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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

The Formula Yas 3000 race cars on track in Abu Dhabi. Yas Marina Circuit 

WATCH: This is what it is like to race around the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix circuit

As The National's Motoring editor, you might not be surprised to learn that I have been around the Yas Marina Circuit, the venue for the past decade for the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, on several occasions.

Perhaps the most memorable was actually not behind the wheel myself – instead, it was a "hot lap" in the passenger seat of a Renault Clio piloted by Lewis Hamilton's current Mercedes-AMG teammate Valtteri Bottas.

My initial disappointment at the choice of car, among a field that day dotted with Porsches and Ferraris, was soon forgotten once Finnish racer Bottas, at the time a test driver for the Williams team, proceeded to tear around the circuit without seemingly bothering to apply the brakes at any point.

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Read more: Everything you need to know about the Abu Dhabi GP

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I concealed my mild terror at the speed at which he approached every corner with a near-constant stream of nervous laughter. Nevertheless, it was huge fun, and Bottas was a quietly nice guy.

But whoever is behind the wheel, a ride in a road car can never replicate the sheer velocity-based thrills of an open-cockpit racer, as I experienced in my latest trip round the track that will see Hamilton, Bottas, Sebastian Vettel et al duke it out on November 25.

The Formula Yas 3000 cars, which are powered by 3.0-litre V6 engines with 250hp and run on slick race tyres, are the closest thing us mere mortals can currently drive to an F1 car on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix circuit as part of the YMC's driving experiences.

The route I follow is on the 2.4-kilometre South Circuit, which includes perhaps the most recognisable section of the GP track, passing underneath the Yas Hotel.

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The car will hit 100kph from standstill in 2.8 seconds, which is as fast as almost any supercar you care to mention, and as you paddle-shift up through the gears until you hit sixth, the downforce builds and you feel the air trying to almost lift off your helmet, such are the forces at work at full tilt on the straights.

Hamilton, who has already been crowned 2018 World Champion, can probably rest easy knowing he won't have a title contender in me next season, but for anybody who is yet to experience single-seater racing, the Formula Yas 3000 is a perfect place to start.

Watch how I got on in the video above.

For more information and to book a Formula Yas 3000 drive, head to the Yas Marina Circuit website