The road trip starts here

This magazine has never been content to offer the bare minimum. Motor racing is, and will always be, our raison d’etre, but for the ‘magazine that gave its name to the sport’ it has never been the results that matter, but how they’re achieved. Denis Jenkinson and Bill Boddy always looked beyond the race track for their stories, in a constant bid to keep abreast of progress. Thus we do today, as we introduce the latest evolution in the revival of the ‘green ’un’.

As usual, we’ve taken a glance back before forging ahead. Thanks to Bill, Motor Sport became a strong, vital and fiercely independent voice within the motor industry, WB testing all the latest cars and telling his readers decisively which models they should – and shouldn’t – buy. Now we plan to regain that voice, with a new monthly section dedicated to road cars headed by one of our own. As a former editor of the magazine, Andrew Frankel understands this title and its readers like few others. And as many a PR man has found, he’s not one to swallow the company line and certainly won’t write to please. Perfect for Motor Sport!

The timing of this introduction could not be better. For the first time in decades road and race technologies are advancing together, feeding into each other for the benefit of all (see our cover story on the McLaren MP4-12C). The automotive world is changing rapidly, as it must – and motor racing is following suit. High-revving multi-cylinder engines stir our blood, but new technologies are pointing us towards small-capacity turbo motors, new types of valve actuation, hybrid power solutions and so on. As ever, the quest is fed by a need and desire for lighter, smaller, more powerful, more driveable, more economical and more reliable cars. The key word on road and track is as it ever was: efficiency.

Each month, Andrew drives a huge range of new cars, and will bring us the most interesting and advanced models on the market, in his own entertaining way. The trip begins on p98.

When I was small the scream of racing engines used to terrify me. Many a time on Brands Hatch’s South Bank I’d refuse to get out of dad’s car until there was a pause in the action, content to ignore the real thing and play with my toy cars on the back seat of his Viva. Thankfully it didn’t last. I was six when I attended my first Grand Prix (Silverstone, 1981) and as I sat at Club Corner that Saturday morning, my stomach twitched and my heart beat faster at the first sound of Grand Prix cars leaving the pitlane for morning warm-up – but now out of excited anticipation rather than fear.

For all who love this sport, sound is as intrinsic as sight when it comes to experiencing a racing car on the limit. That struck me again as I watched Friday practice at the fast, new Abbey right-hander at Silverstone this year. Lewis Hamilton’s total commitment in his ill-handling McLaren was impressive, but it was the sharp stinging in my ears as he arrived that really stuck.

We know from the letters we receive that many of you will agree. That’s why you might be heartened to read Gordon Kirby’s feature on the 2013 engine rules debate (see p92). Small-capacity turbos are inevitable as F1 attempts to pull itself into line with the world’s car manufacturers, but the acknowledgment of the noise factor is good news. Martin Whitmarsh and Patrick Head haven’t forgotten what matters. They’d both prefer a V6 to a four-cylinder simply because it would sound better, and they recognise that if Grand Prix racing dilutes its raw (or perhaps I should say ‘roar’) appeal the sport will lose its soul once and for all. As decisions go, the choice of power spec for 2013 and beyond is about as big as they get.

Max Mosley once asked Nigel Roebuck whether noise matters. What a stupid question.