Ross Cartwright entered the McLaren Superfan competition and kept his fingers crossed. Ross loves Formula 1 and is a McLaren fan, so winning this random prize draw would be a dream come true.
It seems dreams do come true because Ross’ name was the first out of the hat, which meant he’d won $5,000 in spending money and a VIP trip for two to the famous Monza race in Italy.
Ross and his fiancee, Jordan head to Silverstone every year and enjoy the full camping experience from Wednesday through to Monday, watching the British Grand Prix in the general admission or grandstand areas and cheering on the McLaren team.
The 40-year-old’s love affair with Formula 1 started in the 1980s, as he explained to the partypoker blog.
“I started watching F1 in the late eighties. My dad used to watch the races on Sunday, and he’s sometimes let me get up early to watch the flyaway races in Japan and Australia. I was instantly hooked by the Senna and Prost battles. Then I was a big follower of Nigel Mansell and then Damon Hill. I used to love it when the underdog teams won the race, such as Jordan at Spa.
“It all got a lot more serious for me when a certain Jenson Button arrived on the scene. I just loved his back story of how he had had to win a shootout to get the drive at Williams. I followed him throughout this career, including Benetton, Renault, BAR, Honda, and ultimately Brawn GP and his world title. Obviously, when he joined McLaren in 2010, this is where my love affair started, but I’d always enjoyed the McLaren versus Ferrari battles.”
“I am a proper die-hard McLaren supporter. I’m a McLaren member and spend around £200 a year on their clothing and merchandise; I just absolutely love them!”
Ross entered the McLaren Superfan competition but never thought he would win. Even when he did win, he didn’t believe he had!
“When I first got the email from the guys at partypoker, I emailed them back to check if it was real because at first, I thought it was a scam email, LOL! When they informed me that it was real, I was in a state of shock for a day or so, even more so when $5,000 went into my partypoker account! It was only when I received my box with all the details that I realised what I was about to do.”
Ross and fiancee Jordan jetted off from Stansted airport on the Saturday before the race and arrived in sunny Bergamo. After completing all the relevant COVID-related tests, they set off to Milan and found their hotel around half-hour from Monza.
“Saturday was a day of shopping, which in 33C heat was a challenge, but plenty of gelatos and cold beers got us through the day! We went to a restaurant in the evening and had to have a traditional Italian pizza.”
Sunday was race day; Ross and Jordan were about to enjoy the F1 experience of a lifetime. A special Formula 1 chauffeur picked them up at 08:30, and it was already clear blue skies and temperature in the mid-twenties.
“Straight away, we felt like celebs. When the driver took us to the car, he tried to trick us into believing we were going in a Ferrari because one was parked next to his car! We stopped in traffic outside the famous Hotel De La Ville in Monza. There were hundreds of Tifosi (Ferrari supporters) surrounding the entrance gates because Ferrari, Haas, and Alfa Romeo drivers and their teams stay at this hotel for the weekend.”
The McLaren Superfans were shown to the McLaren VIP Suite, where there was a plethora of food and drinks available. You could even have your hair cut or beard trimmed; Ross opted against either!
“It was amazing what we could see. A big bar greeted us, and we could walk to the front of the stand and look over into the pit lane and almost touch the podium. At the back of the suite, you could look into the garage area at all the F1 motorhomes and where the teams prepare their tyres.”
Ross and Jordan clapped eyes on racing legends Johnny Herbert, Damon Hill, Martin Brundle, and even saw Ted Kravitz from afar. After picking their jaws up from the floor, our superfans proceeded to meet their personal hosts, who gave them a goodie bag each and treated them like A-list stars, with complimentary champagne all day!
“We were then told that due to McLaren’s success in the sprint race on the Saturday and the logistics of trying to do a video meet and greet, this would not happen. However, they will reschedule when Daniel Ricciardo is back at the McLaren MTC, and it will be done virtually with us at home.”
The pair did meet McLaren CEO Zak Brown before being treated to something special from the McLaren team.
“Around Lap 20, we were invited to put McLaren headsets on and listen to the pit wall communications between drivers and engineers while seeing all the telemetry and driver tracking screens. It really was a dream come true for the amount of inside stuff you get to do. Our experience of the other team suites was that they didn’t do this at all.”
Lap 27 saw the race flipped on its head when Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen were involved in an accident that took the high-flying pair out of the race and left the two McLaren drivers in a dominant position.
“When the crash happened between Hamilton and Max, everyone got even more excited as at this point they, and we knew it was not only going to be a first win since 2012 but a one-two. Champagne was readied for everyone, and as they crossed the line, it was an experience I will always remember. We were very close to the podium and could see the drivers celebrating.”
Our winners returned flew home the day after their remarkable F1 experience, and reflected on what was an incredible weekend.
“Overall, it was the dream experience. Due to COVID, I didn’t expect to be able to be so close to the drivers or actually meet them; in the end, we did so much more. Hats off to McLaren, who really do look after their fans, especially us. We experienced and saw so much that it was hard to keep up at times. It was definitely a dream come true. Finally, thank you to Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen, who went out of her way to personally congratulate us on winning.”
Will You Be Our Next McLaren Superfan?
You have the chance to follow in Ross and Jordan’s footsteps with our McLaren Card Rush promotion. This time around, someone will win a dream experience package to the 2022 F1 Emirates Grand Prix De France, complete with $5,000 for travel, accommodation, and expenses.
All you need to do is play regular cash games or fastforward until September 19. You will be rewarded with up to five click cards per day, some of which contain McLaren Miles. You receive one draw entry for each mile your rack up!
Furthermore, potential McLaren Superfans from the United Kingdom, aged 25 or over, are invited to enter another Super Fan competition where five lucky winners will win an exclusive tour of the world-famous McLaren Technology Centre! Simply answer the simple question posed, fill in your email address and name before September 22 to be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize.
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