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Lights out and they’re off! Thanks to Pirelli, one lucky SCD member was in for an experience like no other at this year’s FORMULA 1® BRITISH GRAND PRIX.

During the race weekend in early July, one of the biggest UK sporting events of the year, there’s guaranteed to be plenty of action going on wherever you turn and with the official F1® PIRELLI HOT LAPS EXPERIENCE returning to the UK, there was no better place to be. 

Silverstone is a truly iconic venue for many, whether you’re a motorsport fan, track enthusiast or pure petrol-head and with a dreamy selection of supercars speeding round the track, it’s a sight to behold.

SCD member Neil Everatt got to experience this in full thanks to Pirelli’s partnership with SCD after winning the F1® PIRELLI HOT LAPS EXPERIENCE, available for all SCD members to enter earlier this year. He won a fantastic package of two F1® Paddock Club™ passes for the Grand Prix, plus the once-in-a-lifetime hot lap opportunity.

Neil admitted he was working from home with nothing much to do when the contest details came through and without thinking too much into it, he thought ‘let’s go for it’ and entered the competition. Upon realising the prize that had been won, Neil shared “My first thoughts were ‘Wow, this is going to be an amazing experience’ and what made it even better was that my son was also heading to the F1 for all four days so I was able to tell him ‘Watch out for me, I’ll be going round on track!’.”

Being the owner of an Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, it was no question that this was the car Neil and his wife had to head to Silverstone in. 

“The experience started the second we started to approach the circuit, heading right into the heart of the race course. Once we found the Pirelli garage and were greeted by the fantastic Pirelli team, we took a look around and saw our incredible hospitality view from the Silverstone Wing, over the starting grid which meant we were able to watch some of the earlier races ahead of qualifying that was taking place later that afternoon.

“When we were called down for the F1® PIRELLI HOT LAPS EXPERIENCE, I still wasn’t too sure what to expect but the thing I was really excited about was the fact that I have had a few nice cars (but admittedly I don’t drive them fast) and I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to be in a car that’s really driven to the edge… in a safe environment. I think the excitement of the whole thing, and the fact this was about to happen, was the main thing keeping me buzzing along quite nicely.

“I loved when we were walked out into the pit lane, what an incredible experience that is! To see all the garages and cars, these amazing cars- machines even, all being worked on. The atmosphere in the pit lane was phenomenal and then to find yourself actually stood on the grid, at Silverstone, I thought ‘how did this happen?’.

“We were in the McLaren 720S which was great, really interesting as I’ve expressed an interest to my wife about fancying a McLaren at some point, so this gave me the chance to be in the car with a driver (who knows what they’re doing!). It went so fast, it must be a few minutes but once you step out of the car you think it surely must have only been around 30 seconds!

“What made it even more special for me was that it wasn’t just Silverstone – it was Silverstone with a crowd. Sure enough my son took a picture of me from the Grandstand he was in, capturing me being driven around which was fantastic. A really, really good day with the chance to walk through the paddock where all of the race teams are positioned which was incredible to see, these two or three-storey motorhome set-ups – things you really don’t normally see.

“An incredible experience, my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it and many thanks to Pirelli and of course Supercar Driver for the day.”


Main image copyright Tom Kahler. Other images copyright of Pirelli UK

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SCD member and Managing Director of Cirrus Aircraft UK, Michael Wright, brings us up to speed with their innovative aircraft and how learning to fly could transform your life.

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Michael Wright and I am the Managing Director of Cirrus Aircraft UK and a supportive member of Supercar Driver. Since I was a young child, I’ve always had a great passion for both aviation and cars. As you can appreciate, cars were my first attraction from when I was an apprentice and could just about afford a Mini Cooper, whilst aviation came later in life as funds became available. I currently own a Ferrari 488 Spider which I’ve owned for 18 months. It’s an amazing car and I am torn between getting a 296 or a Pista next.

What inspired you to learn to fly?

My father used to build and fly radio-controlled aircraft, so I was brought into the aviation world quite young, although my feet sadly were always on the ground. It wasn’t until my first pleasure flight at the age of eleven that the seed was really planted. I wished my father knew how approachable flying clubs and the flying community is in the UK because I’m sure it may have given him the inspiration to learn to fly.

My first flight experience was ten minutes with Captain Townsend from Bembridge Airport.
It’s funny how all these years later I still remember the name. I originally learned to fly at Sywell Aerodrome where my office is now.

What are the benefits of flying?

The real benefit of flying is the ability to move from one place to another very quickly, without waits in departure lounges, lost luggage, and the general threat of who knows what’s next. The other thing about owning your own aircraft is you tend to fly from smaller locations that are closer to your home and can therefore leave your car there, making you feel more relaxed than parking in the Terminal 3 multi-storey at Heathrow. Let’s not forget that flying yourself and your family is also great fun and a sense
of achievement.

What are the challenges of learning to fly?

Time. Both supercars and aviation require time, and in the world we live in, time is very precious. Once you have your license, you can save time by flying yourself where you want to go, but many traditional flying schools will teach only an hour a week, which isn’t ideal. At Cirrus Aircraft, we teach in full days with four to five hours of instruction, so on the days you can take out of your work diary, you make real progress.

What is your advice to people interested in learning to fly?

Do it! Why not? You control the pace and it is very achievable. There is a wide range of Cirrus Training Centres throughout the UK, and an array of Cirrus-trained instructor pilots, known as ‘CSIPS’, to help support you in your new aircraft.

How is driving a supercar like flying a Cirrus?

A Cirrus aircraft is often referred to as the ‘GT3 of the Skies’. They’re both, I guess you could say, the benchmark to one of the top-performing products. There is a great network of Cirrus Service Centres to ensure your aircraft is maintained appropriately, and a new Cirrus comes with a three-year manufacturer warranty for peace of mind. Whilst owning an aircraft may feel like a step into the unknown, the great benefit of Cirrus ownership is that our partners in servicing, insurance and finance are there to make life easy for you.

Cirrus has taken great inspiration from the world of supercars for our interior and exterior aesthetics. We have further developed a programme called ‘Xi’ which allows you and a dedicated internal Cirrus designer to tailor your new aircraft. It’s very similar to Tailor Made offerings by Ferrari.

What makes a Cirrus aircraft innovative and unique?

Cirrus Aircraft truly stands out among the rest. The company has developed the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System® (CAPS®) which is equipped in every Cirrus SR and Vision Jet®. In the event of any in-flight emergency, you can pull the red lever in the cockpit to deploy the parachute and glide down safely. CAPS has returned 232 people safely. 

Additionally, the company has added Safe Return™ Autoland by Garmin® in the Vision Jet. In the event the pilot has a medical emergency and can’t fly the aircraft, Safe Return turns the aircraft into an autonomous drone, calls out to air traffic control, reads the weather, and safely lands itself at the nearest suitable airport.

Where can people take a demo flight in a Cirrus? 

Whilst our Cirrus office is at Sywell Aerodrome in Northampton, there are hundreds of airfields in the UK. You would be surprised how close one is to where you live. I’d be more than happy to fly to you and show you how a Cirrus could literally change your life.

To learn more or to request a demo, visit cirrus.link/scd  or email enquiries@cirrusaircraft.co.uk

These images were made possible thanks to DMB Collection for the cars and Leeds East Airport for the location.

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Legendary industrial designer Frank Stephenson talks about his history with the world’s top car manufacturers and his more recent ventures in innovative design.

Written by: Zheran Chen

Frank Stephenson has his vision. With his name to designs from the iconic New MINI to the exciting McLaren P1, at 62, he is still passionate about design and curious about all things natural. He has risen to become one of the most influential automotive designers over the past three decades. 

Frank Stephenson sketches all the time, it's almost a tradition for him to pick up a ballpoint pen and let his creativity flow over any surface he can find. Even during this interview, Frank sketches, it didn't take long for a clean sheet of paper to become something truly remarkable.

Frank lives in a beautiful, quiet country house in England and is also the design director of a studio in London that bears his own name. Some would say it's almost hard to match Frank's past and present persona, from the illustrious design boss who ran Ferrari and shaped McLaren's future, to the frankly speaking founder of Frank Stephenson Design (no pun intended), and even YouTuber. He is now using his creativity in almost everything: futuristic eVTOL aircraft, innovative baby protection seats, and even a supercomputer.

But there is a connection. For many people, Frank's work has been in touch with their lives for many years, whether it was love at first sight for the lovely Fiat 500, the sheer excitement of driving a MINI through the countryside, or even the surreal feeling of seeing a McLaren P1 for the first time. Today, wherever you go, there's bound to be a product with which Frank has some sort of involvement.

He was born in Casablanca, the same place where Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman shone on the big screen. Camels, fragrances and the vibrant yet romantic culture of Morocco influenced Frank's upbringing in many ways before the family embarked on a series of moves, first to Turkey and then to Spain, diversifying his understanding of different cultures.

It was in the year he finished high school that his life took its first turn, which, surprisingly, had nothing to do with car design. Anyone who has come into close contact with Frank will notice his muscular build, which comes from years of motocross racing in his early days. Yes, he used to be a professional motocross rider. First, he won the Junior Championship in Spain and began racing in the National Series.

But when he turned 22, his father told him to find something else to do for a living. "It was sad to end it, but my father had a point. I was good but not winning, there's a big difference between being good and winning. I didn't want to be done at 30, I needed to find something else I was better at”.

When Frank first heard about the Art Center College of Design (ACCD) in Pasadena, California, he immediately decided it was the place he wanted to go. “A school dedicated to automotive design; I applied without hesitation”, Frank considers his college years to be the most memorable despite the daily pressures.

“I’ve lost track of how many nights I've stayed up, it's just so hard. You will always think you are gifted, but there are so many gifted people there, so I have a lot of respect for my classmates.
I think I learned more from my classmates than I did from my teachers”.

Frank is not exaggerating, there were 30 young students enrolled with him in 1983, while only six graduated in 1986. Frank was offered a Ford scholarship during his sophomore year at ACCD, which eventually became a job opportunity.
He chose to work for Ford Europe in Cologne to be near his family, and what was his first job at Ford? Designing the wheels of the new Sierra!

BMW was his next target. In July 1991 he took his portfolio to Munich and they hired him on the spot. It was a great transformation time for BMW, which had so much potential for a young designer like Frank.

A line-up of only 3, 5, 7 and 8 Series was not enough for BMW's ambitions. Since their acquisition of the Rover Group, the German giant was considering an unprecedented expansion with new additions such as Land Rover, MINI, Triumph and Wolseley.

Frank's supervisor at the time asked him to present an off-roader prototype using the technology of the recently acquired Land Rover in six weeks. From the current point of view, it is almost impossible.

“Time is too short, you can’t make a full-size prototype from scratch in six weeks, at least not in Germany, because we have to work overtime on weekends and the union won't allow that”, Frank said, “So my design boss sent us to Turin, where there are a number of studios who can turn design sketches into clay models in a very short time and will work non-stop every day”.

With determination, talent and some all-nighters, Frank got the job done. “It became the X5”, Frank says proudly, “It laid the foundations for the design language of the future BMW SUV, or SAV, Sports Activity Vehicle”.

It's the MINI that really pushed Frank to the pinnacle of design, alongside other legendary designers of all time. Recreating an icon is not an easy task, such pressure would be too much for many people. But not for Frank. "Honestly? I wasn't stressed at all”, says Frank, "because there were 15 proposals from designers and I didn't realise I'd end up winning the bid”.

Like the original Mini, the new MINI is considered to be a modern icon. “BMW didn't place any restrictions on the design at the time, it didn't say that the new MINI had to look like the old one from 1959, so your work ended up being your interpretation of the ‘MINI of the 21st century’. Instead of starting straight away with the 1999 MINI, I designed a car that never existed, the 1969 MINI. If the MINI was to be revamped in a 1969 facelift, what would it have looked like, based on the technology and culture of the time? Then in the second week, I designed the 1979 model, in the third week the 1989 model and in the last week I designed the new 1999 MINI”.

The success of the X5 and MINI naturally led many to believe that Frank would rise through the ranks of the BMW Group, until things changed one day with a phone call. It was from Italy, and the job was the Director of Design for Ferrari and Maserati.

“Ford and BMW are all fine and dandy, but Ferrari is up there. Ferrari hires new design director, quits after two months, I don’t want to be that guy”, Frank said. Luckily, he had enough ammunition in his armoury, and not only did he resist the pressure of the role, he also designed several legendary models, such as the F430, FXX and Maserati MC12.

Four years later, he was seen as the lifeline of Fiat, the struggling Italian company that needed a new model to survive, and his Fiat 500 became another instant hit.

In 2008, McLaren found it increasingly difficult to run an F1 team, and without a road car, they would soon not be able to sustain their operation. Frank joined McLaren in 2008 as the Design Director. Then came the 12C and P1, the foundation of Ron Dennis’ famous three-pillar strategy — an entry-level 911 contender, a Ferrari competitor, and a McLaren hypercar. The P1 is a milestone not only for McLaren, but for all hybrid hypercars in terms of design, aesthetics and engineering.

Frank left McLaren in 2017 and set up his own Frank Stephenson Design studio in 2018.
Over the years, this independent design company has carved out reality-changing solutions with world-class dynamic talent and clients from around the world.

As with Frank's previous work, FSD's design philosophy emphasises the use of innovation through the fusion of art and science, using the latest technology while caring for the environment. With the help of virtual reality, autonomous driving and mobility, Frank Stephenson Design is shaping the future
of industries.

“I love designing supercars, but at the end of the day, only a small percentage of people actually have access to them. Through Frank Stephenson Design, I no longer have constraints and am able to better use my imagination so that more people can make their lives better through improved designs”.

In the last five years, Frank's creativity has no longer been limited and he has arrived at the golden age of his design career. He has worked across different industries to share his vision through a variety of products to make people live better with his design and new technologies, such as Atmo, a weather forecasting supercomputer with a sleek, metallic shape and a spatial processing power of 500Km²
per minute.

Atmo builds AI-enabled hardware and software systems that solve weather prediction for any city, state, or country. Combined with Numerical Weather Prediction techniques (NWP) and Deep Neural Networks (DNNs), Atmo creates a next-generation architecture for weather forecasting. It looks like an outdoor sculpture but has the ability to predict the weather for four billion people and 180 countries, can operate anywhere from -30°C to 45°C and does not require a data centre, or even a roof, to provide forecasts.

Frank Stephenson Design is working hard to create a strong brand by offering an utterly new experience and the absolute highest standard of products. One of their latest projects is the BabyArk, the world’s safest child car seat which relies on patented, state-of-the-art technology which will potentially save hundreds of children’s lives around the world.

“We achieved safety for BabyArk seats primarily using the technology called military-grade spiral technology. That technology allows us to absorb energy in a way that no other seat up to now has ever done”, Frank added, “My inspiration always comes from the science of biomimicry. The shape of the BabyArk is pretty much inspired by the shape of the egg, and the egg is in itself a protective form”.

Biomimicry remains the key to Frank Stephenson Design, capturing the wisdom of nature and staying relevant through innovation. “Biomimicry is my design philosophy and I always have nature in my mind when I design”, Frank said, “Nature’s creations have gone through hundreds of thousands of years of evolution and are still around, and therein lies the beauty of perfected design”.

Take Lilium’s eVOTL Jet for example, one of Frank Stephenson Design’s latest projects. It is an electric vertical take-off and landing jet intended to accommodate six passengers and a pilot, and uses the representation of how nature approaches the design of organisms reflected in industrial design.

“The hammerhead shark is pretty intimidating when it's coming toward you”, Frank says, “it's got these wings in the head design that makes it incredibly efficient in turning, and the way its head comes back to a neutral position, that’s influenced aircraft and race car design with canards and wings at the very front of the vehicle”.

“It also has the elegance and the flow of a manta ray”, Frank added, “Why not use that as the inspiration for the rear wing and rear fuselage structure? When you see it, and we've developed it a lot further than what people have seen up until now, it'll take your breath away”. Archer Aviation from Palo Alto just took a billion-dollar eVTOL order from United Airlines.

From eVOTL aircraft to baby seats, the creativity never ends, and cars will not be absent from Frank’s vision. Frank Stephenson Design is working with Praga Cars, a Czech car company originally established in 1907, and manufacturing race cars since 2011. 

Frank has recently sketched a never heard of hypercar from the year 2030. "It will be like nothing you've ever seen before”, says Frank excitedly, "It's a supercar designed with 2030 in mind. How will the technology evolve? What kind of energy should the car use and how will aerodynamics play its part? It's all intriguing to unveil. It’s not science fiction, it's really happening”, exclaims Frank, “That's why I like design, to put one foot in the present and one foot in the future”.

Talking about putting one foot in the future, Frank Stephenson Design is also planning to build the Frank Stephenson Vehicle Exploration Centre in the Metaverse. Watch this space!

Frank’s YouTube channel has gained over 200,000 subscribers since 2020 with over 12 million views. His design stories and design reviews are well received by different generations in various countries, and have been translated in different languages.

At the end of the interview, Frank was still with the ballpoint pen, sketching. It was the Praga hypercar from 2030. Ferrari, McLaren, Maserati, BMW, MINI, Alfa Romeo, Fiat and now Praga, Frank has created so many iconic products, and he has a way of creating designs which always endure the test of time.

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We catch up with DTO Motorsport founder Mike Jordan to find out about their unique experience days, whether you just want to drive a racing car, improve your skills alongside a professional racing driver, or even become a racing driver yourself.


Who are you and what do you do?

DTO Motorsport is a company with a single-minded vision to produce the best track experiences, whether you’ve never been on track before, have been on track before or you’ve even raced before. We focus on the best tracks with the best cars, the best hospitality and absolutely the best driver coaches as well.

We run a really exciting fleet of road and racing cars, and even if it’s your first time on track, we use race team DNA, using video and data along with fabulous coaches including BTCC and WEC drivers to not only give customers a really enjoyable day, but truly help them to learn and progress with their driving.

I was in the category of people in the past where I thought I’ve done track days, I know how to do it, but the truth of the matter is, since I got involved creating the business and got into racing, I’ve seen how much knowing what your doing matters and increases your enjoyment and progression.

We really try to bring a lot of fun to it, but at the same time we are maniacal about attention to detail and safety in terms of the vehicles and their prep and all of the mechanics are race engineers who are also with us when we're racing.

How did DTO come to be?

My background is in financial services. I worked in that sector for decades and spent a lot of time at American Express. Sitting on their board for some bits of their business gave me a good handle on how to deliver exclusive and differentiated products. Ultimately though, I’m a lifelong petrolhead, so I progressed through faster and faster road cars over the years and convinced myself that, as the cars grew more powerful with bigger tyres and bigger brakes, my driving skills were on an upward curve as well, until I decided to get into racing and realised that probably wasn’t true!

I just found there was a bit of a void in the market. I did a lot of manufacturer days which I found could be a little impersonal, a bit like you’re just being pushed through a machine, even with top-end manufacturers. Then when I got into racing, it just got more confusing and no one was really thinking of it from a proper client perspective. It was more like cold wet garage, a dodgy bacon sandwich and horrible coffee, and I thought it has to get better than this.

As well as that, the manufacturers obviously want you to stick with one brand, and as someone who is really into cars, I don’t want to limit myself to one brand as I might like a GT2 RS for one purpose, a 600LT for another and an M2 race car for another.

Tell us about the fleet.

We take people through a range of cars on our experience days. Every single vehicle, including the road-going ones, all have roll cages, race seats, harnesses, intercom and full VBOX Pro data logging including video.

The range starts with the BMW M140i. They sound like little cars, but they’re 360bhp and they’re fully track-prepared with race suspension, different brakes and the interior has been ripped out. They’re a great teaching tool being rear-wheel drive so they’re a perfect car to start in. Then we have the 718 Cayman GT4 road car which has a fabulous chassis and is a great car to learn track driving in.

On the race car side, we use BMW M2 Racings which are really nothing like the road car. This is a ground-up racing car built by BMW’s racing division. We are a BMW customer racing team as well and have the only two M2 Racings in the UK at the moment. They run on slicks (or wets if it’s wet) and they’re a real favourite with our clients because they have unbelievable levels of grip and performance, and you really see what makes a race car so different dynamically to any road car because they are built without compromise for racing.

Then we have the McLaren 570 GT4 race car which is built by McLaren’s race division. We are also a McLaren customer racing team and we run them in championships. It’s a full-blown GT4 racing car with enormous levels of grip and stopping power. They’re actually less powerful than the road cars because they’re homologated for GT4 so they only run about 460bhp, but they’re miles quicker on track than the road cars because of the speed you can carry through the corners and how late you can brake, and it’s actually a really accessible car.

We also have a Porsche GT2 RS Weissach which we often use for hot laps with pro drivers. It’s still one of the fastest road cars to ever lap the Nürburgring so it’s great to give people a sense of how quick that car is. A McLaren 720S is crazy quick, but a GT2 RS MR will lap the Nürburgring 30 seconds faster. It’s a really proper bit of kit, and when you get driven by one of our instructors or celebrity coaches, you really realise what a racing driver is capable of!

Tell us about the drivers you work with.

We really look for three things with our drivers. You’ve got to be a great coach first and foremost because that’s a specific skill, being able to communicate and help people progress, and it’s really important. You’ve got to have a great personality and that’s something people notice on our days. We create a really inclusive environment where you feel like you’re part of the family and part of a race team. Finally, it’s great if you have the kind of racing background our coaches have.

Charlie Fagg was European GT4 champion last year, and he’s driving for Aston Martin in WEC this year so he’s a Le Mans driver too. There’s Jade Edwards and Jack Mitchell from BTCC, Adam Smalley and Harry King from Porsche Carrera Cup and Supercup, and we’ve had Abbie Eaton as well who you’ll know from The Grand Tour.

Karun Chandhok is our Head of Motorsport. He’s part of the team and he helps us with a number of things including the way we deliver the days, he participates in the days giving hot laps and going through data with people, and his network is second-to-none as a Sky F1 presenter and working with the Williams F1 heritage fleet, so he gives us great access to the F1 world. We’ve also had 1996 F1 World Champion Damon Hill run our days and Johnny Herbert who is just great. Imagine getting taken out for hot laps with drivers like them. They’re fantastic, friendly guys and they have so much insight into the current world of motorsport so that adds a huge amount to the days for people.

How can SCD members get involved?

There are a couple of different products we offer. There are the experience days which take you through a range of cars from the track-prepped M140i up to the racing cars throughout the day, and we also offer a product called Race Edit which is perfect if you’ve spent quite a bit of time on track already and are ready to take that to the next level. With Race Edit, you pick a specific car like the M2 Racing or 570 GT4 and you will be dedicated to that same vehicle all day, really getting deep into the data with your coach and improving. 

We run at circuits all over the UK like Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Silverstone, Donington, Goodwood, Oulton Park, and we’re doing some great days abroad too. We have Spa coming up in September, and if you haven’t driven Spa, it’s just magical. 

Then we have a bunch of clients who progress even further from Race Edit. They come to us and we develop race programs to build on that, help with their race license and ultimately get them racing and we’ve got an exciting range of products launching soon to get people racing in price-accessible vehicles in a really competitive series. The teams will be made up of three drivers including two customers and a pro driver, and the pro drivers will be well-known names from the likes of touring cars and WEC.

We really value the partnership with SCD and we are offering SCD members 10% off all bookings in 2022. We were at the Secret Meet and what a truly incredible experience that was. There are photos of the entire Craner Curvers full of F40s, F50s, Enzo and LaFerraris, which was just amazing for anyone into anything automotive. As well as that, it really gave us an opportunity to demonstrate what we do and what a race car can really do with top coaches alongside you. Then Karun was taking people out in the GT2 RS really showing the skills of a racing driver, and we love to do things like that, it was an amazing day you guys put on.

If you could add any car to the fleet, what would it be?

There will be some significant fleet expansion this year. There’s some really fun stuff coming out soon; the new Lotus Emira looks great, I think the McLaren Artura GT4 race car is going to be mega from what we’re hearing. I think the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo is a super impressive car, I know the 296 will come out to replace that in due course, but for now we like the look of the McLaren 765LT.

It must be said though that I struggle to find anything as fun as the M2 Racing! It sounds crazy but we hear that a lot from people who have driven pretty much everything, I just love that car. If I had to pick just one to add, I love the Senna. I think it looks outrageous and I’m a massive Ayrton Senna fan. 

What does the future hold for DTO?

We are in the process of some really large developments, some of which I can’t go into at the moment, but what I can go into is that we are bringing this very exciting introduction to racing to the market within the next few weeks. It will be in a rear-wheel-drive fun car in a grid of 35 to 40 cars. You’ll get everything from your handling days, your training on track, your race kit, and you will be racing as part of an endurance team alongside a British Touring Car driver or WEC driver. I think that’s going to be spectacular, and we’re hoping to launch between two and six cars into that between now and the back end of next year. 

As I mentioned there will be a lot of focus on fleet expansion, and we’re going to be doing a lot more on the racing side so you’ll see a lot more racing from us next year as racing is in our DNA. We’ve done a lot of work on the corporate side for companies who want high-end hospitality so those offerings will grow as well, so we’re always trying to grow our offering and take everything we do even further.

We are permanently challenging ourselves. After every single event, we come together as a team and talk about what went well, what we have learnt and how we could make it better. We try to take that racing mindset on how to improve every time.

There is good track availability in September and October which are great times to get out on track. We do see people shy away from it when the tracks get wet, but my personal view on that is if you want to improve your driving skills, a wet track is pretty handy! We’d love to see more SCD members joining us on our days and hopefully the feedback we’ve had from members already will give people the motivation to get involved and do something special.  


SCD MEMBER FEEDBACK

Molly & Rob Taylor

Rob’s first line was, “It was f***ing brilliant”, but I’m not sure we can use that! The setup and lounge was fantastic and we loved that we could park our GT3 RS outside the DTO garage at the SCD Secret Meet. The welcome we received was wonderful, very professional and the team couldn’t do enough for us.

Rob had Adam Smalley as his instructor, and he thought he was incredible — so patient and knowledgeable. I had Jade Edwards and had the same experience with her too. We were both nervous, but were made to feel at ease straight away and were constantly reassured throughout our time with DTO, and our confidence grew very quickly.

Neither of us had driven a race car before, let alone a left-hand-drive one with a ‘Nintendo-style’ steering wheel on slicks, and we both agreed it was unbelievable how well the car handled when you’re used to a road car. We were encouraged to push the car as much as possible, so much so Rob was drenched from sweating!

We loved having the data to hand afterwards to see our own progression and I like that I have evidence that I almost kicked Rob’s ass! It was also very couple and female-friendly unlike some other track days. The whole experience was just amazing, and we absolutely loved it.

Matthew Bauer

I opted to drive the McLaren 570 GT4. I was lucky enough to take my Atom 4 around the track the evening before, so I was excited to see how the two cars would compare and what a professional driver could do to help my technique.

The experience of being strapped into a true race car with a Le Mans-winning driver sitting beside you, feeling the car drop down off the air jacks and driving out along the pit lane, surrounded by race cars from across the decades and supercars alike was such a special feeling, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous as I accelerated onto the track!

My professional tutor was Le Mans-winner Jonny Kane. He was reassuring through my first few laps as I did my best to get a feel for the car and the tyres as it was my first time on slicks. After that, we spent time building my confidence further, braking even harder and getting my corner exits right. Watching my lap times come down was a pleasure, and I’m still blown away by the speed the car could carry through the Craner Curves.

Once our time on track was complete, we headed back to the pits for a debrief. It was great to spend some time talking through the data with Jonny, explaining where I could gain more time and helping with some advice on things to focus on when I’m next on track. 

I can’t thank DTO enough for the chance to drive a true race car at pace around such a great British track. It was one of the most special motoring experiences I’ve had, made even more special doing it with a crowd and some other crazy things out on track with me, so thanks also to SCD for organising everything. I can’t wait to get back out on track with DTO.

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With grids crammed with the rarest and greatest supercars and hypercars ever built, the annual SCD Secret Meet at Donington Park is now regarded by many as the year’s premier automotive enthusiast event. The quality, quantity and sheer exclusivity of the metal and carbon fibre, on display positively borders on the surreal.

Written by: Angus Frazer, JBR Capital

A blast? An outrage? A shock?
It’s not easy to put your finger on the correct collective noun for the Ferrari F40. 

Given the car’s interplanetary craft looks and the fabled ferocious thrust of its 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, high-energy words that summon up the car’s phenomenal performance spring most readily to mind.
But the word that best describes the ensemble circumnavigating Donington Park Circuit at the 2022 SCD Secret Meet is strangely ever so slightly soporific.

A dream of Ferrari F40s sounds right because, really, it’s impossible not to look at 20 blood-red examples that just keep coming and coming and coming, muscling their way around the track, and not feel tempted to pinch yourself to make sure you are actually awake. 

The high-speed parade is proof that the SCD team has once again excelled itself. And it’s not just the F40. All the Ferrari ‘Big Five’, those absolute titans of the modern Maranello era, are on show, with equally jaw-dropping examples of the 288 GTO, F50, Enzo and LaFerrari interspersed amongst the F40s.

SCD member Heath Gray brought his Ferrari F40 to the event. “I always wanted an F40, I bought this one 21 years ago, and it still excites me every time I drive it. You can feel absolutely everything the road offers coming through the steering wheel, and you’ve always got to have your wits about you too. It’s not like driving a modern supercar. You can’t just put your foot down and rely on an array of electronic aids to get you out of trouble”, explains Heath.

There is one aspect of the F40’s character that Heath feels is much maligned. “There’s a lot of talk about the turbo lag with these cars, but it is not as bad as people say. If you keep the engine just below 3,500rpm, it will always respond the instant you press the throttle”.

Even though the last F40 left the production line forty years ago in 1992, it rightly still merited a place on the front row of the grid of SCD’s hypercar parade, too, albeit in elite Competizione guise. And it was in some phenomenally exclusive company alongside a Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, Porsche 911 GT1, Bugatti EB110 SS, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss, Koenigsegg CCXR Edition, Porsche Carrera GT, Lamborghini Reventon and Maserati MC12 Versione Corse to name but a few. 

Derived from the MC12 GT1 racing car that won the 2005 FIA GT world endurance championship, just thirteen track-focused MC12 Versione Corse examples were built in 2006. So, to see one in action and hear the howl of its 755hp naturally aspirated V12 engine is a very rare treat – even more so when it is the only white MC12 Versione Corse ever produced. 

“This car has never even been driven before, and today is the first time it has gone around a racetrack. It has been sitting in a private collection with all the spare parts for it in glass boxes and was still on the original tyres”, explained Davide de Giorgi of Girardo & Co, the company that recently transacted the sale
of the MC12 to its new owner. 

While most of the supercars and hypercars in action were from manufacturers with decades of experience in building ultra-desirable road cars, that was not the case for all. The Dallara name has been behind some of the world’s greatest racing cars since the company was founded 40 years ago, but despite its vast experience, the company had never created a road car until recently. Enter the Dallara Stradale, which was launched in 2019 and earned a 4.5-star road test rating by Autocar.

The Dallara Stradale is distributed exclusively in the UK by London-based specialists Joe Macari. “The car features a full carbon tub, weighs 800 kilos, has 850 kilos of downforce and is powered by the engine from the Ford Focus RS”, revealed Sales Executive Franco Granell. “With its aero package and the agility the chassis provides, it can dance rings around some cars with twice the power on the track”. One had only to witness the Dallara Stradale in the hands of Harrison Newey around Donnington to see the truth of that statement.

McLaren’s new Artura was also turning plenty of heads, albeit as a static display. “The Artura represents the next generation of a supercar for the company and uses hybrid technology to enhance performance”, said the company’s Head of Private Office, Jonathan Maynard.  “Given the knowledgeable supercar owners in attendance, the SCD Secret Meet is the perfect place to showcase the Artura”.

Maynard acknowledged that, with its hardcore internal combustion engine fanbase, the event was something of a tough gig to play for a next-generation electrified supercar. However, he was pleased with the response the Artura was generating. “People are coming up and asking, ‘Why hybrid?’, and that gives us the opportunity to explain how the hybrid system adds to the driving experience”.

The fact that a manufacturer of the calibre of McLaren chose to exhibit a car as significant as the Artura shows just how seriously the industry now takes the SCD Secret Meet. Bentley was also there, and as well as displaying some of its latest road cars, it had one model in action on the track that neither love nor money could buy.

That car was the Bentley Speed 8 that won the Le Mans 24 Hours race in 2003 in the hands of Rinaldo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Guy Smith, with the latter back behind the wheel at Donington.

“The Speed 8 doesn’t get run very often, but it’s important that it does not end up mothballed forever in a museum. It’s a real honour to get to drive it again. It just brings back such amazing memories”, revealed Guy. “But I can’t believe that it’s twenty years old now. I am lucky enough to still get to drive modern prototype race cars, and the Speed 8 still feels like a modern car and right on the pace”.

In addition to still being deeply impressed by the car he drove to victory at Le Mans almost two decades ago, Guy was blown away by the event itself. “I had no idea what to expect.  I thought it would be like a small car meet for about 100 people. And then, when I was coming close to the circuit and seeing all the cars and all the photographers on the roads outside, it felt like being at a Formula One event or something. It’s just amazing. Some of the supercars that are here are so rare, and you just don’t get to see them that often at all.”

JBR Capital Founder and Executive Director Darren Selig shared Guy’s sentiments: “I think SCD’s Secret Meet is now the premier enthusiasts’ event in the calendar. Where else can you experience the sight, sound and smell of so many supercars and hypercars being driven hard around a track?”.

For Darren, the highlight was the chance to participate in the Ferrari demonstration. “I got to ride in the La Ferrari with Selena Bailey.
I’d never been in one before, and it was interesting because, in many ways, that car is the next iteration of the F50, which is still my dream car. It was a fantastic experience, and it does make you wonder what on earth SCD will do for next year’s Secret Meet”.

To find out, we’ll just have to wait another 12 months and then, who knows what supercar dreams may come again.

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