Road & Track Dec/Jan 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

EXCELLENCE EXERCISED It’s the antithesis of cars and coffee. At Rennsport Reunion, the triennial mecca for Porsche owners and fans, priceless cars run in anger with little regard for how precious they are. This year’s rendition, the sixth, was held at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and celebrated not only the marque’s 70th year, but also its many racing legends—the cars as well as the people who engineered and drove them. It was a moving reminder that Porsches—from the very first 356 roadster to the 919 Hybrid Evo, both on hand—weren’t built just for show. Porsche 935s dominated FIA Group 5 racing in the late 1970s. Vanes on the fenders of the screaming-orange ’79 Jägermeister (above) tell that it’s a Kremer Racing–modified 935 K3, which got improved aero, a more efficient engine intercooler,…

3 min

DEAR R&T, YOUR SEPTEMBER ISSUE MAY BE MY FAVORITE EVER. MAGGIE STIEFVATER’S STORY ABOUT THE NÜRBURGRING 24 HOURS WAS WRITTEN BEAUTIFULLY. MORE FROM HER, PLEASE. I KNOW THE FERRARI 488 PISTA IS ITALIAN AND NOT FRENCH (THANK GOODNESS), BUT AFTER RAVING ABOUT ITS STOPPING POWER, HOW COULD CHRIS CHILTON NOT REFER TO ITS BRAKES AS THE CAR’S “PISTA RÉSISTANCE”? DOAK SMAILER, HIGHLANDS RANCH, COLORADO SHORT TAKES I’ve come to expect answers from your fine publication, not questions. However, I accept your caption challenge for Kurt Wörner’s photo [Go] of car No. 24 in the 1952 Österreichische Alpenfahrt and its brave co-driver. That front-drive Gutbrod benefited from more weight on the front wheels to improve traction, since the car’s 600-cc two-stroke didn’t offer much power. There is evidence the stunt was performed on other occasions…

2 min
editor’s letter

LOOKING BACK AT THE PAST YEAR, it’s hard not to smile. For all the chatter about autonomous pods taking over the world and the demise of motorsports, 2018 was a banner year to enjoy the automobile and racing. Manufacturers, while certainly committed to progress in an ever-evolving landscape, didn’t abandon what enthusiasts care about most—speed, power, design, fun. In fact, a few went all in, building some of the most exciting cars we’ve ever driven. If this year is any indication of what our automotive future holds, then the pods can wait. In the meantime, we’ll be enjoying cars like the ones in this month’s Performance Car of the Year (PCOTY) comparison test. Composed of vehicles that made the greatest impression on us over the last 12 months, this year’s roster…

5 min
paternal instinct

MY FATHER JUST BOUGHT A MERCEDES-BENZ. Once, a long time ago, I watched a person share those words with another human. It was eighth grade. The guy’s name was Timmy or Tommy or Terry or something; memory fails me. He sat in the next row up and was leaning across the aisle to talk to a girl. The look on Timmy-Tommy-Terry’s face said that he wanted many things in life, not least of which was the opportunity to discuss world affairs with this young lady. Preferably while neither of them wore a shirt. Timmy-Tommy-Terry (Why have I always been terrible with names?) yapped a bit about his father’s new car. The girl listened with obvious disinterest, then went back to her book. T-T-T slumped in his seat. I took a moment to…

3 min

There was no escaping the rain. It had followed us across Kentucky and Tennessee, three days and nights in a row, alternating between indifferent sprinkles and fervent cloudbursts, hiding treacherous pools of water around every corner, blowing leaves and branches across our path. It reached through the seals of expensive camera lenses and mercilessly soaked vehicle interiors delicately crafted of aniline leather and open-pore wood. Every minute spent at speed wore on nerves already rubbed raw by episodes of hydroplaning across soggy debris. Which perhaps explains why the walkie-talkies were mostly silent as we hustled through the night toward NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Or maybe it was the majesty of any time spent in the McLaren Senna’s jetfighter cockpit, surrounded by fixed windows on which a thousand raindrops…

5 min
weekday warriors

YOU COULD SAY THE AUDI RS5 AND BMW M5 are greater achievements than PCOTY’s aero-heavy track stars. These aren’t occasional Sunday cars, they’re everyday heroes for drivers who don’t want to wait for the weekend to get their jollies. They have to go fast in any condition—a quality we certainly appreciated during this year’s waterlogged testing. They have to cruise quietly on the freeway while carrying multiple people and more luggage than just a helmet. That’s a hell of a mandate. Attempting to meet the challenge was an Audi RS5 that swaps the old naturally aspirated V-8 of R8 fame for a 2.9-liter turbo V-6 developed with Porsche. Its 444 hp is six fewer than the old engine’s but the deal is sweetened by an additional 126 lb-ft of torque, all…