Tuesday, December 18, 2018

DRIVEN PERSONALITIES - PAUL GOVER

In the huge pantheon of friendships I’ve created over the years I count myself very fortunate to have met and befriended great car designers; great car company CEOS; great artists; great drivers; great writers and some special friends whose skills encompass a few things outside their primary talent.

One of those is my very dear friend Paul Gover, who lives nearby me on the Queensland Gold Coast, and through his generosity and help, I am able to drive many new cars which might otherwise not be available to a mere Blog Publisher.

Despite the global reach of my Blog, and the thousands of page views it enjoys each month, car companies tend to greet most of my requests to drive a new model with a sniff of arrogance, and then silence down the phone line.

So, thanks to Paul’s support, followers of DRIVING & LIFE can see some quite exotic machinery ‘on my drive’.

I first met Paul when I was PR Director for Leyland Australia (later changed to JRA Limited) and he was writing an automotive column for The Canberra Times – the daily newspaper published in Australia’s national capitol. We quickly recognized we enjoyed communicating on the same wavelength, and shared many common views of cars, car companies, and car industry people.

By that I mean we became instant friends and have remained so ever since.

Paul, like many automotive journalists, changed jobs, publications and roles – even delving into the hidden depths of mystery, known as automotive PR.

The one thing however was very clear. 

Paul Gover is also a driver with great skill and natural ability. 

This means that along his career path he has been invited to drive some very exotic, very special and very fast cars. 

He has also competed in professional motor sport behind the wheel of both racing and rally cars.

Paul is acknowledged now as Australia’ most senior, continuous automotive writer, because he’s outlasted most of the ‘senior chaps’, and currently is a freelance writer writing for a variety of print and online publications.

He is also in demand as a advisor for a variety of car companies as they plan new model launches; and he appears regularly on Neil Mitchell's national 3AW radio program, talking cars. What else would you expect?

2019 VW Toureg launch, Marrakesh
He remains high on the list of those invited to the ‘special’ car launch events, so he’s still racking up the kilometres, which add to his broad and deep perspective on the car industry.

I decided that the best way I could pay an appropriate tribute to my friend was to illustrate this post with Paul behind the wheel of a number of competitive cars - including, unlike any other Australian automotive writer, laps of Circuit Paul Ricard in France driving on the same track with Spaniard Luis PĂ©rez Sala, who at the time was driving for Minardi F1.

Paul Gover, Renault F1, Circuit Paul Ricard 2007
Having very high regard for Paul’s abilities, Renault Australia paid for a place for Paul to drive the then current Renault F1 car in 2007, and was warmly congratulated by the Renault team, and Sala, for the highly competitive lap times he turned in.

Paul has raced at a number of Australian circuits, including the famous Mount Panorama at Bathurst, and also in the United States.

He has also thrashed through forests and tricky, narrow tracks in some of the world’s most expensive rally cars, notably this year's Skoda and Toyota competitors.

You don't let just anyone get behind the wheel of these high-tech babies.

Paul’s ability to easily relate to professional drivers, and communicate about driving tactics at the highest level is why many in the global automotive industry, and motor sport circles, hold him in such high regard.

Paul Gover has led a fortunate life, and I’m very fortunate to call him my friend.

Paul and his son Eli, and a recalcitrant 'Riley' the cat

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