Road & Track February 2019

Road & Track includes technical features on automotive subjects, wide-ranging feature stories, spectacular automotive art and standard-setting new-car photography, humor, fiction, travel stories, book reviews and the most comprehensive racing coverage offered by a monthly magazine.Bonus: iPad Interactive

United States

in this issue

2 min
nhra drag racing

Go SCORCHED EARTH It shakes you from the inside and brings you to tears. But the brutality at a National Hot Rod Association drag race becomes almost routine. TV broadcasts and photographs can’t convey the sensory overload: the blast from bazooka-sized headers on a 10,000-hp Top Fuel dragster, the fumes and flames they spit. Here’s a glimpse of the surreal action from the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, California. A view through the open canopy of Tony Schumacher’s U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster (right). The helmet clipped to a safety harness is a telltale of the intense forces Top Fuel drivers contend with—up to 5 g’s under full acceleration. Go CLASS ACT Some 400 cars compete in a variety of classes during a typical NHRA national event. At the pinnacle is the stupefying…

4 min

DEAR R&T, THE PORSCHE 911 MODIFIED BY SINGER, AT $1.8 MILLION [“RARE AIR,” OCTOBER], RECALLS THE DAYS PETER EGAN WOULD COMPARE HIGH-PRICED VEHICLES WITH SEVERAL ALTERNATES, INCLUDING A USED CAR AND A SMALL AIRPLANE. FOR THAT PRICE, YOU COULD BUY 327 USED AUDI CABRIOLETS (LIKE MINE, WORTH $5500). OR A NICE AIRPLANE. KEVIN PARK, WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIFORNIA Last week, Nordstrom sold out of a run of dirty-looking, $530 shoes, patinated with duct tape. In my opinion, the 911 build resulting from Singer’s Dynamics and Lightweighting Study is the car version of that shoe. For the same $1.8 million, you could buy five 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RSs with the Weissach package. And you would still have more than $238,000 left over. BILL SEIFERT PLEASANT VIEW, TENNESSEE A Porschephile with $1.8 million to spend likely has five…

2 min
editor’s letter

CHALLENGES TAKE MANY FORMS—personal, professional, physical, mental. Sometimes we face them by choice, other times out of necessity. In the automotive world, they can include updating a popular family sedan’s styling, making an already-capable sports car even better, or engineering a supercar from the ground up. The media—along with consumers and social-media “experts”—are quick to deliver a verdict on the resulting products, but they often don’t see the challenges teams of engineers and designers meet in order to get something into the showroom. One company that is always up for a new challenge, McLaren Automotive, roars into the new year with an ever-expanding portfolio of go-fast machines. Its most recent effort, the 600LT, takes the potent 570S and adds more power, aerodynamic magic, and improved track prowess. Appealing indeed, but does…

5 min
cup dreams

IF YOU EVER WANT TO FEEL OLD, watch a 16-year-old get nervous. Four kids. Ages 16 to 21. One brought a new Sparco suit with sponsor logos and her name embroidered on the waist. Another packed baggy budget Nomex, old and dirty. There were NASA patches and SCCA patches and new driving shoes and threadbare boots. One young woman was the daughter of Johnny Unser, motorsport royalty. At dinner, they chatted awkwardly. The next morning, at a private track near Phoenix, each of those four people got into an MX-5 Cup race car and drove in circles, and at the end of the day, Mazda gave one of them $100,000. A scholarship. To go racing. If that sounds like an impossible gift, imagine how it felt for the kids. Mazda calls this the…

3 min
rebalancing act

In every facet of modern life, the abundance of technology is forcing us to think harder about how we use it. The racing world is no exception. We’re consumed with subjects like electrification and how to reduce racing regulations while keeping costs from spiraling out of control. Important topics, no doubt, but as technology has progressed, we’ve lost sight of something more primal: showcasing human greatness. Icons of any sport emerge only when we’re able to fully appreciate their exceptional ability, skill, courage, and style. We have to be able to grasp what separates them from their peers. The qualities that make great racing drivers great don’t show up in session results and cannot simply be described. They must be unmistakably communicated through the vehicle in motion. As Graham Hill once…

12 min
new sensation

WE WERE BLASTING ACROSS THE BRECON BEACONS mountain range when the flames appeared. First a wisp of blue in the rearview mirror. Then another, bold enough to come out and stay, growing longer as exhaust temperature rose. As the sun went down, the two tailpipes morphed into fully fledged flamethrowers, spewing blue and yellow into the night air. It’s taken McLaren some time to stoke the fire, even if its cars have always been fast. The British automaker’s first supercar of the new age used carbon chassis technology in a market still convinced aluminum was the way forward. Technically and dynamically, it worked. But the resulting machine sounded and looked like an appliance, at least by supercar standards. Even its name was better suited to a washing machine: MP4-12C. Over the past…