Having had a wonderful week away with my family I returned home to an email from BOTB.com with the subject title “Best of the Best/DC”. To begin with I thought it was an announcement from BOTB.com about competition or some big news of some kind but once I opened it my week managed to get even better…
The opening lines of the email were exciting enough, as I’ve become pretty good friends with the BOTB.com team, I did after all win a car from them and throughout the process of choosing, doing photo shoots for my winners profile etc we got to spend a fair bit of time together:
“Hope you’re well and still enjoying the Cayman! How’s it running? Things good here at BotB – in fact, we’ve signed up David Coulthard to be a brand ambassador which is why I’m getting in touch…”
The next part of the email basically laid out a plan for David Coulthard to do a photo/video shoot with them and if there was enough time to get him to interview me about my win, after all I’m sure there are still a whole lot of people who think no one ever wins the competitions, even I was always slighty unconvinced until I got the phone call!
As you can imagine I took a long while to decide wether to take part or not, it was at least 2-3 seconds before I called Ben and agreed a date and time to come along.
At this point it struck me that I didn’t have my car any more, for lots of reasons I’d decided to move on (mostly as I’m saving for something else…) so I set about using my network of friends and acquaintances to procure something a bit more exclusive than my 12 year old Lotus Elise with all the battle scars it’s gained in it’s cherished but hard worked 68,000 miles. A keen fan of Lotus cars (I’ve had 7 of them!) I dropped a message to Lotus Cars themselves and to Parky at Lipscomb Lotus to see if I could be cheeky and borrow a car somewhere and maybe even get it into a few pictures. Surprisingly I got a resounding “YES” back from Parky and set about organising things.
In no time at all the day of the event arrived. Every day for the previous week had been clear skies and sunshine, this particular morning was anything but that. In the gloom and rain I set off from Oxfordshire to Kent to collect an Evora S.
Sadly Parky was ill that day so I still haven’t managed to meet up with him (and I owe him BIG TIME!) but one of the sales staff sorted the car for me and got me on my way towards the location of the photoshoot.
Obviously it would have been daft to borrow such a great car and NOT take a quick diversion to some twisty roads to see what the Evora S was capable of so I set off in search of some! The car felt like a grown up Elise, great steering, plenty of power and a nimbleness that only a Lotus can achieve. Grip was good and the feedback from the chassis enabled me to make swift progress. As a driving machine it’s really up there. OK it doesn’t deliver the raw figures that other manufacturers band about but the figures it has it uses together to create a car which, apart from a few interior tweaks and the frankly awful Pioneer stereo/sat nav (think cheap android tablet/think easily replaced), really is fantastic as both a motorway cruiser and a b-road hero. I’m definitely going to be looking hard at these when the time comes to buy my next car.
Anyway, I digress…
I arrived at the location of the shoot in what can only be described as a monsoon. Chaos reined as photographers, car delivery teams and BOTB.com staff ran from car to cover interspersed with fresh towels appearing to dry the cars in the few moments where the rain abated. With DC booked to arrive at 2pm things weren’t looking good…
Despite the rain attempting to scupper the days plan Will was still his usual cheery welcoming self and after getting me to park the Evora amongst a bevy of desirable metal I was led in to the house for a cup of coffee and some food.
At this point there were a multitude of lighting people, photographers, cameramen, a make up artist and BOTB.com team all working their way through the days shooting plan with only an iPhone weather app to guide them! Given the scene at this point I fully expected them to call things off…
It turns out BOTB.com are a stern bunch though and they knuckled down, called for more towels and got on with getting the best out of the day that they could.
After lots of shots of the assembled cars (Audi R8, Mercedes SLS, Porsche 911, Aeriel Atom, Range Rover, Aston Martin Vantage and of course a Lotus Evora S front and centre…) David arrived and was taken off for some lunch and to be given his briefing on the shooting schedule.
If you’ve ever been to a photo shoot you’ll know it’s not as glamorous as it sounds and there is a LOT of waiting around, despite this everyone was in good spirits and I finally got to meet Rupert who had called me to tell me of my win. I also managed to say Hi to David and exchange notes on just how bloody cold it was at the Dan Wheldon Memorial Kart Race!
As the afternoon began to threaten to become evening I was finally called up to do an interview with DC. In my head I think I made a bit of a fluff of it as I spoke at a hundred miles an hour and started answering too many questions at once. Hopefully Ben managed to edit that into something usable…
After a quick video run through with Will and David one more shot was needed, a video of David driving the Merc SLS. Mention was made of a “donut” but given we had a big country house behind us and a big gravel driveway I was almost certain this would end badly… I hadn’t of course reckoned on David’s ability as a driver and he didn’t disappoint, TWICE!
Finally time was called due to lack of light and we all began to pick up our stuff and prepare to head M25wards to get home.
At this point DC stopped everyone and asked if anyone did “sundowners” round these parts and the resounding answer was of course “Yes”!
As 10 or so of us squeezed ourselves into the living room of the country house that had been the location for the shoot we all enjoyed a small glass of beer (Most of us were driving so it was small measures only of course!) and a really fun half hour followed where we discussed all kinds of things from the F1 coverage to the difficulties of constantly travelling through different timezones (That’s DC not me of course!) and into many other topics (mostly car related). For privacy reasons I won’t be listing any specifics as I think that would be unfair on a very public figure like David during such an informal situation.
!http://www.alunr.com/images/7.jpg (Me and David Coulthard)!
As darkness fell DC and his manager jumped into a waiting Mercedes (of course!) and headed back to London. I headed outside and coaxed the Evora off the wet lawn and headed back to the M25 to take the Evora back to it’s home.
As days go it was brilliant. DC really is a lovely bloke and quite grounded despite his F1 lifestyle, the ladies and gents from BOTB were brilliant as ever and as the icing on the cake, of course, was getting to play with an Evora S for the day. So thank you DC for trying to get a half decent interview out of me, Thank you Lotus/Lipscombs for the use of your Evora S for the day and a really big thanks to BOTB for inviting me and of course looking after me throughout the day.
So as well as being the lucky git who won the car I’m also the lucky git who because they won a car got to meet DC. Please don’t hate me…