Chris Palmer Interview – Supercar Driver

We sit down with SCD member Chris to talk about proudly owning a few of the most iconic vehicles of all time.

Written by: Matt Parker

We love that includes SCD members and their vehicles, whether or not or not it’s their first Porsche or a scarcely plausible assortment of rarities. At this time, we’re specializing in the latter with Chris Palmer, who has, through the years, in all probability owned a minimum of one among all our dream vehicles, from the McLaren F1 GTR to the Ferrari F40 LM and even a road-legal Porsche 962. 

With a automobile historical past as eclectic as that, we will’t wait to talk with Chris about his tales behind a few of the most iconic vehicles of the previous 30 years. The truth is, there’s a lot to speak about that we’ve achieved a four-part sequence the place Chris speaks in-depth about his vehicles, however for now, let the phrases and pictures in these pages provide you with a quick introduction.

McLaren F1

“I’d seen them and heard the hype in regards to the F1 once they first grew to become out there, then I noticed a one arising for public sale in Paris, and it was just about a spur of the second factor. Myself and a pal of mine jumped in a 911 I had on the time and drove by the evening to get to Paris. We bought there the subsequent morning trying barely dishevelled in trainers, denims and white t-shirts, they usually principally didn’t need to allow us to in.

“We managed to get in, however after we requested them for a cup of espresso, they didn’t need to know, so we stood on the again trying like two janitors and finally, the automobile got here up. I watched it getting near my restrict, and luckily, it calmed down, I waited for him to virtually drop the gavel and put my paddle up on the again. A couple of hundred individuals circled questioning who it was on the again, we managed to get it, they usually bought us a drink after as effectively!

“Some individuals will let you know now that there’s nonetheless nothing to match to a McLaren F1, however there may be as a result of clearly the automobile has dated and aged, and expertise being as it’s, issues have moved ahead. There are vehicles that deal with higher, nevertheless it’s the general package deal of the McLaren F1, there are only a few vehicles that come near it.

McLaren F1 GTR

“I bought the F1 street automobile in round 2001, after which about three years later, one of many Cottingham brothers rang me and requested if I’d fancy one other McLaren F1. I mentioned yeah however not a street automobile, a GTR, and he mentioned he knew the place there was one if I’d have an interest. The automobile came visiting to the UK and we did a deal; I gave them an F40, a Zonda and a few cash, and ended up proudly owning a McLaren F1 GTR.

“A bunch of us used to go all the way down to Le Mans in varied Porsches, Lambos and Ferraris, and I at all times most well-liked, and nonetheless do, the Le Mans sort vehicles, the sports activities vehicles to the Components 1 Vehicles. I used to be there when 16R raced with Steve Soper and Nelson Piquet, one among my all-time favorite drivers, and I by no means even dreamed that I’d in the future personal it! It had already been painted in historic Papaya after I purchased it, nevertheless it raced within the purple, white and blue Group Bigazzi colors in interval. 

“Compared to the street automobile, the GTR has a straight-cut ‘field, so you’ve got this actually loud gearbox noise as much as about 5,000rpm till the exhaust and induction noise takes over, therefore the headphones contained in the automobile which you actually do have to put on if you happen to’re going to do any miles — it’s tremendously loud inside.

Jaguar XJ220S

“Tom Walkinshaw Racing produced six XJ220S vehicles to have a good time profitable the GT class at Le Mans in 1993. There was much more downforce and it was loads lighter. I believe they eliminated about 300kg from the automobile by eradicating issues like the massive electrical seats and utilizing kevlar carbon physique panels. It had larger brakes, however the greatest distinction was the facility, with the XJ220S reputed to be 680bhp as a substitute of the traditional automobile’s 550. From reminiscence, it was tough for the automobile to place that quantity of energy down! 

“For me, the 220 is such a handsome automobile. It has lovely curves, it’s simply bodily too huge. If you happen to scaled it down 10%, it might be just about spot on, however if you’re evaluating it to one of many all-time greats, it’s at all times going to be within the shadow of the F1, and by way of construct high quality, the F1 is in one other league”.

Ferrari F40 LM

“The man who purchased my first F40 from me, sadly, crashed it, however then he mentioned to me he had the chance to purchase an F40 LM, so I requested him if he ever wished to promote it, would he give me first likelihood on it, and true to his phrase, he did.

“From reminiscence, it had 5 enhance settings. I believe primary was round 600bhp, which was principally moist climate, then all the best way round in qualifying mode was 780bhp in a automobile weighing 1,050kg. If you happen to take a look at one along side a standard F40, it’s a lot greater than an F40 with spoilers. It’s wider, it’s virtually a very totally different automobile and it’s a hell of a factor to drive. What an adrenaline rush, it’s like nothing you’ve ever pushed.

Ferrari Enzo

“The Enzo was the most recent, hottest factor from Ferrari and I completely liked the look of it, however on the time, you just about couldn’t get them for love nor cash on this nation. I had an organization that bought footwear, and we used to cope with an organization down in Monaco when Puma have been sponsoring Ferrari. We went down there, and it turned out two administrators of the corporate we labored with had an Enzo apiece coming, so we in a short time managed to do a deal on one. He by no means drove it, so I used to be actually its first proprietor.

“I had that automobile for 3 or 4 years, did the same old journeys as much as Scotland in it and took it to Le Mans. I actually preferred it, and for me, I might nonetheless take an Enzo over a LaFerrari, I believe it’s a extra uncommon automobile. The one draw back I’d say to the Enzo is the gearbox, being type of first-generation paddles, they usually’ve actually come on since. That’s nitpicking although; in its day, it was a terrific automobile.

Pagani Zonda

“It was the Zonda C12S which was the 7.0-litre model. A few my associates had been on a Lamborghini day and Horacio arrived with the unique 6.0-litre automobile, the C12. They each drove that automobile and mentioned it dealt with like a large go-kart and the construct high quality was incredible, however nobody had heard of it. After all all people has heard of them now and is aware of about Horacio’s historical past.

“I used to be lucky sufficient to have the Enzo and F40 on the similar time, and if you happen to put the vehicles facet by facet, the Zonda made them appear to be package vehicles compared, by way of construct high quality. Even in locations the place you wouldn’t see the carbon fibre, the weave was completely symmetrical. To my thoughts, it’s virtually like a Fabergé egg of vehicles, they usually’re a wonderful factor to drive”.

Porsche Carrera GT

“I do know totally different individuals have totally different opinions on these vehicles, however sadly most haven’t been lucky sufficient to drive them, so it’s extra primarily based on the way it seems to be or folklore if you happen to like. So far as I’m involved although, the Carrera GT is the choose of the bunch. Extra so than an F40. Extra so than an F50. It’s like an F50 plus 20%; it’s higher constructed, it’s sooner, has higher brakes it sounds higher, the roof comes off simply the identical, it has equally good provenance with the racing engine.

“My first Carrera GT was purple which Porsche Studying then painted white for me. I bought that automobile and at all times regretted it, so after I finally noticed this silver one a couple of years in the past, I made a decision I needed to have one other. It truly is a particular automobile; to me, that’s the final and best analogue supercar, the e book closes with that”.

Porsche 962

“The 962 happened from a man I knew who raced Porsches on the time, and he instructed me he had fairly an fascinating automobile, the Derek Bell signature automobile. It was an IMSA automobile nevertheless it had by no means raced. It was a spare chassis, and the construct high quality was second to none. The one factor it didn’t have was the 962 engine, since you wouldn’t need to run a 962 engine in a street automobile, nevertheless it had the subsequent smartest thing, it had a 993 GT2 engine which was placing out related energy. It had about 580bhp and immense torque from the twin-turbo engine in a automobile that weighed subsequent to nothing, lower than 1,000kg

“If you happen to drive that down the street, it’s such as you’re on the Mulsanne straight, you need to pinch your self. It had no livery on it, it was simply gloss black and it actually confirmed off the strains of the automobile for me. There’s not a whole lot of room in them, they’re moderately claustrophobic and actually they’re made for one, though it did have a small seat on the facet for some unfortunate passenger who you wished to terrify! If Batman went racing, it’d be in that 962”.

I actually needed to be ruthless when taking snippets from Chris for this text, as he has so many desirable tales about all these vehicles, vehicles I can hardly consider one man has owned and pushed on the street. If you happen to loved that, you actually should head over to the SCD YouTube channel to listen to the person himself inform the total tales.

You’ll be able to watch the total interviews with Chris Palmer on our sequence beneath: