Castrol Honda World Touring Car Championship team's driver was invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed to drive the famous Honda RA272 Formula One car.
It is usual for a race driver to test a new machine before the actual competition but the very first acquaintance that Gabriele Tarquini had with the famous Honda RA272 Formula 1 car of 1964 was on the start line at Goodwood's wonderful Festival of Speed motoring pageant this morning. "I didn't even get to drive it from the paddock," smiled the experienced Italian who leads the Castrol Honda World Touring Car Championship team. "I got into the car and the mechanics started the engine and what a magic sound. It is just such a wonderful engine note, its sweet to hear and so crisp. I really wanted to take my ear-plugs out to hear the sound pure and clear!"
With the 1.5-litre, 12 cylinder engine warmed up and sounding magnificent up to 10,000rpm Gabriele set off up the Goodwood hill. The six-speed gearbox gives a nice feel but you have to be slow on the changes for it to be happy. You cant rush the changes and also need to get the revs correct to make the change sweet. Of course it has an H pattern change and its a long time since I drove with one of those. Its a dry clutch so you have to be gentle with that too but it all works superbly. The engine has so much power if you think that each tiny cylinder is just 125cc each with four valves per cylinder it is so wonderfully small. Its like racing a fine Swiss watch! This is a 1964 car so Im feeling the real racing of that time. Its strange to feel the floating sensation of that period. The seat is not made to fit the driver so well as now and the belts are not as big so as the car gets steering loads you actually move around in the cockpit also on braking. Its a remarkable experience and I am so happy to be driving this very famous Honda for the first time.
Gabriele Tarquini made further runs each day of the Festival of Speed this weekend.
Castrol Honda World Touring Car Championship team