One of the things Danny liked about racing in the Classic series, apart from the fact that he could get a seat in one of the cars with almost no notice, was the choice of cars the team Force Ten Racing was affiliated with had. To be considered a Classic Car the only requirement was that the model of car had to be at least twenty five years old.
The minimum age restriction meant there was a wide variety of vehicles, from 1970’s era muscle cars to imported turbo powered cars of the late 80’s and early 90’s. It also meant that with every passing year a slightly newer car came onto the list of available rides. While Danny always enjoyed racing a naturally aspirated V8 muscle car from the 70’s, especially and Aussie muscle car, in the handicapped and classed racing there was still something massive alluring him into a more powerful car. That something more powerful was one of the new cars which Force Twelve had taken delivery of at the start of the Classic Racing series which started a month earlier than Danny’s own Touring Car season.
It was a 1993 Lamborghini Diablo. When it came off the factory floor twenty five years earlier it was capable of 485 horsepower and 325 kilometres per hour. With the modifications they were allowed to do on the cars to race them, even with the added safety gear, wider tyres and better brakes they were able to get the horsepower a shade over 500 and a top speed of 338 kilometres per hour.
There wasn’t a race track on the circuit, the same tracks Danny raced in the touring car series, where the Lamborghini could reach the top speed it was capable of but the quick acceleration and ability to handle corners faster, both in and out, than many other cars meant they it could exceed the almost magical 300 kilometres per hour figure on several of the long straights. It was a speed even Danny’s race car couldn’t attain since the entire field had been slowed three years earlier when the speed had been getting out of control and the official governing body speed limited all cars in top gear to a maximum of 304 kilometres per hour.
It was easy for Danny to admit that it was the speed he craved, not just the practise, it was like a drug, a drug that helped him forget his life outside of racing. It was like alcohol, a means to make the mind forget what it didn’t want to deal with. He wasn’t the only driver that used driving for that reason but like anything that is used to help forget something else the trick was to never let yourself forget for too long. For Danny a weekend in the Diablo wouldn’t make him forget his woes with Tracey but it would give him a break from them and hopefully give Tracey a chance to forget she wanted to talk about them.
Danny left home before 5:30am, he refused Tracey’s offer to make him breakfast saying he’d get something on the way to the track. He’d also done his best to avoid conversation with her, so much so that when she got up and went to the toilet he took his chance, called out goodbye to the closed bathroom door and didn’t wait for a response. As he pulled out of the driveway out of the corner of his eye he could see her waving from the bedroom window but just like he’d ignored anything she might have said through the closed bathroom door he pretended he didn’t see her wave and drove off.
When Danny arrived at the track, he ran into a few people he knew, a few guys from rival teams, guys from teams when he was coming up through the ranks and plenty of others he knew from ‘around the traps’. Some of the people he ran into were almost like reporters with the questions they asked and the way they asked them, others seemed less questioning and some offered little more than a polite greeting. But the conversation was not what Danny was there for.besides the Classic Car series was more friendly, less pressure and less stress so there would be time during the day to catch up with other drivers and teams.
Truth was Danny couldn’t wait to get out in the team’s spare Lamborghini, it was a thrill to drive, even for a seasoned motorsport professional, so when the time came to suit up and get himself ready for the qualifying Danny was as eager as a first time racer.
Qualifying for Danny went well, he might have had one of the fastest cars on the track but he wasn’t the fastest driver on the track, but he also didn’t expect to be. After an hour of qualifying, sixty minutes where he was able to clock in twenty five timed laps, including several pit stops, Danny came out in eighth position. It wasn’t perfect and he knew he could do better but it was a reasonable effort given how little track time he’d done in the Lamborghini.
However the best part about qualifying eighth in the Classic Cars series was that the country’s press contingency did not follow the Classic events as closely or in as large numbers as the main series. Therefore Danny while he wasn’t embarrassed by his qualifying he also didn’t have to put up with the press badgering him between racers or making reasons for a less than stellar performance. In fact the Classic series wasn’t even aired lived on national TV, it was recorded and shown two and three weeks after the event.
Although it was an early start for Danny with qualifying and warm ups he had until 2pm before the race started. That meant a decent two hour break between qualifying and racing, it was at the start of the down time where he was relaxing in the pit garage having a snack when Tracey walked in.
Previous Racing story here.