Our first Soulmate speaks to DriveTribe about love, Dakar and perfect drives
So far we’ve seen a lot of car love from our first Soulmate participant – a Turkish collector of cars with easy access to an F1 circuit. Oh, and a gorgeous yellow Porsche 918 Spyder.
We had a quick call with him to ask a few more questions about why he bought 23 identical 911s – and got to chatting about his dream drives.
Why did you buy 23 identical 911 GT3s?
“It’s very simple – my office is in the heart of Istanbul Park GP circuit – it’s one of the best racing circuits in the world and we’ve organised for seven years F1, five times MotoGP and many other international race series. As for the 911s, we were organising different races for beginners, for mid-level drivers and professionals. We have Caterhams and Renault Meganes and so on, but I wanted to put GT3 racing on the top.
“I’ve tried Italian cars and they’re fast, but don’t have the strength to run for a long time. So I spoke to Porsche Motorsports in Germany a few years ago and asked them if they could build 24 identical GT3 Cup race cars so we could organise this race in Istanbul.
“We came up with a proposal and sat down to study it. At the end of the day it’s a race car – and the ultimate calculation for a race car is lap time. So essentially we would’ve been paying a lot of money for a car to go fast around a track.”
Euros per smile vs Euros per second
It turns out lap times weren’t the sole consideration behind our friend’s decision to pick the GT3 road cars instead of the race version.
“I looked at the purchase cost and running costs of the GT3 Cup race car, and it’s quite expensive. But I already had some road-going GT3s in my personal collection, so I tried them around the track and I had no issues with them. And although it’s a long F1 circuit, the difference between the race car and standard GT3 road car was just 3.5 seconds.”
“But then for every 100 laps in the race car you need to rebuild the brakes, and rebuild the clutch every 300 laps. And every 400 laps you may need to rebuild the engine which costs a lot of money and time.
“More importantly, we did a few thousand laps in the road-going GT3 to set up the suspension and tyre choice, and we did not got a single check engine or gearbox warning! The cars are near perfect.”
Sometimes soul is more important than performance
Speaking to our friend, it’s clear he knows the technical ins-and-outs of modern sports cars. We’ll get to look at his wider collection soon enough, but he has a special way of deciding if he loves a car.
“What I do generally do is get into a car and drive between a few cities in my country. I have a few offices in different cities, so I visit them. I spend three or four days driving, and tend to cover three or four thousand kilometres. I do this with a sports car in the good weather.
“It may not always be totally legal, but I like to test out the speed on highways and country roads – it gives me a lot of satisfaction.”
But while some cars make his heart race, others make it sink.
“The BMW M cars don’t feel like full performance cars for me anymore. They feel they’re lacking a bit of performance in real-world conditions and aren’t satisfying as a full package. The new M5 is the big exception to be honest – that’s fantastic.”
If he could pick one car and a location for a soulful drive, what would it involve?
“Oh, that’s easy. It should be the summer, a long empty straight on the seaside in a Porsche 911 Cabriolet. Any 911 Cabriolet is perfect for this pleasure drive.”