Driving a supercar is one of those wishes that makes it on to a lot of people’s bucket list. And I totally get why. The desire to go really fast, drive something you might only normally see in the movies or be able to buy if you win the lottery, play on a race track, and feel like you’re “living the life” is strong. I had the opportunity to drive two of my all-time favourite supercars recently thanks to an experience voucher with Supercar Drive Days, which meant this long-standing bucket list item has been well and truly achieved.
All photos in this post by LincsGeek.
This particular experience was a gift from my colleagues when I left my old job at the end of last year. I might be in the same organisation now, but in a completely different department, and it was a wonderful surprise to receive such a thoughtful gift on my last day. Experience vouchers make fantastic presents and I’m incredibly grateful to my colleagues for there generosity and for choosing something they knew was sat waiting on my bucket list.
My voucher was for a two-car driving experience at my choice of about eight different race tracks across the UK. I chose Rockingham Motor Speedway; it’s just about an hour away from my home and a track I have been to a couple of times for events previously, and also the choice of dates worked for me. Supercar Drive Days are a touring company, taking their cars and set-up around the country to the different tracks on different days, so it really is about working out the best date versus track when booking.
On arrival and having signed my life away (and decided not to pay the optional extra insurance premium to reduce the excess), I headed into the briefing where a member of the team described each of the available cars to the group so we could pick which ones we wanted to drive. As expected, this was less of a briefing and more of a sales pitch, as they did their best to encourage us to upgrade our package, buy extra laps, pay for additional cars or get our friends involved on the track. I didn’t mind really, but was very happy to stick with the two-car experience I had been gifted.
After the briefing I put my name down to drive the Aston Martin V8 Vantage and the Lamborghini Gallardo, both included on my voucher, and made my way out to the pit lane to drive. Supercar Drive Days runs a simple queuing system; you simply stand in line for your chosen car and wait your turn. Of course this means that if you choose a really popular car on a very busy day you may be waiting a little while, but while it was a bit of a pain standing in line in the wind and rain, I didn’t have to wait too long before I could get out on the track.
I chose to drive the Aston first. My voucher suggested they would have the DB9, which is the Aston I really wanted to drive, but they didn’t have it available on this particular day for some reason but I happily made my way over to the beautiful Vantage. I was introduced to my instructor who got the seat set in the right place and made sure I knew about the flappy paddle gearbox, and we headed out. There’s a stop line at the end of the pit lane where you have your photograph taken, so I did the obligatory thumbs up and smiled for the camera, before heading towards the track proper.
Two laps of Rockingham in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage don’t take very long, but it was still a lot of fun to experience what this car can do. My instructor (I like to refer to him as my co-driver…) offered plenty of advice on when to accelerate, brake and turn to get the most out of the car and the track. This was especially important as you don’t get a sighting lap with the experience, you’re straight onto the track with your two included laps without any training or track knowledge. Rockingham is a great little track, with plenty of corners to keep things interesting, but thanks to the Nascar style tarmac (apparently imported from the US) which contains glass to make it very smooth, it was rather slippery in the weather I’d managed to book for the morning. It didn’t really matter, I suspect my co-driver was being a little more wary than normal, but it didn’t spoil my drive by any means.
After a fun few minutes in the Vantage I was back in the pit lane queuing for the Lamborghini. Now this is the car I really wanted to drive. I know it wouldn’t be as luxurious and refined as the Aston Martin, but it was that iconic very slightly mental car that I dreamed of. And as I got in, I knew instantly that this was going to be an incredibly fun drive… my co-driver introduced him as the “Mad Welshman”. And he was. He was brilliant!
As I drove he shouted, constantly. Like the guy in the Aston, who was very good, he told me when to speed up, slow down and turn, but it was a totally different atmosphere. I guess the two styles matched the two cars perfectly. Oh how I giggled! Apparently he didn’t shout “don’t brake” as much as normal as I didn’t seem to mind not taking my foot away from the accelerator pedal. Oops! Yea, it was a lot of fun. Definitely a dream bucket list item achieved, even if it was only two laps on a small race track.
Comparing the two drives I had you won’t be surprised to know they were very different, but both equally entertaining. The Aston was comfortable and smooth, while the Lambo was rugged and nimble. The Aston was luxurious and refined, the Lambo was stripped back and grunty. The Aston was the sort of car I could go on a long drive in, the Lambo was the machine I would definitely choose to drive around a track again given the opportunity.
My morning at Rockingham was a lot of fun and I would definitely recommend Supercar Drive Days if you want a blast or two around a track in your favourite supercar. Thanks again to my wonderful colleagues, it was the perfect thing to pick for me and I had such a ball.
Check out Supercar Drive Days for the packages available (also available on all the usual experience voucher sites).