“World Class Driving” – Dreams For Rent
I’ve recently heard some buzz for a company called World Class Driving. It piqued my interest, so I recently investigated it. I’m going to do a quick once-over in this article, but the website is http://www.wcdriving.com/ and there’s also a telephone number on the site if you still have more questions after reading this. It just might be a great gift idea for the car lover in your life.
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 (their lineup at time of print):
Aston Martin DB9 Volante
Also, they also carry a “spare” car in case of mechanical problems, and that car is another Ferrari F430. It looks like they will be in 28 different US cities during 2007, with stays of anywhere from 1 day to 3 days per location. I was telling my wife about it, and she thought it would be more expensive than the stated cost, after adding in all the incidentals. It’s a valid point. The event cost is $1295 per person in the Midwest and on the East Coast, and $1495 in the West, including the state of California. She asked me how I would react to getting something like this as my only Christmas gift one year; and once required sacrifice on my part reared its ugly head, I told her that more careful consideration was in order.
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) on the route, and then you are expected to more or less obey local speed laws. You get about 25 minutes in each car they have there that day, thereby ensuring you get to drive each one. There is a photographer from the company there as well, in case you wish to buy some professional-quality photos of yourself before, during and after your drive – at extra cost, of course, but that could be money well-spent for some of the participants.
I know not being able to drive as fast as you wish 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. Just because someone wants to drive at 150 mph doesn’t mean they can carry it off. 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 $1295 from what I have seen, require a lot more thought and discipline, and don’t have the selection of road-going cars that this place has, although the driving schools last more than 4 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 as or more expensive than the “chaperoned” experience that World Class Driving offers. I did a quick Google search for exotic car rental in my area and this one looks awesome: http://www.gothamdreamcars.com/new-york-city/exotic-car-rental.htm, however, the rates are more expensive even for a day during the week (weekdays have much higher rates), and you have to pick only one of the five cars to drive. The rates are comparable on an hourly basis if you rent during a weekend, but there are no half-days available during the weekend, so the minimum is one day. And I guess you could always get your wife, brother, or buddy to take some photos. And, one big difference, your time in the car is “unsupervised”, and that may be a plus for some drivers. If you are near a major metro area, you probably have something similar available to you. 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.
On one hand, the World Class Driving experience would be a lot of fun, a big kick, and a memory that would stay with you for a long time. On the other hand, it’s an expensive four hours.
Must think about this some more…