With 11-time Grand Slam champion Rod Laver sitting shotgun, Mark Webber showcases his textbook-smooth driving, his dry wit, and his affability. These qualities help convey some of the sensations that a professional racing driver experiences on a regular basis, and some of the exhilaration that makes someone want to strap themselves into a 500-horsepower supercar. It’s enough to put a mile-wide smile on Laver’s face.
Always a cool customer, the octogenarian tennis legend listens calmly as Webber relays the basics of road course racing and demonstrates the absurd stick and speed of the GT3 RS. Webber’s smooth style converts Laver’s initial expressions of shock and awe into joy. There’s a special mixture of comfort and concern that anyone riding in a thoroughbred sports car with a world-class driver gets to experience.
Though this conversation is occasionally drowned out from the roar of the 4.0-liter engine, the two have obvious rapport. Their sincere, broad smiles demonstrate they’re both on something of the same wavelength while negotiating the technical Porsche Experience Center at Silverstone, despite the obvious difference in experience. Chalk some of that up to a wonderful teacher—and a pupil whose mind is still open to new experiences despite spending eight decades on this earth.