BBC’s Top Gear is back and for their first adventure in the 10th series our trio Jezza, Hamster & Captain slow go on a quest to find the world’s best driving road. The ones with the challenging bends, great views, the long fast straights and obviously no traffic.
more pictures and videos after the jump.
The cars are no ordinary ones either, they are extreme versions of already superb supercars.
Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera
This Gallardo lost weight everywhere possible. with many of its parts replaced by carbon fibre ones, it weighs 70 kgs lighter than the base Gallardo. Its air intake, exhaust and the ECU have been upgraded to increase its power to 530 bhp (10 bhp more than base Gallardo) and does the 0-100 km/h (0-60 mph) in 3.8 seconds (0.2 faster).
Porsche 911 GT3 RS
This GT3 RS has same power as the standard GT3 ie 415 bhp but the engine can rev higher up to 8400 rpm and can take higher loads thanks to a close ratio 6-speed gearbox and a single mass flywheel. Its 0-100 km/h (0-60 mph) sprint takes 4.2 seconds and can reach a top speed of 310 km/h (193 mph). A race tuned suspension setup, increased rear track width and bigger & lighter rear spoiler result in more precise handling and greater stability at high speeds.
Aston Martin V8 Vantage N24
Originally made to go racing in the Nurburgring 24 Hours endurance race, N24 is now available as a road legal track day car with better aerodynamics and race ready equipment, N24 qualifies for many championships and is ideal for club racing events. This completely stripped out version has no aircon or airbags and is lighter by 250 kgs. A tweaked engine with many performance mods, this one produces 410 bhp (30 bhp more than the stock V8 Vantage). 0-100 km/h (0-60) sprint takes 4.2 seconds and top speed is 282 km/h (175 mph).
As for the world’s best driving road, after their research they’ve decided to look for it in the continental Europe specifically around the alps. They start their quest from Monaco and these roads stand out from the lot.
Col De Turini
photo source: flickr
Col De Turini is a famous mountain top in the south of France and is part of a 32 km rally stage starting from Sospel to La Bollène. It is the highest point in the stage standing at 1607 metres. This stretch of road is one of the most difficult and dangerous but also exciting stages in the WRC. It has the long straights where cars reach upto 180 km/h, 34 challenging hairpins and awesome views – all the things that make for one of the best driving roads in the world.
San Bernardino Pass
San Bernardino Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2065 meters in the Swiss Alps connecting the towns of Hinterrhein and Misox. This road has its share of bends and hairpins but is more known for its scenic views and smooth roads. It also has a 6.6 km long tunnel but with a speed limit of 80km/h (50mph).
Davos to Stelvio via Bormio
Heading south from Davos, Switzerland to Stelvio, Italy they found everything they were looking for, what appears to be a driving enthusiasts heaven, the kind of road that brings everything about a car alive – miles of deserted road with breathtaking views, unending number of curves that would test every aspect of the car – steering, power, grip, brakes & handling. Not to forget a few tunnels for those in the mood for some tunnel blasting.
En route to stelvio via Bormio, we cross the Stelvio pass (Passo dello Stelvio), at 2757 meters it is the second highest paved mountain road in the alps. Regarded by the motorists as one of the most challenging roads in the world, it has 60 hairpins with 48 of them on the northern / eastern ramp.
With the roads narrower on the northern side and the hairpins ridiculously tight, this is the toughest part. Roads are very steep on this side of the pass and the ascent is even more tougher with almost zero visibility to oncoming vehicles.
In contrast the southern / eartern ramp has a bit wider and faster hairpins and better road surface which will be more satisfying for those inclined towards less extreme driving.