11. Make your motorsport debut
You don’t need to be rich. The MSA (the governing body) lists 11 different kinds of motorsport, from the obvious race and rally to karting, hillclimbs, sprints, trials and drag racing. Auto tests are probably the most accessible and often as simple as ‘run what you brung’ sprints against the clock around a course laid out with cones in a car park. But you’re still competing, still driving as fast as you can, still controlling your car on the limit and still having buckets of fun. All details are on the MSA website (msauk.com) and remember: it doesn’t even stop there, because there are other motorsport events not sanctioned by the MSA, such as autograss, where competitors hare around a 400-metre grass course in terrifyingly close proximity in anything from 1.0-litre Minis to monster, V8-powered monoposto spaceframe specials.
12. Beat your car’s claimed mpg
Only when you realise how hard this actually is will you realise what an utter nonsense these figures are. And never trust your trip computer; we’ve yet to come across one that didn’t lie.13. Buy yourself a Ferrari F40 And if it’s made by Lego, you also get a fascinating couple of evenings building it. It may not be as fast or satisfying as the real thing but, at about £65, it’s quite a lot more affordable.
14. Go to Goodwood
Bored with everyone else banging on about how good the Festival of Speed or the Revival is? Now’s the time to get off your backside and find out for yourself. Except that if you’re a first-time Goodwood goer, we’d recommend the Members’ Meeting in March, now a permanent fixture on the Goodwood calendar. It’s cheaper and less crowded than the Revival and has cars drawn from a far wider period of history. (This year we’re expecting everything from Edwardians to 1980s racers.) You’ll get to see proper wheel-to-wheel racing on one of the few major circuits in the world left in its original state, and the only one in the UK.
15. Drive a classic racing car
There are good reasons why historic car racing has become so popular with both competitors and spectators. And there are good reasons why prices of classic racing cars have sailed off the scale of late. The reasons are cars like this. This is a Broadspeed Jaguar XJ12C, about which there’s one thing more than any other worth noting. A modern touring car has a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A current Formula 1 car has a 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged engine. The Broadspeed XJ12C has a 5.3-litre naturally aspirated engine with hardly any silencing and 12 cylinders. Goody. Historic car racing is the nuts because of cars like the Broadspeed. That’s why it’s worth going to watch and — although only four cars like this were built and the chances of them coming up for sale are slight — why, if you’re thinking about going racing, it’s worth considering racing an old car instead of a new one. The racing is entertaining and respectful and you see terrific old metal all around you. To drive the Broadspeed today is a special experience. More than anything, it’s a chuffing loud experience. The XJ12 was a slightly unusual race car — its European touring car championship contemporaries were the likes of the light, agile BMW CSL — in that it was a pretty big old lump. But the engine was good for 560bhp, which it still feels like it makes today. At about 1500kg, it’s one of those cars that you want to be sure is pointing in roughly a straight line before you’re too liberal with the throttle, the response of which is sublime. But going was never its problem; stopping and turning are the things it needs more serious encouragement to do. Get it right, though, and there’s a faithful and communicative car beneath you. In true 1970s British car industry style, the Broadspeed project wasn’t a huge success and was canned just when it promised to deliver. The XJs often qualified on pole but never won a race. It could probably be coaxed into doing so today, though. Watching one try — from the sidelines or behind the wheel of another classic racing car — would be a thing of wonder.
16. Stop at Tebay Services
All UK service stations are hideous. Apart from Tebay, on the M6 between Lancaster and Penrith.
17. Buy a slow, old car
Choose well and you’ll pay no tax, need no MOT test and have a car you can drive as fast as it will go without ever risking your licence. Best of all — because when you drive it flat out, you’ll go at the same speed as everyone else in their modern boxes — if you find a hole in the traffic, you’ll never gain on the car in front, not be caught by the car behind and have the road to yourself.
18. Go to the Isle of Man TT races
Stop complaining that racing isn’t what it used to be and that those who do it are paper tigers who’d not even pull on a helmet in the old days. Book the ferry, get in your car and go to the Isle of Man in late May/early June and watch racing unlike anything you’ll find on any circuit anywhere in the world. Yes, the machines have two wheels, not four, but the speed of the bikes and commitment of their riders have literally to be seen to be believed. If you’ve seen it on the telly and thought it pretty exciting, it’s like looking in the mirror and watching your beard grow compared to actually being there.
19. Watch Grand Prix and Le Mans back to back
Conduct the ultimate twin test between two racing movie greats. Le Mans has the better footage; Grand Prix has something called a plot. Le Mans has Porsche 917s and Ferrari 512Ss; Grand Prix has Monaco and Spa in all their glories.
20. Buy a decent toolkit
You will never ever regret it. How often have you found yourself rounding off a nut with a spanner that wasn’t quite the right size, or not been able to find a screwdriver with a Philips head? Or discovered that some relative has nicked the pliers from the old wine box, where they usually live? Get a decent toolkit in a robust metal case and all that fury and frustration will just melt away. You might even start to take pride in your handiwork.
Check back on autocar.co.uk tomorrow to read part 3...