My late father loved Las Vegas, but he was wary of it, too. If we were out cruising down The Strip on some warm night, he’d always marvel at the neon canyons and endless motion around himself – saying: “Look around you, son. Remember, they didn’t build all this on people winning.”
He was right, as usual. You can still go to Las Vegas and gamble. You might win. You’ll probably lose. You might come away with a pile of cash to enjoy. You’ll probably leave cleaned out and wondering why anyone would call losing unlimited greenbacks a “vacation.”
With that in mind, more visitors to the fashionable hunk of Nevada desert opt for unique experiences instead of sitting in a smoky casino and throwing money at a dealer. That’s why you see a huge stage production or major singing star appearing nightly at the big hotels and casinos. This slow wander away from gambling gave rise to more international destination restaurants and elite stores.
Seeing the tourist trend of selecting first person entertainment over potential financial gain, savvy entrepreneurs looked in and around Las Vegas for spaces to install facilities capable of providing once in a lifetime experiences for fun seekers.
The two must-see stops for gearheads are Dream Racing and Exotics Racing, each based around the grounds of Las Vegas International Speedway. Both experiences offer speed lovers a chance to get behind the wheel of a supercar for multiple laps on a professional track with a racing coach.
Car lovers simply can’t go wrong with either choice. Both venues offer happy and dedicated staff, supreme machines and comparable prices. It all depends what time of elite driving experience is desired.
Exotics Racing offers more of a track day experience. Owners of elite automobiles can pay to take their cars around many professional tracks around the country. Drivers have to attend safety briefings and abide by track rules, but they’re otherwise renting out the right to do hot laps on a legit racing circuit.
You can't bring your own car to Exotics. Why would you want to when you can choose from the selection of available lap cars, including multiple Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches, a Mercedes Benz SLA AMG, an Audi R8 and a Nissan GTR?
At Exotics, visitors get briefed on the ins and outs of the track, don a loaned safety helmet and either do five of their own laps in a supercar of their choosing – or they can ride along to get a vicarious high speed experience.
For prices starting around $200 and heading north from there, visitors can take five laps around a challenging, but not dangerous circuit. A driving coach helps the eager would-be racer get around – while the track’s cleverly measured straightaway lets the driver floor a supercar’s accelerator without flirting with its max speed. In all cases, the cars in question are consumer issue and comfortable.
Dream Racing offers more of a race experience. Once signed up, visitors don a fire suit, matching balaclava and helmet. They’re introduced to the Dream Racing track via computer simulator before heading out to take control of a racing spec Ferrari. The track cars are fitted with racing cages and five point harnesses – making the ride less comfortable but more racing realistic.
A coach on the passenger side guides the driver on the proper racing line and throttle control, while the track layout lets the driver experience full throttle in a Ferrari race car for at least a couple seconds.
In both cases, the experiences are over all too quickly – but that’s the price we pay for speed related entertainment. Still, this amateur racer would trade an hour at Dream Racing or Exotics Racing over 60 minutes in a casino any and every day.