Day 4–Australian Grand Prix 2017

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After a hearty breakfast all the cars headed over to the track for their parade lap around the Albert Park circuit.

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With around 50 cars you can see that the line up drew quite a crowd as it waited to head onto the track.

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Just about every modern Ferrari was represented.

I headed over to the suite to watch the spectacle from the comfort of the suite as the temperature was now starting to rise.

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By midday the suite had started to fill up as the action on the track started to get serious.

By qualifying time it had gotten quite humid but we all enjoyed the tussles of the drivers going for pole position. In the end the Ferraris are sitting second and fourth on the grid which is a great place to start tomorrows race.

It was another day of action and great interactions between people in the suite and everyone enjoyed their time and are ready for the main event tomorrow.

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We finished off the night at Brunettis in Lygon street to ensure we got the the full Melbourne experience.

Roll on Sunday.

Day 3–Australian Gran Prix 2017

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We woke to a bright blue beautiful day in Melbourne, greeted by the sounds of screaming engines across from our hotel at around 7.30am.

I wandered down to the bumper breakfast room and joined a few other members to fuel up for the day ahead.

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After which I headed directly across the road to wait with the others for the track to officially open at 10am.

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By the time I had walked across the lake the RAAF Roulettes were doing their thing in the skies above.

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I found the Paddock Club

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As well as the Lounge were the special ‘invite only’ cocktail party was going to be later on tonight.

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There were plenty of display by brands such as AMG Mercedes,

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and Aston Martin.

At the designated time, I headed just beyond these to the International Suite Pit Exit – Skydeck Lounge.

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When I entered the suite I wondered why it was so empty but as it turns out, I was in the wrong suite and needed to move to the one closer to the pit exit. No problems there.

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As you can see, this afforded a much better view as well as what seemed like a never ending parade of food and drink.

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At 2pm we (I mean just about everyone at the track) lined up for a walk through the pits.

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which kinda turned into a bit of a scrum.

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However, if you were prepared to use your elbows you could get to see what you wanted.

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As you can see, our suite is only a stone’s throw from pit lane.

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Back at the suite, we continued to enjoy endless munchies and beverages,

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with exceptional views of the track.

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It wasn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon at all!

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That evenings entertainment consisted of returning to the track for another pit walk. All the teams were busy in their pits furiously working on the cars.

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It was now time to head off to the final entertainment for the night, a special cocktail party inside the paddock club.

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As you can see, the place was pretty packed and the music a bit loud for my liking but we were also treated to some special guest, the main one was Sir Jackie Stewart who auctioned off a number of his photos and a winners trophy for his dementia charity.

A great day at the Australian Grand Prix. Lots to see and do. Tomorrow will be even better with a Ferrari cavalcade first thing around the track. I now just need to find a ride.

Day 2–Australian Grand Prix 2017

After a restless night in the motel in Yass I headed off before the others to grab some food at the services centre just on the entrance to freeway.

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I was soon joined by the others for a ‘fast food’ breakfast at the golden arches. We were also soon joined by a contingent of additional cars who had made their way from Canberra. Our little party was beginning to swell.

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We then hit the road to our first stop at another service centre just outside of Holbrooke. The weather was sunny but with an array of different cloud formation. That combined with the scenic nature of the back drop made for very relaxing driving.

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At Hoolbrooke we pulled over and topped up our tanks and had a bite to eat. The full array of cars parked nearby not unexpectedly drew a lot of attention.

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Just outside Euroa in Victoria we pulled off again for the planned final stop before Melbourne, Mc Donalds again! I’ve never had so much in a single day. That won’t go down well I’m sure.

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After our break and refuelling we again hit the road for the final leg. Although the drive wasn’t unpleasant, it had been a long day and I was very much looking forward to arriving at the hotel.

As per usual, after setting off, all the Ferraris took off and left me for dead. So I set the cruise control at the speed limit and continued to trundle along.

After a little while, I unexpectedly saw all the cars pulled over in a rest stop, so I quickly did the same. No issues, just a drive change it seemed. After verifying that fact, I jumped back in my car and headed towards Melbourne.

This is where things went a bit pear shaped for me. Being the first car into the Melbourne, I had no real option but to follow my GPS, which proceeded to take me on a merry dance through the back streets of Melbourne. It felt like I was constantly stuck in traffic and at every set of lights along the way. Painful.

After what seemed like an eternity I finally arrived at the hotel. Well not exactly. I had finally arrived at the wrong hotel! It had the same name as the my intended destination but it was on the other side of the city. D’Oh.

With my error now understood, I reset the Sat Nav to head for the right location. This now meant a drive through the centre of Melbourne in peak hour. Oh the joy. I am so glad I didn’t bring the F355! I would have been really frantic by now.

As I approached the right hotel, I found my self in a side lane which meant I couldn’t turn right towards my intended final destination. Damm you Melbourne. I now had to circle the block so I could get to where I wanted.

Finally, I had arrived but I need to find the location of the car park. I quickly parked and asked the staff were I needed to go. I was directly ‘around the corner and down the ramp’. It seems like this journey will never end!

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However, it wasn’t much further and I found a familiar set of cars down there so I knew I was in the right place.

I checked in and cleaned myself up after my road trip. When I went back down stairs to grab some stuff from the car I found some people ‘refreshing’ their cars to get all the road grim off. Strangely enough, I can understand exactly how their feel.

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We then headed over to Gate 1, on the other side of the track to pick up our ‘accreditation’ material to actually get into to the event for the next few days. After this we had an excellent Italian meal to end of a tiring, at times frustrating and confusing but fun and different day.

Roll on track time tomorrow!

Heading south

I decided that I didn’t want to take the F355 on the trip to the Australian F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is a pretty long and boring drive. Secondly in a car without cruise control, the 6 hours each way would be physical torture, especially on my hip. Finally, although a few parade laps were on offer, the majority of time for the car would be locked away in a basement garage. So I packed up the daily drive and headed to the initial meeting spot.

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Meeting in a suburban Sydney street near the freeway entry is always going to garner some interest. In our convoy would a couple of 360s, a 430, a Californian and of course me in my ‘plain Jane’ daily drive.

Just after 7pm we hit the highway for the 3+ hour trip to our over night stop in Yass. The weather was drizzly and there was a fair amount of traffic getting out of Sydney but once we where on the road south proper, things did thin out somewhat.

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Driving long distances on the open road in the dark is very meditative I find but it is more tiring as you really need to keep your wits about you in the dark. There were a few rainy periods along the way but generally the driving was good an uneventful.

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We arrived in the service centre at Sutton Forest in good order and then headed across the bridge to McDonalds for a nightcap before once again hitting the road to our overnight stop at Yass.

Most of the traffic at this time of night is large double b trucks, which thanks to cruise control, are easily overtaken. As we approached our overnight stop, I was glad that I didn’t bring the F355. I was pretty tired as it was but if I had driven the F355 I’m sure would have been a wreck and would not have enjoyed the trip given the weather and bumpiness of the road. That would have been pretty tough to take in a 20 year old car where you are only a few scant millimetres off the actual road surface!

We settled into the motel at around 10.30pm and quickly went to bed ready for an early off the and final leg to Melbourne where I’ll be looking forward to a real full size bed.