Petrol Head Heaven
Back in June I was lucky enough to go with three friends on a PalmerSport driving day. Quite simply put this is one of the best driving days in the world. The list of cars would make any petrol head salivate: Ariel Atom, BMW M3, Caterham 7, Jaguar Le Mans, Formula Jaguar, Land Rover Defender Extreme Off Road and finally a Caterham 7 Pursuit race.
Unlike many driving days there were no limits on speed, gears and overtaking. In fact you’re with instructors who are pushing you to go faster, break later and harder, and turn in more sharply. Adrenalin flows and nerves are pushed to the limit as you drive way beyond anything you have ever experienced before. In many of the cars there is no servo assist with the breaks, its pure mechanical hard braking by the driver and if you don’t break soon enough or hard enough you will simply spin-off. There is no car more likely to spin-off than the good old Caterham 7 which just loves to take corners sideways on opposite lock. Once you get used to that its one of the most fun cars to drive of the day.
It was an absolute pleasure to share the day with Aston, Rory & Jeremy, though a little intimidating when Rory & Aston have done it two or three times before. I have to say that their experience did show, particularly Aston’s, but it was still a great day even if I wasn’t exactly the fastest.
Below is a gallery that covers the whole day from start to finish and some of the individual images. All of these photographs were taken using my Olympus EP2 and either the 17mm f2.8 pancake lens or the kit zoom. It really wasn’t a day for the Leica M8 🙂
The final event of the day is the Caterham Pursuit. Two drivers on a mirror image courses starting back to back then race each other round a small tight driving pan which finishes with a mini-roundabout. The fastest way to get round the roundabout is to do donuts round it. Fortunately you get three attempts at the course as it wasn’t until the last time that I managed to pull that off. I was up against Jeremy so I gave my camera to Aston who took these last photographs for our very own Top Gear challenge. I didn’t win the Pursuit but it was a great end to a brilliant day.