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Re: Tribune review
At the risk of testing the intestinal fortitude of all list members by
flogging this ailing thread one more time, I feel the compulsive need to
add my two centavos.
First, I disagree that the fact a modern, upgraded M3 can handily defeat a
substantially upgraded 5000 cstq is evidence of the advantage of rwd in the
dry. It's kind of like having me race Carl Lewis, me wearing the best
spikes money can buy and him barefoot. Is the fact I would get clobbered
evidence my spikes are no good? I don't think so. The 5000 is a 4 door
people hauler that happens to be fast, and can be decently prepped to
tackle a track. It also represent late 70s, early 80s technology. It is
an order of magnitude less expensive than a brand spanking new E36 M3. An
M3 is a modern, largely factory prepped sportscar, and a damned good one at
that. A more fair comparison would be against a prepped 535is, since it
represents a similar period of auto technology, as well as a similar
practicality compromise of passenger space and mile munching comfort (we
must still figure, however, that a good 535is remains a good deal more
expensive than a similar year 5000 tq).
The comparison with an Ur q is more appropriate. Once again, however, lets
remember an Ur q (at least those available here in the States) at its roots
remains late 70s technology. Any modifications only make up for the years
that have passed between the two designs.
I think the BTCC is a fair comparison because it makes the advantages of
awd apparent when all else is constant. That includes weight distribution.
However, here is where I must make a concession. The nature of quattro is
essentially that of a Jack of all trades. A system designed to cope with
everyday driving, adverse weather conditions, and substandard roads, is
necessarily more bulky than an awd system designed solely with track use in
mind. Consequently, a normal quattro equipped vehicle pays a substantial
weight penalty in the name of all season practicality. Does that mean it
is "a band aid" around the track. Absolutely not! Ever try and drive a
rwd and a fwd car around a track? The awd car is invariably easier unless
you are an inveterate rwd junkie. The average driver doesn't possess
anything to rival the skill of Hannu Mikola (or even the median Finn, that
country really does produce remarkable drivers) and therefore cannot
extract anywhere near as much performance potential out of his/her vehicle
as he can with awd. A recent CAR test of several vehicles around the
Nurburgring stated how uncommonly easy the awd Nissan Skyline GTR was to
drive fast around that challenging cirucuit. Though there were marginally
faster cars, they all had substantially better power to weight ratios. I
think that speaks volumes.
Finally, I think the 959, which I believe appeared after the 944, had awd.
Granted, the 959 was a 911 derivative and shared that car's rear weight
bias, but do you really think the "ultimate" Porsche of the 80s would
resort to a "band aid" if rwd was so inherently sound?
An all out racer benefitting from professional driving skill, a dry
perfectly paved track, downforce, a bone pulverising suspension, and race
tyres, as well as light weight, may not benefit that tremendously from awd.
Everything below that can to some measure benefit from awd. I have
trouble conceiving of such a broad spectrum as a mere band aid.
My apologies for the excessive bandwidth. Merry Christmas to all.