Chris Palmer Interview – Supercar Driver

We sit down with SCD member Chris to speak about proudly owning a number 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 the moment, we’re specializing in the latter with Chris Palmer, who has, through the years, most likely owned not less than certainly one of 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 are able to’t wait to speak with Chris about his tales behind a number of the most iconic vehicles of the previous 30 years. In truth, there’s a lot to speak about that we’ve finished a four-part collection the place Chris speaks in-depth about his vehicles, however for now, let the phrases and pictures in these pages offer you a quick introduction.

McLaren F1

“I’d seen them and heard the hype in regards to the F1 after they first grew to become out there, then I noticed a one developing 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 via the evening to get to Paris. We bought there the subsequent morning trying barely dishevelled in trainers, denims and white t-shirts, and so they mainly didn’t need to allow us to in.

“We managed to get in, however once 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 thankfully, it calmed down, I waited for him to virtually drop the gavel and put my paddle up on the again. A few hundred individuals circled questioning who it was on the again, we managed to get it, and so they bought us a drink after as properly!

“Some individuals will inform you now that there’s nonetheless nothing to check to a McLaren F1, however there’s 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 to visit 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 all the time most well-liked, and nonetheless do, the Le Mans kind vehicles, the sports activities vehicles to the Method 1 Automobiles. I used to be there when 16R raced with Steve Soper and Nelson Piquet, certainly one of my all-time favorite drivers, and I by no means even dreamed that I’d sooner or later personal it! It had already been painted in historic Papaya after I purchased it, nevertheless it raced within the purple, white and blue Workforce Bigazzi colors in interval. 

“Compared to the street automobile, the GTR has a straight-cut ‘field, so you will have 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 must put on for those who’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 so much lighter. I feel they eliminated about 300kg from the automobile by eradicating issues like the large electrical seats and utilizing kevlar carbon physique panels. It had larger brakes, however the largest distinction was the ability, with the XJ220S reputed to be 680bhp as a substitute of the traditional automobile’s 550. From reminiscence, it was troublesome for the automobile to place that quantity of energy down! 

“For me, the 220 is such a handsome automobile. It has stunning curves, it’s simply bodily too huge. In case you scaled it down 10%, it will be just about spot on, however while you’re evaluating it to one of many all-time greats, it’s all the time 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 probability on it, and true to his phrase, he did.

“From reminiscence, it had 5 increase settings. I feel primary was round 600bhp, which was mainly moist climate, then all the best way round in qualifying mode was 780bhp in a automobile weighing 1,050kg. In case you take a look at one along side a traditional F40, it’s a lot greater than an F40 with spoilers. It’s wider, it’s virtually a very completely 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 newest, 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 take care of 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 favored it, and for me, I might nonetheless take an Enzo over a LaFerrari, I feel it’s a extra uncommon automobile. The one draw back I’d say to the Enzo is the gearbox, being form of first-generation paddles, and so they’ve actually come on since. That’s nitpicking although; in its day, it was an excellent automobile.

Pagani Zonda

“It was the Zonda C12S which was the 7.0-litre model. A few my mates 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 unbelievable, 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 for those who put the vehicles facet by facet, the Zonda made them seem like 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, and so they’re a superb factor to drive”.

Porsche Carrera GT

“I do know completely different individuals have completely 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 appears or folklore for those who 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 all the time regretted it, so after I finally noticed this silver one just a few 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 biggest analogue supercar, the guide 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 attention-grabbing 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

“In case you drive that down the street, it’s such as you’re on the Mulsanne straight, you must pinch your self. It had no livery on it, it was simply gloss black and it actually confirmed off the traces 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 imagine one man has owned and pushed on the street. In case you loved that, you actually should head over to the SCD YouTube channel to listen to the person himself inform the total tales.

You possibly can watch the total interviews with Chris Palmer on our collection under: