Aussie regular and SportCombi pilot, Turbin, recently won a competition and scored an opportunity to drive the Saab Turbo X at the IDIADA test track in Spain. This is an ultra-sectret test facility used by many different companies, hence there are no photos from the event as cameras were strictly off limits.
One of our mates from England, David R, also attended the event and we may hear from him in the next few days as well. Until then, here’s Turbin’s account of the trip – an unforgettable event.
As Swade previously reported, my wife and I were recently in Spain to tour Barcelona and ultimately drive the Turbo X. The couple of days in Spain were fantastic and the hotels and restaurants were great, enhanced by the friendliness of the staff. Our group consisted of a mixture of Saab salespeople and employees from several nations, as well as some lucky customers such as ourselves.
The main event, of course, was the Turbo X drive at IDIADA.
IDIADA is a top-secret, world-class proving ground and a black hole for the automotive press. The media isn’t welcome there so it is one track motoring writers will most likely never drive or report on. We have been instructed to say that we saw nothing there but Turbo Xs, which may as well be true. Once we got past security there was a Combi at the welcome lunch to whet our appetite for the rest of the afternoon. The welcome presentation was conducted by Chris, Saab’s events manager, and attended by Jean, Kenneth and Kent from the Saab Performance Driving Team.
The drive event was divided into four segments, to be completed in groups and a final time trial event involving all attendees. The four segments were:
High Speed Driving
High Speed Driving
This was conducted on the high-speed loop, a 7.5km track with 2km straights and banked corners. Waiting in the carpark were 2 lines of 5 or 6 Turbo Xs with Sportcombis at front and back and sedans in the middle. The idea is that the vehicles travel in convoy with the lead combi setting the pace and the other checking the tail. All vehicles were equipped with autos and 19″ wheels, and were set up in stock specification. There would be three full high-speed laps with an extra at each end to get up to speed and slow down. Speed would be limited by the lead car and a safe gap was to be kept with no intentional “rubber banding’, dropping back so you can accelerate to higher speeds. The minimum speed limit was set at 130km/h – how refreshing .