There's nothing like a legendary Italian supercar at the famous Michigan International Speedway.
Last year was a terrible year. There's no question about it. The global pandemic ruined just about everything. No concerts. No sporting events. No motor shows. Nothing. Sadly, that's nothing for those who fell victim to the virus, lost loved ones, and/or continue to suffer long-term side effects. But life must go on.
Earlier this summer as the world began to emerge en masse from lockdowns and closures, I received an invite from Xtreme Xperience to drive a supercar of my choice at the Michigan International Speedway. These kinds of invites are impossible to turn down, pandemic or not. Fortunately, my arm received the double shots and Xtreme Xperience takes proper Covid-19 precautions. I felt totally safe and simply wanted to go fast around that track. The only thing I had left to do was select my ride.
The list is impressive: Ferrari 488 GTB, Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, McLaren 570S, Chevy Corvette Z51, Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, and the Nissan GT-R. I went with the Ferrari. It just felt right.
It's important to point out that no prior track experience is necessary. Xtreme Xperience provides the ideal setting for a first-timer to get a feel for what's it like going fast in a supercar they probably can't afford. And no, you just don't hop into the car and drive off. After checking in, participants are assigned a half-hour classroom session.
Critical topics like track safety, where the cones are located, and general etiquette are clearly laid out. Even someone like myself who has track experience cannot ignore or disregard these instructions. Every track is different and the good people at Xtreme Xperience know what they're talking about.
But fear not. You're not alone in the car. Everyone is assigned a professional driver with full instructor certification to serve as your co-pilot. They know the track and the car's characteristics. My instructor told me he and his colleagues begin testing the cars every morning bright and early to ensure there are no hiccups. I didn't get an exact number, but Xtreme Xperience draws large daily crowds and its fleet receives a heavy workout. That means daily oil changes, fresh tires, and constant servicing.
Everyone is given three laps which, in the case of Michigan International Speedway, consists of a long straightaway combined with twisty maneuvers where you can test your skill at hitting that apex. And let me tell you, those three laps go by way too fast. By my final lap, I was pretty comfortable with both car and track and was oh so tempted to ignore the instructor's instructions to guide the Ferrari into the pit lane and call it a day.
One more lap would have been nice. I wasn't done going fast and wanted to make up lost time after getting stuck behind a slow McLaren driver before I was given permission to pass. But really, it's fine. It was someone else's turn to experience the endless joys of a 661-horsepower Ferrari where it was meant to be driven. Driving a supercar on the road is an entirely different thing; you only see a small fraction of what it can do. The track is where you want to be.
Xtreme Xperience travels across the country and you can check out its official website to see the schedule. Not everyone can afford to own these six-figure exotics but most can swing Xtreme Xperience's rates, which start at $199 for the GT-R. It's guaranteed to cure those lockdown blues. Here's to a better 2021 and beyond.