Reader. Dear, sweet, beloved reader. I have finally admitted something to myself and, if you’ll forgive the self-indulgence, I’d like to admit it to you.
I can’t drive very quickly.
Oh, I’ve tried to disguise it; the sideways photos, the smoking tyres. You might never suspect. And I doubt you care. But I know, and I do care. It shouldn’t matter really. Driving a car at competitive racing speeds is not an essential part of my job, because giving somebody else’s car back un-bent is more important. But occasionally, I get asked to race something for work and the truth is that I’m not very good at it. Certainly not as good as some of my colleagues.
In the first practice session of a race weekend, I will be seconds away from the front. An embarrassing number of seconds. During the course of a weekend, I might get this down to two seconds, perhaps even a second and a half, but it will still be a greater margin than most newcomers to the same car and circuit. It is too far.
I don’t know if it’s talent or willpower, but either way my slowness relates to the mind and either way I can’t do any better. I was once told that a Mini Challenge car is only quick when “it feels like you’re about to have an accident”. Three time BTCC champ Gordon Shedden told me that, when he’s racing, “every corner is an adventure”. It's an adventure I have never been inclined to have.