Fifth Gear star Jason Plato had a lucky escape when a Caparo T1 he was driving for the TV programme burst into flames (see the exclusive pictures here).
Plato is fighting for the British Touring Car Championship title at Thruxton this weekend – but fortunately his burnt hands won’t stop him from competing.
Meanwhile his rival Fabrizio Giovanardi was engaged in a potentially even more dangerous pursuit – being driven around Thruxton by me.
Regular readers of Auto Trader will recognise Giovanardi as the multiple touring car champion who’s thrown all his old trophies away.
VXR invited us over to the track for a few instruction laps by Giovanardi at the wheel of his Vectra VXR – the road going version of his BTCC racer.
It was my first outing on Britain’s fastest racing circuit and mother nature leant a helping hand by soaking every millimetre of the track.
Giovanardi slid the Vectra through the flowing bends with the grace and poise of a ballerina.
But when I took over the driver’s seat I found that trying to drive quickly with a multiple champion racing driver in the passenger seat is like trying to have sex while Hugh Hefner’s watching.
It wasn’t my finest performance behind the wheel but I am delighted to say that Giovanardi, like Plato, returned unscathed. Don’t miss their battle this weekend – if you can’t get to Thruxton (near Andover) on Sunday then make sure you tune in to ITV.
Just in case, the possibility of your financed car ever burst in flames, better be safe than sorry, get gap insurance. Unlike Plato, we commoners always finance our cars!