Road & Track Mar/Apr 2018

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

4 min
dan gurney, 193 1–2018

If you were to dream a life well-lived, you would dream of Dan Gurney. Born in 1931, the son of an opera star, he launched a career in the late 1950s as a pioneering American racing in Europe during a brutally violent period of motorsport, when surviving a season was a victory in itself. Over the next six decades, Gurney won everything there was to win as a driver and a car builder—most notably, legions of friends and admirers. When you look back on the history of motor racing, a handful of names pops into your head. People who define the word “hero.” All the elements of greatness are embodied in these singular competitors—passion, leadership, innovation, courage, grace in victory, and grace in defeat. No sane racing fan would leave Daniel Sexton…

4 min
dear r&t,

I loved your RS3 review. In fact, I just ordered a 2018 for April delivery. One question, however, I cannot find the answer to anywhere: What, exactly, is the difference between the standard exhaust and the optional sport exhaust? Does it depend on the Drive Select settings? Does it depend on how aggressively you drive? Is there a physical difference in the exhaust systems? GLENN CUSHING MADISON, WISCONSIN Both the standard and sport exhaust have flaps controlled via Drive Select settings, but the sport exhaust has different sound resonators. With the Dynamic package, the RS3’s front tires are 20 millimeters wider than the rears, yet as much torque as possible is sent to the (skinnier) rear tires. Does this make sense to anybody else? SEAN CAIN CHAMPION, TEXAS The wider tires combat the RS3’s weight…

2 min
editor’s letter

THE WEATHER DURING THE DETROIT AUTO SHOW was chilly as usual, but visiting media encountered a noticeably subdued atmosphere compared with years past. Missing was much of the typical preshow excitement—anticipation around a supercar, sexy concept, or groundbreaking new tech. Instead, most already knew everything about the big intros, which had been unveiled off-site the night before or even days prior. There was still buzz around a slew of new trucks (Silverado, Ram, Ranger) and SUVs (G-wagen, X2, RDX prototype, etc.), but, save for the Veloster Turbo and Bullitt edition of the Mustang, serious enthusiasts were left out in the cold. Worse than the dearth of exciting machinery, and of immeasurably greater impact than any product introduction, was news on the eve of the show that we had lost American racing…

8 min

IT MEANS ALMOST TOO MUCH that Dan Gurney is dead. I was in California when I heard, which is fitting. Dan was born in New York, but he was from the Golden State in every other sense of the phrase. He represented it. The way California represents—or depending on your view, maybe used to represent, or will forever represent—one of the brightest parts of the American dream. That enormous and knee-buckling coast, a collection of beauties both astonishing individually and somehow greater than their sum. That raw, indefinable sense of possibility, chased by virtually everyone who moves there from somewhere else. Like all good places, the state seems to cavitate with a magic outside the rules for the rest of the world. Like Dan. His company, All American Racers, built race…

13 min
new religion

THE FIRST ONE I DROVE WAS LOUD LIKE A BOMB. A billion miles and rusty rocker panels, and the exhaust was partly blown out, so it sounded like Le Mans. Or maybe just Le Mans as it sounds in my head, a bagful of throttles and yowl on public roads. This was years ago, when I worked as a mechanic in St. Louis. The car belonged to a customer. It was a 1988 BMW M5, the first one sold here, and the first generation made. Black, because all 1340 American-market 1988 M5s were black, with blacked-out bumpers and window trim. BMW of North America thought it would be neat to sell a 150-mph sedan done up like Darth Vader’s Underoos. The slightly healthier European version of the car gave 152 mph…

11 min
true grit

“Do not eat the breakfast tomorrow before the pre-run.” A towering bull shark of a truck rumbled into the parking lot of my hotel in Ensenada, Mexico. Pepe Rodriguez, a Mexican ex-pat and a mechanic for Menzies Motorsports, jumped down from behind the wheel. He pried open the creaking passengerside door. Inside were two fixed bucket seats up front—one for Bryce Menzies, desert racing’s millennial standout, and the other for his co-driver, Pete Mortensen. “That is for you,” Rodriguez said, motioning at the central jump seat, a joke of a chair crammed behind the center console. “Can you fit?” The truck’s cab was lifted from a Ford F-150 and dropped onto a custom chassis, he explained. The floor was cut down to three-quarters length, at the expense of rear legroom. The front seating…