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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Part Three - McLaren Technology Centre

OK, here we are.

It's 6pm on Friday, there's a queue of traffic ahead as we waited to enter the grounds of the McLaren Technology Centre.  You had to be on another planet not to know that Lewis Hamilton was crowned the World Champion in 2008, taking the points he needed at the last race of the season in Brazil.

Following a competition run by Vodafone (the title sponsor of the McLaren racing team), I, along with 299 other people were invited to visit the home of McLaren, and see where the 'magic' takes place.

This was an unprecedented opportunity to enter the confines of a centre of excellence. A place which is clean, tidy and represents an organisation that is totally focussed on winning.

Once inside, with a drink (non-alcoholic of course) we wandered the main boulevard; the cars beckoning us into their home.  Professional photographers were on hand to take pictures of us with the Championship winning car, and trophy; having a go at beating the clock in a pit stop challenge; or even standing on the top step of the podium, with Lewis and Heikki.

Then there were the workshops.  The work areas; almost goldfish-bowl like, behind glass, the workers busying away, as we stood in awe.
Cars stood, on their plinths, their insides on show.

We were also treated to snacks and drinks in the staff canteen. Except, this is no ordinary canteen.  Every detail thought through carefully.

The Star in the Formula 1 Car arrived, driving along the main path to the front entrance. The sound of the engine, permeating the large windows, as he 'roared' towards us.

When Lewis Hamilton stepped out of the car, he was greeted to shouts and cheers from a very appreciative crowd.

After an interview on stage, talking about the 2009 season; and once the lucky 20 were selected to a private meeting with the World Champion, Lewis re-appeared to launch the latest Vodafone promotion; Vodafone 360.

A few more questions and he was gone; off to prepare for this weekends Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi.

We were left to have a final wander, stare wide-eyed at the extensive trophy cabinets and cars, before we were taken back to our cars.

It was an unforgettable, money-can't-buy experience.

I hope I've managed to convey the excitement.  If you want to know more, then drop me a line.
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