If I may, I’d like to start by borrowing a cliche.
Ever since I was a boy, I dreamed of driving a racing car.
I’ve come close, the last few years. There’s been more than a few BMW M cars, a few Audi RSs, two Ferraris and a McLaren.
Close, no potato.
Recently, that changed.
Your Humble Correspondent found himself gracelessly contorting into a race suit, awkwardly trying to fit his glasses on while wearing a helmet and essentially falling into the driver’s seat of a V8 Falcon.
It was mocked up to look like a Brad Jones OzEmail Supercar from the turn of the century, and I was going to take it around Sydney Motorsport Park as fast as I wanted.
Thankfully, I wasn’t alone in the car. Luke, whose experience would seem to include something slightly more useful than playing far too much Forza Motorsport, was strapped into the passenger seat and it was his job to make sure I didn’t kill myself.
Strapped in, knock it into neutral, turn the key and the throaty growl of the V8 under the bonnet fills my ears. It is a glorious noise.
Into first gear, feed it some loud pedal and off we go.
Holy moly driving quick is fun. The noise, the forces, going around corners, finding your braking points, turn in points. It doesn’t take much for your ambition to quickly surpass your talent behind the wheel.
With Luke in my ear guiding me around the track, making sure I found the apexes and stayed out of everyone’s way, I still managed to completely muck up turn 2.
Braking too late, the car understeered way wide and I immediately thought “oh no, we’re going into the gravel”.
We didn’t. Phew.
“That wasn’t good,” Luke said.
“Yeah, got that wrong,” I replied, earnestly searching for the correct bit of track I should be driving on. Settle down.
I drove six laps of the Druitt Circuit (You turn left after turn 3 and go through a little chicane before re-joining the circuit on the run into the penultimate corner) and at the end I was just starting to understand everything I was supposed to be doing. How the balance of the car worked, where my turn in points where, how much speed you could carry through a corner.
Then you come back into the pits. Time’s up.
It was when I got out the car, I realised I was shaking – it was the both the realisation of and complete destruction of a dream.
I’d driven a racing car. I had to come to terms with the fact I am rubbish at driving a racing car. Sticking to the Xbox seems like the smarter choice for me.
But would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
Your Humble Correspondent took part in the V8 Race Experience as a guest of Fastrack V8 Race experience – their website is v8race.com if you fancy getting behind the wheel yourself.