Learning to drive an F1 car with Supercar Blondie
With over 20 million followers, Alex Hirschi, better known as Supercar Blondie, is an online sensation and one of the most successful car influencers in the world.
"I have used the opportunity of living in Dubai to create an account like this," Hirschi says. "It's amazing to live in a city where supercars are seen on a daily basis. I realised that if I loved seeing them, then there must be people elsewhere who’d love to see them as well, so I started documenting it."
Despite her experience with some of the top supercars in the world, one thing was missing from Supercar Blondie's bucket list: driving an F1 car.
The price tag to buy one of these incredible machines is several million euros, out of reach for the majority of people. But a few places around the world now offer the opportunity for members of the public to get the F1 experience. Hirschi joined Dailyrater's Evan Bourke at one of them: The Dubai Autodrome, where all you need is a driver's license, a spare €5000, and nerves of steel.
Learning to drive an F1 race car
Every part of an F1 car has been designed and engineered for optimum performance. It is ultra-light, weighing just over 500kg, and powered by a high-octane engine that has over 500Hp and can propel the driver from 0-200km/h in just 4.5 seconds. So understandably, before you are allowed to drive one, there's some training involved.
The first step is for Hirschi to do a lap of the track at a snail's pace to check out each and every bend and straight. An instructor drives her in an Abarth sports car, showing the best racing lines, and where to jump on the brakes.
On the second lap, she upgrades from the air-conditioned sports car and heads into the desert heat in a machine that lives up to its name: the Radical. The Radical has a 2 seater cockpit and an impressive 226bhp. And this time, Supercar Blondie is behind the wheel.
From the passenger seat, the instructor pushes Hirschi to her limits. Once he's confident she knows what she's doing, it's back to the pit to prepare to go solo.
"I don't know what you've roped me into here," says Hirschi as a team of assistants strap her down into the tight space, "this is insane."
The instructor shows the button to get the car into first gear. Novice drivers often stall the F1 car as all the previous advice goes out the window with the mounting excitement.
The engine starts. The commotion of the pit team is overpowered by the roar of the V10 mammoth. All systems get the green light.
Exiting the pit lane Supercar Blondie's head is pinned against the seat from the force of the acceleration. Within moments she enters the first corner, braking at a rate so quick that she floats out of the seat, only held in by the 5 point harness.
Pulling into the pitlane after her second lap Hirschi says: "I have just never experienced anything quite like that. I will be running on adrenaline for a week!"
F1 fans around the world will know that restrictions and regulations on the cars are becoming ever more stringent, year on year. As a result, the F1 cars competing for a podium finish today are dramatically different from the V10 Hirschi is driving, which dates from 2000.
Many of today's top drivers have asked for the return of famously loud V10 engines which were dominating the tracks 10 years ago.
Watch Supercar Blondie's F1 experience in the video above