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Formula 1 | goodwood revival | sports cars | road cars | historics

NIGEL ROEBUCK

‘Sid Watkins was the greatest man in motor racing’ Bill Boddy’s hidden treasures

By Gordon Cruickshank

F1 in America: How it used to be By Gordon Kirby

‘The most desirable SL since 1954’ New lightweight Merc stuns Andrew Frankel

Why we’ll miss Casey Stoner

Mat Oxley: ‘early retirement will be MotoGP’s loss’

Paralympic gold to the Indy 500

Heroic Zanardi targets the Brickyard for 2013

‘‘

Success is relief. Relief that you haven’t failed

’’

november 2012

Cover1 McLarenSenna.indd 1

£4.99

ron dennis: my life at

mclaren

Inside the mind of the man behind Senna, Prost, Häkkinen and Hamilton 17/09/2012 19:48


since 1924 – The original motor racing magazine

Volume 88 Number 11

Contents

In the spirit of WB

Features 48 Goodwood Revival Dan Gurney, AC Cobras, ‘Silver Arrows’ demo and Ferrari 250GTOs star at Lord March’s race meeting 58 McLaren Special Simon Taylor has lunch with Ron Dennis, the man who steered McLaren to F1 supremacy, while Nigel Roebuck recalls some of the team’s Dennis-era racing highlights

86 Surtees on driving talent The 1964 World Champion has strong views on the junior racing ‘ladder’ 90 Watkins Glen motor inn This was the place to stay for the US Grands Prix between 1961 and ’80 98 Bill Boddy’s treasure The late founder editor’s Aladdin’s Cave of motoring memorabilia 106 Darren Turner The Aston Martin works driver is proof that nice guys do finish first

77 Donington Memorabilia Helmets of rivals Senna and Prost

78 McLaren’s GT3 challenge Turning the MP4-12C road car into a competitive GT endurance racer

112 Road tests Mercedes-Benz SL500, BMW 5-series ActiveHybrid and Ferrari 458 Spider

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see p84 for great Motor Sport offers

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since 1924 – The original motor racing magazine

Volume 88 Number 11

Contents

In the spirit of Jenks

Favourites 16 Professor SID Watkins The neurosurgeon who revolutionised Formula 1’s medical practice 18 The Month in Motor Sport Zanardi’s plans to compete in the Indy 500 and the Grand-Am/ALMS merger 24 Road cars Volkswagen’s global platform for the future and the new Range Rover 26 Events of the month Zandvoort Historic GP, Oulton Park Gold Cup and Raid Suisse-Paris 28 Roebuck’s reflections Lewis Hamilton’s odd behaviour and Dan Gurney at the Goodwood Revival 37 Dispatches Surtees stars at Burpham Motor Racing Club’s third classic car show 39 on two wheels A sad farewell to Casey Stoner 41 The US Scene Keep an eye on Simon Pagenaud

42 Letters The key to Formula 1’s future

46 Motor Sport online Discussion of Spa’s first-corner crash 118 Sidetracked Why racing drivers are some of the fittest sportsmen on the planet 22 Historic scene 1 Chelsea AutoLegends and a private museum to a dynasty of speed 25 Desirables 1 Motor sport inspiration for the home, plus win a Barry Sheene foot stool! 27 Auctions 1 Star cars at the Goodwood Revival 129 Book reviews Inside Colin Chapman’s Lotus 72 131 You were there Two eras of North America’s Can-Am 132 Doug Nye Brooks and Collins in the ‘Silver Arrows’ at Oulton Park, 1958 136 parting shot Porsche 956 of Ickx and Bell chases the leaders at Le Mans in 1983

december 2012 issue on sale october 26 10

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Nigel Roebuck

Reflections – Hamilton’s dilemma: McLaren or Mercedes? – Why Monza’s atmosphere still thrills 42 years on – In response to Grosjean misconduct at Spa – Hero Gurney honoured at Goodwood Revival

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h, Lewis, Lewis… In a week in which Sid Watkins died, and Alex Zanardi won two gold medals at the Paralympics, it wasn’t easy to care too much about how many millions – and from whom – will be coming Hamilton’s way in 2013 and beyond, but it’s undeniable that in the Monza paddock it was a topic endlessly debated. Lewis superbly won the Italian Grand Prix, no argument there, but otherwise he was back to behaving strangely again – whether by accident or design – and this time it was nothing to do with his girlfriend. After all the hysterics of 2011, it had seemed that this season everything was back on a relatively even keel with Hamilton. He has driven beautifully and he has smiled a lot and he has been calm. Only last month I suggested that

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occasionally he has had cause to bitch about this and that, but had not done so, showing ‘an equanimity one thought lost a year ago…’ That was written during the five-week holiday break in the Grand Prix season, before the clans gathered again at Spa, where I thought an announcement might well come from McLaren, confirming that Hamilton had signed a new contract. For months Lewis had been saying he was in no hurry to sort out his future, and it was apparent that neither had his team been putting him under any pressure to do so: obviously McLaren’s hope was that he would opt to remain with the team that had brought him into F1 – but only if that were what he truly wished to do. And not at any price, either. Shortly before the Hungarian Grand Prix, in a BBC

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In the zone or zoned out? Hamilton’s Monza mood did not match his sublime win

radio interview, Ron Dennis – chairman of the McLaren Group, but no longer the company’s F1 team principal – said this: “There’s no reason Lewis won’t be driving our cars in the future. I think that people get the wrong impression. When I last looked at the contract, I was paying him, so it’s a question of whether we employ him, not the other way round.” It struck me at the time that some within McLaren might regard Dennis’s remarks as – in the PR parlance of today – unhelpful, because they came across as patronising, and there are immense egos within Hamilton’s immediate circle, not least in the company which manages him. Ron also made the point that the economic climate now was not as it had been when

Lewis’s last contract – reputedly worth $15 million a year – was negotiated, which rather suggested that McLaren would be unwilling to stump up to the same degree this time around.

Spa, and it was Lewis’s turn to be hardheaded: “This is a business. I always wear my heart on my sleeve, but I also have to be business-minded. There is work being done in the background, and the guys paid to do that job are discussing it.” All a long way from the days of ‘living the dream’, and in tone it reminded me of Silverstone in 2011, when Hamilton suddenly declared that he was being asked to do too much publicity work for McLaren, that any future contract with the team would have to contain less of it. Whether or not he was prepared in that event for it to contain appropriately less money was not clear. My understanding of current McLaren contracts is that there are separate agreements for driving and promotion

In Budapest Hamilton dismissed Dennis’s comments: “What he says has nothing to do with me. Martin [Whitmarsh] is my boss. At some stage we’ll talk.” Fast-forward a month to the Thursday at

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2012

Goodwood L AT & Neil Godwin-Stubber t

Revival

Dan Gurney, a special race for AC Cobras, and demonstrations of Ferrari 250GTOs and potent prewar Silver Arrows was the heady brew that awaited us at Goodwood in September for the 15th Revival meeting. As line-ups and themes go, this one will be hard to match. Then again, we’ve said that before. ‘Gurney for President’ was the slogan of the weekend, in reference and deference to the great American and a promo campaign run by Car & Driver in 1964. It was great to see Gurney return to the circuit at the age of 81, and the demonstration of cars relating to his incredible career both as a driver and a constructor was stirring. Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Brian Redman – they all turned out in his honour. As usual, it was hard to know which way to look as Spitfires, Hurricanes and Hunters streaked across the sky. A Lancaster with its fighter escort was a sight to behold, before eyes diverted back to the track and the incredible Silver Arrows Grand Prix display (see overleaf). Given the size of the crowds – it felt busier than ever – we suspect there were some who had turned out specifically for this. It’s not something you see every day. Oh yes, and there were races too. The action, from the Freddie March Memorial Trophy on Friday evening to the Sussex Trophy as the sun set on Sunday, kept us entertained. Inevitably, there were those who would wake up on Monday with the headache of heavy repair bills, but driving standards and accident tallies were generally kept in check this year – important for the future of the world’s best historic race meeting. The distractions are plentiful, fun and welcome, but it’s the racing that really matters at Goodwood in September. Here, we present some of the highlights of another magical weekend in Sussex. w w w. m oto r s p o r t m ag a z i n e . c o m

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Lunch with…

ron dennis

Ambition, focus and an abiding passion for detail has helped the McLaren Group’s executive chairman build a high-tech empire that extends far beyond racing by s i m o n Taylo r

James Mitchell

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here better to have lunch with Ron Dennis CBE than in the McLaren Technology Centre, which houses most of the companies in the McLaren Group and over 2000 staff, including the F1 team. Curling futuristically around an artificial lake on a 180acre landscaped site in the Surrey countryside, this immense silver and glass edifice is itself a symbol of everything that Ron wants the McLaren brand to stand for. It is curvilinear and partly subterranean, and the lake is itself an integral part of the structure’s sophisticated cooling system. It was designed by Norman Foster & Partners; but you know that Ron involved himself closely in every stage, from initial concept to final completion. For this is a man who likes to immerse himself in the detail. He is a self-declared obsessive, a perfectionist who believes that every element of a business, or a car, or a building, or a race strategy, or a

deal, needs to be examined, evaluated and worked on until there is final acceptance that it is no longer capable of improvement. Compromise has no part in the McLaren DNA. I have known Ron, but not well, for 40 years, since he was first running his own Formula 2 team. I followed his fortunes as he moved into McLaren, made it his team, persuaded the best drivers in the world to drive for him and the best designers in the world to design his cars, and started to win Grands Prix and World Championships at a prodigious rate. You only have to glance at what he has achieved, from relatively humble beginnings, to appreciate that this is a driven man. Anyone who knows him well understands that he is a complex individual, private, restless, not easy to get close to. But there is an integrity about him, a naïve idealism, which the exterior of the jet-setting Formula 1 boss does not quite conceal. It amounts almost to a vulnerability, a paradox in the makeup of this hard-nosed, relentlessly successful businessman. w w w. m oto r s p o r t m ag a z i n e . c o m

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Where the

customer comes first At least that’s McLaren’s ambition, as the project to turn its latest road car to pacesetter on the track steps up a gear

T

By Rob Widdows

he McLaren MP4-12C GT3 is a beautiful racing car. In Gulf colours it’s the best-looking car in the paddock. So, it’s new, it’s beautiful and it’s fast. But does it have both the speed and endurance to be a regular winner? Well, this is McLaren, a company that races to win, not to be the first of the losers, to quote the chairman. But this is not Formula 1. This is something totally different. Endurance racing is a whole new box of challenges. Hard into a development programme, the MP4-12C GT3 is promising much but has yet to deliver its full potential, according to the hierarchy at Woking. There are 25 cars racing in no fewer than seven championships in the UK and in Europe. These are customer cars, built by CRS Racing, the team founded by former racer Andrew Kirkaldy. They

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are raced by a variety of independent teams including Gulf McLaren, Apex, ART, Hexis and United Autosports. Later this year the GT operation will move to the ever-expanding McLaren Technology Centre at Woking, where the programme will come together under one roof and benefit from engineering input from other departments, including the F1 team. In the famous blue and orange of the Gulf oil company, the car evokes memories of glories past. And when a car looks that good, it’s also quick. That’s what they say. In charge of the programme at Gulf McLaren racing is veteran team manager Dave Price, a man with more experience than he cares to remember, and who ran the original McLaren F1 GTR at Le Mans in 1995. McLaren demands results, expects to win, and if anyone knows how to get the job done it’s Price. He spoke to me from his home in Southern Spain after the Spa 24 Hours.

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john surtees

Driving Talent

J

The Surtees Solution

ohn Surtees paid his dues on two wheels rather than four. He was the undisputed king on motorcycles, but there were years of hard graft before the torrent of seven World Championships in five years. In contrast, when he made the switch to cars in 1960, his rise to Grand Prix frontrunner was as rapid and natural as his speed behind the wheel. No one has made the grade so seamlessly and with such ease, which makes his preoccupation with the hard-slog junior singleseater scene of today all the more intriguing. “In 1960, there wasn’t all this finance in motor sport,” he says. “The teams were working on very low margins, and were largely supported by the component manufacturers, particularly the tyre and fuel companies. If someone showed speed they’d get a chance. The only reason I got sat in cars was because I went as quick, if not quicker, than anybody who’d been in them before. Today that probably wouldn’t happen.” John discovered this firsthand by going back to square one, as a racing dad with his son Henry. Three years on from Henry’s senseless death in a Formula 2 car at Brands Hatch, his father remains an avid champion of talent. No one would have blamed John if he’d turned his back on motor racing forever. Instead he’s channelled his grief into making a difference for other young racers, while raising funds and awareness for the charity he created in Henry’s honour. The prizes on offer to young racers in the forthcoming karting challenge at Buckmore Park (over the page) are simply astounding. He’s more than doing his bit for the next generation. Surtees is motivated by his conviction, born from those years helping Henry from karting to cars, that the sport has lost sense of its priorities. He’s typically forthright on what’s gone wrong, but characteristically he’s not just content to air his beef. The 1964 F1 World Champion is keen to share his own blueprint for change.

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“The greatest problem I see is that we have lost simplicity relative to the way motor sport is structured,” he says. “When I started in motorcycling, there was a 125 class, 250s, 350s and 500s. You went up the scale depending on your size and weight, and it was simple.

“Today you have this mass of classes whether it be in motorcycling, karting or junior formulas, right up to GP2. It has diluted the sport, and it all costs. It’s driven purely by commercial interests. What we must do is take out the need for finance first, and the need for ability second.” Surtees knows better than most that for every Lewis Hamilton, tens of karting prodigies fall by the wayside every year, some before they even have a chance to step into a car. The opportunities are endless for the Pastor Maldonados of this world, but it’s a different story for the majority. “Mums, dads, uncles – and Venezuelans – have to come up with the money,” says John. “Somehow we have to create a better foundation for our sport, to bring these people through.” His solution is quite simple: a performancerelated incentive scheme that runs through the heart of junior motor sport. “When it comes to the final category of karting, the champion should be given the opportunity to move into the first stage of cars,” he explains. “So if you had a proper, viable British championship with a grand finale where a true British champion is crowned, then one of the awards should be that they get the opportunity in a starter formula.” But which one? He believes each national body in each country should sanction a single starter formula to link karting to cars. “It could be debated whether it should be a closed-wheel car like the junior Ginetta, which Henry raced,” says John, “or the old BMW formula which is now InterSteps, or perhaps Jonathan Palmer’s new initiative [see ‘Motor Sport Month’]. Then from there you’d go to another common formula, an ‘x’ formula like BARC Formula Renault.” Again, Surtees advocates prize drives for champions to make each step up. “What I would suggest is that for first place an offer of a drive is automatic,” he says. “For second place perhaps they get a subsidised drive, maybe a 50 per cent reduction. And this goes all the way up, from the entry level, to the

John Surtees believes the motor racing ladder has too many rungs, and high costs make it too slippery. Time for change, he argues, to promote real talent instead of drivers with the deepest pockets by damien smith GP2

Formula 3

Formula renault 2.0

Karting

Performance-related incentive scheme could help talent rise to the top of the ladder

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“The greatest problem is we have lost simplicity relative to the way motor sport is structured�

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Y Formula 1 is poised to return to America after a five-year absence, but more than three decades have passed since the United States Grand Prix last took place at its spiritual home, Watkins Glen. It was one of the most popular races on the schedule, and a fragment of that era thrives still… By Gordon Kirby

ou can’t miss the Glen Motor Inn. It’s less than one mile north of Watkins Glen on the east side of New York state route 14, overlooking the southern end of Seneca Lake. Owned and operated by Vic (left) and Linda Franzese, the Glen Motor Inn is an unpretentious, Sixties-style motel with 45 simple rooms and a great little restaurant. The place remains much the same today as it was 50 years ago and is a magnet for race fans. If you haven’t yet been, you should. “We like to keep it somewhat the way it was in the 1950s and ’60s,” Vic says. “As everything progresses into mediocrity, we like people to know we still use paper and pencil here and greet people by name rather than a number. I’d love a new facility and know what it would look like, but I don’t have the $30m it would take.” The United States Grand Prix ran at Watkins Glen for 20 seasons, from 1961-1980, and each autumn the Franzese family’s motel was, for a week or more, home to F1’s drivers and teams. “They would stay here for a few days before the race and during the weekend, and that continued over many years,” Franzese says. “They added the Canadian and Mexican Grands Prix and everyone came here directly from Mosport Park. Some of them would stay here before leaving for Mexico, too. In those days there were no sponsors and all the teams and drivers would be here for damn near three weeks, so we got to know them and their families pretty well. We had to feed them, entertain them and take care of them. “Graham Hill and I were talking one time and he said, ‘Vic, you don’t know what you’ve got here’. I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘In Europe we don’t stay in the same hotels. We tend to be in different places and only meet at the racetrack. We spend a little time together and that’s it, but here it’s like a party. It’s the end of the year, we’re all together and can really enjoy everybody’s company. We really like this.’ “Then I saw it in that light. It was a kinder, gentler time and we were learning a lot of new innovations in racing. It was a wonderful time. I wish everyone could have experienced it. It was F1’s age of innocence.” Vic’s grandfather emigrated to the United States from the Abruzzi region of Italy at the turn of the 20th century. Initially he worked as a labourer before bringing his wife and family to the new world and buying a small farm on

R O O M S WITH A Gar y Gold

L AT

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James Mitchell

B i l l B o d dy a r c h i v e

Half-buried Treasure The material amassed over 80 years by Bill Boddy forms a fascinating, jumbled archive of motoring’s past

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t is more than a year since our Founder Editor Bill Boddy died, at the age of 97. He left behind not only an unmatched legacy of writings on motor cars and racing, having written on the subject since the 1930s and been Motor Sport’s editor from 1936 to 1991, but also a diverse collection of books, magazines, photographs and motoring artefacts of all sorts. They accumulated over the years in the old house in Wales where WB moved in 1963 and while Bill seemed to know roughly where everything was, and more to the point what everything was, he did not record, index or label the growing mountain of material amassed through eight decades of motoring writing. As that mountain grew the house itself declined, and after the death of his wife Winifred WB retreated to ever smaller sections of the rambling building as wallpaper peeled and damp spread. Some rooms were abandoned to become storehouses which WB called his “muddle rooms”, a mixture of books, ancient magazines, treasured mementos of interesting cars or people, gifts from manufacturers, car models, and accessories sent in for review by long-defunct companies. Cylinder heads, gear

by gordon cruickshank sprockets and rusting pistons crowd shelves alongside aircraft models, crash hats and the accumulated press passes from decades of race meetings, including the Donington Grands Prix. Elsewhere, mouldering albums of Edwardian trials photos lie on tables, while thousands of photographs spill from boxes and files. In one cupboard are notebooks containing WB’s earliest known writings – Brooklands race reports he compiled purely for his own satisfaction, in 1925 at the age of 12 – and a log book of all his early Motor Sport road tests. Then there is the Brooklands material. We’ve known for a long time that WB possessed some first-hand records from his beloved Track, but it seems that far from ‘liberating’ them from the Clubhouse when the circuit failed to reopen after WWII, he purchased them – from the Weybridge police. During the 1950s the constabulary found a shed full of Brooklands material in the garden of a local burglar, and as it had no obvious owner after the circuit was wound up, they were pointed towards WB. The story as he told it is that he took away three Austin 7s-worth of stuff – in exchange for buying £20-worth of tickets for the local Policemen’s Ball. Those items include the barograph from the Brooklands Clubhouse and

many thick leather-bound volumes recording the club’s doings, of which one is the book of certificates given to drivers who had broken a record of some sort at the Track. Each page comprised duplicate forms, of which one half went to the driver and the other stayed in the book. It remains in perfect condition, filled with the names such as Cobb, Don and Staniland, their achievements sealed with the signature of Brooklands handicapper ‘Ebby’ Ebblewhite. While some of the magazines have suffered from their storage conditions, WB’s most precious editions, his earliest copies of The Brooklands Gazette and Motor Sport, are in fine shape after almost 90 years in a favourite tin box. These include the first Brooklands Gazette he ever bought, No2 from August 1924, and of course Issue 1, ordered as a back number at the same time. WB’s copy may be the single most precious issue of the magazine that exists. Although we photographed it in situ, this and the other valuable material is now in safe-keeping elsewhere. It will take a long time to disentangle and identify exactly what Bill Boddy has left us. Meanwhile, we offer a visual selection from this remarkable feast of racing relics. w w w. m oto r s p o r t m ag a z i n e . c o m

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Da r r e n T u r n e r

old school Too

for the playground Modern race tracks are too easy, so says Darren Turner. Aston Martin’s GT ace prefers his racing with an edge, just like it used to be

Drew Gibson

by damien smith

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Road

tests

by Andrew Frankel

mercedes-benz sl500

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n engineering terms the motor industry is standing on the edge of a precipice. The ground is already crumbling away beneath its weight and soon it will give way altogether. But, for once, this is a cliff we’re going to enjoy falling off. The ground is all the pointless mass accumulated by cars over the past 20 years and it’s giving way now because car manufacturers have realised that their traditional, lazy and easy route to additional sales – adding power and feature content – now lead nowhere. The buzzword of the next 10 years is going to be ‘lightweight’. Now cars are taxed punitively on their CO2 emissions and what

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Despite nearly 90bhp less than the AMG SL, standard SL accelerates just as fast

easy reductions were available through improved electronics have already been made, there’s no other way for car manufacturers to make their machines affordable to run than cut their weight. This, of course, is brilliant news because lightness feeds on itself. Take weight out of a car’s body and structure and suddenly you can get the same performance from a smaller and therefore lighter engine. For the same reason you can save weight from a car’s brakes, suspension, wheels, tyres… the list is long. And while the biggest winners will be small and affordable cars, the ripples will extend to the fastest, largest and most expensive machinery on the market as it responds to the news that,

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New hybrid BMW makes sense if you don't like diesel

BMW 5-series ActiveHybrid

B factfile Engine: 4.7 litres, 8 cylinders, petrol, twin turbo Top Speed: 155mph (limited) price: £83,445 power: 429bhp at 5250rpm fuel/co2: 30.7mpg, 214g/km www.mercedes-benz.co.uk

for the first time in a long time, big is no longer beautiful. The new Mercedes-Benz SL seen here makes the point startlingly well. Let us say you’ve been driving the AMG version of the outgoing model these past few years. You’ve probably been having a rather good time. But now is the time to trade it in so your natural instinct is to look at the new AMG SL, yours for a trifling £110,735. Natural, but wrong. What if, instead, you compared it to the SL500, costing more than £27,000 less? At first it seems a less than appealing prospect: not least because the power output of the new SL500 is ‘just’ 429bhp, compared to the monstrous 518bhp of your old AMG.

MW’s first hybrid to go on sale in the UK is essentially a 535i to which a lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor have been fitted. It raises power from 302 to 335bhp, but also increases weight by 150kg to leave an almost unchanged power-toweight ratio and unchanged performance claims. However, fuel consumption is dramatically improved from 35.9mpg to 44.1mpg with a commensurate reduction in CO2 emissions and therefore your tax burden. BMW hopes that this, plus the novelty factor of a BMW that will move (albeit slowly) on electric power alone, and some extra equipment will persuade at least some customers to pay an extra £6385 for the privilege. You need to remember, however, that those batteries need to go somewhere and in this case reduce the size of the boot to little more than what you get from a 1 Series. Its significantly larger problem is the existence of the diesel 535d. Faster and

lighter, it does 52.3mpg, emits far less CO2 and is better in every way you can measure and most you cannot. It’s also more than £2500 cheaper. But the diesel-phobic are still out there and if what you seek is a genuinely quick, comfortable and reasonably frugal executive saloon but cannot for some reason face filling at the black pump, this is a genuinely fine car.

factfile Engine: 3.0 litres, six cylinders, petrol/electric Top Speed: 155mph (limited) price: £46,865 power: 335bhp at 5800rpm fuel/co2: 44.1mpg, 149g/km www.bmw.co.uk

It’ll go a surprising distance in town on electric power alone and at a reasonable speed so long as you’re smooth with the throttle. And then because BMW multicylinder motors are so smooth, you may actually fail to spot the moment when the engine sparks into life. Beyond the city limits I can’t say you’re aware of the electrics at all unless you count what feels like unusually strong low-end torque for a petrol motor. And, small boot aside, the rest of the car is as good as any other 5 Series, which is pretty damn good. I couldn’t even detect any real adverse effect the extra weight has on its handling. Even so, you cannot escape the knowledge that this car was not built for our roads: you’d have the 535d every day of the week, month and year. But in markets where diesel remains a dirty word, such as the US, the hybrid 5 suddenly starts to make a great deal of sense. This is not a poor car, but a good one that’s landed in the wrong place.

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November issue of Motor Sport  

Simon Taylor has lunch with McLraen's Ron Dennis, Nigel Roebuck takes us through the team's highlights and we look at the company's new GT3...

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