"I love sports cars, the faster the better"
PUBLISHED: 16:49 24 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:52 20 February 2013
The Hon. Mrs Lila Pearson is, in her own words, an adrenaline junkie. Danny Cobbs finds out why she loves cars so much...
When she's not riding horses or playing polo she can be found zooming around the Sussex countryside in her custom-painted Porsche Carrera 4 with Elvis her terrier in the passenger seat. Her husband Charles is part of the Cowdray family and on 23rd June they'll be hosting a 40 goal polo match at Cowdray Park for the The Andrew Servill Benefit Fund.
When did you first learn how to drive?
I passed my test at seventeen in Henley, but my first memories of driving were on my fathers land in Denmark when I was about five. He was a very keen driver and I remember we had this old banger which he used to teach me to drive - I would sit on his lap and steer whilst he did the pedals.
What was your first car?
Just after passing my test I bought a Mini Cooper and I loved it. It was way too fast for a first car and when I phoned up to get it insured they asked how old I was, when they found out I was just seventeen, they laughed at me. Fortunately my mother agreed to insure it and put me down as a named driver, ever since then I've always had sports cars of sorts - the faster the better. When I was nineteen I worked for the magazine Gran Prix International which fueled my passion to the extent a few years ago I drove a Lola racing car around the Goodwood circuit.
With so much behind the wheel experience, can we presume you've never had an accident?
I'd be lying to say I've never had a prang! My first crash was when I 'rear-ended' a woman in London, we were hardly going any speed so there really wasn't any damage done to either car. Perhaps my scariest moment was in Denmark and I was driving a Mitsubishi Shogun. It was snowing and at night, I skidded on a country lane and it flipped over onto its side - luckily I walked away with only my pride dented.
You drive a Porsche Carrera 4 S at the moment, is there any other car you would have given the choice?
My love of Porsches' goes on and on and on and I can't see a time when I won't own one. I've owned different cars in the past yet the Porsche, I feel it's very unique - I'm on my third one - and every day when I drive it I just fall in love with it all over again. When I went to order my current one I wanted it in green, my favorite colour and the same as my previous model. Although they had dropped the colour from the range I got them to specially paint it for me.
I use my car everyday; it's not tucked away in the garage only to be used on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Our children are both still quite young so they can still fit in the back for the school run and I have no qualms filling it up with my polo equipment and driving to the stables. When the children do get a little bigger I might have to resort to one of our 4x4s or take them one-at-a-time, but I'll never get rid of the Porsche!
You openly admit you're addicted to speed, how do you curb you're enthusiasm when you're behind the wheel?
Two speeding bans are very sobering. The same policeman caught me twice on two separate occasions. The first time I got caught was before I had the Porsche and drove a Mercedes, it was a summers evening and the road was empty. I had this sixth sense to slow down but it was too late. The next thing I knew there was a police car behind me with its lights flashing. Allegedly I was exceeding the speed limit by 40 mph and got a month's ban. The second time, the same guy stopped me in an unmarked police car. Apparently this time, I was doing between 93 and 97 mph in a 70 mph limit and I got a three month ban. I should stress however, ever since I've had children I have slowed down and now let my horses feed my addiction.
For more information on The Andrew Servill Benefit please contact Mrs Jane Reeder on 01730 814718