortune as I recline in an outside hot tub at Northern Ireland’s Galgorm Resort & Spa, listening to the sound of the River Maine surging by as rain gently patters down around me. It’s not quite the thrill I had driving my first Ferrari, but it’s up there on the list and, best of all, I have the latest prancing horse offering at my disposal. Although my steed isn’t a manual, things have moved on in the world of semi-automatic transmissions, possibly more so than in any other area, so we can forgive it that. It isn’t even red. It is the more luxuryfocused 2009 Ferrari California and I have travelled to the Emerald Isle to find out exactly what Ferrari mean when they talk of a ‘sports’ rather than ‘super’ car, complete with references from the stable themselves to luggage space and ‘shopping in the city’. Surely Ferrari hasn’t turned soft? To find out, we need to rewind a little to earlier during the same day. In keeping with the aspirational world inhabited by Ferrari, I would like to say that my day began with a private jet for the short flight from London to Belfast, but, instead, I arrived via the rather less auspicious method of everyone’s favourite orange and white budget airline. The personal service began on my landing at Belfast International, where I was collected by Denise from écurie25 Northern Ireland, who whisked me to their branch of operations based in Ballymoney. After the customary handover and familiarisation routine, I have one key, must-visit destination in mind;
a road familiar with most petrolheads - the Giant’s Causeway. Where better to put the California through its paces than by taking in the sinews of tarmac along the volcanic coastline. I resist the urge to fire up the integrated iPod stereo and pound up some Led Zeppelin - the Houses of the Holy sleeve artwork comprises of images taken around the Causeway and includes ‘The Song Remains the Same’, which is a great track regardless of location. That said, ‘Rain Song’ would probably be more appropriate given the weather, so the foldable hardtop stays firmly in place, safe in the knowledge that it would only take around 14 seconds to drop, should the sun make a guest appearance. Despite the roof being in place, I’m treated to quite the soundtrack as I hit the B66 - the engine gurgles and pops and bangs in a manner quite at odds with the relatively smooth ride quality. Something else that catches the eye is the marinetto steering wheel control, as seen previously on the F430, only this time, one is treated to a ‘Comfort’ setting and there is no mention of a ‘Race’ option. This is apparently a car with a split personality as, despite the added weight of the roof mechanism, any concerns that the California is a lardy concession to similarly lardy consumers are left choking in the dust, along with any would-be trafficlight grand prix racers. 0-62mph comes up in under 4 seconds, and although the speedo needle won’t trouble its 220mph peak, 193mph is a top speed that could be euphemistically termed ‘sufficient’. As I familiarise myself with the car and my route, I allow the Comfort and Automatic modes to demonstrate the California’s more demure side - although the peak horsepower figure is actually down from the F430’s nigh-on 500bhp to a more modest 453bhp, the spread of torque is keenly sited with a view to making the mid-front-mounted 4.3 V8 as tractable as possible in a variety of situations.
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In many ways, the California is a revolution for Ferrari, citing firsts in many areas - their first ever front-mounted V8, their first retractable hardtop and, as fitted to this example, their first 7-speed gearbox, incorporating a further first by way of the double-clutch transmission. But all the talk of ‘firsts’ has whetted my appetite for some elevenses, so it’s time to pull over, grab some refreshment, refuel and take a closer look at the car in the metal, leather and carbon fibre. The split between lovers and haters of the design treatment is as distinct as the car’s own dual personalities. Although it’s not one of the prettiest Ferraris ever made, unlike its 1960s forebear with which it shares a name and front grill treatment, it is a striking beast. Detractors are probably more distressed that this car represents a departure from the norm rather than issues with the overall aesthetics. There are some negative points however; the A-pillars can block visibility around tighter bends and I’m personally not that taken with the rather fussy crease along the side of the car, but despite not being the traditional red, it is unmistakably an Italian thoroughbred from the wide rear haunches to the rakish front. It may not be a car that immediately talks to your heart, but there’s a decent balance between practicality and outright panache. Interior-wise, the luxury focus is clear, with every possible surface being wrapped in cream hide and the driving position being less low-slung than you may anticipate, not to mention the touch-screen navigation and audio controls which fall instinctively to hand thanks to the superb ergonomics. The California does offer rear accommodation, but after giving it a try and being lucky enough not to have an audience as I disembarked somewhat gracelessly, I’d say that they are strictly for children rather than adults for all but the shortest trips.
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With what looks like a potentially good five minute break in the clouds I even opt for a bit of topless fun â€“ in seconds the hard top GT car from before I paused for a cuppa, has become a convertibleâ€Ś
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My stop-off is not without a tourist trap, nor is the early break in my journey not entirely without forethought, and I take a breather whilst enjoying a tour of the Old Bushmills Distillery, a place so entrenched in the history of Northern Ireland that it finds pride of place on a selection of the Bank of Ireland’s notes. For passengers who wish to follow in my tread blocks, the tour concludes with a free sample from a selection of their famed malts; I opted for a mere sniff of the 21-year-old malt and, instead, appraise a soft drink. Given my early start, it was only 10.30am by the end of the tour and, regardless of whether I’m driving or not, single malt should not be enjoyed before 11am - it’s just a rule of mine. If whiskey facts aren’t your thing, then a slight variation on my route would be to head to Portrush, where the famous North West 200 motorcycle race is held in mid-May each year. The full route runs between the towns of Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine, and with crowds of over 150,000, it is presumably best avoided during this time if you’re not looking to be part of the action! With the tank brimmed and a promise to myself to grab a cheeky whiskey after dinner, it’s time to try out the Sport setting and paddle-shift - I’ve seen how she can trickle merrily on light throttle, changing into 7th gear at a mere 50mph or so in the Comfort setting, but the real fireworks hinted at by that engine note earlier should now come to the fore. With what looks like a potentially good five-minute break in the clouds, I even opt for a bit of topless fun - in seconds, the GT car from before I paused for a cuppa has become a convertible - potentially another first in the form of Ferrari’s first buy-one-get-one-free offer. Pressing on and enjoying that glorious V8 bark unencumbered by a roof confirms that hanging onto each gear that little bit longer allows you to not only enjoy the sonic delights, but it also allows the California to seemingly shrug off that extra weight and, with the twin-clutch system, acceleration comes in a nigh-on seamless surge. The carbon-ceramic brakes, which
at low speeds can be a little grabby and sensitive, tirelessly shed speed for corner entry or unexpected encounters with the wildlife. Going fast and stopping effectively accounts for nowt if the Ferrari can’t cut it in the corners. Initially, the softer-than-usual set-up puts one more in the mind of a radically breathed on super-saloon with the accurate yet light steering further reinforcing this feel, but as the speed increases, this firms up and provides one with the confidence to lean on the suspension a touch more and see how it reacts. Given the dry-wet combination of the road, I wasn’t looking to adopt any ridiculous angles, but you can feel that this is a friendlier, less spiky car than the F430, even at moderate speeds, with a degree of slight roll factored in before the suspension loads up. You are probably rolling your eyes about now - a Ferrari with a touch of body roll (and, really, it’s just a touch) factored into its make-up? It’s just so un-Ferrari but, realistically, we can’t all be heroic road testers power oversteering from bend to bend wondering why there aren’t wipers on the side windows. That’s not to say that oversteer isn’t there to be had should you wish, but you have to provoke it with a fairly Neanderthal degree of delicacy - with the torque spread over a broad range, there is no sudden aggressive spike of power to catch you unawares. If anything, as the speed increases, you can really settle into a graceful flow between bends that belies the beyond-599 weight. Without wanting to sound like a wimp, I’d say that this set-up suits me just fine on a drizzly day, driving over £150,000-worth of car a couple of metres from a cliff-edge. One of the benefits of the route I set myself is that you can follow the coastal road all the way back along the A2 via Ballycastle and down through Slemish mountain, before a short jaunt to the Galgorm Resort & Spa. There’s plenty of breathtaking scenery and stop-off points along the way, and the destination provides the ideal base to unwind and reflect once you’ve had your fill of great driving.
Set in 163 acres of lush parkland and with the aforementioned River Maine flowing through the estate, Galgorm Resort & Spa is the perfect setting to truly relax and get away from it all, with a recent and comprehensive £11m refurbishment programme having transformed the former residence to an opulent 4-star deluxe resort and spa complex. You really can unload your bags from the California’s ample load space and settle into a decadent yet relaxed world with everything you require on site. There’s the obvious (and award-winning) spa facilities, a choice of two restaurants before which you can explore the grounds via foot, horse or mountain bike, or just take the load off in one of the 75 luxuriously appointed bedrooms and plan your road trip for the following day. If you are particularly taken with the opulent lifestyle the California encapsulates, then you can even opt for a helicopter trip to review the coastline from a different vantage point. Of course, you simply must try the outdoor hot tub, which is where we began. So, before I hit the bar for that single malt nightcap, I muse on one last point - is the Ferrari California a true Ferrari? It’s a great car without question, as practical as you could hope as it swallows luggage, copes with slurring the gears itself for around-town duties and, given a clear stretch, it goes, sounds and stops like a Ferrari. What more could you want? Really? Well, you’re in luck, as écurie25 also have it in red.
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You really can unload your bags from the Californiaâ€™s ample load space and settle into a decadent yet relaxed world with everything you require on site.
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Monaco F1 Grand Prix Trip Copy and Images: Justin Fielder (écurie25 Member)
Time goes so quick. Having arranged with écurie25 for myself and my partner to attend the Monaco Grand Prix some five months before the event actually took place, it seemed just a blink of the eye until the weekend was upon us. Anticipating that we would be staying in Nice (as per the advice they gave us), the passes and directions on how to get from Nice to Monaco and then the apartment overlooking the track were dispatched safely and securely to us the week before and the excitement started to build. The internet and a few phone calls was all that was needed to book the flights and a hotel in Nice to avoid the stupid prices within Monaco itself. A very nice 4* “boutique” hotel was ours for the weekend at less than £120 a night! A short hop from Heathrow on the 18:20 to Nice on the Friday night meant we arrived nice and early and could freshen up and have a few beers. It was a nice change from Blighty to be sitting outside in the lovely courtyard of the hotel quaffing a G&T late at night and without a care in the world. A few drinks later and after the stresses and strains of the working week we decided to get an early night and then head into Monaco after breakfast in the morning. Sleep turned out to be tricky with
the thought of Saturday’s practice and qualifying sessions being just a matter of hours away! Dawn broke, and we continued to snore. This is the life, knowing from the great instructions what time we had to be there and the train timings we finally awoke from our slumber around 9:00am and had a lazy morning getting up, filling up on breakfast, and then wandering up to the train station to make our way into Monaco. Compared to the normal joys of Silverstone (or my recent trip to Shanghai) this has to be one of the easiest ways to get to a Grand Prix in the world. A short walk and then a five minute wait for the train, a seat all the way and you then get out into the huge “cavern” of the railway station that is Monaco. Fans were milling around by now. Flags proclaiming that such and such is the best are all well and good, but we were really here to see one thing, namely if “our” fuzzy hamster beard JB could do what we all knew he was capable of. The trip out of the station was fun, up this stairs, take this lift, walk here, go there, but again the instructions were just spot on and within just five minutes we emerged out into the air to the sounds of F1 engines being warmed. My god though, the
echo’s coming up through the hill that the station is embedded into were just something else. You could positively feel your hairs standing on end. Now, up a hill and then a long but very interesting walk down to the apartment, dead easy. A nice shortcut in the instructions gave the impression that this was no “Google Maps” organised event, someone had taken the time and effort to ‘be’ the person you were being and give you instructions that just made sense. Down through the check points, our passes giving us the correct nod from the efficient marshals and gatemen and we emerged just inches away from the track. At that point a Ferrari came blatting past on an ‘out’ lap and it was just stunning to have a F1 car going up the hill at full pelt just inches away from your face. I’ve been lucky to have sat in the Benneton F1 garage when they were engine testing a car and it was an amazing experience, but to be so close, literally being able to put your hand through a single wall of catch fence and touch a car going past was just something else! After watching a few more blurs of colour fly past with our fingers jammed tightly in our ears, we then
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walked into the Beau Rivage apartment block and took the lift. “Ding” we came out of the lift and were immediately greeted by a very nice lady with two glasses of champagne. This was closely followed with warm beaming smiles from the écurie25 team. The flat had a balcony that just seemed to “hang” over the track and gave the best view I have ever had at a Grand Prix weekend. From the start finish straight, we could watch the action right around Sainte Devote and up the hill, and then out of the Chicane, around Tabac and through Piscine almost all the way to Rascasse. Not only that, but we also had a clear view across the excessive opulence of the yachts in the harbour. After a few introductions to other écurie25 members we were treated to an excellent lunch of many different nibbles, sandwiches and “things” (some of which I’ve no idea what they were but tasted damn nice) and as much drink as we could stomach. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and practice was about to start. What more could you want? In addition there was strategically placed a TV that allowed you to follow the action from one of the three rooms and two balcony positions, so we
waited to see what our JB was going to do. You probably all by now know what actually happened in the race, and so I won’t bore you with a blow by blow set of details about our JB’s race, and “that” moment that Lewis had, but it was, in my mind, so raw, so real and so different to Shanghai. To boot I got to meet fellow é25 members, and Chirag our new CEO who I had a great chat with about the future. It certainly gave me a good feeling that écurie25 is not just about the cars, but is forging ahead to make this a true members club. It’s also fair to say that given the keen pricing of such a wonderful event, they are being level minded and grounded about where people want to spend their money. Unfortunately work and other commitments means I’m going to have to curtail my F1 visits this year, however I’ll be following our JB to see if he can continue where he left off last season. I also have a very personal interest in the Manor F1 (Virgin) team, so they will be getting my support this year. So, that just leaves me to wish anyone that is doing Monaco with écurie25 this year to have a great time and to let us know what the ‘yacht’ experience is like. Perhaps you’ll be writing the next magazine piece, I look forward to reading it!
Key to images: Main: View from our balcony during the race Top Middle: Mark Webber recognises us! Above Middle: JB did us proud Above Right: Tifosi were out in force
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Photography: Julian Calverley Copy: Aaron Weddell
Fossil fuels are extinct. Long live the Tesla Roadster…
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Browsing the Internet in anticipation of getting my hands on the all-electric Tesla Roadster, I chanced across a video clip of Tomorrow’s World from some 16 years ago. I watched with interest as all of the hurdles to be vaulted in order to gain mass-market success - battery size, charging times and a decent range - seemed to be the very same obstacles troubling manufacturers today. Considering how far we have come in other technological areas over the same period, I couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed as, at the very moment the clip finished, a neighbour of mine inched past my window in his very own EV (Electric Vehicle), one of those miniscule plastic affairs apparently modelled on a child’s toy, complete with performance to match those looks. Undeterred but with some trepidation, I continued on to Tesla’s own website and found my spirits lifted with each statistic that I soaked up. 0-60mph in sub-4 seconds and a 244-mile range piqued my interest, and a spot of further research coupled with some basic sums suggested that a full charge would cost around £5 or so. Perhaps Tesla had finally cracked it. The following day, I find myself at écurie25 London
just moments away from putting those stats to the test. It is often said that supercars appear to crackle with kinetic energy, but the Tesla Roadster sounds like it is literally doing so. However, what seems to be gentle electrical fizzing coming from the idling power plant turns out to be the sound of coolant circulating around the cooling system keeping the Lotus Elise-based Roadster’s several thousand lithium-ion cells at optimum efficiency.
into a Roadster, a car that is 93% new parts would be the end result. All of the body panels are unique to the Tesla and, with the exception of the bumpers, are made of carbon fibre - you can make your own mind up from the images, but it’s a smart enough thing, and if electric performance cars are to take a hold in the marketplace, then basing it around what initially appears to be a familiar and iconic base is no bad idea.
As we talk through the controls, I feel a little bit like James Bond in Q’s lab about to be entrusted with the latest piece of techno-wizardry. Whether it be a motoring watershed moment or just an uber-cool gadget, I’m itching to see how it performs in the real world.
Inside, there’s no escaping the origins - being an Elise with a liberal dash of red and black leather to lift the otherwise functional surroundings. It would be only fair to state at this point that, although écurie25’s example is an official road-registered car, it is one of the very first in the country and is somewhat a beta-test model in several areas, including the interior layout, with the latest models having a more logically placed touch-screen in the centre console, rather than by your left knee in this LHD example.
Styling wise, the Lotus lineage is apparent, but let’s be clear: this isn’t an Elise with a pile of laptop batteries where an oily, planet-destroying petrol unit once resided. The Tesla is based on the Elise layout but with lower sills and a strengthened version of Lotus’ bonded and riveted extruded aluminium monocoque tub to accommodate the battery pack. There’s an extensive list of differences between a £25k petrol Elise and this £90k Tesla Roadster. Rather than fill up an article going through the details, let’s just say this - if you could give your Elise to Tesla to convert it
Nevertheless, if this is to be the future, then, if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphor, the proof of the pudding is in the driving. So, here goes - with the shifter in neutral, foot on the brake and handbrake on, you turn the disappointingly mundane key and not much happens other than a change in the
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sequence of dashboard lights. Select Drive, release the handbrake and ease off the footbrake and the car creeps forward in an eerie hush, just the squeak of tyres on the showroom floor denoting progress. Initially, my progress on the road is a touch cautious. Effectively removing one of your senses by having a near-silent car takes a few minutes to adjust to, along with the usual familiarisation period required of any car. Within a few streets and just a couple of minutes, a number of things are clear - as a result of the regenerative braking system in town, you don’t really need to touch the brake pedal until you require a total standstill, as the massive brake retardation the moment you come off the throttle is pretty much equivalent to a reasonably firm brake pedal action. The throttle response is electric (my first and last pun, I promise) and you quickly find yourself exploiting gaps in traffic as the nature of the drivetrain is that you have 100% of the 273lb/ ft of torque available 100% of the time, so you never find yourself bogged down waiting for peak revs. The steering ably supports such endeavours by being non-assisted and wonderfully direct. It’s prudent not to get too carried away with the cutand-thrust of being able to make serene yet swift progress; it seems that few London pedestrians heed the saying ‘it’s the quiet ones you have to
watch out for’! Being ultra-aware of pedestrians is a must to the extent that you have to sign a disclaimer before leaving écurie25 to say that you are especially sensitive to the fact that people may just step out in front of you. Fortunately, the only thing that disappeared beneath the Tesla’s wheels during my tenure was an empty bag of Monster Munch, which, in itself, was a slightly odd experience, as actually travelling at the urban limit and being able to hear the crunch of the packet beneath the tyres above all else is somewhat surreal. In fact, you can be tootling along at normal speeds and catch snippets of conversations of passers-by... although, unfortunately, there’s not much danger of you hearing much else other than wind noise once you get away from the slow pace of the city or urban sprawl. Above 60mph or so, it really is quite intrusive – the removable canvas roof actually seems pretty good, but the seals around the doors, particularly the A-pillars, allow it to sound somewhat blustery in the cabin. That said, you will have no problem keeping up with, nay blowing into the weeds, regular petrol-powered traffic thanks to a redline at 14,000 rpm and a limited top speed of 125mph. If the lack of engine roar really gets you down, you can always play your favourite engine sounds through the iPod stereo, an idea not as laughable as it may seem, as German tuning
companies have already demonstrated Teslas with speakers in the rear to emulate sounds ranging from a V8 to a spaceship! One thing that is initially prevalent in your mind is the fact that the instant hit of torque to the rear wheels at full throttle may overwhelm the tyres. Yet, thanks to 65% of the weight being biased to the rear, it remains remarkably planted, even in damp conditions, with the traction control rarely cutting in. You may expect this rear-biased weight distribution and instant access to an abundance of torque to make the handling less than ideal, but grip is plentiful and the power delivery is far more linear and easy to modulate than with a petrol engine once you’re accustomed to it. Unless you treat the throttle purely as an on-off switch, it is incredibly easy to balance the car with the throttle, dialling in the ideal amount of power for a given corner whilst accurately pointing the front end thanks to the nonassisted steering. It’s not all sparkling praise though, as, despite the judicious use of carbon fibre, there’s no escaping the extra weight penalty that all those batteries bring. The damping copes well with the odd stretch of undulating asphalt, but the suspension can thump over the more severe potholes - fortunately,
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The throttle response is electric and you quickly find yourself exploiting gaps in traffic as the nature of the drivetrain is that you have 100% of the 273lb/ft of torque available 100% of the time so you never find yourself bogged down waiting for peak revs.
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this is more likely to become a bit tiresome over the more rutted urban roadways than something that really upsets the handling at higher speeds. A consideration at those higher speeds is that the range is somewhat dented to around 150 miles because, with a clear run, you’re not getting the benefit of the regenerative braking system. Then there’s the recharging once you’re all out of juice, which takes 16 hours from a standard 13amp socket, but charging stations are already springing up in shopping centre car parks and, obviously, you can part-charge the car during office/sleeping hours. For owners, a specialist power hook-up means that a full-charge in four hours is possible. The Tesla Roadster is a bold move - the pub bore or office know-it-all will, no doubt, bombard you with anti-EV arguments, but it is a step in the right direction - a move away from reliance on fossil fuels has to be a worthwhile endeavour, as they are an undeniably finite resource. Arguments against the battery technology can be countered by the fact that the Tesla batteries are good for 100,000 miles and can then be used in less demanding applications and, even at the end of their useful life, are largely recyclable. But let’s not get bogged down in ecoarguments and get back to the car itself. This is the concluding section in which, since I’m a red-blooded car enthusiast, I trounce the electric car because if it’s not sporting a carbon-spewing V-something engine and making a tremendous din, then I’m not interested. Yes, the other cars featured in this issue may knock on the door of 200mph, but, in reality, a lot of the fun to be had these days is the few seconds blasting from the urban limit into a national, that moment when you bury the throttle to overtake a slow-moving obstacle or, dare I suggest, in safely zipping away from the traffic lights to the shock of the rep or boyracer who thought he had you pegged. The Tesla Roadster excels in these areas and, thanks to its silent running, it can do performance and stealth equally well, even throwing some of your favourite bends into the equation leaves you smiling. Even if you’re not convinced, then drift off to sleep tonight comforted by this thought - if the Tesla Roadster is the future, then there will be more fossil fuels for us to enjoy in the kind of cars that can potentially hit 200mph. So, whatever your standpoint, it’s worth cheering this latest development of the EV.
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The Nürburgring Road Rally
Having looked forward to écurie25’s first Road Rally for months, August 22nd eventually arrived with blue skies over Kings Cross and the crescendo of V8’s, V10s, a V12 and a W12! There were seventeen of us in the party and following the handover of écurie25’s pristine fleet of Lambo’s, Astons, Ferraris etc, we paired up and headed for the Channel Tunnel. My first drive was the Aston Martin DBS, what a way to start! Pulling out of the garage on Railway Street the feeling was one of excitement and the thought that it doesn’t get much better than this… but it did! Once in Calais, we completed our first change of cars and I had the slightly terrifying thought of driving the Gallardo LP560-4 off the Eurotunnel. The Gallardo blasted us towards our stop for lunch, the Huevelhof restaurant in Torhout. Some took the direct route, but I opted for a few twisty back roads to test out the Lambo’s agility. Steak frites recharged our batteries and post lunch I settled into the driver’s seat of the Audi R8 for the run in to Germany.
Photography: écurie25 Copy: Tim Waite (écurie25 Member)
The highlight of day one however was surely the arrival at the Hotel Schloss at Bensburg. Standing imperiously above the town, the sight of its turrets and impressive facade was a fine spectacle and its sumptuous rooms didn’t disappoint either. Sitting with a glass of Laurent Perrier Rose, watching the arrival of one écurie beast after another to a cacophony of growling horsepower in front of this magnificent building was amazing....
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Dinner was spent alfresco in the company of Dale from RSR Racing, our hosts at the Nurburgring. Wayne drives a Porsche GT3 RS and is a veteran of the Ring with over fifteen hundred laps under his belt and with all the hints and tips you’ll ever need for a safe but exhilarating experience. Thoroughly briefed and with our breath truly bated, it was off to bed dreaming of beating Clarkson’s ten minute lap! Day two - brilliant blue skies and an early start for the ‘Ring. A first time drive in the Maserati GTS for me and a chance to navigate some of the fine twisting hilly roads that surround the Nürbergring. With the exhaust turned up to full volume and encouraged by Chirag (écurie25’s CEO) to give it some welly, we quickly reached our destination. My first encounter with the ‘Ring was to drive alongside a long straight and with the windows in the Massa down, we were treated to the blaring exhaust notes as three Porsches shot past in rapid succession. WOW. After a further briefing from Ron, RSR’s owner, we were introduced to our race spec Renault Clio Sports and Megan R26’s and were off for our first taste of the ‘Ring. What a road. Just under 13 miles long and rising and falling more than one thousand metres. Set deep in wooded hillsides, this track is simply breathtaking, not that I had time to enjoy the scenery! All sorts of exotica shot by me… as did Suzuki Swifts driven by the local boy racers and a lady driving a VW Camper Van! Anything goes
as this is a bona fide toll road - you pay your money and off you go. In defence of my Miss Daisy driving style, it was my first lap and I could have sworn that the lady was Sabine Schmitz, the local ‘Ring expert! Two laps under my belt and a ride in the ‘Ring taxi and I was feeling a bit more confident. I was already loving the Karussell. Get it right and you sling shot out at the other end....get it wrong and you’re upside down in a tree! In between laps and lunch at the circuit, we were able to take out the écurie25 fleet and play on the superb driving roads surrounding the track and even had time for a road convoy which drew many admiring glances. Post lunch and following a terrifying but eye opening trip out with Dale in the GT3 RS as a passenger, I clocked up my best ‘lap’ in a Clio, ‘timed’ at 9.48. Let’s be clear, this is a public toll road, and on open days you cannot complete a full lap… and timing or racing is strictly forbidden. So, as I passed under the Bridge I started with ‘one elephant, two elephant, three elephant’ and by the time I flew under the Gantry I had made it to ‘five hundred and fifty eight elephants’. Add thirty elephants for the missing section of the lap and there you have a sub ten minute lap, it felt pretty good to me! Dinner was preceded by a stint at the wheel of the sublime Ferrari California, a dip in the fabulous pool at the Schloss followed by superb food, wine and company and many tales of each others’ experiences of the ‘Ring.
Day three broke with a photo call of all the cars and drivers stood in front of the écurie fleet once again in brilliant sunshine. We then travelled back to the Ring and courtesy of Jaguar spent the morning at the Grand Prix circuit and skid panning in XKs and XFs followed by a private viewing of the new XJ. Then it was back on the road in the Maserati for a blast on the autobahns and on to Spa for lunch. This proved to be a gastronomic delight of foie gras and smoked salmon eaten al fresco in the grounds of the stunning Manoir de Lebioles and once again testament to the great planning of the écurie25 team. Finally refreshed, we set off for the longest leg home with me at the wheel of the LP560 through to Calais via some beautifully long tunnels in Belgium which treated the locals to the full bore of the Lambo’s exhaust! All too soon we arrived tired but exhilarated back at é25 HQ on Railway Street. A superb trip that has to rank as one of those things that you simply must do before you die! Me, I can’t get enough and having challenged the écurie team to repeat the event only better, I’ve already signed up for September 2010. The Nürburgring Road Rally - one word… Awesome. If you would like to see some video from this event, you can do so in the ‘Community’ section of our website – www.ecurie25.co.uk
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Photography: Sean McMenomy Lingerie supplied by: Freya | www.freyalingerie.com
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Photography: Julian Calverley Copy: Aaron Weddell
Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder
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There’s a throaty induction roar in harmony with the bark from the four cannon-like exhausts, producing a solid sonic wave on which you surf.
I’m typing this introduction as I blast through the Peterborough countryside at 100mph or thereabouts. Since setting off a short time ago, I’ve already checked my email and grabbed an impromptu 40 winks, and I’m gearing up for a spot of lunch. Over 6,000bhp is propelling me towards a date with an old flame - we’ve been out of touch for a while and I hear that, since our last unforgettable dalliance, she’s had a few changes made, so I’m keen to reach our rendezvous as swiftly as possible. Of course, I’m not yet behind the wheel of the vision you see in the images gracing these pages. I’m letting the train take the strain, having deposited my own car at écurie25 London’s King’s Cross headquarters, and am now making light work of the almost 200 miles to their Leeds branch. Not only does this save me a slog up the M1, but it also gives me time to reflect on our past liaisons... The Lamborghini Gallardo and I go way back. Over the years, I’ve sampled various iterations - from the original manual coupes through to the Spyder and a number of different manual and semi-automatic combinations. Each and every time I have had the keys to a Gallardo, it has been a real wrench to hand them back thanks to its impressive blend of otherworldly supercar performance and real-world usability. We’ve previously enjoyed weekends to country retreats, European jaunts and she has even enlivened potentially mundane excursions to visit the relatives. Despite being quietly confident that they won’t have, I’m slightly nervous that any changes made to this new model may have messed with that spark which we previously shared. My first clue as to the changes that await me is courtesy of a revised naming convention. My weekend steed is to be the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder LP560-4. The addition to the name may be dull, but what decoding this reveals is somewhat more stimulating: a convertible, packing a longitudinale posteriore (lengthwise) 560ps engine transmitting that power to the tarmac via four-wheel drive. A bit of on-the-move Googling as I near my destination reveals that there is a change in the V10’s engine
capacity - up from 4961cc to 5204cc - bringing with it a healthy 39bhp and 22lb/ft gain, now 552bhp and 398lb ft, respectively. A host of other revisions reveal that, not only has the Gallardo been bulking up power-wise, but it has also managed to shed a few pounds. Anticipation levels run high as my stop is broadcast as being mere moments away. In keeping with the painless trip to Leeds, my transit from the station to écurie25 Leeds is equally silken. A car awaits my arrival and I am whisked the short distance to the north UK base of operations and, in no time at all, the Gallardo and I are busy getting reacquainted. Now, obviously, the ‘rules’ dictate that, when meeting a past love you should play it cool, I cannot help but throw social conventions out of the window and be dazzled by just how well the nip-and-tuck changes have been implemented. From the fresh front end with its Reventón-esque air dam nostrils to the sleeker rear lamps inspired by the Miura Concept, the LP560-4’s slash-cut origami styling looks as refreshingly original as her predecessor did way back in 2003. Even in the showroom alongside comparable exotica, the Gallardo stands out as something rather extraordinary. With the handover completed, I contemplated heading back ‘down south’, but rest assured, I’m not planning to travel all the way back home because, with so many great routes easily accessible from écurie25 Leeds, it would be a crime to squander them. You can’t really go too far wrong with anywhere in the Peak District, which is where I have chosen to spend the weekend with my partner (apologies, particularly to her, for not mentioning her sooner clearly, I only had one ‘lady’ on my mind earlier). My admittedly somewhat convoluted route is scheduled to include the legendary Snake Pass and the notorious Cat & Fiddle Road, as well as a whole host of sublime connecting tarmac sinews. With such a high concentration of quality driving roads in such a relatively small area, any number of charming
towns and villages can be potential base camps, and we’ve opted for a charming rental cottage just outside of Buxton. Only a short distance from my starting point and the Spyder has, once again, ensnared me in her web; on the A628 to be a little more precise. In the miles leading up to joining this road, I have been just gently easing myself into the whole Lamborghini experience. Bathing in the ambience of the exquisitely finished interior, reminding myself of how the beautifully judged heft to the steering strikes a delicate balance between being unwieldy and serving up a sufficiently physical experience to keep you conscious at all times to the fact that you are piloting something special, as well as marvelling at the updated e-Gear transmission. In amongst all this, perhaps I have also indulged in a little bit of feeling a touch smug at my good fortune, just a smidge. Once the all-new direct-injection engine is up to temperature, I sample how its character differs to the unit it replaces. Working in perfect harmony with the faster-shifting e-Gear paddle-shift, there’s a harder, dirtier edge to the soundtrack, with an even greater Jekyll-and-Hyde split between trundling along accompanied by a relative hush that satisfies driveby sound level regulations and the aggressive aural savagery that explodes when you keep the throttle pinned for more than the briefest of moments. And tempted you will be because the more revs you extract, the better the noise from the engine, and with the Snake Pass unfurling before me, the V10 seems like a cajoling devil on my shoulder. There’s throaty induction roar in harmony with the bark from the four cannon-like exhausts, producing a solid sonic wave on which you surf. Grinning like a child, you glance down at the speedometer and you ease off, inner child suitably chastised by your sensible adult self. Best to push that little devil to one side and allow your more saintly side dictate your pace - not only is this weekend about great roads, but also spectacular scenery, so it’s best to take the time to savour it.
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Now, obviously, the ‘rules’ dictate that, when meeting a past love you should play it cool – however, I cannot help but throw social conventions out of the window and be dazzled by just how well the nip-and-tuck changes have been implemented to this new incarnation of the sublime Gallardo…
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It’s not all about straight-line pace anyway - it’s about getting that bend just right, that perfect entry speed, ideal line and just the right measure of throttle as the exit opens out in front of you and you can sense the engine inches behind your head as it growls and snarls like a tethered lycanthrope, feeling the power being shuffled between all four wheels with just a touch of an aggressive angle thanks to the rear-drive bias. In moments like this, all of the old memories come flooding back - the previous model was doubtlessly great, but this one seems to have not only some extra polish, but also a whole additional layer of Carnauba wax. A few turns off the Snake Pass, you can find yourself on the Winnats Pass, yet, before you do so, I urge you to follow my advice and pull over for a minute. Actually, not a whole minute - about 20 seconds should suffice, just enough time for the soft-top that gives the Spyder its name to retract in the poetry of electronic-hydraulic motion. Now you’re ready to keep the gears low and the revs high as you pass through the ravine. The Lamborghini’s power plant will make short work of the climb and its bellow will probably startle a tourist or two deep underground in the Blue John Caverns around half a mile away. As an added bonus, with the roof stowed away on a warm summer’s day, you may even catch a glimpse of the local daredevils swarming in the skies around Mam Tor (some 1,700ft above sea level), as the area is a Mecca for gliding enthusiasts. The day unfolds in a similar vein and, often when you think you have experienced all of the superb roads and epic scenery you can stomach, you turn the corner and a whole new stretch of tarmac amongst the rolling hills tempts you into ignoring the intuitive
satellite navigation and simply following your heart. Even if you find yourself heading down a poorly maintained roadway more used to the clattering of hooves than the rasping of an amply tuned V10, it’s not a problem thanks to the handy nose-lift feature which, at the press of a button, lifts the front splitter clear of any potentially expensive humps and ruts. When we eventually do find ourselves at our home for the night, I reflect on a truly memorable days driving and, more than anything, look forward to doing it all over again in reverse tomorrow. In this environment, there are truly few downsides to the Gallardo, particularly when, as an écurie25 member, you can remove price from the equation and concentrate on the value of the experience. So, it’s in the early hours of the following morning when I should be dreaming of supercars that I am crunching across the gravel driveway before doing my level best to stir the slumbering Lamborghini as quietly as possible. There’s a flurry of revs as I twist the key, but other than a nearby sheep or three, I seem to have disturbed no-one other than the satnav, whose instructions seem slightly curter than I recall, as it directs me to the Cat & Fiddle Road for a pre-breakfast blast. After all, there’s time for sleep on the train back to London and the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder LP560-4 and I still have a lot of catching up to do. As a cunning bonus my early morning indulgence is under the guise of collecting the ingredients to a romantic breakfast to set my partner and I up for another day of awe-inspiring motoring. A simple oversight on my part that the shops don’t actually open for another two hours...
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In moments like this, all of the old memories come flooding back - the previous model was doubtlessly great, but this one seems to have not only some extra polish, but also a whole additional layer of Carnauba wax.
38 | é25 magazine Photography: Julian Calverley Copy: Aaron Weddell
What’s around the corner? Coming in the next issue… The next issue of é25 Magazine will be out in Autumn 2010, where we will be able to look back on some of our fabulous Summer events. Plus, we will be spending a few days with new aquisitions to the écurie25 stable – particular highlights will be the beautiful Audi R8 Spyder and the newest from Maranello – the Ferrari 458.
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