My wish to the Racing Genie
Having returned to the slog that is the bleak Scottish winter, I long to be back in Florida. Watching the world’s finest racers driving flat out on the banks of the Daytona International Speedway, was pure joy.
Memories of interviewing the sports car racing elite bring the goofiest of smiles to my face. During these enjoyable conversations, I asked a question normally reserved for the pub or on a long journey to pass the time.
If you could choose any race, any car and any co-driver to team up with, what would your choices be?
Today, it dawned on me that I never asked myself this question. So, in the interests of clinging on to a memorable trip a little longer, I thought I’d scribble down my wishes to the racing genie.
The Race: The 24 hours of Le Mans
A predictable answer, I know. One of the many desirable features of Le Mans, is the variety of machinery that compete in any given year. Let alone across the event’s illustrious 97-year history.
Therefore, kindly asking the racing genie to grant me fantasy entry to The 24 hours of Le Mans, opens up a catalogue of exotic race cars to choose from.
Although not exclusive to Le Mans, multi class racing provides a non-stop spectacle for those watching on TV and trackside. Space age, hybrid powered, prototype machines, slice through the swarms of cumbersome GT cars with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel. Four classes of vehicle of varying degrees of speed, raced simultaneously from day, to night and back to day again.
Another endearing feature of Le Mans is that not every driver competing in the world’s most famous motor race is a full time professional driver. For those willing to invest colossal amounts of money, the opportunity exists to take part in the Superbowl of motorsport. Of course, any amateur driver will require the assistance of a world class professional to share the driving duties over 24 hours.
An intoxicating combination of heritage, a peculiar, yet exhilarating circuit and endless choice of steeds confirms The 24 Hours of Le Mans at the top of my wish list.
The Car: Mazda 787B
Choosing a car for my dream race, is far from easy. Gulf Ford GT40, Ferrari P3, Rothmans Porsche 962, Gulf McLaren F1 GTR, Porsche 911 GT1, Sauber Mercedes C9, Ferrari 333SP, Corvette C7.R, Aston Martin DBR9, Ferrari 550LM and the Toyota GT-One. All of the aforementioned cars have to be considered but all come in a very close second.
For me, it has to be the Mazda 787B. Specifically the orange and green, Renown livery car. Reminiscent to a 240mph tic tac packet. This 700bhp, rotary powered monster, revved to a devastatingly deafening 9000rpm. Despite lacking ultimate pace compared to its rivals, Mazda’s bizarre little engine carried the 787B to the Japanese marques only Le Mans victory in 1991.
All the time I hear about generation x, millennials and snowflakes. These terms mean little to me. I am not a millennial. I am from “The Gran Turismo generation”. Plenty Japanese performance cars have been immortalised in this classic video game series. Nissan Skylines, Toyota Supras and many others have cemented their place in the hearts of any child who encountered the Gran Turismo franchise.
However, Mazda’s 787B remains etched in my memory and permanently imposed on my ear drums. Largely, thanks to Polyphony digital’s masterpiece that took up so much of my childhood.
I couldn’t think of a finer car to take on this endurance racing classic.
The Co-Driver: Jim Clark
Although Jim Clark was taken from us long before my lifetime, I have learned so much about him and my intrigue never stops. I firmly believe Jim Clark is my native Scotland’s finest ever sportsman.
Therefore, to tackle a gruelling endurance race which in recent years has descended into a 24-hour sprint race, Jim Clark would have to be my choice of co-driver. ‘Jimmy’ was renowned for his delicate, sympathetic, yet rapid, driving style. Jim Clark would be the ideal co-driver to hand over to in the cool of the French summer’s night.
What would your wishes to the racing genie be? Let me know in the comments below.
Listen to Ryan Dalziel, Wayne/Ricky/Jordan Taylor and Katherine Legge's wishes on The Peter MacKay Motorsport Podcast.