6th Gear: Life in the fast lane

How do you fancy racing a Ferrari 458 or Aston Martin DB9 around a circuit? Or maybe finding out what it's like to be at the wheel of a DAF XF truck?

How do you fancy racing a Ferrari 458 or Aston Martin DB9 around a circuit? Or maybe finding out what it’s like to be at the wheel of a DAF XF truck?

6th Gear Experience runs track days at various locations across the country, with thousands of people lining up to take the wheel.

When I was invited to a special open event held by 6th Gear Experience at the site they use in Chertsey, Surrey, I jumped at the chance to try some of these vehicles for myself.

Never having done anything like it before, I didn’t know what to expect but arrived to find the site full of excited people waiting to take their turn behind the wheel of a dozen glossy, gleaming sports cars.

Race time

My experience started with a quick turn around the track as a passenger just to get my bearings and then I climbed into the driving seat of a shiny new red Ferarri 458 and the safe hands of a 6th Gear experienced racing driver.

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After a quick tutorial on how to change gear (using the paddles on the steering wheel) I revved the engine and headed off to do three laps of the country road-style track.

I wasn’t the fastest on the track by any means as it turns out I am more of a wimp than I thought I was with my instructor constantly telling me to put my foot down when I thought I was already going fast. But I loved having the chance to give it a go and concentrated hard on judging the turns just right, changing gear, braking when necessary – it was actually harder than I thought it would be!

It was over too soon but luckily once I was back in the pit I had the chance to do it again, this time in an Aston Martin DB9, and I finally started to get a feel for the track and a handle on my speed.

Truck driving

But despite having a penchant for racing cars, it was my third experience of the day that I would wholeheartedly recommend to everyone – the chance to drive a DAF XF tractor unit coupled to a racecar transporter. This part of my day gave me a greater understanding of how tough it can be to simply drive one of these things, let alone do a u-turn in one.

Because that’s exactly what this experience does. Weaving in and out of cones, doing u-turns and reverse parking were all included and with the help of my instructor I am assured I did a good job handling the truck. Turns out I’m more suited to being a lorry driver than a racing driver - certainly not what I was expecting.

I left with photos of me driving two supercars and in-car videos of me driving all three vehicles – which friends and family have been desperate to watch. Unfortunately the videos showed my instructors were right – I was driving a lot slower than I thought in the supercars. I’ll just have to go back and give it another go!

With prices starting at under �100 to drive one car, why not book a day for yourself or treat a loved one - www.6thgearexperience.com

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