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Senna's car is my car

A tribute to the God-given talent

01/05/2013 03:35 |  Comments: 

Editor

Self-appointed race-driver (whenever he gets a chance), avid car sports- and sports car-lover, manager of the mother site’s blog, Belsőség, he can always be found in the middle of the noisiest gathering. Steve has had a long-running habit of remodelling his facial hair bi-weekly. A Slovakian citizen but of Hungarian nationality, he lives in Budapest now. Has a wife, two small children and a dog.

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There are cars you get into and you don't feel the need to change a thing. You're sitting there, and you just feel you have arrived. This is such a car.

I knew it as soon as I reached for the gearshift. I can't even recall the last time I saw one like this, so accurate and able to switch so quickly. But the best thing in it is sitting very close to the ground.

My instinct always tells me to reach for the knob adjusting the seat height first, to make sure I sit as low as possible. This time it was unnecessary. I hadn't even driven a meter when I was already wondering what it would take to change my mind about this car being just right. I gave up soon, though, as it seemed a pretty unlikely idea. You have a feeling in your gut about these things.

I did a few laps, Steve came up to me, and I had no idea what to say. Except I can't for the life of me think of a reason to say this car isn't perfect. The only fault is perhaps the long travel of the clutch pedal, which may not be fortunate if you aim for a good start, but it's such a tiny thing that it isn't worth mentioning. And other than that, there's nothing.

Our man

Norbert Michelisz, professional racing driver, currently competing in the World Touring Car Championship with a Honda Civic. Winner of the Seat Leon Eurocup, rookie of the year (WTCC), WTCC Yokohama Trophy Winner etc. And a big Ayrton Senna-fan. Meet him here.

After the first few laps I had the feeling that the car was extremely neutral, and the most wonderful thing which seemed very obvious as it was happening, was the fact that a slight step on the accelerator was enough to erase understeer. It took me some time to get used to this as the brake pads were for track use, but the car ran on street tyres. I had to try to get the hang of this because the front tyres were locking on the first corner already. The phase of familiarizing myself with the car was very nice, I could keep pushing the boundaries further and further without any difficulties.

Then all of a sudden the day ended. Too soon, too fast. I have no qualms about admitting that I can easily imagine spending a few more such days with this car. In the morning I already suspected that the day would come to an end with me not wanting to get out.

Without exaggeration, I got in the car and knew it was mine.

It's very permissive, wonderfully stable, yet infinitely stiff. I felt as if I was sitting in a race car. And the fact that it's a street legal car makes it even more amazing. I like to feel every bump and vibe of the road, and the NSX delivers that sensation. It certainly isn't the most powerful car in the world, but it doesn't have to be.

The suspension, the gearbox, and the engine are in such harmony that the end result is a car of joy. And as Senna did have a hand in the development, I'm sure this overall effect was his contribution. With any luck, I'll get myself one in a few years' time. I'd love to.

In the morning I arrived at the Hungaroring having very high expectations. But the NSX lived up to them all. It's a perfect object in every respect.

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