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An adrenalin rush of note


DRIVE a Ferrari around your favourite racetrack in Oslo Beach. Recently I phoned my friend Des Gutzeit and asked him if I could give it a go around his racetrack. The reason for this was that Ken Sink and I have been preparing a couple of Lotus cars (a 120kW 1.6 Elan and a 147kW 2.0-litre Seven) for racing and it occurred to me that we just might not be competitive anymore!

We are both very keen to do endurance racing again after a 45-year gap, in classic cars, the same ones that we used so long ago. Crazy? Yes, maybe.

Des, who was in Durban, told me to get up to the track as soon as possible and make contact with Phil Wardle and/or his son Shane Gutzeit, as Phil had brought out a great collection of super-cars from England, including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches and the fantastic joker in the pack, the Ariel Atom.

Phil’s business back in the UK is to let drivers exploit the potential of these cars without actually racing them at tracks during the summer.

For the northern hemisphere winter, what better thing could they do than carry on the good work down south in sunny South Africa.

It is not cheap in weak rand terms but is a thrilling and wonderful experience.

To put myself at a minimal disadvantage as a previous Porsche owner, I chose to drive a Porsche 911 GT3 which is an ideal track car.

At R2 400 is cost me R800 a lap for the three enthralling laps which were over oh so quickly!

The Porsche was magnificent. I still find it hard to understand how a car with an engine in its tail can behave so well.

Powering out of the tight corners of this lovely local track there was just a trace of power oversteer which could easily be controlled with a touch of opposite lock.

The instructor sitting alongside me was invaluable in keeping everything under control and I found him most helpful and very professional indeed. I just wanted more.

Thinking it was all over, just like a dream, I couldn’t believe my good fortune when Phil offered me, as passenger, three demo laps in an Ariel Atom with one of his top drivers.

I jumped at the opportunity and was soon buzzing around with supercharger screaming and the car sideways at almost every corner.

Some of the angles seemed irrecoverable but such was the skill of the young racing driver from Europe and the unbelievable road-holding of the Atom that we always made it onto the next straight in one piece.

It was a marvellous bit of Saturday afternoon entertainment which I would recommend to any of you petrolheads who want to expand your horizons and enjoy the wonderful potential of a modern supercar.

Something you should not miss. Go for it! The adrenaline rush is great and if you listen to your instructor, which is very important, it is still very, very safe.

Ken also did the Atom ride and all I can say is that we are both still on course for our first endurance race comeback later this year, after some practising in our own cars, first.

By Rod Kinsey


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