June 18 2013 Latest news:
Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Sunday, November 18, 2012
The dreams of hundreds of sports car fans came true at the weekend as a Norfolk race track held a unique annual charity event giving visitors the chance to be a passenger in a racing car.
The second annual Charity Race Experience Day was held at Snetterton race track on Sunday when fans could pay to be taken three times around the track in a wide variety of cars, from classic cars to racing cars, including Ferraris and Aston Martins.
Money was also being raised for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, which provides free accommodation to the families of young people receiving hospital or hospice treatment away so they can stay together. Last year’s race experience day raised £20,000 for the charity.
One of the organisers Kevin Foley, who runs two McDonald’s restaurants in Norwich, said he hoped to double last year’s figure from this year’s event.
He said: “It has been absolutely fantastic. We have got perfect weather and more people than we had hoped for.”
Stars from the world of TV and motorsport were also present including former Formula One driver Martin Donnelly, British Tour Car Championship driver Shaun Hollamby, Carl Breeze, of Ginetta GT Supercup and 2010 Big Brother contestant Steve “The Baron” Gill, a keen amateur racer.
Visitors were also treated to a display by the Wildcat Aerobatic Formation Team, based at Old Buckenham airfield and had the chance to ride in the cab of one of the giant trucks that participate in the annual East Coast Truckers convoy which take special needs children on a trip from Norwich to Great Yarmouth.
The catalyst for the fundraiser was a message sent by Mr Foley to a business networking website asking for help to organise a charity event in aid of Ronald McDonald House.
His plea was answered by Shawn Taylor, racing instructor and owner of the Shawn Taylor Racing Team and Devin Grosse, general manager of the Holiday Inn Norwich-North, who helped organise the race experience day.
The cars and drivers were supplied by 18 racing clubs, which supplied between 20 and 30 cars each and the type of car varied according to the amount paid, with the faster cars, such as the Ferraris governing higher sums.
The sports cars completed three laps of the two mile circuit and alongside the sports car experience there was also a separate one mile course for classic cars.
Peter Sheppard, 53, from Claxton, got to experience the two mile circuit in an Aston Martin Vantage.
He said: “It was just a fantastic experience. It was my first time in an Aston Martin and hopefully not the last. I dream of owning an Aston Martin one day.
“I think it is excellent because for a reasonable amount of money you get the opportunity to ride in a top of the range car.”
He was visiting with his wife Rachel, 53 and son Daniel, 13, who was also set to take a spin as a passenger.
Stewart Buxton, 57, from Wymondham, took a tour in a Triumph Dolomite Sprint and described the experience as “fantastic.”
He said: “It is amazing. The Triumph went very quick for what it is, for an old school car. It kept pace with a Ferrari. I think anything that helps charity is brilliant.”
Car dealer Justin Cracknell, 41, travelled in a Fiesta Mark II. He said: “It was absolutely awesome. I think it is a great chance for people to mingle with racing drivers.”