In one of our most ambitious video projects yet, we worked with the city of Cape Town to close an incredible road in the farmlands beyond the Mother City. It's always been one of our favourite pieces of tarmac to test cars and now we had it all to ourselves. Next, we lined up 8 high-performance cars, fired up our very own race-ace Ashley Oldfield to drive them and staged 3 races, followed by his final, white-knuckled ascent up the hill in the McLaren 570S and then, we rank the octet of driver's cars from worst to best.
Race 1: Fiesta ST200 vs Renault Clio RS200 Lux
The Fiesta ST200 is the most powerful official version of the current generation Fiesta that we'll receive in South Africa; sadly the popular Mountune version is not available in SA. It's a properly fun little rocket and it has the perfect rival in the Renault Clio RS200 Lux. Both cars have exactly the same power output, at 147 kW, and both cars weigh almost exactly the same, tipping the scales at 1 170 kg and 1 172 kg respectively. These were to be our first two runs of the day and it gave Ashley the chance to get to grips with our private racetrack before he brought the big guns out later in the day.
Race 2: Volkswagen Golf 7.5 GTI vs Toyota 86 High
The new Volkswagen Golf 7.5 GTI features a small power upgrade to 169 kW and a few exterior tweaks to the bumpers and lights. The inside has been revamped to feel more premium and it exudes a sense of luxury that's hard to match. We hadn't brought it to the hill to look at it though, we wanted to see how fast it could get to the top of our course. Its rival, the Toyota 86 is seemingly on a hiding to nothing – it can't match the GTI for power and lack more than 150 Nm of torque, which is a critical disadvantage when catapulting up a hill. However, it's arguably more fun to drive and represents what you could get yourself for R50k less than a GTI. Watch the battle:
Race 3: Aston Martin Vantage N430 vs BMW M240i vs Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport
Then things got a lot more serious... In a battle of 3 pukka rear-driven sportscars, we have the outsider in the form of the BMW M240i with M Performance Parts, the bad boy Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport with its crackling exhaust pipes and jaw-dropping looks and, finally, an old-timer is back in the form of the Aston Martin N430 – an enhanced (again) Vantage with a V8 growl that should give you instant gooseflesh. Who will be fastest on the up-and-down hillclimb? The result was a lot closer than we expected...
The finale: We choose our best driver's car + McLaren 570S sets a time
In the not-to-be-missed last video of the series, we review the lap-time leaderboard and Ashley reveals, in ascending order, his favourite driver’s cars out of the ones he spurred up the hill. Then, he gathers all of his (considerable) driving skill to set a blistering time in the McLaren 570S, which promptly proves why supercars are in another league to fast road cars. The inaugural #CarsRaceDay has set a high benchmark for a follow-up event; what exotic machinery could we rustle up for the next one?