WORDS BY ROB HANSFORD | IMAGES BY PHD PHOTO
Any young racing fan’s dream is to one day become a racing driver and to go on and drive a Formula 1 car.
Of course, plenty of people manage to make the step to become a racing driver, competing on some of the world’s greatest race tracks, but very few ever get the chance to experience what it’s like to drive an F1 car in anger.
British Touring Car Championship driver Jake Hill was one of those drivers lacking any F1 experience - until recently.
He’d longed to drive an F1 car, but never had the opportunity, until one arose at this year’s Goodwood Members’ Meeting, when he was given the chance to drive the Footwork Arrows FA14 that took part in the 1993 season.
“It was a real dream come true,” Hill said to The Pit Stop. I would have liked to driven one that was on a new set of tyres and had been setup and everything, but 10 year old tyres and springs that are as hard as your nan’s teeth, it’s a bit of a scary place to be.
“I loved the experience more than driving the car. I think when the car gets setup properly and new tyres, I’m sure it will be a much more pleasant thing to drive, but with the way it was, it was a bit scary.”
Hill may not have experienced contemporary machinery around the Goodwood circuit, but driving the Footwork Arrows has given him a greater appreciation for drivers that raced in the 1990s era, and he hopes to get another outing in the FA14 again in the future.
“With a bit of luck, I think the plan is to drive that car again once it’s been rebuilt and refreshed and fully gone through. So I thoroughly look forward to that."
But while Hill managed to achieve a lifelong ambition, at one stage it didn’t look like it was going to materialise.
On the opening day of Members’ Meeting, Hill had gone to the holding pen with the FA14, looking forward to getting his first taste of the car, for it only to break down moments later, preventing him from taking to the track.
“There was a very small but annoying thing. There always is,” Hill explained. “We fired the car up with about 10 minutes to go prior, in the collection area and it all fired up perfectly. No problems whatsoever.
“We then went to fire it up at the minute board, and basically we had drained the battery in the process of warming it up.
“So it physically wouldn’t supply the spark needed to fire the engine again.
“You have to keep the revs above 5,000 in order to charge the alternator and basically, the battery is so small, it’s like a quad bike battery, that you have to rely on the alternator, and if you’re not, it kills it.”
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