According to those in the know, passing the lights of a tunnel at a rhythm that matches a driver's heart rate can result in unconsciousness. In a 15-mile long tunnel, the consequences could be horrific, so the engineers cleverly designed a way around the problem. For a start, it's not a straight road. There are bends and gradients. And then there are the caverns (or grottos). Approaching them is like seeing a nightclub in the distance. As you get closer, the sight is extraordinary. To tear through them at high speed is an experience that will live with you for years.
The thinking behind the lighting was to try to imitate the onset of daylight after the inky blackness endured in the rest of the tunnel. So we have orangey lamps at the base that fade into a gentle white light. The lighting rigs suspended from the cavern ceiling are neon blue, supposedly to give the impression of a clear, sunny morning. As a theory, it sucks. But the effect is still mesmerizing.
However, we're hear to experience the full-on noise assault of this incredibly beautiful Aston Martin, not to admire the engineering skills of Norwegians. With the roof down, the lines of the car are staggeringly good-looking. Try and count the number of cars that look better as a convertible than a coupe. Maybe two or three, but the V8 Vantage Roadster is definitely one of them. So beautiful is this car that I want to be in two places at once: sat in the leather-lined cockpit enjoying its superb driving dynamics, while at the same time standing outside, looking at its utter gorgeousness. There are no store windows here to check one's cool reflection, so posing is out. Let's just enjoy the ride.
Fifteen miles is a long way to travel just to check the whereabouts of speed cameras, but it's essential here. There are three of them, pretty equally spaced and I make a mental note of the mile reading on the odometer as I pass them at legal speed. Now I feel more confident that this evening will be one of pleasant memories rather than financial ruin. Starting from the east entrance, I take the Aston back in, gradually letting my speed increase. After three miles or so, I pass the first camera and I know it's at least six miles until the next one. I do the decent thing and drop to second gear before flooring it.
I'm pinned into my seat as the engine's note turns from a deep-bass warble to a high-pitched roar, the car thrusting me towards a horizon that doesn't exist. A quick snatch into third, keeping the revs high enough for the exhausts to stay open, then fourth. The overhead lamps become a white blur and I become aware of the cold air rushing through the open cockpit. There's a lot of wind noise, especially while passing the huge air extraction plants that help ventilate the tunnel. But with the revs on the boil, there's nothing to drown out the heavenly hard-edged sound of the Aston at full throttle.
There's nowhere for the sound to go, except to bounce off the cold, hard, enveloping rock surfaces and back into my eardrums. But at about 120 mph, it seems as though I've left the sound behind. A weird calmness pervades, along with plenty of wind roar. Slow down a bit and the exhaust note catches up-odd and slightly annoying, although it does serve to keep my speed down. Well, a little.
Approaching the first of the blue caverns, I'm still doing over 100 mph. The violence of the noise is stunning and the blue room is quickly getting closer. Closer, closer, closer and bam. I'm roaring through without lifting off the gas, enjoying a sound that, if I could bottle it, would mean I could afford my own Aston Martin. I want to do it again. And again. And again.