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Old 28th August 2005, 14:46   #1
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Default Ultimate Supercar Experience at Thruxton

Hi guys,

Thought I would share the experience I had at Thruxton in the UK on the 25th. I had signed on for the "Ultimate Supercar" and I'd also opted for the "Single Seat Formula Renault" experience. The total cost was 500 pounds including personal insurance (what can I say, I thought I might break my neck if it was wet, which it was half-way through the experience!). All I can say is that was the best 40,000 Rupees I have ever spent on anything!

Well here's how it went:

First a comprehensive briefing where they tell you all about the track and the correct driving line, braking and acceleration techniques, etc.

Next three laps in a Mazda RX-8 with the instructor driving. He takes it nice and easy, explaining the various braking points, turn-in points, apexes and exit points to you. They have cones at each corner to make the task easier for you; a red one at the turn-in point, a yellow at the apex, and a green at the exit point.

Then it's off to the fun stuff. Three laps in the top-of-the-line RX-8 with the instructor by your side. It's amazing the power a 1300cc Rotary Engine can produce. Somewhere in the region of 230 ps. That is one sweet car. Very nice handling, progressive power delivery, seats four with easy access to the back with the back-hinged suicide doors at the rear, decent value, I could go on.

Next it's three laps in the Merc SLK-350. To be honest I didn't enjoy my drive in the Merc much. It's a nice car, no mistake, but I didn't get the lines right in it, and as a result felt a bit short-changed.

Next I got four laps in a gorgeous deep blue 360 Modena Spyder with F1 gear shift. That car was fabulous! Handled like a gem, pulled nicely, made a GREAT sound once the revs piled on, and pulled HARD once it was up to speed. Only sad thing is the instructors keep telling you to shift-up well before you come near red-line, with the result that the 360 didn't go quite as fast as it would have if they'd let me really flog it!

Then it was four laps in the 996 Turbo. That car is the one I'd buy if I had the money. Power, power, power, torque, torque, torque. Any gear, any rpm. The turbo helps it produce peak torque at just 2500 rpm and the torque curve is flat as a table! Handles like an absolute beauty, helped by the 4 wheel drive. It actually started raining before I drove the Porsche, and I was a bit apprehensive, but the car stayed absolutely planted to the track even though I was going around some of the curves in excess of 100 mph. In this car it didn't matter that the instructors told you shift up earlier than you'd like to, there was always enough on tap!

Then I got four laps in the drop-dead-beautiful white 2005 Lamborghini Murcielago. I thought I was going to die when I fired it up. It doesn't purr, it doesn't scream, it ROARS!!! There's no other way to describe the sound it makes. It is super low, super wide, corners like a plank of solid wood, no roll whatsoever, makes the most unbelievably gutteral sound at low revs and growls and roars when you floor it. It pulled like a demon and made me smile till my face hurt. And at 192,000 pounds you'd bloody well expect it to!
Once again the 4 wheel drive helped keep me on the track even though it was quite wet by the time I got to be in the Lambo. And this thing's F1 box is even quicker than the Ferrari's!

Then I had six laps in a single-seat Formula Renault race car. What an experience that was. To be honest the most fun of all. No nannying instructor telling me when to shift and when to brake. My arse was 6 cms from the track so cornering was absolutely unbelievable! The controls were like switches. On and off. Virtually nothing in-between. Tiny range for the clutch to engage, maybe one inch of travel for the brake pedal and likewise with the accelerator. But with 6 laps you get to have a good idea of how progressive you can be with the controls, even though they are so brutal. The gear box was a conventional 4 speed H gate. There must have been less than half an inch of travel between 1-2 and 3-4. I had an absolute blast in that car, the only let-down is that they have it rev-limited to 4500 rpm, when it can go to 7000, with the result that half-way down the back straight, you bounce off the rev-limiter and have to back off the throttle a bit. Oh and one more thing, I got some idea of what coming-up behind another car in an open race car when it's raining is like. Zero visibility. That's all I can say! Those F1 drivers are unbelievably talented to even drive at those speeds in the wet, let alone overtake each other.

Last it was time for one lap in the MG ZS, driven by the instructor, this time flat-out! It was fun, but really nothing like doing the driving yourself.

So anyway, that was that. I'll post some pics and maybe even a little video later once I have a bit more time!

All I can say is, if you're able to, do this. It is the most fun you'll ever have with your clothes on!
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Old 28th August 2005, 15:18   #2
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Wohhhhhhhhh!!!!!! Amazing stuff! You can't believe how green i am with envy. And for 500pounds, its not expensive. eagerly waiting for the pics and video.
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Old 28th August 2005, 15:37   #3
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woah!!!thats amazing dude,felt as if i myself was driving those beauties instead of u..lucky u..well 40,000 is not that expensive to drive these cars that everyone talks about but are not that forunate to drive any of them(well atleast most of them)...will surely try out if i happen to visit uk..
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Old 28th August 2005, 17:56   #4
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Well done, I did a similar course with the Ferrari, 3 years ago, looks like they have upgraded a lot of things. Prior to that they used MG ZR instead of RX8's to orient you. Looks like Mazda are plugging their cars hard. I chose the Boxter over the SLK - a decision well made !!!
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Old 28th August 2005, 18:21   #5
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Well, Thruxton has a course to suit every budget, so anyone who's interested can check this link out.

http://www.thruxton-racing.co.uk/

(Please replace the xx with tt to use the link)

OK, time to upload some pictures!

Last edited by ported_head : 28th August 2005 at 18:28.
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Old 28th August 2005, 18:22   #6
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So there you have it

1 st choice Thruxton
2nd choice Everyman
3rd choice Rockingham

Am glad the forum helped in getting to the right decision!!!
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Old 28th August 2005, 19:01   #7
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Parc Ferme with RX-8s:




Track in front of pits:




Track and pit-lane:




Entrance to Parc Ferme:




Parc Ferme Cars 1:




Parc Ferme Cars 2:




Parc Ferme Cars 3:




Pit Lane Ferraris:




Pit Lane Ferraris & Formula Renault Single Seaters:




Ferrari 355s:




More of the Ferrari 355s:




Red Ferrari 355:




Red Ferrari 355 other view:




Red Ferrari 360 Modena:




Red Ferrari 360 Modena and Blue 360 Spyder:




What the F#ck is this?!!!

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Old 28th August 2005, 19:42   #8
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And now for the sequence of pics the way the experience was:

The Mazda RX-8s:




About to start the experience with the RX-8 instructor laps:




The Mercedes SLK-350 with doors open:




Close-up of Merc SLK-350:




The Blue Ferrari 360 Spyder with F1 paddle shift:




Another view:




And another:




Ready to go in the 360 Spyder:

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Old 28th August 2005, 19:43   #9
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The Porsche 996 Turbo (twin turbo, 4 wheel drive):




About to get in:




Silver paint, red seats, black interiors...nice!:




Need to bring the seat closer to the wheel!:




The drop-dead gorgeous 2005 Lamborghini Murcielago (4 wheel drive, F1 paddle-shift, 580 bhp and a soundtrack that makes your hair stand!):




Side view:




Rear-side view:




A top-down view (see the wings that rise at speed?!):




Time to lower the door, watch your head! (Look at those pipes!!):




Ready to go! (The instructor owned this car and a few of the Ferraris! What a sh#t job he has!):




One last look with the doors shut (shimmering near-silver now!):




Suited-up for the wet ride in the single seater! Oops, forgot my balaclava and gloves!:




Time to get in, mind the seat belt and side pods:




Hmmm, not much space in these single-seaters!:




Belted-up and ready to go, can I have my steering wheel please?! (Don't miss the little camera on top of the roll-over hoop!):




The MG-ZS in which you get to do the last flying-lap with the instructor driving:

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Old 28th August 2005, 20:36   #10
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Damn, you lucky dawg. I just put a 100 bucks into the "Thruxton Supercar Relief Fund." Rs. 39,900 to go, subject to Forex rates.

Do the Formula Renault cars inspire as much confidence in the wet as the AWD Turbo and Murcie? What sort of engines do they run? (too lazy to use Google).
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Old 28th August 2005, 23:43   #11
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The single seaters inspire great confidence with respect to the levels of grip available, even in the wet. The reason I felt even more comfortable in the race car was that I didn't have the sceptre of wrecking a multi-crore sports car hanging over my head. It also helped that by the time I was in the race car, I had driven 22 laps of the circuit and knew what the track was all about.

This is why I would recommend to anybody that wants to do this sort of thing not to be tempted into going for one of the lower cost experiences unless there is no way you can drop the extra money to do the fuller experiences. In the smaller experiences, by the time you get comfortable with the circuit and the feel of throwing the cars around, it's over.

The Formula Renaults have a 1.7 litre 4 cylinder engine that develops around 130 bhp. Doesn't sound like much, but the car weighs about 400 kilos. That's decent power-to-weight. Sad thing is they severely rev-limit it, so it's probably not making more than 100 bhp. But even so...

Of course the fact that you don't have an instructor sitting in your car telling you what you can and cannot do makes it even more fun.

The thing that surprised me with the race car was the gear box. No syncromesh. That didn't matter much when you were out at speed on the track, but when tootling about in the pit lane, there were ugly crunches every time a race car changed gear! Also the pedals have a very tiny window of operation, not to mention that they are spaced very near to each other. Lastly, the steering was SO direct, that at times when I changed gear with my right hand at speed, I'd feel the whole car doing a little wiggle because I was only holding on with one hand!

All-in-all I'd say the race cars were a fabulous experience even though they were so much less powerful than the big sports cars.
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