We say it’s the stuff dreams of because a/ it’s every young racing driver’s dream to get behind the wheel of such an astonishing racing machine and b/ Ashley got his chance on, of all days, his birthday.
It was his prize for winning the UK Clio Cup crown in 2015 and took place at the historic Vallelunga circuit near Rome, Italy.
After some initial running in damp conditions in the morning, the 22-year-old then got the chance to drive the car in anger on full fat slick tyres as the circuit conditions improved.
CLICK HERE to watch the video and hear the sensational sound coming from the Nismo 3.6-litre V8 twin-turbocharged engine behind him.
Note how Ashley steels himself up just after the five-minute mark and bravely takes Vallelunga’s opening left-right-left sweepers absolutely flat out without a lift. We reckon that’s about 140mph. Brave stuff indeed…
“What a way to wake up on your birthday and know something like this is in store,” said Ashley. “I can’t get rid of the grin on my face!
“What Renaultsport have created with the R.S 0.1 is an absolute animal and it takes some taming – the levels of grip are astronomical and I think I’d have to try an LMP1 Le Mans car to better it. The faster you go the more downforce it creates and the faster you go through the corners – believing it will do it and then actually doing it are very different things But when you do it the exhilaration is like nothing I’ve experienced before in a racing car.
“I’ll admit the braking forces caught me off guard a bit, too, and the straps on my HANS device were at the limit helping me keep my neck and head up when I hit them! Just after the sweepers at the start of the lap going into turns three and four I was nudging 150mph and, even with all the technology in the car, changing down gear fast enough to keep up with the brakes is hard!
“This follows my other prize for winning the UK Clio Cup – a test in a British Touring Car – and I can’t thank Renaultsport and Renault UK enough. They have made me feel like a Champion all the way.”