While I love sports cars like everyone else, I’ve never been a racer. I’ve always thought that if you really get the hang of it, just book a couple of hours on the track and you’ll get your tooth out without jeopardizing the safety of others.
Among other things, one would have the significant advantage of discovering the limits of the car and one’s own, of knowing the characteristics of handling, set-up, braking, as well as one’s fears of breaking one’s neck and putting one’s foot up where probably Nuvolari , Fangio or Senna would have crushed it even more deeply.
I learned to drive at the age of nine on a dazzling flame-red Nuffield tractor, going at walking pace as farmers forklifted hay onto the wagon I pulled. All I had to do was let go of the clutch or disengage it when they asked to stop; there wasn’t much else to do but that small contribution to everyone’s work (pay 50 lire an hour!) gave me the feeling of being part of a community with which to synchronize, while teaching me to be scrupulous instead of fretting for speed.
Naturally I was a kid too, adrenaline pumped and stupid enough to race like crazy on a motorcycle or car in the first months of my license, but luckily it didn’t last long.
Since then, a fan of old cars more than new ones, I have always been concerned with their longevity rather than road performance and I have been – and continue to be – a prudent motorist, devoid of the frenzy of the competition. This is why I am surprised, every time I happen to take a journey on the motorway, how Italians judge the right lane dishonorable, considering themselves drivers worthy of always and only staying in the overtaking one up to sniffing the bottoms of cars like dogs who precede flashing furiously to ask for the way well beyond the speed limits.
On the other hand, however, there are those who feel belittled by returning to the slow lanes, the “lanes of the poor” where articulated lorries, small cars and overloaded vans pant with which it seems ugly to mix and so one stands in the center causing endless queues and dangerous because you have to pass on the left risking colliding with the very fast sniffers. Or to the right (as would be allowed only if you are already in the lane) risking that the snail suddenly decides to cut you off.
It would not be a bad thing on the bilingual toll road sign that informs you of slowdowns, stationary vehicles, the tutor who checks you, every now and then a reassuring phrase would appear such as: “whoever stays in the right lane is a wealthy and distinguished gentleman” (who stands on the right lane is a wealth and distinct gentleman) in order to avert social complexes and involuntary attacks on road safety in the traveler.