The rules of driving a supercar: PH Blog

Driving a supercar carries certain responsibilities. There's the obvious one of not wrapping it round a lamp post in Kensington, parking it in a lake or embedding it in the wall of someone's house having blamed the 'playful' steering. That's got to be rule one. Rule two would be not getting busted for doing something stupid like backing up traffic to do standing starts on the M1 with your mates.

I'd like to think we're grown up enough to consider those obvious ones.

But life with the PH McLaren 570GT has been interesting for more than the obvious reasons. This job has given me access to cars way above my pay grade and it's always an amusing novelty for a couple of days. But I was interested to see if prolonged exposure took some of the fun out of that.

Of course it hasn't. It has, however, got me pondering some basic rules I think anyone driving a supercar should abide by.

First, if it's not yours don't pretend it is. The supercar rental business gets a bad rap. But for every idiot spinning a hired Ferrari into someone's garden on prom night there will be many more quietly living out a lifelong dream for the day. Either way, I think you're honour bound to enjoy it as such and not pretend you're getting any more than temporary custody of the keys. If anyone offers 'nice car!' admiration my technique is to grin like an idiot and say 'thanks, not mine though!' This rather confuses them but is a great ice breaker for geeking out over the car without coming across like you're bragging.

The next basic rule is people are going to be staring at the car. So, make sure it's worth looking at. Dirty is fine - a supercar covered in winter grime like the Huracan I drove back to the factory last December is cool. Summer plumage of dead flies, track day stickers and brake dust likewise. But 'nearly clean' is the killer. I'm no detailing nerd. But I can't bring myself to go out in the McLaren after it's been parked up for a few days without giving it a wipe over. Just doesn't seem right.

Now, parking. I quite like seeing supercars in unusual or everyday situations like supermarket car parks and having a young'n in a baby seat scores novelty posing points when you pull up in the parent and child spots, everyone assuming you're only doing so to make room for your silly doors or out of preciousness. Points instantly deducted if you arrive with a child seat installed but no occupant therein, obviously. Likewise deliberately fussing over scoring the best parking place in the house for maximum pose value. Not cool. Wherever you are keep it between the lines, accurately parked and looking good please.

Two things you MUST do before leaving the car too. First? Lower that nose! I realise accessing many car parks requires you to jack up that front axle lift to clear the speed bumps. And you'll probably have to raise it again before you set off. But nothing looks worse than a cool car with a massive gap between the top of the front tyres and the wheelarches. Looks like the rear suspension has collapsed. This isn't good.

Nothing? OK, there is something worse. Leaving deployable aero deployed. Absolutely no excuse on this score. The whole point of retractable wings is to maintain the purity of the low-drag lines until such point as you NEED downforce. You don't need downforce at town speeds. You don't need it while stationary. A raised wing does not make your car look faster, whether it's a McLaren P1 or a BMW 3 Series GT. If your insecurities mean you need a big wing to prove your virility ... buy a car with a big wing. Plenty of manufacturers will oblige you.

So, there are a few to get you started. What have I missed?


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Comments (118) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Burnham 18 Jul 2017

    I deffo agree about the deployable aero - there's a TT near me that's always parked with its flimsy looking spoiler up.

    I sometimes wonder if its actually broken, and simply wont retract.

  • spreadsheet monkey 18 Jul 2017

    No stupid bike racks spoiling the lines. Use the PH Skoda Estate if you need to do that kind of stuff!

    See also:

  • j90gta 18 Jul 2017

    If you're in a queue of traffic, revving it hard won't make anyone move out of your way (see idiot in yellow Lambo trying to get out of Silverstone on Sunday); it just makes you look like a complete and utter knob.

  • V8Bart 18 Jul 2017

    Always keep a healthy respect for the kerb when parking on street, Always amazed how many Ferraris etc you see with kerb rash. Ultimate sin!

    Oh and if you are asked to rev it , don't be mean. Share the noise .

  • TheBigUnit 18 Jul 2017

    Always let people in and out of traffic. It's a perfectly reasonable thing to do in an ordinary motor, but the feel good factor it creates when you see it done with a supercar is fantastic.

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