It was the day after the original task had been handed out, and everyone had their cars. The list would make most millionares weep:
Alex Laird: Caterham R500 (mental looks, mental performance)
Roy Shankland: Ferrari F50 (it is his favourite car, did you know)
Julie McCreath: Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione (on my recommendation; pretty, like her)
Rob McCormack: Audi R8 V10 (mmm, cold AND humourless)
Duncan Bunting: Ferrari 458 Italia (fast, Italian and flash; excellent)
Neil McGee: Jaguar XKR75 (the classic rock 'n' roll car; a Jaaag)
Fraser Young: McLaren Mercedes SLR Stirling Moss (endorsed by the man himself)
Jordan Paton: Ford GT (has the engine out of a F150 pickup, so one Mr J. Clarkson's least and most favourite car)
The journey was nothing to really write about, except Jordan stopping literally every 150 miles for fuel, Fraser forgetting to get a helmet before starting (I'd thought to get one) and therefore having to get one en route, and a hell of a lot of tunnel-blasting. My God, it was excellent. Every car had a headline act in the Tunnel Stage; low down roars from the Jaguar, Mercedes and Ford (with an added support of supercharger action from the Ford and McMerc), the mid range bark of the Caterham (which also happened to provide the heavy metal flame-spitting big enough to ignite cars in the other lane), the excellent orchestral V8s of the Alfa and 458 and the shrill V10 scream of the Audi. But I'll tell you something. That F50 V12 WAS something to certainly write about. It sounded like a 1990s F1 car. It was beautiful.
When we arrived at Silverstone, we had a even bigger treat. The people who had given us the first challenge had given us challenge number two. It read;
"Now you are here, you will now perform some challenges, a la Top Gear. The first challenge is the powerslide test. You will see who can do the biggest powerslide. Your position in this will affect your starting position on the grid in four day's time." Immediately, everyone looked at McCormack. His car was 4WD.
"So, Rob, how are you going to slide your car then?" I said jokingly, before remembering Top Gear had successfully done so. We went to our cars and got ready. Our cars had been equiped with radios with which we could use to talk to each other. So if McCormack destroyed me, I would hear all about it.
After much arduous "work", near-crashes from Julie, Roy and Jordan and enough smoke to make China look clean, we returned to chalk up the results on the board in the tent we had been given. McCormack was grinning from ear to ear, and we all knew why. The first day results stood at this:
1st: Rob McCormack, 8 points
2nd: Fraser Young, 7 points
3rd: Alex Laird, 6 points
4th: Julie McCreath, 5 points
5th: Duncan Bunting, 4 points
6th: Neil McGee, 3 points
7th: Jordan Paton, 2 points
8th: Roy Shankland, 1 point
Well, what do you know, McCormack had destroyed me and rest assured, I heard all about it. After that, we retired to the tent beds (proper beds, not bags on the floor like medieval serfs) and slept, in wonder of the next challenge.