Supercar Driving Experience Advice

Supercar Driving Experience Advice

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Discussion

TeeRev

Original Poster:

1,646 posts

152 months

Thursday 4th April
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My nephew has been kind enough to give me a buyagift three supercar driving experience for my birthday and I could do with a bit of advice and help in choosing a circuit and provider.

As I prefer a proper race track rather than a coned out car park or airfield I've narrowed down the circuit choice to Goodwood, Castle Coombe or Mallory Park with Anglesey as an outsider.

Goodwood is the easy choice as I live in Seaford which is only an hour east along the coast, I know the circuit as I've driven it before and have been to many Revivals and Members Meetings, I'm also a member of the GRRC so could combine it with a nice lunch for my wife and I at the Kennels.

Castle Coombe and Mallory Park are both about the same distance away and we would plan to spend two or three nights in a good hotel and combine the trip with some sightseeing and maybe a round of golf somewhere. I've not been to or driven either of them so I quite like the idea of trying somewhere different, advice on their suitability is needed though.

Anglesey is an outsider as it's a long drive from the South Coast and although I've never driven the circuit I have seen it as we used to organise a windsurfing event every year at Rhosneigr, which to be honest doesn't have much going for it, although I could probably catch up with a couple of old windsurfing mates for a beer or two.

Providers listed are Drive Me for Anglesey, Sixth Gear Experiences for Castle Coombe and Car Chase Heroes for Goodwood and Mallory Park. I know nothing about any of these so any feedback on them and the vehicles they offer would be appreciated.

brillomaster

1,275 posts

171 months

Friday 5th April
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anglesey is probably the best circuit of the 4, but its a flipping long way from anywhere, let alone the south coast. mallory park isnt really that good, its only got at best 5 corners.

personally, given you're there to sample the cars, i think you'd have move fun doing that on a circuit you're familiar with - so if you've driven goodwood before, i'd go for that.

but equally, id decide based on what cars each company had available, and personal experiences of the driving experiences... though, you'll have more chance of being able to drive fast if you look competent behind the wheel, which brings me back to going to a circuit you're already familiar with.

Freakuk

3,186 posts

152 months

Friday 5th April
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Given the choice Anglesey is by far the most entertaining circuit, but as you say it's a long way.

Mallory and CC are OK, not very challenging with only a few corners, you can get a fair lick on at CC though.

Steve H

5,362 posts

196 months

Sunday 7th April
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Anglesey would be my preferred option as the better circuit but if you spectate regularly at Goodwood and have never actually been on the track then that’s definitely the one to do.

TeeRev

Original Poster:

1,646 posts

152 months

Tuesday 9th April
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Thanks very much for the advice and thoughts chaps.

I've been doing a bit more research and it seems that the Car Chase Heroes day at Goodwood doesn't actually exist so that one's out, Mallory Park looks too small and narrow and it's in the Midlands so that's out as well, Anglesey looks great but it's a bloody long way and the possible dates don't work well for us so that's out as well.

Car Chase Heroes actually do one at Brands Hatch but I've driven Brands quite a few times over the years, did a Formula Ford course there way back in 1968, also did practice days and sprinted my Elan there for a few years after that More recently I've done BMW days there and I love the circuit but along with Goodwood, Thruxton and Silverstone it's been done and I fancy somewhere new.

Castle Coombe looks to be a decent track which I've never driven, it's quite near Bath and we like Bath, Sixth Gear Experiences seem well organised and the possible dates in August work for us so the plan is that we'll have a few nights in a nice hotel, do the supercar thing, have a day wandering round the city, have a couple of nice meals and maybe pop down to Bristol for a day to catch up with friends.

Rotary Potato

275 posts

97 months

Wednesday 10th April
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I would say the track is completely secondary to the attitude of the people running the day.

I've been on a couple of these things over the years, and some have been quite boring because the instructors only allow you to use half the rev range, and brake a country mile before a corner. Others have been great fun where the instructors are actually encouraging you to use all the performance available. It's for this reason I had more fun driving around some cones at Bicester Heritage than I did out on a proper track.

As for Mallory Park, I think it's an under rated circuit that I enjoy a lot. Easy to learn the basics - hard to master. Horses for courses though ... I could understand why some people aren't quite so keen on it.

Hifly130

105 posts

104 months

Wednesday 10th April
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I’ve done multiple experiences with MSV at Brands,Oulton and Bedford. So I can’t vouch for the tracks you want to drive.

However my wife got me an experience with car chase hero’s. My best advice is go in with low expectations and then you might be pleasantly surprised, as I did.
I drove the Ford GT40 ( apparently engine is real but the rest is a kit, E Type, an old Mini Cooper ( great fun), Mk1 escort ( Mazda running gear and engine), caterham and Lamborghini gallardo.

Some of the cars were quite tatty and worn. I didn’t drive it but the DB5 definitely didn’t look right so must have been a kit.

Saying that all the instructors let me push and use all of the revs eventually. Whether it helps or not I explained before we set off that I had done a fair bit of circuit driving before. I was pleasantly surprised. Think it’s up to the instructor and their impression of your initial skills.

Would go again as can’t see any cheaper way of having a go in something which otherwise would have no access to. They got a TVR and would love to have a go so might give that a go at some point.

It is hard sell and busy but if they give the public an easy chance to try something exotic then that can only be a good thing for the longevity of PistonHeads in this future of electric cars and LTN.

TrotCanterGallopCharge

423 posts

91 months

Thursday 11th April
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My 2p

1) As others have said, it depends on Organisers. Some let you really push the cars, others make you potter round. Read the reviews of people's experiences with them in this regard.

2) Book as early as possible, or you may find out the events date already booked. You may then wait a year, to find the experience you want has been altered/not offered any more, & for the alternatives, the price has gone right up, so you may need to find money to top up .......In my case I ended up losing the whole experience.

3) Be prepared to pay for extra insurance on the day, as the insurance offered as standard, may leave you liable for lots of damage/money in worst case. Think I paid about £30, nine years ago.

4) Castle Combe is a good track, lots of parking & with a good cafe if it rains. There is a very good youtube video by Driving Instructor at the track in an Audi A4, which shows each track area, & shows why 'Avon rise' bend leading to 'Quarry' corner has a lot of accidents.

5) Also read the reviews to see how long you may have to wait between drives if you go for multiple cars/drives. It can be anything from 30 minutes to
hours.

6) Check how many track laps you actually get (mine were all 3 laps), & if you get any car sighting lights beforehand. At Goodwood, the were 4 or 5 of us in an Alfa, with Instructor driving, but at Thruxton, we got 2 laps with me actually driving a Cayman with an Instructor.

b0rk

2,315 posts

147 months

Thursday 11th April
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If you do or have chosen Castle Combe check with Sixth Gear Experiences that the cafe is open on your event day.

The cafe changed operators at the beginning of last season and now isn’t open everyday, only for some (most) events. The food is good and reasonably priced for a circuit but only available morning until lunch and closes early afternoon. The previous operator did amazing breakfasts for the price but these have stopped.

It’s nice circuit and harder to drive fast than it appears, Avon Rise/Quarry catches many out as does Camp.

QBee

21,059 posts

145 months

Saturday 13th April
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TeeRev said:
Thanks very much for the advice and thoughts chaps.

I've been doing a bit more research and it seems that the Car Chase Heroes day at Goodwood doesn't actually exist so that one's out, Mallory Park looks too small and narrow and it's in the Midlands so that's out as well, Anglesey looks great but it's a bloody long way and the possible dates don't work well for us so that's out as well.

Car Chase Heroes actually do one at Brands Hatch but I've driven Brands quite a few times over the years, did a Formula Ford course there way back in 1968, also did practice days and sprinted my Elan there for a few years after that More recently I've done BMW days there and I love the circuit but along with Goodwood, Thruxton and Silverstone it's been done and I fancy somewhere new.

Castle Coombe looks to be a decent track which I've never driven, it's quite near Bath and we like Bath, Sixth Gear Experiences seem well organised and the possible dates in August work for us so the plan is that we'll have a few nights in a nice hotel, do the supercar thing, have a day wandering round the city, have a couple of nice meals and maybe pop down to Bristol for a day to catch up with friends.
Castle Combe is a good track, barriers are scarily close, but you get used to that.
If you do decide to go with a Car Chase Heroes day there and instructor Alun is on the day, tell him about your past experience racing and sprinting. He has a TVR himself, we've done track days together, and he is relaxed about letting people who know what they are doing drive the car to the limts of the track, the car and their ability. You'll like the TVR Tamora - 3.6 litre straight six, 360 bhp and about 1000 kg.

lost in espace

6,180 posts

208 months

Saturday 13th April
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I am doing a 3 car and high speed "lap" buyagift on Monday morning at probably the worst place just outside Hemel.

J4CKO

41,737 posts

201 months

Monday 15th April
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I wouldnt drive miles for a lap or two in a car with someone sat there doing their best to not let you use it as you wish, stay local, the track layout etc wont matter for the time you actually get in the car, unless its a very expensive one, Car Chase Heros are a low cost operator who work on having a high throughput.

I can understand why its a bloody big circus with lots of expensive, and often fragile assets being driven by a very varied selection of the public, you end up stuck behind a kid driving a bloody batmobile or someone who has never driven anything faster than a Polo in a Ferrari.

SAS Tom

3,420 posts

175 months

Monday 15th April
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I’d just go wherever is closest, it’s not really a day out in that you’ll probably be driving for less than 15 minutes total. If you’re driving more than one car you’ll be waiting hours most likely.

I’ve had 2 experiences with Car Chase heroes. The first was great with some good instructors. They had plenty to talk about and encouraged fast but safe driving. Ex racing drivers with plenty of good stories.

The second was crap, the instructors all seemed to be there because they had to rather than enjoying doing the job. They seemed focused on keeping you from driving quickly at any point.


AndrewO

655 posts

184 months

Monday 15th April
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I've done the Porsche Experience at Silverstone a few times, no complaints on that one. Once the instructors trust you you can push it a bit more. Its a good opportunity to drive the latest 911 and see what's changed, then slide them around on the low friction surfaces. Launch control on a damp day was f*quick.

As others have said, set your expectation low....could be like a Sunday drive

rawenghey

486 posts

22 months

Wednesday 24th April
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I've done a few of these and the Porsche Experience Centre was by far the best. The instructors push you to drive quickly, there's no shifting up at 5k in a car that'll rev to 8k. Lots of real world tests like swerving lanes then flooring the brakes, low friction surface stuff and so on. Even if you're not a Porker man, it's really well done. Lunch is spot on too

The others I've done were decent enough, but there is early shifting, early braking and a lot of hanging around between stints. You get very little time to let the instructor know that you know what you're doing before it's over. A few people on YouTube have posted onboard footage from I think it's Everyman driving experiences or something like that around Brands hatch. Absolutely dreadful. The cars (R8, 997 and F430) were knackered, the guy was forced to shift up at half way around the rev range and was pottering through Druids at about 30mph. He even go told off for booting it out of Graham Hill in the R8. Utter waste.

As above, they can be good, but do your research before booking.



Edited by rawenghey on Wednesday 24th April 11:06

Sim_Nugget

11 posts

100 months

Thursday 2nd May
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I recently did an Everyman experience at Brands Hatch. Awful waste of time and money. While I do appreciate it was a gift and the gesture was kind, it was a waste of my breath.

The cars were nothing short of shagged, all had dash warning lights on, services overdue or bulbs out. The Ferrari F430 even had its wing mirror held on with cable ties. I clocked one car whose front tyres were definitely on the legal markers. The interiors were absolutely filth, caked in dust and grime, the exteriors were chipped, dented and scratches to bits.

2 laps of the Indy circuit was a waste as it was no time to get to know the car, considering how small the track is and around a third of each lap is joining or entering the pits.

I booted the R8 and was told to go easy.

They constantly try to upsell you for photos, videos, insurance or different cars - very pressured and a real con.

Avoid.