Ever had a day so nice that you get Ice Cube’s “It Was A Good Day” stuck in your head all day? That was my afternoon. The weather was perfect, my car was track-worthy again, and someone brought a 918 Spyder to the track. Not to a car show. Not to the Porsche corral outside the track. On the race track.
This perfect afternoon started off with my Lancer getting new brake pads and rotors—some basic maintenance I’d been putting off for a while. I’ve been out of town a lot and the Porsche 944 was too loud to drive with no muffler, so to say I was excited to have the Lancer back in trackable condition was the understatement of the year.
No barking from the dog, no smog, and Mama cooked a breakfast with no hog.
So, I went from the shop that had done my brakes straight to Harris Hill Road, the place where I go to hoon a car and blow off steam on a somewhat regular basis. I was already having a good day based on the fact that I was finally going to get back on a race track when I noticed something genuinely special in the parking lot: a Porsche 918.
Confession time: I usually don’t get that excited about supercars anymore. The reason? Parked cars just don’t excite me unless they’re childhood heroes or vintage works of art. I love seeing all the details of how these cars are assembled and designed to work, but if they’re not actually working, in motion and in use, that’s where my interest drops off—quickly.
Most of the 918s and LaFerraris of the world seem doomed to a life of one-upping other dudes at Cars and Coffee. Few owners actually use them in the way they’re designed to be used, opening up that throttle and experiencing the mind-warping acceleration and cornering abilities of a car designed to beat the world. That nulls the purpose of owning these cars in the first place.
Yet one local McLaren P1 owner has dragged me kicking and screaming into actually appreciating that car. Why? Because he’s at the track nearly every chance he gets, often with that car. We’ve even featured it in an Onboard of the Week when he handed off the keys to a pro driver to set a lap of TWS that went to plaid.
That! That is what these cars are meant to do! Go to plaid! That’s when I can finally appreciate supercars that I see in the wild: when they’re actually being used as supercars, proving that years of careful engineering and design actually worked by performing feats I could never even hope to approach with my humble regular cars.
And everything is all right.
This masterpiece of German engineering was there, freshly wrapped and at the race track. It was still sporting paper plates as it came in and out to swap passengers who also wanted to take a closer look at this magnificent car. The owner was still getting used to it as it was a recent delivery still on paper plates, but he was getting more and more confident in the car at the end of the day.
Hopefully that means this car will be out there often. It’s got a wrap to protect it from rock chips! It’s all set.
I haven’t been this giggly about a street car in my presence in years. Yes, giggly. This was a level of jubilation I usually save for the GT3 Cup paddock, or the latest LMP1 prototypes that run at Le Mans.
The 918 is dead silent in electric mode as it trolls through the paddock. When it opens up and lets loose a roar of pure joy and beauty from that big V8, you will giggle. Yes. Giggle.
Harris Hill is a road course designed to work in either direction, and it was in the direction I don’t know as well this afternoon. So, I went out and ham-fisted a few laps in my Lancer...with a Porsche 918 Spyder on track with me.
On the track.
At the same time as my front-wheel-drive econobox.
OhhhmygoshIcan’tbelievethat’shere. Here. Here!
You, sir, are doing it right.
If there’s anything I’d like to nominate as the best soundtrack ever, it’s the loud pops and crackles of Porsche’s unhinged V8 on a clear Spring day.
I was a few laps in when I got everyone’s favorite middle school dance classic stuck in my head: “It Was A Good Day,” by Ice Cube. That’s how beyond excellent this day was turning out to be.
I didn’t know this direction very well and there was a really slippery puddle of water all the way across turn 7 that I had to sort of tiptoe through. Point the car straight through it, slide a little, wait for grip to return, and get back on it. Even the all-wheel-drive 918 was struggling to put the power down through the slimy line of water there, so I felt a little better about my own fumblings-through.
None of this mattered. I was back on a race track, following around a 918 of all things, with a song straight out of junior high stuck in my head.
Saw the police and they rolled right past me.
I had so much fun finally getting to drive my car where it’s actually fun to drive my car that I didn’t even notice that my rear seat flopped down at some point. I guess it didn’t snap in place the whole way the last time I carried a bunch of 944 parts. At least it wasn’t on the side where it would have squashed Theo Bunny. (Note to self: slam them back in place harder, I guess.)
I also couldn’t be bothered to care about the dangling radio cord from my helmet. Usually, it’s taped up and out of the way, but meh. Not important. I was too focused on pushing just a little bit harder every lap to get used to the opposite direction of the track, and having too much fun for it to even bother me.
The Lakers beat the Supersonics.
I didn’t get to drive or ride in the the 918, but I loved the fact that it was there. This is what you should do with a supercar: drive it. Cherish it. Get the full experience. Otherwise, why would you own a supercar? Save the hard parkin’ for the museums.
I got the chance to look all over the 918 Spyder when it was parked for a break, and the details are fantastic.
I love the sheer lunacy it takes to mount exhausts that point up like this. I love it on the Nissan LMP1 up front, and I love these twin stacks of insanity out the top of the hatch on the 918. Look at how cleverly they worked a little porthole window between the car’s two main roll hoops, too.
There were bits and baubles in carbon fiber everywhere on this car.
The Spyder roof is all beautiful, naked carbon fiber, and the same highlighter green used on the badges and the brake calipers is carried into the interior.
Even the fuel door—a quite purposeful looking piece in roughly the same location as the fuel port on many Le Mans prototypes—is carbon fiber.
Peek inside the rear diffuser and you’ll see even more carbon fiber used in the construction of the 918 Spyder.
The red rear diffuser on this car was such a massive piece that it looked like a bottom rear wing on its own.
Surprisingly, the tires weren’t as ridiculously wide as I expected them to be. Porsche generally knows what they’re doing, so I’ll trust their insanely fast Nürburgring time as to whether these tires are wide enough.
You! Supercar owners! If there’s one place that you should test out a manufacturer’s feats of engineering and claims of wickedly fast lap times, it’s on a race track. Everyone will be glad to see your car there.
Today I didn’t even have to use my AK.
I gotta say it was a good day.
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