There are more vacations than ever designed to attract specific groups of people. For petrol heads, depending on your budget, you could drive a dune buggy in Dubai or drive a high performance car around the Nürburgring in Germany. Let’s take a closer look at what’s available, how to get there and where to stay.
Why not get a group of friends together and spend a day driving a NASCAR stock car at one of 13 of the country’s major speedways?
A number of options are available, such as Ride Along, which includes three laps at racing speed, driven by a professional; a Three Hour Experience driving a NASCAR car for a five minute timed racing session; and the Premium Drive 8 Minute Timed Racing Session – this three hour driving experience includes either one eight minute timed session or multiple, back-to-back sessions.
The three-hour sessions feature a driver’s meeting with the Crew Chief, instruction and training, followed by timed laps on the speedway. In-car radio enables an instructor to offer advice as you drive, but there are no restrictions; overtaking is allowed and you drive yourself. At the end of the session you receive a souvenir racing license and a graduate certificate.
As all the speedways hold major events there will be plenty of nearby hotels/motels to choose from, not to mention eateries and entertainment.
Drive the Nürburgring, Germany
One of the most challenging and by far the longest racetrack in the world, the 12.944 mile Nördschleife or North Loop is used as a test track by numerous motor manufacturers. Home of the German Formula 1 Grand Prix until 1976, the F1 record of 6min 58.6secs, is held by Niki Lauda in a Ferrari 312T.
The Nördschleife is open for tourist drives throughout the year. Tickets are available for one, four, nine and 25 laps of the circuit, each limited to 15 minutes. There are campsites within minutes of the circuit and a number of nearby hotels.
If you are flying into Germany with Delta Air Lines, the nearest international airports are Frankfurt-Main (100 miles), Frankfurt-Hahn (80 miles) or Cologne-Bonn (60 miles). All the major car rental companies have desks at these airports, but if you are looking for a seriously rapid vehicle for your laps of the Nürburgring, you are advised to carry out a search of specialist car rentals at the circuit. Cars range from Renault Clio RS200s and Porsche GT3 991 PDKs to full race Lotus Exige S V6s
While in Germany, why not pay a visit to BMW, VW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi or Porsche? All offer factory-tours and have their own museums.
Road trip from Pikes Peak to Bonneville Salt Flats
Start by taking a drive up the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb course, around ten miles west of Colorado Springs. The 12.42-mile, 156 turn course winds its way to an elevation of 14,110ft, a height gain of 4,720ft.
There is a good cross section of accommodations to be had in Colorado Springs, along with a choice of restaurants and shopping.
Pikes Peak to the Bonneville Salt Flats is a drive of around 720 miles through Wyoming and into Utah. Take a couple of days for the trip and book yourself into a motel at one of the small towns along the I80 between Cheyenne and Salt Lake City. The nearest town to the salt flats is Wendover, a distance of around 87 miles; there are several accommodations to choose from, along with casinos and bars.
The only safe time to take to the salt is July. At all other times of the year there is a real risk of water on the surface, making driving hazardous. Make sure you sort out your visa to the states before attempting to enter as they are pretty strict.
Dune buggy driving in Dubai
For something a little different, search online for dune buggies in Dubai and book yourself a flight; Flights.com has some great prices.
Each rental company in Dubai offers its own packages; they typically last for between three and four hours and involve fully equipped buggies featuring roll cages, helmets, bucket seats, seat belts, night lights, fire extinguisher and back-up vehicle to minimize mechanical delays. Convoys are usually headed by a qualified safari driver. Minimum driver age is 18 and a valid international manual-driving license is required.
Whether you decide to stay close to home or take a trip to the other side of the world, there is sure to be a vacation to suit your pocket. What are you waiting for? Get online and start planning your next petrol head inspired trip.
09 Oct 2014