Driving a 270 horsepower rear-engined car that weighs less than 1500 pounds up the tight bends of a hill climb course is probably the activity farthest removed from sitting in your apartment and waiting for this whole virus thing blow over. That’s why you’ve got to watch someone do it.
Between the massive flared fenders of this heavily-modified Alpine A110 is Reinhard Hartel, doing his best to keep the car moving fast and in the right direction up this hill as part of the Berg Cup hill-climb series.
According to the video description from HillClimb Monsters, this car is powered by a two-liter Renaultsport engine that puts its power out the rear end through a six-speed transmission. That’s all very impressive, but the power-to-weight ratio is what’s got me so jazzed about this video. The 270 horsepower in this car isn’t a ton, but it’s plenty for the modern Alpine A110 Cup, the track-only version of the new Alpine that Renault put out back in 2017. The two cars have nearly identical power features, but there’s a difference.
That new car weighs quite a bit more than the hill-climb car. At more than 2300 pounds, the A110 Cup sits at a power-to-weight ratio of about eight and a half pounds per horsepower. That’s nothing to sneeze at (in fact, don’t sneeze at anything but the inside of your elbow for the foreseeable future, please), but compare that to what the car in the video has going on.
Those same 270 horsepowers are only moving a little more than half the mass of the new car, giving it a ratio of something closer to five and a third pounds per horsepower. That’s a significant difference and really drives home how impressive the driving in the video is. With a car that light and that powerful, any of these curves could have meant the end for Hartel, but it took what appears to be a wet track to finally send him into the tires.
Hartel managed to keep things together and pulled himself out of the barrier under the car’s own power but that did seem to spell the end for that particular hill-climb attempt. That just goes to show that you can’t win them all, but at least you can look (and sound) great while doing it.