British racer Alexander Sims enjoyed his first taste of a Formula 1 car when he tested a McLaren at Silverstone on Thursday (4 November). The drive was Alexander's prize for winning the 2008 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award.
The car that Sims got to drive was a MP4-23, similar to that that Lewis Hamilton drove to the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship. After doing an installation lap, Sims completed two runs totalling 16 laps of the Silverstone South circuit.
The 22-year old said: “Today was the most incredible experience of my life. I’ve driven some great cars in my racing career but the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 Formula One car was like nothing I’ve ever experienced and it really blew me away!
“The first time you go full throttle in the car and then feel its reaction under breaking is simply incredible and you realise exactly what you’ve got underneath you! Once I got heat in the tyres I was able to understand pretty quickly what I could do with the car, how it responds to you, how late you can brake and how to get the most out of it.
“I want to say a big thank you to everyone that made today possible. It was fantastic to work with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula One team and I also want to thank the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award for offering such an amazing prize. It’s safe to say that now I’ve had the opportunity to experience driving a Formula One car that I am even more determined to succeed in my ambition of driving in Formula One in the future.”
McLaren Test Team manager Indy Lall commented: “Firstly, Alexander is one of the nicest young men you would wish to meet. Secondly, he did everything that was expected of him under the circumstances. It was a very cold and blustery day, so to do such a competent job as Alexander did on his first acquaintance with a Formula One car, clearly demonstrates the level that he is at already.
“His feedback was very precise, which allowed the Team to make improvements to the balance of the car during his short runs today. Alexander left the Team having not only done a good job, but to see the joy in his face made the whole event very worthwhile. We wish Alexander much success for his career which will undoubtedly reach the top level.”
Sims has competed in the Formula 3 Euro Series for the last two seasons, finishing fourth in the standings on both occasions. He, along with his management Gravity Sport, is currently considering options for the 2011 season. Last month he completed a three day GP3 test and over the next two months he will be competing in tests for 'other top level racing series'.