We recently spent a few days in Vegas. Krista was attending a conference for public historians and I went along to see what this Vegas place is all about. I didn’t do a whole lot of gambling but there are plenty of other things to do around this city. I spent some time touring the strip and most of the hotels/resorts that can be found along the way. One day walked all the way up Las Vegas Blvd through some rather rundown areas, which of course included numerous garish and cheesy wedding chapels, as well as the pawn shop made famous by the tv show “Pawn Stars” (it was crazy busy in there), all the way up to Freemont Street. That’s the pedestrian zone with the zip line that runs directly above the street. There are all sorts of interesting and bizarre people and things to see there and along the way.
Before heading down to Nevada I did a bit of searching online to see what kinds of things I might want to do while there. My search unearthed all sorts of possibilities but the one that caught my eye immediately was the chance to drive a Lamborghini on a race track. I’ve always dreamed of driving one and here was a chance to get in one and really see what it can do! So I signed up at Exotics Racing and on April 17, 2018 I finally got to drive a Lamborghini. It was a Gallardo – the smallest of the 3 current production models – but still plenty of power for this sports car newbie. The only other thing close I’ve driven before this was a 1980’s Porsche 911 – under the watchful eye of it’s owner.
The experience at Exotics Racing is very professional. After checking in the first step is attending their classroom training session where they go over the basics of driving a high performance vehicle as well as what you can expect for the rest of the experience. Next is a couple test laps driven by a staff member in a Porche SUV. They take it easy on the first lap explaining where to aim/look around each corner, when to brake etc. On the 2nd lap he really opened it up and, given that it’s an SUV with a higher center of gravity, you really feel the g-force around the corners and the somewhat disconcerting seeming potential for roll-over. But they are professional drivers and know the limits of these vehicles and like to push those limits within the range that is safe.
After that’s completed the “main event” comes. Each person is taken for their drive with an instructor “co-pilot” who provides verbal instructions for when to brake, shift gears (all cars are paddle-shifted – no manual transmissions) and where to look etc. It can take a while to wait your turn with the size of the groups so they encourage everyone to look around and get into any of the cars you want until they’re ready for you to hit the track. I was surprised at the open access to all the cars – it was really cool being able to hop in and out of so many supercars. Here’s a few video clips I took with my GoPro wandering around and getting in and out of some of these very expensive vehicles.
The other cool thing they do is record the entire experience on the track for you and put together this neat video (below). There is an additional charge for the priviledge of having the video to keep of course, but it’s a very well done presentation and in my case I know it’s something I will watch over and over again. Near the beginning you’ll see another car enter the track before I go – that is a professional driver taking someone for a ride in their Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat edition (over 700hp). He gets the back end drifting around all the corners. Near the end of the video my instructor makes a crack about me being a pretty good driver “for a Canadian”. Bit of an inside joke since before hand he told me he was born in Red Deer Alberta 🙂 Apparently the Gallardo is one of the more difficult cars to handle as well – the brakes are very sensitive especially. All things considered I think I did pretty well, and managed to pass the more powerful Huracan to boot.
This experience was definitely the highlight of the trip for me. There are lots of other “extreme” experiences available in Vegas – shooting off many types of guns is one of them, and I heard that you can even drive a tank over a car at one place! But driving a Lamborghini was the experience of a lifetime I was looking for and I’m so glad I did it.