BEN AN­DER­SON JOUR­NAL­IST-RACER

Motor Sport News - - Monsters: Formula 5000 -

I’ve been lucky enough to race or test close to 100 dif­fer­ent cars dur­ing my ca­reer at Au­tosport, and I of­ten get asked which was the best or coolest or most ex­cit­ing. For­mula 5000 tops the lot.

I con­fess to not know­ing much about this cat­e­gory when Si­mon Had­field of­fered me a drive at the 2012 Sil­ver­stone Clas­sic. All I knew was they were his­toric sin­gle-seaters, with big slick tyres, mon­ster amounts of power, and very lit­tle down­force.

Prob­a­bly the clos­est you could get to be­ing in a F1 car of the pe­riod, with­out ac­tu­ally be­ing in F1…

In ac­tual fact I was lucky enough to drive two For­mula 5000 cars. I was test­ing my For­mula Vee at Mal­lory Park when Had­field rocked up with his ex-bob Evans Tro­jan T101 and urged me to drive a few laps.

All I re­mem­ber is that those laps went by in a blur of awe­some ac­cel­er­a­tion. Ger­ard’s, Esses, Hair­pin, Ger­ard’s, Esses, Hair­pin. Bang! Bang! Bang! Barely time to breathe from one to the next. So much grunt; and un­be­liev­able trac­tion from enor­mous rear tyres. I also learned the Devil’s El­bow can be a real cor­ner in the dry.

Un­for­tu­nately, the Tro­jan suf­fered en­gine fail­ure be­fore the Clas­sic, so Si­mon put his ex-peter Gethin Chevron B37 at my dis­posal – fit­ting for the ‘Peter Gethin Tro­phy’ races I thought.

I re­mem­ber grad­u­ally find­ing my feet with a bru­tal car; thun­der­ing along the straights, tip­toe­ing del­i­cately through the cor­ners, des­per­ately try­ing to avoid a pen­du­lum ef­fect from the huge Chevro­let V8 in the back.

The driv­ing was an un­be­liev­able thrill, but it’s the noise that re­ally stays with you. The crowds flocked when­ever the en­gine fired up and I ap­plied that first blip of throt­tle.

It never failed to send tremors through the earth, and a shiver down my spine.

An­der­son raced this B37 Chevron at Sil­ver­stone

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