Nick Heidfeld has driven every car you can imagine.
“I’ve driven every car you can imagine,” he tells TG.
“Old cars, GT cars, Formula 1, Formula 3, Formula 3000… everything.”
This isn’t some boast. He speaks in that slightly monotone, matter-of-fact way that highly trained professionals who perform impossible feats speak. He says this because on a recent simulator session in Pininfarina’s upcoming 1,900bhp Battista hypercar, ‘Quick Nick’ himself was caught a little off guard.
“It was really mind blowing. Braking points are usually similar across all those cars I mentioned, and I know the Nürburgring pretty well, but there were a couple of laps where I just overshot the corners,” he says.
“It’s simply because the speed at which you arrive at the corner in the Battista is in some places similar – or even quicker than – a Formula 1 car. So I needed a bit of resetting.” An ex-F1 driver, needing a reset. Someone get a Thunderbolt cable and plug him back in.
Or maybe, don’t. He’s not a big fan of simulators – “I don’t like them in motorsport terms, because for me it’s not the real deal” – but he does admit it massively helps road car development. And he doesn’t think the Pininfarina Battista needs any more development, at least in terms of dynamics and speed.
“I don’t think we should go for a track-honed Battista,” he tells TG when asked whether there’s space for a circuit crushing hyper-GT. “This is a hyper GT, it’s beautiful, it’s got a beautiful Italian design, so I don’t think with this concept it should be a track weapon.
“It will be bloody quick on a circuit,” he adds, quickly, “but for me the main factor is that we are trying to deliver a good range, around 500km (310 miles). That means the car is relatively heavy. Yes, there are other cars that weigh the same, but if you have a track weapon, it should be lighter.”
Ah yes, “other cars”. *Cough* Lotus Evija. That car will definitely be a ‘track weapon’, tested around the world’s toughest circuits and able to actually drift, too. So the Battista is the other end of this unobtanium equation: luxury.
You know of course that there’s a special Anniversario edition Battista coming, promising some dynamic enhancement; just don’t go expecting a lap record monster. As Nick said above, just expect something “bloody quick”.