Exotics Racing’s supercar driving experience puts the pedal to the floor in the name of some of the city’s top thrills
By Jack Houston
Out on the highway after a handful of spins around Exotics Racing’s seven-turn, 1.2-mile track, you won’t feel like Brad Keselowski. Keselowski’s grandmother, maybe. But certainly not the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, who averages speeds of 130 mph and more.
Such is life after a visit to Exotics Racing, a supercar driving experience located near Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the far northeast side of town. Regular driving simply won’t be the same anymore. So let it be said to all the lead foots out there, all the adrenaline junkies and thrill-seekers and bucket-listers looking to spice up a Las Vegas vacation: it’s time to turn the key and get going.
Founded by French racecar driver Romain Thievin and business partner David Perisset, Exotics Racing brings together some of the most prized sports cars in the world, all available for a minimum two laps to a maximum of—well, how much time and money you got? There are Ferraris (F430 F1, 430 Scuderia and 458 Italia), Lamborghinis (Gallardo LP550, Superleggera LP570 and the prized Aventador LP700, pictured) and Porsches (Cayman R and 997 Turbo S), as well as the McLaren MP4-12C, Audi R8 V10, Aston Martin Vantage S, Nissan GT-R and Mercedes SLS AMG.
You can mix and match cars—imagine 65 laps in 13 separate vehicles!—or ride along with a professional driver in a Corvette Z06. To get up to those Keselowski-type speeds, you’ll at least want to consider letting a pro take the wheel, but there’s nothing quite like strapping in yourself, guiding the car along the track and letting loose along a 1,800-foot straightaway.
Despite the high speeds, sharp turns and the fact that anyone from novice to pro can get behind the wheel—with some considerations made for the extraordinarily tall, or hefty—safety is still a primary concern. Pro drivers sit shotgun for all rides and may grab the wheel to guide the car through tricky turns or around slower-moving vehicles. A technical briefing beforehand, covering proper driving position, steering, car specs, racing lines, braking and acceleration, makes sure all drivers are on the same page.
“We provide the safest experience without preventing people from having fun,” Thievin told Las Vegas Magazine last year. “(But) we don’t want to have too many limits because otherwise people wouldn’t like the experience.”
Packages range from the two-lap Corvette ride-along (economically priced at $99) to standard five-lap packages beginning at $199. Novice drivers, in particular, may want to add additional laps to their journey for a reduced fee; it takes several laps to get a feel for the car and the track, and there’s nothing worse than pulling off the track as you realize you’ve just gotten the hang of it—and that there’s nowhere else to go.
To relive the Exotics Racing experience, DVDs of individual rides can be purchased (complete with commentary between driver and pro driver, thanks to headsets built into the helmets) and a whole range of apparel is available upon return to Exotics Racing headquarters.
“(Exotics is about) pushing the envelope on fun, seizing opportunities that don’t come by every day and pleasing our impulses with no excuses,” Thievin said.
Kiko Miyasato contributed to this story.