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On me Ed
hank you to everyone for your continued support and enthusiasm for ROAD. It’s great to get so much good positive feedback for our FREE magazine. This ‘Track Attack’ issue is all about one of my favourite pass times: Going flat out around circuits, in amazing cars – be they bonkers Hypercars; like the £175,000, 562 bhp Lamborghini Gallardo LP-5704 Supperleggera, the incredible Ariel Atom V8 with its 10,600 rpm rev limit, or ‘just’ a regular daily driver performance car, like the Mk6 Golf GTi, at Castle Combe, as we have stacked in this current issue. There are some great circuits, all over the world, to have a go at circuit driving. And now, thanks to MSV, we’ll soon have an even more amazing track, in Snetterton, which is getting a massive re-vamp for 2011. Read all about that after our cover story on the new Superleggera. And, for those of you who are more serious racers, there’s now a brand new international event... The Global Tuner GP (www.globaltunergp. com), at Laguna Seca, California, in October... which ROAD has just sponsored. We’d love to hear more from you, our readers, so do please contact me, Phil, at firstname.lastname@example.org
WORDS & PICTURES: PHIL ROYLE
thoroughbred The ÂŁ175,000 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera is the lightest, most powerful and dynamic Gallardo to date. ROAD Ed, Phil Royle catches up with it at an RMA Paddock Club track day at Snetterton. Hold tight!
uestion. What’s lean, bright green and a track-devastating machine, sitting right in front of me in the bright Autumn sunshine? Answer... the brand new, £175,000, 5.2-litre V10, 562 bhp, 202 mph Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera. Mmmmmm! ROAD have most kindly
been invited by Lamborghini London to an RMA Track Days Paddock Club, at one of the quickest circuits in the country – MSV Snetterton, in Norfolk – to shoot one of the fastest, focused and darn right ferocious supercars money can buy. The Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera is to Lambo what the GT3 RS is
to Porsche... a lightweight, more powerful, more agile and dynamic version of an already overtly dramatic hypercar, with an overtly dramatic price tag. The ‘standard’ £115,000 Italian Stallion Gallardo offers enough thrills, spills and garish style for most Lamborghini clientele – with a thumping 500 bhp from
its five-litre V10 engine (essentially an Audi R8 V8, with two extra cylinders). Then thereâ€™s the previous special edition model to this LP570-4 Superleggera, the LP-560-4, which is lighter, faster and 60 bhp more powerful than the standard Gallardo, costing ÂŁ150,000. But even this lightweight, hardcore special weighs roadmagazine.co.uk
“The LP-570-4 is a lean automotive athlete”
some 70 Kg more than the new Superleggera, at 1,410 Kg Vs 1,340Kg. Remember too that the ‘normal’ five-litre V10 Gallardo is no slouch either, cracking 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds and ploughing on to a not at all shy 192 mph. And it ‘only’ costs £115,000... This Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera, with its re-mapped, larger capacity 5.2-litre V10 may well crack the magic 200 mph barrier, and offer the 0-60 mph 0.9 seconds quicker, at 3.4 seconds. It may also even claim an astonishing 0-124 mph time of 10.2 seconds, which is, granted, MUCH faster
than the standard Gallardo and the LP-560-4 special (thanks to its 70 Kg saving and 10 bhp gain)... but is all this added performance worth the extra £60,000 over the standard car? Or even the £25,000 over the already-uprated previous special edition Gallardo, the double-hard LP-560-4? Well, let’s see what you get for your extra money... This range-topping LP 570-4 Superleggera starts life as the already-special LP-560-4 (LP standing for Longitudinale Posteriore, pertaining to the V10’s orientation, by the way), with the Superleggera meaning ‘superlight, or, as the press department like to
say “a lean automotive athlete.” The 70 Kg savings over the LP-560-4 make this the most lean Lambo in the range. The majority of the weight is saved through the extensive use of carbonfibre – with the aim of increasing acceleration, performance, braking and handling abilities, while reducing CO2 emissions and decreasing consumption (now up to a massive 18 mpg combined!). As such, there’s a full, lightweight aero package; including full, flat C-F underbelly, sills, redesigned rear diffuser (with quad tailpipes incorporated), massive fixed rear wing and jushi mirrors. Weight is also shaved roadmagazine.co.uk
with polycarbonate rear windshield (showcasing the glorious V10) and side windows, and inside the car; with C-F transmission tunnel, door panels, e-gear surround and sports seats (clad in lighter, more sporty Alcantara, not luxurious leather). The 19-inch rims (with Titanium wheel bolts) also save 18 Kg of critical unsprung mass. Focused. The 5,204cc, long stroke, dry-sump, dual plane crank
V10 gets a 10 bhp hike over the LP-560-4, thanks to a re-map – making the most of the direct fuel injection system and variable geometry intake technology. Peak power is 562 bhp at 8,000 rpm, with peak grunt at 398 lb ft from 6,500 rpm. Combined with the weight saving elements, this extra power offers a 399 bhp per tonne figure – which is more than the Ferrari 458, and the Lambo is quicker too.
On track, it’s effortlessly quick, pulling over 160 mph on the long Revett straight, sounding fabulous in the process. It turns in well, looking like its going to understeer, then holding its line well and using its 30:70 split 4WD, 45-degree LSD and 43:57 weight distribution to great effect, to easily allow first neutrality then the rear to slide, so you can get on the throttle nice and early and make use of that flex-
ible, surprisingly revy V10, huge acceleration (especially in ‘Corsa’ map mode) and gigantic grip generated from the Pirelli rubber: It’s playful. The 380mm 6-pot ceramic brakes fitted to this test car may be expensive, but are essential for track days; resisting fade all day, inspiring confidence to use the LP570-4’s performance. Garish? Yes. Stylish? Undeniably. Fast and fun? Sure. But worth £175K? No! roadmagazine.co.uk
“On track, it’s effortlessly quick, pulling over 160 mph on Revett”
Just as we were going to press, Jonathan Palmer’s MotorSportvision (MSV) announced exciting new plans to make Snetterton in Norfolk, “the best circuit in the UK.” Phil Royle reveals the innovative scheme... Snetterton circuits. It was important to combine the best features of old Snetterton with the elimination of its weaknesses and the addition of a major new section to expand it and make it a real competitors’ and spectators’ favourite. I wanted every corner to either be a really exciting driver/rider challenge, or
produce a good overtaking opportunity.” Improved safety, greater spectating, enhanced driver experience, better racing opportunities and a new paddock (& soon a retail/hotel/engineering complex on site) all bode really well. And fans can even take part naming corners at www.snettertonnames.com.
Snetterton 300 Lap length 2.99 miles
TED VA G ELE WIN VIE
ERI SCRUTINE BAY
Lap length 0.98 miles
Lap length 2.00 miles
NEW PADDOCK EXISTING PADDOCK
ATEDG ELEVWIN VIE
3 ELEVATED VIEWING
netterton race circuit is to undergo a radical re-development over the Winter – creating three new circuits in one, Snetterton 100, 200 & 300. The huge, multi-million pound investment will take place imminently, readying the tracks for the 2011 race season, with FIA 2 licence. So, expect exciting new rounds of the BTCC and Superbikes here next year. The longest of the tracks, Snetterton 300, will be three-miles, making it the second longest circuit in the UK, as well as the newest. The 300 will include 13 turns, maintaining some of ‘speedy Snetts’ classic corners; like Riches, the Bomb Hole and Coram, whilst also creating a brand new onemile in-field section (Snetterton 100), with a new paddock to service it and three new raised spectator areas. Mr Palmer said: “Circuit layout is something I am passionate about and I have enjoyed designing the new
EXISTING PADDOCK ATEDG ELEVWIN VIE
LIFE WITH CARS Road magazine – one of the leading global automotive digital lifestyle magazines – is pleased to become a sponsor and media partner for the exciting forthcoming Global Tuner GP, to be held at Mazda’s worldrenowned 2.238-mile, 11-turn Laguna Seca Raceway, in California. This high-octane, three-day International circuit racing event, organised by GMG Racing and Laguna Seca, is set to become one of the world’s largest gathering of ‘Time Attack’ cars, and promises to be a fabulous event – bringing together tuned racing cars, and their driving stars, from America, Asia and Europe… for the first time ever. Road magazine is proudly sponsoring the Global Tuner Grand Prix, and will be running a special feature on the event, courtesy of their USA ‘first lady’ correspondent, Ashley Van Dyke, who is also helping run the GTGP. Road’s owner and editor, Phil Royle said: “It is a real honour to be asked to sponsor this event, and we will be making a big splash of it in the digital magazine. The organisers, GMG and Laguna Seca, deserve a real pat on the back for conceptualising, marketing and running such a stella international tuning race meet. I am sure it will be a massive success and we look forward to taking part in it ourselves in future years, and covering all the thrills, spills and drama in the magazine this year.” Read and join in at http://roadmagazine.blogspot.com
WORDS: PHIL ROYLE IMAGES: ARIEL MOTOR CO.
atomic bomb Thought the 300 bhp, supercharged Vtec Ariel Atom was hardcore? Think again. Welcome to the 500 bhp, 10,500rpm, 550Kg, mad, bad and downright dangerous Atom V8 limited edition. The ultimate track car star?
hree years in development in the tiny, but top-talent workshops of the Ariel Motor Company in deepest, darkest Somerset, finally, the Atom V8 is here to annihilate the track day, and race scenes. Here are the frightening barrage of stats, specs and sexy stuff. Are you ready? The astonishing Atom V8 does 0-60 mph in under 2.3-seconds, and will hit 100 mph in less than 5.4-seconds. It accelerates to over 200 mph (175 mph in ‘Road’ spec). Its three-
litre, 75-degree, odd-fire, offset DOHC cam, 32V alloy V8 delivers a whopping 475 bhp in ‘Road’ spec and 500 bhp in Race spec, at 10,500 and 10,600 rpm respectively. It offers 363 Nm, or 385 Nm in Race spec, at 7,750
rpm. That gives it a power to weight ratio of over 900 bhp per tonne! (Ferrari Enzo 434bhp, Bugatti Veyron 530bhp, GP2 single seater 850bhp; per tonne). It comes with a Sadev airshift, six-speed sequential gearbox, with flat and auto shift capabilities (capable
of five downshifts in less than one second), hydraulic twin organic clutch and adjustable LSD, four-wheel traction control (wet and dry maps), and launch control. The chassis is bronze and TIG welded steel tube, with alloy bulkheads and a phosphated powder coated
finish. It weighs just 550kg. The suspension features double unequal length chromoly aerofoil tube wishbones, fabricated uprights, adjustable race grade rod ends, in-board three-way adjustable remote dampers and four-way adjustable steel springs. Itâ€™s got
290mm ventilated, crescent, grooved brake discs, with four-pot calipers. It has a bespoke Carbon-Kevlar body and Aero pack, with Carbonweave bucket seats. There are 205/50/15 front and 245/45/16 rear wheels, with track or race rubber. Inside, the LCD display links
to the engine management, offering a plethora of driver information. And, perhaps most startling of all... it costs £124,850 + VAT. Only 25 will be hand-built, and there’s no denying it will terrify the living daylights out of you, not to mention blitz everything on track. WOW!!!
The ultimate Atomic bomb has just exploded. “Our aim is to put the passion back into driving and our motto at Ariel is Serious Fun,” said Simon Saunders, “The Atom V8 is one more step to keeping that passion alive and is about as serious as fun gets!” GO Ariel!
PICTURES: MARTYN FRANKLIN & PHIL ROYLE
VW GTi: Master of all
The iconic VW Golf GTi is as old as I am – 36 this year. And, based on the evidence of this road and track test at Castle Combe, it’s approaching its peak... perfectly combining chiselled good looks, practicality and fun
he VW Golf GTi is an absolute legend. And rightly so. Now 36-years-old, and in its sixth incarnation, it’s properly into its mid-life stride. The 1974-1984 Mk1 was a lithe, funky, fresh, innovative ‘yuff’ – creating a genre we now all take for granted: The hot hatch, GTi. The 1983-1991 Mk2 grew up, becoming muscular and introducing 16V technology to the range. Sadly, the ‘90s were unfair to the GTi, with the 1991-1999 Mk3, putting on the pounds, and
losing its edge. Then the only-slightly-better 19972003 Mk4 arrived, bringing a fresh C21st look, but still nowhere near its core GTi DNA. Thankfully, VW rectified this with the 2003-2009 Mk5, which saw a return to GTi form, with a lively chassis - cheekily cocking an inside rear wheel again, and bringing on the driving experience with perhaps the best semi-automatic gearbox on the mass market, – the DSG – and a fresh, fast range of effortlessly quick turbocharged TFSi engines.
“The Golf GTi is in better form now, than ever”
Now we have the Mk6 GTi taking on the gauntlet from the return-to-form Mk5 – with enhanced, upgraded TFSi turbo 1,984cc lumps (up 10PS over Mk5, and with a broader torque span) and that slick DSG dual clutch transmission option, or chunky manual version. The model we have on test today is the 207 bhp, 207 lb ft GTi, complete with paddle-shift DSG, in practical (if not as sexy, but £585 cheaper than two-door) four-door form, in shimmering metallic silver. First things first, the MK6 GTi looks great. Sure, there isn’t a massive leap forward in design terms over the Mk5, but there’s enough, and it’s all in the right areas: New lights, lower grille, split twin exhausts, slick 18-inch Monza Shadow rims (with fat Michelin 225/40 rubber) and a refreshed ‘Interlagos’ interior, harking back to the cultish Mk2. Good start. The new GTi now comes with a reworked traction control system, with elec-
tronic diff lock (EDL) – reacting to wheelspin or torque steer, utilising the ABS and ESP systems. This works well, and, crucially, can be largely by-passed. This GTi also comes with the adaptive chassis control (ACC), £1100 optional damping maps, controlled conveniently via a flick of a switch; offering Normal, Comfort, or Sport modes, which do exactly what they say on the tin, as one would expect from VW engineers. This easy-to-use technology is brilliant, allowing you to easily sacrifice ride quality for handling prowess at the push of a button – making it ideal for track day useage. Which is why we have brought the GTi from ROAD’s Norfolk base, all the way to sunny Castle Combe in Wiltshire, for one of their ‘Action Days’ on the 1.85-mile, bumpy, quick-assick circuit. It gives us the perfect chance to test the car on the road trip down (part motorway, part A and roadmagazine.co.uk
B-road cross country blast), then push its outer limits at speedy Combe. Ideal. The drive down reveals the Mk6’s remarkable fuel economy. This new TFSi engine is easily capable of diesel-esque mid-40’s, and a mid-30’s average, even with a lot of blatting about. Comfort levels, and refinement are superb too: It’s a long distance driving paradise, especially with the DVD touchscreen Sat Nav, 8-speaker RCD/MP3/ CD ICE, and multifunction flat-bottom steering wheel. But I expected all this. What I did not expect is how darn rapid, and fun it would be on circuit – especially with the DSG, which allows
you to shift up and down with ease; leaving you to concentrate on your lines, steering and throttle inputs. The chassis is playful on the limit (and could easily be modified further), grip is ex-
cellent, brakes are efficient and grunt levels are fab (it’ll top 148mph). The GTi is in better form now, than ever. It’s still the master of all disciplines; a deceptively, effortlessly brilliant package.
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