British racing driver Gary Paffett is living the dream. The 34-year old has tasted success in multiple motorsport disciplines, and has clocked up thousands of miles as a Formula 1 test driver with McLaren.

From 2000 to 2014, Gary thoroughly tested each iteration of F1 car to emerge from the Woking-based constructor during the McLaren-Mercedes partnership. From the piercing 900bhp-plus V10 monsters and high-revving V8s, to last year's complex cars running the new 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 powertrains. 

Therefore, Gary knows his onions on the topic of F1 and DTM cars, and is the person to ask when deciphering the different driving techniques required for each discipline.

I'm an unashamed fan of the eye-wateringly expensive V10 era. For me, it remains the pinnacle of what F1 should be about. The cars looked angry but stunning, they sounded mega and most of the lap records at the long-standing grand prix circuits still come from 2004 and 2005. The sheer speed on display was mind-boggling. 

Granted, there wasn't much overtaking going on but, when it happened, you knew it was worked for. So what was it like from the cockpit? Gary explains:

“When I was testing at McLaren, the most advanced car I had was a fully automatic, centrifugal clutch, V10 F1 car, which was ridiculous. You sat in the garage, selected a gear, let go of the paddles and it drove out of the pit garage like it was a go-kart.