I love this sport. I always have. I love working within it, meeting the men I consider to be my heroes and working alongside some truly gifted and inspirational people.
I never tire of its wonder, nor its ability to surprise, enthral and to leave someone with a childlike grin plastered from ear to ear.
So picture my face, sitting in a taxi in Turkey, on the phone to my SPEED F1 producer Dan Shutte, as he explained a brief outline of an opportunity he’d been contacted about, which he thought I might enjoy.
“Are you sitting down?” he asked.
“I’m in the car mate.”
“OK, you’re not driving are you?”
“No I’m in a taxi, why?”
“So you’re sitting down?”
“Duuude. Tell me.”
“This weekend. How would you like to do the Mille Miglia… in the 1955 Mercedes 300SLR… alongside Mika Hakkinen?”
“You are kidding me.”
“Straight up. Just got a call from Mercedes. You up for it?”
“Mate, you know that question doesn’t even need an answer. OH. MY. GOD.”
“How much do you love me?”
“More than you’ll ever know.”
The Mille Miglia is one of the world’s classic races. 1000 miles around some of Italy’s most stunning countryside and along its most fearsome roads. No longer the out and out competition it once was, today it exists as something of a classic car rally, but its allure and mystique have not dimmed over time… or so I’ve been told.
Because, you see, you just don’t get to take part in the Mille Miglia. It just doesn’t happen. Ever. Let alone in the car which still holds the record for the fastest speed and win. The car driven by one of my racing heroes Sir Stirling Moss, with legendary journalist Denis Jenkinson alongside him. And you certainly don’t get to step into that car with a two time Formula 1 world champion in the driving seat.
This genuinely is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I cannot stop smiling.
As I sit here now, just hours away from my flight to Verona, where I will be met at the airport by the amazing people from Mercedes who will take me along to Brescia for the start of the event, I already have goosebumps.
My bag is packed. My camera is charged. My heart is racing.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself. This sport, this world, and the wonderful people within it, truly keep on surprising you.