Much as I enjoy watching Top Gear, I’ve never been much more than a two-star petrolhead, by which I mean that I like cars, but have never been fanatical enough to worry about the difference between one Ferrari and another. Cars can be pretty enough, just not something I lusted after.
Actually that’s not quite true – there was one. The Ford Puma was the one car I daydreamed about in 1997. It might have been its curvaceous retro styling or that cool Steve McQueen ‘Bullitt’ ad, but it was the one car I was determined would be mine.
And so it was, but only after I’d taken Mrs P to the showroom to demonstrate that I could fit the kids in the cramped back seats, helpfully Miss P said that it was just like being on an aeroplane, so small were the rear passenger windows.
But I digress. Cars may not have always been at the top of my ‘if I won the lottery what would I buy?’ wish list and yet that hidden desire is probably lurking somewhere not too deep in my subconscious.
And like the hidden treats in a bran tub, they rise to the top when you give it a shake as it was shaken yesterday when I accompanied Master P to Prestwold in Leicestershire for his Everyman Racing Driving Experience.
It was actually one of last year’s Christmas presents that he had only just got round to organising. A boy racer’s dream of four laps in an Aston Martin DB9, four in a Ferrari and a fast lap piloted by a trained driver.
The sight of that Aston on the left set my juices flowing and left me feeling jealous and wondering why I hadn’t booked myself down for a trip in its leather-seated luxury. As Master P put it, it was like driving from the comfort of your favourite armchair.
But the car that really stole my heart was the Ariel Atom on the right. It wouldn’t be my first choice for everyday driving, even if the one you see is taxed and insured for that purpose.
You see it lacks some of the features we take for granted. Like windscreen wipers, but that’s okay because it doesn’t have a windscreen, or least no one worth the name.
There is no radio, cup-holder, loose change tray or vanity mirror, but it does have a sizeable fire extinguisher between the driver and passenger seat. Which is perhaps as well as its Honda accelerates from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds and has a top speed of 155mph.
So if it isn’t a the top of my lottery win list, a trip in one certainly is for the next time we visit Prestwold. Below is the video of Master P’s experience to give you and idea of what it must be like.