Over the last few months of writing for this site, I've had several people contact me asking what I think the best racing driving experiences would be in their areas. This is a somewhat complicated question, as there are several different types of racing which can satisfy your needs. Let's take a look at Rally Car, Formula One, and performance driving programs ranging from relatively affordable, to absolutely bonkers.
5.) Ready Rally Driving School - Austin, Texas
If you're looking to hone your skills as a rally car driver, look no further than the Rally Ready Driving School. They offer courses for drivers of varying skill and experience levels. One of the most popular is their 4 day Rally University program, where you'll be educated on maneuvering not only different types of rally cars but also platforms. Prices range from $579 for a half-day rally clinic, or $899 for the full four-day rally school. This 140-acre facility is more than enough room to fuel your desire.
4.) Richard Petty Driving Experience - Various Locations (US)
For NASCAR enthusiasts, you can have the feeling of exhilaration in either the driver's seat or as a passenger in this once in a lifetime experience. For $449-$549, the "Rookie Experience" will give you a chance to take 8 laps in a 600 horsepower NASCAR race car. But let's say you believe you're the most die-hard racing driver out there and want to kick it up several notches. Then I would suggest the Advanced Racing Experience package. At the jaw-dropping price of $3,499, you can take 40 laps, including receiving advice between the Pit Road Instructor, and the on-track driving instructor. Considering you're driving a car valued at close to $150,000, its a relatively small price to pay to live a dream.
3.) Porsche Sport Driving School - Birmingham, Alabama
Porsche does offer programs which are similar to other performance driving experiences, but this one was created one a very specific demographic in mind: the two-day Women's Only package. You will drive the Carrera S, Boxster, and 911 Turbo S, all while enjoying each morning with a free continental breakfast. For $3,200, which includes all meals, is a part of the Ross Bridge Resort Package, and gives you a 20% discount on spa and golf lessons. You'll learn Handling & Performance skills, Performance technology, and road driving skills, in what most women find to be less intimidating since the environment is specifically for women.
2.) The Ferrari Driving Experience - Mont Tremblant, Quebec
Ok, this one is a little out of the price range for most of us, especially since you have to own a Ferrari in order to take advantage of this program. Be that as it may, it is still a really excellent program. You'll learn how to maximize the potential of your Ferrari, as well as drive a new Ferrari California, FF or 458 Italia. When you factor in the $10,700 program cost, its relatively small if you already own the aforementioned Ferrari. The price also includes all meals, as well as 5-star lodging. The other saving grace of this program is the absolutely stunning Circuit Mon Tremblant venue. The former Formula One circuit is absolutely gorgeous, as it caters exclusively to the program.
1.) Skip Barber Racing School - Various Locations (US)
What do Juan Pablo Montoya, Tom Cruise, Charlie Sheen, Michael Andretti and Jeff Gordon have in common? Yes, all of them graduated in some varying degree from the Skip Barber Racing School. Whether you're an aspiring Formula One driver, or just a regular driver looking to improve your skills, look no further than here. In the high performance driving lessons, you'll learn autocross, skid pad control and threshold braking. You'll also log some lap time on the race track. But if you just want to cut loose on the circuit, you can also just sign up for one of their available track days as well. For the hardcore, there's the Formula Car Racing school as well. You'll use the same curriculum used to train professional racing drivers, and spend lots of time in actual Formula One cars. Highly recommended from drivers of varying degrees, for the high-performance school runs $800 - $3,200, depending on the length of the course you choose. Formula One school ranges from $1,500 - $4,000.
Image Courtesy of Skip Barber Racing School