Marino Franchitti called me a lucky **** last Friday. The Ford World Endurance Championship driver was due to drive the number 67 GT in the 6 Hours of Spa the following day, but his expression suggested he wouldn’t mind hanging around until Sunday to have a go in our Nitrous Blue Ford Focus RS.
Luckily for me, his busy calendar meant I didn’t have to share my drive with a 12 Hours of Sebring race winner, but shortly after Friday’s final practice Franchitti did helpfully pass on a few hints and tips to help me attack the famous Belgian circuit properly.
“Really you should use Drift mode everywhere,” was an opening comment of his, but I explained that we’d be running with other cars on a Spa public track day, so this might be slightly anti-social.
I sketched out an outline of the 4.3-mile track on a blank sheet of paper and handed Franchitti a pen so he could mark out any key points to help me perfect my race line.
The ballpoint headed down the main straight towards turn one: the La Source hairpin.
“The main thing here is the exit,” he said, “because the speed you have there you’re going to carry all the way down the hill.”