Monaco, 1988, and qualifying for the most illustrious grand prix on the calendar has yielded a nugget of racecraft that millions will pore over for years to come. A vital insight into the mind of one of the sport's greats; an invaluable lesson into the necessary mental predilection required to perform at the very edge of your talent pool.
"And suddenly I realised that I was no longer driving the car consciously, I was driving it by a kind of instinct, only I was in a different dimension. Suddenly, it frightened me, because I realised I was well beyond my conscious understanding."
The immortal words of Ayrton Senna. Already on pole, the Brazilian maestro kept pumping in lap after lap, setting ever more faster times in his McLaren, until he ‘woke up' from his almost transcendental state, returned to the pits and refused to drive anymore that afternoon.
This is what goes through the mind of a racing driver. And operating at this capacity requires a particularly gruelling pilgrimage. A pilgrimage Nissan's GT Academy - and a 325bhp Nissan 370Z - helped me undertake. We're at Silverstone, and we're about to have sneak peek into the world of a professional racing driver. And how ruddy hard it is.
The first lesson? "All of the hard graft is done before the corner even arrives," bellows Steve Deeks, director for Nissan's GT Academy; the same GT Academy that put a young Spanish computer thumbsmith behind the wheel of an LMP2 prototype at Le Mans earlier this year. And won best in class.
"If you haven't sorted yourself out before that corner arrives, you're finished," he says.
He reels off a checklist akin to a weekly shop at Sainsbury's. "Have you got the right line? Are you in the right gear? Have you looked through the corner? Have you worked out where the apex is? Do you know where your braking zone is? All of this has to be sorted out before you even stamp on the brakes."
And bear in mind that behind the wheel at some considerable speed, you don't get much thinking time, just ‘doing' time. Perhaps Ayrton was onto something about transcendental driving.
Now, unless you've had previous track time, you will flap about the track like a drunken, beached sea mammal desperately clinging to the edges of the kerb for support. We know, we've done it. Using only the knowledge gained from schoolyard lore, Cooper Tires British F3 Series driver Harry Tincknell rode shotgun while we attempted to string together a lap in a Caterham Seven Supersport. It was hairy, to say the least.
So time spent clocking up some virtually imagined, computer rendered miles free of a fiery accident would be wise. Step forward 20-year-old Jann Mardenborough, 2011 Nissan GT Academy winner.
"You want to be precise with your steering input," he casually regales as an attempt on Gran Turismo 5 is made. "Obviously, in real life racing you get more visual clues about your environment, but the key lesson still applies. You have to look through the corner."