The fantastic Adelaide Motorsport Festival turned out to be the perfect way to unwind after a long, hard and at times frustrating year.
Run by the Sporting Car Club of South Australia and a group of proud Adelaide car owners, the Festival celebrated all things motor racing but with an emphasis on the historical and exotic … it’s very much an event that embraces the people of Adelaide and visa versa.
I kicked off the event in a Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T in the Prima Tour Event on the Thursday, with my wife Lara navigating. This formed part of the Adelaide Rally component of the four-day event, so it was great to get out on the stages.
We also tackled the Collingrove Hillclimb, the track itself is 750 metres of challenging bitumen, climbing nearly 70 metres from the start line to the finish. Although it was speed limited, it was good to get out into the beautiful Adelaide hills, enjoying the roads, the company and some great food.
I then got to drive a Ferrari FXX Enzo, one of only 38 ever made and one of the hero cars of the event. I drove it under Police escort to the Gouger street party on the Friday night, and then did some demonstration laps on a closed off portion of the old Adelaide Grand Prix track on the Saturday and Sunday.
Called the Victoria Park Sprint, that same location was also the site of some more hot laps on Saturday in a 1986 Benetton-BMW B186 Formula 1 car once raced in Adelaide by Gerhard Berger.
On Sunday I then jumped behind the wheel of a 1994 Footwork FA15 Formula 1 car, which was far more cramped. But it was great to compare the Benetton 4-cylinder turbo, which ran the old H-pattern gearbox, with the Footwork, which ran a sequential gearbox.
I actually saw both these cars race at Adelaide in period, so it was pretty cool to actually get behind the wheel!
It’s the second time I’ve driven a Formula 1 car – the first was a memorable occasion in a McLaren at Bathurst no less!
Anyway, they were both a lot of fun and while there wasn’t really the room to stretch their legs on track, they sounded great and everyone who saw it was reminded how spectacular Formula 1 was in that era.
The organisers had assembled a very impressive field of Formula 1, exotics, historics, Formula Fords, Time Attack and Rally cars from various years, and they made an impressive – and noisy! – sight as they negotiated the shortened Grand Prix track.
It was the highlight of a great event, I think.
There was a huge crowd and a fantastic atmosphere throughout the Adelaide Motorsport Festival event and lots of great people there just for the fun of it, it’s certainly an event I can highly recommend and I think it has a big future.
WITH THE YEAR now at an end I’d just like to wish you all the very best for Christmas, the New Year and the holidays.
Stay safe on our roads … I look forward to talking to you all in 2018.