ARE DREAMS OF DRIVING a Porsche 911 GT3, a Ferrari 488GTB or a Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 helping you escape on a rough work day? Can you picture yourself piloting a Land Rover on an obstacle-strewn off-road track? Feel the need for speed while stuck in city traffic? We have the solution. Set yourself behind the wheel of a luxury car or a Formula 1-style race car and turn those urges into reality.
Opportunities to drive ultra-high-end cars on racetracks or country roads, to take Land Rovers off road or to drive race cars at 100-plus mph are plentiful. You can experience these highs for a few hours on racetracks or streets in cities from Los Angeles to Barcelona to St. Petersburg, Russia. Wouldn’t it be fun to wrap a trip around a driving experience at resorts such as the Equinox in Vermont, or to combine it with another experience like viewing the northern lights in Finland?
You don’t have to be a Porsche owner to attend one of Porsche’s programs. The car company operates two Porsche Experience Centers in the United States, one in Atlanta and one in Los Angeles. Both offer a variety of experiences, from piloting the latest models on tracks designed to show how well the cars perform to comparing the way mid- versus rear-engine Porsches perform. At the Porsche Driving School you pilot cars on a track that hosts the Indy Circuit: Barber Motor-sports Park in Birmingham, Ala. Here, Porsche offers an intensive one-day precision driving course and a two-day performance-driving course. If you love to drive fast, the next steps are the masters courses.
Some drivers discover one experience driving a Porsche isn’t enough. “I went for the first time six years ago, and it hooked me,” says Michael Levy. Since then, he and wife Gina have taken several masters courses. “It’s the most fun and excitement I’ve had as an adult. More specifically, working on nailing a turn and getting better and better and better as you tenaciously focus on improving your line and maintaining consistency throughout the course.”
Gina Levy enjoys the courses just as much. “Teaching me the skills, addressing my concerns and most importantly pushing me to believe in myself makes my time at the Porsche Driving School very special.”
If you want to get a taste of driving luxury cars around a track or on roads, several companies offer the experience at racetracks and other locations around North America. In most cases you’ll get some instruction and safety information before you get into the car and start driving a Lamborghini, Porsche, Ferrari or other exotic auto. If you don’t want to actually drive a car, many companies provide the option of sitting in the passenger seat while a professional driver takes the wheel.
Gotham Dream Cars, for example, lets you drive six different exotic cars during its three-hour Dream Car Tour. Choices range from Aston Martins and Bentleys to Ferraris and Lamborghinis. The company also offers the Dream Car Sprint for a quick experience and the Dream Car Dash if you want to rev an engine on a professional racetrack. The company operates in three locations in California, one in Las Vegas and one in New Jersey.
The Xtreme Xperience runs events at 15 racetracks around the country each year in addition to a full-time operation at NOLA Motorsports Park, a 3,200-foot straightaway track in New Orleans. The company’s Supercar Xperience lets you race a car for three laps with no speed restrictions, so you could reach speeds in excess of 140 mph.
If you prefer motoring cars over rugged off-road tracks, visit a Land Rover Center. There are 33 worldwide, including ones at The Biltmore in North Carolina, Quail Lodge in California and Le Château Montebello in Québec. After crawling up steep inclines, splashing through streams and navigating log crossings, you’ll be pampered at any of these resorts. Options range from a tasting experience to all-day adventures on challenging terrain.
Sometimes, a single ride in a race car can lead to an obsession. Just ask financial analyst David Sear. Five years ago he bought his wife and a friend a racing experience at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. “She’s kind of a motorhead and likes to drive fast.” Her friend backed out at the last minute, so he went instead. “It was so cool. Who would know that buying her that experience would evolve into something that has literally changed my life?”
After that first ride, he started as a student at Rusty Wallace Racing Experience. “I got my feet wet and got hooked. I went to several tracks and started racing on a half-mile track, then I spent a week at Daytona and became speedway certified.” Now he’s sponsored by Rusty Wallace Racing Experience and races its car on the ARCA circuit. “I’m a race car driver now. I’m on Fox Sports 1 or 2 and racing with guys that I’ve idolized.”
Several other companies will also put you on a speedway in a NASCAR Nationwide or Cup-style race car. Packages at The Formula Experience let you pilot a Nemesis SC99 Formula or other race cars on tracks from the Atlanta Speedway to the Pikes Peak International Raceway. If racing in an L Mod or Sprint car on dirt tracks intrigues you, book time during one of the Kenny Wallace Dirt Racing days around the country.
If you’ve thought about making a drive trip through European countries but want someone else to make all the arrangements, contact Autobahn Adventures. The Autobahn Adventures luxury Monaco F1 Grand Prix VIP Tour and the 4 Country Adventure are dream trips for travelers who want to explore parts of Europe self-driving a Porsche. The tours are so popular they fill up quickly, according to Mark Trewartha, who runs the company with wife Tina.
During the all-inclusive, 13-day 4 Country Adventure you’ll drive the 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera through Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. This year’s all-inclusive, 15-day Monaco tour sold out in three weeks. It includes driving a Porsche 911 Carrera through Germany and Austria, attending the Monaco Grand Prix and sailing on an eight-day cruise on a luxurious yacht.
Trewartha says, “Our guests are primarily Porsche lovers, but our tours appeal to couples who love to travel, enjoy the finer things in life and want to experience Europe from the cockpit of a Porsche 911 sports car. We have built in freedom and flexibility by programming the navigation system in the car with all the destinations. Each couple travels at their own pace to see the things that interest them along the way.”
Tom Divilio and his wife, Lisa, enjoyed two tours with Autobahn Adventures. He testifies, “Porsches, people, places and preparations that consistently exceed all expectations.”
Luxury watchmaker Roger Dubuis and Chris Welch, who organizes exclusive supercar rallies, put on five über-luxe The Run to Monaco adventures. They arrange to bring travelers’ own cars to the starting point (Venice last year) or rent Ferraris or other supercars for travelers who don’t own a luxury car. As of press time, details for a 2017 trip have not been confirmed.
Warning: Driving luxury cars on European roads, here in the United States or on a track can be addictive. While some people simply want the thrill one time, perhaps as a birthday present or during a corporate outing, others take it to the extreme. Just ask Sear how he feels when on the track. “I’m maxing out at 165 mph literally inches from the wall in the backstretch. I can’t believe I get to do this.”
The Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla is opening its acclaimed doors Oct. 22 to celebrate its fifth and most exciting season. The resort will introduce new programming including culinary, fitness and music.
This holiday season, escape to the Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises and reconnect with family and friends in luxurious accommodations that make you feel right at home. Savor globally inspired cuisine designed by our Michelin-starred chef, paired with the most awarded wine collection at sea. Elevate “me time” with a soothing spa treatment sure to renew. With both long and short cruises to celebrate in December, and even three special Ultimate Holiday Cruises that sail over Christmas and into the New Year, the time to gift an experience and create unforgettable memories is now. Celebrity Cruises’ Always IncludedSM pricing — drinks, WiFi and tips — ensures a seamless, carefree vacation with the ones you love.
Seabourn recently announced the name of its second new ultra-luxury purpose-built expedition ship: Seabourn Pursuit. The name reflects the passion of expedition travelers to seek out and explore natural wonders and destinations through activities around the globe.
Though the Chicago area has been my home for decades, the view from the Water Tower Suite on the 26th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago made me gasp. I had admired Chicago’s dramatic skyline many times, but never from this angle. Through expansive windows, the skyscrapers of 900 N. Michigan Ave. and the John Hancock Center, now named 875 North Michigan Avenue, rose to my right. Far below, the landmark Chicago Water Tower nestled in a ring of trees. One of the few survivors of the Great Chicago Fire, a turning point in the city’s history being remembered on its 150th anniversary in 2021, the Gothic Revival relic resembled a fairy-tale castle in a children’s playset.
History and culture are etched into every corner of Greece. Beginning with its language, the oldest written language still in existence, and moving from the traces of passing civilizations and religions to pre-historic findings and works from many movements, there’s a wealth of culture to discover on your next trip to Greece.
President Biden signed H.R. 2278, bipartisan legislation to designate a September 11th National Memorial Trail. The trail route will link the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York; the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia; and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
In April 2021, I was skimming Facebook when an ad for a blind-folded dining experience popped up on my newsfeed. The event was hosted through a company called Fever that offers fun, interactive events in major cities and virtually for people to enjoy. Intrigued, I clicked the link to learn more. The description made the event sound exciting and mysterious. When I give someone a present for their birthday, the holidays or a wedding, I like to give the gift of an experience that the recipient can learn something from. My boyfriend’s 30th birthday was in June, when the event was to be hosted, so I thought this would be a great surprise for him.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Austin, Texas, with us.