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Always Wanted to Drive a Formula 1 Car? Here Are 4 Places Where You Can

Always Wanted to Drive a Formula 1 Car? Here Are 4 Places Where You Can

With Formula 1’s 73rd season just off the starting line, motorsport’s premier race series is in the midst of a turbocharged popularity surge thanks to last year’s riveting battle between seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and heir apparent Max Verstappen—not to mention the Netflix documentary series Formula 1: Drive to Survive, with its focus on the real-life drama both inside and outside the cars.

But for the ultimate thrill, try a turn behind the wheel of an actual pedigreed F1 racer. Even decades-old competition chassis remain among the most high-tech, demanding and rare vehicles on the planet, and with the ability to pilot them around some of the world’s most famous circuits, you can consider the rest of your automotive bucket list obsolete.

1. Bovingdon Airfield

Hertfordshire, England
Instead of an F1 circuit, TrackDays will have you flying around England’s Bovingdon Airfield in the same Jordan EJ12 that Takuma Sato piloted through his rookie season in 2002. Before drivers take on the ex-Sato sled and its nearly 600 hp, 10,500 rpm V-10, the five-hour curriculum (starting at approximately $1,300) includes a preparatory 14 laps of skill-honing drills in a sports car, plus another 20 laps in an open-wheel F1000. For the finale, 10 laps in the Jordan await, though up to 20 more can be added for a supplemental charge.
Race Car: Jordan EJ12
Engine: 3.0-liter naturally aspirated Judd V-8
Power: 600 hp
2. Circuit Paul Ricard

Le Castellet, France
Founded and run by former F1 test driver and Formula 3 champion Laurent Redon, LRS Formula offers three levels of action. The Bronze experience includes a 650 hp Benetton B198 from 1998 or a 2001-season Prost AP04, while the Silver option introduces the 750 hp Jaguar R3, circa 2002. But it’s the Gold selection, priced from around $6,500, that unleashes the real fury: a 2011 Williams FW33 producing 750 hp at 18,000 rpm. (That’s down from the KERS-enhanced 830 hp on hand when Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado were in the cockpit, but don’t flatter yourself that you’ll miss it.) Drive days take place at acclaimed circuits in France, Spain and Portugal, and begin with stints in 200 hp Formula Renault 2.0 cars, the type Kimi Räikkönen raced prior to finding F1 glory.

Race Car: Williams FW33
Engine: 2.4-liter naturally aspirated Cosworth V-8
Power: 750 hp
Other Circuits: Dijon-Prenois; Nevers Magny-Cours; Barcelona-Catalunya; Portimão
3. Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

Stavelot, Belgium
With 22 years in operation, Italy’s Puresport Racing School puts you behind the wheel of the A18 racer campaigned by 1996 World Drivers’ Champion Damon Hill during his 1997 season with the Arrows team. Originally fit with a 700 hp Yamaha V-10, the car is now propelled by a 3.0-liter Cosworth V-8 delivering 500 hp at 9,000 rpm. (Prior to buckling in to Hill’s former ride, drivers warm up with 10 laps in a 255 hp Formula 3 machine.) With sessions starting at $4,300, set dates are available across famed European circuits in Belgium, Germany and Italy, where participants experience the tracks in their entirety. There’s also the option of a camera car to record your personal Grand Prix performance.
Race Car: Arrows A18
Engine: 3.0-liter naturally aspirated Cosworth V-8
Power: 500 hp
Other Circuits: More than a dozen, including Hockenheimring, Imol and Monza
4. Dubai Autodrome

Dubai, UAE
Although the United Arab Emirates (UAE) currently hosts Formula 1 in its capital of Abu Dhabi, neighboring city Dubai is home to what is known as “the heart of UAE motorsport,” the Dubai Autodrome. Through the latter’s F1 experience, starting from about $2,700, drivers will familiarize themselves with the Autodrome’s 1.52-mile Club Circuit configuration in both a BMW 330i and a Radical SR3; after that, the real deal: a stint in a 550 hp version of the R1 race car used by the Jaguar team during the 2000 season. (You can also climb into an Arrows A23, also with 550 hp, from that team’s short-lived 2002 campaign.) That means a minimum of four laps around the FIA-sanctioned track, in the same type of vehicle British driver Johnny Herbert finished his career, and the exact car driven by his teammate Eddie Irvine.

Race Car: Jaguar R1
Engine: 3.0-liter naturally aspirated Judd V-8
Power: 550 hp

These 4 Rallies Will Give You a World-Class Driving Adventure

These 4 Rallies Will Give You a World-Class Driving Adventure

Dating back to the late 1800s and contests such as the 10-stage Bordeaux-Agen-Bordeaux race, enthusiasts have long sought to integrate travel and sport via the rally. Often combining skills tests with “regularity stages” that mandate a specific travel time and average speed, rallies have just enough competition to keep things interesting and are a perfect excuse to enjoy several days of epic roads. And with these four upcoming events, you can expect the accommodations and amenities to equal the world-class driving.

The 12th Flying Scotsman Vintage Rally

Will Broadhead

April 1–3

Departing from Northumberland, England, participants in the 12th Flying Scotsman Vintage Rally, hosted by the UK’s Endurance Rally Association (ERA), will pilot a cadre of prewar and early-postwar cars (pre-1948) on a three-day foray into the Scottish Highlands. For about $5,800 per team, the 700-mile route features a combination of regularity portions and special navigation and obstacle tests. Teams overnight at the Fairmont St. Andrews and the MacDonald Aviemore Resort before spending the final day passing through the Cairngorm Mountains to finish at the nearly 100-year-old Gleneagles Hotel. No car? No problem. You can rent one from the fleet of classics available from ERA’s parent, Historic Endurance Rallying Organization.
The Pyrenees 1000

Supplied

May 17–21
Northern Spain and Southern France are the motoring playgrounds for the roughly 1,000-kilometer (about 621-mile) Pyrenees 1000. Organized by Bespoke Rallies, the contest follows the regularity format and begins and ends in Pamplona, with stays in Benasque and the French city of Pau. For about $4,400 per pair of driver-navigators, participants will wind through storybook mountain towns and have their mettle tested on the same gauntlet of roads that comprise some of the most challenging stages of the Tour de France. Vehicle categories include Vintage, which counts anything through the 1949 model year, and Classic cars from 1950 through 1989.
Arctic Circle 2022

Supplied

June 11–26
The 16-day Arctic Circle contest is an approximately 4,350-mile run through Europe’s highest latitudes. Limited to Vintage and Classic automobiles from before the end of 1948 and the end of 1974, respectively, the rally, organized by Netherlands-based Classic Events and priced at $16,999 per pair, will traverse eight countries, launching from Germany into Poland and the Baltic region before participants enjoy the longest day of the year in Rovaniemi, Finland, near the Arctic border. Teams can expect several regularity stretches per day, along with a smattering of skills tests throughout the journey, which reaches its terminus close to Oslo, Norway.

East Himalaya 2022

Picasa

October 20–November 12
Belgium-based Destination Rally has organized a bucket-list passage through India, Bhutan and Bangladesh with its 24-day East Himalaya excursion. Limited to 25 cars, with 1980 being the most recent model year permitted, the 2,100-mile tour skips regularity and skills components in favor of pure sightseeing and cultural immersion. After the vehicles have been transported to Kolkata, in West Bengal, teams depart for Darjeeling and into the foothills that front the roof of the world. For $48,200 per pair, highlights include an archery competition and an elephant ride in Kaziranga National Park. Mechanics and medical staff are also along for the ride to ensure everyone keeps firing on all cylinders.

The Vintage Bentley From ‘Peaky Blinders’ Will Showcase at London’s Concours of Elegance

The Vintage Bentley From ‘Peaky Blinders’ Will Showcase at London’s Concours of Elegance

The hit series Peaky Blinders was loosely inspired by a gang that prowled the streets of Birmingham and London during the early 1900s. Everything from the sharp, tailored suits to the gorgeous vintage cars in the BBC show artfully emulate the era. Now, a rare Bentley once owned by a prominent underworld figure of that same era will headline Concours of Elegance in London’s Hampton Court Palace this September.

The car in question is the Peaky Blinders Bentley 4.5-liter that was originally delivered to Mr. Arthur Grout in 1930. Grout was, among other things, the landlord of the Southhampton Arms in London. This notorious pub was at the center of the “race track wars” of the 1920s, which was recently made famous by the binge-worthy TV show.

During this time, Bentleys with this specification were delivered as “Rolling Chassis” and equipped with bodywork by a chosen coachbuilder. Grout opted for a sports four-seater by Vanden Plas. Finished in green, the heavy chassis classic features an aluminum crankcase and an extra-long bonnet just like the racing models of the 20th century.

The Bentley 4.5-liter is presented in mint condition. 

Joseph Harding

Under the hood, it’s fitted with a six-cylinder mill mated to a four-speed gearbox that produces around 110 horses. That was an impressive amount of power for the ‘30s and no doubt helped with fast getaways.
In 1935, Grout’s pride and joy was returned to the factory after he failed to keep up repayments. It’s had just a handful of owners since and is presented in mint condition. The car has never been rebuilt, only maintained, and has covered less than 100,000 miles in more than nine decades.
This remarkable time capsule will be presented alongside a bountiful collection of Bentleys at the Concours of Elegance, taking place from September 3-5. Other prized historic rides include an early 1926 6.5-liter Sports Tourer and a highly successful 1928 Bentley 4.5-litre Le Man racer.
To see the cars up close, you can buy tickets here. Alternatively, check out the photos below:

1926 6.5-liter Sports Tourer. 

Concours of Elegance

1926 6.5-liter Sports Tourer. 

Concours of Elegance

1926 6.5-liter Sports Tourer. 

Concours of Elegance

1926 6.5-liter Sports Tourer 

Concours of Elegance

1928 Bentley 4.5-litre Le Man racer. 

Tim Scott

1928 Bentley 4.5-litre Le Man racer. 

Tim Scott

1928 Bentley 4.5-litre Le Man racer. 

Concours of Elegance

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