“Good Job, Car!”
As a gearhead, it can be difficult to impart to non-enthusiasts the feeling of driving a car on the limit that, in one of those rare moments, feels in perfect synchronization with your mind. The car turns at your thought’s command, brakes on a dime, and remains utterly predictable at every corner of the track. In these moments, the car feels like an extension of your body over which you have complete mastery.
However, the closer you get to the limit, as in racing, the more difficult it is to get that perfect feel. That’s why although Formula 1 drivers sometimes comment that their car “felt really good” that day—even if they weren’t anywhere close to winning—these remarks are few and far between. While a car may look the same regardless of the speed at which it is driven, the closer it is driven to the limit, the more its mechanical, aerodynamic, and other imperfections are revealed and the more setup changes have an impact, no matter how seemingly minor.
When you do get that perfect feel at the limit—well, it’s hard to describe, though it is occasionally possible to witness the bond between driver and car in action. Take the following, for example: just a few days ago, after finishing a race at Road Atlanta as part of the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, Brandon Ranvek’s onboard camera showed him whooping and hollering and, after he had calmed down a bit, impulsively and rather endearingly patting the dashboard of his 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, while congratulating it on a “good job.”
It may seem a minor thing, but I could relate to it and wanted to share, as I thought it was a good representation of the emotional connection a driver can feel for what’s essentially a tub of metal parts rolling on four wheels. The human mind is…a strange thing. Anyway, check it the happy moment in the video below!
Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.