Former British Formula One driver David Coulthard (left) talks to Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: EPA/Luong Thai Linh

CAPE TOWN – David Coulthard proclaimed Cape Town as the perfect city for Formula One street racing and then proceeded to break 300km/h down the City’s Darling Street straight stretch.

Coulthard provided thousands of Capetonians with a glimpse of F1’s thrill, speed, power and sound.

He did it in three segments of eight minutes each, which included famed doughnuts. It was 24 minutes more than Capetonians had ever seen live, but it was a good 240 minutes less than the crowd wanted on this spectacular day in the Mother City.

The crowd, packed into the grand stand and lined along the streets, wanted more. Coulthard’s first effort was spectacular in the speed he clocked. The latter two sprints only had everyone asking for more.

Why, oh why does Cape Town not have a F1 street race on the annual calendar?

Melissa and Ulrich Pearce, local-based F1 fans who travel the global circuit, were impressed with what Red Bull and DHL had delivered yesterday.

“If I had never watched F1, I’d be hooked,” said the Pearces. “This was just a glimpse of the race-day experience, but it was enough to invite and excite. Coulthard still has it. For him to get to those speeds in the Darling Street stretch said everything about his ability.”

Coulthard won 13 grand prixs, finished in the top three 62 times, claimed 12 pole positions and 18 fastest laps in an F1 career that started in 1994 and ended in 2008.

He rates Canada, Australia and Singapore as the places that most come alive with the lifestyle of F1 and told an expectant crowd that Cape Town had a similar appeal and potential to be a part of the global F1 street circuit.

Coulthard raced Darling Street in the 2011 Red Bull world championship F1 winning car. He was fast and furious under a helmet, but with the helmet off he was humility personified.

And the locals loved him because of this attitude.

Coulthard, who completed his F1 career with Red Bull, was the marquee attraction at Red Bull and DHL’s first-ever joint effort to reconnect South African F1 fans to the car, driver and sport.

Did the event achieve its goal?

“Most definitely,” said Melissa.

“We are off to Belgium in August again to watch the Spa Grand Prix and then to Italy. But just for a moment in my home city of Cape Town I felt that F1 was here and I was with F1 “

Ironically, Spa, in Belgium, is Coulthard’s favourite circuit as a high-speed roller coaster.

And for 24 minutes in Cape Town yesterday he made thousands feel like Darling Street, Cape Town could have been Spa. 


IOL Sport

* Mark Keohane is Independent Media’s Head of Sport and Motoring