Twice-winner of the MINI Challenge Championship Chris Knox allerted me to a fantastic opportunity to drive a Lamborghini Gallardo LP570 Super Trofeo race car through an organisation called Supercar Drive Days at the Midlands circuit Mallory Park. I’d never even been to the circuit before, let alone driven it, so I watched some YouTube footage to get an idea of the layout. However, on the day the hairpin section was coned-off, so I was grateful for the three familiarisation laps in a BMW M3 V8, coached by another friend of mine Kevin Clark (who himself builds and races BMW M3s). The last corner onto the start/finish straight has a nasty hump just after the apex and with such a powerful car, its important to get that right!
I quickly got the hang of the short circuit and then prepared myself to drive the Lambo – and then began the familiar and uncomfortable process of threading myself through the roll cage and adjusting and tightening the harness. I’d taken my own helmet and HANS device with me – after a friend hit the Armco head-on at Cadwell Park recently in his Porsche 924, I wasn’t going to take any risks.
The car had already been out for a few laps so there was some heat in the massive Pirelli slicks but I didn’t fancy testing the grip limit too early! This car has 300 more BHP than the Boxster race car I ran for three seasons, plus it was left-hand drive and is fitted with a 6-speed sequential paddle-shift gearbox – I was wondering how steep a learning curve this was going to be! But I need not have worried as the car was very easy to drive and I was soon using 100% throttle and the car’s aero to take more speed into the faster corners. I did a total of 8 laps – and frankly would have loved to do at least twice that.
Given everything is “lifed” on race cars like this, it was a great opportunity to drive such a car and I’ll be taking the chance to do so again when its made available at other circuits – hopefully Donington.