Allan McNish Diary 17th July 2002 KING OF THE HILL! As soon as the Silverstone race was over there was no time for feeling sorry for myself, I was off testing at Monza. We were mainly testing our suspension to try and get the car to ride the ...
Allan McNish Diary 17th July 2002
KING OF THE HILL!
As soon as the Silverstone race was over there was no time for feeling sorry for myself, I was off testing at Monza. We were mainly testing our suspension to try and get the car to ride the kerbs better, something that had been a problem in Montreal and Imola. It is also an important place to test as now it is unique in the calendar (with Hockenheim being changed) as the last, long straight, slow chicane circuit and the car set up is therefore different. Suddenly to take all the down force out of the car to get maximum straight line speed, so reaching speeds of 350kph and stopping to 80 in 130 metres (5g, five times body weight pushing you forward in the seatbelts) takes, even for us, a few laps of getting used to. I tested for two days then had a quick trip to Monaco and then back testing again for Friday.
The last day was only data collecting and not performance related, therefore we were not really making the car quick. It's can be quite boring in comparison to normal testing especially when Mika was doing a tyre test, with new sets of tyres and flat out qualifying laps all afternoon, now that is real fun! It was a good test overall though.
Following Monza I was immediately off to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, a very British event. It's a fantastic mixture of afternoon tea and cakes on the front lawn meets motor racing. More importantly it's just for fun, which is exactly how it should be. The weather was beautiful as well, an added bonus. I drove my Toyota F1 car, our T car actually. On the hill it was composed, much better than I thought, with lots of power and lots of grip. It was quite an experience racing up the hill with straw bails on either side of you instead of Armco barriers!
Throughout the Saturday people kept asking if I would push for the unofficial record as I was only two seconds off when I was taking it easy, so on the last run on Sunday I decided to do a proper start and see, 41.5 seconds was the answer. It was just enough to make me the quickest ever driver up the hill!
I also piloted the Toyota 7, the company's first ever racing car. It was built for CAN AM in the USA in 1970 but never raced, it has 800bhp twin turbo V8 and was run for the first time ever outside of Japan. It was a bit hairy really, you either had 0bhp or 800bhp and very little in between but it was an honor to have driven a car that marked the start of Toyota's motorsport history.
I was also re-united with my Le Mans winning Porsche GT1, I had forgotten how quick that was, once the turbo comes in the acceleration is amazing. I have very fond memories of this car and it was nice to see Norbert Singer, the legendary Porsche designer who has masterminded more Sportscar victories than anyone. My boss, Ove Andersson was also present and drove a Toyota Celica rally car, he quickly found the feeling again and it was plain to see how he had won many World Championship Rallies as a driver in the 70's. It was good also to have a stopwatch on the boss for a change instead of the other way around.
I got the chance to see some of my heroes with their machines, people I watched on television as a kid and heard many tales from my parents, like Giacomo Agostini riding an MV Augusta and Stuart Graham on his Honda 125 that won the Italian GP, it revved to 21,000. Ricardo Patrese was in his 1987 Williams, he drove it like it was only yesterday.
It was very enjoyable with so many enthusiasts from all walks of life enjoying everything we love about motorsport. Well done to everyone at Goodwood. I'm off to Magny Cours now for this weekend's French Grand Prix. I'm hoping for a little more luck than I had at Silverstone!