It’s the moment the cricket crowd holds its breath. The first two balls have sent stumps cartwheeling, and this is the third. The hat-trick ball. The bowler has steamed through his run-up, the ball is released. Twenty-two yards away a batsman grimaces. Can it possibly be three in a row?
This is our 33rd attempt to find Britain’s Best Driver’s Car, and while plenty have won, just three have successfully defended a win (the Honda NSX, Ferrari 550 Maranello and Ariel Atom 4). That hat-trick car has always eluded us. But as an attendee at all bar the first of those 33 BBDCs, believe me when I tell you none has had a better shot at it than the Atom. That it won in glorious weather as a brand-new car in 2019 was perhaps not so surprising; that it was victorious again last year in absolutely filthy conditions was one of the most extraordinary feats and biggest upsets any of us have witnessed at this event. That the Atom made it through three largely dry days on Anglesey to progress to the final shootout, then, is unlikely to move your lower mandible.
You’ll probably not faint with amazement to see the new Porsche 911 GT3 is here, either. But don’t suppose for a moment that it will walk away with this one just because it’s now got some downforce and fancy-pants front suspension. GT3s always do well at BBDC, but wins are perhaps rarer than you imagine: the most recent was back in 2017.
That leaves the joker in the pack: the Ferrari. It is a car not far off 200bhp more powerful than any in the history of the event, a car that brings a new level of technological sophistication, not to mention the now customary truck full of spare wheels, tyres and technicians, plus another SF90 to use on the road. You can view this as Ferrari trying to re-level the playing field in its favour, or you can see it as Ferrari taking our event rather more seriously than the others. All I would say is the rules are the same for everyone and Ferrari alone chooses to exploit them to the full. That said, and despite plenty of opportunities, the last time a Ferrari came out on top was 2015, so don’t think for a moment this is going to be any kind of dead-cert coronation.