MARCH 13, 1995

The easiest way to become an F1 driver

Have you ever dreamed of being an F1 driver? Well, now you can.

Have you ever dreamed of being an F1 driver? Well, now you can. All you need is a airline ticket from the United States to France and $1,000 to pay for your F1 test. All you have to do is fly to Nice, France, and then take the A8 motorway west until you reach the Le Luc intersection. Just outside the town is the old AGS F1 team factory.

Longtime F1 fans will remember that AGS - which stands for Automobiles Gonfaronnaises Sportives - was established in 1969 by Henri Julien. The team slowly climbed the motorsport ladder and entered F1 in 1986. Julien could not find the money to continue so he sold the team in 1989 to Cyril de Rouvre (who would later go on to own Ligier) and Henri Cochin. In 1991, however, they sold to Italians Gabriele Raffanelli and Patrizio Cantu; but the team went out of business at the end of that season.

The AGS facilities at Le Luc were among the most advanced in F1, with a purpose-built factory and a 1.4 mile test track. Members of the old AGS staff clubbed together and began a business called "AGS F1 Challenges" which gives members of the public the chance to drive an F1 car. For $1,100 you can drive 25 laps in a Formula Opel Lotus single-seater and then have three laps in a 1991 AGS F1 car. Or you can choose a two-day package and do 50 laps in an Opel Lotus laps and 15 in the car which once finished sixth at Monaco. That will cost you $4,250.