‘They don’t make any sense.’ These are the words that ever non-car enthusiast has spoken whenever I am trying to explain my love for stupidly powerful cars. And you know what? They are absolutely right. Now before you go off and begin to question my petrolhead status, take a moment and think about it. What’s the point of having a 600 horsepower monster of a car of which you are only willing to use 40% of the overall performance? What’s the point of paying over $100,000 for a car that’ll probably end up taking your life? What’s the point of buying ‘the perfect track-day tool’ (as the car’s brochure suggests) when the majority of your lap time will be spent going sideways, beginning to go sideways, or backwards because you went to far sideways?
However, while there may be absolutely no point nor a single sane reason to purchase such a psychopathic box of metal one can not deny the fact that the world is in a better place because of their existence. Take the Pagani Zonda Cinque, for example. On paper, the Cinque looks to be the motoring equivalent of the electric chair. 678 horsepower, 575 lb-ft of torque, rear-wheel-drive, a wet sponge… It’s all so many numbers, and so many things that could go terribly, terribly wrong. And while such a description would appear to be a buyer repellent, there are still customers with a need for speed and deep pockets. But why? Is it because these maniacal one-percenters have a death wish or is there actually a legitimate method to their madness?
Mario Andretti once said that ‘If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.’ Putting this into the context of a supercar, and you can realize why many, including myself (even though it’s not likely that I’ll ever be able to afford such a car), absolutely love cars with enough torque to send the planet ten minutes back in time. Piloting a car with tear-jerking performance numbers at 60 mph shares the same thrill of taking your Subaru Impreza WRX STi to a trackday: it’s the sheer excitement that is provided by contolling something (or, as far as Andretti is concerned, trying to control) on the absolute edge.
So, what should you say the next time someone asks you why anyone would ever want a machine that could potentially kill them? Tell them it’s because of the pure, unadulterated excitement. The thrill of not only stepping out of the car alive but also having had the greatest drive of you life. It’s because there aren’t all that many other things out there that can put such a large smile on your face. Or ask them why people even buy guns in the first place.