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911 humbled by Caparo? The truth

Published: 24 November 2007

Driving an old 911 back to back with a Caparo T1 throws Chris Chilton's perspective

I haven’t managed many long trips in my 'new' old 911, so when I had to get over to Bruntingthorpe airfield to drive the Caparo T1, it seemed like a great opportunity. It’s not exactly miles from my place, say an hour away, but the route there from Stamford through Rockingham is fantastic, a proper rollercoaster B-road thrash with little traffic to bother you.

The 911 shines here. It rolls a bit, quite a lot, in fact, but the body control is still good and the ride is incredibly supple and that’s the key to going fast on these uneven surfaces. Of course it’s not riotously fast - but it’s quick enough to be fun, to haul you up some steep hills without losing momentum. And those proper 1980s Porsche sports seats are miles grippier than the ones in the 997 Carrera 2 S we have on test at CAR at the minute.

I arrived a happy man, drove the Caparo and my grin grew a whole lot bigger. And then I made the mistake of doing a couple of laps in the 911 before I went. Nothing extreme mind. I don’t want to thrash it (it cost me too much money to risk a big off), but just a couple of runs round the short circuit at a decent pace.

Of course, it was awful. How could it be anything else after the Caparo? Slow, rolly, short on grip and nowhere near as adjustable as a contemporary car. It wasn’t the 911’s fault though – even a 997 GT3 would seem distinctly second rate after the T1.

But I felt a bit glum as I left the gates. And then I got going, retracing my route home and the magic was back. Sometimes what works on road works on track too. Often it doesn’t. The T1 was a blast, but I’m in no doubt that even a 20-year-old 911 makes a better road car.

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker