Boy Racer? Never Too Old!
Like most boys (sexist comment I know) I always had a passion for speed and to drive ultra fast cars, you know those cars we see but can't touch - never mind buy!
So at the age of 59 I decided to test myself, enrolling into a 1 day course at The Racing School based at Donnington Race Track.
Our class consisted of 15, split into 3 groups of 5. After classroom instruction we were each allotted an instructor who sat in the passenger seat of a souped up Mini Cooper. We completed 5 laps being told when to brake/turn in etc.
These 5 laps were to see if we qualified or not , i.e. looking at judgement more than speed.
Those that qualified were allowed to progress up to a formula Ford single seater that would go 0/60 in 4 seconds. These cars easily beat faster cars over a circuit due to their far better road holding capabilities.
Being a qualifier after a few practice laps we were allowed to race.
Back in the pits.
Pre race, being by far the oldest, most other 'youngsters' obviously looked at me with thoughts of, "What's that old guy doing, he should be checking mobility scooters out not sitting in a racing car."
I fully understood their looks. After all when I was in my 20's anyone over 40 was old!
After a 5 lap race coming in 1st by about 20 seconds, my feelings of euphoria were hard to explain. Needless to say I was hooked!
From 2007 to 2015 I have raced at Donnington several times, as well as Silverstone and Rockingham.
It has gone wrong occasionally - I lost control of a Mini Cooper at 80/90 mph, doing a complete 360 degree spin. And again, at the same corner, this time in a single seater I ended up going off onto the grass run off.
At Rockingham I won a timed 20 lap race and was given a free lap as a passenger with a professional racing driver.
What an eye opener that was!
We all dream that we can drive fast, well I do anyway, but I never thought a car could take corners like this ride showed me. When I mentioned this to the driver, he said that he should be able to drive fast as he practices almost every day and that was his job.
He then told me that to be a professional formula 1 driver he would have to improve his lap times by 3 to 4 seconds which is a lifetime in motor racing at that level.
That 1 lap was one of the most exiting 90 seconds of my life and certainly bought me down to earth.
To anyone who loves speed, I would recommend one of these courses, firstly though trying a Race Day that costs around £160 for 9 or 10 laps. Expensive yes, but worth it just for the experience.
I got the bug, if only I had the money I would have gone every week.
Unfortunately injury has resulted in the g force being too painful and dangerous to my older body but young at heart brain.
If you're interested in experiencing the thrill of the race track click on the image for more details.