As helicopters soared back and forth through the bright blue sky at Lelystad Airport, ‘former’ two-time Le Mans winner and Dutch Racing Legend Gijs van Lennep passionately explained to the thirty or so lucky winners of the ‘State of Art Racing Driving Experience’ what exactly the difference is between understeer and oversteer, what grip means and how to keep control of your car when drifting and swerving – all with his signature sense of humour. Truly inspiring.
These are not skills you learn when you get your driving licence, and they are situations you hope will be few and far between on the A1…
The winners of the competition were twice lucky: firstly, because they bought State of Art clothing and secondly, because they took part in an event open only to the very few, which took place on a test track that is usually off-limits to us mere mortals.
For this occasion, State of Art had exclusively rented the RDW test centre nearby. Quite a few men and women got behind the wheel – sweaty hands and all – to “discover their car’s ultimate limits, as well as their own”, as Gijs van Lennep put it.
The event was a huge success, which saw the participants driving on various wet tracks under the watchful eye of Gijs and his team of instructors, pushing their limits and those of their cars. From a brand-new Porsche to an antique Alfa and a shiny family car including child safety seat. You can hardly imagine a wider variety of participants, and everybody joined enthusiastically. Needless to say, the ‘oldies’ had to make do without brand-new, top-of-the-art electronic gadgets, like ABS and ESP. They did it all – from extreme brake tests to exercises to try to regain their grip while slipping and sliding.
The nerve-wracking finale was a thrill ride with former racer Gijs van Lennep in de driver’s seat of the one and only Porsche Cayenne GTS, which seemed to glide effortlessly over the only oval race track in the Netherlands at lightning speed. However, appearances can be deceiving, because in the passenger seat you felt the G-forces and centrifugal forces more than you would think! At speeds well above 220 km per hour your face jiggles and shakes into a true facelift!
After all the participants had caught their breath – and their faces had bounced back into place – the event came to an end with a reception and a few words of motivation – not to mention praise – from Gijs van Lennep. Everybody headed home with a confidence boost and newly discovered driving skills, undoubtedly reminiscing about this unforgettable day!
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