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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)

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I'll play ball.

While none of us will disagree with Harris, he is clearly speaking from experience, just as he points the finger at Ferrari he also in the latest EVO writes an article about how EVO don't go along with these antics. The EVO test in the latest issue also states that no techs from Ferrari or McLaren were allowed to work on the cars between the 4 day road test and the track test.
Based on his article and how Ferrari wanted to control all aspects of a track test in the past, this latest approach by EVO would appear to leave a lot less room for manufacturers fiddling with any car specifically to make it work better on the test track.

I think from reading lots of reports on various forums over the last few days that there are countless examples of a number of manufacturers shall we say 'optimising' their cars for a particular reason.

Perhaps your thread would be better renamed 'Which manufacturers don't cheat in tests?'.
 

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I'll play ball.

While none of us will disagree with Harris, he is clearly speaking from experience, just as he points the finger at Ferrari he also in the latest EVO writes an article about how EVO don't go along with these antics. The EVO test in the latest issue also states that no techs from Ferrari or McLaren were allowed to work on the cars between the 4 day road test and the track test.
Based on his article and how Ferrari wanted to control all aspects of a track test in the past, this latest approach by EVO would appear to leave a lot less room for manufacturers fiddling with any car specifically to make it work better on the test track.

I think from reading lots of reports on various forums over the last few days that there are countless examples of a number of manufacturers shall we say 'optimising' their cars for a particular reason.

Perhaps your thread would be better renamed 'Which manufacturers don't cheat in tests?'.
I know I am making this point over and over again and I am as tired of it as everybody else, but it clearly needs constant repeating:

According to Harris and Chilton, Ferrari is much worse than others. Simple. Ferrari does not tweak their cars a bit here and there, but tries to control the whole process and provides out and out ringers. The new statement from Harris CONFIRMS that point (it only excludes EVO from the practice of cooperating with Ferrari, but they cannot know what cars they get).

What the new procedure at EVO would achieve is prevent the optimization of cars for different kinds of tests, like say:
straight-line and track. It cannot prevent the car being optimized for Bedford to begin with.

And then there is the weight: 76 kg in "carbon" options. How can a car miraculously lose 76 kg from a previous test (in pretty much lightest configuration) is beyond me.
 

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Why bother quabling over minor details about an overpriced FIAT, just buy a piece of cutting edge BRITISH engineering !!!!!!! Its going to be awesome despite what the COMICS say !!!
 

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Why bother quabling over minor details about an overpriced FIAT, just buy a piece of cutting edge BRITISH engineering !!!!!!! Its going to be awesome despite what the COMICS say !!!
I don't think anyone is going to disagree with what a stunning car the MP4 is going to be. Brand new car from ground up built in brand new factory by F1 company. What's not to like.
What I don't understand is why you then resort to stupid attacks on the competition, I guess it's a case of throwing toys out of the pram just because you haven't got your way from day 1.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
And, a follow up piece: http://jalopnik.com/5783922/how-ferrari-responds

At this month's Geneva Motor Show, Harris and I were both besieged with questions about the story. I've also now heard dozens of stories from other journalists who've experienced similar nonsense to that highlighted by Harris when engaging in instrumented tests with Ferrari press cars.

Dozens more liars, I guess. :rolleyes:
 

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And then there is the weight: 76 kg in "carbon" options. How can a car miraculously lose 76 kg from a previous test (in pretty much lightest configuration) is beyond me.
No weight has been lost on 458. The figure of 1485kg in latest EVO is mfr claim just like all the other weight figures.

Edit : Guess I was wrong. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Here is an interesting post by user John Spencer on the Car Magazine forums:

Just to add grist to the conspiracy theorist’s mill: irrespective of the McLaren’s performance, the Ferrari 458 has got quicker since it was launched.

Early tests showed that a Porsche 911 GT2 RS would lap a track faster, but in the hands of Ben Collins the Porsche was 0.5% slower.

In the Auto Motor Und Sport 2010 High Speed Test at Nardo, a 911 GT2 RS was 2% faster round the 2.8K handling track. The German magazine Sport Auto reports a variety of measure to keep stats geeks happy, and found the GT2 RS 4% faster on the Hockenheim Short circuit, achieving velocities 6% higher on their 36 metre slalom and 5% higher on the 110 metre avoidance test. [By contrast, the wet handling for both cars but especially the GT2 RS was appalling, suggesting this sticky track tyre thing is getting a little out of hand]

The 2 cars haven’t gone head to head much elsewhere, but the 458 was slower than other cars also shown to be slower than the GT2 RS

Italian Quattroruote timed the 458 round the Vairano Handling Course faster than pretty much anything bar a Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera. Automoto also have the 458 slower than the Superleggera, this time by less than 1% at Haute Saintonge in France. The Lambo in turn was a fraction slower than the GT2 RS round the Hockenheim GP circuit, as tested by Autobild.

Automagazine only had 0.009 seconds between 458 and Superleggera at Balocco, Italy, with the 458 ahead, but both fractionally slower than a 911 GT2 (by about 0.2%). The 458 was also slower than both GT3 RS and GT2 round the Luk Driving Centre in Germany in the hands of Patrick Simon and Anglesey National in Wales in the hands of Auto Express, so we would assume the GT2 RS would have it licked as well. (All this information has been collated by www.fastestlaps.com)

Tenuous? You bet.

I’m no conspiracy theorist myself, but we know that McLaren benchmarked the MP4-12C against a 458, and Ron being Ron, wouldn’t have released a car known to be slower round a track than its rival, so it would be natural to assume that Ferrari has upped its game in the meantime (I am sure to the benefit of all 458 buyers, of course).

More to the point, despite the fact that I can’t get enough of the Auto Motor Und Sport supertests (who else provides CdA aerodynamic figures nowadays?), it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that all these tests measure the wrong thing entirely.

While it’s reassuring that the MP4-12C scored not just a Spinal Tap 11, but a record breaking 12 on McLaren’s top secret internal vehicle performance benchmark, hence its name, it seems that McLaren should have been measuring the driving experience instead. This is normally only measured subjectively and articulated occasionally very well (in Car, obviously) and often crassly (when people who should know better talk about ‘charisma’, ‘soul’ or ‘passion’). Just a thought.
 

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I would venture to suggest that MacLaren have their own serious issues in terms of the Portimao cars not reflecting the set up of the recent press test cars and being somewhat "better" in terms of handling. The difference between those glowing initial reviews and the sudden nigh on universal press cooling towards the car have gone totally unexplained thus far. Chris Harris alludes to it in a veiled manner in his current EVO column with a reference to being fooled by Aston at the launch of the DB9.

Go back and read any reviews of the launch of the 458, 997 GT2 RS, Mercedes SLS, Lamborghini Super Leggera etc and you will not read such a marked change in opinion from the original review to the road test impressions that you will find with the 12C. Ferrari really would have had to work an almighty miracle to the 458 to turn those initial press impressions of the 12C around to the extent they have been and that simply isn't tenable as the journalists involved have had extensive exposure to the 458 over the last 20 months and would have noticed significant handling trait differences. After all we are not talking of the 458 demolishing the 12C here but beating it by anything from a few tenths up to a second or so when Woking claimed their car was going to be way out in front on any track, a claim supported by the press hyperbole after the Portimao launch drives. Ignore the lap times for one second and the 458 repeatedly comes out on top for driver enjoyment, something that also shouldn't have been the case after those initial glowing post Portimao reviews. Delve into the the track tests and it is clear that the 458 was not faster overall but the more controllable handling allowed it to beat the 12C through the corners where it had better balance thus giving it the advantage. That is down to the two differing technical solutions in each car and McLaren's dogged intention to use brake steer to link their car to their F1 tech (even though it was banned in that sport).

It is this lack of consistency in performance and the fact that McLaren are using the "excuse" that their press launch cars are still pre-production models that would concern me were I a depositor so close to the release of customer cars. By this stage of the development the final shake down testing should have been thoroughly completed and the cars coming off the line all be set up with the exact final tolerances. That does not appear to be the case. Georg Kacher pointedly refers to the lack of consistency in the handling of the McLaren test cars in his blog http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/Community/Car-Magazines-Blogs/Georg-Kacher-Blog/Georg-Kacher-supercar-summit-counterpoint/

In spite of 6th Element's outbursts at me I'm not bashing the 12C but am somewhat surprised (and disappointed) at the resounding shortfall in it's claimed performance (on a track, not in a straight line) and the fact that no "final production" cars have been used for press tests.

You can knock Ferrari as much as you like for all I care but having visited the production line at Maranello several times I cannot see that Woking are in any way disadvantaged by building the early cars in the MTC. People I know and trust who've been to both sites say that if anything, Woking has the edge for apparent quality control superiority. That comes as no surprise with Ron Dennis in charge. It also negates any claim on Woking's part for supplying incorrectly torqued suspensions for the Car test IMHO as their attention to detail is legendary. No doubt there will be those here who will disagree but to suffer such a QC issue on such a critical test AND when the car suffering the failure was specifically supplied for the track test section only should more than raise eyebrows. If they cannot get that car right then what about all the customer and demo cars that are already built and sitting at Woking?

Again there will be those who knock Ferrari for the fire issue but as I've already explained that issue affected only 5 cars out of something like 1300 that had been produced by that stage. There have been NO other consistent problems with the car or any systemic failures. Of course there are isolated issues just as there are on any new model, let alone one with such low production volumes. Overall though Ferrari has moved on so far with quality and reliability that if you speak to the service managers at it's dealers they are becoming increasingly worried that with every new model launched since the 599GTB they have seen a marked decline in both maintenance required on these cars, a huge increase in reliability and a marked drop in warranty related work. They are therefore short of service revenue now which is great news from an owners perspective.

Have a read of these well written pieces by Phil Bennet - Le Mans driver, test driver for Caparo and the driver who set the lap record at the Nurburgring in the Radical SR3 to gain an insight into some of the issues affecting the development of the 12C -

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=192803690748790

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=220265381335954

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=205857409443418

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=198180070211152
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for your reply and certainly, there are some interesting insights from Kacher and Bennet that you have posted. When you drop the senseless gloating, you actually have some decent points to make. For my part, if you continue to contribute this constructively, I promise to ease off on the lashing out at you.

Cheers.
 

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I would venture to suggest that MacLaren have their own serious issues in terms of the Portimao cars not reflecting the set up of the recent press test cars and being somewhat "better" in terms of handling. The difference between those glowing initial reviews and the sudden nigh on universal press cooling towards the car have gone totally unexplained thus far. Chris Harris alludes to it in a veiled manner in his current EVO column with a reference to being fooled by Aston at the launch of the DB9.

Go back and read any reviews of the launch of the 458, 997 GT2 RS, Mercedes SLS, Lamborghini Super Leggera etc and you will not read such a marked change in opinion from the original review to the road test impressions that you will find with the 12C. Ferrari really would have had to work an almighty miracle to the 458 to turn those initial press impressions of the 12C around to the extent they have been and that simply isn't tenable as the journalists involved have had extensive exposure to the 458 over the last 20 months and would have noticed significant handling trait differences. After all we are not talking of the 458 demolishing the 12C here but beating it by anything from a few tenths up to a second or so when Woking claimed their car was going to be way out in front on any track, a claim supported by the press hyperbole after the Portimao launch drives. Ignore the lap times for one second and the 458 repeatedly comes out on top for driver enjoyment, something that also shouldn't have been the case after those initial glowing post Portimao reviews. Delve into the the track tests and it is clear that the 458 was not faster overall but the more controllable handling allowed it to beat the 12C through the corners where it had better balance thus giving it the advantage. That is down to the two differing technical solutions in each car and McLaren's dogged intention to use brake steer to link their car to their F1 tech (even though it was banned in that sport).

It is this lack of consistency in performance and the fact that McLaren are using the "excuse" that their press launch cars are still pre-production models that would concern me were I a depositor so close to the release of customer cars. By this stage of the development the final shake down testing should have been thoroughly completed and the cars coming off the line all be set up with the exact final tolerances. That does not appear to be the case. Georg Kacher pointedly refers to the lack of consistency in the handling of the McLaren test cars in his blog http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/Community/Car-Magazines-Blogs/Georg-Kacher-Blog/Georg-Kacher-supercar-summit-counterpoint/

In spite of 6th Element's outbursts at me I'm not bashing the 12C but am somewhat surprised (and disappointed) at the resounding shortfall in it's claimed performance (on a track, not in a straight line) and the fact that no "final production" cars have been used for press tests.

You can knock Ferrari as much as you like for all I care but having visited the production line at Maranello several times I cannot see that Woking are in any way disadvantaged by building the early cars in the MTC. People I know and trust who've been to both sites say that if anything, Woking has the edge for apparent quality control superiority. That comes as no surprise with Ron Dennis in charge. It also negates any claim on Woking's part for supplying incorrectly torqued suspensions for the Car test IMHO as their attention to detail is legendary. No doubt there will be those here who will disagree but to suffer such a QC issue on such a critical test AND when the car suffering the failure was specifically supplied for the track test section only should more than raise eyebrows. If they cannot get that car right then what about all the customer and demo cars that are already built and sitting at Woking?

Again there will be those who knock Ferrari for the fire issue but as I've already explained that issue affected only 5 cars out of something like 1300 that had been produced by that stage. There have been NO other consistent problems with the car or any systemic failures. Of course there are isolated issues just as there are on any new model, let alone one with such low production volumes. Overall though Ferrari has moved on so far with quality and reliability that if you speak to the service managers at it's dealers they are becoming increasingly worried that with every new model launched since the 599GTB they have seen a marked decline in both maintenance required on these cars, a huge increase in reliability and a marked drop in warranty related work. They are therefore short of service revenue now which is great news from an owners perspective.

Have a read of these well written pieces by Phil Bennet - Le Mans driver, test driver for Caparo and the driver who set the lap record at the Nurburgring in the Radical SR3 to gain an insight into some of the issues affecting the development of the 12C -

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=192803690748790

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=220265381335954

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=205857409443418

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=198180070211152
A good read indeed but he has a bit of a chip on the shoulder? A bit like asking Kevin Keegan to comment on Sir Alex Ferguson's successes. DYOR
 

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My other posts were not intended as gloating. If people bait about Ferrari then expect a strong rebuttal as the level of prejudice shown by some, both here and on sites like Fchat, has been childish to say the least.... references to FIATS etc.

We are all enthusiasts (well at least the majority) so a lively debate is to be welcomed. There are some key issues floating around due to the immense rivallry between these two marques but they shouldn't be allowed to cloud an objective assesment of the new comer. There are some key facts floating around in cyberspace and issues regarding how upfront the bold claims made for the 12C have been.

Ferrari have been producing road cars for a long, long time with great success and it's a very different business to F1. Some here seem content to disrespectfully dismiss them based upon their own perceptions of what constitutes a Ferrari owner or because they have a lucrative line in branding merchandise which has nothing to do with the development or performance of their road cars. McLaren are already establishing a similar operation online and will doubtless develop the retail outlet avenue as well in due course as and when they feel it is prudent to do so. It's a high profit revenue stream in an age where branding is king.

I was genuinely interested in the 12C and hoped it would put Britain back on the map in terms of top flight engineering. However I was less than impressed by the stunt to announce the car on the day Ferrari were launching the 458 to the world and from that point on my interest in the Woking car was somewhat tainted I'll admit. I've therefore been utterly bemused by those people who seem to fall for the line that McLaren are somehow naive in terms of their PR handling of this launch when the initial stunt to wreck Ferrari's thunder was a very carefully planned and executed exercise carried out with clinical efficiency and polish by a very astute senior management team at Woking. They have massive experience of PR in F1 where every little remark is poured over and scrutinised in terms of claims made. In full knowledge of this they then publically stated their new road car would be much better than any competitor in interview after interview.

The fact that McLaren are still insisting that the three 458's used for the comparison tests were not customer spec is somewhat disingenuous I'd suggest. Look at the original data for the 458 tests then add back the added performance that the SuperSport tyres bring coupled with series production improvements (which no doubt you all hope McLaren will also make during the 12C's life). The elephant in the room that McLaren are studiously avoiding, and actively trying to deflect attention away from by suggesting the 458s tested are not like the early example they used for evaluation, is why their car has not met their bold original claims to comfortably outperform the 458 - a car which has only improved it's performance marginally since it's original tests. EVO have already explained their new figures were obtained using a lighter full load on a much warmer track and also with a different driver - John Barker set the time last year, Roger Green this. Why then did the McLaren not smash the 458 into statistical oblivion if their kinetic suspension, weight saving carbon tub, lighter turbocharged engine, brake steer and aero brake were all cutting edge tech derived from their F1 knowledge base? The 458 has none of these so it should have taken an almighty miracle to get it to go faster than the 12C if McLaren's original claims were anywhere close to the truth. It should have been akin to a 2011 season F1 car squaring up to a 2007 season car.... the tech jump was supposed to be that great. If Ferrari really are that good it then amazes me why they cannot catch the Red Bull team every other Sunday if finding a second or two a lap is that childishly easy for them to do undetected.

It therefore just does not cut it that Ferrari have magically created faster "ringers" to anyone with a logical analysis of the data in front of us. To create the Scuderia from the F430 involved a very visible diet for the car where carpet, door panels, soundproofing, glass engine bay window and front and rear bumpers were junked and replaced with lighter weight items or left out altogether. The power was uprated noticeably and all the traction systems recalibrated and a revised exhaust fitted to liberate those vital extra seconds. Considering the 458 test cars that went up against the 12C had none of these very obvious changes does anyone on this board really buy the line that a crank from a Challenge car along with a couple of other "hidden" parts and revised suspension settings which would have to work on both road and track could really make that sort of a performance jump?? I thinkk you'd notice a free flowing exhaust or a sudden loss of cabin sound insulation out on the open road tests. If Ferrari have managed the automotive equivalent of alchemy by achieving significant performance gains through some modest HP increase and without shedding the 100+ Kgs required to create the Scuderia then they are geniuses I would suggest and not purveyors of glorified FIATs at all.

To my mind the real question for this board is why is the 12C failing not only to meet up to the prelaunch claims that it would "comfortably" outperform it's rivals (unless of course McLaren only meant it would beat them by a few tenths round a track???) but more pointedly why is it failing to live up to the performance of the cars at the Portimao launch that were universally lauded? Just who is using multiple chassis settings here? Not one review I've read of the 458 has mentioned the car not handling consistently over time and with multiple different examples being tested. There is also an EVO video review of Chris Harris piloting a customer owned black LHD 458 against a 997 GT3 to dispel the Ferrari cheating myth. He never mentioned in that film that the car felt lower powered or less able than factory press cars.

The answers being fed back toyou seem to be either Ferrari cheated or "don't worry, they were our XP cars and the production cars coming off the line will all be fine". Well I don't buy that baloney I'm afraid. You put your best prepared dog in the fight to give as good a chance of victory as you can. The F1 team don't put their spare development car out on the track, they field the best they can. To think the road car team is different is, I respectfully suggest, being somewhat charitable. We are not talking about a very small, cash strapped operation like Noble with their M600 here after all. Even that company has handled it's launch PR more professionally.

As I am interested in debate as opposed to grandstanding I would welcome a reasoned and thought out plausible response to this sudden lack of class winning form by McLaren. Simply using the "they were naive not to expect Ferrari to make it an unfair fight" is somewhat unacceptable considering their car was supposed to be much faster and for the technical reasons I've outlined above. It also doesn't hold water that it isn't being driven correctly as all of the testdrivers involved had McLaren support staff in attendance and at least two have put into print they were given specific instruction and familiarisation laps to get the best out of the car - Roger Green in EVO and Matt Prior in Autocar/RACER.
 

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A good read indeed but he has a bit of a chip on the shoulder? A bit like asking Kevin Keegan to comment on Sir Alex Ferguson's successes. DYOR
If by chip on my shoulder you are referring to a post I made on another forum about placing a deposit on a 12C I've no chip I'm afraid and am happy to disclose so I'll save the others some research time ;)

Like many others I registered interest when the car was mooted and McLaren were collating details on interested parties. I went through the same process as everyone else but somehow fell off the radar by the time it got to the dealer contacting prospective clients. I only posted that info as McLaren had said they intended to make the whole customer experience the best in the market from point of registering interest through to owning the car. My example indicated that they had not met that claim and that Woking were not following up to ensure it was going as promised. I see no issue in disclosing that but perhaps you do? I think you may have mistakenly assumed I wanted an early car when in fact I would have waited for at least twelve months with a completely new and unproven start up operation personally. Going for an early Ferrari is quite a diffeent prospect in terms of knowing what you are likely to get after owning quite a few.

What I didn't post on that forum was that I was offered a route via another dealer group due to the volume of business I've done with them on other marques. However I had seen the car at Goodwood last year and decided it wasn't for me. I felt it was going to be too close in nature to the Audi R8 which I've had and quickly sold on as though it was a very competent car it just didn't stir me in the way a Lamborghini or Ferrari does. I also didn't care for the McLaren superiority attitude prevalent amongst the staff there. I did not for one minute however think it would be anything other than a great piece of engineering but sometimes that simply isn't enough when spending a large some of money on a toy. The styling did nothing for me but that is subjective and by no means a crticism of the overall package. It just wasn't for me in the same way as a 458/Gallardo/SLS etc isn't for others.

There is no ulterior motive or disgruntled customer aspect at work so I'm sorry if that disappoints. There are plenty of great cars to buy out there, some of which I've got on order, so I'm interested purely from a comparison standpoint.

I'll admit that the likes of kryzs amongst others continually baiting on sites like Fchat piqued my interest in returning the favour of provoking debate. No bad thing I'd say and we've had a lively discussion at times there.

If you want to do some more research with some members of the board who know me personally then by all means do.
 

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If by chip on my shoulder you are referring to a post I made on another forum about placing a deposit on a 12C I've no chip I'm afraid and am happy to disclose so I'll save the others some research time ;)

Like many others I registered interest when the car was mooted and McLaren were collating details on interested parties. I went through the same process as everyone else but somehow fell off the radar by the time it got to the dealer contacting prospective clients. I only posted that info as McLaren had said they intended to make the whole customer experience the best in the market from point of registering interest through to owning the car. My example indicated that they had not met that claim and that Woking were not following up to ensure it was going as promised. I see no issue in disclosing that but perhaps you do? I think you may have mistakenly assumed I wanted an early car when in fact I would have waited for at least twelve months with a completely new and unproven start up operation personally. Going for an early Ferrari is quite a diffeent prospect in terms of knowing what you are likely to get after owning quite a few.

What I didn't post on that forum was that I was offered a route via another dealer group due to the volume of business I've done with them on other marques. However I had seen the car at Goodwood last year and decided it wasn't for me. I felt it was going to be too close in nature to the Audi R8 which I've had and quickly sold on as though it was a very competent car it just didn't stir me in the way a Lamborghini or Ferrari does. I also didn't care for the McLaren superiority attitude prevalent amongst the staff there. I did not for one minute however think it would be anything other than a great piece of engineering but sometimes that simply isn't enough when spending a large some of money on a toy. The styling did nothing for me but that is subjective and by no means a crticism of the overall package. It just wasn't for me in the same way as a 458/Gallardo/SLS etc isn't for others.

There is no ulterior motive or disgruntled customer aspect at work so I'm sorry if that disappoints. There are plenty of great cars to buy out there, some of which I've got on order, so I'm interested purely from a comparison standpoint.

I'll admit that the likes of kryzs amongst others continually baiting on sites like Fchat piqued my interest in returning the favour of provoking debate. No bad thing I'd say and we've had a lively discussion at times there.

If you want to do some more research with some members of the board who know me personally then by all means do.
Sorry, you've missed the point - I was talking about PB not you, although you are a bit like an Arsenal fan on a Chelsea forum. Like I said DYOR.
 

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I would venture to suggest that MacLaren have their own serious issues in terms of the Portimao cars not reflecting the set up of the recent press test cars and being somewhat "better" in terms of handling. The difference between those glowing initial reviews and the sudden nigh on universal press cooling towards the car have gone totally unexplained thus far. Chris Harris alludes to it in a veiled manner in his current EVO column with a reference to being fooled by Aston at the launch of the DB9.

Go back and read any reviews of the launch of the 458, 997 GT2 RS, Mercedes SLS, Lamborghini Super Leggera etc and you will not read such a marked change in opinion from the original review to the road test impressions that you will find with the 12C. Ferrari really would have had to work an almighty miracle to the 458 to turn those initial press impressions of the 12C around to the extent they have been and that simply isn't tenable as the journalists involved have had extensive exposure to the 458 over the last 20 months and would have noticed significant handling trait differences. After all we are not talking of the 458 demolishing the 12C here but beating it by anything from a few tenths up to a second or so when Woking claimed their car was going to be way out in front on any track, a claim supported by the press hyperbole after the Portimao launch drives. Ignore the lap times for one second and the 458 repeatedly comes out on top for driver enjoyment, something that also shouldn't have been the case after those initial glowing post Portimao reviews. Delve into the the track tests and it is clear that the 458 was not faster overall but the more controllable handling allowed it to beat the 12C through the corners where it had better balance thus giving it the advantage. That is down to the two differing technical solutions in each car and McLaren's dogged intention to use brake steer to link their car to their F1 tech (even though it was banned in that sport).

It is this lack of consistency in performance and the fact that McLaren are using the "excuse" that their press launch cars are still pre-production models that would concern me were I a depositor so close to the release of customer cars. By this stage of the development the final shake down testing should have been thoroughly completed and the cars coming off the line all be set up with the exact final tolerances. That does not appear to be the case. Georg Kacher pointedly refers to the lack of consistency in the handling of the McLaren test cars in his blog http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/Community/Car-Magazines-Blogs/Georg-Kacher-Blog/Georg-Kacher-supercar-summit-counterpoint/

In spite of 6th Element's outbursts at me I'm not bashing the 12C but am somewhat surprised (and disappointed) at the resounding shortfall in it's claimed performance (on a track, not in a straight line) and the fact that no "final production" cars have been used for press tests.

You can knock Ferrari as much as you like for all I care but having visited the production line at Maranello several times I cannot see that Woking are in any way disadvantaged by building the early cars in the MTC. People I know and trust who've been to both sites say that if anything, Woking has the edge for apparent quality control superiority. That comes as no surprise with Ron Dennis in charge. It also negates any claim on Woking's part for supplying incorrectly torqued suspensions for the Car test IMHO as their attention to detail is legendary. No doubt there will be those here who will disagree but to suffer such a QC issue on such a critical test AND when the car suffering the failure was specifically supplied for the track test section only should more than raise eyebrows. If they cannot get that car right then what about all the customer and demo cars that are already built and sitting at Woking?

Again there will be those who knock Ferrari for the fire issue but as I've already explained that issue affected only 5 cars out of something like 1300 that had been produced by that stage. There have been NO other consistent problems with the car or any systemic failures. Of course there are isolated issues just as there are on any new model, let alone one with such low production volumes. Overall though Ferrari has moved on so far with quality and reliability that if you speak to the service managers at it's dealers they are becoming increasingly worried that with every new model launched since the 599GTB they have seen a marked decline in both maintenance required on these cars, a huge increase in reliability and a marked drop in warranty related work. They are therefore short of service revenue now which is great news from an owners perspective.

Have a read of these well written pieces by Phil Bennet - Le Mans driver, test driver for Caparo and the driver who set the lap record at the Nurburgring in the Radical SR3 to gain an insight into some of the issues affecting the development of the 12C -

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=192803690748790

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=220265381335954

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=205857409443418

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=198180070211152
the email i recieved from the MTC,said that these PP cars were hand built and torqued,and that is were the mistake came from,The production cars will be didgitally torqued so this mistake cannot happen again,and i have no reason to dought it,shame they didnt want for a full prodution car to be ready. Its ahard lesson to learn,but i think they will learn quickly
 

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Sorry, you've missed the point - I was talking about PB not you, although you are a bit like an Arsenal fan on a Chelsea forum. Like I said DYOR.
My mistake. One of your Chelsea fans is (or at least was) a regular over on the Arsenal forum ;)
 
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