This is a pretty exciting one… Supercar driving! A staple feature of many a bucket list, this experience is great for motor enthusiasts, as there’s such a wide variety to choose from.
Early in the morning I headed off to meet Robb at Dunsfold Park to see what I would be driving that day. I have to admit, I don’t know much about cars, I can recognise different badges but that’s about it. When people start talking about horsepower and engine size I get completely lost. That aside, it was obvious these cars were special, they were all sleek lines and purring engines and leather seats.
We were taken from the car park to the track by minibus, which was a nice touch, I wouldn’t have fancied walking in the cold and rain! Once there, we huddled under a marquee watching the cars start up. My favourite was the Aston Martin DB9, it was the best looking with its subtle curves and classic black finish. On the side lines there was standing room for spectators, several marquees to stand under (which was lucky once the rain started), a van selling hot drinks and food and a bigger marquee for signing up and collecting photos, videos, etc.
I’d arrived on the day not know what I would be driving, so it was exciting to watch people getting in cars then coming back with huge grins on their faces. I was told the bright orange McLaren was the fastest and most expensive, so I definitely had my eye on that one…
To start the day Robb and I were driven round the track a few times by Tim in the demo car, a Vauxhall VXR8, to get a feel of the circuit and get some footage of the other cars speeding past us. Even though we weren’t travelling particularly fast, it was still exciting to be driving round a proper race track! After a few laps we returned to the starting point to watch a few more cars drive around. The range included Lamborghinis, Audis, Ferraris, Aston Martins, an Ariel Atom, the speedy McLaren and several others (you can tell how good my knowledge is).
Finally, it was my turn! Drum roll please, I would be driving a…
This didn’t mean much to me in technical terms, but it sure looked pretty, so I was happy. We attached the cameras to the interior, then I was handed the keys and told to take the wheel. I was starting to get a bit nervous! I felt like a learner driver again, hoping I wouldn’t mess up and forget what I was doing. This was also my first time driving an automatic, so that was another reason for concern.
Turns out I didn’t need to worry, the car was so easy to drive, and having it impossible to stall was definitely a bonus for me. It still felt like I was having a driving lesson, but the main difference was that I was encouraged to go really, really fast! The car was in ‘paddle-shift’ mode, meaning it did have gears, sort of, this stuff goes way over my head, basically when I needed to change gear I had to flick a paddle behind the wheel, which was quite novel! For the first lap I went slowly, getting used to the feel of the car and the steering and knowing where the turns were. On the second lap I started to put my foot down, Tim, who was in the car with me, kept telling me to speed up, and as I started to feel more confident I really started to pick up speed! The breaks are so responsive that you can be accelerating right up to the last second before you need to break, so there’s no excuse not to go super fast!
It was so exhilarating, I was having a great time! Having the freedom to go as fast as possible is so liberating, however it doesn’t actually feel that fast. I didn’t dare take my eyes off the road to ask Tim how fast we were going, but he said it was over 100mph, so pretty fast! Even though he gave me an extra lap, bringing the total to five, it still felt like it was over too quickly. Pulling back into the starting position, I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face, I didn’t want to get out!
Tim was a great instructor, making sure I got the most from the experience and enjoying every second of it. I’d highly recommend this to anyone wanting to test drive a supercar, there really is nothing like it, and it would make a great gift to any petrol-head, especially as Christmas is nearly here! (Sorry).