Never in my wildest dreams…

Not even in my wildest dreams (and my dreams are a bit nuts) could I have envisaged what happened to me.

Not even in my wildest dreams (and my dreams are a bit nuts) could I have envisaged what happened to me.

It was a seemingly innocuous visit to Silverstone Circuit’s museum, a visit not dissimilar to one conducted by thousands of tourists each year. But oh how different it was.

In walking around the spare track as a result of changes to the F1 track near Luffield corner I noticed someone setting up a pretty serious looking camera. This – quite obviously – signalled to me that something of interest was afoot but what actually happened is seriously cool.

After half an hour of sitting on a bit of concrete a big red bus came clattering around the track. Not as exciting as I’m making this out to be I know but it’s who’s driving not what’s driving that matters.

Piloting this large red bus was a certain Sir Lewis Hamilton and the passenger onboard is the fabulous (in my heavily biased opinion) George Russell! Yep, the two Mercedes F1 drivers bombing around Silverstone in a London bus, doesn’t get cooler than this, does it?

Well it does. After the bus more vehicles emerged (not revealing any more as it was Sky’s filming and I don’t want to ruin it or annoy Sky) and towards the end the finest thing happened. George Russell waving at the crowd (all 15 of us) in a vehicle (still not giving it away). Best moment ever.

And if the ultimate F1 day out couldn’t get any better, in the distance was the RB18 testing and I have a recording of the sweet sound of an F1 engine. And all this for free (as a result of the Silverstone Museum annual pass).

Do comment your thoughts below. Can you top my ‘ultimate’ day out?

Published in Thoughts and Takes

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David Olsen-Fabian
1 year ago

I had a never in my wildest dreams car day. I went to the GM Proving Grounds!! Think about that one for a second. Top Secret. Execs and VP’s don’t even get to go there. Magazines have been DYING to get in there since long before I started reading about it in car magazines at age 9. It’s a magical place filled with all of the GM monster magic that goes on behind the scenes. I was there with my Dad as the men from the production line were there to test fit his washer bottle for the 2011 CTS. It went in the passenger wheel well as there was no more room inside the engine bay. Two parts the bottle and the neck – which just snaps into the bottle. Neck goes in the engine bay and the bottle the wheel well. They were testing to see if it could be installed in the allotted time. On the scene, the other engineering team present requested a change to the bottle. (My Dad was a Journeyman Machinist before going to engineering school at Ohio State) so my Dad takes the bottle, goes to the bench next to the car and proceeds to make the requested change (meanwhile the other engineers were standing there with mouths open wide because none of them could do what my Dad was doing in front of them – called craftsmanship). Was a funny moment in the day. Also got to see a water test where they dump millions of gallons per hour of water on a car for 24 hours to see if any of the seals leak. Real test! Also saw a Buick Regal that had a monster twin turbo engine, Brembo brakes the size of dinner plates, Recaro racing buckets and other go fast goodies. I have no idea what it was about just some fun the engineers had cooked up. Spoke to the test drivers who just pulled in in a 4 cylinder turbo Caddilac and the BIG one. I ask if the four had enough guts. He told me that the turbo gave it all the grunt of a V8 and it had no problem moving that thing around. I asked how loud it was. He told me he couldn’t even hear it at WOT. I saw the C8 before it was even a thing – they were testing a prototype concept. There were trucks with monster engines. Vette and Camaro with BIG blocks in them. A hummer was testing on the climb course but I saw no smoke or exhaust … was it an EV back then, I don’t know and never will. The kicker of this was that on the way in to the Proving Grounds you have to turn your pockets. They take EVERYTHING. No phones, computers, cameras or any electronics. If you get in but forget to give them your wallet … You don’t leave with it! That was back when security was loose enough for me to get in as an employee where my Dad worked. Can’t do it any more. I had the car guy treat of a lifetime!!!!!!!!

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