Millbrook 2021 – at last !

With different protocols in place, SMMT Test Day 2021 was destined to be Covid-safe – what a preamble that was…

Happily back, a walk around the steering pad before the nine o’clock start reveals Mclaren attendance with a new manufacturer called Genesis that reminds me of the introduction to ‘Dance of the Volcano’. No shows from Mazda though.

Eager to try Honda’s e in a gaudy yellow was my first drive. Now battery range and price aside, it outperforms combustion engined cars on the hill circuit simply because the e’s centre of gravity is lower so it’s like having dead masses in the floorpan which is effectively what the batteries act as. Technological innovations such as internal screens that replicate the actions of external door mirrors may justify that close to 30K retail tag but I’d recently changed a door mirror on a Honda Jazz that was a far simpler process. Would you want one ? Yes with a reduction in pricing hopefully with economies of scale.

I’d been bold enough to book a Mclaren to drive but having discovered that it could only be driven on public roads, I almost cancelled it. Having never driven any McLaren before, though I summoned the courage to take it out of the secure ground that is Millbrook. It felt intimidating, the flares down the flanks that fill door mirrors and the lack of any rear visibility. Despite this, their PR reps told me that it ‘s an everyday car and that you could fit golf clubs in the back as you do – everyday. With turbo singing over my shoulder, it was an experience including reversing out of a minor road onto an A road that didn’t match the pre-set navigational route. With eyes focussed on road and mirrors, there was less chance to see reaction of fellow drivers’ which, i suspect was a good thing.

With Porsche’s instructor Rob who advised with precision and science. dabbing brake whilst staring at the extent of vision which at times included through the top left of the windscreen after descending the hill circuits blind crest.