Drive an F1 Paul Ricard circuit, France
Grand Prix National Circuit Length: 3.8 kilometres lap
In 2018, the F1 circus returned to France for the first time since 2008 – and the Paul Ricard circuit was the venue. Now you can drive an F1 on this famous circuit in the sunshine of southern France. Based at Le Castellet, the circuit hosted the French Grand Prix from 1971 for 14 years (until it moved to Magny Cours another of our F1 driving circuits). The GP National track which is used on our F1 course features the Mistral straight, the tricky end of lap complex from the double right hander of Beausset corner to the Virage du Pont and then onto the pit straight. The track is also well known for its use of high abrasion run-offs replacing the gravel traps of the past and it is fast with the top speed set in the 2018 F1 GP at over 210 mph. F1 drivers talking about Ricard say ‘It has many corner combinations, many technical sections, meaning you’ll have to be clever – Bottas and Charles Leclerc said: ‘It is a very technical track offering good challenges.’
Wildside provide more F1 driving programmes than anyone. And remember there is no catch – all you need is an ordinary driving license and that’s it. You can then be taking to the track in a full-house F1 with no rev limits and no speed limits. And that includes the 2.4 litre V8 2011 Williams FW33 – the most current F1 car available anywhere. Other F1′ s available at the circuit feature: Benetton B198, Prost AP04, Jaguar R2. You will also be out in the Formula Renault 2.0 (paddle shift) single seater race cars as part of the training schedule. The courses are very one-to-one with a maximum of 18 drivers on the day.
FW33 F1 car
Being an F1 Driver for the Day will put a serious dent in your bucket list! Upon arrival at the circuit you will be kitted out in F.I.A. approved race gear then taken through a technical briefing and circuit tour that is an education in itself. Before being let loose in theyou will take to the track to get up to speed in a single seater Formula Renault car – huge fun in its own right!
Then after lunch and the F1 briefing, we go straight to the main event – Formula 1.
You won’t arrive at the track to find a crowd of other participants. A maximum of just 18 other drivers per day ensures you get the attention you require for an activity of this nature. Best of all there is a truly refreshing approach from the instructors who are genuinely keen for you to really experience the incredible power and g-forces generated by these cars. This is a world apart from the usual driving school “sausage factory” approach with artificial rev limits and over-bearing instructors.
The whole experience is beyond description. It is the very stuff that dreams are made of.
Benetton F1 car
Circuit Paul Ricard is in the south of France, around 8 km from the mediaeval village of Le Castellet, in Provence. The nearest international airports are Marseille Provence (66 km) , Toulon Hyeres (55 km) and Nice Côte d’Azur (176 km). This a delightful part of France. No other region in Europe, not even Tuscany, can match the region’s special appeal. It has been a playground since the Romans scattered arenas and theatres across the landscape. Today, admire the prettily-perched villages and the old boys bringing ancestral wisdom to the game of pétanque. Provence is all terrific, from the A-team towns of Arles, Avignon and Aix – where culture is endemic – out into the vineyards and up into the hills and mountains beyond. Plus of course, there is the climate. Sunshine, sunshine and yet more sunshine. And with the mountains to the north, the vineyards in the centre and the coastline of the Mediterranean to the south; is it any wonder that this has been such an attractive location for visitors from all over for hundreds of years.
THE F1 COURSE TYPICAL ITINERARY
07.45 – Arrive circuit, welcome, coffee
08.15 – Distribution of FIA approved race-suits and safety equipment
08.30 – Technical Briefing: The Circuit – Gearbox – Weight Distribution – Braking – Acceleration
09.30 – Tour of the circuit to learn correct race lines and braking zones
10.30 – 1st session of Formula Renault (F3) training with debrief & feedback
11.30 – 2nd session of Formula Renault (F3) training with full debrief
12.30 – Lunch
13.30 – Formula 1 Technical Briefing: Gearbox – Dashboard & Paddle-shift operation – Braking
14.30 – Formula 1 sessions
17.00 – Optional F1 passenger rides in unique 3-seater
17.30 – Champagne & Presentation of diplomas