15.6.17

Let's Race, in which I am Michael Schumacher

I have been struggling for a way to tell you about something. You see I was given tickets to a thing in exchange for a review and I know people reading will be all 'oh well the tickets were free, of course she loved it.' but here's the thing, I did love it!

How to convince you? Well let me tell the tale of my trip to Let's Race with 17 year old DD. DD is learning to drive, I'm 51 and have been driving for years. Let's Race is a Formula 1 simulator race track for up to 10 people to race against each other. Neither DD or I are particularly keen on F1 racing but we thought it sounded interesting so off we went.

When we arrived we signed a form (presumably to donate organs in the event of a high speed crash, who knows!) and then we wandered into the 'race zone' (as I shall call it) a large room filled with F1 simulators (which look like F1 cars without wheels) and computer screens and a viewing grandstand. The first thing we noticed in the darkened room was the cold, it was freezing, like a fridge (if you are going to go as a spectator, take a coat!) and we wondered why....the second thing we noticed was the noise, the roar of the engines, and the swirl of the simulators, it was all very exciting.

Let's Race simulators and screen

Next we had a safety briefing, some top tips about racing and some info about the safety in the simulator itself. And then we went to our cars. DD found hers padded out with cushions (she's a shrimp) something I don't think Lewis Hamilton probably has in his car...As the cars are modelled on the real thing we had to slide in, and add the steering wheel afterwards! a quick explanation of gears and pedals and we were off on our trial lap.


Well it was hilarious, we laughed, we screamed, we flew off the track in a shower of (virtual) gravel, and when we crashed into each other (we are very competitive) we felt it! The simulator cars move about and totally recreate the feel of being in a real car, I wished I had cushions as padding! The one thing that was a real shock was how hard it is the steer an F1 car! Used to power steering as I am it took a lot of strength to haul my car around that track. After one lap I was hot, after the actual race I was sweaty! Suddenly the room didn't feel so cold at all! The race laps were excellent fun as by now DD and I had sorted a driving style, and while not beating any lap records we were faster than before and crashed less. The giggles, screams and swearing continued.

After our race (DD won in the trial lap, I narrowly beat her in the race) we were exhausted, so much so that I couldn't get out of the car! (You'll recall I have weak muscles due to Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease) oh how DD laughed as two young men offered to lift me out, luckily I managed to scramble to safety on my own.

I have more respect for F1 drivers after our race, and we only raced for half an hour! My arms ached, I was hot and sweaty, and out of breath! But still giggling, it was so much fun.

We were given print outs of our laps, with details of our acceleration, braking and speeds etc, which was fun to compare and made a good souvenir. It's also given us targets to beat for next time, as DD has already decided it's the perfect place for an 18th birthday party.

It would be good for all sorts of parties actually, and with a nice looking diner on site and a good selection of delicious ice cream (we sampled them as we were so hot, and they were excellent) you could easily spend half a day there.

ice cream at Let's Race

Prices start at £14.95 per person, and they are open 7 days a week until 11pm

and they offer a car for disabled drivers too (maybe I should have opted for that one in hindsight!) so as long as you are big enough (no age limit - minimum height 1.5m) you can have a race. They even offer a young driver experience package.

Based near Gatwick Airport, just outside Horley it is easy to get to and has free parking. It has been added to our 'places to go when it's wet' list. I had no idea that something many people would think of as a 'boy thing' would be so much fun for a middle aged woman and a teen girl! Surprise yourself, choose a car, wriggle in, pedal to the metal and Let's Race!

Perfect gift for Father's Day too!!