Blog: Thanks for sparing some of your time today, Didier. As one of the first people in Europe to drive the highly anticipated Lexus RC F, can you offer us any early driving impressions of the car?
Didier Auriol: Of course. When I met Yukihiko Yaguchi [chief engineer of the RC F] this morning, I told him I was delighted to be one of the first to drive the car; it was such an honour. I don’t know the Goodwood Hill Climb course very well but my overriding impression of the car was based around the engine. I think we have an engine with very good torque and power. In fact, the power just goes, goes, goes, all the way through; and because it shifts gears so quickly through the paddles it feels smooth yet relentless.
Blog: We’re excited about it already! What about its rear-wheel drive handling up the famous Goodwood Hill Climb?
DA: As a rally driver, of course the first thing I did was switch off all the electronic safety systems. I wasn’t driving that fast but the car felt very progressive in its handling. It starts off feeling quite neutral but then when the back end did break away it felt so predictable it was like I didn’t have to counter with much steering.
Blog: Do you feel that the predictable handling is a good match for the smoothness of the engine?
DA: Absolutely. The immediacy of the engine response is very different from the turbocharged rally cars I’m used to, where you often have to wait for the power arrive. In the Lexus RC F the power is there straight away.
Blog: That’s really good to hear because the engine has been designed to switch between economy and power combustion cycles. Did you feel that changeover at all?
DA: Not at all. But then I probably wouldn’t have anyway. After turning off all the electronic safety systems I put the car in full power mode. Life’s too short for thinking about economy on a day like today!
Blog: Thanks once again for your time, Didier. We look forward to our own try of the RC F soon.
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