Industry news

Chris Harris Tested the LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 in Portugal

Today, it is called the ‘holy trinity of cars’ and is being used to build the hype for the premiere episode of The Grand Tour. Almost immediately upon their debut, the automotive world was clamoring for a comparison test between the technological wonders that have created a whole new category of cars – the Porsche 918, Ferrari LaFerrari, and McLaren P1.

While most assumed that Top Gear would be the first to secure the opportunity to test the three hypercars, there turned out to be a number of political reasons stemming directly from the manufacturers that prevented a comparison test from ever occurring.

In November 2015, Chris Harris and his YouTube series, Chris Harris On Cars, was the able to secure all three hypercars for a comparison and actually produce a show for people to watch. It should be noted that Jezza, Hamster, and Captain Slow were actually able to film and test the cars for The Grand Tour one month before Chris, but they had an obviously different production timeline.


As Jezza gracciously shares in this video, the testing grounds would be at Algarve International Circuit, commonly referred to as Portimao Circuit, in Portimao Portugal.

Due to various rumors of the manufacturers attempting to sway media results with either non-production cars, modified tires, or other tricks, Harris impressively managed to ensure that all the vehicles were fairly tested in a controlled environment, on the same factory supplied, independently installed Pirelli Corsa tires, as well as being V-Box verified.

By the Numbers


Porsche 918 – What the Drivers Thought


Chris Harris

Chris begins by saying of all things, that he would eliminate the 918 out of the three if he was choosing between them. He discusses how it is extremely technologically advanced, which makes it the most corrupt driving experience of the trio. He does mention he enjoys the steering feel and the cars excellent grip and turn in, despite how heavy the car feels. Harris continues with more negative comments by mentioning the 918 feels the most electronically assisted, and has the most corrupted brake feel. He does find some positive things to say about the brutal power, amazing ability to take tight lines, and the all-wheel drive and four wheel steering.

In the 918, Harris managed a to make a lap around the Portimao Circuit with a lap time of 1.53.98.

Marino Franchitti

Marino proves to be the least outspoken of the three drivers. Throughout the video, he has little but praise for all three cars. He almost seems like a prize winner who came along with two professional drivers for the day. That being said, he does mention how the 918 had the amazing ability to take tighter lines than the other two cars, and that due to this, often times he would feel as though he was almost waiting for the other two to come in line around the corners.

Tiff Needell

Tiff was, like Harris, not a huge fane of the 918 in the end. Despite feeling very solid and confidence inspiring,  a list of issues kept Needell from becoming too fond of the 918. The fact that the Porsche with its complex AWD was heavier and prone to more understeer, along with being too hard to get in and out, having terrible controls, and bad seating position, all resulted in less than stellar feeling for the seasoned driver.

Mclaren P1 – What the Drivers Thought


Chris Harris

Chris Harris states in the video the McLaren is not road legal, which while you can definitely get the car is street legal trim, the one used for testing was apparently not. He goes on to say how the car has more power than grip and is like driving an “old style racing car, but the numbers are much bigger and the consequences are far worse if you get it wrong…” Harris adds that he suspected the P1 would be the fastest, as it is the smallest and most nimble. After all of the comparisons, in the end the P1 is his favorite car, specifically on the Pirelli Trofeo R’s.

The car, noticeably louder in the cabin, and definitely the lowest, scraping many times in spectacular fashion, is amazing on the track. Chris points out many times the amazing grip and speed of the P1 throughout the test laps. He also compares the P1 and how it feels like a much more standard car than the 918, and how it is the easiest to drive of all the McLaren’s. In fact, Harris is such a fan of the car, he says if he truly wanted to show a real display of speed on this track, the P1 would be his only choice.

With Harris behind the wheel the P1 put down an amazing 1.53.57 lap time and an even faster 1.51.78 on the Pirelli Trofeo R tires.

Marino Franchitti

Marino provides little input on the P1 aside from saying that if he could, he would have it alongside the other two cars, and that he really can’t pick between them.

Tiff Needell
The Mclaren received almost purely positive feedback from Tiff. He says while driving, he could barely concentrate because he was smiling so much from pure enjoyment. He states how he really enjoyed the turbos and the fantastic sound of them as he raced around the circuit. This is a bit of a surprise perhaps, as many supercar fans are not the biggest fan of turbos, preferring the sound and feel of a larger, naturally aspirated engine. Tiff also comments on the styling, saying it was the best designed of the trio.

Ferrari LaFerrari – What the Drivers Thought


Chris Harris

Chris expects great performance out of the Ferrari. He states it is the fastest of the three in straight line, although this has been disproved multiple times, as seen here , here  and here. Like most petrol-heads, Chris loves the V12 and the amazing sounds it makes. He also highlights how much lighter the steering feels than the other cars and the benefits of such. Chris says that the Ferrari has the fastest shifts and best brake feel, and that these factors along with the cars insane power, contribute to it being the most exciting to drive.

Harris later points out, that the car’s power does at times become so overwhelming that you can only really use it to its full potential in a straight line. Much like the P1, the Harris feels that the Ferrari has the same characteristics of an old racing car, despite being so modern and advanced.

Throwing the LaFerrari around the circuit, Harris managed to squeeze a 1.54.25 lap time out of the prancing pony.

Marino Franchitti

Like most, Marino finds enough words to mention how he really enjoys the V12 of the Ferrari. Marino unfortunately ends without any other input. He does mention after driving, that he was really just a fan of the whole experience, and that all three cars were just completely savage and mind blowing in terms of their amazing performance.

Tiff Needell

Tiff very much enjoyed the Ferrari on track. He makes note of the excellent brakes and brake pedal feel as well as the very sensitive, almost “hyperactive” steering.  In the end, with the cars power, beauty, heritage, and well, simply because it’s a Ferrari, it becomes Tiff’s favorite car of the bunch.

The Finish


In the end, the three drivers agree that each car has a drastically different personality and that if given the chance, they would have all of them in the garage.  The clear winner though, as seen through the lap times and comparisons, is the Mclaren P1.


Watch the full episode here:

Will the boys get the same results on The Grand Tour? Obviously, these cars and their performance are greatly affected by local conditions and track setup, as seen in other tests like the Cup Gang’s Hyper 5 series, and Motor Trend’s Mclaren P1 vs Porsche 918  with Randy Probst.

We will have to stay tuned until at least November 18th with the premiere of the trio’s show on Amazon to find out.

What did you think of this review or the others?

Let us know in the comments!















Source: YouTube

Nick Dunlap

Nick is a lifelong automotive enthusiast, as well as journalist, and content creator. Nick also successful competes in a variety of automotive fields including national level car shows, autocross, SCCA races, and more. He enjoys designing and building a variety of cars and helping others do the same with theirs.

Related Articles


  1. He says the P1 isn’t road legal while in track mode, because it becomes too low. The car in normal mode is perfectly street legal.

  2. I skimmed what was written but did he say that the lafarari was the fastest…we’re they talking about top speed,? I don’t believe that, the 918 is a faster around a track…proof.. a YouTube video calls hyper 5 made by salomondrin

    1. Actually, Harris does say he thinks the LaFerrari is the fastest in a straight line. The article does state this has been proven wrong, and even has a link to the video you mentioned.

Back to top button