I have a new idea...
A new thought for a potential 40th, motorsport treat. #supercars #speed #hypercars #topspeed #dragracing #trackday
What is it?
Well, it's something called VMAX200. It's a bit like a trackday, but with a very different focus. The events have been running since 2002. They started at one a year, with just a handful of supercar enthusiast friends attending, but have been growing in popularity. Unlike a trackday, where you can sample and exploit your cars handling to your hearts content - here the focus is on two specific things. Acceleration and Top Speed.
In Germany, there are stretches of road on the Autobahn where there is literally no speed limit. Sounds tempting doesn't it? However, these stretches of Autobahn are usually two lane, with no hard shoulder. Germany is plagued by occasional traffic jams in certain places. There are points where you could round a sweeping bend at 170 mph, only to find a wall of stationary cars and lorries right in front of you.
Germans don't have a problem with this. They know their roads and they know where they can and can't go fast, at least broadly speaking. As a tourist in Germany it's a really interesting place to drive. You find yourself on the left (fast) lane, bombing along at 110 mph, quite legally. You spot a fleck of silver in your mirror, miles behind. You look ahead and concentrate on the road - you notice a long line of trucks in the right hand lane. (Trucks aren't allowed in the fast lane on 2 lane stretches I believe) They are all doing around 55 mph. You glance in your mirror again, and suddenly that silver fleck is much, MUCH closer. At this point you realise it's actually Heir Schtappenbacker, on his way to an important business meeting in his Mercedes SL55 AMG. He's doing well over 170 mph. Being a polite Brit you don't want to hold him up and lose him the contract, so you look warily at that right hand lane of crawling trucks.
Unfortunately you're in your wife's Diesel people carrier with it's piddly little tractor engine, puffing away and straining itself to the limit to maintain 115 mph. You can't speed match Heir Schtappenbacker. Do you stay and force him to test his carbon ceramic brakes, while shaking his fist, flashing you and swearing at the top of his voice in German? Or do you test YOUR brakes by swerving into the line of oil burning, crawling lorries?
This happened to me.
I pulled in to let him past. He flew by at an extraordinary speed. However this left me with a new problem. Looking in my mirror, I couldn't see anyone approaching in the left. However there was a bend behind me. Suddenly I'm doing 54 mph and I know it'll take a while, and a concerted effort to get back up to 110 mph, and I know at least some Germans see this stretch as fair game for 200 mph.
200 - 55 = 145 mph. Nobody wants to stick a stationary vehicle in front of someone doing 145 mph. I got back out eventually, and back up to speed, but only once I could see a looooong way behind me was clear. I think if I'd been in my current Focus ST3, this would have been less daunting. It gets up to speed much faster than a 1.5 Diesel Scenic.
Now you COULD go to the Nordschlieffe and take your car to the limit around the Nurburgring. However, I perceive there to be an element of risk in this:-
Top 10 of hardest Crashes and dangerous situation on Nordschleife 2013 - 2015 powered by "rallyeoberehe The Nürburgring & Rallye Channel". No person was seri...
The fact is there are few places where you can safely and legally experience your cars top speed. I suspect my Focus will top out at around 150 mph, maybe a tad more with a good following wind on the right day? Nothing special, but I'd still like to experience it.
It turns out you CAN! Perfectly legally in the UK! There's an Event, now owned by the Autovivendi Group, called VMAX200.
Basically it's a non-competitive drag race without the 1/4 mile limit. The objective, to speed trap your car at as high a speed as you can.
It sounds fun, and more importantly it sounds fairly safe. The only downside is it's a bit of a trek to get to the venue and it's not cheap. I am seriously tempted though!
[ICT] Irreverent Car Talk
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