Two of the winners from our recent Supercar Drive Day competition have hit the road, sampling five exotic pieces of automotive erotica in Melbourne and Brisbane. The crew at Octane Supercar Events give everyday people the chance to get behind the wheel of exotic cars generally limited to wall posters in bedrooms.
Our first winner, Thomas De Nardis had this to say about his day driving through Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula:
On arrival to Octane’s holding garage we were presented with our fleet of Supercars that would be driven to the Portsea Pub and back.
Staring at the immaculate cars in the disbelief that you will actually be driving them (while enjoying a nice latte and muffin) was almost as exciting as driving them!
My first drive was in the R8, then the Lambo, DB9, F430 and it was all topped off with the Exige S.
After a massive drive swapping and changing cars every so often, we were presented with a gourmet lunch in Portsea. Here we swapped stories and boasted about how well we drive while trying to not let the guys running the show hear about how fast we were going (not that anyone was told to “slow down!” the whole day).
The drive back is even better than the drive out there as you are full of confidence in a $300k+ car and really getting the most from them.
Just how awesome these cars are to drive cannot be explained with one of Jeremy Clarkson’s metaphors. You need to steer them yourself!
The greatest enjoyment came from driving the Ferrari F430 around the Arthur’s Seat hill climb. Top down and the popping of a Ferrari engine through down shifts right behind you is something that cannot be explained in words.
I sincerely thank Car Advice for the prize as it is something I will remember forever and would not hesitate to pay the asking price to do again, and again, and again.
The second winner, Dion Knowles spent the day zipping around Brisbane and had this to say about the day:
Wow! I Had my drive day today in Brisbane. I’m still buzzing hours after it ended, so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all.
The car lineup was:-
Lamborghini Gallardo manual
Ferrari F430 Spider F1 paddleshift
Aston Martin Vantage V8 manual
Audi R8 manual
Lotus Exige S manual
The Lambo & Fezza were incredible. I think the Lambo was a little quicker and more impressive ultimately, but the Ferrari was so easy to drive fast and the sound once the exhaust valves opened up was intoxicating. I could see myself driving it into a tree though, such is the fascination of the massive yellow tacho, the paddle shift and the steering wheel manettino settings. I thought I’d just leave it in ‘auto’ and focus on staying on the road but that lasted about a minute. The car loves to rev and the pop and crackle on overrun mean it’s much better to use the paddles and keep it a gear or two lower than the auto would have you in. I drove the F430 over Mt Glorious on some pretty wet and slippery roads, yet it never gave me any moments of fear at all. It was comfortably light to steer and the cornering and braking were excellent. Noticeably lighter than cars like the Vantage and Gallardo. I could imagine a good driver would be able to wring it’s neck on the track and it would take it in it’s stride. Amazing car. Did I mention the sound it makes?!
The Gallardo was quite simply a brutal car. I can only imagine what the Murcielago is like to drive. The 500hp Gallardo might be the baby Lambo, but driving it was an ‘event’. The controls are heavy and the ergonomics are extreme, but once you let it have it’s head, it all makes sense. At low-middling revs, it’s actually a bit of a chore to drive. I wouldn’t want to drive one everyday. The Audi and Ferrari were much ‘lighter’ and easier to toodle around at 5/10th’s in. However, the Lambo looks outrageous, sounds incredible on song and carries the biggest stick. What’s not to like?
The Audi R8 was the easiest to drive by miles. Plenty of power and a lovely exhaust rumble, but just so easy to drive. The shape of the thing is gorgeous and easily the most modern of the group. It’s the car to jump in and feel at home in straight away. It’s wonderfully German in it’s design and function. Everything works and feels right. If you can drive a VW, the R8 will feel familiar straight away. For a supercar that you could comfortably drive every day, this is a no brainer.
The Vantage was a very cool car. It’s arguably the best shape of the group and the one that’s the least ostentatious. Whilst it looks nuggety and nimble, it is actually pretty heavy and ‘masculine’ to drive. It felt like a much larger car to drive than it was. The Vantage had a wonderful deep exhaust note and plenty of mid-range pulling power. The interior of the Vantage was probably the most cossetting. The Vantage would be a very easy car to consume highway miles in. All class.
The Lotus Exige was just mental. It’s tiny, bum-on-the-ground low, rough, fidgety, noisy and hot to drive. But the harder you pressed on, the better it went. The supercharged 1.8 Toyota motor sounded like a blender crushing ice behind your ears, but it kept the ‘big boys’ honest. I suspect on a track, it would give the heavier supercars a hiding. I’m 6′2″ and 100kg and I was a bit concerned I wouldn’t get into the Exige. It took a bit of contorting, but once inside, there was plenty of legroom and headroom and the view of the road was fine. As a weekend toy, I can see why they’re so addictive. I think I’d have to get the soft top Elise though. The convertible roof would make it feel a bit less claustrophobic.
I had an awesome day and it was very hard to get back into my Fiesta for the drive home afterwards. I’ve been reading about these supercars in magazines and on the web for years. Many thanks to CarAdvice for giving me the chance to experience them first hand. I’m very grateful for the experience.
Thanks also to the crew at Octane Supercar Events and my guides Libby and Tony. For anyone thinking about treating themselves or someone they know, do it. It’s extremely memorable.
Keep an eye out for many of the great competitions CarsAdvice has coming for you in 2010. In the mean time, head to the Octane Supercar Events website and see what other supercar experiences are on offer or check out the drive day review by our very own Paul Maric.