On an all-conquering Audi, a busy Frankfurt show, and beating Top Gear
30 December 2007

September brought a couple of events that always have a big impact on Autocar’s year (our Best Driver’s Car shootout and the Frankfurt motor show), and the launch of a new Ferrari, the awesome 430 Scuderia.Britain’s Best Driver’s Car 2007 came first when, on the roads in and around Bedford Autodrome, Audi’s mid-engined R8 sports car beat a BMW M3, Porsche 911 GT3 RS and Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 to a landmark win. “Finally Audi has made a car that handles and rides with exquisite precision,” wrote Autocar’s senior contributing editor Richard Bremner. Ingolstadt’s arrival in the sports car market could hardly have gone better.Just a few weeks later, however, old hand Ferrari proved that there’s no shortage of fight left at Maranello when it launched the 430 Scuderia. Writer-at-large Chris Harris ran short of superlatives in his first drive of September 24: “This car is sensational - Ferrari at its best - and the only road car I’ve ever driven whose electronic chassis aids behave as if they were pulled from a contemporary racing car.”Four days later, we published Chris’ driving impressions of the equally headline-making Porsche 911 GT2, the most powerful 911 Stuttgart has ever produced. Chris also produced video reports on both the Ferrari and the Porsche. So while he may have been unbelievably lucky to drive such fantastic machinery in so short a space of time, at least he was also hard-working.Back at Autocar HQ, our road testers were glowing with praise for the Mazda 2 and Fiat 500.September’s news agenda was dominated by Europe’s biggest motor show, its debuts, announcements, and all of its repercussions. Steve Cropley’s Frankfurt show report, and Mike Duff’s two videos from the Frankfurt Messe, brought you our edited highlights from the show, but we also reported on Land Rover’s LRX concept teaser, on VW’s Up! concept and on Toyota’s iQ concept, among others.Earlier in the month we brought you early spy shots of the Audi TT RS, exclusives on Vauxhall’s supercharged VXR8 and the Fisker Hybrid, and news of the potential for the remnants of MG and Rover being reunited in China, in a merger of Nanjing Automotive and SAIC that turned out to be true.Aside from all that, September’s video offerings included an in-depth interview with track day magnate Jonathan Palmer and no fewer than 12 videos from our Best Driver’s Car competition. The most memorable video of the month, though, was Chris Harris’ incredible third place at Silverstone’s BritCar 24hr. That was the same event where Top Gear’s crew finished 39th, incidentally. Watch Harris’ triumph again below.

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