And these days, you get to see a lot of drag racing while browsing online. And yes, that can be entertaining for a while, but at the end of the day, it’s mostly people going down a straight line for 10 seconds or less. I’m not saying that there isn’t any skill related to the sport; I’m just saying that I’d much rather see those cars doing some serious work instead.
And time attack is the perfect challenge for both man and machine. I was really happy to come across this video shot in France, at Anneau du Rhin, a race track I am quite familiar with as I have attended multiple drift and time attack events at this venue. I’ve also had an attempt at drifting a missile-spec Nissan S13 here, thanks to my good friend, Philippe Guillod, who is one of Switzerland’s top drifters.
Tobias Welti has been working on growing the time attack scene in Western Europe for several years now through his Speed Industries events. You might be familiar with the name, as we’ve followed both of his drift builds, the Toyota JZX and the Nissan PS13 in the past. And now he’s brought forth three very interesting vehicles to see which one would be the fastest around the 1.86-mile (3-km) layout of the French circuit.
The first vehicle is a rare BMW M3 CSL. Alex, the owner, has got a thing for BMWs as he also owns a BMW M4 CS and a BMW HP4 Race. His M3 CSL is quite special as only about 1,383 of these were ever built. Only two colors were available, the Silver Grey Metallic and the Black Sapphire Metallic, and Alex went for the Silver version. The car weighs 2,954 lbs (1,340 kg), which is considerably lighter than a normal M3.
With about 355 horsepower on tap, a serious Brembo GT brake kit, and a driver that also has experience on other tracks like the Nürburgring, it would be interesting to see how this would cope against the much more nimble Lotus and the MX-5 underdog. With a top speed of about 131 mph (211 kph) down the main straight, the M3 CSL finishes its hot lap with a time of 1:24.700.
Up next, it’s the Mazda MX-5, a first-generation model, which its owner has turbocharged. Rafael is a hardcore MX-5 enthusiast, even though he uses a Mini to tow it to the racetrack. This 1990 model is now up to almost 260 horsepower and only weighs 2,116 lbs (960 kg), which should give it enough oomph to stay close to the BMW. Although it does look like a handful to drive, it does alright at 1:26.840.
The Lotus Exige 430 Cup is the crowd favorite for winning this challenge. Albeit slightly heavier than the MX-5, at 2,425 lbs (1,100 kg), it comes with close to 430 horsepower and is more of a purebred race car than both other cars. The onboard camera reveals a very smooth drive, which ultimately provides the best result of the day at 1:21.204. I’ve seen some very impressive cars at this venue over the past few years, and I can’t wait to see how the stage for the next challenge will look.