If you’ve ever wondered what driving a Supercar feels like, imagine being bounced around in a hot, noisy cage and you’re close.
It’s nothing like any other experience you’ve had before and if you’re a motorsport fan, it is a pure adrenaline rush. The danger, of course, is that once you’ve tried it, you’ll want to do it again and again!
First up, you need to get into the car and just getting in is a challenge, with the straitjacket combination of a fitted seat and the roll cage. Tight is an understatement, and there’s no way to just slide in – or out. You may need to book a chiropractor’s appointment just on that basis.
Once strapped in – and no other seat belt feels quite as firm as a six-point harness – you’ll need to get the feel of your new ‘office’ before you hit the track.
There’s a busy dashboard in front of you with a lot more gauges and readouts than you would be used to, and a gearstick that doesn’t work the same way as the last H-pattern manual you drove – with the sequential transmission you pull the stick towards you to go up through the gears and push it away to go down.
Ready to go? Push the throttle down and the sheer violence of the car’s movement will surprise you. Managing that throttle will be one of your biggest challenges now you are out on track – as well as the brakes.
The brake pedal has more power than the brake in your car, but less travel. It takes a while to find the balance between stopping the car efficiently and safely, and giving yourself a dose of whiplash from the G-forces you are dealing with. Similarly, with the throttle – sometimes it’s gentle that gets the job done while at other times it’s stomping that’s needed.
Two things that will surprise: the steering and the grip. The steering on a Supercar is unbelievably direct. Point the car where you want it to go and that’s where it will go. And the grip of the big wheels and tyres, like that of a limpet crab on a rock, will ensure you stick to the track, as long as you have learned to manage the power and the braking.
Out and about, the heat will hit hard. You will feel it through your feet on the floor – and the sweat dripping down inside your racesuit. There’s not much in the way of ventilation and certainly no air conditioning to keep you cool.
The important thing is to be smooth. The speed will come. Master being smooth and accurate and you will get faster, so there’s no point in trying to impress on the first lap. There are no talent spotters out there, waiting to offer you a Bathurst contract!
Being smooth is kinder to the car. It makes the car work more efficiently than making constant changes with steering, throttle and brake.
Once all this starts coming together, you’ll think you have real skill – until you get into the passenger seat with a professional driver at the wheel. Then you’ll understand why they are able to do it for a living. The difference between fun and really fast is talent.
Queensland’s Norwell Motorplex offers you the chance to try your hand at driving a Supercar, because it offers the experience officially sanctioned by the management team behind the Supercar category.
The Supercars Official Driving Experience is the nearest thing to driving a real Supercar on the racetrack. Why not give yourself an adrenaline shot and see how good you are?