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The Supercar Event 2015 spins into Dunsfold Park

PUBLISHED: 17:52 14 June 2015 | UPDATED: 10:12 15 June 2015

Ron with a McLaren 12C Spider

Ron with a McLaren 12C Spider

Archant

Last year, Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans was the major surprise at The Children’s Trust’s The Supercar Event when he spun into Dunsfold Park in his Ferrari. This year, a whole host of motoring fanatics are supporting the cause. Here, a few of them share their dream cars – as well as their top tip for what to see at the event

Julian with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson ButtonJulian with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April and May 2015

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NEED TO KNOW!

The Supercar Event takes place at Dunsfold Park, near Cranleigh, on Saturday June 20 and Sunday June 21. Raising money for The Children’s Trust, the event is now in its ninth year. Tickets (advance): Adults, £13.20; children, £8.80; family, £31.50. Supercar rides: £31.50. For more information, visit thesupercarevent.com

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Ron Dennis

Hometown: Virginia Water

The Woking-born chairman of McLaren has been one of the key movers and shakers in Formula 1 for many years

What was your first car?

I’ve always loved cars, and I’ve had lots of them over the years. When I was a youngster, I always drove something a bit special – I had a Mini Cooper S and a Lotus Cortina, for example. But the first car I bought that I was really excited by was an E-Type Jag – every young man’s dream car in the 1960s. I kept it absolutely immaculate. Unfortunately, I had a big shunt in it, but that didn’t put me off E-Types. They were great-looking cars then, and they’re still great-looking cars now.

What do you drive at the moment?

Since I took over McLaren in late 1980, my daily driver has usually been a car supplied by our Formula 1 team’s current engine supplier/partner. Now, though, my daily driver is a McLaren 650S. Okay, I’m biased, of course I am, but I regard the 650S as an extraordinary combination of staggering performance and remarkable docility. I’m extremely proud of the products McLaren makes, and of the people who make them, and I feel that sense of pride every time I fire up its 641bhp twin-turbo V8 engine and pull out of my drive onto the open road.

What would your dream car be?

Well, I guess I’m lucky, because McLaren’s remit is to design and manufacture dream cars, albeit very intelligent and highly efficient dream cars. So I have two dream cars: the McLaren F1, of which we manufactured only 106 examples, from 1993, which was and remains a hugely engaging and staggeringly fast three-seater; and the McLaren P1, which we launched in 2013, which we’re still delivering to the 375 buyers we sold them to, and which is the most prodigiously rapid and capable road-going supercar ever made. I’m fortunate enough to have one of each.

What is your top tip for this year’s The Supercar Event?

It sounds like it’s going to be a fun event for adults and kids alike, and The Children’s Trust is a very worthwhile charity. So my top tip is: enjoy it!

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Max Chilton

Hometown: Reigate

British motor racing driver who has taken to the track against Lewis Hamilton and co in Formula 1 in recent years

What was your first car?

A black Mini John Cooper Works. It was, and still is, one of the most fun cars I have driven on the road for its go-kart handling characteristics and its ability to squeeze into small parking bays. It is so good, I have decided to keep it forever to show the kids my first car and keep it in its great condition for years to come.

What do you drive at the moment?

I currently drive a BMW M4. It’s a great looking, sounding and handling sports coupé. I also have a Twisted Land Rover Defender 90, which I take out when the weather takes a turn for the worse or I need an off-road vehicle.

What would your dream car be?

My dream car would have to be a classic. I would struggle to choose one from such an amazing selection of cars but, for various reasons, I think it would have to be a blue Ferrari 350 California.

What is your top tip for this year’s The Supercar Event?

If you are a supercar fan and would love to have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of a passenger ride in one of 150 supercars for two laps on the famous Top Gear track, then The Supercar Event should not be missed – book your tickets now!

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John Reaks

Hometown: Lingfield

One of the drivers who make The Supercar Event tick, he’s been giving rides round the Top Gear track for about eight years!

What was your first car?

A Morris 8: a real challenge but heaps of fun. I rolled it one snowy day round a 
bend; ho hum. No harm done other than I squashed the little slot where the indicator arm pops out from. My, was that car built of thick solid steel!

What do you drive at the moment?

All my cars are used; I don’t treat any as museum pieces. So, here goes: a Caterham 7 (a twitchy handful of a car on the road, as I like it); a Ferrari F40 and 430 Scuderia (all-year use, apart from in the winter when they salt the roads!); an Audi Avant RS4 (a wolf in sheep’s clothing); a Metro 6R4, which was rally driver Colin McRae’s personal car (check out the Donnegal Rally on YouTube); and a Benetton B190 Formula 1 (well, you could say I drive it, but not in the normal sense of course!).

What would your dream car be?

I do have three cars planned from the wish list, but there’s a dream car that will surely remain just a dream. Rowan Atkinson’s, or even more so, Nick Mason’s road-going McLaren F1 with red and yellow GTR livery. It’s such an iconic vision, with its central driving position and passengers either side and behind the driver – a family car!

What is your top tip for this year’s The Supercar Event?

The Supercar Event is not just for supercar fans – it offers a great weekend of entertainment for all the family. So if you want to experience the thrill of a supercar passenger ride on the famous Top Gear track, with tickets starting at just £30, then you should book your ticket now! The grin on people’s faces says it all. Personally, I can’t wait!

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Julian Bailey

Hometown: Effingham

An ex-Formula 1 racing driver turned pub landlord at The William Bray in Shere

What was your first car?

A Rover 2000 TC. I bought it in an auction with a £500 budget and paid £495 for it. 
It was a good, reliable vehicle – and exciting to have my first car even though I was already a racing driver. It also became my hotel at race weekends!

What do you drive at the moment?

A Range Rover Evoke – where I live, I need 
a four-wheel drive in the winter. Also, driving down to my pub from my house on the top of Ranmore Common can be very treacherous in the winter.

What would your dream car be?

My dream car would be the McLaren P1.

What is your top tip for this year’s The Supercar Event?

I have driven the Dunsfold track many times and that is a lot of fun. You can pretend to be Clarkson or the Stig for a few minutes. Also, I think there will be some superb cars and well-known faces around – which is great to see in deepest, darkest Surrey. Plus, you are supporting a great charity. 
I certainly intend to be there with my stepson, current British Touring Car Championship racer, Jack Clarke.

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Tom Chilton

Hometown: Reigate

A World Touring Car Championship driver, Tom Chilton is currently part of the ROAL motorsport team

What was your first car?

It was a Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1.8T petrol, which I had as a company car as I was racing in that Vauxhall model in the BTCC at the age of 17. The good points about it were the turbo, as it gave a lot of torque, it was fast and the chassis handled really well. The bad point was the mpg out of the fuel!

What do you drive at the moment?

One of my sponsors is Alphabet, a car lease company. They kindly supply me with a BMW X3 3.5 twin turbo diesel Msport. It’s the perfect vehicle for me right now as I have a young family and it’s a safe car. Plus, when I’m on my own, it picks up and runs really well.

What would your dream car be?

My dream car on the road would be a Bugatti Veyron Supersport. Why? It’s one of the fastest cars in the world, it has huge performance and has luxuries that provide a very comfortable ride (it has air conditioning, a great sound system etc). The problem with every other top supercar is they are too stiff for the road and have no luxuries – and usually break down.

What is your top tip for this year’s The Supercar Event?

If you are looking for an event that will entertain the whole family, as well as supercar enthusiasts, then you should book your tickets for The Supercar Event now!

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Tiff Needell

Hometown: On the track!

British racing driver and long-time TV presenter, Tiff Needell is also a trustee of Brooklands Museum in Weybridge 

What was your first car?

A very second-hand Morris 1000 Traveller that I bought in the dark because it was what I was looking for – so I never noticed the moss growing in the woodwork and the rust growing on the chassis! I actually used it to tow my first racing car to and from meetings until it eventually collapsed under the strain.

What do you drive at the moment?

A BMW 535i Touring. It’s the perfect family car! It’s not too big, but not too small; is good on petrol despite the fact that I love high revving engines; it’s rear-wheel drive, of course; and an estate to boot for that extra carrying capacity.

What would your dream car be?

An original McLaren F1, just like Rowan Atkinson’s – but I fear they are growing slightly out of my price range! This will forever be the greatest supercar ever made, as the driver does all the driving unlike the modern fly-by-wire, driver operated but computer driven models.

What is your top tip for this year’s The Supercar Event?

Looking after our children is the most important thing we do, so while you go and live your supercar dream you’ll also be helping someone else dream of a better life.

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Paul Clifford

Hometown: Langley Vale

A big fan of Ferraris, motoring enthusiast Paul Clifford has been a supercar driver at The Supercar Event for the past four years

What was your first car?

Well, my first car was a lovely Solar Gold Ford Capri, 1.6L. This was a car I had admired for many years, as the dad of a friend owned one on the council estate we lived on. He was pretty cool, so somewhat aspirational for a seven-year-old. As an 18-year-old, it was still cool. A long bonnet and this tiny engine beneath it, which was fine as no one could see it. It handled okay; a bit tricky on corners but I loved it and cleaned it like it was in a show.

What do you drive at the moment?

My Ferrari is a Black 360 Spider (convertible). It will hit 60 in about four seconds and has a top speed of around 190mph. It has a few modifications and has a specially designed exhaust that would wake another continent.

What would your dream car be?

For me, it has always been Ferrari. The name evokes thoughts of master craftsmen, Enzo Ferrari and a desire to win – something that raises the hair on the back of your neck.
As for another dream car, I would probably go for a 250GT. It’s not fast but it’s a truly beautiful car.

What is your top tip for this year’s The Supercar Event?

There is no spectacle like it! 150 cars of the type you only see in magazines, there in front of you roaring past! I have supported this event for the past four years and have yet to see a passenger not wowed by the experience. Book early; in fact book now. Arrive early and avoid the queues then prepare yourself for a truly spectacular experience. You won’t forget it!

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Pete Gardner

Hometown: Hambledon

Regular Surrey Life photographer Pete Gardner is also an avid motoring fanatic

What was your first car?

 My first car was an Austin A35; it was white and rattled a lot, but I loved it. I took it on holiday all the way to Devon and Cornwall once with no breakdowns. I fitted rally seat covers and a small steering wheel and felt like a million dollars, as they say...

What do you drive at the moment?

Life has gone full circle and I have a beautiful 1973 Triumph GT6 in my garage. Bright Mimosa yellow and a real head-turner. I’m rebuilding it at the moment, so hopefully it will look even lovelier soon.

What would your dream car be?

My dream car? Following on the classic tradition (see above), it would be an Aston Martin DB5 – then I could pretend to be James Bond ALL the time.

What is your top tip for this year’s The Supercar Event?

 Bring your earplugs and forget the coffee! The adrenaline rush will be enough to keep you going for days afterwards. It certainly did for me when I tackled the Top Gear Experience for Surrey Life magazine recently! I wonder if I left a good impression? I hear they might be looking for a new presenter...

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