What It's Like to Test Legendary, Priceless Race Cars

Our Editor at Large Sam Smith sits down with Marshall Pruett to talk about his new TV show and the old race cars he tests for this magazine.

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Richard Pardon

"Leh is about 11 feet tall and he’s asleep half the time. Parker is basically a teenage girl with the hair to match. Somewhere in there I fit in and we go out and it ends up being filmed ridiculousness in the middle of the desert. It’s a lot of fun," Road & Track’s Sam Smith says about his Proving Grounds co-hosts Lehman Keen and Parker Kligerman in a winding and exceptionally overdue podcast visit.

We love our boy Smith, and the fact that he has a TV show is somewhat hilarious. It also made for the perfect excuse to capture a brief conversation about the show, and the unique perspective it offers among current car shows. Then, we transitioned to the primary topic: Testing race cars for R&T.

Reviving a staple that made our magazine stand proud for decades, Smith has grown intimate with legendary cars that have competed in the Indy 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other famous races. Through his words, Smith places us directly inside these fantasy machines.

Freed from the constraints of writing, Sam’s spoken insights on driving a Chaparral 2K "Yellow Submarine," Porsche 962, and his routine complaints about cockpit access made for plenty of laughs while recording. Give it a listen:

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