Wednesday, July 27, 2011

John McGuinness: "The McLaren MP4-12C is something else!"

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TT legend, John McGuinness loves the McLaren MP4-12C...!

Apart from the sheer visual spectacle – the photographs are usually pretty interesting – superbike vs supercar shootouts can actually be a bit boring, simply because they’re predictable. Most of the time, the verdict is that the bike accelerates harder, the car can brake later and corner harder, and top speed is about the same. There may be a few variations, but the underlying theme remains the same for most bike vs car shootouts.

However, for their July 2011 issue, Top Gear magazine figured out a way to make things more interesting – they got John ‘Mr Isle of Man TT’ McGuinness to come out and play with the TG team. And it wasn’t just TG’s machines – a Ferrari 458 Italia and a McLaren MP4-12C – against McGuinness’ Honda Fireblade. TG actually got McGuinness to drive both the supercars at the Isle of Man, and got him to speak about how his bike stacks up against the McLaren and the Ferrari.

‘I accelerated hard and then looked around, and it was, like, there. Right beside me. That’s not usual for something with four wheels. And watching that thing go around a corner fast – there’s no way you could get a bike around that corner at that speed,’ said McGuinness, about the MP4-12C. ‘On long-radius corners and straights, the power-to-weight means the bike catches up, but I’ve not seen a road car that has grip like that,’ he adds.

‘Bike lines and car lines are totally different. If I turned in where these two cars have been, I’d never get around. A bike trailbrakes into the apex and carries more speed through the corner. A car can do all its braking in a straight line and apex, then get hard on the power earlier,’ says McGuinness.

‘The Ferrari isn’t far away from the McLaren and makes a wonderful noise, but the front starts to hop a bit when you go really quick. But that McLaren... that thing is something else! I seriously think you’d struggle to keep up with it on a road bike, on road tyres meant to last 10,000 miles. I think my race bike would still have it, but it would be a lot closer than you think. I had a proper sweat on in that. What a thing. What. A. Thing,’ says McGuinness, who obviously likes the McLaren MP4-12C.

While Mr McGuiness is happiest with the MP4-12C, let’s also take a quick look at the numbers. The ’Blade weighs about 210 kilos and its 999cc, 178bhp inline-four rockets the bike across the quarter-mile (400m) in 10.32 seconds and on to a top speed of 290km/h. The McLaren weighs in at 1,434 kilos and is fitted with a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8, which produces 592bhp – the car accelerates from zero to 100km/h in 3.3 seconds, to 200km/h in 9.1 seconds and can reach a top speed of 330km/h. And finally the Ferrari, which weighs 1,485 kilos and is fitted with a 4.5-litre naturally-aspirated V8, which produces 562bhp – the car can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds, to 200km/h in 10.4 seconds and can reach a top speed of 325km/h. Both cars also cost about 16-20 times as much as the Fireblade.

What about us? Let’s see now... if we were taking a hot chick out on a date, we’d take a Ferrari 458. But for a Sunday morning blast around the Isle of Man, it would still have to be a BMW S1000RR or an Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE. Bikes. They just can’t be beat.

Source: Top Gear

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