For anyone that has ventured onto the Nordschleife (either in reality or on GranTurismo), you’ll know that mastering its 12.9miles of twisting track is no mean feat.
And just when you think you’ve cracked it, the inevitable happens and you’re in the barrier (hopefully only in virtual reality).
But the ’ring is nothing compared with another of the classic tracks – the Targa Florio. When the Sicilian race started in 1906 it ran over a lap of an almost unimaginable 92miles. Although in later years the lap was shortened (twice) it still measured 45miles right until the race dropped off the international race schedule in 1977. And with no co-driver the drivers had to memorise every corner.
So how do you go about doing that? Well last week I was fortunate enough to be driven round the Targa Florio route in Porsche’s revised Boxster by Richard Attwood – a former works Porsche driver, Le Mans winner and veteran of the Targa – and I asked him exactly that.
The answer, apparently, was to spend eight days driving the circuit (while the roads were open to other traffic) in a 911 R. (a limited-run lightweight prototype). Rather than try and put into words what Richard said I thought it better that you heard it first hand. Forgive the quality of the video, it’s not the work of our usual professionals, but rather me holding a camera as we’re thrown around some pretty twisty roads.
Anyway, having now driven the lap I’ve got even more respect for the guys that used to race there. It really is an amazing, challenging circuit. If you’re ever on the island, make a point of hunting down the old pits on the SS120 towards Cerda and go for a lap.