Where cars are concerned, huge horsepower figures are great. I mean, there’s no denying a 1000bhp Bugatti Veyron is a thrilling car to drive, but if I could choose between that and lightness, I’d have to spring for the latter.
A lighter, less powerful car may lose out in the acceleration stakes, but honestly, any idiot can go quickly in a straight line.
Okay, scratch that last point. People can crash during a drag race, so that’s not entirely accurate.
But anyway, a light car is better because it’s more nimble, and is less hard on the chassis, suspension and tyres. That means you can go faster and harder for longer. And that is a Very Good Thing.
For example, a car like the Ariel Atom has “just” 310bhp from a supercharged 2-litre Honda engine, but it weighs a paltry 612kg. This gives it a power-to-weight ratio of 506.5bhp per tonne, which is far greater than the Lamborghini Aventador’s 444.4bhp per tone.
What this means is straight-line performance is electric and it changes direction like a swallow on amphetamines. What’s even more amazing is the way it stops. I had a chance to ride in one at Sepang and the way it decelerates heading into Turn 1 after hitting speeds in excess of 200km/h on the front straight is like hitting a wall. Its mid-corner acceleration, as you might expect, is nothing short of phenomenal.
But the best part about a light car is how it’s more frugal with fuel. It’s all well and good if your car is quick, but in the Real World, where you have to foot your own petrol bills (and buy your own tyres at the racetrack), that might make the best argument for lightness over power.