In the Moment: pushing a Cobra way beyond its limits, CAR+ November 2015 | CAR Magazine

In the Moment: pushing a Cobra way beyond its limits, CAR+ November 2015

Published: 02 November 2015

► F1 driver Giedo van de Garde in a Cobra
► A sopping wet Goodwood circuit, troublesome 
► Wrestling the Cobra from corner to corner 

1) ‘Goodwood Revival is truly unique’

‘Last year was my first visit. I had been to the Festival of Speed, which is cool, but the Revival is something else – an amazing weekend [search YouTube for ‘Giedo Goodwood’ to see him in action]. Lord March gets the most incredible collection of people together.’ 

2) ‘Goodwood is a very unforgiving circuit’

‘It’s a flat and very fast circuit, as you’d expect given its airfield origins. There is no room for even the slightest mistake; no high-friction run-off areas and no gravel traps. If you go off here, there’s some lovely slippery green grass and then something hard and solid to stop you.’

3) ‘The Cobra is tricky, a real handful…’

‘It just slides and slides. There’s zero grip and no downforce… and that’s in the dry. In the wet you have to wrestle it from one corner to another. There’s understeer followed by snap oversteer, and that happens five or six times per corner. There’s wheelspin at 140mph in fourth.’

4) ‘It’s someone else’s very expensive car’

‘In the beginning you take care because you are driving an irreplaceable car. An F1 car can be replaced; not so these classics. You feel a weight of responsibility when you head out onto the circuit but then you get into the rhythm and all that stuff just disappears.’

5) ‘You can only learn so much car control’

‘You can learn car control by driving lots of different cars, in different conditions, on different tracks, but you need to have talent inside you. You need to instinctively know what the car is going to do before it does it, and without panicking. You can’t learn the last five percent.’

6) ‘I’m driving lots of different cars’ 

‘I had that trouble with Sauber at the start of the year, which stopped me getting into anything full-time this season. But I’ve been testing, including DTM, WEC and Formula E. In the same week I drove the Cobra I also drove a GP2 car. Four wheels were all they had in common.’

By Ben Miller

The editor of CAR magazine, story-teller, average wheel count of three