I've got to admit right off the bat that today, I felt like the proverbial kid in a candy store. I finally got to do something that I've wanted to do for a long time. I got to ride in an Indy Car 2-seater race car.
I watched other people doing this at several tracks, most recently when I was in Indianapolis for this year's Indy 500. At that time, I was ready to pay to ride, but then learned that all of the opportunities were already sold out for the entire weekend. Well, today, I finally got my chance.
Here I am all suited up and waiting for my turn.
I'm at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California to photograph the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, the last road course race of the 2010 Indy Racing League season.
Thanks to my friends at HP, today I got to partake of the "Indy Racing Experience." What's more, my driver today was Davey Hamilton, one of the drivers with Dragon Racing, the team sponsored by HP. I'm currently working on an article about the team.
The 2-seater is a larger version of an actual Indy car. It's got the same engine that they ran last year. The only difference is that it's longer, with a second seat behind the driver.
After arriving at Infineon Raceway at 9am, I signed several pages of release forms and then went into a changing room to don my firesuit and boots. Then, I waited until it was my turn to put on a balaclava, helmet, and gloves and climb aboard behind Davey. After the crew strapped me in and surrounded my head with a Hans device, they started the engine and we took off.
What a kick. Going from zero to more than 100mph in a few seconds and then braking through the corners and up the hill at Infineon (still Sears Point as far as I'm concerned) was an incredible rush.
If there was any downside, it was that the two laps were over way too quickly. I talked with Davey afterwards and told him next time I want to drive.
I shot some video while at the track and also got some onboard video shot from a car-mounted camera. I've edited the footage together and posted it on YouTube. Here it is. Enjoy.
All I can say is, if you've ever thought of doing a 2-seater ride, go for it. And thank you HP for making my ride happen.