Monday, November 11, 2013

Why do we love exotic cars?

I was invited at the last minute to instruct at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with a company called G1 Tours this past Saturday. The company charges its customers to drive a couple of laps on a track in one of several high-end cars, including Lamborghini's, Ferrari's, an Audi R8 V10 and a Nissan GTR.

From what I could tell, the customers were pretty happy with their drives, even though they were short. Although we did not have access to the full track, we were let loose on the front straight, where drivers could easily accelerate to over 200 km /h. However, many drivers seemed not to care too much about accelerating all-out... they were just happy to be driving the cars and wanted to have their picture taken behind the wheel.

It's hard to fully understand the draw of these cars, but it is just there, not only for people like me who are into cars. I could barely believe the number of people snapping pictures as we drove by. There were throngs of people out at the track for most of the day, despite the near-freezing temperatures.

I was happy to get to drive the Audi R8 V10 for a short burst (up to 200) after sitting in the passenger seat for 3 hours. I had spent the morning in a Gallardo Superleggera and the Audi was much more refined (and therefore more comfortable for the passenger). Of course, the Audi is a bit less exotic than its Lamborghini cousin, but the performance is astounding and I could imagine living with an R8 on a daily basis... this was not the case with the Gallardo (it didn't even have a radio!).

I don't know exactly how much the customers paid for their laps, but every one of the people I rode with (dozens of them) got out of the driver's seat with a huge grin on his or her face!

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