Soccer (or football, for anyone not living on this side of the pond) is the world’s most popular sport. It dictates business closings, draws crowds that NASCAR can only dream about and has started more deadly riots than the NBA and the NHL finals combined. We Americans just don’t seem to get the sport, so, sadly, there really is no professional soccer in the U.S.A.
We here at RideLust don’t cover soccer, although I did play in high school (sweeper, actually). All the hype about the world cup got me thinking about a “World Cup Playoff, RideLust Style”. How does it work? Simple – I take the games scheduled and dig up the fastest cars from the countries playing. Based only on specs (unless I can find actual comparative lap times) we declare a winner for the match. I’ll cover the days games, starting with matches on June 22.
Got a favorite car from your favorite country? Let’s hear it. To keep things fair, it has to be produced within the country playing, not just sold there. Tuner cars and your cousin in Ghana’s Lamborghini Diablo don’t count.
Mexico vs Uruguay
Mexico fields the Mastretta MXT, a 240 horsepower coupe with a supercharged inline four motor and mid engine, rear drive layout. The Mastretta weighs a scant 1,984 pounds, giving it a horsepower to weight ratio of 1:8.27. Top speed is said to be 124 miles per hour, which would be a serious limitation on tracks with long straights.
Uruguay fields the Suntrike, a fiberglass bodied, three wheel roadster powered by a 150cc air cooled four cylinder motor. The automatic transmission hampers acceleration, but the Suntrikes diminutive size and low weight (just 397 pounds) help performance. Like all trikes with a single, powered rear wheel, handling is best described as “adventurous”, especially in the wet. Or while cornering. Or while accelerating on anything other than smooth pavement.
In a surprise decision, the match goes to Uruguay, for the simple reason that you can buy a Suntrike but you can’t yet buy a Mastretta MXT. As in the other World Cup, a no-show in the RideLust World Cup counts as a forfeit, so congratulations go to Uruguay and condolences go to Mexico. Better luck next time, Mastretta.
France vs South Africa
France, not wishing to take take chances, fields the mighty Bugatti Veyron. Powered by a quad-turbocharged W16 motor that puts out 987 bhp, the Veyron is capable of zero to sixty times under 2.5 seconds and has a measured top speed of 253.3 miles per hour. At 4,162 pounds, the Veyron isn’t light, but makes so much horsepower (going to all four wheels) that the car’s size rarely hampers its performance (unless you’re drag racing a McLaren F1, that is).
South Africa isn’t going down without a fight, and it fields the Perana Z-one. A collaboration between Zagato and Perana Perfomance Group, the Z-one is a stylish coupe (influenced by Jaguar and Aston Martin) that goes as good as it looks. Powered by a 6.2 liter V8 that produces 442 horsepower, the Z-one will get you to 60 in just over 3.5 seconds. Top speed isn’t listed, but a curb weight of just 2,631 pounds, combined with the vehicle’s aerodynamic shape, will ensure a reasonable top speed.
Unfortunately for South Africa, this wasn’t even close. As good as the Perana Z-one may be, it’s no match for the Bugatti Veyron. On another day, against another opponent, the outcome may have been different, but the victory here goes to France.
Nigeria vs South Korea
Nigeria, not known for building world class performance cars, fields the hideously ugly Izuogu Z-600. Looking like a cross between a Trabant and a warthog, the Izuogu Z-600 is powered by a 1.8 liter inline four good for a top speed of 86 miles per hour. The front wheel drive layout and drag coefficient equivalent to an apartment complex won’t help the Z-600 on the track. Nigeria’s only hope is that the car’s styling distracts South Korea enough to make repeated mistakes behind the wheel. Good luck with that.
South Korea fields the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, equipped with their 3.8 liter Lambda V6 and a six speed manual transmission. The stylish coupe, a new favorite of U.S. tuners, puts out 314 horsepower and is capable of a zero to sixty time under 5.5 seconds. Top speed is just shy of 150 miles per hour, good enough to dispatch the Izuogu Z-600 in any track setting.
As with Mexico versus Uruguay, South Korea wins this round by default. A lack of funding, combined with an armed robbery of the Izuogu plant in 2006, took Nigeria out of contention early. As stylish as the Izuogu wasn’t, it did represent the automotive dream of a struggling African nation, so we wish them the best of luck on future automotive efforts.
Greece vs Argentina
Greece has had a struggling economy for the past two decades, and this has wiped out virtually every Greek automotive manufacturer. One of the few exceptions is ELBO, a state owned producer of trucks, busses and military vehicles. Passenger car prototypes were developed by ELBO, but never produced due to the country’s soft economy. In a surprise move that doesn’t bode well for Argentina, Greece fields the ELBO built Kentaurus armored infantry fighting vehicle. It’s not the 420 horsepower motor that Argentina needs to worry about (since the Kentaurus tips the scales at nearly 20 tons), it’s the 30mm cannon and 7.62mm machine guns. If they can out run the Kentaurus’ 47 mile per hour top speed, the Argentineans stand a good chance of winning this round. Especially if the gunner isn’t on his “A” game.
Argentina, lacking a domestically designed car, fields the Argentinean-built Volkswagen Amarok pickup truck. The Amarok comes with a twin turbo, 2 liter, four cylinder diesel motor, good for 161 horsepower and 300 foot pounds of torque. Volkswagen’s 4Motion AWD system delivers power to all four wheels, with torque split 40% to the front wheels and 60% to the rear. No performance numbers were readily available, but the truck proved its durability as a support vehicle for this year’s Paris-Dakar Rally. Besides, I’m sure it goes faster than 47 miles per hour and can out-maneuver an infantry fighting vehicle on all but the worst terrain.
In a rather lopsided victory, the match goes to Argentina. Beating an armored personnel carrier is one thing, but how will the VW Amarok stand up to future matches? Time will tell.
Tomorrow’s matches include Slovenia vs. England, USA vs. Algeria, Ghana vs. Germany and Australia vs. Serbia. Get your bets in early for these.