It’s foggy and freezing cold, but luckily there is a vat of tea to hand, while they get the track set up and take out the cars. Stig’s flight is delayed (it takes a while to get used to calling him Ben) so we get a start on the filming. There are loads of crew around as we’ll be taking the Mazda 2 around the racetrack to test the efficiency of Topaz fuels with additives, today and everything needs to be in perfect condition. There is plenty of excitement too, the word has got out that Ben is coming and they have to keep people from sneaking into the track!
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Ben arrives, cool and calm, he is a lovely soft spoken guy, with lots of creative ideas, why did they hide him under a helmet for 7 years? I’ve been quite calm up to now, but then he takes the car out for a test drive…… watching him, I suddenly realise what I’m letting myself in for!
Lap 1: 10km’s in the Mazda 2 using normal fuel.
Driving is ‘Stig style’ with me as a passenger and his golf clubs in the boot. 110kmph average, squealing into corners, tyres spinning, sharp braking, white knuckles, wide eyes and a scream stuck in my throat. Uses gallons of fuel and leaves me with knees shaking for 10 minutes afterwards.
Lap 2: 10km’s in the Mazda 2 using Topaz Fuel with additives.
I’m in charge! Ben takes the wheel for a second time and takes on board all my fuel efficient driving tips. We remove the golf clubs, check the tyre pressure, roll up the windows and reduce the air conditioning. Ben promises to check service the car regularly, as he changes up gears at around 2,500 rpm and takes a steady speed around the course. It’s a smooth, pleasant trip around the track, I finally see the sights of Mondello and I don’t get car sick!
After measuring the fuel for the second time everyone is impressed by the savings in fuel. There is a 62.5% improvement in fuel efficiency from our second lap.
Quick phonecall back to Roadwatch to make sure Ben’s route to the airport is clear, only to discover that a truck has overturned on the Red Cow Interchange spilling it’s load on the M50. Luckily for Ben the N7 inbound and M50 northbound are clear and he makes his flight with loads of time. I bid farewell to all the crew and head home exhausted from the cold air and excitement.