It is particularly surprising when you meet someone that is widely thought of as being a 'car enthusiast' only to find out that they don't enjoy speaking about cars. That is exactly what happened when I met Gildo Pastor, owner of Venturi Automobiles, former racing driver, and former world speed record holder for driving on ice (in a Bugatti EB110 SuperSport if you were wondering). It is not that he doesn't like cars, rather that his interest has evolved towards the technical side of things, something which aligns closely with his decision to turn Venturi into a manufacturer of electric vehicles.
I won't give too much away just now as I'm still writing up my interview with him but it really got me thinking about the huge variety of car and driving-related activities that are available these days - everything from last weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed to this weekend's British Grand Prix. We seem to be at the peak of the season for such events at the moment, certainly in the UK, and there is a lot to choose from.
My experiences over the past few months have increasingly shown me that it is driving I really enjoy. I love looking at beautiful and rare cars and I love the buzz of events, particularly something like a Grand Prix, but nothing quite compares to driving a great road or track, getting 'in the zone' and trying to get the best out of your car and yourself, safely of course. It is for this reason that I will be doing another 3,000 or so miles of driving in Europe this summer and, if all goes to plan, doing some more track driving as well. I didn't appreciate how much I would enjoy driving at Spa and Nurburgring, experiences that could well turn into an expensive habit!
I am sure the path to 'petrolhead' or enthusiast is different for everyone and would love to hear your stories...
[Note: Above photo of Gildo Pastor is credited to Olivier Warter/Sopress. Below photo was taken by Ned Vincent as I drove Spa-Francorchamps race circuit.]