The first episode of season 29 of “Top Gear” aired on Sunday, and it saw a new record set for the show’s test track located at the Dunsfold Aerodrome, which lies about 90 minutes south of London.
A blistering lap time of 01:11.3 was set by Ferrari’s SF90 Stradale, with the show’s tame racing driver, The Stig, behind the wheel. The previous record was set by another Ferrari, the 488 Pista, back in season 27.
Considering the 986-horsepower SF90 Stradale’s power advantage over the 710-hp 488 Pista, it’s no surprise it broke the old record, but the gap of 1.4 seconds on the short 1.75-mile track is definitely impressive. The list of other cars the SF90 Stradale is well clear of includes the Porsche 911 GT2 RS and even the LaFerrari. Curiously, McLaren’s 720S hasn’t got an official time just yet. Hopefully the more hardcore 765LT will have a turn on the track shortly.
Co-host Chris Harris also drives the SF90 Stradale in the episode. He discovers that the car is extremely docile with its electronic nannies present, but when switched off the car becomes quite a difficult beast to master, particularly because of the way the powertrain distributes its power to the four wheels.
In case you’ve forgotten, the SF90 Stradale is a plug-in hybrid that comes with a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission and trio of electric motors. Two of the motors are mounted at the front axle to form a hybrid all-wheel-drive system with precise torque vectoring. These two motors can also provide drive when the SF90 Stradale is in electric mode. A battery with 7.9 kilowatt-hours of capacity provides about 15 miles of range. Other performance numbers include 0-62 mph acceleration in 2.5 seconds and a top speed of 211 mph. The car is only a coupe for now but we know an open-top version is being developed.
Ferrari was originally due to start deliveries earlier this year—it was first shown in May 2019—but coronavirus delays means the first deliveries will now happen toward the end of the year.