[OK, someone in a review said that ‘everyone knows’ that cars take corners faster than motorcycles. Well, since I rode in the 70’s, I didn’t know it because stock car suspensions and tire sucked. However, being determined I looked up the lap times at Nurbergring up until motorcycle racing was stopped. NO STREET CAR BEAT THE BEST MOTORCYCLE TIME UNTIL BIKE RACING WAS DISCONTINUED.)
20,600 m (67,600 ft) 7:49 Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 Horst von Saurma 22 June 2007 Sport Auto
7:46.36 Jaguar XJ220 John Nielsen 1992 Evo (07/2000) APPARENTLY DISPUTED.
|20,832 m||7:49.71||Honda RC30||Helmut Dähne||23 May 1993||As motorcycle contests were discontinued after 1994, this remains the fastest officially timed motorcycle lap ever on the 20,832 m variant (159.7 km/h). Done in a single lap time trial run during Zuverlässigkeitsfahrt series on road legal VFR750R RC30 and Metzeler ME Z1 tires.|
kinda looks to me as if — even giving street cars 6 more years, the Motocycle blew them away. }
When the Fastbike crew did some tire testing at Continental’s “Contidrome” test track, along came a car magazine with an Audi TT RS plus. They wanted: a race. They got: slaughtered. Is the old truth about cornering speeds changing?
In April, we were all working on various articles for “Fastbike”, the magazine that covers our favorite pastime, going fast on motorcycles. I was interviewing the next generation of racing drivers (and their proud parents) in Spain (Cartagena). Ralf (owner of Fastbike) and Dirk (our tame racing driver) were at the Contidrome testing sports tires for the Ducati 1199 Panigale. They weren’t alone there: A Bugatti Veyron was doing its laps and the major German car magazine “Auto Bild” was driving around in an Audi TT RS plus. They had just received word that Audi had bought Ducati, which motivated them to dust off the very old idea: “What is faster, the RS plus or the Panigale?” It should have been close. Conti’s handling course is not super grippy and consists almost entirely of bends, so it favors the car, but the Ducati is so far ahead of the nose-heavy Audi in terms of track potential that she would make up for a lot of winding roads.
Then, a strange thing happened. The car couldn’t shake the bike in the corners. On some camera angles, it even looked as if the bike was going faster while the Audi shuffled wide. The only time the Audi could make good a few meters was under braking, and these few meters were immediately lost at the exit of the corner. Long story short: The Audi got slaughtered. It lost ten seconds a lap on a track where it should have won. The disheveled car journo in the video tells the same sad story: In the corners, the bike was as fast as, or faster than the Audi. I have never seen something like that.
Of course, TTs are more hairdresser’s cars than they are sports cars; they’re a bit rubbish at cornering because of their crap weight distribution, but they aren’t THAT rubbish. And despite the fact that Mr. Car Journo might have taken some crappy lines and Dirk is a (rather excellent) racing driver, everyone expected the car to at least corner faster than the bike.
Let’s take Audi’s (and Auto Bild’s) cornering qualities out of the equation: The Veyron was doing high speed test runs on the same track for tire testing, a professional test driver at the wheel. Ralf took the Bugatti’s time: still slower than the Duc.
I have driven the Ducati and know it’s a very good and fast bike. But is the old truth really changing? Let’s not discuss the rider/driver, because everybody knows a story about a Ferrari guy so useless he gets passed by a pensioner in a Golf (or a motorbike in the bends). No, in the hands of drivers that can at least use the maximum cornering speed of a vehicle (which was true for Mr. Auto Bild), has the difference in this very cornering speed between cars and bikes turned into a thing of the past? Have we worsened the car that much? Have bikes gotten ahead? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
Clemens Gleich is a German member of the Dark Side of motoring who writes for money and all-you-can-drink premium Scotch at the hotel bar. You can find his latest propaganda at www.mojomag.de.