ONLY AFTER the phone calls and arm-twisting have ended, disputes over tyre choice have been settled, the fee for hiring a Portuguese racing circuit has been agreed and hotel rooms have been booked can battle commence between the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 Spyder.
The three cars represent the pinnacle of their manufacturers’ engineering know-how. The referee for the shootout between the so-called Holy Trinity is Chris Harris, a motoring journalist and YouTube video presenter.
Actually, that’s not quite true: the ultimate referee is the Vbox data-logging equipment fitted to each car. Also present are the racing drivers Tiff Needell and Marino Franchitti.
The goal seems simple enough: find out which hypercar goes fastest against the stopwatch on a flying lap of the 2.9-mile Autodromo Internacional do Algarve — better known as the Portimao circuit — and decide which of the million-pound machines is most enjoyable to drive.
Setting the lap times is Harris — and if you don’t want to know the result, don’t read on. The McLaren P1 posts a best of 1 minute, 53.57 seconds, the Porsche 918 Spyder is just behind it at 1 minute, 53.98 seconds and finally comes the Ferrari with a time of 1 minute, 54.25 seconds.
Harris sums up the staggering performance of the Holy Trinity, saying: “I have never driven cars like these — no racing cars; nothing.”
Needell confesses he has not driven the three cars before. He says he’s looking for driving pleasure and “couldn’t give a doodle about what’s underneath”.
Franchitti, a professional sports car racer, admits that it took a while for his brain to catch up with their speed because “they are so savagely fast”. He adds: “The moment I’d driven all three, I said, ‘Yep, I need all three.'”
Harris declares the four-wheel-drive Porsche — reviewed here by Jeremy Clarkson — to be “a bit scary at times. You’re aware there’s computers and people with big foreheads have been playing with things, and I’m not entirely sure what it’s doing at times, but my, my, is it effective.”
The Ferrari gets his vote for sheer acceleration in a straight line. “The straight-line performance, I think, is the greatest here. It feels the fastest but it also feels the most exciting. You can’t match this for majesty.”
The McLaren garners praise for its handling. Harris feels it’s the easiest-handling McLaren yet — quite a feat for a 903bhp rear-wheel-drive machine.
Which gets your vote? Have your say in our comments section, below.