RMDE II: High speed at High Plains Raceway
If you have never driven on a racetrack, it is a much more mental exercise than you might think. Juggling speed, upcoming curves, others on the track and learning to create the most efficient and graceful arc through the nuances of the course is heady stuff at first. As you begin to grasp some of these basics, the thrill of sheer speed starts to come through and get a grip on your soul.
Arriving at the track, the Jaguar XFR beckoned and proceeded to deliver the full promise of its 5.0-liter, 510 horsepower SC V8 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission with sport mode and paddle shifters. Unless you drive HPR frequently, however, the first set of laps is reduced to re-assimilating the layout and intricacies of the track itself. The 2011 XFR is a very powerful and responsive vehicle requiring a high level of driving proficiency on the racetrack – like a spirited stallion not just anyone can ride. Nevertheless, it is well worth the effort.
In contrast, the 2011 Acura TSX made fewer demands on the driver despite its 201-horsepower i-VTEC engine and 5-speed sport shift automatic with paddle shifters. It simply lacked the acceleration to make the track a thrilling ride but it is really meant to be a high-mileage commuter. The sporty aspects are there more to make the compromise with practicality easier to swallow than to really win rallies. Still it corners very well and was a good way to finalize getting to know the track again.