THE WCS CHALLENGE: Pick a ''Black Forest to Nurburgring'' supercar for £100k
The seventh weekly car sale challenge requires you to strike the perfect balance between road and track: can you win the 250 tribe coin reward?
It often goes unnoticed just how fantastically utile cars are: most footballers are terrible at golf, or basketball - but a car can drive across a variety of environments and surfaces. In essence, a Ferrari SF90, or a McLaren P1, is better than a Lionel Messi or a LeBron James. I'm not sure how I got to this conclusion, or if it even makes sense, but I trust that Jeremy Clarkson would think the same way - therefore, my logic must be correct.
When you talk about unique cars that can work equally well in a variety of landscapes, you're usually referring to an off-roader of some sort, such as a Range Rover or maybe a Mercedes G-Wagon. You very rarely refer to the sort of car that was built to ''cruise to the Nurburgring, do a mind-blowing lap, and then cruise back home again.'' If you're wondering why that phrase sounds familiar, it was what Jeremy described the purpose of the Mercedes-McLaren SLR was, as he was pelting across Europe to reach Oslo.
Image credit: Carscoops.
In that respect, the SLR was somewhat of a gamechanger in its field. Compared to its rival at the time, the Porsche Carrera GT, the Anglo-German biproduct was designed to be in equal parts comfortable and fast, as opposed to being purely the latter.
That didn't make it a slouch by any stretch of the imagination, but by compromising a *tiny* amount on speed, the SLR became one of the all-time great cruisers. A true mile-muncher that few cars could hold a candle to when the open road turned into a private track.
The SLR sparked a new era for the supercar. It wasn't the first car to be fast and comfortable, oh no .. but it certainly raised the bar, and some. It paved the way for future supercars to follow suit, in the constant pursuit of automotive perfection.
Lionel Messi is great at football, and LeBron James is great at basketball: but an individual (whom will probably remain fictional for eternity) that has both skillsets in equal capacity to both men will always reign supreme. This is a metaphor for what the SLR is, and what its creation has berthed: a bunch of people that are as world class at one sport as they are another.
Image credit: Evo.
We'll be going into all that twaddle in due course, but first, a summary of last week's challenge:
(Note: If you're unfamiliar with The Weekly Car Sale Challenge, please click here to be forwarded to the first iteration, so you can get caught up.)
Last week I set you fabulous people at DriveTribe the challenge of buying a Japanese sportscar, that you'll use to scale the length of Japan, for under £20,000. This was a challenge that was very dear to me, because it's right at the top of my bucket list of things I will definitely be doing some day. So naturally, I couldn't wait to see what you guys could spur up in the comments: here are some of last week's entrants:
Kicking off with this menacing triple-black Evo 9 from Victor Leveque. Among all the entrants, this is, pound-for-pound, the best ''ready to go'' car that was offered this week. You just can't go wrong with a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution - they're as close to Japanese engineering brilliance as you'll find. The only reason it's missed out, from a purely personal stance, is because I see way too many about around where I live.
How about this? N H certainly knows his cars - a Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno. Not a particularly good looking car, and not even desperately fast: but it remains a JDM legend for its vast tunability and driftability. It has an innate ability to keep its occupants smiling, and that is a recipe for unquestionable success. Whilst I do love the AE86, I struggle to find any kind of appreciation for its aesthetics, and that is where this falls short for me.
The Mazda Autozam: 63bhp, 720kg, a redline of 6500rpm, and best of all, scissor doors. I mean, WHO doesn't love a set of scissor doors? It brings that 8-year-old Need for Speed fanatic out from within your depths. It seems that an overwhelming number of you thought the same. Despite the fact that it is so cool, it doesn't win this week (something I may get a lot of stick for). The reason for this is its lack of power, and sure-fire ability to break your spine during such a long journey. For a three hour-long cruise along a coast, perhaps, but not for 2,000 kilometres through the land of the rising sun, I'm afraid.
Edging closer to the top, and here's a MK3 Toyota Supra entered by Nobby Clack. These are incredibly rare nowadays, and I don't think I've ever seen one in all white previously: it definitely floats my boat. I was very, very hard-pressed to award Nobby the tribe coins for this, but my head was swayed by one other car ....
I am in love. That's all I have to say. A mint condition Nissan 200SX in pearl white, for a scarcely believe £11,000. Tastefully modified as it is, the spare £9k means you've got plenty of left-overs for experimenting and further implementing parts to ready it for the journey - though, I don't think it needs much doing.
I knew there'd be some fantastic entries this week, and I was not disappointed. Frankly, any one of these cars could have won if the challenge was slightly altered, but in this particular instance, the Nissan 200SX sent in by Sam Barker is the cream of the crop. Brilliant!
On to this week's challenge:
I didn't intend to ramble on about the SLR for so long, it's just such a magnificent car. And re-watching the episode where Jeremy drives it to Oslo, whilst competing against Hammond and May, got me thinking: ''A car that can cruise to the Nurburgring, do a mind-blowing lap, and then cruise back again .. wouldn't that be something?''
Starting off in the southern outskirts of Germany, in the principality of Villingen-Schwenningen, you'll be heading north-west towards the achingly beautiful Black Forest. Following the greenery north-east towards Heidelberg, you'll continue ascending until you reach James May's most favourite place in the world: the Nurburgring Nordschleife.
The SLR set a time of 7 minutes and 40 seconds, nearly two decades ago. It's a very quick time, but not anywhere near as competitive as the cars of today. For reference, the new AMG-GT Black Series lapped The Green Hell in 6 minutes and 43 seconds - nearly a whole minute faster. Your task will be to beat the SLR's time. It might not sound difficult, but remember: you're not taking a stripped out, battle-ready track car like the SLS Black to the Nordschleife.
With a budget of £100k, find the perfect GT-sportscar to cruise through
the Black Forest in and beat the SLR's Nurburgring lap time with, before
returning to the start point on the outskirts of South Germany.
As these challenges always are, this week's entries should be quite amazing. Remember to find the right balance between speed and comfort, anything that is too bias to speed, such as an Ariel Atom, or comfort, such as a Maybach, will not be considered. Balance is key here.
Whilst I have no way of truly assessing how quick your car will be around the Nurburgring, unless a time has been recorded previously, or you're willing to purchase the car and give me the keys so I can set a lap time myself, I may have to decide the winner on some (educated) guess work.
Good luck everyone - get involved now to potentially win 250 tribe coins!
Image credit: Rybrook group.