Track stars and city cruisers
3rd Feb 2019 6:00 am
Perseus talks about how he would always pick a more fun-to-drive model over an exotic or a more powerful car.
There are good days and there are track days! Autocar’s track day is one of the most fun and exciting events of the year and I’m always eager to find out how some of the fastest cars in the world perform on a track in the hands of India’s first Formula 1 driver.
However, if you ask me what car I would like to take home with me after each track day, I wouldn’t always choose the most powerful car or the car that sets the fastest lap time. In fact, I’d choose a car that I can have the most fun driving (I’m no Narain behind the wheel) and something that I would enjoy cruising with on the road, too. To give you an example, in a similar way to how AWD cars are considered faster but RWD cars are considered more challenging and fun, a lap time isn’t everything to me. A few years ago, we had a Porsche Cayman at the track and even though it didn’t really break the lap record, it was a fantastic little sportscar that everyone loved. I liked it so much that I scanned the classifieds for weeks after, looking for pre-owned Porsches.
Track days are getting increasingly popular with sportscar- and supercar-owner groups. These sort of group track days usually do not have any competition or organised racing, they are more about exploring one’s own limits with their cars and having fun.
Living in Mumbai, every racetrack in the country is at least 1,200km away, so owning a track-focused car isn’t really on my bucket list. Supercars are great on the track and track-focused versions are even more impressive than the regular road-going versions, but are they really enjoyable in the real world? Whether you choose to have something like a Mercedes-AMG GT R or a Lamborghini Huracan Performante, besides the eye-catching styling and exclusivity, they aren’t easy to live with. I know of a number of owners who have traded in their supercars and bought sleepers that are way easier to live with.
What really impresses me is the current generation of super-sedans like the E 63S and the M5 that set blazing-fast lap times and can also be very practical everyday cars. Truth be told, when you drive such cars in the city, you are mostly cruising.
For me, an ideal car would be one that sets a respectable lap time and is easy to get on with. That’s why I’ve always loved hot hatches, sportscars, and sports sedans – for their versatility and practicality.
However, a fun-to-drive car doesn’t always have to be very expensive or exotic. There are some fun-to-drive FWD sedans too like the Skoda Octavia vRS that set a reasonably quick lap time this year and yet makes a great family car without breaking the bank.
That said, I really hope to see cars like the Mazda MX5, BMW M2 and even an affordable hot hatch like a Swift Sport on sale in India and at a track day soon. The sort of cars that would make me start saving up, or the cars I would want to take back home from a track day.