Car driving experiences

jjabbot

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Hi, just wondering if anybody has any recommendations for driving experiences to buy?

I was given a red letter day experience driving an Aston, or Ferrari or Audi etc, but also got the receipt!

What have people done/or would recommend? I'm West Midlands/Welsh borders located.

Cheers

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shane63

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Depends what Red Letter Day Experience you have had brought for you. I had one for an Aston Martin experience which consisted of 5 laps around a 600 meter coned track on an airfield. A good experience, but over all too quickly (In about 5 minutes), never really got to experience the handling or acceleration of the Aston. It took a round trip of nearly 2 hours for 5 minutes of driving. I am sure that there are different levels that can be purchased, so it might be worth checking what your experience covers. I live in Reading and the experience was in Bicester.
 

John

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I personally think they are probably crap.

I did a Palmersport day in the early part of last year and would recommend it instead albeit more expensive.

These supercar type experiences are limited revs, limited laps and limited fun I suspect!
 

knighterrant

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I did a "Head to Head" 2 car experience at Silverstone. First was three laps in an Aston Martin Vantage V8 auto, which was a good way to find the better lines around the track. They told me that the car wasn't as fast as the Ferrari I was due to go in next, so both my instructor and I had a near brown trouser moment when I pulled out of the pits and nearly ran into the back of a Ferrari that clearly wasn't being driven as enthusiastically as I was going. The Ferrari 360 F1 Modena was better set up for track use but a bit tight for this 6-footer with a helmet on. I rarely use the flappy paddles in my car so it took some getting used to those in the 400bhp Ferrari that I was pushing as hard as I dare. It was great fun and all over far too soon.

A few years before that I went to Thruxton for a racing car driving experience. After a classroom briefing on racing lines I went out for 3 familiarisation laps in a two-seater (an MGF then, but it'll be something better now) with an assessor who marked my various skills. Then it was into a Formula Ford single seater for 5 laps. A totally different experience and to my mind better than the supercar drives.

I'm sure you'll enjoy whatever you go for.
 
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jjabbot

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That's what we were worrying about! Anyone been on the MB Amg days? I realise these are miles from me and more money. Just wondering!

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CabrioDave

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I've done "The Landrover Experience" - and it was excellent. But not necessarily in the way that was intended.

For some reason, a market research computer somewhere decided that I was a potential customer for a new Range Rover. (Nice enough vehicle, but WAY out of my budget!) Landrover sent me an invitation to come and try, free, a half-day Experience (nowadays about £275!).

I accepted (really?) and asked to do it in a Defender instead, as my partner's car at that time was a Defender.

My partner and I chose to do it at Eastnor Castle, and rocked up. Tea and cakes, shown the vehicles, etc, and off round the forest. Demonstrator showed the ridiculous things it could do on rough surfaces and slopes (seriously ridiculous, by the way), and then we each had a go at driving it. Quite good when the guy says things like "OK, nicely done, but it can do better than that. Try it again, but three times as fast". Hlll starts at more than 45 degrees, cresting hills where you can't see anything but sky, etc.

Then, we went to the 'river' section, where he again drove. It's actually more of a canal, slightly wider than the vehicle, with almost a metre of water in it. Above the water, the red mud sloped steeply away. He charged gently in, to demonstrate how to drive with a bow wave.

The Landy cleverly waited till we were well in, and then got stuck. Anything he - the expert - did, the vehicle was not going to go forward. All wheels spinning, lots of churning water, no movement.

After quite a few attempts, and embarassed apologies, he finally called in on the radio for "some towing assistance". The airwaves went mad! ALL the other vehicles out there somewhere responded, cruelly making him state exactly what the problem was, pretended not to receive, asked again, etc.

Defender door seals, or floors, or something, are none too watertight. Muddy red water was now 9" above the floor matting ...

A Range Rover turned up, and moves a bit into the far end of the gulley, with winch and nice long tow line. Our driver gets out (tight squeeze, as he can't much open the door against the mud "wall" of the gulley) and climbs the 45 degree bank, towards the trees.

Then slips, and slides down HARD into the front wing.

Makes second attempt, but now encased in several inches of brick-red mud. Makes it. (Lots of cheering coming from all round us.)

Goes forward, collects the end of the line, and comes back. Slips, and slides down even faster (now mud on mud) into the Defender. HUGE cheers.

They exchange instruction on the radio, and Defender is impressively extracted.

Our guy apologises again, and says that, as the driver's seat is now thickly covered in mud, presumably we don't want to drive any more, so we'll go back to base. We correct his impression, and enjoy another few miles around the forest.

Finally back at base, we get more coffee and biscuits, and I discover that, at some point before the flooded interior, my newish coat had slipped onto the floor in the back. I surprise the demonstrator by walking over to the vehicle-washing area, and thoroughly hosing down my jacket, and my trousers, with me in 'em.

I think they gave us more biccies than they usually would.
 
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jjabbot

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Excellent story! I've run a bit of that course (Mudrunner)! It's down the road from us, sort of. I think I'm keen to do something with speed! I've done a bit of off roading a few years ago with a friend in his V8 old Landy. Lots of winches involved.

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WDB124066

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Nothing quite like getting low down and dirty with the instructor. :):)
 

moonloops

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They try really hard to make you pay more for crash insurance and photo's etc.

The cars are beaters, the Fiatarri 360 I drove was threadbare but still fun when the "instructor" suddenly realised I had a ARDS race licence :D
 

gr1nch

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This is shaping up into another very interesting thread ;) And because I didn't know what ARDS was I looked it up and now its got me thinking to do some training with my car (it's not sporty) to improve my driving technique and knowledge

(Edit: Ooops, Thank'ed my own post by accident and can't undo that :( )
 

WG M-B

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I've done the C63 AMG black series experience at MB world and really enjoyed it.
It's a full hour ( although 30 mins in a standard C63 )

MB world is a great experience full stop with the museum etc.

Well worth the journey and money
 

brucemillar

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" I surprise the demonstrator by walking over to the vehicle-washing area, and thoroughly hosing down my jacket, and my trousers, with me in 'em."

This sounds like the rear car park at my local Curry House.
 

Charles Morgan

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My most enjoyable driving experiences by miles were three Jonathan Palmer motorsport days driving a fabulous range of sports and track vehicles. I have also done a classic car driving day at Goodwood, which was OK but the cars were all a bit grot (apart from the 911 RS 2.7 replica which was absolutely stunning). I did once go on an entirely free (yes, it did happen) AMG driving day at Mira, learning roadcraft and road driving in an S55 from a retired traffic policeman, then ice driving and drifting in an C32 AMG which was entertaining.

Sorry to say but I think the driving at Brooklands is on far too small a track and egregiously over-priced. I was able to have exclusive use of a track in South Wales with my own instructor for an entire day for less than an hour at Brooklands. OK, it was in my own C55 but learning how to get the best out of your own car is by far the most valuable driving experience of all.

I've done a Land Rover day too, but didn't have the same amount of fun as CabrioDave. I imagine the instructor was reminded of the episode daily!
 

SPX

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I've been on one of those red letter days and it was ok, there's a massive upsell on insurances and photos etc once you're there, makes the experience feel a little grubby if I'm honest. I drive an F430, Gallardo, Nissan GTR and Ariel Atom.

I've yet to hear of anyone not really enjoying both the LR experiences and the Palmersport days, they even do the LR experience for teenagers.
 

flowrider

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I was looking to buy a driving experience for my son but the required £5000 credit card deposit put me off!
 

brucemillar

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+1 for the Jonathan Palmer Race Days. Not cheap but a full day that you go away and remember for years to come for all the right reasons. They teach you some great race craft that is good for road use and your own safety.

In the single seaters. I watched as a colleague got it wrong and disappeared of the track into a field of uncut hay. To this day I can still see the top of the hay shimmering as he resolutely refused to lift, before re-appearing about 70 yards further down the track with a car that looked like a mobile hay stack.

Not sure if you can still do it but you used be able to get a drive in an F1 car. I did it in the South of France in a Tyrell. This is expensive and subject to you passing a medical and being able fit into the car. You then spend the day working up through a variety of tuned cars (Formula Ford and the like) with fantastic instructors, before eventually being allowed out on track.

Mrs M drained our funds to get me into that and I have never forgotten it. FANTASTIC
 

John

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Not as expensive as I was expecting actually.

Anyone know what age that F1 car is?
 

brucemillar

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JohnEBoy said:
Not as expensive as I was expecting actually. Anyone know what age that F1 car is?

John

I would give them a call. It is likely to be an NA v8 or the like. I went with a different company. They restricted the revs. Every few laps they would open it out a bit more.
 

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