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2/10ths or 10/10ths - What Kind of Driver Are You? - DrivingScene

2/10ths or 10/10ths – What Kind of Driver Are You?

Posted on 08 January 2013 by Adam Kaslikowski

Reventon Front

Ah, the major motoring question of our day. You’ll hear it referenced in passing on the forums when someone is defending their stance on a go-faster modification or some hyper-exotic super car. Indeed, you can not be a true petrolhead without an answer this question. It’s like our version of the Rorschach test. So what type of person are you – a 2/10ths or a 10/10ths?

First, some explanation to the uninitiated. The long form of the question is this: Would you prefer to drive a Corvette/Ferrari/Veyron/rocketsled on public roads – thus only really touching 2/10ths of its full potential – or would you rather drive a Civic/Cobalt/FR-S/unicycle at full-tilt using 10/10ths of its abilities, which is doable on public roads without really breaking any laws. This question is also known as the Fast Car Slow/Slow Car Fast Theorem.

It is a rather vexing problem, because the more you think about it, the more both answers seem correct. Who wouldn’t enjoy peacocking in a Zonda down the Las Vegas strip or your local main street? Just sitting in an exotic sportscar, hearing the engine and being in control of all that power all while never actually going above 40mph, never taking a tight turn, and never even warming up the tires. Sure it’s purely for being seen in and the aesthetic qualities of the vehicle, but is that so wrong? We know that would be fun, and a hell of an ego boost. You’d probably get totally laid and stuff. Right guys? Guys…?

Then again, carving up a mountain road in a little underpowered roadster or economy car, hitting apex after apex is the stuff memories are made of. Pushing a car to its limit teaches you about the car (that’s why we journalists do it) and teaches you about yourself and your driving abilities. Have I four-wheel drifted an A5 up a mountain road? Yes. Did I do it on accident after over-cooking the entrance speed and locking up the brakes? Also yes. Taking a slow car and driving it well enough to make it go fast makes you a better driver.

As an aside, I love that we live in a time when this is a valid question. Not so many decades ago, even the most high-tech of sports cars could not be driven far beyond what is still legal on public roads. Today, though, performance is so otherworldly that we have cars that can barely behave on the street and only get comfortable and settled above 100mph. Ridiculous.

Of course there is no wrong answer to this question. I deeply enjoy cruising a main street in a flamboyant Italian sports car and soaking up all the attention. I also deeply enjoy being alone in an underpowered car and wringing its engine out on a canyon road. These are very different activities that satisfy different desires in my id/ego/super ego. Your answer will invariably be a deeply personal one. Good. Hold on to it. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it. So what’s it going to be – are you a 2/10ths or a 10/t0ths kind of person? Choose Wisely.

In an upcoming post I’ll reveal my personal answer, and a way I’ve found to satisfy both ends of the spectrum.

– Adam Kaslikowski