What’s it like to drive on the Top Gear test track?

It’s easily one of the most famous stretches of tarmac in the UK, and while it mightn’t appear as such on telly, the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey is also one of the most challenging.

Deceitfully tricky, with few open straights and a series of tight technical corners, the circuit is perfect for sniffing out any hint of oversteer or understeer in a badly-engineered chassis. Perfect for testing cars perhaps, but for newcomers it makes for a real challenge that requires drivers to have their wits about them and a sizeable pair of gonads between their legs.

Originally built in the early 1940s as a base for the Canadian Army and to station heavy bomber planes, Dunsfold was also used to develop the Harrier Jump Jet before the BBC started using parts of the runways and taxiways for the Top Gear test track.

The running joke has always been that this track was “top secret” and so perhaps the most surprising thing is just how busy it is as you climb into a car and begin making your way towards the starting line.

Clever camera angles and editing might make it look like the Top Gear team has it all to themselves when you watch it from the comfort of your home, but in person expect to be cut up by all manner of vans, cyclists and learner drivers performing sketchy three-point turns in the Aerodrome’s vicinity.

Beware the occasional plane which might attempt to land mid-lap, but on the whole the main thing you need to watch out for while you merge onto the track is the Stig ripping past on one of the blindingly quick hot laps members of the public can pay for.

Anyway, line up on the starting line and it’s finally time to start the lap. Want to know what it’s really like to race on arguably the world’s most famous airstrip? Check out our video feature below!

You can find out more about the Top Gear Track Experience here.

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