How to Drive $1 Million Worth of Exotic Cars

UPDATE A reader adds, Dear AutoRacing1.com, What a great site, keep up the good work. I’ve just given a couple of your gift subscriptions to friends that share my passion for racing and today I read your article on ‘How to Drive $1 Million Worth of Exotic Cars’. I, like the gentleman you quoted, would much prefer to drive such cars on a race track at well above 55 miles an hour. Driving five exotic cars at the speed limit on open city streets for a few hours at a cost of $1300 is a fair deal but to my mind it is like being invited to a fantastic dinner and only being allowed to smell the food and wine so I thought I would alert you to another program run by Supercar Life that allows you to really drive the cars.

I recently participated in a full day program with Supercar Life (www.supercarlife.com) for $5000 that was absolutely out of this world. Not only did I get to drive each of five Supercars, they have two of each, at a race track we had exclusive use of, Sonoma California’s Infineon Raceway, it was at a track that regularly holds professional races (the program visits different race courses around the country) really enhancing my enjoyment of watching races on TV knowing I have driven that very track at speed.

Additionally, Supercar Life put me and my wife up at a four-star hotel, held a fantastic dinner the night before for all the participants and our guests where we got to spend some quality time one-on-one with the professional drivers that were our driving coaches the next day. The next morning they picked us up at our hotel and drove us to the track. Then there was a short indoctrination emphasizing that the objective was not only to allow us to experience each of the Supercars at speed but to teach us driving techniques consistent with the school's motto of ‘the key to knowing your limits is to explore them’. At half day, after having driven three different cars, we broke for lunch that doubled as a classroom session to go over what they had taught us and it was amazing to see how much faster all of us were in the afternoon session. By the end of the day I had driven all five Supercars, and my favorite the Ferrari F430 twice, learned a lot and had a great time. I told a friend that races a Porsche GT in SCCA club events about the program and after he attended he knocked two full seconds a lap off his time at Sebring and won his first SCCA event in the six years he has been racing. Now my wife wants to go back as the driver and me as the guest, though I think she enjoyed dinner with the coaches a little too much, and I’m considering getting her a Homestead Supercar Life day for Christmas. Sean Kimball, Springfield Missouri

12/04/07 Ever had the keys to a $300,000 Lamborghini dropped into your lap and told, you know, to take it around the block? And while you're at it, how do you like the looks of that red Ferrari F430?

Dream cars: Most of us have at least one automotive ideal that we simply must drive in our lifetime. And unless you're a famous comedian who goes by Jay or Jerry, opportunities are few on the ground.

Enter a new breed of outfit that charges customers an affordable fee to pilot a bunch of exotics in a single day. (It's less of a commitment and cheaper than a membership in one of the car clubs.)

So I find myself in an uber-exotic Lamborghini Murciélago, which has scissor doors and looks like an alien fighter spaceship. The thrum of its insane V-12 engine is jangling through my bones. Car reviewer that I am, I still have to admit: This is awfully cool.

I've signed up for the half-day program with World Class Driving, which has provided $1 million or so of foreign hardware to test out.

The price? A very reasonable $1,295, especially considering the five cars include two Lambos, a Ferrari, and a 604- horsepower Mercedes. (Insurance is included, with a $5,000 deductible.)

The cars are tested on public roads, and for today's program the eight guest drivers meet at West Point, New York. WCD doesn't start its drives from a single location; rather it goes on “tour'' around the country, putting the cars in trailers. (See the company's Web site for the schedule.) This year it will organize about 100 drive days in places ranging from New York to Texas to California.

Legal Speeds

Personally I'd prefer to carve up a race track with these sinful machines, a program that other companies do provide (I'll try one next year). Yet driving exotics at legal speeds, which the company insists on, has a considerable upside.

It's a chance for those without track experience — that is, most of the world — to test out high-performance cars in a less fraught environment. (Concentrating on not cracking up a half-million-dollar car on regular roads is worrisome enough; get it up to 120 miles per hour on the track and you'll welcome the everyday stress of your job.)

After all, the company's current fleet includes rare specimens such as the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, which costs nearly a half mil, or the new Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, which accelerates to 124 mph in 11 seconds. For WCD's schedule, see http://www.worldclassdriving.com . More at Bloomberg.com

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