The 2006 season has been packed with action but
only one car has lapped at Le Mans, towed both an LMP1 Courage and
a classic Alfa Romeo prototype and been ‘stolen’ by
an ex-Grand Prix driver!
It would be a year which would see an enhanced dsc
presence at the Le Mans Series races (and the Spa 24 Hours too),
and despite its obvious talents, the 2005 Kia Sportage simply wouldn’t
provide the space required for the regular five man dsc ‘away
No problem though, “What have you got that
will accommodate five blokes, an unfeasible amount of gear, around
half a ton of gummy sweets and other snack food and at a push needs
to serve time as a mobile bedroom?”
That would have been an ‘ask’ that would
have stumped Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini et al, useless the
lot of ‘em!
though Hyundai’s Trajet could have been designed with the
dsc brief in mind, and Dave Lord was once again the lucky custodian
of our battle bus. Again thanks to the generosity of Spirit Hyundai
we were well equipped for the punishing European season as Lordy
took delivery of a shiny, silver, 2 litre diesel-powered example
with just six delivery miles on its soon to be rather more busy
The Trajet was soon ‘stickered up’ and
immediately attracted much interest around the paddock car parks.
It’s a large vehicle and performed a fine job as a mobile
billboard for dsc and Spirit Hyundai. Its first stop was at Silverstone’s
Tourist Trophy where the car was left parked by the Spirit motorhome
where customers past (and hopefully future) passed favourable comment
on the handsome MPV.
A full seven seater the Trajet was more often to
find the rear pair of full size seats stowed at Chateau Lord, as
the rear of the van-sized cabin was asked to swallow up camera gear,
laptop cases galore, cabling, cool boxes, holdalls, and all the
other bits and pieces that count as “required on voyage”
for a racing weekend.
adventure for the Trajet was just a week after its Silverstone debut,
for the Spa round of the Le Mans Series.
All in all
the Trajet would make five trips “sur le continent”
during the season, with a double bill of Le Mans trips matched by
trips to both the Le Mans Series and FIA GT dates at Spa, with the
Le Mans Series at the Nurburgring also requiring a Trajet-full of
Each of them was done via Norfolk Lines’ excellent
Dover – Dunkirk service where the high roofed Hyundai was
well accommodated aboard one of the trio of brand new ferries on
the route, all built by Samsung, another huge Korean conglomerate.
The combination of plenty of diesel oomph, plenty
of space, great economy (and therefore fewer unnecessary stops)
and the usual good company eased the pain of the often rather dull
autoroute / autobahn trudges.
One of the highlights of the year was the introduction
of a new road trip game – Pub cricket is long dead and useless
in Belgium! – So the 2006 replacement was…………..Name
a racing driver with a fish in his name!
There are a surprising number – if you stretch
Step forward Scuderia Ecosse pair Tim Mullett and
Andrew Kircoddy, Tom Kipper-Smith, the rather less convincing Allan
McFish, Gregor Fishcake and Pike Newton and the absolutely cringeworthy
Jean-Marc Goujon! (Dave Lord hang your head in shame for that one
–more of Jean-Marc and Gregor later).
Top marks though for our favourite, delivered with
perfect timing and a deadpan demeanour by the dsc ed at close to
midnight on the dullest motorway in Belgium after a good ten minutes
of total silence – Elio de Angelfish!!
Hyundai though ploughed on, never missed a beat and she served us
beautifully as living room (complete with in-car DVD system) bedroom
(complete with a variety of snoring scribes and snappers!) and dining
room (Pringles, Haribo and other things we aren’t allowed
at home the order of the day!).
On the way back
to dsc’s Spa lodgings there was a glimpse of something interesting
at the local airfield, just up the road from the beautiful town
morning, after a brief stop in the city to pick up provisions, we
dropped by Spa-La Sauvenière airfield to have a closer look
and were delighted to find a pair of classic ex-Belgian Air Force
aircraft - an F84 Thunderflash and a Mirage 5, both substantially
faster than the Hyundai, but neither with nearly as much space in
the glovebox for gummy sweets.
Le Mans was next on the agenda with a pair of trips
separated by just a week: the Trajet all but knew its own way back
to the site of the great race second time around.
After a lightly
loaded first trip to the test weekend, it was packed to the doors
for the race week itself, not a problem for the plucky diesel though
and there was even time for Team dsc to take the Trajet around part
of the circuit, including a quick check to ensure that the tree
that had destroyed the T2M Porsche last year had been removed (it
Hyundai performed magnificently all week and swallowed a simply
enormous amount of gear. There was even room in the boot for Adam
Proctor, dsc’s roving pit reporter this year at Le Mans, who
had come down by motorbike – Lordy realising too late that
he’d configured the Trajet with four seats for the long trip
to help accommodate not only our gear but large consignments of
‘hero cards’ for three teams. Adam is a fine fellow
and was entirely unfazed at what amounted to an impromptu road test
of the Trajet from a domestic pet’s point of view. He reported
that it was a comfortable ride and was rewarded with a juicy bone
for his trouble!
The Hyundai’s continental adventures for the
year ended relatively early with quick fire excursions to the Nurburgring
and Spa (again) in July.
The drive to the ‘Ring is a notoriously a
long haul but the Trajet soaked it up remarkably well, pulling in
to our excellent B&B with the chaps ready for a beer and bed,
delighted to find that the Chad Racing crew were sharing the same
lodgings. Iain Dockerill’s brand new Bentley though rather
dragged down the tone, looking (we thought) a bit down market alongside
the classy Hyundai!
A bright sunny
morning gave us a chance to capture a quick snap of the car with
the evocative backdrop of the Nurburg Castle in the background,
before loading up and making for the circuit.
The tight timetable (and the distinct possibility
of Spirit Hyundai coming after us with a cricket bat) prevented
us from sampling the Trajet around the Nordschliefe but we’re
absolutely certain that Michael Verger’s road car record would
have fallen easily!!
There was time
however to take in some of the circuit from the outside in this
beautiful part of Germany, Adenauer Bridge just one of the famous
locations that seem to loom out of the scenery at every turn in
The trip back
home added a fifth country under the wheels of the Hyundai, Holland
joining the UK, France, Belgium and Germany on the tick list for
the Trajet’s short life.
The final continental junket was far from the end
of the mileage required for the car. There are seemingly countless
occasions where dsc is either required to, or choose to, attend
races, test sessions, interviews and photocalls in the UK and the
Hyundai was the workhorse that made much of this possible in 2006.
‘glamour’ event of the season was the 1000km Le Mans
Series race at Donington Park and here it ticked off three of the
four ‘happenings’ listed in the first paragraph of the
story - the Trajet operating as a tow car for both a factory Courage
LC70 and a beautiful ex-Vic Elford / Helmut Marko 1972 Alfa T33.
Whilst Lordy was setting up an Autosport photoshoot
though, the Trajet was purloined by a watching Jean-Marc Goujon,
sorry Gounon, together with his #12 Courage team mates Alexander
Frei and Gregor (I know a class bit of motoring kit when I see it)
Fisken. Jean- Marc completed three laps aboard the Hyundai, pointing
out his turning in points to his fellow LC70 pilots before pitting,
complaining of chronic understeer and insisting on a change to a
softer compound (only kidding Jean-Marc!).
It does however mean of course that 1 – The
Trajet now has Formula One provenance (Gregor take note!) and 2
– Jean-Marc managed to complete more laps in a diesel powered
Trajet than the similarly fuelled Trident Iceni has managed in two
All in all the Trajet has served dsc faultlessly
throughout a very hectic season, and completed all it was asked
to do with excellent economy and surprising pace. Most significantly
of all though it has made a convert of its custodian, at first unconvinced
of the choice of a people carrier, Spirit Hyundai will have to prise
the keys of the Trajet from Lordy’s cold dead hands now!
to Philip, Adam and Jamie Derbyshire and Adam Proctor