DRIVING passenger buses on the Gold Coast is a far cry from manoeuvring a Formula 1 racing car around the legendary Paul Ricard Circuit in France.
But Tugun bus driver Pat Tuite will be doing just that as he "lives the impossible dream".
"The odds of driving a Formula 1 racing car are about as great as my chance of becoming prime minister," he told My Daily News.
"So no-one believes me.
"They think I'm deluded.
"But I'm flying out to Marseilles a week this Saturday to embark on the experience of a lifetime."
The man who lives and breathes Formula 1 has followed racing since he was five-years-old and his dad first took him to a motorcycle race at Strathpine, an old airfield near Brisbane.
"I vividly remember the riders' wearing black leather and white helmets.
"There was no flashy gear with brand names then."
He got to see the likes of Alec Mildren and Stan Jones race as his interest grew in racing.
"I am now a self-confessed Formula 1 tragic fan," he said.
"Everything that happens, I follow it.
But he never thought he'd get to drive on the avant-gardist and highly technological circuit that has hosted the Formula One French Grand Prix on many occasions.
He'll be rubbing shoulders with the Lotus Reno Formula 1 team.
Mr Tuitte won the four-day trip by booking his seat early for the Albert Park Australian Grande Prix part of the Australian Formula 1.
"I've gone every year since 1994," he said.
As an Advantage Gold Member, he gets to book the same seat, or seat of choice each year.
By the time he got home from the last event, he had already booked for the next year.
A wise move on his part.
"I'm no racing driver," he admits.
"Driving buses is nothing like the purist and elite skills involved in Formula 1.
"But I'm going to make the most of it and take lots of pictures."
"Then everyone will have to believe me," he laughed.
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