Say a little prayer. Then punch the little black starter button…
The 5.5-litre twin-turbo diesel V12 jumps to life. I’ve been instructed to familiarise myself with the throttle for sensitivity. To my surprise, the engine flicks up and down the rev-range like a sewing machine. It’s so smooth. Responsive. Free from inertia. Even without moving away, it feels every inch the finely honed three-time Le Mans winner it is.
The first two laps are frustrating. I’m to follow a camera car at 50 per cent power, on wet tyres, so the Michelin slicks can be kept warm, ready for my four laps proper. With a firm shove of my left leg, the short-travel clutch sinks to the floor and the first gear engages with a clunk. The camera car is halfway up the pit lane by the time I’ve feathered the clutch and dialled in some rpm, and my heart feels as if it’s beating faster than the engine is turning over.