Porsche-d to the limit in a 935

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IOL mot pic may18 Symes Porsche 935 1

INLSA

Donovan Symes takes reporter Natasha Prince on a test drive. Picture: Henk Kruger

As a motorist don’t like exceeding the speed limit. And I’m terrified of rollercoaster rides.

So the prospect of taking to the Killarney race track in a supercharged racing car - even as a passenger - rendered me a virtual wreck.

But there I was in the pits at Killarney, speaking to race car driver Donovan Symes, who was about to take me for a spin in a Porsche 935.

Symes, from Benoni, will take part in the Pro Tour Motor Racing Road Show on Saturday at Killarney.

I casually ask how fast we’re expected to go.

Symes calmly responds: “Hey this car can get up to 250km/h on a track like this.”

IOL mot pic may18 Symes Porsche 935 2

Natasha Prince meets fear in a car seat - and likes it. Picture: Henk Kruger

INLSA

I nod confidently, but suddenly, inexplicably, I feel the back of my neck heating up. The deafening zing of race cars rushing drowns out bits of our conversation and increases my heart rate.

Above the screech of skidding tyres and the “zwing” of the passing cars, I hear Symes explain: “This is very basic, like in the old days – there are no computers and advanced technology and equipment to tell me what is wrong with the car - so I go with what I feel.”

I gulp.

Photographer Henk Kruger giggles at my side and with a reassuring hand on my shoulder says: “You are going to sh*t yourself.”

Symes, who will be competing in the GT Classic category, is racing in Cape Town for the first time.

On the race track all I see is an orange machine - the adrenalin pumper. I feel a cold sweat on my forehead and start to believe that I’m going to make headlines as the journalist who died of a heart attack on a race track. In a swift motion I am bundled into the purring bright orange beast, strapped into the passenger seat and told to keep my arms away from the gears.

With one hand clutching a bar and the other firmly gripping the seat I glance at Symes one last time in a show of bravado, before we blast off.

I have no idea how fast we are going.

Symes changes gears and my stomach flips the way it did the first time I rode the Cobra at Ratanga Junction. I start to laugh uncontrollably and find myself shouting at every corner and every gear change.

At some point I close my eyes and call for my mother. Another gear change and I hear the rumbling engine, through my paced breaths - trying not to vomit in my helmet.

We pull into the garage. Henk, clicking away furiously, gives me a high-five. I’m dizzy, out of breath and I feel like a rock star, all at once. - Cape Argus

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