1. Beat your car’s claimed mpg
Here is a little real world test to see if you can beat the manufacturers claimed MPG figure. This may open your eyes to the claimed MPG figures and also save you a few pennies in the process.
2. Go to Goodwood
Bored with everyone else banging on about how good the Festival of Speed or the Revival is? Now’s the time to book tickets and find out for yourself. Both shows have cars drawn from a wide period of history. This year we’re expecting everything from Edwardians to 1980s racers and the concept cars of the future. You will see proper wheel to wheel racing on one of the few major circuits in the world left in its original state, and the only one in the UK.
3. Make your motorsport debut
You don’t need to be rich. The MSA (the governing body) lists 11 different kinds of motorsport, from the obvious race and rally to karting, hillclimbs, sprints, trials and drag racing. Auto tests are probably the most accessible and often as simple as running your own car in sprints against the clock around a course laid out with cones in a car park. But you’re still competing, still driving as fast as you can, still controlling your car on the limit and still having fun. All details are on the MSA website (msauk.com).
4. Watch classic racing car
There are good reasons why historic car racing has become so popular with both competitors and spectators. And there are good reasons why prices of classic racing cars have gone off the scale of late. Classic car racing is worth going to watch, The racing is entertaining and respectful and you see terrific old metal all around you. One car to watch is the Broadspeed XJ12, a slightly unusual race car. Its European touring car championship contemporaries were the likes of the light, agile BMW CSL. But the engine was good for 560bhp and at about 1500kg, it’s one of those cars that you want to be sure is pointing in roughly a straight line before you’re too liberal with the throttle. In their day the XJs often qualified on pole but never won a race. Watching one try from the sidelines or behind the wheel of another classic racing car would be a thing of wonder.
5. Stop at Tebay Services
All UK service stations are hideous. Apart from Tebay, on the M6 between Lancaster and Penrith. With rolling hills for scenery and very smart facilities this is one to stop in at if you are heading that way this year.
6. Buy a slow, old car
Choose well and you’ll pay no tax, need no MOT test and have a car you can drive as fast as it will go without ever risking your licence. With classic cars it is not always about going fast but also enjoying the journey itself. So buy a classic for those weekend country drives.
7. Go to the Isle of Man TT races
Book the ferry, get in your car and go to the Isle of Man in late May/early June and watch racing unlike anything you’ll find on any circuit anywhere in the world. Yes, the machines have two wheels, not four, but the speed of the bikes and commitment of their riders have literally to be seen to be believed. If you’ve seen it on the TV and thought it pretty exciting, you should book your tickets and experience bikes averaging 130 mph over 37 miles.
8. Watch Grand Prix and Le Mans back to back
One for a rainy Sunday, watch these two racing movie greats back to back. Le Mans has the better footage of the two, but Grand Prix has the better plot. Le Mans has Porsche 917s and Ferrari 512Ss and Grand Prix has action from Monaco and Spa in all their glories.
9. Buy a decent toolkit
You will never regret it. How often have you found yourself rounding off a nut with a spanner that wasn’t quite the right size, or not been able to find a screwdriver with a Philips head? Or discovered that some relative has borrowed your tools on a long term basis. Get a decent toolkit in a robust metal case and all that fury and frustration will disappear. You might even start to take pride in your handiwork.
10. Spectate at Wales Rally GB
If you think it looks good on TV, you’ll be staggered by the reality, where the talent, confidence and sheer courage required to drive along tree-lined forest paths at triple-digit speeds is laid bare for you to see. And however incredible the driving, just remember it’s the co-driver, sitting there calmly reading out instructions perfectly, who’s the real hero? So get your coat on grab a picnic and watch some amazing sideways driving.