future hall of famers
a spec car can only be judged by the extent
to which it achieves its own objectives.
that GP2 is now so well-established as the
training ground for formula 1, with its
graduates comprising half of today’s grid,
is all the evidence you need. the car that
started it all in 2005, the first-generation
Dallara GP2/05, formed the bedrock of
the category’s success. after several
seasons of desperately dull f3000
competition, the new GP2 showed just
how vibrant an f1 feeder series could be.
is that no top-line car had ever been
created exclusively using CFD. Designed by
Wirth Research, it proved that you didn’t
need a wind tunnel to be competitive and,
a couple of decades down the line, it will
likely be regarded as seminal. Nick Wirth
went on to design the first two Virgin F1
cars using the same technology, proving
that CFD is still a little short of producing
open-wheelers at the highest level.
“star rally car of the 21st century
is undoubtedly the Citroen C4 WrC,
which replaced the already
outstanding Xsara in 2007”
Even in the GT classes, there were
some remarkable cars. Corvette Racing
dominated GT1 for much of the noughties
with partner team Pratt & Miller, first with
the C5-R, which made its debut in 1998,
and then with what was effectively an
evolution, the C6.R. The adaptability of
Corvette Racing and the underlying quality
of Chevy’s road car ’Vette was amply
demonstrated when it made a switch in
2009 to the erstwhile GT2 class – now just
GT, or GTE at Le Mans – for less-modified
cars and won again at La Sarthe in ’ 11.
For its multi-class success, there’s a strong
case for the C6.R as a future hall of famer.
As we can see, these days it’s usually
manufacturers that have the resources
to be innovative enough to design a truly
great car, and that’s true in rallying. The
star car of the 21st century is undoubtedly
the Citroen C4 WRC, which replaced the
already oustanding Xsara in 2007.
Over four years, the C4 won 36 times
and propelled Sebastien Loeb to another
four titles. Citroen didn’t compromise on
the desired dramatic styling and made the
aggressively-shaped car work through wind
tunnel evaluations early in development.
That, combined with systems carried over
from the Xsara and a wider track that
made it even more stable in the corners,
meant it was a winner first time out.
It might be another decade before we
can truly see the wood from the trees and
herald the greatest cars from the first
dozen years of this century. But you can
bet that most, if not all of the above, will
be talked about for many years to come.
(aBoVe) the e-tron
quattro version of the
audi r18 won le mans
at its first attempt in
2012. the Citroen C4
WrC (aBoVe left)
and red Bull rB7
(left) both won on
their debuts – and
kept on winning.
skepticism. once the teething troubles
were over, it produced three years of
spectacular racing and prepared the likes
of lewis hamilton, Nico rosberg, heikki
Kovalainen, timo Glock and Bruno senna
for f1. all on budgets that, while not
cheap, were affordable enough to ensure
talent, not funding, was a deciding factor.
the subsequent two generations of
GP2 Dallaras have pushed up costs and
produced a little less on-track drama, but
the strike rate for producing f1-ready talent
remains remarkable. recent champs Nico
hulkenberg, Pastor maldonado and romain
Grosjean have all impressed at the top level.
and the category’s status is largely
thanks to the foundations laid by the
GP2/05. a field of identical cars might not
stir the blood for the technically minded,
but this is one machine that deserves its
place among the 21st century greats.
Engine mecachrome-built 4-liter
renault V8 with 10,000rpm limit
Power approx. 600hp
Gearbox 6-speed, paddle shift actuation
Weight 1,287lb/585kg (without driver)