Belfast Motor Show: Noble M600 boasts 0-60 in three seconds, a top speed of 225mph and no ABS braking ... yikes!
Rebecca Black straps herself in for a thrill-ride in the car everyone wants to see at the Belfast Motor Show
Published 26/07/2014 | 02:30
Down a remote country lane in Co Antrim yesterday morning a crowd was gathering. Under the baking sun the purr of an engine could be heard building to a roar as one of the fastest cars in the world burst around the corner to admiring gasps.
Nutts Corner has seen some fast cars in its time, but nothing like the Noble M600.
As the daughter of a motoring journalist, I thought I'd experienced most things on four wheels ... but this was something else.
Sliding down into the low seat, the interior looked surprisingly like a normal car, but how it responded at lightning speed to every move of the controls indicated this experience was going to be something far from ordinary.
I was greeted by the smiling face of Noble's managing director Peter Boutwood in the driver's seat.
When I asked him just how fast we were going to be going, the former Formula Three driver told me cheerfully that he never looked at the speedometer as he swung off towards the race circuit.
The engine of the car roared its approval as Peter took on the first straight at Nutts Corner, picking up speed until the first bend came into view and I started to wonder how we would ever get round it. But just a hint of pressure on the brake saw us curving around the bend and revving up for the next straight.
Peter – who has raced with former greats of motorsport such as Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert and our own Eddie Irvine – explained the vision for his car as one created for drivers who simply loved to drive.
"It is my child," he chuckled. "My devil child.
"What we wanted to do as a team was create a modern day rewarding driver's car, that's to say a car that you really have to drive. Some cars now sort of nanny you, telling you that you can't do this or that, and that's fine, but it's not very rewarding as a driver."
Approaching the chicane, the thought of no ABS worried me slightly, but Peter's skill was plain to see as he steered a sure course before rounding another bend to return to the straight without even a hint of wheels locking.
Just 12 of these cars are hand-built in the UK every year.
"They start at £191,000 plus tax and they go up to about £220,000 plus tax," Peter said.
When asked if they had any celebrity clients, Peter was less forthcoming. "We probably do," he laughed. "It does attract a lot of interest from celebrities. Some don't buy, but they love the car. I had Tom Cruise in the car the other day, and he said he'd love one.
"We have just got back from China and they are very keen on the car, it's selling well there," he added.
Screeching to a swaggering halt – is there any other way to stop in such a car? – it was with reluctance that I climbed out to make way for the next person.
My poor little Micra will never give me quite the same thrill again.