Driving with an F1 Coach as my first driving lesson
The Vauxhall Astra Diaries
So it's not quite every day you get to sit down with an F1 coaching legend who has taught the likes of Kimi Raikkonen to shave precious seconds off his time. Luckily I had the privilege and pleasure of spending the day with Rob Wilson thanks to Vauxhall as we zoom around a track in a Vauxhall Astra Turbo - the car of choice for Rob Wilson due to it being both fast with great handling. The day was spent getting to know Rob, as a humble individual and finding out all the tips and tricks that the super stars of the track use.
Learning how to drive like a F1 driver
Driving like a pro
You're all incredibly familiar with the fact I don't drive, but over the past few I've developed a deep love and interest for cars. I'm simply fascinated and whilst I'm not the expert on all the specs, I certainly know a brilliant and capable car when I see one. Paddy got the chance to whizz around Rob's track for a few hours with one on one coaching with the master himself.
As Rob set the standard of lap times at 1.28, Paddy started with a very reasonable 1.45 as a warm-up. During the first few laps, Rob proceeded to push his confidence into learning the heal-toe manoeuvre that is adopted by all the best. Within a few short laps, Paddy was edging in on Robs original time making his final best lap a solid 1.30. Truly remarkable for a none professional F1 driver.
Whilst not giving away any tip-top secrets, Rob Wilson explained very clearly how the crucial point of fast, smooth driving is all in the subtleties, never brash movement of the wheel and peddles.
Driving Lesson #1
It was a fascinating experience overall learning from one of the best. It both gave me and Paddy confidence to drive. Whilst mentioning that I'd never had the opportunity to do my first driving lesson, it was both surreal and fantastic learning from Rob. After a small patch of micro stalls, I was whizzing around the track at high speed with assistance. I found driving exhilarating and finally captured why every other driver has an urge to drive. The beauty of being able to pick up and go with that incredible sense of freedom. I put my efforts down to the handling of Rob and his sheer patience for me, making him one of the best people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. Every moment in the back of the car was like a rollercoaster, my face hurt for a few days from smiling. Which is never ever a bad thing.
Paddys history of cars has always stayed with Vauxhall, being a firm fan of their cars as he's moved up through his years of driving. The Astra Turbo was smooth, easily maneuverable and incredibly spacious. Rob certainly made it cushier by coaching him to driving perfection. We were told all the gracious inspiring stories as we pootled along, making it not seem stern and aggressive how I envisioned F1 coaching to be. I highly recommend booking in a session with Rob Wilson to burn some rubber on the track - hey, even I managed to do an accidental wheel spin, that totally made me feel like a badass!