Muddy races Silverstone…
One Muddy, three cars, four hours - I was nervous and then I was exhilarated. I felt the need, the need for speed...
I used to love driving like a bat out of hell, putting the pedal to the metal and going like the clappers. I was fearless, immortal, I had my whole life in front of me…and then I had kids. Suddenly the thought of jumping out of a plane or racing a car at 120 mph, was for that girl from another life. Why would I take unnecessary risks when there were mini versions of me needing me home safe at night? Risk was ordering a full salty rim on a margarita, not climbing into a one-seater racing car ON MY OWN and throttling around Silverstone race track (Silverstone itself, you know, where Lewis Hamilton and Jensen Button show off their driving prowess).
So when the opportunity came up to drive a Ferrari and a single-seater at Silverstone, I surprised myself by readily accepting without a moment’s hesitation, not realising how bloomin’ nervous I’d be on the day! When I arrived for my racing extravaganza I was surprised to see that this is a big thing for Silverstone. Racing experiences are becoming more and more popular and I have to say, the look of excitement on all of the ‘racers’ faces, it’s clearly a bloomin’ good prezzie for anyone who likes a bit of a thrill and no speed restrictions!
First up was the Ferrari (on the UK’s only Formula 1 track don’t you know). Oh, and did I mention it was Muddy en masse? Well at least two of us, as Hero, editor of Oxon/Bucks was giving it a go too (I’ve had to follow this lady in the car on some windy country roads, and she ain’t no Driving Miss Daisy)!
The instructors were all amazing (very smiley too) and fully reassured us before the drive (as you can see, the headware was distinctly unglamorous, but it certainly put me in the mood for some Ferarri action). Slipping behind the wheel of the 400 BHP V8 F430 Coupe, the aim was to paddle through the gears, and scream out of Silverstone’s famous corners; and to be honest, that’s what we did. The Ferrari was much easier to drive than I thought it would be; pulling out onto the racetrack I felt totally in control, and the heavy roar of the engine, even with the slightest of touch, reverberated through my whole body! Hero had a brilliant few laps in the Aston Martin too, read here for her experience and decide whether you’re more of a Ferrari or Aston Martin kinda gal or dude, but either one is a treat. We had a practice few practice laps and came off for a break before going back on to really get our foot down. It’s amazing how quickly your confidence grows, and before I knew it I was spanking 120 odd miles an hour, althogh I fear my instructor was reaching for the dual control breaks!
Afterwards, one of the lovely instructors let Mini Muddy sit in both the cars, and before you culd say ‘awesomeness’ she was Snapchatting her friend about it all afternoon! It’s good to know you can take a member of your family along and they get the thrill of watching you (while reassuring you). Plus, the energy around Silverstone and the racing experience drivers is catching! You also get feedback on your session and where you excelled and where you could improve; I reckon lots of people go back to better their first times and performance. Speaking of which, it wasn’t over for the muddy Eds. As if racing a Ferrari wasn’t enough, next up was the Single Seater ‘Thrill’ experience! The spiel says ‘enjoy incredible grip, steering and acceleration around our world-famous Stowe circuit. Feel the thrill of 140bhp and 0-60mph in under five seconds as you tackle the track in this light, fast, aerodynamic racing car.’ Well, this was that, and more. No instructor to break for you and lots of male testosterone trying to take over you; both Hero and I were a little more apprehensive for this one, but as you can see, still all smiles!
It’s a proper thrill seeking drive this one. But if I’m being totally honest, the men here were the ones who really wanted the fast lap times. I was content with enjoying the ride and making sure I could wave to the family and spectators (such a show off). I overtook a couple of times, but part of me was thinking, ‘Jesus, what if I roll man, who’ll look after the kids’. Maybe my Nigel Mansell days are behind me; but you know what? It was an adrenaline buzz, it was a laugh, and I got to do something pretty bloomin’ special, that at one time, money couldn’t buy!
This really is a great gift! I bumped into one of Northants big foodie people, Tom Hewer (Frank’s Steakhouse/W H Thomas Butchers) giving the racing a go. And why not? Silverstone is perfectly situated near Towcester – 185 Watling Street – for some dining out or Whittlebury Hall for some spa action if you want to make a weekend of it. As experiences go, this is up there with interviewing Richard Gere and getting a freebie press trip to Cava ; )
Want to give the car fanatic in your life an extra special gift? Treat them to a Silverstone Superchoice voucher. When it comes to thrill, excitement, and a present they’ll never forget, it’s the perfect gift (no really, it is)!
They’ll choose between a Ferrari, Aston Martin or a single-seater racing car, then suit up and head out onto one of Silverstone’s world famous tracks. Click here to buy into the experience (you too can look as good as me with an underpant style garment on your head)!
Price – Superchoice Voucher with a 6 month redemption period – £179
Superchoice Voucher with a 12 month redemption period – £199
Plus!!! **Breakfast Offer** Free breakfast bap and a coffee for 2, when you book onto one of the first two sessions of the day, 08:30 or 09:35!
Silverstone – did you know?
The end of the Second World War had left Britain with no major race track but an abundance of airfields. One of these surplus airfields was located outside the village of Silverstone and being roughly in the middle of England was seen as an ideal location to bring back international motor racing to Britain.
By 1948 The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) had arranged a one year lease with the Air Ministry in the spirit of optimism and possibility which characterised the time. An ex-farmer, James Wilson Brown, was employed by the RAC and given just two months to turn the site from a wartime airfield and farm into a race track for the first RAC International Grand Prix. On the 2nd October 1948 an estimated 100,000 people flocked to see Luigi Villoresi beat a field of 22 others in his Maserati. Hay bales and ropes protected the piggery and crops in the middle of the circuit, and canvas barriers stopped drivers from being distracted by cars coming the other way. Silverstone racing history had begun.