Tour De France winner and Holden ambassador, Australian Cadel Evans fulfilled a childhood dream when he swapped pedal power for horsepower during a test drive in a Holden V8 Supercar at Melbourne’s Calder Park Raceway recently.
Evans, who in 2011 became the first Australian in history to win the coveted Tour de France title, spent two days with HRT pushing the limits in a race-spec Holden Commodore – a dream he’s held since watching the Australian Touring Car Championship, the predecessor to V8 Supercars, as a boy.
"I’ve been following Holden for as long as I can remember, and I think every kid has a dream just to have a drive in one of their race cars," Evans said.
"To be there is one thing, but to get a real feel for the car was really, for me, like a dream. I’d rather drive one of these than any other car in the world, to be honest. All those so-called exotic supercars don’t really interest me that much."
The 36-year-old, who is a Holden brand ambassador and self-confessed Holden fanatic, was impressed with the performance of the 470Kw V8-powered Commodore.
"The braking was fantastic, which was as I expected," Evans said.
"But, getting the power on to the road seemed to me like the biggest challenge. And, of course, keeping everything else going along at the same time."
Evans’ private test was overseen by V8 Supercars champion Garth Tander, who gave him expert tips and advice on how to drive the powerful Holden.
"He did a great job straight away," Tander said.
"He was straight into it. Much like most top-level athletes, whenever they try something new and foreign, you start three or four steps above where everyone else would step.
"When he came back the first time he said ‘Wow, it’s got a lot of power," and you do have to be so careful with the throttle. That was probably the thing we spent the most time talking about after each of his runs."
Evans, who turns 37 in February, will compete in the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide on Sunday, 19 January.