Exotics Racing – that pretty much sums it up. The outfit that calls the Las Vegas Motor Speedway their home is probably the quickest and easiest way to get an exotic car on a track. Much like everywhere else in Vegas, upon arrival you’re greeted by a number of friendly staff who efficiently facilitate your entire experience. At registration, you can choose how many laps you’d like to do in your favorite dream car. The standard is 5 laps with prices ranging from $199 for a Porsche 911 to $399 for the Ferrari 458 Italia and Lamborghini Murcielago. In between, the choices abound including a Ferrari 430 Scuderia, Lambo Gallardo, Audi R8, Aston Martin Vantage and Nissan GT-R. There is more than one of the Ferraris and Lambos so you don’t have to wait long to get behind the wheel.
The experience starts with a classroom session where an instructor talks about the track, cornering approach and the racing line. The track itself is quite short with many turns making it fairly technical. Despite that, you never really get out third gear which takes your shifting skills out of the equation. That and the fact that all their cars are equipped with semi-automatic transmissions/ paddle shifters allow for first timers to concentrate on the racing line instead of worrying about missed-shifts. The participants are also instructed about on track etiquette in terms of passing slower cars and what to do if things get a bit hairy, i.e. brake, hard. With the classroom stuff out of the way, it was time to climb into a Porsche Cayenne for a couple of discovery laps with another instructor as he demonstrates the correct racing line and how to use the strategically placed pylons marking braking zones, turn in and cornering apexes.
I excitedly choose the murdered-out and newest Ferrari, the 458, however just before I was up I got the news that it suffered a transmission problem and would be out of commission for the rest of the day. Hey, at least it didn’t blow up.
The Ferrari 430 Scuderia (meaning team in English) is the hotter track-ready version of Ferrari’s already quick 430. In fact, the Scuderia was made for days like these.
ASIDE// See back in the early 90s, Ferrari established a one make race series called the Ferrari Challenge Series. It used Ferrari’s entry level car, back then the 348, which would be modified for track use. As the series grew and spread outside of Italy to include a European and US calendar, Ferrari began marketing it with the release of the 360 Challenge Stradale – a lighter, souped-up version of the 360 Modena, eliminating sound deadening materials, carpets, radio and even air-con to save weight. For customers, it was as close as they could get to sitting behind the wheel of a fully modified race-ready Challenge car while still being street legal. A stroke of genius really for Ferrari as it could market a “race-car for the road” type of experience while giving its 360 Modena platform that final sales push before introducing the 430 – much like “S” versions of many late model cars we see today from various manufacturers, minus the racing pedigree.
Looking back, the Scuderia then was probably the best choice to thrash around this type of track. See the video of my laps around LVMS road corse next ->>