Early morning at a Spanish racetrack. A low, wide, slick-shod racecar sits in the pits, glinting under the sharp sunlight. Taciturn mechanics hover and swoop around like gulls following a plough, occasionally breaking the silence with the stutter of a torque wrench. A quiet, thin man in Nomex pulls on his helmet, wriggles in and tightens his straps. So far, so very routine.
Then, suddenly, noiselessly, the car has absented itself, and is out on the track. No attention-grabbing exhaust or engine noise, no aurally hostile warm-up procedures. Just here, and then not here. Once it’s out and running, it’s so stealthy as to be beyond audible range for most of a lap, only announcing itself on the nearby corners by a drumming of its tyres on the kerbs, then a jet-like whistle as it whooshes past the pits on the straight.
Photos: John Wycherley
This feature was originally published in issue 292 of Top Gear magazine