16 Jan 2011

It goes Schumacher, Me, Earnhardt Jr. In that order...

Now that I've started writing for my blog again after a year-long gap, one of the most "bloggable" things that happened to me in 2010 was my lucky participation in a "Palmer Race Day" for work.

I work for Vodafone and every now and then a few of us get to take part in corporate-sponsored events. BlackBerry (who of course have a vested interest in keeping all service providers who carry its product happy) offered some people from Vodafone the opportunity to take part in the Palmer Race Day at Bedford Autodrome.

The Race Day involves a day of racing seven sports cars. It's a full day, starting with breakfast, racing four cars, lunch and then racing the last three cars.  The cars range from souped-up sports road cars, to fully-fledged track-only motorsport cars.  For each one, we got to do anything between 10-15 laps on four different race tracks.

Here's what we raced:

Formula Jaguar Racecar
(This was by far my favorite one to drive)

Renault Clio Cup
(A souped-up version of Renault's street car; used for Rally driving)

Caterham 7 Superlight
(The second most fun car of the day, superfast and super hard to handle!)

(Believe it or not, this was the fastest car of the day)

Land Rover Defender
(We got to take this offroad AND shoot paintball guns at targets!)

Porsche 911 JP3
(A bit of a let-down, for me...I went faster in the Clio!!)

Palmer Jaguar JP-Le Mans
(I cannot remember the amount of times I slid off the track in this)

So the Formula Jaguar was by far the most fun for me for two reasons: 1) it was the closest I've ever come (or are ever likely to come) to racing a Formula 1 car and 2) it was the only car we drove that we got to drive by ourselves...in every other car we had a professional in the passenger's seat, giving us instructions.

Another absolutely awesome part of the day was that three of the cars had on-board cameras. At the beginning of the day, we were each given our own 2GB USB stick. When we raced the Formula Jaguar, the BMW and the Palmer Jaguar, we plugged the sticks into the dash and the onboard cameras recorded and saved video of our laps!!

Here are the videos (unfortunately, I can't seem to upload the Formula Jaguar video...I even tried converting it to a few different formats, but still no luck):

First, the BMW M3 GTP...

Next, the Palmer Jaguar Le Mans...

Pretty cool, huh?

So, all in all, a really fun once-in-a-lifetime day. Even the food, both breakfast and lunch, was excellent (as were the constant supply of drinks and snacks throughout the day).

Was it as good as the time I get to fly in an F-15 Strike Eagle when I was in the US Air Force? Probably not, but it was definitely the next best thing.

Thanks to BlackBerry, Vodafone and Palmer Sport for the great experience.

...and, in lieu of the video, a pic of me in the Formula Jaguar...
(I'm concentrating like a mofo!)


Cam said...

Really cool!!!

Carlos said...

I know, right?! It was such a great day...

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about the Porsche, a fine fast car, but bland and souless that swapped ends at the merest sniff of a corner in the wet, whereas the Clio, which I expected to be rather boring, was in fact a characterful animal of a car, that refused to spin !!