The Grand Tour (TGT), the motoring television series of former BBC TopGear trio Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, started with a bang. The first episode of TGT was aired on Amazon Prime on November 18 and the audience reviews indicate it is nothing short of feast for motoring buffs. The icing on the top is the holy trinity.
If you thought I am referring to Clarkson, May and Hammond, you are wrong. If you don't know the Father, son and Holy Spirit of the modern day automobile world, it is better you don't watch the first show.
The Porsche 918, the McLaren P1 and the Ferrari LaFerrari, a face-off the holy trinity, were promised by the trio when they were in BBC Top Gear. All three are hybrid-driven hyper cars and already sold out. Impressed with the P1 during the test with the earlier TopGear show, Clarkson described it as "fast. Really fast. Mind-blowingly fast." On the other hand, Richard Hammond is known for his affection towards Porsche models. He has driven the Porsche 918 at Abu Dhabi circuit and hence roots for it. As for James May, he has already said, "This (LaFerrari) is the greatest car in the world."
Hence, the three presenters of the TGT have their own picks when they brought the hyper cars to Portugal for a race. This gave a solid mettle for the first episode of the show. The one question that needs to be addressed is why these three cars are popular.
The P1 was a limited-production plug-in hybrid sports car produced by McLaren Automotive based out of England. Debuted at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, 375 units of the P1 were produced and all of them were sold out by November 2015. It is the spiritual successor of the legendary McLaren F1. The P1 is is a mid-engine, rear wheel drive design that used a carbon fibre monocoque.
The P1 features a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine that develops 727bhp and 719Nm of torque at 7,500rpm, combined with an electric motor producing 176bhp and 260Nm of torque. With both motors, the P1 will have a total power and torque output of 903bhp and 978Nm of torque. The car is rear-wheel drive with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It needs just 2.8 seconds to reach 100kmph from standstill before hitting electronically-limited top speed of 350kmph. It was priced nearly £866,000 (Rs 7.29 crore) ex-showroom.
The Porsche 918, mid-engined plug-in hybrid sports car is powered by a naturally aspirated 4.6-litre V8 engine, developing 600bhp with two electric motors, delivering an additional 275bhp for a combined output of 875bhp. The 918 has a 6.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and delivers an all-electric range of 19 km. The car has a claimed top speed of over 340 kmph and 0-100kmph time of 2.8 seconds. The 918 has been limited to 918 units. Production began on September 18, 2013 and sold out by December 2014. It was priced nearly £1.1 million (Rs 11 crore) ex-showroom.
The LaFerrari literally means "The Ferrari" in indicating that LaFerrari is the "definitive" Ferrari. The LaFerrari is the first mild hybrid from Ferrari. It is powered by a 6.3-litre V12 combined with an electric motor. The forced induction engine develops 789bhp and 700Nm of torque supplemented by 161bhp KERS unit, which provides short bursts of extra power. The hybrid engine propels 950bhp of power and a combined torque of 900 Nm. The LaFerrari requires less than three seconds to reach 100kmph from standstill and has a top whack of over 350kmph. In all, 499 LaFerraris were sold worldwide at a cost of around £1 million (Rs 8.42 crore) each.