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03-06-2015, 08:20 PM #1
Test Drive: Lotus V10 Formula 1 Car - Circuit of the Americas
Earlier this week I was able to experience one of my top Bucket-List events; driving a F1 car on an actual F1 racecourse. My wife surprised me with the "GP Experience" as a gift earlier this year. The original event she signed me up for was cancelled and moved to COTA which worked out very well considering I always wanted to drive this track.
The entire GP Team that put on this event was made up of true Racers and Enthusiasts and did an amazing job giving us a true "VIP" experience. Obviously its not easy to drive a F1 car so there is a good amount of training that you need to receive before you get to go near the cars. If you are a true F1 enthusiast even the classroom time is an exciting and educational experience. The instructors are winning drivers with decades of experience so you are taking instruction from some of the best teachers in the world which is an experience in itself.
I have personally done a few driving schools and I always bring my own equipment because the provided gear is usually cheap and highly used. In this case all the of gear (Driving Suit, Gloves, Shoes, Helmet, etc are provided) are top quality gear in literally out of the box new condition. You submit all of your measurements before hand so the gear is already sized for you and there is no time wasted trying on equipment before heading to the grid.
Being a Lotus owner I was very happy to walk into the garage and see a fleet of Lotus F1 cars. There were a pair of Renault V10 (2005) models and a Renault V8 (2006) model. For me these are the ideal F1 cars I would choose to drive because they are modern but pre-dates the electric power units and the sound of the V10 is just amazing.
Even the instructor cars were these cool retro looking open wheel "Lotus" F3 cars which I would not mind taking out for a few laps.
So obviously you can see that we did not have the most ideal conditions the day of the drive. That is just how it is in motorsports, you can not control the weather. Luckily I did have some previous open wheel wet driving experience under my belt so I was not too concerned with the conditions but was still disappointed to see the slicks come off and the rain tires go on these beautiful F1 cars.
The video should be called "getting strapped in a F1 Car" because half the video is the process of getting in the car, getting staged, starting it, etc. Since the weather was so bad and there are already several spins we had a lead car out front. The driver leading me was Didier Theys who won 24hrs of Daytona (twice), 12hrs of Sebring, and 24hrs at Spa. Although he was in a less powerful prototype there was no way I was going to catch up to him. My plan was to enjoy myself and not spin the car, which I succeeded.
After I had a chance to drive Didier took my wife and I out for some hot laps in the 3 seater V10 F1 car which was pretty amazing. If he had taken me for laps prior to my drive time I think I would have been much more aggressive after seeing how hard you can push these cars in the rain.
As a bonus after that I had a chance to ride shotgun with NGT Motorsports driver Henrique Cisneros in his Porsche GT Cup car as he prepared for the Pirelli World Challenge this weekend. Pretty amazing experience, nothing like riding with a pro driver to see just how much skill it takes to drive at this level.
This was an amazing experience but as you can imagine it was not cheap. If you are a real F1 or motorsports enthusiast I would say this is totally worth it, its a very unique opportunity. For more info check out GP Experience if you decide to book it tell them Justin referred you, maybe you can get a deal-2007 Aston Martin ESX SuperVantage
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