Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 19 October 2019

The Badge is back: Yas Marina Circuit hosts Rolls-Royce return

Abu Dhabi Motors laid on a vehicle fleet from the British marque's Black Badge range for a rip around the track where the cars made their UAE debut

Track days are traditionally about tearing up the tarmac, often in something light, likely in something bright, but always in something sporty. As such, these are not events you'd necessarily associate with, say, a luxury cruiser like a Rolls-Royce. Putting the two together makes for a harmonious combination, though.

Under the moniker 'Bolder In Black', Abu Dhabi Motors laid on an evening of guided driving around Yas Marina Circuit with a fleet of cars from the BMW-owned marque. And the title of the encounter, of course, referred to Rolls-Royce’s Black Badge range, which is made up of the Ghost, Wraith and Dawn models.

The dealer commissioned the event to mark the arrival of its Sportive collection later this year, which comprises 12 bespoke designs.

When we talk about ‘guided driving’, this is an indicator that the vehicles weren’t being taken around the venue at speeds that would shake Lewis Hamilton’s eyeballs, so helmets weren’t required.

Taking on the North Circuit, though, is enough to get anyone’s digestion moving a little faster. In the Wraith, which accelerates marginally more rapidly than its two siblings (0-100kpm in 4.3 seconds), you can easily reach 180kph on the longest stretch. The Ghost and Dawn match it in top speed and are just 0.2 seconds slower to the ton, so the difference between the three is marginal.

The North Circuit’s most fearsome corner (which is based on the Corkscrew, one of motorsport’s most challenging obstacles at California’s WeatherTech Raceway) involves a drop in elevation and a blind crest and apex, causing a mix of negative and positive g-forces that serve to shred the senses of any driver travelling at top whack. You don’t get too many turns like that in your average urban road grid.

Black Badge might indicate a set of cars all decked out in, at best, sombre shades, but Rolls-Royce’s design team haven’t been afraid to go for more strident hues across the range. There are also two-tone offerings, which may make purists raise their eyebrows, but clearly appeal to plenty of punters looking for something a little more flashy than the norm.

Yas Marina Circuit was a fitting venue for the Black Badge event, as that’s where the range was revealed to the UAE back in 2017. The powers-that-be evidently considered it sporty enough then, and clearly nothing has changed in the intervening years.

Updated: April 30, 2019 11:29 AM

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