Skids. Drifts. Oversteer. Churlish, childish stuff that is inefficient, irresponsible, wears through tyres and slows cars down. All true.
A colleague came back to the office the other day and reported that an industry test driver had told him one of the “problems” with car journalists is their obsession with going sideways. True, too, perhaps.
This driver, and the company he works for, likes cars that go fast. Flipping fast. If there’s too much lateral slip, too much looking out of the side window, too much smoking of tyre, with knuckles visible through the windscreen to amply demonstrate that you’re quite the helmsman, applying the obligatory ‘dab’, then you ain’t going as fast as you could be. And that’s wrong.
Which may be kinda true as well. But what’s also true is that, frankly, oversteer is a giggle. A laugh. And, as one of our hired hands – who held a world record for doing precisely this sort of thing – says, you can find out an awful lot about a car when grip is lost and you start playing with the chassis. That’s when handling really starts.
A lot of car companies get that. A lot of chassis engineers understand that. Even a lot of racing drivers – in fact, most of the ones I’ve met – enjoy that.