Pace with Grace
In order to stay abreast of its emerging luxury competitors, Rolls-Royce had to re-invent itself from being the manufacturer of one exquisite car to a niche builder of super luxury models which also attract a younger buyer. We were given a rare, behind the scenes visit to see the first of this new generation, the Wraith, come together.
“Just squeeze on the power now, keep it flat, keep it flat through here, all the way, go on, accelerate all the way.”
As someone who has done his fair share of track days testing new cars, these words of encouragement are hardly new as you’re strapped behind the wheel of a high-powered sports car with one of the factory’s development drivers beside you.
The difference this time was that I was behind the wheel of a Rolls-Royce, staring out across the long bonnet which pointed to the horizon and the trademark Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet mascot.
A Rolls-Royce on a race track? Indeed.
And not just any track but the glorious Goodwood circuit that sits over the back fence of the Rolls-Royce factory and has seen the likes of Fangio, Moss, Graham Hill, Sir Jack Brabham and Jackie Stewart dominate over many decades.
It was also the final resting place of a certain Bruce McLaren, the young kiwi who lost his life testing the latest car bearing his name in 1971 that has since grown to become a Formula One heavyweight and the latest entrant in the supercar domain. [To be continued...]
Pace with Grace
Forget what you know about the staid image of Rolls-Royce because the Wraith takes it in an entirely new, far sportier, even race-track bred direction.
As times change and the ‘new money’ gets younger, Rolls-Royce too has shifted direction as it attempts to bring its average age down by a decade or two. So we gave the Wraith a proper shake out – on the Goodwood race track of course.
The ceremony of handing over the key to a new Rolls-Royce is usually carried out in a plush hotel foyer or showroom and maybe with a cup of tea in hand. But things are changing and as I collected the key to the Wraith Coupé, I was sitting in pit lane and pointed towards the car facing towards the famous Goodwood race track.
Goodwood sits over the back fence of the Rolls-Royce factory and has seen the likes of Fangio, Moss, Graham Hill, Sir Jack Brabham and Jackie Stewart dominate over many decades. So with history like this, it seemed the only venue to crack on in 624bhp of V12, twin-turbocharged British muscle. [To be continued...]