We discovered that there was an opportunity to take four “hot laps” with Australian racing driver, Garth Rainsbury in his V8 R8 Holden Commodore, around the actual Grand Prix Circuit….and, WE JUST HAD TO DO IT!! When the time came, Garth introduced himself to us and told us that he had been racing for the past 12 years….at the moment competing in the Porsche GT Cup in Australia. He asked if we could like to first of all watch two other couples who were driving their own cars around the circuit (at no more than 100 kilometres an hour…LOL), following behind him driving his Holden….slowly. How could we resist! After what seemed like an age…it was finally OUR turn to have these two couples watch us doing four laps around the circuit at racing speed!
After we had securely fastened our racing crash-helmets and seat belts we set off with such G-force our heads crashed backwards into the headrests!! Garth gave us a commentary all the time, explaining what he was doing at each corner….how fast we were going….where the braking points were….where and how to overtake…as well as power-sliding around the corners…all at the same time!! The braking forces were tremendous as we approached some of the corners, as was the acceleration out of the corners. During the first lap, he kept asking us if we were OK….but we egged him on to go faster and faster, whilst hanging on for dear life to the ceiling handles and bracing ourselves for each power slide. He soon got the idea that we were both OK with the speed, so he really let rip. The braking, acceleration and cornering could only be described as brutal, and afterwards he told us that the tyres on the vehicle are replaced after every 10 “hot lap” sessions as they are worn out!! He also mentioned after our drive, that he had crashed during races at just about every corner on the circuit!! Gulp!! Each time we passed the start/finish line the other two couples were cheering us on from the open-top roof of the pit garages.
Then it was time for the cool-down lap, during which time I took a few photos and we made our way back to the start/finish line where we parked the car and posed for photographs and a chat about our experience.
Garth Rainsbury is a really friendly guy who is, a you might expect, very knowledgeable about cars, racing and speed in general. He was very interested to hear that we lived only a couple of hours drive from Jerez in Spain….home of the Spanish Moto GP and where the out of season F1 testing takes place. We agreed that if he was ever in Europe, racing…he could come and visit us. We ended up chatting so much that by the time we made our way back to the visitor centre, all the staff had gone home, except for one girl who had to stay behind to let us back in. We were presented with certificates to say how fast we had travelled during our hot laps..and suddenly it was all over. We certainly wont forget today in a hurry!! Absolutely brilliant!! Woohoo!