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Friday
Apr202012

Automobiliac Reviews Gotham Dream Car Sprint

For those of you who live in New York or New Jersey, you may have seen Groupon and other deal sites advertising a discounted ticket to "Drive a Supercar!"  I have been emailed by many friends about this and had been wondering myself if it's worth the money (around 70 bucks with the promotional discount).  Thankfully, a very generous friend bought some tickets and invited me along!  Since there seems to be a lot of interest  and uncertainty about this promotion, I thought I'd let you all know whether I thought it was worthwhile!What it is:

It's pretty simple. There's an autocross track consisting of a bunch of cones in a vast parking lot at the Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey.  You get to choose between a Lamborghini Gallardo or a Ferrari F430. I had two tickets so I got a ride in each.

There is a chaperone in the car with you just to make sure you don't do something stupid, but generally he encourages you to have fun. And yes, you can floor it and drive the car as hard as you want!

What you get:

You get 3 laps of this autocross track, so basically one outlap, one flying lap, and one in lap.  There's no timing, but I figured each lap is about 28-40 seconds depending on your skill level and exuberance. So that's roughly 2.5 minutes of driving.

After you get out of the car, you pose for photos inside and standing next to the car. The guy also takes a few action shots while you are driving. All these photos are burned on a CD right on the spot and handed to you, and this is an no extra charge, which I thought was great! (the photos in this article are examples of what you get)

You can also opt to buy a second run at a slight discount if you want more. And they also have a 458 Italia which can be driven for an extra 100 bucks. My friend tried it and said it took him to another planet. He got out of the car and all he said for the first 2 minutes was "Oh my god! It's SO tight! The steering! It's so TIGHT!."

Driving impressions:

In the brief moments I was in the cars, I had a blast. The exhaust notes of both cars are awesome to hear when you drop the hammer.  In the end, I recommend readers to select the F430. Even though the Gallardo is a great machine, the all wheel drive and electronic nannies make the car understeer badly at low speed and the car just feels sort of dead on this very twisty, tiny, track.  The F430, on the other hand has better handling on the tight course and willingly lets you slide the tail around. I was grinning from ear to ear.  Both cars have paddle shifters, so no worries about clutch pedals.

The Verdict:

So, was it worth the money?  That is hard to say for sure. I think for the cost of 70 dollars, it would be nice to have more than 3 laps in the cars. I also think some people would find the idea of driving through cones in a parking lot a bit pedestrian. However this is definitely not a scam. You really do get some time in someone else's genuine exotic car and can basically do what you want for 3 laps. Unlike a high priced exotic rental, you don't need to worry about traffic laws and you can just have fun in a safe environment! The fact that they throw in the photographs for free is a very nice touch, and definitely adds to the appeal of the experience.

I don't think Gotham Dream Cars gives a trememdous value for thrill compared to going karting, but I don't think it's a ripoff either.  If you are the type who has always wondered what it is like to drive one of these cars and feel the acceleration and cornering they offer, this is the most economical and trouble-free way to have that experience. Let me know what you think!( Note: This review was in no way paid for or endorsed by Gotham Dream Cars)

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Reader Comments (9)

SWEET! Often wondered about that.
April 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames
I had the Lamborghini this morning and simply wasn't impressed. It's everything you mentioned above and the most disappointing part was that it wasn't on a track which is what my wife was lead to believe. At least I can say I've been in a Lamborghini but I would never tell anyone you get to take things to an exciting level.You get one short straight away that you can floor it on but I've had a many better rushes in my old Mustang. It was a tight fit for us big guys, the photos were sub-par, but I did like the video we paid an additional $25 on.
For $125 (one car, photos and videos) I left very disappointed. My suggestion to anyone considering this is to look into other deals out there on a real track.
September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChet DeFour
Chet, thanks for offering your perspective!
September 28, 2012 | Registered CommenterBradley Price
II did it Oct 28 2012--I went faster on the Garden State Parkway !! I did this because a friend did it last year at raceway park and got 5 laps; boy did I feel ripped off !!!! As soon as I hit 3rd gear had to break. I should have got dressed up and drive my 911 to the nearst Ferrari dealer in Conn and test drive one. It would be Free and I bet I would get out of 3rd gear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
November 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Salvo
I received this as a gift and was totally disappointed. In fact the term rip-off was right at the front of my mind. It was a surprise gift and so I had no time to research it and was only told about it by the friendly registration girl and then led to the car after signing all the release forms.

I know how to drive and I drive a 6 speed manual trans sports car. they tell you it's 4 laps and I chose the Lamborghini Gallardo. Okay sounds cool right? well what is not immediately apparent is they sit with an 'instructor' that looks to be about 20 years old that dictates the entire ride exactly to you.
The first lap is a SLOW lap where you get a feel for the course in first gear. then the second lap he TELLS YOU WHEN TO SHIFT INTO SECOND and you stay there for the remainder of the ride. because of the main rule YOU MAY NEVER DOWNSHIFT INTO FIRST when the car is moving. Because this is not a track but a parking lot with tiny cones set up as a course, the laps are so short and the first two laps are totally dictated to you it only feels like two short laps and you are somewhat bogging through the coarse because you can only shift once and there is only one straight of maybe 30 yards so you need to brake shortly and then take the tight corners in 2nd gear or he said he would give a warning and then end the ride. Really, really unsatisfying.
At the end of the trip which lasted about 8 mins I wished I had never done the Gotham Dream Cars - Dream Car Sprint. Over promised and Under delivered! I would happily pay for this if it were unrestricted, or on a real track but within these constraints it was only worth about $25 bucks to me and more of a waste of my time.
February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDJ
I drove both the F 430 and the Gallardo at the San Diego Stadium lot. I have read so many reviews from these whiners, reminds me of a friend of mine that drove an autocross course in a super-hot z-28 . Everyone was doing laps in around a minute... he came in at about 1:25 , all the way around in first gear. His comment "Whats so hard about that ?" Clueless...If you dont understand autocross, stay on the freeway listening to "dead man's curve". Anyway, back to my drive.. The Ferraris paddles were easier to use tan the Lambos; I could just tip in and out of third and entered the first corner at about 100 mph. I braked so late for the turn- in that the instructor gasped ! The Ferraris traction and stability control worked so well that I could point it where I wanted to go and it went with an almost continual howling of tires and smell of burning rubber all the way around the track. I was actually kind of amazed as I smelled the burning rubber that it was really happening! I even asked the instructor why he let me drive the car that hard. He said he could tell by my driving and my attitude that that I was competent with the car. Attention Clueless Ones! The Ferrari goes fast around corners... very fast... that's what an autocross course is for. Kudos to GDC for a great experience !
March 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermean gene
I have to say I was very disappointed with the Dream Car Sprint. I'll have to agree with DJ's comment of "over promised and under delivered". Was I happy to be driving a great exotic car? Absolutely! But that's about where the good experiences end.

The staff seemed young and unknowledgable. The track took about 30 seconds to navigate and is WAY smaller than the "just under a mile long course" described on their website. Expect to wait to get into the car for a while. The entire driving experience is about 5-7 minutes I'd say; 1 cool lap to teach you the track and then 3 hot laps. As where "mean gene" comes off saying he was doing 100 into the first corner is a crock I'd imagine as the seat of my pant speedometer was telling me that I definitely was nowhere close to that speed, EVER. You wouldn't get close to that speed until you were rounding off 3rd gear and most people could barely get into it before having to brake and downshift. Besides, if you happen to hurt the car, that's where that little legal waiver you signed comes into play.

They try to make you feel a little better about spending all that money for nothing and tell you that they have a photographer there and you get free pictures put onto a cd as well. As far as I'm concerned their "photographer" seemed to be nothing more than just some kid they showed how to hit the shutter button and zoom on a dslr while leaving it in automatic mode. Out of all the pictures, every single one of them is cocked at a 45 degree angle and most are blurry or out of focus. Heaven forbid they had a lens on the camera with some better zoom so he didn't have to stand in such precarious parts of the track or that they had more than one photographer to get more shots. I would've gladly waited an extra few minutes if it meant getting double the shots that could have come out better.

Overall, was I satisfied? I guess. I won't be in one of those cars anytime soon on my salary and its always nice to be able to beat on something that isn't yours. Do I feel it was worth the price? Absolutely not. You still won't be able to know the cars full potential by any means. Would I recommend this to anyone? Not at all. If you have money burning a hole in your pocket or you feel that your life will be so much more complete after doing this...well, don't say you weren't warned.
July 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
I purchased two Living Social coupons for my dad and I to enjoy what was thought to be a two hour (for both of us total) experience at the Raritan Center in NJ. When booking on their web site the slots were one hour slots which led me to this time frame belief. Well, my 200 dollars came and went in 15 minutes. The track itself was a piece of garbage in a parking lot. it was extremely small with lots of turns. I came for speed, the website advertises speed and the cars they were allowing us to drive were advertised for speed (ie their horse power and huge engines). i couldn't get my Lamborghini to reach a higher speed than 70 mph because of the convoluted way the track was set up and then they had the gall to tell me that this track is set up for g force in the vehicles. who the hell wants to test g force? i want to go fast!! IM VERY ANGRY and will be complaining to whom ever will listen to me regarding this company. i cant be the first person disappointed with this. and WARNING: they demand 5 dollars CASH for tax purposes when you come. wonder if the taxation department is aware of this.....
July 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLauren R.
It seems like a lot of (negative) comments are from people who don't know what an autocross is... @..@ You almost never go to 3rd gear in an autocross course, and it's meant to be technical and tight and a test of driver skill more than sheer horsepower of the car... In any case, it's not a bad deal considering that a "normal" autocross event costs about $40-50 for a full day which amounts to about 3-8 runs depending on the car club you run with, plus you have to bring your own car, your own tires, fuel, and "work the course" to pick up cones, etc... ~$100 for 3 runs in an autocross in an exotic seems like a no-brainer to me as an autocrosser to have that kind of experience... I enjoy autocross the best out of all motorsports activities, been doing it for 12+ years, and I owned and raced various cars from an E46 BMW to MR2s to Lotus Exige S. I don't autocross much any more, having moved to Manhattan. In any case, it's funny what expectations can do. I am going there fully knowing it's an autocross course, I get 3 runs, and I know I'm going to have a blast. People should read up about what an autocross is before attending or buying such experiences: try autox4u.com or just google "autocross" or "solo II" (official name of autocross for the SCCA, the largest motorsports car club in the country).
September 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike.Choi

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