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So, my colleague and I were having a rather fun chat yesterday about who we would pick to drive a taxi if we wanted to get from one side of town to the other in the fastest possible time.

It couldn't be an F1 driver as they'd never be allowed to drive a taxi across town. The taxi would be the wrong make or colour or they might be sponsored by a taxi component supplier that didn't supply parts for your taxi... and even if they were allowed to drive the taxi, the fear of a Kubica-style career-threatening accident is now foremost in most F1 people's heads.

You know, all those many reasons why F1 drivers can't do anything interesting anymore.

Ditto any driver competing in any championship of note, pretty much. So that rules out your Loebs, Latvalas, Platos, DTM boys and all the rest.

As a result of this, we argued about who might make the best available taxi driver for our imaginary trip. After ruling out a lot of people for being too old, too retired or never as good as they were thought to be in the first place, we got down to two options.

My suggestion was Marcus Gronholm: double WRC champion, currently competing in rallycross and things like the X-Games. He popped up on last year's Rally Sweden and set a couple of fastest stage times, so if I was seriously late for a meeting, I'd want him driving my cab.

My colleague, on the other hand, thinks that Ben Collins is the best bet. After all, he was at least one of the Stigs, let's say 'principal Stig', and could wring a time out of most cars on the Top Gear track. His main claim to fame beyond the white helmet may only be winning the 2003 ASCAR 'Days of Thunder' championship, but m'colleague would happily hire him to make it to his appointments in the fastest time.

But what do you think?

Am I barking mad to risk getting across town with a retired Finn?

Or is m'colleague a bit of a numpty for putting his faith in a man who's only ever looked quick on his own on the TG track?
 

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For me Dick Johnson... Regularly does 190 km/h plus, proved it on a trip to my house one day. Can throw a car around pretty comfortably and has you in stitches with his rambling commentary.

Police only book him for speeding( if they catch him.. not hard to determine who it is.. its the fastest standard looking Falcon in Queensland.)

Magistrate cant get him for dangerous driving because its only dangerous if normal folk try it.
 

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David H
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Two names spring immediately to mind: Johny Herbert and Rick Morris.

So you've all heard of Johny Herbert, but Rick Morris? Who's he? The answer and connection lies in the good old Formula Ford Festival from its heyday in the 1980s, when hordes of young hotshots descended on Brands Hatch for what was the most important race meeting of any aspiring Grand Prix driver's career. From a field of 160+ drivers, a knockout competition of heats, quarter-finals and semi-finals whittled the entry down to 26 of the very best young drivers of their day, who competed over 20 laps for the title of Formula Ford Festival Winner. The event was a true test of racing skill and many winners went on to become Grand Prix drivers: Geoff Lees, Derek Daly, Chico Serra, Robert Moreno, Tommy Byrne, Julian Bailey, Roland Ratzenberger, Eddie Irvine, Vincenzo Sospiri, Jan Magnussen, Mark Webber, Jenson Button, Anthony Davidson and, of course, Johny Herbert.

In 1985, after a fraught practice session, Johny Herbert started his heat from the back row with a 10 second penalty, needing to climb to 13th to qualify for a back row start in a quarter final. Similarly, in the quarter and semi finals he needed to finish inside the top 13 to reach the final. After all that, he went on to take a brilliant win in the final (Damon Hill was third) and prove himself to be one of the best overtakers there was, perfect for that taxi ride through town.

So who's Rick Morris? Never a winner at the Festival, but frequently in the top three, Rick raced in the inaugural Festival in 1972 (at Snetterton) and over the years has embarrassed many a younger and better funded driver. Now 65, Rick finished an incredible 2nd in the Zetec final this year. Not bad for an oldie, and perfect for your taxi ride!

Johny Herbert's 1985 Festival

Formula Ford Festival - Wikipedia.
 

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Phil Clayton
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Mention of Rick Morris oddly enough brought to mind the name of Ian Flux, surely one of this countries most under-rated racers?
And if people are voting for Ben Collins, then surely Tuff Noodle should be a candidate! Ex-F1, podium at LeMans etc etc and all round entertaining raconteur.
 

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One petunia in a field of onions
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Nice one lads.

Block was the first one that came to mind as someone who would at least have a bash at anything, but definitely got disqualified under the 'not as good...' ruling.

I love the Dicky Johnson suggestion. Nice one UKSqueeza. Plus there's the added bonus of having been into V8SC he already has taxi experience.
I'll see that and raise you an Alan Moffatt suggestion, but he probably fits in the two old category. Jim Richards?

Given the limited choice available I think I'd have to pick Gronholm over Collins. If you're really running late for your meeting you will want someone that's not afraid of any road surface particularly road works. You've got to admit it would be one helluva ride. Just let me ride in the passenger seat Aussie style.
 

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I'd go for the Stig just to say I'd been there.

But if I could choose otherwise it would have to Jackie Stewart or Ari Vatanen!

. . . . . . mind you Gene Hackman (in The French Connection) or Steve McQueen (in Bullitt) would also do too!
 

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Given the number of times I've argued with mates that circuit racing iss a finer art than rally driving I have to say Collins but.......

Gentlemen I give you Stephane Sarrazan. Much quicker than Kimi in aa rally car, on another planet to Loeb in an LMP Sportscar and a fair bit faster than Pastor in an F1 car. Versatility in the Clark/Andretti moould and being from the birthplace of motorsport could point you in the direction of a decent place to eat
 

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1 hp Trabant is not my real car
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QUOTE (Ember @ 28 Nov 2011, 02:19) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I think Steve McQueen could be disqualified by being too dead for the job.

Embs, you break my ribs, you really do...

Now to clean the coffee from my screen...


Tom.
 

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Last Place is my Place
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ben collens got my vote but
i would go for dick johnson if he were in the list, but i would rather his son Steven, Or if were getting into the v8 boys, Lowndes or whincup come to mind, Peter brock if it were 5 years ago, Mark Winterbottom comes to mind as well, or the young new Zealander Shane van Gisbergan, Mark Skaife also is in my list, Craig beard also make it on my list (he is a pourche racer with a good background
 

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1 hp Trabant is not my real car
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Any randomly selected taxi driver in Sicily...
Oh! is getting there alive part of the requirement?
 
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