Ever had a yen to own a racing licence? Well, according to an article on The Times website today, you can pick up a basic one in a 24-hour crash (perhaps we should say intensive) course at Silverstone or a host of other UK racetracks.
Journalist Nick Rufford has given it a go. And, on the whole, his resulting piece is an informative read. Here’s how he got on:
The race for a racing licence
The toughest bit comes last. Strapped by a five-point racing harness into a Lotus Exige, you are invited to demonstrate your ability — or lack of it — by attacking the main Silverstone circuit at a properly fast pace, and convincing an instructor that you know what you’re doing. He’ll be watching your hands and feet for competent control of the steering wheel, throttle and gears, and your eyes to make sure you’re looking far enough ahead.
He’ll tell you that of all the groups of would-be racing drivers he’s trained, the most successful were a group of Red Arrows pilots. None of them had raced cars before, but all of them had super-fast reaction times and were used to looking not a few hundred feet along the road but 10 miles into the distance — essential when you’re flying at 700 feet per second.
Like a drill sergeant, he’ll yell until your ears are ringing with engine noise and a series of barked instructions. â€œBrake hard. Balance the throttle. Now hard on the power. Harder. COME ON.â€ A word about motion sickness. This is normal, apparently, so you shouldn’t feel too concerned if you can’t hold on to your stomach contents. Not wishing to dwell on the subject, I checked and there’s an honour-able tradition. In the 1981 Las Vegas Grand Prix, for example, Nelson Piquet finished in the fifth place he needed to take the title by one point. During a gruelling, marathon race, he threw up no fewer than three times in the car. Read full article here…
If you want to follow in his footsteps, click through to the article where there’s a detailed list of tracks offering the service. And, of course, the GoMotorsport website is a great place to check out as always.