Friday, January 25, 2008

Film Shoot with Jacques Duval

Previous 24 Hours of Daytona winner Jacques Duval will be putting out a DVD this coming summer. It will consist of a series exotic car reviews. While the list of cars hasn't been 100% confirmed yet, he did get the first in the series ready for us on the first day of filming at Calabogie Motorsports Park.

It was a beautiful day, at a beautiful track with a beautiful car, even if it did have the tiptronic transmission that he suggests might be for your grandmother.

We put together this trailer for the DVD. Subscribe to this blog for further updates on the progress.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Car Vs. Bike

Ever wondered what would be faster on a race track between a car and a motorcycle? Easy answer right? Well maybe not. A few seasons back, the UK car show Top Gear did a car versus bike comparison and determined a Porsche Carerra 4s was quicker than a Yamaha R1 in a head to head race. A link to the video is at the bottom of this post.

We produced a RaceDV video of a 2003 Yamaha YZF R6 at Calabogie Motorsports Park. The lap times were quick. Quicker than the lap record held by a production car there. That was done in a 2007 Porsche 911 GT3. That's a 997 for you Porsche-philes out there.

Here's the comparison video. Higher quality video available here.

First, a couple of notes on this video. The recordings for each of these hot laps weren't performed on the same day. The recordings have been synchronized so they both cross the start finish line to begin their hot lap at the same time.

There are two interesting data elements to focus on. First, on the track map, the red dot is the R6 and the blue dot is the 911. They're right on top of each other as they cross the start finish line. Secondly, seeing the differences in speed throughout the lap sheds a lot of light on where each vehicle shines in comparison to the other.

So the R6 has a quicker lap time. That's expected, but we wanted to know why. Is it the higher power to weight ratio of the bike, quicker acceleration, or is the track better suited to two wheels than four?

Using the data we gathered with our incar video recording system we got our answer. First some specs.

Vehicle 2003 Yamaha YZF R6 2007 Porsche 911 GT3
Engine Configuration Inline 4 Flat 6 / Rear mounted
Displacement (litres) 0.6 3.6
Horsepower bhp 123 @ 13,000 rpm 415 @ 7,600 rpm
Torque (lb.-ft.) 43.9 @ 10,000 rpm 299 @ 5500 rpm
Curb Weight (lbs) 388 3,075
Top Speed (mph) 161 193
0-60 (s) 3.28 4.1
MSRP (CAD) 11,000 133,800
Laptime 2:14.797 2:17:390

Some interesting points about those specs.
  • Bike's power to weight ratio is 3x bigger than the car's
  • Bike is 0.9s quicker to 60mph
  • Car has 6x the displacement of the bike
  • Car has almost 7 times the peak torque, but weights almost 8 times as much as the bike
  • Bike is less than 1/10th the price

Predictions as to why the bike is quicker?
First thought would be the bike is faster because its lighter and accelerates quicker. Advantage bike. That would be the end of it if this were a drag race, but its not.

This is a road coarse. Cars are generally quicker around corners than bikes. I guess two extra wheels under you and all the metal surrounding you inspires confidence. Not to mention those two extra wheels offer much better traction and the car's body work provides much needed downforce around corners. Advantage car.

So if the bike is better on the straights because of its quicker acceleration and the car is better in corners because of its superior mechanical grip and aerodynamics, does that mean it comes down to the track layout?

I asked Bruce Gregory of Calabogie Motorsports Park about their intentions when they designed the course.

"When Alan Wilson did the original design, bikes were high on his list of design considerations, and I think the performance of the bikes as well as the popularity of the track with the motorcycling community are a testament to the success of the design as a dual purpose facility."

OK. So they put a lot of thought into how this track would work for both bikes and cars. As a dual purpose road coarse, does Calabogie Motorsports Park treat two wheels better than four? Is it a factor in this at all? Let's find out.

Here's the turn by turn breakdown.

The Start
Coming up to the start of their laps, the bike reaches a higher speed down the front straight. This is from the good acceleration out of the last corner from the previous lap.

Turns 1 - 3
Turn 1 is a pretty fast corner. Aerodynamic downforce helps the Porsche carry more speed through here. This continues through corner 2 and 3 and the Porsche comes out slightly ahead of the bike.

Rocky Road
With its quicker acceleration out of turn 3 and higher top speed down the back straight the bike closes the gap, just before entering turn 5.

Mulligans & Big Rock (5 &6)
Both the Yamaha and the Porsche carry the same corner speed through both these turns.

Corners 7 & 8

Through turn 7 and leading up to 8, the R6 manages to gather 15kph more speed than the 911. A the sector marker, both have an identical time of 52.797. The cars mechanical grip and aerodynamic advantage help it tackle corner 8 a bit better than the bike.

Deliverance (9a & 9b)

Deliverance indeed. The bike manages to spring out ahead of the car with a speed 20kph higher before braking into turn 10, gaining a bit of a lead over the 911.

Crown & Brow (10 & 11)

The Yamaha R6 and Porsche 911 are evenly matched through turn 10 and 11, allowing the R6 to maintain its lead.

12 through 14

The bike exits 12b with good acceleration but both seem evenly matched exiting turn 14. Now the bike really takes advantage of its lighter weight and superior acceleration in the uphill short straight leading into 15. You can clearly see the bike take the lead here on the track map in the video. Sector times show the bike 2 seconds ahead at this point.

Turn 15 doesn’t seem to discriminate between two and four wheels. Whoever has a better entrance speed into 15 is going to have a serious advantage for the rest of the lap.

Through the Quarry
The final left handers give the car the advantage. Each take a very different line through here so they can't be compared based on speed alone, but it looks like the car has the advantage through these bends. The Porsche 911 manages to carry an average of 10kph more speed through these corners, but its not enough to close the gap.

Final Corner to the Finish
After a full 20 corners the bike is about 2 seconds ahead of the car. With its quicker acceleration out of Wilson’s it manages to build another second onto its lead to end the lap 2.6 seconds ahead of the 911.

So there you have it. It doesn't take a super bike to out perform a super car. If you compared flag ship bike to flag ship car; the Yamaha R1 to the 911 GT3, there would be no contest, at least at a track where bikes were considered in the design. It seems that single factor - thinking about bikes in the course design - completely eliminated any advantage a car would have at Calabogie.

Unlike Jeremy Clarkson's conclusion that all motorcycles riders are gay and that a Yamaha R1 can't outperform a Carrera 4, we've determined it certainly should have blown its doors off. My guess is if they didn't put them on the track at the same time so the rider didn't have to fear for his life, I'm sure Top Gear's results would have been different. Also, having two vehicles racing regardless of the number of wheels will always be slower than a single vehicle hot lapping by itself. I'll give them this though. While not very scientific, their method does make for good television.

Now with RaceDV's technology, viewers won't need to choose between good comparisons and quality television. They can have both.What would I choose? Well the R6 outperforms the 911 at a fraction of the price. The 911 has a roll cage though. Enough said.

What would you choose?

References & Links

Tim Wong - Hardware Engineer at RaceDV and certified car & bike nut.

For plenty more Porsche videos, including the lap record used for this comparison, visit our Porsche section of

For a full breakdown of each corner at Calabogie Motrosports Park, see their driver's guide.

See the Top Gear segment comparing a Carrera to an R1 here.

Specs from,, and

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