Celebrities On Track

Unique Track Days were back at Silverstone yesterday for another exhilarating day on the F1 Arena GP circuit. We had been employed by ‘Track Focused’ to run the Radical SR3 RS, alongside their Porsche GT3 RS and Ferrari 430 Scuderia. With just 6 clients across the three cars, they were in for a fun day without doubt.

silverstone-corporate-day

The day started early as always. Arriving at our pit garage first, we were soon joined by the GT3 RS and 430 Scuderia which looked stunning. The garage was buzzing with excitement and anticipation as the clients arrived. The weather, whilst looking a little gloomy was set to get better.

Soon enough we heard the tell-tale sounds of cars rocketing down the pit straight, confirming it was time to get out there and see what these cars had to offer. Out of the three cars, the Radical SR3 RS would obviously be the quickest by some margin. But for supercar club clients whom we were catering for, each car in its own right held a personal charm depending on their preferences. This was interesting to hear, talking to them over the course of the day. Each client had their own agenda for the day and their own personal favourites. I guess it doesn’t always boil down to sheer performance at the end of the day. If it did, everyone would be driving oThere was an array of interesting cars worthy of a mention here. An old 1930′s Maserati caught most people’s attention when it fired up in the afternoon. Heads turned when the thundering sound of its engine bellowed out of a pit garage. I went to investigate and get a closer look. It had a crank shaft sticking out of the front to start it! Not often you see that anymore. It made me think of what it must have been like for people in general to see this thing in action back in the day. By simply turning this lever, all hell broke loose under the bonnet. The longest exhaust pipe I have ever seen emerged from the side of the bonnet, and stretched the full length of the car, and then on a bit further just for good measure. The cockpit was a tight affair for a small person, and its axles stuck out a foot or more, securing the rather thin tyres and alarmingly rudimentary drum brakes to boot. Whilst this all sounds very old school, it certainly was moving out on track. As it flew into Copse corner at the end of pit straight, I was staggered as to how it stuck to the track. And what a noise!ur Radical!

We heard on the grape-vine that Heston Blumenthal was out on track in a Morgan. Sure enough we soon caught a glimpse of him tootling up the pit lane past our garage. His unmistakable glasses peering out under the visor of his helmet. We had heard he was out on track practising for some charity event, although this is not confirmed. Later in the day he took his own very beautiful Porsche GT2 RS onto track and looked considerably faster in it, than the Morgan! Nice number plate Heston!

Heston-Blumenthal
Heston-Blumenthal-at-silverstone
porsche-gt2-rs

There was an array of interesting cars worthy of a mention here. An old 1930′s Maserati caught most people’s attention when it fired up in the afternoon. Heads turned when the thundering sound of its engine bellowed out of a pit garage. I went to investigate and get a closer look. It had a crank shaft sticking out of the front to start it! Not often you see that anymore. It made me think of what it must have been like for people in general to see this thing in action back in the day. By simply turning this lever, all hell broke loose under the bonnet. The longest exhaust pipe I have ever seen emerged from the side of the bonnet, and stretched the full length of the car, and then on a bit further just for good measure. The cockpit was a tight affair for a small person, and its axles stuck out a foot or more, securing the rather thin tyres and alarmingly rudimentary drum brakes to boot. Whilst this all sounds very old school, it certainly was moving out on track. As it flew into Copse corner at the end of pit straight, I was staggered as to how it stuck to the track. And what a noise!

1930-Maserati
red-Maserati-1930

In contrast to such a golden oldy, there was a garage full of Italian decadence. firstly was a 458 Italia which was full race spec in white. This was almost on a par with the Radicals out on the day. A seriously quick machine! I felt a strong urge to get behind the wheel which seldom happens these days because after getting on the pace in a Radical, I know most things will just be a disappointment.

The other car which was seriously stunning was number 1 (!) of 599 limited edition, Ferrari 599 GTO. I dread to think of what it cost! It never made an appearance on track that I saw which was a real shame. This has to be the best looking Ferrari that has been built in years. Here is some footage of one nipping round the Nurburgring for your viewing pleasure. Amazing!!!!

ferrari-599-gto

The last thing I felt worth a mention was a Smart car. Yes that’s right kids, a Smart car. A seemingly out of place vehicle amongst the other cars I have mentioned, but there were two of them out on track nonetheless. Not for long however. As the sirens screeched and every available emergency vehicle available raced past our garage up the pit lane, it was obvious there had been a major incident. We raced up to the end of the pit lane to get a sneaky peek of what had happened and could see said Smart car being loaded onto a recovery van. We didn’t know at this point whether the driver was okay so the joking remarks had to stay tight lipped for now. We later went to check it out. Here is the photo of it after loosing control around Copse corner and rolling. apparently these cars race in their own series and 3 rolled in a race over the weekend. They are well renowned for doing just that on an alarmingly regular basis. The driver was fine and the roll cage intact, fortunately! Amazing considering the crumple zone consists of firstly, your ankles, then your legs! The drivers funnily enough called it a day after that.

smartcar-race-car

Feedback from the clients soon revealed they were suitably impressed with our Radical SR3 RS. Amusingly, it was however causing some issues. An American gentleman was explaining that he had first driven the Radical and when he subsequently got into the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, was promptly told to slow down as it doesn’t go round corners anything like the Radical. Ha ha!!

As the day played out, all the clients were having a great time and were finishing their driving. Now its time for “Hot Laps”. The first out was a client who had spent a considerable part of the day walking around saying “I cannot believe that Radical, I just can’t. It’s like nothing else I have ever driven”. So now it was time for a taste of what you can achieve in a Radical if you are one of the top drivers in the Radical series. Bradley Ellis who was our instructor/race driver for the day and had been sat in the passenger seat for far to long, barking “power on” and “get off the breaks” at the clients was now ready to get it out of his system. We always like seeing “Bradder’s” towards the end of a long day. Only 24, he is like a coiled spring. If he doesn’t get to go out and thrash the pants of the Radical, he goes home with a solemn look on his face like a child that just missed christmas. Anyhow, we put the already suitably impressed client in the car and Bradley lit up the tyres as he left the garage, confirming our suspicions! Two laps later they were back and the client was speechless as he removed his helmet. Job done!

Unique Track Days are back at the F1 Arena GP circuit on the 30th May, places are selling fast but there is still some availability. Visit www.uniquetrackdays.com and get in touch if you want a similar experience!