MONDAY - If it’s confirmed that Adrian Newey, the world’s greatest race car designer, is working on a road car intended to secure his legacy the way the McLaren F1 has for Gordon Murray, a fundamental question arises: what kind of car should it be?
The presumption is that Newey should create a kind of ultra-aerodynamic, ultra-light, race-derived supercar, given that his formidable expertise goes in those directions.
Trouble is, the gaps in the supercar market were filled decades ago. When the McLaren F1 was new, there was ‘white space’ available that allowed it a different mission from the rest. But what do you do this time? Performance isn’t the answer; the Bugatti Veyron and the near-1000bhp hybrid trio from McLaren, Porsche and Ferrari have so elevated top speeds and slashed acceleration times that making something faster seems fatuous.
Neither does it make much sense to make the new Newey GT ultra-expensive; these days literally hundreds of classic cars, their reputations already set in stone, have the potential to outprice anything new. Exceptional styling is not the way, either; Newey is an engineer, not a colouring-in type. Like I say, finding a unique mission for this car is going to be the key. I can’t wait to hear what it is.
TUESDAY - For the life of me, I don’t understand people getting exercised about the recent budgetary stipulation that cars over £40,000 will attract a payment of about £6 per week in ‘premium’ road tax.
Can’t help thinking that the people who make ordinary cars – the Peugeots, Renaults, Fords and Hyundais of this world – are overdue a leg-up. In my book, they usually build cars that are pretty damned close to BMW, Jaguar & Co in capability and ability to engage a driver, yet because the market says they lack badge appeal, they’re required to charge 30% less. The new tax makes a tiny difference to a big imbalance.