New firm lets you pilot a Ferrari all around LA’;s Car Club Speedway
Sonny Watanasirisuk — race-automobile instructor, endurance racer, Miata guru and a former roommate, to boot — began functioning at Exotics Racing in December. At least he performs there during the weekends, or when he’;s not at 949 Racing and undoubtedly not when he’;s gearing up for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. At Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, he has been assisting thrill seekers push Ferraris, Lamborghinis and the like close to the infield program with enviable persistence and a few properly-picked phrases of encouragement. The infield had lately been repaved, which was a step over the last time I had been there. But this new track — what a marvel! Correct in the parking great deal, conveniently close to the front gate, this pristine stretch of asphalt brazenly cutting across the white lines like a Hot Wheels track — it was not just a coat of paint, both. They had to tear up a surface layer and lay down fresh asphalt. He was quite stoked about that.
Based in Las Vegas for the past 4 many years, Exotics Racing provides thrills and chills with its fleet of Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche sports activities automobiles, with seat time bought by the lap. Begin off with the Porsche Cayman R at $ 199 for 5 laps, or phase it up to the most high-priced automobile: a Ferrari 458 Italia, for double that. Drive around the program with an instructor right after your time is up, $ 40 for another lap is like slapping quarters in the arcade cabinet. If you are actually flush, you can drive 8 automobiles for 5 laps every single and burn up an afternoon for about $ 2,000.
And for an extra $ 99, you can trip in a Corvette Z06 with Mike Bolanos, drift racer and instructor, whose task is “to scare the living daylights out of you,” bragged instructor Kevin, throughout the driver briefing. “He’;ll go through 2, 3 seats of tires alone nowadays.” Bomac, as Mike favored to be known as, was pulling into the pits where he had just frightened the bejesus out of this poor, hysterical, screaming lady who didn’;t know whether or not to laugh or to keep screaming. “I hit him!”
Business has been fairly very good, Sonny said. “They’;ve acquired a good technique down. There is been no weekend I’;ve witnessed the place there have not been fewer than 3, 4 cars however.” At that point, as if on cue, an individual walked by and tipped him a $ 20.
Walk into the tent at Auto Club Speedway and you are going to see a slick operation. An array of personal computers greets you behind the registration desk. Eager women in red polo shirts take your details and offer waivers to sign. Video replays of your lap and the laps of others loop on TVs. There are chairs, totally free bottled water, a foods truck serving burgers and scorching canines all around the corner — all the amenities and joys of racetrack hospitality. (A everlasting developing is in the performs, but for now, alas, every thing in the parking whole lot need to be broken down for NASCAR and Formula Drift races.) Friends and loved ones wait and view their adrenaline junkie companions shove Audi R8s, Ferrari F430s, and Porsche 911 Turbos close to the corner out of the pits and into the back straight, the San Gabriel mountains glowing in the backdrop with total sunlit wattage. 1 couple was right here simply because the husband had bought his wife a late Valentine’;s Day gift. “I drive fairly quickly,” she mentioned. “When I am not on the school run in my Selection Rover, I like to push it.”
The track is a 1.2-mile, 8-flip racetrack that resembles a dog bone. It is composed of a few late-apex sweepers, a gentle corner in the back top into some enjoyable esses, onto the most tough turn in the back. Drivers are allowed to lower as much as they can during the red-and-white apex markings. (Raised curbs are coming quickly.) But go off across the white lines, and the instructor reels you back in.
“I’;m permitted to grab the steering wheel to proper your course,” Sonny advised me for the duration of my drive. “So, never freak out or anything at all.” I was signed up to drive a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, with about 13,000 miles on the clock. (“All our cars have actually rapidly turnover,” explained Exotics Racing’;s PR individual Jennifer Nicole.) The 3 cameras mounted inside the cabin can attest to my not requiring such input.
This whole issue was dreamed up by stunt driver Romain Thievin and an investment banker spouse by the name of Damon. In 2004, the pair opened up what grew to become France’;s greatest racing college, with 22 areas scattered throughout France. Roman doubled as Matt Damon in “The Bourne Identity,” which netted him a Taurus Planet Stunt Award, and he hosts a French and Belgian car display referred to as Rapidly CLUB. (In this clip, Romain apparently drives around some Las Vegas showgirls in a Citroën DS3.) According to Nicole, Damon is “living the American dream” and won’;t appear anywhere without having cowboy boots and a Stetson, usually climbing out of a Hummer or a Ford Raptor in front of a barbeque joint. “He is a actual character,” she mentioned.
Evans Stievenart is the general manager for this California spot, and he has been in America for only 6 months. Stievenart did ice racing for 10 many years in Abbeville, an hour north of Paris. In 2012, he co-drove with Alain Prost to a victory in the Andros Trophy. He co-designed this track with Thievin. “It truly is a track for the driver,” he explained. “We wanted anything for California folks. They’;re quite enthusiastic. We have a whole lot of buyers with track knowledge, so we wished something straightforward to recognize. It is very technical and it looks really easy to do, but it truly is a whole lot of issues to think about.” Specially concerning safety, he explained.
In the Superleggera, I hit 80 mph on the prolonged straight, being aware of full nicely that it was conservative. (At the hands of Bomac, the Corvette Z06 reached 95 mph just before he jerked the car into a graceful, smoky drift.) Rolling on the power around the corner out of the straightaway is great fun. The esses are deceptively rapid, and the instructors — namely Sonny — want you to cut them even more than you are employed to. I never could deal with the last corner correctly, but Sonny did not rag on me that a lot.
For investing the day hoofing a Lamborghini close to a track with a guy who after assisted me install brake lines and actually did not like to do the dishes, I was awarded a certificate of completion. For individuals who have outgrown your nearest K1 Velocity (and have a bit a lot more cash on hand), it really is not a undesirable way to spend an afternoon.
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