THE Alfa Romeo Giulia has just gone on sale in Britain. To celebrate, the Italian brand wanted to do something unique.
Now, setting lap records is old hat, and the Giulia already has the Nurburgring sedan record thanks to a highly entertaining lap you should watch here.
Just to be different, Alfa Romeo decided it wanted to set a new lap record at the famous Silverstone circuit – for driving while blindfolded.
The windows of the car used t set the lap record were covered in black vinyl, forcing the official test driver -- Ed Morris, the youngest Briton to ever compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans -- to attack the track without any visual aids. He did, however, have a factory driver chasing him in a support car to give directions and guidance over the radio.
Still, it takes an immense amount of trust and faith to reach speeds of over 160km/h without any clue where you are going, or how rapidly you are approaching a car-breaking stretch of Armco.
It took two days for both drivers to build up to the record-setting pace, eventually lapping the 2.63-kilometre course in 1:44.2. This matched the time set by F1 World Champion Nino Farina in an Alfa Romeo 159, 65 years ago.
It should be noted, though, that the lap wasn’t completed on the full 5.89-kilometre Grand Prix circuit, but the smaller National Circuit.
The fastest time on that layout is a blistering 58.24 seconds, set by a McLaren P1. However, its driver sure as hell didn’t do it without seeing where he was going.
We note the Alfa Romeo Giulia arrives in Australia in February about the same time as the GT cars tackle Mount Panorama in the Bathurst 12 Hour – perhaps the Giulia can have a crack at the blindfolded lap record there?