Tag Archives: Track Day

Ferrari Experience Silverstone

The boys at Fast German headed up to Silverstone for the ‘blue ribbon’ experience including driver tuition, driving a Lotus Exige, Ferrari 355 and a fast passenger ride in a supercharged Lotus Exige. The format for the day was as follows: –

Introduction – 30 minutes or so as a group for driver tuition in the class room. The circuit was marked out with red, yellow and green coloured cones. Between the red cones is your braking space before entering the corner, which will have a yellow cone to indicate the clipping point also known as the apex. This is mainly to indicate the fastest route to take. You will be advised to keep the accelerator at a constant rate to avoid oversteer and understeer, however this was my first time in a Ferrari and I had to get the back out a little. Once the green cone is visible in your windscreen you can floor it! The instructors advise pushing the throttle at the same pace of returning the steering wheel to the central position.

Demonstration Lap – This involved being taken out by your instructor for a slow lap in the Lotus Exige, which would be driven by yourself later. This proved very valuable and trying to pay as much attention to the surroundings as possible to plan out what sort of speeds could be achieved and where.

Lotus Exige – Swapping places with the instructor from the demonstration lap, it was time to practice what we had been taught and get ourselves ready for the 380 bhp Ferrari 355! I must add it really was hard work to get in and out of the Lotus, especially being 6ft 3 and wearing a helmet. This car really gripped, it is unbelievable how precise everything is but I wasn’t all that convinced by the claimed performance figures. It’s hard to know how fast we were travelling because I had no time to look at the speedo from trying to have a full conversation with my instructor on the best plan of action and trying to remember where the hanger straight is. I found on the final lap of the 4 that I was going a lot faster, especially when the back stepped out, which was enormous fun and very easy to correct. This car is definitely a track day weapon.

Ferrari 355 – It was time! We were told to go and sit in our cars before the instructor joined us. I was a bit disappointed to find the cars were all left hand drive and I should have taken the time to get used to the gear box but I was way too excited. On firing up the V8 I had the biggest smile on my face and this thing sounded awesome especially at high revs. The first thing I noticed was how much faster this car was and then how heavy it felt in the corners compared to the Lotus. The instructor told us we should be seeing speeds of 140 mph down hanger straight, again I wanted to look at the speedo but had no time, all I know is it felt very fast. The worst thing about this part of the day was the instructor telling me to pull into the pits, 4 laps went ridiculously quickly.

High Speed Passenger Ride – Definitely one of the most enjoyable parts of the day was being taken out in a track prepared, supercharged Lotus Exige. The driver was power sliding through every corner and to see where we were going I had to look out of one of the door windows. I still couldn’t believe the speeds the Lotus could take the corners before the front or back brakes away. I obviously need more practice.

Debrief – A few jokes are shared about those who spun the cars and the slowest drivers, happily I was neither but certainly not the fastest either. An assessment sheet and certificate was given to each driver, mine contained many references to brake earlier, I did wonder why my instructor looked so shaky. There was also a chance to buy photos and merchandise, the last two pictures below are taken from track mounted cameras and definitely worth the memory even if a little pricy.

Lotus Exige

Porsche 993 RS

ferrari 355 silverstone track day

Porsche Experience Center – 991 Carrera 4

Attended the 991 Carrera 4 event at Silverstone today. First visit to the Porsche Experience Center and very impressed. Compared to the MB World in Brooklands it is much smaller, however it is also personal with more exciting driving facilities and a wider track allowing for overtaking. Richard Attwood was present, however I did need to look him up.

991 Cabriolet

The purpose of the day was to compare the C4 991 against the C2 in poor conditions. Cars ranged from C2-C4S with PDK or 7 speed manual. My first car was a gold C2S with PDK, sports exhaust and all the options.

The handling circuit was predominantly a 3rd gear track for me but the main differences I noticed to my 997 C2S were less understeer and better cornering, amazing exhaust noise, which I actually preferred the sports exhaust turned off. The crackles and burbles were fantastic.


Onto the low friction areas including the kick out plate. Couldn’t tell the difference between stability on and off in the C2S but the car felt like it went 90 degrees before correction – great fun. The accelerating up a slope however had vast differences using the driver aids. Without, I was slowly moving backwards down the hill.

Porsche Circuit

Onto the C4S with sports exhaust, 7 speed manual but no electric/heated seats and generally lighter specified. I found this car much more involving to drive on the handling circuit but this was mainly due to the manual box and heavier steering. According to the instructor, you can request extra assisted steering that was present in the C2S I drove previously.

The exhaust sounded better even in my preferred off position and the mechanical traction was evident on the low friction slope and kick out plate. Both cars on summer tyres however the angles on the kick out plate couldn’t have been more than 20-30 degrees and you actually feel the front wheels pulling you back into check.

Personally I didn’t enjoy the feeling of the driven front wheels in a 911 scrabbling for grip and pulling the car straight. I’d compare this to the feeling of accelerating hard in an over powered fwd car.

Driver tuition was spot on and while its not my first track day, it is my first 911 track day. I’d heard the slow in fast out approach but understanding the reasoning made this clearer. Braking before and into the start of the corner keeps the weight on the front wheels, which assists the steering. I usually do all my braking before the corner, maintain power and accelerate while straightening the wheel on exit. This doesn’t work on a 911 and promotes understeer.

So my conclusion and all in my opinion:
991 is a step forward from the 997 in terms of interior luxury, gadgets, engine noise and cornering.
The steering is excellent without the extra assisted steering – I’m not 100% sure that there is this option and it’s not just car related?
Still prefer manual over PDK, although this is around a track where I had some unexpected change downs in the PDK.
No need for the sports exhaust, already sounds amazing.
The manual gear box was much slicker than mine in the 997 and not at all notchy. The engine blips as you change gear to reduce any jurkyness, sounds good also.

My next car:
I’m no longer saving for a 997 GTS, I’d like a speed yellow 991 C2S, manual and that’s all the options I need. Fantastic!

My conclusion on the 911 evolution:
I prefer each revision over the previous (from what I’ve driven).

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Experience

An awesome experience at Mercedes-Benz World brand experience centre in Brooklands, Surrey! This facility has been setup as a Marketing front for Mercedes-Benz and allows drivers of all ages to experience beginners vehicles right up to the £168k SLS AMG.

Starting off in the E63 AMG, I drove the usual AMG drivers package including straight line performance and breaking testing, wet circle and experiencing black ice simulation with driver aids switched off and finally the race circuit.



The 575bhp 6.2L Mercedes-Benz V8 is a monster and is such a different animal to the usually refined AMG cars such as the E63 I drove. The E63 was incredibly fast but the handling was very smooth and the suspension had an every day feel to it – I’m used to the E46 M3 ride as my every day car. The SLS on the other hand, had a much more uncouth idle and low speed engine noise and at full throttle there was a fantastic gurgle and crackle from the exhaust. The only car I can compare this to is a TVR Tuscan with the low windscreen, long bonnet and savage acceleration. The grip on the corners and steering feedback through the handling circuit was very impressive and didn’t feel as tail happy as was portrayed on Top Gear. It’s officially on THE list!

While you can’t experience the top end thrills in comparison to the likes of Silverstone and other track days, it is the only track experience I’ve encountered where you can drive a performance car with traction control turned off, have guides assistance at ‘hanging the back out’ and feel the thrills of actually driving 0-60 mph (and more) in 3.8 seconds while hanging on to the steering wheel. I never really did feel like I truly got to explore the Ferrari 355 at the Silverstone track day, whereas I had an E63 AMG in a full 180, a 3/4 wet lap with the back hanging out and really gave the SLS some stick and this means tyres screeching, the back stepping out and full throttle in 1st, 2nd and 3rd rather than just 4th-6th gear around a track. Missing the acceleration already.

Engine: 6.2L V8, 563 bhp
Performance: 0-60 in 3.8 and 197 mph limited
Cost: £168k + options