So there I was, sitting in a Twingo GT, writing up some notes about seats that double up as picnic tables and looks that fail to hit the spot, when my mobile rang. It was a voice message from someone I know who’s an adviser at Honda, and it simply said "Hi Steve, can you call me back, I’ve got some rather good news."
Then he said, quite matter of factly "how would you like to drive the F1 car around Jerez? For one whole day? Oh yes, and Jenson will be there to show you how it’s done."
My heart went thumpety-thump, and my imagination quickly went berserk with pure excitement. But then my memory scrolled back to a time when I was upside down in a Jaguar S-type R, heading backwards towards a tyre wall at 120mph – with a somewhat befuddled-looking Antonio Pizzonia sitting next to me.
It was 2002 and I was at Barcelona circuit, the afternoon before I was due to drive the Jaguar F1 car. Pizzonia was supposed to be showing me the perfect line around the track, which I’d never been to before. Except he seemed to forget that a 1700kg S-type R with three people on board takes rather longer to stop from 155mph than an F1 car does from 195mph. To this day it remains the biggest, scariest, most unhilarious accident I’ve ever had.
And hopefully I won’t be doing it all again on December 7th. Now then, if you’ll excuse me I need to get back to my diet of lettuce and lightly grilled tofu. Otherwise I doubt I’ll even fit into the cockpit.