We aren't going to make a secret of it: of all the superhero films out this year, we're most excited about The Dark Knight. Sure, Iron Man was excellent, but after the first outing of the re-imagined man of bats we have high hopes for Christopher Nolan's new movie.
As luck would have it, we just happened (ahem) to be at the British Grand Prix practice session on Friday, and we nearly wet ourselves when we saw the new Bat bike there. It had been casually parked up against the Panasonic Toyota F1 trailer -- we can only assume that the man himself was either enjoying a cup of tea or beating the snot out of thieves in the car park.
Toyota tells us that on Thursday night they took the Batmobile out for a cheeky little spin on the track, which we weren't sadly present for. From what we can gather, it wouldn't have had much of a chance in the Grand Prix yesterday, even with the gigantic puddles. Despite being able to get from zero to 60mph in 5.3 seconds, the Batmobile is bested slightly by a typical F1 car, which can get from zero to 100mph and back to zero again in 5 seconds. Interestingly, both the F1 car and the Batmobile have V8 engines but the engine in the F1 car develops more than twice as many brake horsepower. Cripes.
The Dark Knight hits the UK's cinemas on 25 July and is sure to be excellent, with a cast of some of Hollywood's best, but sadly not featuring Alicia Silverstone, which is the single biggest crime in the history of filmmaking. Batman Begins is out on Blu-ray on 14 July, just in time for you to enjoy it in hi-def before going to see the new movie. Handy. Click through for more Bat-related visual chicanery. –Ian Morris
Over there in the distance you can just about make out the Panasonic Toyota car, with an added Dark Knight logo. We would have loved to include a closer action shot here, but sadly we ran out of photographic talent and the rest of our pics are all blurred, or feature a car exiting or entering the frame. Those cars move at quite a pace, you know.
Here it is, the Bat Bike, or as it's known in the film, the Batpod. We aren't sure what the pod bit refers to -- we were expecting some sort of mini bubble car that Batman had to squeeze himself into. On reflection, we think the Bat made the right automotive decision.
Guns. On a bike! Now that's thinking outside the box. And check out those tyres, they look like they could keep even the most incompetent motorcyclist upright. Sadly, they didn't let us test this hypothesis.
The Bat logo was added to the Toyota TF108 cars for the weekend. It strikes us as logical that the next Batmobile should in fact be an F1 car. It can't be any more hassle to get in and out of than the current one, although speed bumps might be an issue. Surely the don't have speed bumps in Gotham?