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10 cars were in the running for the title of Britain's best Driver's Car, but one one can take the crown
3 mins read
18 November 2018

It’s a big day for any car maker when it enters Autocar’s Handling Day winners’ enclosure for the first time. 

A warm welcome, then, to McLaren Automotive: and commiserations to Porsche (the Real Madrid CF of Autocar Handling Day with 11 stars on its shirt breast), to Ferrari (five times a winner, like Liverpool – who also play in red), to Lotus (four wins) and to the rest. 

Britain's Best Driver's Car 2018: meet the contenders

The brilliant 600LT ended up taking this year’s Britain’s Best Driver’s Car spoils by just two points out of a maximum 250, but it was a worthy winner, being the preferred champion for three out of five judges. Like the Ferrari, it attracted a perfect 25 score only once and almost perfect 24s just twice. 

We’re a tough crowd, clearly. But, on balance, the McLaren’s superior road composure and its remarkable ability to involve its driver at any speed just about won out over the Ferrari’s greater outright pace and grip, and superior on-track handling balance and adjustability. By a whisker, the 600LT’s capacity to be more rewarding more of the time swung the final result in its favour – although it could hardly have been closer. 

Britain's Best Driver's Car 2018: the top three

McLaren has already hit dizzying heights with the £750,000 Senna this year and might go on to similar ones with the equally high-end Speedtail in 2019 – but the 600LT shows that its attention can be lavished just as generously on cars at the more attainable end of its showroom range, and to spectacular results. It is a superb track car and a quite sublime fast road car – and now it’s officially the very best new driver’s car of the year to boot. 


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McLaren 600LT 2018 review - hero front

Lighter, faster and more athletic than the already brilliant 570S, the 600LT is McLaren at its very best

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What was quickest?

It looks like a sizeable lead to carve out over a 71sec lap but, if anything, the 1.7sec lap time advantage of the Ferrari 488 Pista over the rest of the Britain’s Best Driver’s Car 2018 field actually seems to understate the car’s advantage on accelerative potency and outright grip. 

Take a look at the spot comparison of prevailing speed we took on the exit of Anglesey’s Target corner and you get a better idea of what the Ferrari is capable of. Here we compared speed on corner exit at exactly the point at which each of the cars passed downwards beyond 0.8g of lateral load on its way straight again.

That the 488 Pista is the only car in three figures here, travelling fully 7mph quicker than the next quickest car, says it all about its remarkable levels of adhesion and acceleration. In only one place was the Pista anything but the quickest car on test: at the apex of the off-camber Peel corner. 

We did everything possible to ensure a fair lap time comparison, but with 10 cars to get through on a day with plenty of other testing going on, some compromise to perfect like-for-like test conditions was unavoidable. As such, on Michelin Cup R tyres fresher than they were at the time of testing, the Porsche’s lap time might have been a second or so quicker. For similar reasons, both the Aston Martin’s showing and the Lotus’s might have been subject to lesser improvements, although neither likely to be worth enough to move it up the table below by more than one place.

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Join the debate


18 November 2018

One thing is for sure is that while it may not have been the best driver's car here the Porsche 911 GT3 RS performance and lap time is astounding considering it's much less powerful, but heavier, than the McLaren and Ferrari. Porsche certainly do have the magic touch when it comes to chassis tuning and aero with many of their cars. Only just over a second slower than the 600LT is not a bad achievement for a car that, on paper, is inferior.

18 November 2018
In the Top Three previous buildup article the unambiguous gist was that the Ferrari was a superior, dynamically more indulgent car. Yet the 600 LT wins???

I would have been happy had the McLaren won, but not on this evidence or lack thereof.

Takeaway? Buy the Alpine now if you have loose change around.

18 November 2018

It's pretty obvious that the best car it's not the "winner". 

But, being British, it has a competitive advantage. By a large margin. Not the faster, not the grippier, not the one with the best engine. And it look crap too. With production "sold out", how come that there are some at list price offered around? 

McLaren PRs, not a proper car magazine. 


18 November 2018

Get over it.

18 November 2018

 Too many words, more fun , more noise, so, let’s have it Autocar!

19 November 2018
All very well, but so few drivers will ever be able to see if these results are right. Man in street will never get to drive any of the cars.

20 November 2018

A sensational car, no doubt.  And not even the top rung of the McLaren ladder - I would liked to have seen the Senna take part.

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