Millbrook 2021 – at last !

Happily back, a walk around the steering pad before the nine o’clock start reveals McLaren’s attendance with a new manufacturer called Genesis – reminds me of the introduction to ‘Dance of the Volcano’. A first no show from Mazda though, in my time of attending since 2006.

Eager to try Honda’s e in gaudy yellow was my first drive. Now battery range and price aside, it outperforms combustion engined cars on the hill circuit simply because the e’s centre of gravity is lower as it’s like having dead masses in the floorpan which is effectively what the batteries act as. Technological innovations such as internal screens that replicate the actions of external door mirrors may justify that close to 30K retail tag but I’d recently changed a door mirror on a Honda Jazz that was a far simpler process. Would you want one ?… with a reduction in pricing hopefully with economies of scale.

I’d been bold enough to book a McLaren GT to drive but having discovered that it could only be driven on public roads, I almost cancelled it. Having never driven any McLaren before though, I summoned the courage to take it out of the secure ground that is Millbrook. It felt intimidating. The flares down the flanks that fill door mirrors and a lack of rear visibility. Despite this, their PR reps told me that it’s an everyday car you could fit golf clubs into – as you do – everyday. With turbo singing over my shoulder, it was an experience as was reversing out of a minor road onto an A road that didn’t match the pre-set navigational route. With eyes focussed on road and mirrors, there was less chance to see fellow drivers’ reactions or responses which I suspect, was a good thing.

With Rob – Porsche’s instructor who advised with precision and science. Dabbing brake whilst staring at the extent of vision – which at times included focussing through my top left corner of the windscreen after descending the hill circuit’s blind crest to ascend then arc through a sharp left-handed camber. Five or six successive laps enabled tyre warming and a closer enaction for quicker action. I still separate braking from gearchanges learnt from my advanced driving course although the margins between in the Porsche were ever closer.

Genesis is the name selected for Hyundai’s luxury brand but I suspect Bentley may enact a copyright claim as their badges are similar. The GV80 SUV drove seamlessly and cossetted whilst on the city circuit as its suspension is designed for comfort.

Millbrook – as always is a great event to get back to after a lengthy absence.

Words and photo are copyright of Sotiris Vassiliou

September 2021