We knew it was going to be a good day as the sunshine poured in through the windows as we listened to the safety briefing, and were given a rundown of the cars we’d be driving during the day. Foundation IT had the pleasure of taking one of our key clients to the Palmersport experience at the Bedford Autodrome, and there was definitely a competitive atmosphere developing. Several of us had done the day before and so had high expectations of our own abilities (well, we just didn’t want to be slower than the previous time there or we’d be ridiculed), whilst others were track day virgins and exhibited signs (thankfully not smells) of nervousness.
The morning line-up was the off-road vehicle (clever cars, but most agreed boring), the Caterham Sprint (excellent fun), the Ariel Atom (special!), the main Caterham circuit (for most of us, the top car of the morning, and some of us the whole day), and finally the BMW M3 (I want one).
Plenty of biscuits to keep us running high on sugar, and lots of weird looking orange squash (I’m certain it was radioactive) to quench our thirst, along with some good banter and the aforementioned cacophony of track cars, made for a very pleasant Saturday morning …. It certainly made up for the fact most of us had to get up at 05.30am!
Lunch was delicious as ever, but, for those of us who had been before was a test of hunger versus restraint …. Yes, we knew we had go-karts, JP1 Le Mans cars and the single seater Palmer Audi racing car to come, and we knew that a full stomach did not mix well with these mechanical beasts. We looked on humorously as our virgin colleagues tucked away monster portions of the hot buffet, washed down with some lovely creamy desserts and coffee, and before we knew it we were being heckled back to the team buses to make our way to the afternoons car selection.
I won’t name names, but a couple of our tribe decided that the single-seater was a stretch too far for their bravery levels, and so elected to miss out – however, one of the unnamed then surprised us by electing to go for a hot lap in the JP1 with a ‘proper’ driver ….. to be honest, that sounded more nerve racking than driving the single seater. So well done Mr Bance. (D’oh!)
After a couple of hours over on the main circuit where we drove these cars in the glorious weather we were lucky enough to have that day, our time had come to an end, and our chance to rack up points for best driver awards was over. We were confident that we had a good shot at the team prize as the instructors had given us updates during the day, but we were also confident of some individual awards for a number of cars. As we sat and had a civilised afternoon tea (and rather too many cakes …. Or was that just me?) in the briefing room, our host for the day began the awards presentation. We won 5 of the 8 best driver awards, and the team award (so we got some nice freebie baseball caps along with our “no expense spared” trophies), so we were all very pleased, and tired, and reminding ourselves that the drive home was on roads with speed limits!
It was great top spend a day out of the office with our client, and we rarely talked “shop” – we work very closely with this client (as is our aim with all clients) and so developing the relationship is a key part of success in building a true partnership.
I hope we get to do this again next year …. And so do they!
Author: Adam Start, Senior Client Manager
Adam is responsible for management and development of many of our key clients in Foundation IT. He has been working in the IT industry for nearly sixteen years (seven years with Foundation IT) delivering solutions that help clients to benefit from data centre technologies and end-user computing. Adam has a consultative approach to selling, has a mantra of “requirements first, technology second”, and is constantly developing his pre-sales technical skills. Technology areas of particular interest to Adam are VDI, enterprise storage, enterprise backup, and data centre fabrics.