It’s not every day you get the chance to meet a Formula 1 World Champion, let alone be driven around a race-track by one. So, when the invite to meet Fernando Alonso and be his passenger arrived in my inbox it took me about half a nanosecond to say yes.
The day was organised by the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team. It started with a quick visit to the McLaren Technology Centre down in Surrey for a quick look behind the scenes. We were shown how the individual parts of the Formula 1 cars are made, what happens to the cars after each race (each car is stripped down, checked for problems and then rebuilt by hand) and we also got to see the production line for the stunning Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren supercar. It’s quite an awesome sight.
After a quick spot of lunch we were driven in convoy to Goodwood racing circuit where we were handed a branded racing suit (to be honest, it’s more like a shiny baby romper suit) and helmet.
But the best part of the day was undoubtedly the two laps I experienced in the passenger seat of a £330,000 SLR supercar with Fernando at the wheel. He races for a living, and owns one of these 620bhp rockets so it’s no surprise that he took great joy in sliding the car around the track at an average speed of about 130mph.
The sense of speed and acceleration from the SLR was unbelievable and Fernando seemed quite happy drifting around the corners while I contemplated bringing up my buffet lunch. But, that slight moment of nausea was just a small price to pay for a fantastic day.
For footage of my laps with Alonso simply download this week’s Stuff.tv vidcast. Enjoy!!