Originally Posted by Vander
could it be argued though that with the latest technological enhancements to awd systems found in cars like the audi r8 and nissan gtr that they are superior to rwd systems because they make it a much easier car to drive at the limit?
No it can't. I'll try and explain in as little space as possible. These systems ARE vastly more advanced than Quattro from Audi, but still not as good as RWD on dry tarmac.
I'll use the Porsche 911 as an example because they make both a awd and rwd versions. The 911 turbo is awd and vastly powerful, but weighs approx 3500 lbs, the GT3 is non turbo and makes way less hp and torque, is rwd and weighs approx 3100 lbs. (I don't remember exact figures and am too lazy to look them up right now - this is just for example) The GT3 is almost as quick in a drag race, but lap for lap is considerable quicker than a 911 turbo. A test was done at Willow springs in Cali, and the GT3 was a staggering 3.5 seconds a lap quicker than the Turbo.
Why? Weight and drivetrain. The awd in the turbo coupled with the added weight creates a very poor understeer condition, where the GT3 is much more balanced and can carry way more speed through the corner. Yes the Turbo can get on the power a little sooner, but too little too late.
The R8 and GTR do not as of yet have a sibling with rwd only to do back to back comparisons, but these cars would shed somewhere in the vicinity of 300 lbs if they lost the awd systems and would therefore increase the grip through the corners and accelerate quicker from 2nd gear onwards as the power to weight ratio is more favourable, and traction no longer a concern. AWD is good to the layman, who is intimidated by high powered rwd cars, but for REAL performance and or anyone interested in track days/lapping/racing, definitely RWD is the only option.