It was profoundly impressive to see the Taycan not so much drive as bludgeon its way through the weather and around the circuit, finding purchase where logic told you there should be none. Editor-at-large Matt Prior observed it could do “odd things when you go from acceleration to braking on track”. But if the Taycan had an issue, it was that expressed by road tester Simon Davis: “The speed and agility are great, but once you look past the insane engineering that enables them, there’s not much else that excites me.”
As for the more conventional Porsche in our midst, when I saw the weather forecast I was moved to call Saunders and suggest in jest that we should give the award to the 911 Turbo S and stay home. In the event, it didn’t quite turn out like that but, even so, its ability to deploy what felt like limitless torque through the medium of its four-wheel-drive hardware and the traction benefit of having that motor slung over the rear wheels provided a formidably high bar for the others to vault.
At times, it felt almost like too much. Prior: “On the road, it feels like being let into a fully equipped stainless-steel restaurant kitchen, but being restricted to using the microwave to defrost some peas.” On the track, however, more than one of us saw the conditions and headed for the 911 first. It says plenty about the car that we’d choose a 641bhp 911 essentially as our circuit familiarisation vehicle. As Saunders put it: “It tore around in the heavy rain, finding grip and stability almost everywhere, communicating its limits clearly and remaining controllable, engaging and progressive on track, even in treacherous conditions.” And Disdale was not alone in noting that “the worse the weather became, the more your confidence in the car grew”. And yet for all the admiration in our notes, there was little sign of love. As Prior put it: “It didn’t excite me and I think it’d be the 911 I’d be least likely to buy.”
It was, in many ways, the polar opposite approach to that taken by the rear-drive Lamborghini Huracán Evo. It’s stunning it’s here at all, given the pasting its four-wheel-drive sibling received at this event last year, but not one of us regretted its inclusion. Davis: “After last year’s disappointment, the rear-drive Huracán has redeemed things for Sant’Agata. From its steering, to its balance, to its front-end response, it feels more intuitive and predictable than its four-pawed sibling.” It wasn’t a hard car to criticise, though, because of its poor visibility, driving position and ergonomics. Also, its damping was streets behind that of the McLaren 765LT – and, for that matter, the Ferrari F8 Tributo, which made the cut for this shootout and appears in our photos but was withdrawn with mechanical issues before all of our judges could drive it.