Saturday, 20 May 2017

Rockingham - Track Day

Europes fastest racing circuit at Rockingham Northamptonshire was the venue for Marina's track day driving an Aston Martin ! Rockingham has 13 configurations of track, which can be used for anything from touring cars to motorcycles to rally cars. The Oval circuit is American in style and is 1048 miles in total. It is only one of two in Europe.

Marina, privately a little worried?
Construction of Rockingham started late in 1999,it opened for business on Monday 15 January 2001 and was formally opened by the Queen on 26 May 2001. Unfortunately after weeks of dry weather in which 'drought' had already been whispered quietly we met with a deluge of rain. In fact it was with us for the whole day making for a wet experience.. We were not on the Oval Circuit today thankfully, using the inner racing track instead. Before and driving tough a full briefing was in order detailing the safety aspects and the spec of the cars available. These cars included; a Mclaren, 3 Lamborghini's, Porsches, Nissan GTR'S, Aston Martins, BMW's and Ferraris. First up was the Aston Martin Vantage a car Marina has always had a soft spot for. It seemed as though everybody had decided that today was the day when they were going to have a drive. As the numbers swelled the rain came harder and the drive in the Ariel Atom was cancelled because it was deemed too dangerous. Unfortunately with so many people waiting for their rides the queues were long ... probably at least an hour wait between cars. It was a matter of staying dry and warm as much as possible. Next in the firing line was the Lamborghini and things were not going to go well and end in disappointment. Thankfully no harm was done but due to the windscreen constantly steaming up it was virtually impossible to drive at any speed. At least that was her story ..... Our last ride involved both of us in BMW M3 in what was called a 'drift experience'. This is a driving technique where the driver intentionally oversteers, with loss of traction in the rear wheels or all tires, while maintaining control and driving at high speed through the corner. With all the water on the track it enhanced the experience and made it easier for the professional driver. The first lap was 'hairy' enough and actually quite enjoyable from my position on the back seat. The second lap he definitely upped it a bit ! It was strange, a bit like a roller coaster ride that is exhilarating but at the same time you are glad to get off. I don't think I could have done a third lap, my head was starting to go a bit under the helmet and being thrust from side to side. A great experience though.