Q&A with Jon Abbey: Brands Hatch Special
Our exclusive SummerSpeed event at Brands Hatch is just over a month away and in the lead up to this motoring extravaganza, we thought we’d catch up with our very own driving expert, Jon Abbey, to find out more. Here’s what he had to say…
Hi Jon, can you tell us about your role at Red Letter Days?
I’m the Partnership Manager for the driving category, so I oversee everything on four wheels, from supercars to rallying to quad bikes. Essentially my role is to make sure we have an exciting range of driving experiences, contract anything new that looks like it has potential, and build long lasting relationships with a diversity of driving partners.
Has motoring and supercar driving always been a passion of yours?
Yes I’ve always been into my cars. We had an Alfa Romeo V6 as a family car when I was young so that’s where my interest probably started, along with following F1. The idea of supercar driving was a passion, but as I didn’t have a spare £200K hanging around, it wasn’t something I thought I’d actually get to indulge in, until I started at RLD!
What would you say is the most fast and furious car you’ve ever driven?
I drove the McLaren MP4-12C last year and that thing is seriously quick! However, the fastest thing I’ve ever been in is the Ariel Atom. I had the privilege of being a passenger whilst a touring car driver took the wheel on a race track. The acceleration is brutal, and we were going past other supercars like they were standing still. Going sideways in a rally car at 80 mph also has to be experienced to be believed.
You’re currently in the process of organising Red Letter Days’ SummerSpeed event at Brands Hatch. Can you tell us a little about it?
We’ve taken over the entire Brands Hatch site on the 26th August to create an exclusive event. Ultimately we wanted to create something that was unique to Red Letter Days, and that enabled customers to experience a range of driving experiences in one place. So on circuit we’ve got ‘Supercar and Star in a Car’ where you can drive a supercar and then compete in a Top Gear style competition, driving an Abarth, to find the top three drivers of the day, along with high-speed passenger rides in an F1 style racing car. Around the site we’ve then got a range of taster experiences, from Monster Truck rides to Segways to tuk tuk racing. Hopefully there’s a bit of something for everyone.
What has been your biggest SummerSpeed challenge so far?
Coordinating all the different elements, contracts and timings has been challenging at times. But it’s also been very interesting to organise an event of this scale, and I’ve learnt a lot.
Do you have anything you’re especially excited about that’s lined up on the day?
In all honesty I’m just looking forward to seeing everything come together and happen simultaneously. So I think visually, with the supercars going round the circuit, a monster truck driving over cars, Segways and Piaggio Apes buzzing around and fingers crossed, one of the RLD hot air balloons inflated (weather depending!) – it should all look great.
And last but certainly not least, will you be competing in the Star in a Car challenge?
I doubt it! I expect I’ll be way too busy to have any fun myself, but you never know…