go, go, go

You get into your stripped down but souped up car. You have already pulled on your fireproof clothing that might keep you safe from flames if your car goes on fire but will stifle you in your cramped cockpit. You pull on your specially designed safety belt that will keep you from exploding out of the windshield should you hit a barrier at 190kmh. When you are ready you pull on your helmet and start your engine.

There are no luxuries on board, even though you are driving a BMW or a Lamborghini, and the vibrations from the tightly tuned engine can be felt all the way up your body. And then it is go, go, go.

Any mistake you make could be fatal
Now you are racing at speeds of up to 300kmh, turning corners that force you back into your seat, gravity pulling you into its unforgiving embrace. Your head snaps left and right as you throw the car round and round the track. The noise and the speed would make most people blind to what is going on around them, but a racing driver has to be aware of not just what they are doing, but what others are doing too as they try to get past you, mostly using fair means but sometimes foul as well. And you do this for lap after lap after lap of bumpy track and in a car vibrating so hard it seems it will fall apart.

Sounds like fun? Well, actually it is. And our alpina friend Romain Brandela does it as a hobby.

Speed and luxury
Ever since a young age Romain had been fascinated by the combination of speed and luxury cars and it was logical that he would make his fascination his passion. The Gentleman’s Trophy is for non-professional drivers who hold a racing license.

Drivers in this class include Steve MacQueen in the past or Fabien Barthez and Luc Alphand today and even though the series is called Gentlemen’s Trophy often there is no quarter given and it can be just as dangerous as racing in the professional classes. It is not a sport for mortals.

When Romain came to us last year because he was a fan of our watches, we were more than happy to help him try and achieve his ambition of becoming champion. The FFSA championship is watched by tens of thousands of people and has a nationwide TV audience and is the perfect testing ground for the alpina racing watches, in the case of Romain he wears the Sebring GMT Chrono Automatic.