Thursday, December 08, 2005


Can you say "rigged"?

The lastest Video Du Jour being passed around the Internet by car geeks of various ilk is a segment from a British television show featuring a mid-line Porsche supposedly beating a Yamaha R1 by the slimmest of margins on a small road course.


I have several problems with the video -- namely the fact that it's blatantly rigged in favor of the car. As you watch the video, consider the following factors:

1. The car has 4-wheel drive and is using traction control.

2. The track has only one small straightaway. The rest of the course is seemingly comprised of low- to medium-speed crankers that clearly give the effectively self-driving Porsche a huge advantage.

3. Note that both vehicles are supposedly bone-stock. That means the R1 is fitted with touring tires. What nitwit races a superbike on touring tires? No wonder the bike pilot is in the brakes so early at every turn.

4. Is it really a good idea to have a bike duking it out simultaneously with a 3,000-pound car? If I were the bike pilot, I'd be thinking that my hide was worth more than proving how fast the bike is.

These types of contests are all a question of venue. Pit the two vehicles against each other on a dragstip and the R1 destroys the Porsche. By the same token, this race would've been downright humiliating for the car had it been held at a circuit such as Mugello or Suzuka.

I know I'm sounding a little salty right now, but this video is the visual equivalent of a statistical debate. Given the right parameters and algorithms, virtually any result can be produced.


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