So this whole controversy has erupted over whether Pagani “cheated” to get the Top Gear lap record. In the first episode of the new season the Pagani Huayra managed a lap time of 1:12.8, the fastest they’ve ever had. Now, in order for the lap to count, a car must be road legal. Clarkson defines this as “being able to get over a speed bump”, but it also applies to a car having street legal tires. People noticed that, during the lap, the Huayra’s tires had a different tread pattern than those you see above, and indeed the tires do look sort of similar to the track spec tires seen on a Zonda R.
Jalopnik reached out to Pagani for comment. Because Pagani is full of good people, unlike other companies, they responded nicely, and admitted that two separate tires had been used for the Top Gear shoot. Pagani maintained that the tires used for the lap are indeed street legal, though. Pagani has a very close relationship with Pirelli, and helps them to develop new tires. The general consensus, at this point, is that the Huayra was on street-legal versions of the Zonda R’s racing slicks, tires that were custom made for Pagani. So yes, Pagani did use better than standard tires for the winning lap, but they were street legal, if only just.
My opinion is that, so long as the tires used were street legal, then the lap should stand. Quite plainly, it is the responsibility of any automaker sending a press car to a big show, like Top Gear, to ensure their car is prepared in a manner that will give the best showing possible for their audience. Pagani was really just doing their job here, and doing it well, I might add. They pushed the rules, but they didn’t brake them, and they wound up with the fastest lap time. That people, is how competitions have been won throughout all of time, and I applaud them for their thoughtful preparation. More to show us all that Pagani possesses an uncompromising commitment to excellence in their work, and not even press car logistics are allowed to be a routine motion. This is exactly why Pagani is my favorite.
Also, the way people are talking about this, you’d think it was some big, important scandal. Everyone is acting like its the F1 World Championship, and the winning driver cut a corner for a pass on the final lap. People, Top Gear is purely entertainment, and this is hardly any sort of serious legal matter. If the tires are legal, the time counts, if they’re found not to be, then I’m sure they will remove it. In the end, it was just a great episode, and a great moment when the Huayra won the top spot. Can’t we all just leave it at that?