Spain, Ronda, Ascari, Michael Schumacher – photos and videos

Yesterday I posted the onboard video from my ride with Michael Schumacher and here are some photos and comments.

Some people asked how I managed to win this prize, so let’s start with that. I joined the Champions Drive Responisibly competion run by Bacardi. Few months ago I answered few questions on their website, left behind my contacts and that was it. Not expecting to win anything (as usual) I forgot about the whole thing. But then few months later I received an email from Bacardi …

They flew me and another 29 lucky people to Malaga in Spain. From there we moved to this beautiful place – Ronda. It was a 90 minutes drive through beautiful Andalucian countryside, a long and winding road :-) .

The impressive bridge

The impressive bridge

This small town has two parts and massive hole that separates them. We stayed in this hotel, right by the bridge, right on the edge of the cliff. Beautiful …

Parador Hotel

Parador Hotel

Streets of Ronda

Streets of Ronda

Horsepower

Horsepower

View from hotel room

View from hotel room

Only five minutes walk from the hotel is the bullfight arena. I was told it is the oldest one in Spain but I am not sure if thay is true.

The bullfight arena in Ronda

The bullfight arena in Ronda

While walking around the town on Tuesday I spotted this gentleman from Start Sports talking to himself :-) :

Mr. Star Sports talking to himself

Mr. Star Sports talking to himself

Anyway, let’s move on to Ascari. The Ascari Race Resort is only about 15 minutes drive from Ronda.

Ascari Race Resort

Ascari Race Resort

Arrival at Ascari

Arrival at Ascari

Upon arrival we were all seated in the meeting room where we were to meet with Michael Schumacher. But before he arrived the organizers introduced to us our driving instructors:

The BMW driving instructors

The BMW driving instructors

… and gave some instructions what to do on the track.

Driving instructions

Driving instructions

Mr. Schumacher was having coffee at that time following his arrival from Geneva. Then he came and answered few questions.

Interview with Michael Schumacher

Interview with Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher interview

Michael Schumacher interview

The interview started with talk about the Bacardi campaign and later turned to Formula 1. Here is about 2 minutes segment with Schumacher’s views on 2009 F1 season, Ross Brawn as well as his explanation of what happened to Felipe Massa in Barcelona (the fuel thing):

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After this Q&A session we split up into 3 groups of 10. The program of my group was – driving the BMW on track, then go for the ride with Michael Schumacher in the Maserati and finish the day with a non-alcoholic cocktail mixing session.

We picked up our helmets…

Helmets ready

Helmets ready

And got into the cars:

BMW, the one we got to drive

BMW, the one we got to drive

BMW - Interior

BMW - Interior

First the instructors drove us around explaining where on the track to do what, then we went for it ourselves. We had about 15-20 mins of track time for ourselves. It was great but towards the end I was quite tired … After this sort of experience one can appreciate how exhausting real race must be …

And then came the highlight of the trip:

Michael Schumacher Driving Experience

Michael Schumacher Driving Experience

Michael Schumacher in the garage hospitality area

Michael Schumacher in the garage hospitality area

The Ascari race track

The Ascari race track

The only TV crew present (other than Bacardi’s own) on Wednesday were our belowed Star Sports:

And our belowed ...

And our belowed ...

Here is the Maserati:

The car - Maserati

The car - Maserati

Bacardi TV crew

Bacardi TV crew

Beauty ...

Beauty ...

The tyres on this beast lasted only for about 10 laps…

Here is me getting in for my ride:

Getting in the car

Getting in the car

This is the photo taking, at the end we all received the photo taken here framed and signed by Michael Schumacher.

Photo op before the ride

Photo op before the ride

Here are few shots of my ride:

On the track

On the track

On the track

On the track

End of the ride

End of the ride

You can see the onboard video here.

Break time

Break time

And he is ready to go again ...

And he is ready to go again ...

Lunch and phone calls time

Lunch and phone calls time

Few of the winners were Bacardi employees (as I understood in some countries Bacardi could not run the alcohol related contest for general public). Here they are talking with Mr. Schumacher:

Interview with Bacardi people

Interview with Bacardi people

After all the driving was over for our group, it was time to relax and get ready to mix some cocktails.

Relax time

Relax time

In the evening the farewell dinner back in Ronda. Even the Bacardi CEO and Chairman, Mr. McBride, showed up and gave little speech.

Seamus McBride, Bacardi Chairman

Seamus McBride, Bacardi Chairman

And that was very much it. Few days I will probably never forget …

11 Comments Post a Comment
  1. nieuweNo Gravatar says:

    Nice photos, You guys are so lucky in Europe. Wish one day I go there and even watch a race. Forget Aussie. I’m talking monaco, germany…. Well done Wolf,

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      hey, it took me 20 hours to get to Spain :-) I am closer to Europe than you are but still it takes quite a bit of time to get there for me :-)

  2. ACNo Gravatar says:

    Fantastic Experience!

    Did you get to ask any questions about the car? was it stock? Stock brake pads?… Michael sure flatters the Maserati.

    Did you get to drive the same track with the BMW’s track cars?

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      Yes, I we did ask questions about the car, and I am sure we got our answers but the whole experience was quite overwhelming and I can’t remember much :-)

      No, we did not drive the BMWs on the same part of the track as the Maserati. The drives were happening at the same time (different groups) so they split the track to 2 parts. If you watch the onboard video ( http://www.f1wolf.com/2009/05/my-ride-with-michael-schumacher-onboard-video.html ) you can see where the Maserati is on the track (red dot on the track map), and you can see the part of the track where it did not go – that is the part where the BMWs were running.

  3. ACNo Gravatar says:

    Well for sure I will never NOT fill in an online contest again!

    Although I have to say, I looked up the original ads and it sure looks like you would get a ride in a Scuderia or at least a 430…. you should sue! :O)

    did you get any video from the BMW part?

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      nobody really complained about the car :-) and one of the people from Bacardi actually explained during the dinner the car selection. Most important is they kept the same driver as in the ads :-)

      I do not have any video from the BMW part

  4. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    Hey! I’m very pleased that you came back and fully enjoyed your experience here in Spain!!

    As for me, I should say that I do not envy you much. Because Michael isn’t the star which really I would like to meet with :P But I think the thrill of feeling the speed of a super-car in such a fantastic track deserves the best kind of driver, and his resume does fit the job :) Anyway, he’s the best kind of person for such camping promoted by Bacardi.

    But we envy that you passed such a good time in Ronda :) HAHA!! Mariya and I have seen the pics, and they’re pretty nice, she just asked me “when we go there?”. And I can just reply “when the crisis allows us to go” :( Yup, the trip is not that far as yours, but anyway… Ronda is an historical town, I think it may be a pleasure to walk through the narrow streets now in spring, while the little balconies and the indoor yards are decorated with hundreds of flowers. You can feel some of the Arabic middle-age’s past in that quarter of world. About the “Plaza de Toros de Ronda”, I think you’re completely right it was build during the 18th century as far I remember (just causality that Saturday morning I saw a trip advisor documentary about Ronda in TV). The bull fighting arena is said to be one of the most beautiful from the country, and there usually presented equestrian shows. Alongside is the Tajo river, which ends in Lisboan, the New Bridge over the river, from there were thrown many woman during the Inquisition years… And where you hosted should belong to the new neighborhood of the village, which was before the city hall.

    Kotenoks last blog post..Arun is now a member of F1Wolf Club

  5. Simon C GrahamNo Gravatar says:

    Very excellent. The Maser GT (GT S?) does appear stock apart from the sticky-looking tyres and possibly brakes as mentioned above. You certainly get bumped around a bit. It looks and sounds gorgeous but is certainly further from being a track- car than an F430. The BMW Ti / Compact in contrast looks fully race prep’d.

  6. I have no doubt in my mind and that Michael Schumacher is the best driver in the world, i have supported and followed him since 1991, and watched all his splendid races, i will never ever change my mind over drivers, if i didnt adore Michael i wouldnt of took 5 years to write a book for him. the book is called Man on the Move subtitled Michael Schumacher, My Sporting Hero. to me i just love him so much i went through all the ups and downs without his career in formula 1. to see him for real was a lovely expirences far better than the TV has to offer to the viewers.

  7. [...] part the day after my ride in that black Maserati around the beautiful Ascari track (you can see photos here and video [...]

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