A childhood dream became a reality for Business Secretary Vince Cable when he made a visit to the West Midlands.
The MP fulfilled a long-held wish to drive an Aston Martin and a Jaguar when he was given a tour of the facilities in Gaydon.
The tour formed part of a wider visit to the West Midlands – including Coventry’s International Manufacturing Centre at the University of Warwick – to meet business groups and engineers to discuss progress on enhancing low carbon vehicle capabilities.
Dr Cable said: “My visit has been both business and pleasure. The pleasure part was driving these wonderful cars. It is a childhood fantasy made real.
"As I said on Desert Island Discs, driving an Aston Martin has always been a dream of mine. Fortunately for me, Aston Martin took note and gave me the opportunity not only to test drive some of their cars but also to witness the high level of skills and engineering that go into making premium and niche cars in the UK.
“This is something in which the UK excels and our cars are exported all over the world.”
The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and president of the Board of Trade, also got to test drive Jaguar’s green car - the electric and petrol hybrid known as the Limo Green.
This innovative prototype project is a collaboration with Lotus, Caparo and research organisation MIRA - which is based in Nuneaton - and has received funding from the Technology Strategy Board.
Dr Cable added: “Another great example of UK excellence is Jaguar’s hybrid car, the Limo Green.
“An executive car that can do more than 50 miles per gallon with CO2 emissions from only 50g/km shows Britain’s premium car sector is more than capable of rising to the environmental challenges facing the car industry.”
The Business Secretary’s final stop in the region was the Warwick Manufacturing Group’s International Manufacturing Centre.
While at the Coventry campus, Dr Cable was given the chance to get behind the wheel of a racing car designed and made from sustainable and renewable materials including chocolate, carrots and potatoes.
The “WorldFirst Formula 3 racing car”, which was created by researchers at WMG, can do 125 mph around corners.
Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya said: “We are delighted that the Secretary of State has come to see for himself how research and development facilities like those at WMG are a real and significant enging driving economic growth.”