Ask the experts: what makes a great handling car? David Pook

David Pook - Founder VEDYNAMICS consultancy

What’s the most important feature for a driver’s car?

The two Cs of connection and communication – from driver to car to road. Nothing beats that sense of being ‘at one’ with a car where the driver works at a subconscious level and the car flows down the road or balances at the limit. Every element of the car has to come together.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

What’s the best-handling car you’ve driven?

The car I’ve enjoyed the most is a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, for its communication and adjustability. It would annoy on some roads but be glorious on others. It shouldn’t have worked.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

What’s the best-handling current production car you’ve driven?

Jaguar XE SV Project 8. A saloon shouldn’t be able to do what it does.

What car do you wish you had set up?

There are plenty of cars which have the right ingredients but have been badly set up…

Can a bad-handling car be fun?

There are some fun cars that you could describe as bad-handling, but the fun can be drawn from many areas. A car with way too much power for its capabilities, for instance.

Advertisement - Article continues below

If you had a maximum of £25,000 to spend, what car would you buy?

A Porsche Cayman S with enough spare budget to tweak it to exactly my taste for road and track.

What car maker do you respect, and why?

I’m a lifelong Porsche fan. I think this stems from an engineer’s instinct of doing it right: getting the fundamentals right and leaving compromise to an absolute minimum.

What do you think will be the next big thing in chassis development?

Cars are getting more complicated with clever drivelines and suspension systems. Making them all work together is key, so that cars feel more integrated. The two Cs, plus a third for comfort.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Has EPAS made good handling easier to achieve? 

It hasn’t really made a difference, just changed the balance of what you can do. You can do so much with it across the speed range, but the flip side is less of the high-frequency granularity. For the vast majority of cars this is a better balance.

Driver modes – useful or unnecessary? 

Modes are useful. The trick is not to have too many options.

Is the Nürburgring useful to car set-up? 

Those who say it makes cars ride badly are talking nonsense. Nowhere do you experience every extreme for jumps, dips, corners and speeds in such a short space of time. You have to know they are not everyday occurrences, but once you’ve set them at the Ring you don’t need to do it anywhere else.

Advertisement - Article continues below

How do you make an all-electric car engaging for enthusiast drivers?

The challenge is just the same as for an internal-combustion car, it’s just the way it delivers the performance that’s different. Take the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy; you quickly forget it’s electric and start finding the best way to make it go fast. The power delivery is different – instant torque, no gears – but that adds to the interest. And the stopping power with race brakes and electric regen is mind-blowing.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/review/202972/aston-martin-dbx-review-the-first-performance-suv-to-deliver-on-its-promise
Reviews

Aston Martin DBX review - the first performance SUV to deliver on its promise

Aston Martin's first SUV is more than a good SUV, the DBX is the best car the British firm makes
10 Aug 2020
Visit/audi/s3/202806/2020-audi-s3-sportback-and-s3-saloon-revealed-the-four-wheel-drive-golf-gti
Audi S3

2020 Audi S3 Sportback and S3 saloon revealed – the four-wheel drive Golf GTI

Audi’s next S3 Sportback follows a well-trodden path, filling a gap it once defined
11 Aug 2020
Visit/maserati/ghibli/202975/maserati-ghibli-trofeo-revealed-sober-dressed-bmw-m5-rival-finally-arrives
Maserati Ghibli

Maserati Ghibli Trofeo revealed – sober-dressed BMW M5 rival finally arrives

Some seven years after the launch of its executive saloon, Maserati has given it a V8 – with 572bhp
10 Aug 2020
Visit/porsche/911-targa/202979/porsche-911-targa-4s-2020-review-the-oddball-911-thats-a-refreshing
Porsche 911 Targa

Porsche 911 Targa 4S 2020 review - the oddball 911 that’s a refreshing alternative

New 911 Targa 4S offers coupe usability with more style than a convertible, but four-wheel drive only will put off those looking for the purist 911 dr…
10 Aug 2020