On the second day of the 2008 Western Automotive Journalists Media Days, we drove a variety of cars at Laguna Seca. This famous track employs a number of technical turns, not to mention a quarter mile straightaway, for testing handling and acceleration.
A number of manufacturers brought their cars to the track. Here they are waiting in the paddock for the track to open. The Maserati MC12 sits up front, a two-seater built on the Ferrari Enzo platform and powered by a 6-liter V-12. It is one of 30 built.
The corkscrew is famous for its sharp left turn followed by an elevation drop and a quick right turn. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X heads into the second turn as the Dodge Viper aims itself down the hill.
Mercedes-Benz's latest AMG-tuned car, the C63, hits the apex at the second turn on the corkscrew. This car features a 6.3-liter V-8 naturally aspirated engine putting out 457 horsepower. Its suspension is tuned to handle these corners.
The Audi R8 tears down the track. Its 420-horsepower engine gives it plenty of thrust through the straightaways and coming out of the turns. Its Quattro all-wheel drive and magnetic damping keep it firmly grounded.
Journalists put three minis, a Cooper, a Clubman, and a Clubman S, through their paces on an auto cross course in the parking lot. This course involved tight turns and a slalom, all generally run in second gear.