It’s not every day you get invited, by a BTCC team boss, to bring your car to Brands Hatch to form part of a special line up at an exclusive end-of-season event, but that’s exactly what happened to me recently!
Motorbase Performance team boss, David Bartrum, recently hosted ‘David’s Hot Dog Day’ at Brands Hatch – a kind of end-of-season gathering to say thanks to sponsors and those that have helped the team over the course of the season. As a Ford fan himself, it will come as no surprise to learn that David owns a Mk3 Focus RS, but so too do many of the team’s sponsors. Mountune, Pro Alloy, and many others…including Fast Ford! And with the offer of passenger laps in a Championship winning BTCC Focus and a V12-powered Aston Martin GT car, plus plenty of hot dogs for lunch, how could I refuse!?
So I set the alarm for stupid O’clock in the morning, fired up the RS, and headed cross-country to Brands to join in the fun. With the Focus parked up alongside all the others, forming a cool little line-up of Ford’s latest hot hatch in the pitlane, I was able to get up close and personal with the race- and Championship-winning cars that were both on display and hitting the track.
In fact, Motorbase had even fitted passenger seats to the race cars too, so they could offer passenger rides to those who wanted to go out – or in my case, those who could fit! Yes, it may well have been an entertaining sight seeing me squeeze my sizeable bulk into a tiny bucket seat, but I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity for anything!
I’m glad I didn’t! It has to be one of the most exciting experiences of my life, and the memories of which will stay with me forever. The thing that stood out the most for me was just how violent these machines are! Watching from the on-board cameras doesn’t do the justice, it simply cannot portray the huge forces involved. For example, you may think the straight at Brands is fairly flat, rising at the end as you approach Paddock Hill, but it’s not! There’s a huge dip about half way along, that in most road and track cars you wouldn’t even feel, but in a BTCC car it throws all your internal organs up to the back of your mouth!
And then there’s Paddock Hill itself. The depression at the bottom is clear to see, but the speed at which the touring car can enter it is staggering – I have no idea how many G Forces it exerts on you, but it’s enough to make your head flop around uncontrollably! In fact, I tried to film the lap from the passenger seat on my phone, but the forces involved are so great you simply can’t control your arms, hence the ‘shakey cam’ footage I recorded! Click here to see it!
It was a fantastic day out though, and one I will never forget. Huge thanks to David and the team for the invite, and good luck for the 2017 season ahead!