Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Williams F1 factory. It was an excellent morning and they were very accommodating. But I will write about that later this week.
The reason I was invited is because Philips, one of the Williams team’s sponsors, are trying to generate some more awareness for their competition to win a drive in a Williams F1 car for five laps around a grand prix circuit. I understand that the plan is for it to take place at Silverstone some time around the Italian GP weekend. This is the second year the competition has been run. Last year’s winner drove the F1 car for five laps round the new Portimao circuit in Portugal.
It is a fabulous prize which is well worth a shot. I have entered myself, although I don’t think I have done very well. The best time I have managed to set on the circuit is 01:19:00, over seven seconds off Nico Rosberg’s pace. It is a fiendish challenge designed to test your multi-tasking and awareness skills. I find it very difficult.
The ten entrants who set the fastest times will be invited to an expenses-paid trip to an assessment day where they will all be put through their paces. Here, the competitors will be given the chance to show their skills behind the wheel of progressively more powerful cars.
From here on, the prizes get truly awesome. The third placed driver will get to drive a sports car round the circuit, instructed by Kazuki Nakajima. The second placed driver will practice in the sports car, then drive a Formula Two car for five laps. The winner will practice in the sports car and the Formula Two car before being treated to a one-to-one briefing with Kazuki Nakajima in preparation for driving a Williams FW29 — the very car pictured on the right — for five laps round the circuit.
Driving an F1 car might seem like a long shot, but the winner will be given full training and will build up their skills gradually as they drive the various cars through the course of their assessment. It is certainly worth a punt, so why not give it a go?