Eurotunnel car terminal, Folkestone, Mile Zero in this years’ annual sojourn to the iconic cathedral of speed deep in the Ardennes, the Formula 1 track at Spa Francorchamps.
As usual we gathered at an ungodly hour on the thursday morning before the race at the terminal car park and lined up this year’s high speed machinery which would carry us almost 2,000 miles from Folkestone to Spa Francorchamps in Belgium via Amsterdam and Brussels. And we were even better endowed than last year..
We had four Porsches in total: a 997.2 Carrera S convertible, a 991.2 Carrera GTS convertible and mine, a 911.1 GT3. We also had a Cayman GT4. More on this car later.
We also had 2 Ferrari’s, a Ferrari California T (aka Number 1 Ferrari) and a Ferrari 458 which was supposed to be joining us in Amsterdam along with an R8 and a Mclaren 570s.
We had two Mercedes as well, a stunning AMG GT convertible and Red 2’s Mercedes E400 which usually punches above its weight and horsepower figures. A Maserati Granturismo dropped out the day before.
The trip did not start too well because one of the Porsche drivers forgot his race tickets and had to turn back to collect them. He would miss our scheduled train and would join up with us in Amsterdam.
This was our itinerary for the entire trip:
2:00 AM Arrive at Folkstone.
2:10 AM Driving discussion.
3:27 AM Depart Folkestone.
4:20 AM Arrive Calais.
8:20 AM Arrive Amsterdam.
Check-in at the Marriott hotel.
Settle in and relax.
20:00 PM Dinner, Hard Rock Cafe.
7:30 AM Depart Amsterdam.
10:30 AM Arrive Spa Francorchamps (via twisty route).
11:00 AM Formula 1 1st Practice.
12:30 PM End of 1st Practice.
15:00 PM Formula 1 2nd Practice.
16:30 PM End of 2nd Practice.
17:30 PM Depart Spa Francorchamps.
20:30 PM Arrive Amsterdam (via twisty route).
21:30 PM Dinner.
7:00 AM Check-out of the Marriott.
8:00 AM Depart Amsterdam.
11:00 AM Arrive Spa Francorchamps (via twisty route).
12:00 PM Formula 1 3rd Practice.
13:00 PM End of 3rd Practice.
15:00 PM Formula 1 Qualifying.
16:00 PM End of Qualifying.
17:00 PM Depart Spa Francorchamps.
19:00 PM Arrive Brussels (via twisty route).
19:30 Check-in at the Renaissance Hotel, Brussels.
21:00 PM Dinner.
10:30 AM depart Brussels.
13:30 PM Arrive Spa Francorchamps (via twisty route).
15:10 PM Formula 1 race start.
17:10 PM Race ends.
18:10 PM Depart Spa Francorchamps.
21:00 PM Arrive Brussels.
11:30 AM Check-out Brussels.
12:10 PM Depart Brussels.
15:30 PM Arrive Calais.
16:50 PM Depart Calais.
17:30 PM Arrive Folkestone.
So, lots of miles, lots of driving on motorways and challenging Ardennes roads. The plan was to use the motorways when pressed for time and use the ‘twisty roads’ for the fun driving. Minimise boredom and maximise fun.
The channel crossing and trip to Amsterdam was as smooth as could be expected. It had been a long night after all and we were all tired by the time we got to Amsterdam. We did however, suffer TWO kerbed wheels in the Eurotunnel train. Sigh. Then it was time to relax for some, others like myself were WFH (Working From Home) or more accurately, WFA (Working From Amsterdam).
Then we had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and then sleep. Most welcome sleep.