During the weekend’s Britcar 24 hour race I learned from chatting to the Aston team that when company CEO Ulrich Bez races at the Nurburgring 24 Hours he won’t drive in the dark.
When night falls, he calls it a day until sunrise and let’s the paid help take over. Slightly odd, I thought to myself, as dusk enveloped the Silverstone pit lane. I’d never raced at night before, but I enjoy driving in the dark – and watching Le Mans in the hours before dawn is one of the major reasons I make the trip.
So I was rather looking forward to getting behind the wheel of ‘our’ Aston N24 for my first stint of nocturnal racing.
How wrong I was. What I expected to be a slightly magical tour of Silverstone in the gloom turned out to be the most mentally draining two hours of my life. Driving down the pitlane, everything was tickety-boo, with light spilling from the garages and the car’s interior having an atmospheric, shadowy look.
But out onto the circuit proper, everything went dark. The first corner after the pits at Silverstone is Maggots, a near-flat sixth gear left kink which you just nick as you dash across to a fifth gear right where you can take loads of kerb.