On 26 August Red Letter Days will be holding their first all-day takeover of a British circuit, ‘SummerSpeed’ at Brands Hatch.
This is the first time Red Letter Days has organised a bespoke event solely for their customers and, as if they don’t already, this will really make them stand out from the crowd. SummerSpeed will be an unique event which broadens the driving experience and offers something for the whole family.
The main ‘Supercar Thrill and Star in a Car’ experience offers demo laps, then six miles in a supercar of your choice followed by one lap in an Abarth during which your performance will be assessed.
Finally you will be given a high speed passenger ride in the Abarth to see how it’s done by a professional. The best three drivers of the day will win a hot air balloon flight for two.
Numerous other attractions available on the day include Monster Truck rides (age 5+), High-Speed Passenger Rides (age 14+), Segway Tasters and Piaggio Ape racing (both age 16+). There are even Champneys massages and manicures available for those seeking a more relaxing experience.
We were invited to Brands Hatch for an exclusive preview of the event.
My experience of supercar days is somewhat jaded. The last one I attended was found lurking on a popular deals website. Arriving at a small airfield, there were several shifty looking characters and a burger van.
After a questionable briefing we were let out in the cars, but there was no chance of driving them to their full potential, and looking at the state of them I think it might well have finished them off anyway.
Brands Hatch is a world away from shoestring supercars: a world-class circuit with a wide range of dedicated cars, each with a professional instructor. From the moment you arrive, you know it’s going to be serious.
Having signed the paperwork I’m shown how the process works by Rob, one of the instructors.
We walk through the waiting room where the drivers congregate, and into the pits area where I’m fitted with a helmet.
At SummerSpeed you will choose one car, however on this occasion as I’m getting a taster I have the chance to try out four supercars, each for two laps.
First off I’m driven round the track in an Alfa Giulietta Cloverleaf. We take it relatively easy, talking through the cone system: two reds for the braking point and a yellow for the apex.
Three laps and we return to the pits. As luck would have it there are two cars ready and waiting: the Ferrari 360 and the Porsche 996. I choose the Ferrari. Italian’s always best, right?
The instructor gives me a quick overview of the controls, I adjust the seat and we set off slowly down the pit lane. Past the green light I floor the throttle and a moment later I’m braking for the first bend.
Down Paddock Hill, across the dip and floor it up Hailwood the other side. The instructor is talking me through the right moves all the time, and even after a lap I know I’m going to break my record the next time I drive Brands on Gran Turismo 6.
The second lap is gone all too quickly and soon we’re heading back down the pit lane. The 996 is still there so I jump straight in. Same deal, controls, seat, off we go. Somehow I like this a lot more. With twin turbo and four wheel drive it feels more agile, lively and confidence inspiring than the 360.
My third car is the R8 which is different all over again. Finally I take the Aston V8 Vantage, the first manual I’ve driven with a surprisingly heavy clutch.
At the end Rob is interested to know which car I liked the most, reluctantly I admit it’s the Porsche.
To top off the experience I have three high-speed laps in a stripped out Holden Commodore. I ask the spec and the instructor tells me the diff is probably from a tractor.
Despite his reservations it’s massive fun and shows what’s actually possible.
Overall it’s a fantastic experience, and one I’d strongly recommend. Every instructor is friendly, engaging and professional and gives you the confidence to push the cars further than you’d normally ever do in this sort of situation.
Partners and family members are also very much included in the experience, with full explanations of what’s going on. Afterwards you have access to professional photographs and you can even send off for a free Photobook to capture your memories of the day.
If you’ve ever wanted to drive on track this is the easiest and best way to get yourself there in a supercar for a very reasonable sum of money and a truly memorable day.
SummerSpeed will take place on the 26 August 2015 at Brands Hatch Circuit in Kent.