The Most Spectacular Customer Driving Experiences Out There
These courses will render daily driving dull as ditchwater even for supercar ownersby Tudor Rus, on
Every true petrolhead wants to explore the depths of his or her favorite car brand’s ethos, the core values, and direction that allowed it to build incredible machines. In our book, there’s no better way of interacting with a car manufacturer (other than buying its products, of course) than meeting the people behind it and getting a taste of what the cars can actually do outside the public road.
That’s why we selected a handful of enticing automaker-provided customer driving experiences bound to create those ever-lasting memories we all long for.
Whether it’s track action that tickles your senses or you happen to crave an open-air drive through the Alps in a convertible, then you’ve come to the right place. So, get on reading and choose your poison.
Maserati is one of those carmakers that know how to spoil a customer. The Italian carmaker offers an assortment of driving experiences, but the cream of the crop is Master Maserati – a program that has been rolling for two decades.
Besides getting to drive every Maserati model in the lineup, there’s this icing on the cake: those enrolled in the program can hop on behind the wheel of a Maserati GranTurismo GT4 race car and experience hot laps with three-time GT1 world champion Andrea Bertolini on the Varano de’ Melegari circuit near Parma, in the heart of the Italian countryside.
Moreover, know that the brand also sets up driving experiences based on a particular model and winter events that highlight every Maserati’s handling abilities on snow and ice. Prices range from €650 to €6,300.
The Porsche Experience program is split into four standalone categories: Travel Experience, Track Experience, Ice Experience, and Racing Experience.
Perhaps the most spectacular choice, the Porsche Ice Experience takes place at the carmaker’s driving center in Levi, Finland, just north of the Arctic Circle. You can get a glimpse of it in the video below:
In any case, if drifting 911s and 718 Caymans on ice in temperatures of -30 degrees Celsius is not your thing (how can it not be, really?) then you can opt for the Travel Experience which will take you to places with stunning scenery and superb driving roads. After all, you’ll be grabbing the wheel of a Porsche, so there’s no point in taking the straight road here.
Or maybe you prefer pushing your limits on the track, which is also something Porsche can arrange on Istanbul’s Intercity Park circuit. Prices range from €1,200 to €8,690.
LAMBORGHINI Accademia and Esperienza LAMBORGHINI
Lamborghini likes to keep things simple with two driving experience-oriented programs. Those are called Esperienza Lamborghini and Lamborghini Accademia.
The former is a tailor-made experience that starts at the Lamborghini factory in Sant’Agata Bolognese. Those enrolled get to visit the Huracán and Aventador production lines and the exquisite Collezione Lamborghini boutique.
For the second part of the program, participants are invited to the Autodromo di Imola race track where they’re provided with Lamborghini Accademia cars and get schooled by Lamborghini Squadra Corse instructors and race drivers.
Besides the driving part, Lamborghini Accademia events up the ante with even more exclusive experiences – night driving, ice and snow driving (as part of the Lamborghini Winter Accademia program), five-star accommodation on the Riviera Romagnola, and courses on the Misano World Circuit in Rimini. Prices range from €350 to €6,900.
MERCEDES-BENZ Driving Events
Mercedes-Benz offers various experiences behind the wheel that touch on sporty driving, travel events, and guided tours.
Apart from the summer and winter training programs that involve both on-road and off-road action, the Germans can the so-called Fascination Mercedes-Benz experience. This comes packed as either a course or a tour, with highlights like driving the Mercedes-AMG S 63 cabriolet, but also getting dirty inside the iconic G-Class on muddy trails.
What we’d take in the blink of an eye, however, is the Classic Car Travel bundle, which lets you drive a historic Mercedes-Benz SL in select settings like the Côte d’Azur, Rhône basin, Tuscany (Siena and San Gimignano), or Lake Maggiore. Or, you could just as well retrace the famed Mille Miglia race in a classic Mercedes-Benz. Prices range from €140 to €1,995.
BMW Driving Experience
BMW runs its driving programs through the BMW Driving Experience umbrella. What does that mean? In essence, the Driving Experience is tailored to cover a wide range of courses and experiences for all sorts of needs and desires.
For example, through the BMW Academy Experience, you can take part in safety training courses, drift training with BMW M models, or workshops on alternative powertrains where you’ll get up close and personal with the BMW i3 and i8.
In case you’re looking for something a tad more extreme, then you’d be better off with one (or all) of the following: M Race Track Experience (including laps on the Nürburgring Nordschleife), Winter Experience, Tour Experience, and Professional Driver Experience. Prices range from €115 to €5,490. Also, note that the Winter Experience is a massive hit among customers and all courses are currently fully booked.
Pure MCLAREN and MCLAREN Lifestyle
Pure McLaren is the carmaker’s official track driving program. We like how McLaren cuts right to the chase and offers customers the opportunity to drive its supercars where they’re supposed to be driven: on the race track.
The courses are split into several workshops designed to suit every driver’s skills, including Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Multiple. The latter is suited for all customers regardless of the level of skill they’ve amassed but requires them to bring their own McLaren.
The pièce de la résistance of McLaren’s driving experiences remains the Lifestyle Calendar. Revolving around VIP hospitality, scenic routes driven behind the wheel of a supercar and exclusive packages, the program’s schedule includes packs such as the McLaren Drive and F1 Grand Prix experience. Prices range between £1,095 and £16,995 (€1,260/$1,420 to €19,560/$22,000).