BTCC: VXR Racing Driver of the Year day one notes

DAY ONE OF A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE Today sees the start of a three-day final of a national competition, in which one of the 12 finalists will see his life change forever. The finalists participating in the long-awaited VXR Racing Driver of...

DAY ONE OF A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE

Today sees the start of a three-day final of a national competition, in which one of the 12 finalists will see his life change forever. The finalists participating in the long-awaited VXR Racing Driver of the Year final, all eager to win the fully-funded race seat for 2008, were in for a shock right from the start.

Following a relaxing lunch, the crew was transferred to the Holiday Inn in Milton Keynes under false pretences. After a fake check-in of which none of the contestants were aware of, Lance Corporal (LCpl) Watson from the Territorial Army Centre (TA Centre) in Kempston walked into reception only to announce the departure to the TA Centre in an original army truck.

In the 40-minute drive to their next destination, the finalists were all sitting and waiting in anticipation what may happen to them next. After the arrival at the TA Centre, the group was met by Captain Jake Baker and the team. Once they changed into their gym kits, Gerry Convy, ex-McLaren Formula One fitness trainer, took over to put the participants through a demanding one-hour fitness programme including a reaction and a multi-stage test to analyse the finalists' speed and concentration.

"When LCpl Watson arrived at the hotel, their faces just dropped. They all thought they would be staying in a nice four-star hotel for the night and do a bit of training in the morning, so it was a bit of a shock to them," said Richard Hughes, Vauxhall's Group Marketing Manager.

"It was more of a mixture today and the finalists were stretched to their limits. I think some of them really benefited from being thrown into the deep end and will definitely gain positives from the experience. It already started to show today who can cope best with being under pressure, which is a key ingredient for any successful racing driver."

Stuart Connolly from Manchester is one of the finalists hoping to win the life-changing prize. "It was definitely very different from what I expected when we suddenly got picked up in an army truck. I have really enjoyed the experience so far and although the tests were challenging today, they have really pushed us hard and it's starting to get a bit tense."

After an eventful day, the finalists had dinner in the drill hall at the TA Centre, where they are also spending the night. At 22:00 LCpl Watson ordered to sleep and the lights were switched off. The finalists awaits another surprise on day two when they wake up in the morning. The boot camp final continues on Monday and Tuesday with the finalists being announced on Tuesday evening.

Information on the fitness elements:

Bleep test (or multi-stage test):

This test is to give a basic indication of a person's cardiovascular fitness. Contestants run continuously between two lines or cones spaced 20 metres apart. The aim is to reach each line in time to a recorded 'beep' sound. The test is progressive and the first level is at walking pace. As the test progresses the time between the beeps decreases every minute and this indicates a new level of physical effort as a person requires to run faster and faster.

Reaction wall (BATAK wall):

This is a devise with a series of lights which are situated at various heights and angles to test a person's reaction.

Contestants stand in front of the wall one at a time and as each light flashes, they have to touch the light before it goes out. The objective is to touch as many lights as possible in one minute. This test requires quick reaction times, reaching up and to the side and fast movement of the upper body. Formula One star Jenson Button currently holds the record score of 114.

-credit: rsm.uk.com/VXRDriver

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Series BTCC
Drivers Jenson Button