“It’s not a road car, it’s a race car.”
You might think that a Formula One World Drivers Champion would find a hypercar a little on the tame side. Perhaps that’s a little hyperbolic, but there’s no denying that a successful career spent in the world’s fastest racing cars must render a full-weight passenger car, on road-legal tires no less, a few rungs down the excitement ladder than most mere mortals would feel.
Which is why his sincere reaction—I’m not aware of any sponsorship deals Rosberg has with the marque—to the 918 is so captivating. The response, the steering feel, and the power delivery all impress the 2016 champion, but the launch really knocks his socks off. If the hybrid acceleration and four-wheel drive enable a fully occupied, 3,600-lb sports car to leave the line like Rosberg’s former F1 steed could, that’s about as high praise as any hypercar can receive.
The communicative, rigid chassis clearly impresses the champ, as demonstrated by the opening quote. Within one lap, Rosberg is hucking the 918 into the corner and bending it through the mid-section, braking late, and even dropping wheels in the grass. It’s all quite dramatic; however, the corner exit is always straightforward, easy, and almost clinical. It’s a wonderful demonstration of the playfulness of the car as well as the efficient drivetrain which deploys all that incredible power without much fuss. Who better than Rosberg, a very economical and cerebral driver, than to show off its merits? The two go together perfectly.