Seeing how fast you can drive and stop a 900-horsepower Formula 1 car in an enclosed space sounds like a pretty crazy thing to do, even if said enclosed site is the massive ExCeL in London's Docklands, site of next week's British Motor Show. In the event of a mishap, a wall impact there would likely not be the same as going into a pile of tires after skidding through a gravel pit. It'd leave a nasty mark.
Like I said: Crazy.
Of course, doing crazy things is the specialty of the gang at Top Gear, so they dispatched mystery driver extraordinaire, The Stig, to see what havoc could be wrought driving Toyota's TF105 Formula 1 car indoors. A 384m straight line course was laid out using orange cones, and extra care was taken to make sure the car would be as manageable as possible on the site's very smooth concrete floor. That meant dialing back the V10 so that it would max out at a paltry 16,000 RPM (what can you possibly do with that?), wrapping extra-sticky slicks around the wheels, and of course, making sure the traction control was working.
(More info, killer pics, press release after the jump)
On this coming Sunday's (July 16) episode of Top Gear, British viewers will get to see how it all turned out. On Monday, July 17th, American auto enthusiasts can be counted on to make excellent use of their companies' high-speed internet connections as they hog bandwidth by streaming the episode off of YouTube.
I mean, isn't that what coffee breaks are for, anyway?
The Stig rocks ExCeL:
TOYOTA TURNS UP THE MOTOR SHOW HEAT WITH FIRST INDOOR F1 TEST
Grand prix car blasts through ExCeL in unique TV trial
In the space of just over a week, Toyota's Formula 1 activities have taken it from the legendary wide open banking of Indianapolis to a course just 384 metres long inside ExCeL, the new home of the British International Motor Show.
The vast exhibition hall in London's Docklands was the arena for the UK's first indoor F1 trial on Monday, with the Panasonic Toyota Racing TF105 demonstrating its prodigious straight-line acceleration and braking power for BBC Television's Top Gear programme.
As a high-octane curtain-raiser for Toyota's contribution to this year's motor show, the test has no equal. Piloted by "The Stig", the V10-powered TF105 was tweaked to cope with the exceptional conditions, not least the ultra-smooth surface. Slick Bridgestone tyres were fitted, gear ratios were adjusted, brakes were pre-warmed, maximum revs were reduced from around 19,000 to 16,000 and the car's traction control system was working at full capacity.
Just how the race car performed, compared to Top Gear's more modest "Reasonably Priced Car", will be revealed in the programme scheduled for transmission at 8.00pm on BBC2 on Sunday, 16 July. The same day, in the real world of Grand Prix competition, Panasonic Toyota Racing will be looking to build on its impressive showing at Indianapolis, where Jarno Trulli claimed an impressive fourth place result, and challenge for a podium finish at the French Grand Prix.
Last weekend, the Toyota TF105 thrilled the crowds at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, with official test driver Ricardo Zonta at the wheel. The F1 car ran a total of six times on the famous hill climb, with the last run reserved for the customary tyre tread laying 'burnout'.