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Overrated: Ford Focus RS

1 year ago

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Steve Sutcliffe | Journalist


27 April 2023

The ex-F1 racer turned Lotus chassis guru John Miles used to call it the 50 yard test. He reckoned you could tell a huge amount about a car’s dynamic personality if you focus (no pun intended) on how it behaves in the first 150 feet.

About how its steering responds the first time you apply even just a couple of inches of lock; how its dampers react to what happens beneath the tyres as they begin to rotate; how its engine responds the moment you touch the accelerator; how smoothly or otherwise the clutch first bites, and so on.

Inevitably you need to go farther and drive a car much harder to get fully beneath its skin, Miles conceded, and as a former teammate to Jochen Rindt at Team Lotus, he knew how to do that too. But his point was, you can unearth a massive amount of information about a car by doing not much more than driving it across a car park – so long as you concentrate on everything it does in those first few seconds. Because, he rightly reckoned, most of us do anything but.

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