A Decade’s Progress – Reference Mark
This marks the eighth year that we have conducted the World’s Greatest Drag Race. The winner of WGDR No. 1 was the 2012 Nissan GT-R, which turned in an 11.2-second quarter mile at 121.8 mph. Pretty impressive, right? If we were to run that year’s Godzilla against the collective WGDR pack, it would finish 22nd.
How quick is progress? The top three WGDR finishers this year all smoked last year’s winning Tesla Model S P100D Ludicrous. Just as we’d caught our collective breath thinking Elon had cracked the quick-acceleration code with batteries and motor-generators, the internal combustion boys have come roaring back.
But it’s more than just raw power. Suspension and traction technology improvements allow for handling performance that would have blown the minds of our 2007 judges.
Our 2007 winner of “max lateral g” was the Porsche Cayman S, which handled a respectable 1.001 g load that we described as “impeccably balanced.” Consider that this year a Ford Mustang and a Honda Civic Type R either matched or beat that skidpad number (granted, the testing was done on different surfaces, but still).
But let’s look at the extremes, too. If the Cayman’s winning 1.00 g was considered impressive in 2007, consider that five cars easily bested that score this year, topped by the Porsche GT2 RS’ face-warping 1.17 lateral g rating. If 1.00 g pulls hard at your innards, 1.17 flings them into next week.
To think, 2007 wasn’t that long ago. Sure, the intervening recession has made it harder to recall that era, but remember the average car on the road today was made in that year. It’s not like we’re showing grainy black-and-white movies here.
So does that make the 2018 field light-years better than what was around a decade ago? To some technically minded folks, the answer is a definitive yes. But there also exist many drivers for whom a particular generation of 911 delights them—be it a 1973 RS 2.7, a 1987 911 Carrera with a G50 manual, or that 10-year-old GT3 whose 415 horsepower is “just right.” Is the current GT2 RS’ outrageous 691 hp too much? Ask me in another decade.