Piloted by Michael Czysz of MotoCzysz, and with Ducati North America head Michael Locke in the passenger seat, the Ford GT slingshots out of Turn 9 and onto PIR’s front straight. Five seconds later, running an arm’s reach from the cement wall, the GT is halfway down the straight… just as Doug Polen enters the track on #240, a 1098 normally raced by Adam Faussett.
It feels like a cinematic moment pulled from the British automotive show Top Gear. This morning chatting with Doug while pursing a row of exotics on display, Ferraris, Maseratis, Lamborghinis, and a lone Fort GT, I’d idly wondered, “Which would really be faster? The GT or the 1098?”
Doug, World SuperBike champion for 1991 and 1992 and taker of the 1993 AMA Crown, was decisive, “The 1098, no question. This is a fast track, the bike can carry more speed in the corners and accelerate faster on the straight.”
“The car has four wheels of grip though, in theory it should have more holding power in the turns.” In some ways it would be the dispelling of a dream to see the $150,000, 500 horsepower, 0-60 mph in under four seconds supercar quashed by a Ducati 1098 that’s stock save for some race take-offs, a Termignoni 70mm full system and Ducati Performance ECU.
By price point comparison the 1098, not even an S replete with Ohlins suspension and Carbon Fiber accents, at a base of $15,995 USD ($19,995 CND) seems down right plucky.
Doug it seems is proving his point, and giving the GT a sporting lead. By the time the first lap is over so is the challenge the GT exits the track from Turn 9, with Doug ahead of it looking over his shoulder. Through the helmet you can still read his disappointment that the GT with the M-squared team didn’t follow.
Talking to Doug later, the game was done before it started. “I caught them by the chicane and rode their tail until passing them on the back straight while leaving a darkie.”
Since Doug conducted this little demonstration of rider and 1098 prowess without permissions, flight clearance and oversight, track officials and organizers were understandably less than pleased. Then again, the event wasn’t called “Ford North West” so it only seemed fitting to have a Ducati on the track.
That would make for the shortest answer to an OWD Top Gear inspired question ever, bike versus car… On performance it seems the bike wins hands down, with the right pilot at least.