What follows is part 1 of a 6 part series describing my experience driving 5 exotic cars on real roads in real life. This opportunity came through local luxury automotive storage club Auto Vault’s Fantasy Drives service. This particular Fantasy Drive package was a 6 hour event, involving nearly an hour of drive time in each of the 5 cars, garnished with complimentary bakery treats and a gourmet dinner. The 5 cars for the event were an Audi RS7, Bentley Continental GT Concours Edition, Lamborghini Huracán Spyder, McLaren 650S Spyder, and Audi R8 V10. This first part will go into detail on the background and kickoff of the event.
One thing that I love more than anything else is to drive. And yes, I certainly love the thrill of driving fast, but that’s not absolutely necessary for me to have a good time. What’s often more important to me is the freedom driving provides, the way I express myself through a car, and the personal engagement I feel with the machine.
But what does that even mean? My daily commute to work is over 60 miles round trip, clear across the heart of the city, so I spend a great deal of time sitting in traffic. Mixing that with a manual transmission creates unspeakable misery for most, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I put nearly 25,000 miles per year on my daily driver mostly commuting and running errands, and yet I still find myself making up reasons to go out and drive on top of all that.
So when given the opportunity to drive for the sake of driving in one of my dream cars, my ears will always perk up. Increase that to 5 of my dream cars and you’ll find me at the hospital, preparing to sell any organ I can to fund such an adventure. Fortunately I never had to relieve myself of a kidney, as Katie discovered (again) this exact event at Auto Vault, all for under $1000. Well under $1000.
Without much deliberation, we signed up online for a 6 hour Fantasy Drive with one driver and one passenger. Two weeks later we found ourselves at Auto Vault’s facility in Eagan, Minnesota signing waiver forms and insurance agreements. Seeing as it was the middle of October, we were participating in the second-to-last Fantasy Drive of the year, and I was nervous about the weather. The gods of Minnesota weather must have been smiling down on us though, because on this particular day we were enjoying clear blue skies and a high of 65 degrees.
After registering in the lobby, we were ushered into the club’s lounge area where we waited to get started with the other people in our group. Soon after, Mischa Redmond, the company’s founder, joined us for a brief welcome and discussion of logistics. Mischa would be our lead driver, guiding us along in his Porsche Cayman GT4. His Cayman used to be one of the cars in the Fantasy Drive, but he stopped allowing others to drive it since it’s a manual transmission and apparently inexperienced participants had been really rough on his clutch. Can’t say I’m terribly surprised.
The logistics conversation was brief, but straight to the point. Following a “don’t be dumb” policy, the rules can be summarized as such:
- Leave your handheld radios on at all times
- Never pass the lead car. If you pass the lead car your day will end immediately.
- Nothing is protecting you from getting a ticket. Don’t be reckless.
- It’s okay to pass each other, but the Audi R8 (the only white car, and thus the easiest to see) needs to always be at the back.
Overall, we were impressed with the setup of the rules – they kept everyone in check without being overly restrictive. It was clear to us that Mischa is a genuine car guy, and just wants to give everyone the experience of a lifetime in a responsible, safe way.
With the boring stuff out of the way, we went outside to get acquainted with the cars. After getting outside we were told that the list of cars at the bottom of our lanyards corresponded to the order of cars we would be driving. The first on my list was the RS7.