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How to be a petrolhead

1 year ago

Writer:

Dan Prosser | Ti co-founder

Date:

9 April 2021

Anglesey Circuit was dry, warm and bright – so already it was a special moment. I was running third in the Caterham race and as I crossed the start/finish line to begin the final lap, I realised my heart was beating harder and faster than it ever had. Just 2.1 miles stood between me and my first ever podium in racing, although the car behind that was so close I could hear it might yet spoil the party.

Tension like I’d never known before. I thought under the stress I might plain forget how to operate the brakes or change gear. Most vividly I remember taking a very tight line into Rocket, the switchback corner at the end of the fastest part of the track, desperate to block any lunge from the predator over my shoulder. When I passed the chequered flag with him still behind and my first podium secure, the relief was so enormous I thought I’d cry. Then I roared in my helmet for the duration of the cool down lap.

Some time before that, the circuit the same but conditions entirely opposite, I qualified a Mazda MX-5 racing car in the rain. For entire sections of the track I could see nothing in the spray kicked up by the cars ahead of me but their brake lights. It took a kind of steeliness I’d never be able to summon away from the arena of competition to brake only when those lights illuminated in front of me – in the gloaming, the urge to lift off and seek the safety of the pit lane was almost irresistible.

I have never been more excited behind the wheel of a motor car. In fact, when I reflect on the most thrilling driving experiences I have ever had, I realise almost all of them have in common one thing – they were not on the public highway. Race circuits, test tracks, frozen lakes, rally stages, handling courses, disused airfields, empty paddocks… All places where the rules of the road do not apply.

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