In 30-plus years as a full-time road tester and part-time racer I’ve been blessed with hot laps at the world’s best tracks. These are the ones that make me smile

Herald Sun - Motoring - - On the Web - PAUL GOVER paul.gover@cars­

Paul Gover has driven ev­ery­where, man, in­clud­ing all the places of which we can but dream. Here’s his top tracks

1 The Nur­bur­gring

Noth­ing tests a driver like hot laps at The Green Hell’’. The 21km course is fast and many of the cor­ners are over brows or around blind cor­ners. My first laps of the Ring were in a bog­stan­dard E-class Benz— com­plete with a bol­lock­ing from the PR chief— and most re­cently I’ve logged time in the Lexus LFA su­per­car, which made me feel like a leg­end. In my own words.

2 Bathurst

I’ve been lucky enough to qual­ify a V8 Su­per­car for The Great Race and had a cou­ple of class wins in pro­duc­tion car en­duros at Mt Panorama. It’s a great track, and the run across the top of the moun­tain equals the best bits at the Nur­bur­gring — get the start of the run a me­tre wrong and you are in big trou­ble at Sky­line. My favourite mem­ory is my first big hit down Con­rod Straight in Su­per­car prac­tice at 280km/h, watch­ing Greg Mur­phy clos­ing like a hun­gry shark in the Com­modore that won in 07.

3 As­cari

The best track that no one knows. It’s a pri­vate course in Spain that car com­pa­nies find per­fect for let­ting press peo­ple try their new wares. I’ve been there twice, INBMW’SM3 and the lat­est M5, and it is an in­cred­i­ble chal­lenge with a 240km/h straight and a roller­coaster run-up and over a hill.

4 La­guna Seca

The home of the US Mo­togp race is an old-style road course that runs up and over a moun­tain, topped by a sig­na­ture turn called The Corkscrew. The press drive for the Mercedes SLS gull­wing’’ was a hugely mem­o­rable day, topped by hot laps paced by Ger­man tour­ing car ace Bernd Sch­nei­der, who was two car lengths be­hind Se­bas­tian Vet­tel in an­other gull­wing.

5 Monza

The Ital­ian track is a spooky place with grand­stands built in the 1930s. It’s now the home of the Ital­ian Grand Prix and the most pas­sion­ate F1 fans in the world. I’ve sam­pled it from the pas­sen­ger seat of a Volvo turbo

Lap­ping it up: above Gover at Paul Ri­card; right, be­hind the wheel test­ing the Mclaren MP412C sportscar at the Top Gear test track in Eng­land

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