independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Dubai 24 racers are test pilots for you and me

The Dubai 24 Hours pushes cars and drivers to their limits

MY puny attempts at fast driving and sudden swerves pale into insignificant posturing when contrasted with those who drive a car virtually non-stop for 24 hours.

And that's what teams of men and women did in the Dubai 24 Hours, for example. In some of the world's best-known and most high-powered cars, they zipped around the circuit for a full day and night at breakneck speed.

Every one of the cars was fitted with Dunlop tyres. And all the strains and stresses, wear and tear exerted on those tyres were recorded, measured and assessed. Just so they can make the next set better.

Ultimately the findings trickle down into the 'ordinary' tyres that you and I will buy. Oh the sounds, the smells, the sheer daredevil nature of the 100 teams taking part in the eighth Dubai event!

Heady stuff, full of drama through the early hours, resting drivers snatching precious minutes of sleep, relays of back-up staff replacing 7,000 tyres as the hours tick by, engineers patching up machines pushed to their limits by drivers intent on improving their time and place every lap.

There's the inescapable low-bass trundle of a Mercedes SLS, the high-pitch whine that only Aston Martins, Ferraris, Lamborghinis make. And then you spot a souped-up SEAT, Renault or MINI zipping by. It's all a mad, mad rush but as I came to discover, there is a method to the madness.

The more you push man and machine, the more you learn how to be better next time round.

WHO says tyres are boring? Just think of all the madness people went through last week in Dubai as they sat behind the wheels of supercars such as the Lamborghini Gallardo LP600, Porsche 997 GT3 R, Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, Ferrari 458 GT3, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, McLaren MP4-12 GT3, BMW Z4GT3, Audi R8, Dodge Viper SRT10 GT3 and Corvette C6R GT2.

All of that work, all those thousands and thousands of kilometres, so someone can shave another few centimetres off your stopping distance.

It's called taking it to the limit so that you can drive more safely.

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