Yes! I can strike another one off the bucket list! I’ve actually driven on the Sepang International Circuit – one of the official F1 race tracks around the world! w00t!
I was at the Volkswagen Das Auto event held to herald in the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup 2011 at SIC and got to experience this once-in-a-lifetime chance. Heh!
I was there pretty early – the event was very well organized – there’s even parking near the paddock and a shuttle to ferry you there so you don’t have to walk.
After a quick registration, I signed up to test drive the Volkswagen Polo GTI.
I got the 9:45 am slot so I grabbed a quick breakfast of hot noodle soup and coffee before testing out the car.
This is a real world 7.7 km circuit around SIC comprising of various conditions you’ll expect in your daily commute.
I was quite impressed with the car – it handled the straights very well as you can see in the video above. The traffic was pretty light at that hour so the kind folks at Volkswagen let me drive through it twice. This isn’t the actual track (more about that later) – there was a lot of stuff to do that day.
…like this driving simulator located throughout. It’s customized so you can see the new Volkswagen Polo in the simulator.
I also went for the Volkswagen Driving Experience – which is basically a safety course. Obstacle avoidance, emergency braking, stuff like that. It was a lot of fun though and I was so glad I got there early coz the spots were all quickly taken up till 4:30 pm.
The highlight of the event was the launch of the Volkswagen Polo GTI. The car is a beauty!
All the meals were provided that day. I guess they don’t call it a VIP experience for nothing. Heh.
Catering was done from Pan Pacific so the food was pretty good.
There’s also a Volkswagen Scirocco R car inside – this is the actual car used in the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup 2011.
Here’s another angle of the car. I don’t think this highly tuned and spec-ed up car is road legal but won’t it be a blast to drive it? :D
Anyway, the event that everyone has been hoping for with two fingers crossed came up after lunch – the lucky draw to drive an actual Volkswagen car ON the Sepang International Circuit! The names were announced and there was a mad rush to the monitors see if we were one of the lucky ones.
I think I’m going to have a stroke. *pounds chest
My name was on it! I am going to drive on an actual F1 circuit. There are people who would kill for this. I know, you all hate me. ;)
I suited up in safety gear and went into the car. There were Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen Scirocco up for grabs and as I headed to mine, I suddenly thought – how am I going to film the experience?
I mean, this is an experience of a lifetime, I’ve gotta get it on film! Thus, I randomly scanned the crowd of people who weren’t as lucky and picked one at random.
Say hello to Celine! She’s from Penang and has agreed to be a passenger in return for filming the Sepang International Circuit drive.
I actually filmed the entire experience (or rather, Celine did) but I had the radio on at the beginning – it was Eminem feat. Dr Dre – I Need a Doctor and I forgot to turn it off so I couldn’t upload most of the drive around SIC.
I can tell you though, it was hair-raising. I pushed the Volkswagen to its limits, hitting 220km/h on the straights and doing corners at 180 km/h. I have to say, the latter is not to be attempted by anyone less than a professional.
I nearly skidded out of control three times and it’s a testament to Volkswagen’s ride and handling which corrected my amateur mistakes. I think I might have frightened Celine though, heck, I frightened myself at the power of the car and the experience of driving at high speeds on an actual racing track.
Thank you for the experience of a lifetime, Volkswagen. I’ll never forget it. :)
Good luck in the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup 2011 season!