When Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason isn’t behind his drum kit, he’s behind the wheel. Here he retraces the routes of his top five most rock’n’roll drives
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Targo Florio, Sicily
This is one of the world’s oldest long-distance races. It kicks off in Palermo, a fantastic city full of Mafia bosses and great restaurants, and goes all the way around Sicily. The race, which doesn’t take place any more, has a distinguished history full of great drivers. Sicily is incredible, and the route passes beautiful mountains and farmland.
Car of choice: Ferrari 312PB
Photo: Getty Images
Peking to Paris
It’s always been my dream to follow the route of this historic race. It first ran in 1907, with 40 entrants, but only five made it to the starting line. When they set off from Peking (now Beijing) they discovered much of the route didn’t have roads, and many of the bridges weren’t wide enough for cars, which were huge, with terrible brakes. There was no petrol, so everything had to be transported by camel and set up along the route.
Car of choice: 1907 Itala
Photo: Topical Press Agency
Not to be confused with where they had the trials: I once met a race team that sent a car to Nuremberg instead. The track was actually built by the Nazis to bring jobs to the area, and is a well-respected race circuit. It’s 16 miles long, with 170 corners, and has incredible drops and climbs. It’s surrounded by greenery, which was why F1 driver Jackie Stewart nicknamed it ‘the green hell’.
Car of choice: Lola T297
24 hours of Le Mans, France
I was invited to join a team called Dorset Racing for Le Mans in 1979. I’d never done modern racing before, so I didn’t really fancy it, but they assured me I had nothing to worry about. It was the highlight of my motor-racing career. It’s one of the few races where an amateur can actually compete with professional teams, so we were up against the world’s best. Racing at night, hammering down the straight at 270 miles per hour, was extraordinary.
Car of choice: Dome RC82
Photo: Getty Images
Carrera Panamericana, Mexico
This Mexican race was started in 1950 to celebrate the completion of the Pan-American Highway, but stopped in 1955 because there were so many accidents. A lot of drivers say it’s the most dangerous race they’ve ever done. It was revived in 1988, and when we did it the other car in my team had a huge accident. Luckily for me, I escaped unscathed.