So do I drive gently, give the crowds time to see the car, or do I go properly fast and at least let them see it being driven in some approximation of the way in which it was designed to be driven? You’d think the team would answer the question for me. You’d think someone would come up to me and say, ‘Andrew, don’t take this the wrong way, but if you do more than 60mph or use more than 4,000rpm, you’ll never drive another Bentley again.’ It’s what I’d have done. But they didn’t. They just crammed me into its interior, helped me fire it up and pointed me down the pitlane.
Actually, there wasn’t much of a decision to be made. These opportunities are rare even for one as lucky as me, and you have to make the most of them. I knew the car would be friendly to drive despite its ferocious power and performance, I knew the circuit and I didn’t think I’d be doing anyone any favours by just tootling around.
So I drove it as fast as I could. Or as fast as I could while taking not the smallest, slightest, scintilla of a risk which, in such a car let me tell you is still pretty bloody fast. Full power out of Luffield, flat through Woodcote, down one for Copse, then down plenty for Becketts because we’re on the Club circuit today, then all the beans back up to Brooklands, reach a speed I don’t even want to think about, then land on those magnificent carbon discs and feel all the breath knocked clean out of you lungs. Magical barely describes it. And when I came in I even got a round of applause.