We call it Stig control. We send him out in a slow car, and he does a fast lap. At the end of it, we wave the keys to a faster car over the pit wall, and in he comes. Simple as that. A single timed lap in each car, from a standing start, just like on the telly. These are the results...
THE ROAD CARS...
Lamborghini Aventador: 2:09.0
4WD traction out of Clermont's four hairpins was the key factor in the Aventador's victory
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black: 2:09.4
Astonishing brakes, traction and chassis balance made the Black super-controllable
McLaren 12C Spider: 2:09.4
The only car in which Stig didn't turn off the traction control. He just plugged himself in
Audi RS6: 2:14.0
Brute force and 4WD. Much like the Aventador but with a slightly bigger boot
Jaguar F-Type V8S: 2:15.6
Required patience and restraint to keep the tail in line out of slow corners.
Porsche Cayman S: 2:15.8
163bhp less than the Jaguar, but pretty much as quick. Says it all, really.
Maserati GT MC Stradale: 2:18.3
Never felt as at home at the track as we hoped. Hounded by the hatches.
Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG: 2:18.6Would have gone faster if the gearbox had been less reluctant to change down to second.
Mini John Cooper Works GP II: 2:20.9
Quicker than the M135i, which surprised most of us. Good traction, poor gearchange.
BMW M135i: 2:22.0
Not nearly as well controlled on the track as it feels on the road. Bit rolly.
Ford Fiesta ST: 2:25.7
Slowest, but never felt slow. Better body control than any of the four cars directly above.
THE RACING CARS...
Formula Ford: 2:07.5
Staggering cornering grip everywhere; soft brakes were the only fly in the ointment.
Renault TwinRun: 2:18.9
Only 0.3 secs slower than the 355bhp A45 AMG. Punchy, grippy and quick.
Honda Blade Runner: 3:06.7
Forget the lap time, feel the noise. Nothing created more of it - a sonic (and visual) shock