The day finally came when I could use my drivers day card that my brother and his partner and their family bought for me as a Christmas present. Needless to say I woke up thinking it was Christmas I couldn’t get the day out of my head and was bouncing with excitement knowing I was going to go drive my dream car a Mitsubishi Evo
For those who don’t know a Mitsubishi Evo is a Japanese designed rally car which took the world by storm when Tommi Makinnen used it to won a series of consecutive world rally championships. There’s something about the raw appeal to me that makes an Evo like evil it has so much road presence
Now the choice of destination where I was going to drive my Evo was down Elvington air field and museum a good 70 miles away from where I live. After much hassle when I first called up to sort it out, I was told the Evo is a popular car and it’s only available at a few selected destinations.
I set off down there with my brother and after a quick stop off for some healthy breakfast (McDonald’s) when we got there the appeal was really dawning on me and I was so happy to be there I spot the Evo from about half a mile away it was like a magnet to me.
The event to host the driving day was done by Everyman Racing it’s recommended to get there an hour early and register this I would definitely agree with you will see why if you went the amount of people who turn up early are unreal and mine was one of the earliest timeslot. Plus it’s an open day event as well so people can just turn up and drive as long as they have their licenses I believe.
When I got there I signed the optional waiver in case I crashed the car otherwise I’d be paying 5000 in excess to cover the loss or damage of the vehicle. This excess is entirely optional. It’s your own choice if you purchase it but it’s recommended you don’t need it of you are only doing passenger rides. The earlier you get there during the day the better really as over the course of the day the vehicles will suffer from brake fade.
Now onto the event. After I went through the sign up process which takes around half an hour of waiting in a queue signing forms and paying in I was given a slip which gave a brief overview of what was paid for for my event. In my case it was 3miles as a driver in the Evo and a high speed passenger lap
The instructions say to wait at a coloured flag and listen for your name. Although when I was there I didn’t see any form of blue flag. I simply walked towards the nearest entrance gate closest to the Evo and waited admiring all the different cars
Eventually after waiting for what seemed forever my name was called. I handed my USB stick for in car recording and saving photos onto, after a short while (around 15 mins) the camera was set up and recording. I was given a brief run-down with some instructions by the examiner and drove to the start line for a photograph before going onto the main track
Once the photographs were taken I was instructed to drive up towards the airfield, once on the air field the instructor informed me where to accelerate, when to slow down, when to turn. The first time I drove around the airfield I didn’t know where I was going. The instructor said turn at the yellow cones. To be honest I think the cones weren’t really that visible in contrast to the course, and I wasn’t really familiar with the track.
The second lap around the airfield I was very familiar with the layout so I was a lot more keen when it came to driving on the course as I knew where to turn and slow down so I didn’t hesitate when driving. As you go around each lap you are instructed where the camera woman is, after the second (and final) lap waved to the camera and returned to the paddocks. The instructor then gave me my piece of paper with my score on (37/40 IIRC) and instructed me to wait again for the paddocks.
My next ride out was a passenger ride with non other than the stig… well someone dressed as him. The passenger ride was a high speed lap, when I first was given the gift I was positive it said in an Ariel Atom. When at the course I was advised the default high speed lap is in a Vauxhall Monaro VXR8. These cars aren’t exactly slouches either, but I REALLY wanted to a high speed lap in the Atom so stumped up the money for one lap (around £25). After waiting my turn for passenger ride finally came. I was given a helmet to use and as I lowered into the fibreglass bucket seats it really amazes you how low they are (loads of legroom too). The instructors connected up the harnesses which you REALLY need in them and the driver. Whom I shall call Stig took me for a lap.
Before I go further, I just want to note, the Atom I was sitting inside was the most powerful there. All the Atoms’ there were supercharged, but the one I was in was 320hp
Anyway, I we set off, I was expecting “Stig” to drive slowly up for the photograph shots. Absolutely fuck no,,, soon was I was strapped up and ready to go his foot was to the floor and wizzing through the gears. We hit 100 before we even touched the airfield (these cars have the same 0-60 acceleration as the £1,000,000 Bugatti Veyron and I have some perspective just how fast the Bugatti is now. The Atom was unreal. As the course was familiar, Stig knew all the perfect spots to turn and when to accelerate, the car never dropped below 100 when we were on the airfield, you could hear the tyres screaming for grip. The sheer air force on the helmet actually lifted the helmet upwards off my head and I had to pull it back down. I made sure I pulled it down because I couldn’t see. The lap only lasted around 30 seconds, but I couldn’t stop smiling. Way more than the Evo, safe to say the Atom was next on my wishlist for lotto cars to buy.
Whilst waiting for the Atom, I paid for Steven (brother) to go out in the VXR8 (he’s a Vauxhall nut) he came back with a smile too.
After that, we collected the photos and left the event.
Overall, the entire day cost me around £140.
I’ll be updating this post later with some pros + cons of the event and including the Youtube video of me driving the Evo.
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