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    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Wonderful thread, thanks for sharing Smiley

    J.Seven


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    The F1 GTR video has been marked as private on youtube. For those who've missed it:

    http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzQ0MzcyNzA0.html


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    What a monster of a car, absolutely love it.


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Latest Chris Harris on cars, on his own 4.0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv0Gr5gz1Gw

     


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "GT3 RS 4.0: Last Drive Before Hibernation..." for DRIVE TV

    "English winters and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres don't mix, so I'm taking one last drive before putting the car that is rapidly bankrupting me into storage - special storage..."

    Chris Harris On Cars -- GT3 RS 4.0: Last Drive Before Hibernation -- DRIVE TV -- Video Link

    ...thanks to Chris Harris and Andreas Preuninger! Smiley

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    The video with Chris Harris driving his 997.2 GT3 RS 4.0 was a joy to watch. Wales is a fabulous place to enjoy cars like this. Thanks for posting :)


    --


    997.1 C2S
     GT Silver/Cocoa, -20mm/LSD, PSE, short shifter, SportDesign rims, Zuffenhausen pickup, BMW Z4 2.5i Roadster Sterling Grey/Red


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    easy_rider911:

    The video with Chris Harris driving his 997.2 GT3 RS 4.0 was a joy to watch. Wales is a fabulous place to enjoy cars like this. Thanks for posting :)

     Amazing video indeed, very well made.

    J.Seven


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "Group B Worship: Ford RS200 and Audi Sport Quattro..."

    "To enter Group B in the 1980s, car makers had to build 200 road-going examples of the car they intended to rally. These rules created some of the most spectacular road cars of all time. I love rallying: the chance to drive an RS200 and a Sport Quattro nearly sent me to the nut-house. Fire up the Quattro!"

    Chris Harris On Cars -- Group B Worship: Ford RS200 and Audi Sport Quattro -- Video Link

    ...thanks again to Chris Harris!

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "Toyota GT-86..."

    "One of the most anticipated new cars of 2012, the Toyota rear wheel drive entry level sports car with too many names: GT-86, FT-86, and FRS. Also known as the Subaru BRZ. Chris Harris travels to Spain to get the most out of a short session in the car..."

    Chris Harris On Cars -- Toyota GT-86 -- Drive Video Link

    ...all due credit to Chris Harris!

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "BMW M5 vs Nissan GT-R..."

    "Chris Harris reviews the new 2012 BMW M5 and Nissan GT-R, in the rain. Do these two cars belong together? Probably not - but it's perfect for YouTube search results, and thats why we're doing it. Watch as Chris reviews the two cars on the street and on the track..."

     
     
    ...thanks again to Chris Harris!

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "Living with the McLaren MP4-12C..."

    "Five days in one of the most interesting sports cars ever made with Chris Harris. The 600hp McLaren MP4-12C mixes everyday usability with Millennium Falcon performance. We drive it everywhere from town-centre to race-track. And yes, we now want one rather desperately...."

     
     
    ...thanks again to Chris Harris!

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    I like videos like this very much. It w the real side of cars and how all the technology that makes them so good in numbers translate for the day you just want to drive your car around. LEts face it, most sports cars spend the mayority of their life being driven around town because its not everyday you can take them to a track. So this kind of report tell you what you'd actually get when owning a car like the MP4. 


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Harris is great for this kind of thing, a real car guy, a racer but also a writer, a guy who owns an RS4.0 and drives it. There's so much more information in these 12 minutes than you get reading even the best written review. 

    Well done.


    --

    "I don't mean to brag, but I am really good at self-deprecation."


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "Ice Driving with the New Audi A1 Quattro..."

     
    "252hp in a hatchback designed for city use. It's an extreme car the A1 quattro. Just 333 are being built. We went to Sweden to drive it on a lake. Which told us very little about the car, but it looked beautiful. And we got a ride with Stig Blomqvist in a Sport Quattro. This is a Chris Harris home movie..."
     
     
     
    ...thanks and all due credit to Chris Harris!
     
    Smiley SmileySmiley

    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "BMW M550d X Drive Road Test..."

     
    BMW M550d X Drive road test
     
    "It has more torque than the space shuttle and BMW claims it will do over 40mpg. BMW also says it won't be selling the car in the UK or the US, the places that DRIVE is most commonly viewed. But when something has 3 turbos, you've got to go drive it at 155mph: no?"
     
     
     
    ...thanks and all due credit to Chris Harris!
     
    Smiley SmileySmiley

    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    DRIVEN: PORSCHE BOXSTER S by CHRIS HARRIS (including Drive video)

    Hot off the Geneva show stand Chris Harris has already tried the all-new Boxster...

    (9 March 2012)
     
    Steering feel - this is a story about steering feel. How you respond to Porsche's third generation Boxster can probably be anticipated by your reaction to reading the stuff people like me excrete after trawling the adjectives bag. All of it is done in an effort to describe the sensation of holding a steering wheel in a moving vehicle. At this point I can promise that this review will not contain the word nuggety. 
     
    New proportions finally make sense of concept
     
    The new Boxster doesn't have much steering feel. There - I've said it. It is possibly the most complete open-top sports car ever made, and it is possibly the best car Porsche currently produces. But for these purposes I can only plunder the thesaurus to make reference to absent sensations: wriggle, squirm, fidget, chatter, patter or writhe (god I hate writhe). The Boxster does none of them.
     
    And yes, the much debated electric power steering fitted to the 991 makes its second appearance in the new Boxster, codename 981. Like the 911, this is an all-new platform with extensive use of aluminium and high-strength steel. The shell is 87kg lighter, yet it is 40 per cent stiffer. The roof uses magnesium alloy sections and despite being physically bigger and carrying more passive safety equipment, the car is lighter than its predecessor - between 25kg and 35kg depending on model.
     
    Familiar favourites
     
    The 2.7-litre motor in the base car is an all-new direct injection flat-six producing 265hp and 206lb ft. Meanwhile the 3.4-litre engine in the S is a revised version of the engine from the last 987 model with slightly increased outputs - 315hp and 265lb ft. Both have variable valve lift and timing.
     
    Brakes look puny within 20-inch wheels: aren't
     
    I'm going to concentrate on the S, because that's the one I spent the day in. It was running the spangly, optional 20-inch wheels, fitted with optional PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) and a smattering of other options.
     
    Does anyone not agree that this car finally delivers on the styling promise laid down by the original concept in 1993? It's not as dainty, but in stretching the wheelbase 60mm, pulling the front track out 40mm and the rear 18mm - not to mention making the car longer (32mm) and lower (13mm) with a shorter front overhang (minus 27mm) Porsche has taken the Boxster to an LA tuning shop and given it the full number. Where once the wheels hid apologetically within swollen panels, they now push confidently outwards and the whole car sits down into the road surface. To me, it's the best looking Porsche since the Carrera GT. 
     
    Theory of relativity
     
    It takes about 10 seconds to spot the steering. The wheel is slightly dead in the hands compared to the old car - it doesn't feel unnatural, just mute. At this point I would sympathise with anyone who went all Bannatyne and announced they were oot. But I would also plead with them to hang around and give it time. In this instance it is always wise to recall the parable of the Caterham R500 and the Porsche GT3 RS. After a drive in the Caterham, jumping into the RS will reveal it as being too heavy and completely lacking in steering weight, communication and feel. For about 10 minutes. Once your body adjusts to the change in circumstances - like eyes emerging from a dark cinema on a bright summer's day - the Porsche will soon feel quite different.
     
    Longer wheelbase, shorter overhangs - good
     
    Point the Boxster into a turn and it does two things completely at odds with the expectations laid-down by that initial numbness. It turns with unusual speed and efficiency, then clips the very point on the road you'd been aiming for. Repeat this process for 15 minutes and, like me, you'll be left guppy-like with admiration. This car doesn't do over- or understeer at normal road speeds. Its Pirelli P-Zeros have so much grip, the centre of mass is so well positioned and traction is so good it just carves its way through switchbacks with sparkling finesse. It's only when you're in the middle of such a sequence, placing this car as accurately as any other you can remember, that you have to ask yourself what you are missing with this newfangled electric rack. The answer is simple: wriggle, squirm, fidget, chatter, patter and writhe. Yes, I miss them too, but they fade into insignificance within the overall Boxster experience.
     
    That searing motor makes great noise and pulls very hard from 3,000rpm all the way to 7,500rpm. There is talk of turbocharged four-cylinder motors in the future, but they just won't be able to match the sharpness of an atmospheric boxer-six. Matched with a chassis apparently impervious to understeer it gives you so much confidence to endlessly trim cornering lines. This is helped no-end by the proper manual transmission. Not a doctored PDK from the 991, but a stick-shift from the dark ages: three pedals and endless, blip-tastic joy. 
     
    Manual labour
     
    In fact the only blot for me is Porsche's insistence on running the brake pedal so bloody high relative to the throttle: unless the brakes are close to boiling it makes rolling from brake to throttle too difficult. The brakes themselves (330mm steels at the front) are predictably brilliant and way over-engineered for road use. No doubt they will melt at a track day, but that's both obvious and meaningless for a car of this type.
     
    Manual box great, electric parking brake less so
     
    Nope, running fast over the Route Napoleon and its tributary D-roads I was locked in this car's spell. With the PASM set to comfort (Sport is too firm) and the car in Sport Plus mode (sharper throttle, reduced ESP intervention), it rode coarse surfaces with real sophistication but never felt heavy or ponderous in rapid direction changes. It was grippy without being tedious and also gave great confidence. Moreover, it was pleasant going fast and slow: roof-down at a cruise the Boxster can warm your bottom and play tunes, a few seconds later it gives access to what must be one of the best road car chassis out there. As a basis for a new Cayman, it's mouth-watering stuff.
     
    Each one goes 'kerching' when pushed
     
    By far the worst thing about the car for me is the infernal electronic handbrake. It's completely counter-intuitive in a three-pedal machine, it will only engage with the foot-brake pressed and it seems to only exist to extract new combinations of expletives from exasperated drivers. For me, it's a much bigger problem than the electric steering, but then your average photo shoot does contain an unnatural quantity of three-point-turns, so maybe I'm being a little over-sensitive. Whoever canned the manual handbrake but issued a stay of execution for the idiotic Sport Chrono clock needs lobotomising. 
     
    Coasting along
     
    Even when you're carping about these few negatives, the car counters with more impressive details. The stop-start hardware is painless and alongside regenerative braking and a coast function for the motor (the moment it spots a coasting situation, it cuts to idle) and that direct injection system it makes for a very efficient 170mph car. Of course I thrashed it mercilessly all day and got it down below 20mpg, but in real life, this is a 30mpg machine. The boggo 2.7 does 180g/km, which is mind-boggling really. 
     
    So on first acquaintance, the Boxster is better looking, a little bit quicker, more capable in the turns and offers 10mm more telescopic longitudinal adjustment of the steering column - whatever that means. In the context of the marketplace only one of these really matters: on looks alone the Boxster could plug the hole created by slow 991 sales in the UK. If people choose to buy it based on the way it drives, so long as they can get their heads around the steering, they will own another great Porsche. 
     
    Oh, Porsche gave us a cereal bar to eat on our travels. It was nuggety. I lied. 
     
    PORSCHE BOXSTER S 
     
    Engine: 3,463cc flat-six
    Transmission: 6-speed manual / 7-speed dual-clutch auto (PDK), rear-wheel drive
    Power (hp): 315@6,700rpm
    Torque (lb ft): 265@4,800rpm
    0-62mph: 5.1 sec (PDK 5.0 sec, PDK + Sport Plus 4.8 sec)
    Top speed: 174mph (PDK 173mph)
    Weight (DIN): 1,320kg (PDK 1,350kg)
    MPG: 32.1 (PDK 35.3, both figures NEDC combined)
    CO2: 206g/km (PDK 188g/km)
    Price: £45,384
     

    Chris Harris On Cars: "2012 Porsche Boxster S"

    "Porsche's new 981 Boxster is an all-new design. Bigger, but lighter than before. We went to the launch event in the South of France to see how good it was..."

    Chris Harris On Cars -- 2012 Porsche Boxster S -- Video Link

    ...thanks and all due credit and respect to Chris Harris!

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "Morgan Plus 8"

     
    "Chris Harris and Neil Carey drive to Geneva in a 370hp Morgan with equipment for 4 video shoots over 7 days. No trunk, or boot, or whatever you call it where you live..."
     
     
    ...thanks and all due credit to Chris Harris!

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "Mercedes SL: New & Old"

     
    (28 March 2012)
     
    Thinking of ways to introduce the new SL got me pondering the terms of admission to the icon club - that rarified group of products that transcend markets, classes and niches and instead exert their own gravity on the machinery around them. I think the Mercedes SL is an icon. 
     
    Driving some of the older models makes me even more certain it is. 
     
     
    Top to bottom: R231, R230, R129, R107, W113, W121, W198It is unlikely that I will ever drive a W198 300 SL roadster again, and that tightens my stomach muscles with sadness. It is by quite some margin the most desirable old car I have driven in years - perhaps ever. After we'd finished shooting the video a man from Mercedes told me it was worth around £400,000, which is less than a Gullwing, but given the significance, quality and sheer beauty of the machine that value seems undercooked to me. 
     
    What must people have made of this in the 1950s? Well over 200hp, styling from a sci-fi movie and the type of materials and finish you'd expect of the self-proclaimed maker of the finest automobiles on the planet. 
     
    The whole machine is just so tight and usable. The mechanical fuel injection gives a flat idle and consistent throttle response through the long-travel pedal, and the noise from that straight-six is captivating. You can decipher individual component sounds, the rush of valve train, the hammer of fuel pump, all blended into an exhaust noise that serves to remind us that the in-line six will always be one of the most charismatic sounding motors.
     
    The gearbox is just gorgeous - mechanical and precise - and the interaction between it, the throttle and the vast steering wheel is immediately natural and relaxed: to the extent that you immediately start cruising at 80mph, where the car feels composed and alert. Until you have to brake. There is a section of in-car footage we haven't used in the video where I'm extolling the virtues of this 50-year-old machine and how swift it is, and we happen across a corner. Elation turns to fear as I attempt to lose 40mph in 50 metres. "It's just so modern feeling, gush, gush, etc ... F***, Neil, I can't stop!!!"
     
    Is the W198 the genesis of the current SL? No, it's possibly the first supercar. The level of want, for me, is very strong indeed.
     
    The first tangible SL DNA lies in the W113, or Pagoda. I drove the smaller 230 SL, but with the rare manual transmission and overdrive. What's immediately apparent is Mercedes' acute understanding of how a car like the SL would actually be used by the owner, as opposed to what might have excited the road testing fraternity at the time. 
     
    Elbow resting on the door-top, it's a perfect California land-yacht, not especially fast, but tuneful and relaxing. Rev it out and the 150hp six gives a reasonable turn of speed and I can imagine on a damp road it would cut shapes like a modern M3. Add in the removable hard-top that owners could fit for the winter and you had a sports car with a much broader operating window than any other machine. Therein lies the kernel which seeded the DNA of subsequent generations. 
     
    Especially the R107. The older a bloke gets, the more he likes the 107. As I say on the video, I was gutted when they handed me the keys to a 300 SL manual, but it turned out to be one of the best surprises of 2012 so far. It was a 1988 car with the 180hp six and it drove just the way I want one of these cars to drive - soothing but tuneful and offering reward at very low speeds through perfect control weights. I never thought I'd want to change gear myself in an R107, but this was actually pleasant. The sprung seat poinged up and down, the cabin felt like it would last another 300 years and then I got out and looked at it: it's beautiful. No wonder they made it for 18 years.
     
     
    A Mercedes SL in its comfort zone
     
    There wasn't time to drive an R129, but I did get a ride in one of the 20 SL73s with Roland Asch around the Ascari circuit - which was suitably crazy. That's another shape which seems to be ageing with uncommon grace. The last R230 model suffers from being a part of the Schremp era of cost-cutting, but the later, facelifted cars were impressive things, especially the SL63, which I ran for a year and fell in love with. You don't realise how many things an SL can do, just how broad its competencies are until you live with one for four seasons.
     
    And the new car? Well, here's the full review from a fortnight ago. It's a car that does even more, even better. It's a car to live with, not test for a day and its looks still don't quite do it for me. But if today's SL500 can perform the way it does, the SL63 is going to raise a few eyebrows. 
     
    Enjoy the vid.
     
     
     
    "The new SL 500 is the consummate all-rounder with an unrivalled heritage. We trace its roots from the classic W198 300 SL to the Pagoda W113 and the classic R107. Bobby Ewing forever!"
     
     
     
    ...thanks and all due credit to Chris Harris!

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "Tuthill 911 Rally Car"

     
    Harris on safe ground in a retro rally-spec 911 but just watch him go...
     
    (4 April 2012)
     
    Look away now if you don't like 911s. Especially old ones.
     
    I happen to like these cars - a fact that regularly lands me in trouble. The one featured in this video is a 3.5-litre monster used in the Belgian rally championship. Richard Tuthill was testing at Prodrive's track near Warwick, so I went along to annoy him and blag a go in this extraordinary car.
     
    It appears that there are very few technical rules in this series, because what started out as an innocent little 70s 911 has been transformed into one of the most brutal cars I've driven in a while. Excusing the continuity mistake in the vid - the car has more like 365hp - and taking the weight as around 1,000kg, this car is monstrously fast. Then look at the gearing - it'll just hit 120mph in 5th gear - and you'll understand how potent it is.
     
     
    Chris Harris on home turf...
     
    The transmission is a new design - effectively a 915 'box converted to dog-rings and you can flat shift up and down, giving genuine two-pedal driving should you want it. The engine is taken out to 3.5 litres and runs slide injection. It's a flipping masterpiece: so torquey you don't really need to go beyond 7,000rpm. The noise is - well, I suppose the beauty of video is I don't have to describe the thing to you. Just listen.
     
     
    'Making progress' the Harris way...
     
    It's a car that loves to be hustled - it responds to light provocation, but take liberties and it'll make you look an idiot. You quickly learn to use that mass behind the rear axle to make a change of direction or set it up for a corner. 
    The car is driven by Glenn Janssens in the Belgian Rally Championship. He's a lucky blighter.
     
    Enjoy the vid.
     
     
     
     
    "Recipe to make a Tuthill 911 historic rally car: Take one donor shell, add 3.5 liter motor, extract 365hp. Remove weight to 1000kg, add dog-gearbox. Then have as much fun as you can in a car..."
     
     
     
    ...thanks again and all credit to Chris Harris!

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "Renault Twizy"

     
    If anyone can make an exciting video out of an electrically powered Renault Twizy Harris can ... or can he?
     
    (11 April 2012)
     
    Still can't believe how long a debate the Twizy first drive created the other week. I suppose it underlines the knowledge that whether we like electric power or no, it's something we can't ignore. And therefore we cannot simply dismiss it out of hand.
     
    First off, I really tried to be irresponsible in this car. I tried to make it oversteer, largely so that I could call the video "Power oversteer in a Renault Twizy' and bag myself another 200,000 views. But the thing has so much grip, it was impossible. I even went off into the doobies on some dirt track, managed a little squiggle, but the rooster-tail of dust hid the moment. Gutted. Not as gutted as the poor bloke who had to clean all the dust out of the Twizy afterwards though. Apologies for that.
     
     
    Professionally, electric cars worry me. They are devices - white goods with a purpose and not much besides. Extracting engaging material from them, based on the findings of driving one around a Balearic island for a few hours, is going to be nigh-on impossible. The three boys on BBC2 will manage it because they're brilliant at making comedy out of cars. Your bottom-feeding car reviewer like myself is going to really struggle, because this emerging genre of internet car vids is all about the machine, the noise, the speed, the action. And EVs just don't have any of it.
     

    The more PH-friendly end of the Renault range...
     
    The solution appears to be inserting something interesting. Review the EV, impart some information and then, in this case, go mental in a Clio Renaultsport 200.
     
    I love the Clio. It's one of the best enthusiast cars on sale - for any money. A fitting counterpoint.
     
    Enjoy the vid.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    RENAULT TWIZY 80 TECHNIC
     
    Engine: 3CG - electric asynchronous (induction)
    Transmission: single-speed auto
    Power (hp):17
    Torque (lb ft):42@0-2,100rpm
    0-28mph: 6.1 sec 
    Top speed:50mph
    Weight: 474kg
    MPG: 62-mile range
    CO2: N/A
    Price: £7,400
     
     
     
    "It has 17hp and might crack 60mph if you drove it off a small cliff face. The Twizy is a part of Renault's EV adventure: it has a 60 mile range..."
     
     
     
     
    ...thanks again and credit to Chris Harris!

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Absolutely loved his latest efforts. kiss


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "Noble M600 and Atom V8 at the Nurburgring"

     
    (19 April 2012)
     
    Getting these two together was, at first, easy. Ever since I first drove an M600 back at the end of 2009, I’ve been badgering Noble MD Peter Boutwood to let me take one to the ’ring. I suggested the Destination Nurburgring event in March. He said, “That’s fine, where do you want to meet?”
     
    Which is scarier round the 'ring?
     
    Tom Siebert from Ariel was cooler still - if that’s possible. We just had a chat on the phone and he texted the next day to say he’d booked a chunnel ticket. “You’re buying beers and I’m not sharing a room with you.”
     
    It’s cool stuff. In fact these little Brit sports car companies can teach their vastly more self-impressed continental rivals several lessons on the subject of cool.
     
    And that was it - £350K and 1125hp borrowed to lap the world’s most dangerous circuit. That last adjective, however, would soon complicate things.
     
    "£20,000 excess if I bin it then?"
     
    A week before we were due to leave, I decided to check the respective insurance cover on each car. Pete said the Noble was insured, so long as he sat next to me.
    “Pete, will you sit next to me?”
     
    “No.”
     
    Tom didn’t even let me ask the question: “You’re insuring it.”
     
    Sh!t.
     
    And that’s how I was introduced to the rather frightening world of insuring fast, expensive cars at the Nurburgring. I started off phoning regular insurance companies, and they laughed. Not one wanted to touch either car. At that point I thought all bets were off.
     
    At least the weather was playing ball!
     
    This forced me down the racing route. A company called MIS (Motorsport Insurance Services) has covered the Porsche I’ve raced at the ’ring for years, so I figured they’d have a view on two days cover on these fast Brits. They did, but it wasn’t quite the view I’d hoped. The quotation was horrendous.
     
    It’s at this point that I found myself in the faintly ridiculous situation of attempting to persuade an insurer that an Atom V8 didn’t pose that much of a risk because, as the driver, I was rather incentivised not to have a crash on account of the fact that it would probably hurt quite a lot. And you know what, they sort of listened.
     
    Many people ask if it’s possible to get insurance at the ‘ring. Based on this experience, for tourist sessions, it’s nigh-on impossible. But for track days it’s not too hard so long as you’re willing to suck up some excess.
     
    Personal risk element reduced Atom premium
     
    So what does it cost to insure a £220K Noble M600 for two days lapping on the Nordschleife? Through MIS, it was £1,750. I still don’t know quite what to make of that sum because on the one hand it made a catastrophic dent in my film budget for 2012, on the other hand, the underwriters were exposed to a potential £150K payout. All it would have taken was an oil spill or a SLOT (sudden loss of talent) from yours truly to make a Lloyds name somewhere get quite sweary. Then again, my excess was £20,000.
     
     
    You remember that sum when an Atom V8 starts to wander about at 145mph, with no run-off
     
    As for the cars? Watch the film, you’ll find out.
     
    Oh, enjoy the vid.
     
     
     
    "This is first time that the 475hp Ariel Atom V8 and 650hp Noble M600 have been to the Nordschleife. Awesome times..."
     
     
     
    ...thanks again and all due credit to Chris Harris!

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Fantastic wink


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    CH puts his clips up on the Drive Network on YouTube as well.  Drive hosts a number of shows, Chris' being the most hard core driving shows, some are on racing, modified cars, muscle cars.  The quality of all the shows is relatively good, especially considering their budgets and the number of people involved in the shoot.  I must say that this last episode of CH's was the best.  Beyond the content, which was fantastic, the camera footage was superb.


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "LOTUS EXIGE S"

     
    Why you need to be excited about the 350hp V6 Exige S - having driven it Chris Harris already is...

    (25 April 2012)
     
    Bigger, heavier, faster, more expensive: not a collection of adjectives that fills a chap with joy as he’s about to try and understand the new Lotus Exige S. I mean who ever countenanced the idea of a 1,176kg Exige?
     
    No celebs, no nonsense - just a cracking car
     
    Don’t get hung-up on the weight though. From the seats forwards, this car may be very similar to the old Exige, but the improvements wrought in every single area of performance are so great that this car really deserves a new name.
     
    In Meccano-speak, this car is an Exige running an Evora S supercharged V6 powertrain with a bespoke rear chassis assembly, a new steering rack, new front suspension geometry and Bosch’s latest chassis electronics. For a sniff under £53,000, it offers 0-100mph in 8.5 seconds and has hit 170mph at Nardo. Around the new Hethel circuit the car is claimed to be five seconds faster than the last hair-brained four-cylinder Exige, the Cup 260.
     
    Like me, you’ll scoff at the claim – until you’ve driven the thing.
     
    Exige is all new from the bulkhead back
     
    In with the new
     
    But first the alterations. A completely new rear chassis assembly is bolted to the original Elise/Exige aluminium tub. All the components are new, and the suspension arms are of higher quality than those used on the Evora S. All the rear suspension bushes are taken from that car – they’re bigger and more capable than before. The front axle remains the same (sadly no Evora bushes for the front, they wouldn’t fit) but with new geometry and a different rack. There’s increased lock and reduced camber to keep the weight sensible – is this now the heaviest car without power assisted steering?
     
    Apart from some small calibration changes, the powertrain is pure Evora S: 350hp at 7,000rpm and 295lb ft at a usefully low 4,500rpm.
     
    Styling puts more ground between it and Elise
     
    The cabin is tight and familiar. Despite some snazzy seat trims and revised clock faces, it struggles to support the £50K price tag. You start the car using a key, which is a welcome change these days – it fires with a vigorous ‘parp’ and then rests. It never sounds expensive or sophisticated, because it isn’t, but it flings the Exige S up the road with some force. The cable gearshift is the best I’ve used in a Lotus – miles better than those early Evoras.
     
    Conditions: wet
     
    I only have time to drive the car on the new Hethel track. It’s wet, not something I would normally want in an Exige, but this isn’t anything like the old car. Its basic physics – 70mm longer wheelbase, more steering lock and more grip – immediately give the driver much more confidence than any predecessor carrying the same name, but it’s the way it works with the Bosch wizardry that takes the Exige into new territory for Lotus and, indeed, the trackday marketplace.
     
    A zingy 350hp from the Toyota sourced V6
     
    There are three settings, Touring, Sport and Race. In Touring the Exige is as close to unstickable as any track machine I’ve driven. Full traction control works alongside ESP and understeer control. In the lashing rain, you can use full throttle from before the apex and a few degrees of steering correction will suffice. Plough-in too early and the nose is trimmed by barely perceptible inside front brake applications. It will make less experienced drivers feel like instant heroes.
     
    Sport mode removes the understeer control, increases the slip allowed on the rear axle, sharpens the throttle response and opens a bypass valve in the exhaust. It feels more urgent, but the extra noise is for spectators – the cabin is already full of angry V6 intake and supercharger whine. The car now offers less protection for the foolish and more movement for the adventurous but, as with Touring mode, the interventions are so subtle and helpful, you never find yourself cursing them.
     
    Even in these conditions the Exige works
     
    Electronically enhanced
     
    The real gem is Race mode. What you’d expect is a further reduction is assistance and almost-spin levels of rear liveliness. You’d be wrong. What you actually get is a state-of-the-art traction control map that can learn not only the grip level of the circuit underneath you, but which of the two OE Pirelli tyres the machine is rolling on. After experiencing its freakish brilliance, I asked project chief Matt Becker to explain how the hell a black box can learn grip levels almost instantly. “I asked Bosch the same question and they sent me a massive manual,” he says. “I still don’t fully understand it.”
     
    You can quickly reach the point where you hold the throttle pedal wide-open and just feel the ‘brain’ juggling the input.
     
    Race mode 'reads' grip levels
     
    It’s not an inspirational powertrain like a GT3’s, but it’s vivacious, interesting and very effective. The brakes are superb in the wet (I didn’t try them in the dry) and the car now has much less roll than old Exige. All of the chassis changes and improvements centre around the new, much more robust rear axle assembly, and the rear anti-roll bar. Best whisper that last bit to keep the purists happy. The steering is especially gorgeous: faster than before, but wriggling with life and information.
     
    Fun for all
     
    The truth is the added rear support has allowed Matt and his team to make this car much easier to drive fast. That’s what I hadn’t expected. If you are someone of modest driving talent, there is much more to enjoy here than in a GT3 because the combination of mid-engined layout and quite brilliant chassis systems make it so much easier for the driver. More experienced hands will just revel in the traction control – it’s like a racer’s.
     
    Familiar - and cosy - in here
     
    What’s wrong with it? I think the rear bumper’s a bit heavy-handed, the cabin as mentioned feels cramped and old, and you still can’t sit low enough relative to the wheel. It could also do with some lightly-locking rear differential for more pleasurable hooning. We were using the optional £2,000 track pack suspension, which still felt supple, and the standard Pirelli Corsa tyre which was blinding in the wet. There’s a stickier Trofeo version for an extra £800.
     
    For the money, I can’t see anything to touch this as road / track device other than a used 997 GT3. It’s fast, capable and very desirable.
     
    At last, from within the madness, Lotus has produced a world-class sports car.
     
    LOTUS EXIGE S
     
    Engine: 3,456cc V6, supercharged
    Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
    Power (hp): 350@7,000rpm
    Torque (lb ft): 295@4,500rpm
    0-62mph: 4.0 sec
    Top speed: 170mph
    Weight: 1,176kg
    MPG: 28mpg (NEDC combined)
    CO2: 236g/km
    Price: c. £53,000
     
     
     
    The car oversteered in a manner I hadn't ever experienced before. If I had managed to throw every last degree of opposite lock at the slide at the right moment, it might just have been catchable, but I didn't get anywhere close. I was in a Lotus Elise, my two-month-old Lotus Elise - and it was about to undergo some choice bodywork modifications courtesy of my fledgling's lack of skill, a large grass bank and a maroon Volvo 440.
     
    I use this tale, and the arrival of this superb Exige S to illustrate why this new car is so impressive. It isn't just an even progression from the 1996 Elise to the present day. To drive, it's a completely different machine. Tyre technology, chassis electronics and human knowledge have all had a drastic effect on what was, dare I say it, a pretty wild handling car from day one.
     
    What the Elise had, from the start, was suppleness and clear, unhindered responses. Up to about 8/10ths, it was a masterclass in why all other sports cars weighed too much and carried way too much spring rate. Beyond that point, the original Elise was lethal. As mentioned above, I experienced this first hand. Big roll angles meant big lift-off oversteer, and the old P-Zero was shambolic in the wet. Don't buy into all this stuff about the early Elise being a honey - beyond 8/10ths it could be more spiteful than a 1977 911 Turbo.
     
    Why so? Partly because the pure Lotus chassis thinking made it that way, but also because the team of test drivers, the Kershaws, Beckers, McQueens, were so handy that they could sort a wayward Elise at 100mph in the wet - the trouble being few other people could.
     
    I ran a series one Exige in 2001 for eight months and 12,000 miles. It was a hoot, but its trick Yokohamas could also be a flipping nightmare in the wet. It was a car you didn't deliberately provoke because you weren't quite sure of the consequences.
     
    The big change came with the series two Elise and its totally revised chassis and Bridgestone tyres. It was a much, much easier car to drive at the limit, and it set the tone for all subsequent improvements. Thereon in, the car became faster, meaner and aided by more complicated electronic systems, but it was still a saddled with too little power to be able to drive you out of a slidey-problem, and it lacked rear chassis stiffness, causing it to sap confidence when you turned into higher-speed turns. You turned the wheel and there was always this initial, disconcerting movement from the back of the car.
     
    With the Exige S, that movement is gone. The car gives you way more confidence than the Sport 260, its systems are bewildering in their capabilities and the car now has proper propulsion. Switch the systems off, which you can do, and it'll hold slides. Silly, but fun.
     
    This car doesn't drive like a continuation exercise. For me, it nails any Evora or outgoing Elise because it feels quite different to any other Elise-based product I've driven.
     
     
    "Lotus Exige S track test: 350hp, chassis from the Gods - Chris Harris On Cars"
     
     
    "Take the Evora S supercharged V6, change the suspension and go chase the Porsche GT3. This is the best street / track car Lotus has ever built. Let's just hope it isn't too little too late..."
     
     
     
    ...thanks and all due credit to Chris Harris!

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Latest Chris on Cars, M3 GTS vs. C63 BS vs. GT3 RS 4.0 Smiley

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSaN8FS-GV8&feature=g-all-u


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS 4.0 vs C63 BLACK vs M3 GTS"

     
    Dream group-test line-up, Chris Harris at the wheel and one epic video you NEED to see...

    (2 May 2012)
     
    After we shot this video, myself and videographer Neil Carey drove from Betws-y-Coed to the Severn Bridge straight through the centre of Wales. It was by some margin the most enjoyable UK drive of 2012 – possibly for several years. He was in the M3 GTS, I was in the C63 Black Series.
     
    Track is where these cars rule supreme...
     
    The road element of this video is secondary to the track work because cars look far more exciting when they can move around, but the more time I spend in this type of car, the more their road manners matter to me. I fully accept that many people will think this is madness but that drive through Wales in the C63 was mind-expanding. What a car. Moreover – what a road car. A machine which can lap with panache but you could happily use Monday-through-Friday. If you did without the silly spoiler.
     
    You can still enjoy driving in this country. Be patient, don’t take the proverbial and you find yourself covering ground at a decent speed and enjoying cars like these.
     
    ...but they're amazing on the road too
     
    The M3 GTS didn’t make any sense at £115,000 in 2010, and it still doesn’t now, but it’s juddering with enthusiasm and specialness. Strangely, it has a bright future in the UK because fewer than 10 came here, thereby ensuring instant classic status.
     
    You know my thoughts on the other car. The 4.0 RS is a great all-rounder; possessor of what I think is the finest production car engine and, including sat-nav, iPod connector and upgraded hi-fi, weighs far less than either of the others. Its only real weakness is being a little too stiff for lumpier UK roads. The M3 GTS is even worse in this respect, leaving the beautifully damped Mercedes feeling very civilised indeed. Hence the fact I didn’t swap with Neil on the way south. That and the shagged tyres.
     
    We were only shooting for a day-and-a-half, but those were some of the best on-location hours of my working life. These are my kind of cars: rigorously engineered for the business of going fast but entirely useable too. The weather at Anglesey Circuit was perfect, as were the snowy peaks of Snowdonia the following morning.
     
    Enjoy the vid. We enjoyed making it.
     
    "Chris Harris On Cars -- Porsche GT3 RS 4.0 v BMW M3 GTS v Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series. On street and circuit."
     
    sddefault.jpg
     
     
    "You know the form by now: driving on road and track. Carving the neat, fast line. Then pulling mahoooosive slides, and telling it how it really is with all three cars. Doubt we'll have more fun in 2012..." -- Chris Harris
     
     
     
    ...many thanks and all due respect and credit to Chris Harris!

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    another EPIC review from Chris ! May a lot more come !!!kiss wink


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "MERCEDES SL63 AMG"

     
    Chris Harris demonstrates the SL63 is no longer a mere straight line hero as only he can...

    (9 May 2012)
     
    It's hard to believe that the company which, until recently, perennially failed to get anywhere close to BMW's M cars, is now setting the pace in the in-house tuner sector. Yes, the SL63 AMG is another fine piece of engineering.
     
    Tyres were harmed in the making of this vid...
     
    Moreover, it proves that AMG has managed what so many brands fail to achieve in re-inventing itself. It has appealed to a new customer base (those who actually enjoy driving) whilst retaining its already loyal following from those who like to go very fast in a straight-line, with the minimum of third-party attention.
     
    And finally we are seeing a reduction in weight on these larger performance cars. I know, 1,860kg is hardly light, but it's 125kg lighter than its predecessor, which by my ropey mathematics makes it 6.7 per cent lighter than the old car which, coupled with start-stop hardware and two turbochargers makes this car way more fuel-efficient than before. Not that SL63 owners care about such things, but they do like to avoid filling stations, and this car does that far more convincingly than the last version.
     
    At last years SL500 secret unveiling at Mercedes' design studio in LA, there was real pride in the new aluminium structure. It's a truly stunning thing in the flesh and very, very strong. I asked an engineer how it compared to the Ferrari California's shell for quality and twist resistance. "I couldn't possibly say" he replied with an enormous grin.
     
    SL63 delights trad and new AMG customers...
     
    But the big test for this car will be the new M6 convertible. It has similar power, less torque, but its steel structure is quite a bit heavier. In fact the claimed kerb weight of the Benz is nearly 200kg less. It seems strange to have an AMG product that is lighter than its M equivalent.
     
    With the optional Performance Pack fitted, this car is a monster. As you'll see in the video, slides are available on demand - then minutes later you can cruise with the staggering Front Bass hi-fi and its footwell mounted sub-woofers rumbling away. It's a hell of a trick being so versatile.
     
    Enjoy the homemade vid, Neil Carey is back in action next week.
     
    "2012 Mercedes SL63 AMG Bi-Turbo review: Gentleman, Thug. Chris Harris on Cars."
     
     
     
    "First drive in Merc's new 660lb ft sports cruiser. Contains civilized and uncivilized driving..." -- Chris Harris
     
     
     
    ...many thanks and all due credit to Chris Harris!

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Chris Harris joins PistonHeads and launches DRIVE on YouTube...

    Chris Harris On Cars: "Nissan GT-R Track Pack vs Porsche 997 Turbo S"

    Track Pack equipped Nissan GT-R gives Chris Harris the perfect excuse to pitch it against its 911 Turbo nemesis...

    (16 May 2012)
     
    Track Pack, as descriptions of a motor car go, is one of the more straightforward. There is probably a list of equipment in every PHer's head which would fit into an imaginary 'Track Pack'.
     
    GT-R was benchmarked against Turbo
     
    Strangely, Nissan has just released its GT-R TrackPack, and I don't think its specification includes any of the stuff we'd have listed. No sticky tyres, no roll cage, no larger brakes, no aerofoil.
     
    In fact the £85,540 Track Pack is actually pretty similar to the £10,000 cheaper vanilla GT-R. There are different seats, snazzy, lighter wheels and some new suspension settings. But that's pretty much it.
     
    What grabs my attention is the list price. The first UK R35 GT-R I drove was £52,995 - this one is over £30K more and it is mechanically little different. Yes, the 490hp is now 550hp, and there are a load of upgrades, but most of those come with successive model year improvements. Where once the GT-R was an absolute bargain, that is no longer the case.
     
    Track Pack Nissan GT-R ... on a track!
     
    Should we have tested it next to a GT3? Possibly. But you've had enough GT3 content from me. Besides, with 4WD, paddles, two turbos, four seats and no cage, the GT-R shares more with the Turbo, on paper, than it does the GT car.
     
    I didn't really warm to the direct injection 997 Turbos when they were launched in 2009/2010. I just thought they were rather soulless devices capable of terrifying you through sheer speed but, once you'd experienced that trick, there wasn't much else to savour. But with time I'm warming to their charms - this car was so fast on the road it needed a careful touch and the 997 package feels so small after the GT-R.
     
    It would have been nice to have a dry track, but sadly the excellent fellows at CircuitDays couldn't quite control the weather.
     
    Turbo probably a closer match to GT-R
     
    Before the evening event hosted by Circuit Days on the Indy circuit, I had a couple of very wet, slippery hours on the full Grand Prix track at an MSV event. For some reason I had never driven it before - what a brilliant, brilliant place it is.
     
     
    "Nissan GT-R Track Pack vs Porsche 997 Turbo S - CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS"
     
     
     
     
    "It's been raining in England for the past 6 weeks, so this is a damp test. The GT-R Track Pack seems a bit half-hearted and, on-paper, the 997 Turbo S is the closest rival. I went to an evening track event at Brands hatch to discover the differences / work out if the Track pack is worth the extra cash..." -- Chris Harris
     
     
     
    ...thanks and all due credit to Chris Harris!

    Smiley SmileySmiley


     
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