What driver hasn’t dreamed of enjoying life in the fast lane?
Many of us close our eyes and imagine the feeling of a V12 engine firing to life like a small explosion. Others conjure up the howl of an exhaust as the rev counter spins to nearly 9000rpm. And some just want to be photographed posing on the bonnet of a Ferrari so they have a photo to show off to colleagues.
The good news is there are a host of reputable supercar driving experience events across the UK. They allow guests to drive some of the most desirable sports cars in the world… at some of the most exciting racing tracks in Britain.
For an immersive and memorable day of driving, for anyone with a licence, read on and take a high-speed ride.
1. Ultimate Supercar Driving Experience, Thruxton
Hot lap highlight: Riding shotgun with Tiff Needell
Star car: Lamborghini Aventador
You may remember Tiff Needell. He’s the one who used to do for BBC Top Gear what The Stig does these days: namely, drive a car on its door handles until the tyres smoke and brakes catch fire. When not doing TV work, Tiff can be found making passengers scream for joy at Thruxton racing circuit, in Hampshire.
There, the Ultimate Supercar Driving Experience puts you in the passenger seat of a BMW M4, next to Tiff as he performs his signature ‘sideways’ style of driving over three laps. As if riding with a legend wasn’t enough, you also drive some astonishing supercars for yourself, including the brutal Lamborghini Aventador and fabulous Ferrari 458.
2. PalmerSport at Bedford Autodrome
Hot lap highlight: Going against the clock and your peers
Star car: Ariel Atom 3
Price: from £984
Welcome to the perfect track day. PalmerSport has been devised by Jonathan Palmer, the former Formula One racing driver, and its attention to detail and venue facilities (near Bedford) are the stuff of legend.
Instructors will only ever tell you off if you mistakenly believe a car’s tyres should be treated with respect. And with four different tracks running events simultaneously, there’s precious little waiting for a turn behind the wheel.
The mouth-watering machinery includes single-seater Formula 3000 racing cars, which were the tier below Formula One but look and sound just as intimidating.
Laps are monitored by a detailed data telemetry system where the fastest driver of the day scores maximum kudos.
There are also racing karts, mud-loving Land Rover Defenders, thrilling Ariel Atom sports cars – the one that rearranged Jeremy Clarkson’s face on Top Gear – and an M4 GTP, a track-tuned BMW beast.
3. Jaguar Classic Track Experience
Hot lap highlight: Driving multi-million pound machinery
Star car: Jaguar D-type
Price: from £650
The Jaguar D-type is arguably one of the earliest and scarcest supercars. In fact, the 1950s racing machine is so rare that it’s hard to put a value on an original model. Cars change hands for millions of pounds on the infrequent occasions they come on the market. Yet Jaguar will let you drive one – and many other exotic Jags – as part of its Classic Track Experience.
This is only possible because Jaguar bought a 543-strong collection of classic cars in 2014. Now it’s letting thrill-seekers experience for themselves some of the greatest Jags of all time, at a newly created 200-acre test facility in Fen End, near to the home of Jaguar Land Rover in Gaydon, Warwickshire.
Don’t go thinking that the old-timers will feel stiff of limb and short of breath. The D-type is a light machine that can top 170mph, although it’s doubtful that Jaguar’s professional instructors will let you run it completely off the leash. Other heavenly creations you can drive on the four-hour experience include the XK120, XK150, C-type and E-type.
Just don’t forget your driving gloves, flat cap and flying goggles.