So this post is not about public relations, SEO, client relations, networking or any of that stuff. I guess tangentially it could be related to small business or team building because I could see a business (Us? Please please please say yes) hosting a team-building exercise here.
So what am I talking about? ExoticsRacing. If you’re not into fast cars, expensive cars, Italian cars or fun, you should probably skip to the next post. If you want to hear about driving
someone else’s a $300,000 Ferrari 458 Italia at 180+ mph then stick around. I do have to warn you: I may get so excited telling you about this that I slip a curse word or two in here. Apologies in advance.
So here’s how it happened: A good friend of mine gave me an ExoticsRacing driving day as a birthday gift and I nearly cried when I saw it. I’ve always been a car freak so this was a really big deal for me. I flew to Las Vegas the following week, rented a Chevy Cruze and drove out to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the 120º F heat.
In case you go, LVMS is a good 40 minute drive from the airport or rental lot. Leave yourself plenty of time; besides, you’re going to want to drive there via The Strip anyway. The entrance is on the North(?) side near the Shelby Museum (worth a quick stop too, if you dig Shelbys).
I walked in, gave them my name, driver’s license and reservation and was shown what had already been reserved for me that day: Audi R8, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Ferrari 458 Italia as well as a guided tour around the track in a brand new Porsche Cayenne and the two lap ride-along with a professional drifter in a Corvette Z06.
There were about 25 of us in the time slot I had (11 am) and we all sat down for a brief classroom instruction at about 11:15. This lasted maybe 10 minutes and basically covered how passing would happen and how to get kicked off the track: passing was done with an instructor holding the wheel in both the passer and the passee (is that a word?) cars to avoid very expensive carnage. If you drove in a crazy way despite your instructors’ best efforts, you’d be excused without a refund.
I say “crazy” but that’s not in a public street sense. The instructors were there to help you (and brake for you if you didn’t have the sense to slow down) go as fast as you could in your ride of choice. Let me be clear: There were no speed limits and no constraints on how fast you drove as long as you weren’t being dangerous. See the video below (and my getting-away-with-it grin) to see what I mean. I had a couple instructors tell me to push it harder or punch it when I was a little slow out of a corner. This was not driving to the store with the kids. This was beating the holy hell out of cars that cost as much as houses. This was sickeningly fun stuff.
So I’m going to let the videos speak for themselves but here’s my list of superlatives for the day:
- Scariest ride: The ride along track survey from the back of the Cayenne. These things haul ass and lean a little too much with four people aboard – at 140 mph.
- Best value: The two lap drifter ride-along was awesome. Like a oller coaster ride but edgier. Check the video for the guy giving me a fist bump while sideways at 100 mph. Hilarious and only $99. You can’t beat it, even if you’re just there to watch someone else for the day.
- Fastest run/highest speed: My ride in the Ferrari got me a top speed of 182 mph. It seemed faster than that. The sounds this car makes are unreal and the shifting actually knocks the helmet back off your head during upshifts. I told Margie it was like “riding a cat.” It just kept clawing forward every time you shifted.
- Favorite car: The Ferrari. I had a feeling that would be the case as I had saved that ride for last but even the attendants said most people chose it over the much faster cars available.
So what else was available? Lamborghini Aventador, Porsche Cayman, Ferrari F430, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Mclaren MP4-12C, Mercedes AMG SLS (the gullwing one), Aston Martin Vantage and a Nissan GT-R. Here’s their current list since it might change by the time you read this.
So now I need to somehow get this post back to a normal business type posting and all I can say is: take your staff here and develop some camaraderie. You can bond over who drove the fastest lap or slowest top speed. In any case, it was fun and super memorable. You won’t regret it.
Love the Ferrari vid. “Down shift once! Floor it!” Too cool! Wish every passenger in my cars said things like that.