Almost half of drivers on the current F1 grid have been coached in
standard Vauxhall road cars.
As improbable as it seems, Rob’s Astra Sports Tourer – along with a GTC and Insignia Sports Tourer – are perfect for his training sessions, which also benefit drivers from Indycar, DTM and even WRC.
“The Vauxhalls will do everything that an F1 car does dynamically, just at a far lower speed,” said Rob, right. “This allows me to explain the physics behind what the car is doing out on the track in real time, which I’d never manage in a performance car. The other advantage is that the driver’s engineer can ride along too, and this is crucial since a change in driving technique could result in a different setup for the race car.’
“Many top drivers have never heel-and-toed during down-changes, because they’ve never needed to. But the discipline makes them appreciate the importance of smoothness and how it can have a positive effect on the balance of the car into corners,” said Rob.
So of all the production cars Rob could have chosen over the past 15 years that he’s been running his sessions, why has he opted for Vauxhalls? “Stability, handling predictability and durability – these seem to come as standard in every Vauxhall I’ve used,” said Rob. “The cars have an unbelievably hard time out on our track, as drivers try to beat my lap time, so I need to know that they’re not going to break, or do something unexpected when we’re cornering at over 100 mph.”
And Rob’s road wheels for his 200-mile daily commute between his home in London and Bruntingthorpe? “A Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer – after spending a day being looked after on the limit in Vauxhalls there’s really no other option!”