I have to be honest. I’ve never really followed motorsport. The only time I did take a moderate interest was when I was 13. The kid I sat next to in most lessons at school was an F1 obsessive and wanted me to take an interest by following a driver.
So I choose some bloke called Alan Jones because his car was sponsored by Leyland Trucks, which was the local big employer and only a mile or so down the road. He won the 1980 F1 championship and I quit following the sport while I was ahead.
I have a problem with circuit racing. All that massive talent and extraordinary engineering poured into going round in circles, tackling the same corners year after year.
I can quite see the glamour and the huge sense of occasion that follows the F1 soap opera, but I fail to see the point of doing the same thing over and over again.
I do, though, have great admiration for rallying. The cars are – often – closer to reality and the demands on the drivers surely far more random than they are in F1.
When I was a student, I took myself off to the old Patrick Collection in Birmingham which had the most amazing collection of Group B rally cars and their road-going sister models. If you’ve never seen the Citroen BX Group B road car, you’ve missed out.
The Lancia 037, Delta, Stratos and Audi Quattro are, to me, far more evocative and much closer to driving reality. Having the fortune to run a 1997 Subaru Impreza turbo for a year convinced me of that.
So I suppose I should also admit that I’ve never been to Le Mans. I don’t doubt the atmosphere and the spectacle, but I just could never summon up the excitement and engagement. Of course, when I see a contemporary Le Mans car in pieces – as I did when visiting Audi a couple of years ago – I’m riveted.
So, in a demonstration of galactic unfairness, it was me who was deployed by Autocar to take advantage of the otherwise empty passenger seat in the new Jaguar F-type Project 7, which made its dynamic debut at last weekend’s Le Mans Classic event.