Nick Trott tracks down the F1 driver and discovers a secret Porsche geek
Where is Jenson? Where has he gone? We need him for photography, but after two hours of book signing he’s disappeared. We’re getting nervous. A quick search of JD Classic’s incredible showrooms come to nought. Uh oh. We then look outside. There he is. At the counter of the burger van laid on for the 200 or so guests, grabbing himself a cup of tea.
Jenson’s on great form – and mixes comfortably with the crowd. The event, held at JD Classic’s Aladdin’s cave, is packed with fans – chosen from an oversubscribed lottery. His stock is clearly as high as ever, and his ready wit and bright intellect cement his hero status among those present. And when he reveals that he will race in 2018, there’s genuine excitement from the crowd. Too young to retire, too good to stop.
Between signings and poking around some of the incredible cars present, Jenson talks. I underestimated his passion for road cars – particularly classics. When he talks about Porsches, he does so with the knowledge gained not from occasional internet surfing, but from reading books and magazines. I’ll admit to being a Porsche geek, but even I was impressed when he reeled off the option code for the special engine fitted to his 964 Turbo (X88, in case you were interested). He scores more points for his love of the Ferrari F40, and talks wide-eyed about the performance of his McLaren P1.
JD Classics look after a number of his cars, and it’s clear the relationship runs deep. Like most present, he’s drooling over a number of the cars dotted around the showroom, but of course he can afford most here. Not that you’d know, seeing him queue for his cup of tea.