The air bag: Supercars are wasted on unimaginative drivers

It’s that time of year again when owners of some of this region’s flashiest, most expensive cars fly themselves and their motors to London to escape the heat – and let’s be honest, show off a bit, too. Buoyed by the relatively new craze of supercar spotting by amateur photographers who have built enormous followings […]

It’s that time of year again when owners of some of this region’s flashiest, most expensive cars fly themselves and their motors to London to escape the heat – and let’s be honest, show off a bit, too.

Buoyed by the relatively new craze of supercar spotting by amateur photographers who have built enormous followings on social media platforms such as Instagram, these outrageously exotic automobiles are driven around the streets of Kensington and Knightsbridge.

Now and again, Londoners have enough and start raising a stink about the antisocial behaviour and noise pollution generated by Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Bugattis tearing around neighbourhoods at night. I can understand their frustrations – I live 13 storeys up in Dubai ­Marina, yet I’m often disturbed by the roars of supercars and motorcycles being driven flat-out along streets lined with tower blocks that amplify the sounds. And yes, that happens a lot at 3am.

I’m at a loss as to understanding what these supercar owners achieve by driving them around London’s dense urban areas, but I can fully understand the desire to use them away from our punishing summer temperatures. I have driven these things on our roads in the summer months, and after five minutes, I’m usually cursing the feeble air conditioning and begging to swap for a Nissan Tiida (which has by far the best AC I have ever experienced).

But having spent much of the past couple of months driving on European highways, I can’t work out why any­one with a Lambo or any other supercar would choose London over the open roads of Germany, Italy, Spain or the ­Scottish Highlands. These cars are designed for and built to perform best on these routes.

Last week, I drove 400 kilometres across Italy in a Lamborghini Aventador SV – truly one of the world’s great supercars right now, but totally ­unsuited to city streets. The car needs lots of space and super-smooth surfaces for it to really shine, and during my lengthy dash, it really did. Sure, its bucket seat was hideously uncomfortable and only suitable to short bursts of performance on a race circuit, but I could live with the pain, because when you’re driving through some of the most breathtaking scenery in one of the world’s most special performance cars, you can’t help but live for that moment.

I know wealthy collectors here who eschew the showy displays of some peers and actively seek out interesting road trips to explore the depths of ability engineered into their cars. So while they fly them from here to there, once they arrive, they point them in the direction of roads they know will deliver the performance hit they desire. Voyages across Europe from the United Kingdom, to the most-stunning racetracks and historical venues, exploring famous competition routes – they’re all there for the taking if you have the time, resources and imagination.

Whenever I experience Europe’s finest roads, I remember it’s what these glorious machines are designed for. Not to be driven in a flat, straight line, but to be dynamic through curves, bends and over changing elevations. To only drive an Italian thoroughbred around the streets of London isn’t just a waste, it’s tantamount to abuse. Get out there and enjoy a more meaningful experience, stop enraging city dwellers and have the drive of your life. You will be glad you did.

Source: art & life

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