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!."
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.
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)