Track day #2 – driving an Aston Martin

In May last year I booked my first track day which was a rally taster. It was amazing, so I promised myself at least one track day a year. It is now October and I’ve been so busy attending races I had not yet managed to book another track day. I decided it is time to finally drive an Aston Martin and I chose the DB9.

The Aston Martin DB9 at Prestwold.
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Even though I cannot remember exactly when I fell in love with Aston Martin, I do know I’ve had an Aston Martin related list for a very long time. It started with something simple as seeing one for real (as opposed to in magazines and on television). I was 12 when I saw my first Aston Martin at a car show.
The items on the list then got gradually more exciting: seeing one drive on the public road, sitting in one, being driven around in one, etc. When I went to Le Mans in 2006 one of the members of the Aston Martin Owners Club was kind enough to drive me around in his car, leaving me with only two things on my list: driving one and owning one.

I got a lift in this Aston Martin at Le Mans in 2006.
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Yesterday was the day to tick another box on that list: I drove an Aston Martin DB9.
The weather was not brilliant (grey and quite windy), but at least it was dry. After signing in at reception I went for two demo laps. That meant being driven around in a Skoda Octavia so I could see the track. This is not the same part of the track being used for the rally taster, so it was a very welcome introduction. Less amusing was the remark from the driver that Prestwold is a technically challenging circuit. Trust me to pick that as my first experience!

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I have to admit that my goal for the day was not to race around the track as fast as I dared. My intention was to enjoy driving the Aston as much as I could at a speed I was comfortable with. And that is exactly what I did.
I was warned about needing two laps (of the four laps I booked) to get used to the car. That was not the case at all. Even though changing gears with paddles on the steering wheel is strange, it doesn’t take all that long to get used to. The car is extremely responsive, despite its weight, and very easy to handle. Just like last time the limitation came from my (in)experience.

I had no idea how fast or slow I was going, I was simply enjoying the sound of the engine and the feel of the car. Four laps is not a lot, so I made the most of it.
I opted to buy the on board video, which you see below.

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When I watched the video at home I did think that I probably would have been able to go faster, but I had a brilliant time nonetheless. It’s probably a good idea to drive a number of different cars on this track over the coming years and then trying the Aston again. The comparison could be interesting.
The fact remains that driving on a track is very different from driving on the public road. So, despite having my driving licence for almost 16 years, I am still very much a novice when it comes to this.
It is really good fun and I will stick with my decision to do at least one track day per year. There are plenty of other cars I’d love to drive and there’s still the Atom and X-Bow (scary and inviting at the same time). Prestwold will see me again!

Photo by Joanne Loftus
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