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I thought it was a fair review, with mostly objective comments. McLaren is better at some things, Ferrari is better at some things. I do have 2 questions for Autocar, however:

1- Where is the 'On the Limit' section to which they keep referring? I can't find it, but I assume it is a more in-depth analysis of ESP, driving style, etc.

2- Can we expect a blog article or recap from Editor at Large, Steve Sutcliffe, who has virtually claimed that the 12C is the second coming of Jesus Christ? This review, while favourable, is still miles away from all of his earlier articles.

There has clearly been a "cooling off" amongst the entire UK press. However, precious little discussion of why. I am very curious.
 

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They also state that the car understeers which can be controlled by lifting the throttle - this is not the correct way to drive the car.

During the tests in Portimao Jenson described this feeling to the media and said you need to keep the accelerator down and drive through the initial understeer to allow the brake steer to come into effect bringing the nose back in line and hence the huge cornering speeds that were so highly praised at the time.

Is this why the latest tests are not so positive as the car is being driven without respect for the technology that makes the car so fast in the first place?

Did Tiff and Plato drive the car with the systems switched on to set the lap time as McLaren say the car is faster with them switched on. Anybody can play drifting but thats best for the Playstation as you would be black flagged on a track and you certainly couldn't drive like that on the road!

I have it on good authority that Mclaren are going to release an official statement regarding the latest negative publicity.
 

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From my dealer - only verbally but he did say that Mclaren weren't going to say anything as it can look like sour grapes but since the fifth gear test they are going to release a statement very soon. My approx delivery date is Oct 2011 so I've still got a few weeks before I need to spec the car.

Going to the opening night of the Manchester Showroom tomorrow night so intend to find out more there!
 

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They also state that the car understeers which can be controlled by lifting the throttle - this is not the correct way to drive the car.

During the tests in Portimao Jenson described this feeling to the media and said you need to keep the accelerator down and drive through the initial understeer to allow the brake steer to come into effect bringing the nose back in line and hence the huge cornering speeds that were so highly praised at the time.

Is this why the latest tests are not so positive as the car is being driven without respect for the technology that makes the car so fast in the first place?

Did Tiff and Plato drive the car with the systems switched on to set the lap time as McLaren say the car is faster with them switched on. Anybody can play drifting but thats best for the Playstation as you would be black flagged on a track and you certainly couldn't drive like that on the road!

I have it on good authority that Mclaren are going to release an official statement regarding the latest negative publicity.
Thanks for the news and your post.

Tiff and Plato drove with the ESP OFF. This is NOT the fastest configuration for the 12C, regardless of the skill level of the driver. This has been stated by Chris Goodwin and even Jenson Button while giving journos laps around Portimao. Their design philosophy was that there is no point implementing ESP in a fashion that does not make the car ultimately faster. i.e. the implementation is more like it was in Formula One racecars, up until the point at which the technology was banned.

Compounding the issue for Tiff was that he was trying to power slide the car with ESP off and the Brake Steer interrupted him (as it should if the car thinks you have gone way too sideways and are about to kill yourself). He should have left the ESP ON in Track setting and used the max drift angle allowed by the chassis and electronics. Faster, safer, but apparently not as exciting for TV. :rolleyes:
 

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Agree and apparently this is why the car wasn't changing gear correctly on the down shifts as the brains of the car was trying to avoid the car going further out of control.

Jason said he doesn't want to change his driving style to the way Mclaren wants him to - not a very clever remark from a racing driver! You always have to adapt your driving to suit the characteristics of the car. And this coming from someone who's owned a 911 Turbo!! If any car needs you to change your style its the 911! doesn't make it a bad car just a different style is needed to get the best out of it.
 

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Agree and apparently this is why the car wasn't changing gear correctly on the down shifts as the brains of the car was trying to avoid the car going further out of control.

Jason said he doesn't want to change his driving style to the way Mclaren wants him to - not a very clever remark from a racing driver! You always have to adapt your driving to suit the characteristics of the car. And this coming from someone who's owned a 911 Turbo!! If any car needs you to change your style its the 911! doesn't make it a bad car just a different style is needed to get the best out of it.
Yes, I agree. Certainly, you can use a pre-mature downshift at corner entry to unsettle a car with a diff, which will actually help you induce oversteer. However, a well sorted racecar does not need to be handled this way to go fast.

I'll have plenty to say about Fifth Gear when the dust settles from all of this, but suffice to say that they came across somewhat as rank amateurs in how they approached this review. Seems rather than provide good, objective content, they tried for the Top Gear sensationalist approach. That's a mistake, in my opinion, as there is only one Jeremy Clarkson (thank God!), so that is a battle they will never win with viewers.
 

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You need to full copy of the magazine to get access to "At the limit" comments. I copy/paste what was written in the section:
Thanks to its ProActive dampers, there's precious little dive under hard draking, but the carbon-ceramic brakes aren't the easiest to modulate.
That the brakes take some modulating means it's tricky to trail them into a corner to get the nose to stick, but that shouldn't be a problem thanks to the 12C's 'Brake Steer' system. It's an extension of the ESP system that brakes an inside rear wheel to dual out understeer, but it doesn't require grip to run out before it activates.
In practice, some understeer does build up. In faster corners this is nullified by a lift of the throttle or touch of the brakes. In a car with a limited-slip diff, that would bring the rear into play too, but in the McLaren that's not the case. Because of the slight turbo lag, coming back on the throttle only offers sufficient power to push the front wide again.
Instead, at the point of understeer, if you give extra commitment on the steering wheel and stay very enthusiastic on the throttle, the Brake Steer will tug in the front end via a dab of brakes on the inside rear wheel, and allow a lot of power to be directed through the outer wheel. The result is spectcularly fast and, when it slides, fabulously adjustable.
 

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From my dealer - only verbally but he did say that Mclaren weren't going to say anything as it can look like sour grapes but since the fifth gear test they are going to release a statement very soon. My approx delivery date is Oct 2011 so I've still got a few weeks before I need to spec the car.

Going to the opening night of the Manchester Showroom tomorrow night so intend to find out more there!
At least 4 of us from this forum will be there,i hope there will be some tech guys from the MTC,to make the night informative,i think Mark will be a busy boy!!!!
 

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Agree and apparently this is why the car wasn't changing gear correctly on the down shifts as the brains of the car was trying to avoid the car going further out of control.

Jason said he doesn't want to change his driving style to the way Mclaren wants him to - not a very clever remark from a racing driver! You always have to adapt your driving to suit the characteristics of the car. And this coming from someone who's owned a 911 Turbo!! If any car needs you to change your style its the 911! doesn't make it a bad car just a different style is needed to get the best out of it.
yes,forgot he owned a turbo,so just playing up to the camera then!!
 

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You need to full copy of the magazine to get access to "At the limit" comments. I copy/paste what was written in the section:
Thanks to its ProActive dampers, there's precious little dive under hard draking, but the carbon-ceramic brakes aren't the easiest to modulate.
That the brakes take some modulating means it's tricky to trail them into a corner to get the nose to stick, but that shouldn't be a problem thanks to the 12C's 'Brake Steer' system. It's an extension of the ESP system that brakes an inside rear wheel to dual out understeer, but it doesn't require grip to run out before it activates.
In practice, some understeer does build up. In faster corners this is nullified by a lift of the throttle or touch of the brakes. In a car with a limited-slip diff, that would bring the rear into play too, but in the McLaren that's not the case. Because of the slight turbo lag, coming back on the throttle only offers sufficient power to push the front wide again.
Instead, at the point of understeer, if you give extra commitment on the steering wheel and stay very enthusiastic on the throttle, the Brake Steer will tug in the front end via a dab of brakes on the inside rear wheel, and allow a lot of power to be directed through the outer wheel. The result is spectcularly fast and, when it slides, fabulously adjustable.
Oh! Thank you for typing all of that out!

So this confirms other reports about driving style required to extract the maximum. Makes sense. Brake earlier (don't trail brake into the corner), but maintain higher corner entry speed by not scrubbing off as much speed, turn in aggressively to the apex, get back on the power early to avoid loss of boost.

Yes, this is slightly counter-intuitive to making a normal road car go fast, if you are an aggressive driver on the track. In most cars, you would definitely want to brake later and then trail the brake into most corners (except very high speed ones), to help the chassis rotate (i.e. yaw axis) and get its nose pointed to the apex. This would be particularly counter-intuitive, I think, if you had just been lapping other cars and then jumped in the 12C, as most of the testers have done.

The good news is I can see how driving the 12C differently will definitely make it faster. First of all, you should have higher speed at the apex of the corner and getting back on the throttle earlier will mean higher RPM and speed at the end of the following straight. This should also be magnified by the 12C's acceleration advantages. Secondly, I suspect there is also an aero component: The 12C has a very aggressive rear diffuser, so I suspect that maintaining higher cornering speed actually further improves grip by allowing the diffuser to produce downforce. Letting the car get too sideways would cancel this benefit.

Overall, I think perhaps McLaren's Formula One and racecar methodologies are playing a factor. For example, if you remember at the beginning of last season, Vettel was struggling with the Adrian Newey Red Bull F1 car, while Mark Webber was easily the quicker of the two drivers. The problem, for Vettel, was that he needed to adapt his driving style to the design of the car. The blown diffuser design (having the engine's exhaust gases flow over the rear diffuser) required that he brake earlier and get back on the throttle as soon as possible to maintain maximum downforce. Once he figured this out, he became untouchable and easily outpaces Webber.

I'm not saying you need to be Vettel to maximize the 12C. However, McLaren does need to explain to journalists and customers how to drive the 12C. Ironically, it is a much safer style of driving both on the road and track.

p.s. the larger the racetrack, the faster the 12C will be, I think. It will be monstrously quick at some of the North American circuits. And if driven properly at the 'Ring? I'm very eager to see.
 

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Still came in SECOND behind the 458........tho a close second.....but second none the less.........DAMN!:(............Ron Dennis promised us BEST in it's price segment:mad:.........still disheartening.......feel let down in a way.........probably US reviews are gonna have the same outcome:(.........I don't think I can pull the trigger knowing that something else is better esp @ that price point........only exception maybe nxt gen gallardo (CF chassis) only because it's evocative (style) and the NOISE:eek:
 

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yes,forgot he owned a turbo,so just playing up to the camera then!!
Yes, exactly, andy. We must remember that for decades the automotive press coined the rear-engined Porsche 911 as the "Widowmaker", because it had a tendency to snap around and go out of control. Meanwhile, Porsche was racking up every sportscar racing title in the world with the exact same engine placement and chassis design. So, what was so inferior about the 911's design? Nothing, that's what! The racing drivers adapted to the balance of the car and actually took advantages of its strengths to win (better rear traction and perfectly balanced tire load under braking).

I believe McLaren has similarly given us a new paradigm for maximum performance. They just need to educate everybody now....
 

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Oh! Thank you for typing all of that out!

So this confirms other reports about driving style required to extract the maximum. Makes sense. Brake earlier (don't trail brake into the corner), but maintain higher corner entry speed by not scrubbing off as much speed, turn in aggressively to the apex, get back on the power early to avoid loss of boost.

Yes, this is slightly counter-intuitive to making a normal road car go fast, if you are an aggressive driver on the track. In most cars, you would definitely want to brake later and then trail the brake into most corners (except very high speed ones), to help the chassis rotate (i.e. yaw axis) and get its nose pointed to the apex. This would be particularly counter-intuitive, I think, if you had just been lapping other cars and then jumped in the 12C, as most of the testers have done.

The good news is I can see how driving the 12C differently will definitely make it faster. First of all, you should have higher speed at the apex of the corner and getting back on the throttle earlier will mean higher RPM and speed at the end of the following straight. This should also be magnified by the 12C's acceleration advantages. Secondly, I suspect there is also an aero component: The 12C has a very aggressive rear diffuser, so I suspect that maintaining higher cornering speed actually further improves grip by allowing the diffuser to produce downforce. Letting the car get too sideways would cancel this benefit.

Overall, I think perhaps McLaren's Formula One and racecar methodologies are playing a factor. For example, if you remember at the beginning of last season, Vettel was struggling with the Adrian Newey Red Bull F1 car, while Mark Webber was easily the quicker of the two drivers. The problem, for Vettel, was that he needed to adapt his driving style to the design of the car. The blown diffuser design (having the engine's exhaust gases flow over the rear diffuser) required that he brake earlier and get back on the throttle as soon as possible to maintain maximum downforce. Once he figured this out, he became untouchable and easily outpaces Webber.

I'm not saying you need to be Vettel to maximize the 12C. However, McLaren does need to explain to journalists and customers how to drive the 12C. Ironically, it is a much safer style of driving both on the road and track.

p.s. the larger the racetrack, the faster the 12C will be, I think. It will be monstrously quick at some of the North American circuits. And if driven properly at the 'Ring? I'm very eager to see.
getting the mojo back ,i think Mclaren will now have to explain to the testers how to drive it properly by explaining its F1 roots and banned F1 technology ,if we are to get a good crack at the whip in future mag reviews.instead of just handing the car over
 

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Okay I spoke to my dealer as well and there is definitely consensus in Woking that the 458 press car is not customer spec. McLaren is apparently going to communicate something regarding the recent tests, but he was not sure if they would address the Ferrari at all, as this would be politically challenging.

My opinion is that they should not say anything about the 458. They should reinforce that their 12C test cars are customer spec and explain the ESP, handling, etc. But, as Porsche learned with the Nissan GT-R, as soon as you address the competition's tactics, it gets ugly.
 

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Yes, exactly, andy. We must remember that for decades the automotive press coined the rear-engined Porsche 911 as the "Widowmaker", because it had a tendency to snap around and go out of control. Meanwhile, Porsche was racking up every sportscar racing title in the world with the exact same engine placement and chassis design. So, what was so inferior about the 911's design? Nothing, that's what! The racing drivers adapted to the balance of the car and actually took advantages of its strengths to win (better rear traction and perfectly balanced tire load under braking).

I believe McLaren has similarly given us a new paradigm for maximum performance. They just need to educate everybody now....
LOL:) (GT2 to be precise)...........u could be on to something..........hope it pans out that way for McLaren..........cause for PORSCHE 'there is NO SUBSTITUTE'!:D
 

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Okay I spoke to my dealer as well and there is definitely consensus in Woking that the 458 press car is not customer spec. McLaren is apparently going to communicate something regarding the recent tests, but he was not sure if they would address the Ferrari at all, as this would be politically challenging.

My opinion is that they should not say anything about the 458. They should reinforce that their 12C test cars are customer spec and explain the ESP, handling, etc. But, as Porsche learned with the Nissan GT-R, as soon as you address the competition's tactics, it gets ugly.
DITTO.........they are still going at it;)
 
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