Monday, July 03, 2006

"World Class Driving" - Is It Worth Trying?

Page 157 of the July 2006 Car Driver had an ad for this thing called World Class Driving. It piqued my interest. In the August 2006 issue, they had a half-page article about it, and the author tried it out, and he said that it was really neat - 8 hours total (including breaks, meals, etc.) and that everyone who did it had a smile on their face at the end of the day.

Basically, they have six very sweet exotic or semi-exotic cars and they let participants drive each one on a 30 mile scenic route "designed specifically to enable you to experience the stunning dynamics of these fantastic super cars." So that sounds like 180 miles total in some awesome cars:

  • Ford GT
  • Ferrari F430
  • Lamborghini Gallardo
  • Bentley GT
  • Aston Martin DB9 Volante
  • Corvette Z06
It looks like they're going to be in 28 different US cities during 2006. I was telling my wife about it, and she thought it would be more expensive than it is ($795 per person). She asked me how I would react to getting something like this as my only Christmas gift one year; I told her I wasn't sure.

It appears from their website that you can't really drive fast in the cars (Car and Driver said that nobody received a speeding ticket during their day), but you can accelerate relatively quickly in them. It seems that the six cars all follow the lead car (generally the Lamborghini or Ferrari) the route, and then you are expected to more or less obey local speed laws.

I know that kind of takes some of the fun out of it, but I would imagine that since you only have to be 25 years old and have a valid driver's license, they would be pretty foolish to put a 550 horsepower Ford GT not just anyone's hands and let them loose. :) I don't necessarily blame them for that policy. It also says on the website that if you want to race rather than just drive, sign up for Skip Barber or Bob Bondurant's driving schools instead...which are more expensive than $795 from what I have seen and don't have the selection of cars that this place has, although the driving schools last more than 3 hours.

The other thing that I looked into was whether it would be more cost effective to just go to an exotic car rental place and pick one car and take it wherever I want for the whole day (or a half day). The places I found seemed to be much more expensive than the "chaperoned" experience that World Class Driving offers. I did a quick Google search for exotic car rental and this one looks awesome: http://www.gothamdreamcars.com/new-y...car-rental.htm, however, the rates are more expensive even for a half day, and you have to pick one of the five.

There don't seem to be any true exotic car rental places in my area (eastern PA), but there are a few in NYC, but those all seem to be even more expensive than the link above.

One one hand, it would be an incredible experience. On another hand, maybe there's a catch that I'm not aware of.

Has anyone done anything like this before? If so, would you mind sharing your experience?

The website is http://www.wcdriving.com/start.php

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