I couldn’t keep my feet on the ground when I was informed that Renault had chosen me to be their celebrity invitee to test-drive their Formula 1 car. I’ve been a motoring enthusiast for as long as I have been able to drive legally, but to really be given this once in a life time opportunity was something I was not going to miss, come what may.
I finished shooting in London with Vinay Pathak for Parvati Balagopalan’s “Straight” and flew to Paris, and then from there to Marseille. From Marseille the track where the drive was going to happen, Le Castellet, was an hour away. Finally I reached the hotel and after an early dinner went to my room to crash out. But the excitement just didn’t let me sleep. I finally got out of bed, had a shower and was ready 2 hours before the designated departure from the hotel at 7 AM. The weather forecast predicted rain and a temperature of 4 Degrees. Luckily the day dawned fairly clear. Went to the training facility at the track and had some basic medical tests done. And finally on to the safety briefing. Before I knew it, I was being ushered towards the place where the car was parked. It looked beautiful. And so powerful. 580 kgs propelled by a V8 engine giving out 700BHP. Phew. I was beginning to get just a little nervous.
Next thing I knew I was in the car. I started the engine. The sound produced was like music to my ears. So loud. I started rolling out of the pit. And then I stepped on it. The responsiveness of the engine was overwhelming and the pick up knocked the wind out of me. I did a total of 9 laps over the course of that day. The track was very curvy with only a 400 meter straight stretch, but still managed to touch 180km/h. And I can say in all honesty, that nothing in the world could possibly have prepared me for what I was going to experience. Nothing. This day was clearly one of the most memorable days for me and it was definitely the experience of a lifetime.
For more on the Renault Formula 1 experience this do check out my piece in the next issue of Auto India.
Until next time.