2012 proved to be an exciting year for me, with a unique racing opportunity that arose. Being involved in the Nissan Delta Wing, which we took from ‘concept’ to racing at Le Mans in the space of about 3 months, was an amazing experience. The car had half the weight & half the amount of drag of a standard race car. With that it also uses half the tyres & half the fuel, factors which are hugely influential in endurance racing.
Getting into such a radical design for the first time, my concerns were will this work? Is this going to be okay? But there had been an awful lot of very clever people involved in designing and building it, so I figured it must work! I pulled out of the pit garage and noted how well it seemed to turn, then I set off on the circuit and still all felt very promising. Within one lap it proved itself to be all it had promised to be. I’d been told that by the end of the scheduled three days of testing, the car should hopefully be capable of taking one particular corner of the circuit flat out, or nearly flat at least when on new tyres, low fuel etc. Well on just the 3rd lap in the car, I was already going flat through that corner, pulling 3.5 to 4 g and at that point I just thought this thing is definitely going to prove a lot of people wrong!
All I could say to the engineers was it felt like a racing car. It looked completely nuts, but the whole design, build, aerodynamics, air flow, had all come together to make a very good racing car, which has a huge amount of potential.
One aspect of motorsport that is dear to me is the friendships that are forged through racing. I’ve made friends around the world and it is always great to catch up at circuits, venues and events. It’s fair to say my social circle is pretty much car-centric. I do tend to talk about nothing but cars with my cousin Paul and my brother, fortunately my wife is into cars too, otherwise I might have problems!
I’m passionate about historic racing, in fact pretty much any form of motorsport, whether it is on 4 wheels or 2. I’ve been lucky to meet some of my heroes and to now count them as friends too, including John McGuinness and Mick Doohan. I was fortunate to know two of the great rally drivers of our era, both of whom sadly passed away, Colin McRae and Richard Burns. It’s heartbreaking that they are not with us anymore, but they left us with some amazing memories. I’m hugely honoured to be a patron of the Richard Burns Foundation and to help others in his name. To have so many friends, who are also great sportsmen adds to the whole buzz of being involved in the sport.
My best friend in the world though is my brother Dario. We talk two or three times a day. When we were kids we used to play computer games all the time. We had a Commodore Amiga and the game was Indy 500. The details you could go into was amazing, changing the whole set up of your car. When Dario won his first Indy 500 I sent him a screen grab of the game and said do you remember us playing this? To get into the game you had to enter a password, the question would be to name a driver who won Indy500 in a particular year and it’s amazing to think that if they had the game now his name would appears 3 times!
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Memory added on January 28, 2013
Lovely story! Thank you for sharing!:)
– Lou Iontton, February 18 2013 at 15:21