Formula 1 Cars are Fast

That sounds more than a bit obvious of course. But this clip is a rare opportunity to give you some basis of comparison. Of course, we usually only see Formula 1 cars being driven around other Formula 1 cars. One is a few tenths faster than another, but what are these machines like when running next to something we know, like a typical econobox, or even a high performance road car? McLaren answers in this unusual scenario they hosted at Estoril in February of 1991.

Here’s the setup: Gareth Rees leaves the starting grid in a 1.6 liter Honda Concert. 20 seconds later, Alan McNish leaves the grid in a Porsche 911 Turbo. For the next 55 seconds, we watch McNish catch up to Rees. What seems like an eternity (1 minute 15 seconds) after the Honda started the 2 1/2 mile lap, Ayrton Senna departs in his McLaren. A minute later, and still on the first lap, Senna passes them both.

It seems like a foregone conclusion that he would, but watching that McLaren’s closing speed on the road cars really highlights how an F1 machine is just an entirely different animal from a road car.

Final Lap Times:
1) Ayrton Senna – McLaren – 1:14:00
2) Alan McNish – Porsche – 2:08:00
3) Gareth Rees – Honda – 2:28:00

via McLaren Soul

DISCUSS (13 Comments)

  1. Bradley Morgan

    Bradley Morgan liked this on Facebook.

  2. Maurice Paisano

    Maurice Paisano liked this on Facebook.

  3. AngloCarSales

    Formula 1 Cars are Fast

  4. Captain Ned

    OK, the MP4/5B is a 1990 car. The Honda is what was being sold in the US as the Civic at the time. The Porsche looks to be a 930 variant from anywhere in the 1975-1989 time frame (it sure ain’t a 964). The speed of the McLaren F1 car is obvious but, to me, the most important spec is how close the Civic was to the 911.

  5. fivepointone

    This is pretty cool… Just how fast is an F1 car compared to something that a mere mortal can relate to?

  6. oddomatik

    Here’s a few more interesting comparisons:

  7. Captain Ned

    For F1 AT THE TIME, it would have been interesting to compare same-vintage F1 against Stephan Bellof’s 956 assuming that Jacky Ickx didn’t assume that because he was Belgian he automatically got the right-of-way.

    After all, a 6:11 in qualifying and a 6:26 in race trim at the Nordschleife means you’re damn fast. BTW, both still absolute Ring records.

  8. Christopher Gay

    Speaking my language here.
    Those were the days.

  9. concierge_ryan

    Formula 1 Cars are Fast! Comparison between 2 road cars & a F1 car driven by Senna in 1991

  10. anthony_casey

    Formula 1 cars are fast –

  11. coquelozoya

    Formula 1 Cars are Fast

  12. Christopher Gay

    When I was a young lad, they did a similar showcase with Niki Lauda. If I remember correctly, it was a bit more dramatized back in the day. I think he was enjoying a cup of tea before donning his helmet, casually climbing in the McLaren, and finally embarking on the chase. Good times. Thanks for sharing this!

  13. staneC

    Formula 1 Cars are Fast

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