I’ll admit it: motor sports isn’t my area of expertise. But, my brother is a serious petrol head, so when his 30th birthday came around I thought a car-related gift would be ideal. Knowing next-to-nothing about motor sports meant my search was pretty limited (F1, the man off Top Gear, that old Milky Way advert with the red and blue cars), but eventually I found the perfect present: an Aston Martin driving experience.
My little brother was thrilled. It turns out that his favourite car of all-time is an Aston Martin V8 Vantage and he’s always wanted to get behind the wheel. It’s part fast-car-obsession, part James-Bond-infatuation – essentially wanting to look as slick as 007 while driving a supercar. Seeing as I bought the gift, I figured it would be fun for me to go and watch, to see the fruits of my labour, if you will.
His face was a picture when he saw the shiny Aston Martins lined up, although I must admit, even I was impressed. Sleek, powerful, deadly looking – you can see why James Bond drove one. And my brother’s car number was 007, which obviously made his day.
The driving experience works like this: you get briefed, you drive four laps with your instructor, and then you have a break to reflect on things before your next laps. This is apparently very necessary, because driving a supercar for the first time at hair-raising speeds is no mean feat. It’s not just a case of putting your foot down – you have to accelerate and brake at exactly the right times and cope with the punishing G-force as your weight crushes you into the side of the car. It turns out that turning a corner is so complicated, I actually glazed over when the intricacies were explained.
So, my brother donned his helmet, posed for the obligatory photo and zoomed off. He reappeared after his first four laps looking positively shell-shocked. He likened it to the helplessness you feel on your first driving lesson, only with a super-fast, super-terrifying supercar that you have no idea how to handle. But after a quick debrief with his instructor, he was ready to hit the track again – and this time he started to get the hang of it. By his last lap, he didn’t want to stop.
His passion was infectious. Even watching from the side, I could see how addictive it must be: the adrenaline rush, the power of the car, the fast, furious fun. It’s easy to see how it became a multi-billion dollar business – why people spend small fortunes travelling to far-flung places to watch a Grand Prix, or spend hours glued to their televisions.
Sadly, my unofficial bet on my brother’s lap time cost me five quid, but it got me wondering – maybe I’d have better luck on the real thing. Knowing where to start is tricky because of the sheer scale of motor sports, but there are some good posts by companies such as the online betting service betfair that display some handy hints on motorsport betting and more specifically, for different forms of racing such as Formula One – although I’m pretty sure I’d be still be terrible, even with the help! Still, just like my brother’s budding career as the new Lewis Hamilton, everyone’s got to start somewhere…