What’s new on the drive this week?

My car had to go back for some remedial work which meant that my neighbours once again thought that I’d taken delivery of a new ride.

There’s a subtle difference in the way that a four-wheel-drive car corners compared to a rear-drive, which I would typify, from the very few miles I have driven this one, in two ways.  First, the front tucks into the corner more quickly, almost tugging, laterally, at the nose.  Second, on exit, where the steering on a rear-drive car is almost trying to get back to a central position, in the four-wheel-drive you need to take the steering angle off in a much more deliberate way.  In essence, it goes exactly, quite literally, where you point it.

I would love to try it in low-grip conditions… I bet it would be awesome fun!

Other things to note:  The Targa roof is gorgeous, but when it’s down it effectively obscures the view through the rear window, which is frustrating.  There is a really handy hatchback, but the hips and back are so bulbous that you’d seldom use it for fear of scratching the gleaming paint.  The sports exhaust is a triumph… I didn’t bother working out how to turn the radio on, just how to open the windows!  If cars weren’t generally so quiet, more people would enjoy driving below the speed limit in built-up areas just to imbibe the sound!

Things to do when you don’t feel like running


It’s cold and generally wet out and you’ve not yet fully recovered from the lurgi, so what would you choose to do?

a) Put the heating on and cuddle up with a hot water bottle and a good book?

b) Continue with the current refurbishment project, involving figuring out how to assemble kitchen units from daft instructions?

c) Take a three hour drive across country, spend most of the day in the car apart from an hour standing outside in the chilly wind, before driving home again in the dark, hissing rain?

I know, the answer should be a), but…

Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground is a really good place to warm your tyres up mid-winter, so it was there that I chose to spend the day with the mobile switched off. 

I was in good company too, with about a dozen 911’s, a couple each of M5’s, Elise’s, Caterhams, RS4’s, 968’s and M3’s (one old E30 stripped out for racing), a Boxster and a Tuscan.  The folk that were there were good driving friends, out to blow the cobwebs from their heads and their exhausts… all except Peter, who would have triggered the noise meter if he’d have done the latter!

I won’t bore you with the blow-by-blow detail, but the day broke down into two halves: a dry morning and an increasingly wet afternoon and having sat in with some other folk to steal all the best lines, I got progressively faster and paradoxically safer the more the day wore on, with the rain making the harsh tarmac more forgiving. 

Despite a long lunch and lots of breaks, I covered over 100 miles just going round in circles, apart from the hour spent marshaling when there was pretty much nothing to do apart from take photo’s (well, one only actually as it was so cold & windy!) and work out the best line for the tricky bottom corner from the parade of drivers streaming past.

With the day over, I followed Mark and Justin back down south on a mainly non-motorway route, though in my memory it was just a lot of bright tail-lights and blazing headlights on a black, rain-lashed screen!  A welcome cup of tea at Mark’s was the only break before I landed at home with a grin the size of Spain!