Not so long ago we decided it would be fun to plan a trip to Germany this month for a spin around the Nurburgring in our Radical SR3 RS. What could be better than having the actual lap record holder, Michael Vergers, drive you?! Well we found him and he happily agreed to drive our car this coming July 18th and 19th.
With nearly all the hot laps sold over the two days, we thought we’d ask Michael how he came to be the lap record holder and how he felt about going back to the ‘Ring’ to give hot laps to the public.
Here’s what he had to say:
How did you get into motor racing?
My dad used to go to Zandvoort and set up the Dutch Sterling Moss fan club but he himself never really had the means to do it. Then when we lived in Spain we resided next to James Hunt (a former Formula 1 driver and BBC motor racing commentator) where I would watch his collection of Betamax videos and read all the magazines that are now cluttering my own home.
When did you start driving Radicals?
I met the owners of Radical when it was still an idea and so I have been driving Radicals since the beginning. From the Original Clubsport to the awesome 2.7 litre SR8. I have been very fortunate that I have been able to go worldwide promoting this great racing product and have enjoyed it every time.
How did the opportunity come about to set the lap record in a Radical at the Nurburgring?
The opportunity first arose when Phil Bennett and Autocar magazine had the idea of going to the Ring to set a lap record. We at that time had developed a SR3 Turbo and I got to do the testing at the Nurburgring before Phil Bennett achieved Radicals 1st Ring Lap Record, which was a 7.19 lap.
I then returned 2 years later with the 1st SR8 achieving 6.56 and then ultimately with the latest version at the time and having driven it from the factory all the way there - the current lap record of 6.46.
The Radical SR8 LM that Michael drove
Are you looking forward to giving hot laps around the Nurburgring?
Very much! It’s always a buzz doing any sort of driving around the Ring, getting an opportunity to do hot laps aboard a Radical and allowing people to feel that buzz will be superb!
Do you have any plans to try to set a new record at the Nurburgring and if so, in what car?
I would love to go back and go for another attempt. I would have to go back in a Radical of course ha!ha!
I don’t think there are many cars capable of doing sub 7 minute laps. I was once asked to do an attempt in the Caparo T1, I think that would have got close but the Radical is a very hard car to beat.
What’s your ideal race car?
It’s hard to say what is your ideal racing car. I have driven so many different types that I would find solutions for all scenarios. To name but a few, Radical Prosport (PR6), SR3, SR8, Reynard FF88 (Formula Ford 1600), LMP2 Zytek (very close to perfection), Jaguar E-Type Lightweight. I have enjoyed every car I have ever driven, they are all different but the ones mentioned above are quite special.
What has been your best memory in motor sport?
Next question please! :) This is hard to say. Every win is special, even sometimes finishing is special. When I retire for real then I can find a memory, but I am hoping there are still great moments to come.
How often do you race and what does your training involve?
This year I haven’t raced much at all It’s a case of being in the right place at the right time or meeting the right person. I do some coaching work and this allows me to drive cars once in a while, but when you are at a level, it’s like a switch. You get in… and it just happens.
If you’re not behind the wheel of a race car, what do you get up too?
I love to tinker with anything mechanical, I work on my own little rally car, I have a Lancia Integrale that I am restoring (its going to take time), motorbikes, of which I have 2 and then I am planning to start paragliding again soon.
What are your plans for the future?
I have been working in the Saudi Arabia during the winters for Saudi’s 1st race track, Reem Circuit and lately for a race team. I am there for my knowledge and last year it was my responsibility to look after the future generation of young drivers. Besides that I would like to do some more racing here in Europe or across the waters in America.
For more information on our Nurburgring trip – please visit our main website: wwwUniqueTrackDays.com We may still have a place or two left if your quick!
Here’s the video of Michael doing the lap record lap: