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GP Week : Issue 119
Unlike the legendary French endurance race, which covers the same distance as London to New York, we’re criss-crossing southern England and abiding by the speed limits. But the set-up is similar. Driving a Nissan GT-R for long periods requires focus. Filling its mirrors for the whole journey is a large motorhome, where the two drivers who aren’t on duty can eat, relax and sleep. On board is a team manager keeping track of our progress and a nutritionist to ensure our bodies and minds are primed. Our journey starts and ends at Silverstone, Britain’s home of motorsport. We familiarize ourselves with the GT-R . It has the nose of a panther and rear lights like electric oven hobs. It’s an intimidating, snarling beast. Its 530 horsepower is enough to tear the road in two, and it boasts more technology under its bonnet and dashboard than a Palo Alto expo. After a meal of chicken and steamed veg, to give us sustained energy, washed down with an isotonic drink, it’s time for my first stint. But not before James Milligan, sports therapist for Lotus- Renault GP, has me do a series of stretches to limber up for the drive to Luton. “ The main issues with driving are posture,” says James, “and in a racing environment this is even more extreme. The body is not meant to be in that seated position and tensed up for long periods. When held in one position, the muscles adaptively shorten, particularly the hamstrings at the back of your upper leg.” This means I have to do a series of leg rotations and pelvic thrusts, which would be fine if there wasn’t a whole team watching inside the narrow confines of our Winnebago. Henrietta Bailey, our nutritionist, is in charge of the kitchen. “ The worst thing you can do is be on a blood sugar rollercoaster, drinking lots of caffeine, sugar, crisps; eating things that don’t give you a long release of energy,” she explains. Sounds like everything I’d usually scoff on a road trip. “ That ’s because it’s easily available. Good 32