Marco, my bombastic and rather pretentious client-friend told me that driving a V8 Race Car is about as close as one can come to driving a V8 Supercar. I kind of disagreed – I have a thing for the real V8 supercar. Still, he went ahead and got me a gift voucher for a V8 Race Car driving experience in Sydney.
They Say The Taste Of The Pudding Is In The Eating
I was still skeptical when I got to Eastern Creek, Sydney, bright and early on Saturday morning. There it was – a shiny, red V8 Commodore – my dream race car. I was geared and kitted out, helmet and all, and finally started feeling like a race car driver. I rather enjoyed the preliminary training – I thought I knew it all, but there was so much to learn – how to control the car, steer efficiently, change gears, brake, exit, apex, and corner, accelerate – it was amazing. Dan, my red-haired instructor, took me on a few observation laps to survey the track, and I started getting excited.
Then the real action began, and I say this not just to impress anyone. Dan buckled himself into the passenger seat, and let me drive. I did one warm up lap – got used to the car and track, and then I let loose my inner rev-head!Dan went on with his instruction, but in about two laps my skills and confidence level both grew. Then there was no stopping me! I felt I was none other than Mark Skaife!
And Those Hot Laps
When I had driven six or eight laps, Dan took over again. I was sad to relinquish the wheel but Dan winked at me and said just you wait. He then took me around the track for three or four seriously fast V8 hot laps, and I screamed with excitement. This was real race driving! The wind whipped my beard back and the superb acceleration, rip-roaring speed and control just drove me nuts.
The Commodore’s 450hp engine roared, and I could feel the heat coming up from the asphalt, creating a haze around me. The smoke from the tires clouded my senses. The supercar 6-pot brakes whined, and the Bilstein suspension got a real beating when Dan put the V8 through its moves. For the first time I truly felt like I knew the real meaning of the word ‘speed’. Here I was, a regular old IT nerd, experiencing the thrill of a full sized racetrack in full steam. The acceleration, the noise, the sheer grips on the corners– simply indescribable.
I Am Now Finally One Among Those Lucky Few
There was a time when only competition winners or corporate sponsors could enjoy professional V8 laps.Well, boo-hoo to them. I was there, and I experienced that thrill for myself, and I am not going to forget it in a hurry, not for a long, long time. When I finally got my seatbelt off and stood up, I could feel my whole body shaking with adrenalin. My legs felt decidedly unsteady, and if my wife were to be believed, my face was split into two by the most demonic grin ever.