Last week, the Montway team participated in Xtreme Xperience’s event at Blackhawk Farms Raceway, north of Rockford on the Wisconsin border. It was a bit of a haul getting out there from our suburban Chicago offices, but well worth trip.
I had the pleasure of driving the Nissan GT-R and Corvette C7 Stingray. I choose the GT-R ahead of time primarily because it’s the fastest of the cars they offer 0-60 and I was most interested in acceleration. The GT-R is also no slouch taking corners and generally came out on top for various lap time records on notable tracks like the Nurburgring & Top Gear Track.
This was my first racetrack experience and I didn’t exactly know what to expect. Xtreme Xperience has two pace cars on the track and offer a ride-along option before you get behind the wheel, which was well worth the $45. I was able to get a sense of what it was all about before my precious 3 laps behind the wheel, but I was also a little more scared than I had been originally after fully appreciating how fast they take the turns. (The Camaro pace car also doesn’t ride quite as good as the GT-R.)
Going into the experience, I didn’t really know what to expect. While I originally was looking for the fastest acceleration, I walked away being most-impressed with the breaking ability of these cars, followed by their ability to take a corner at high speeds without missing a beat. The acceleration is a lot of fun too. All the cars can seemingly break as fast as needed and I felt like we were only using half the capability of the cars. Taking turns at high speed is a little tricky to avoid sniping out or flying off the track but I was always able to break fast enough to take the turns without squealing the tires too much. I did manage to take full advantage of the acceleration, flooring both cars at every opportunity and going as fast as possible down the straight. My top speed in the GT-R was 116 (looking at the video afterwards) but the track is relatively short and doesn’t provide enough time to get to top speed.
We’re already planning the next trip to the Joliet Autobahn Country Club Track in June and I hope to try a Ferrari next time and maybe the GT-R again. If you do such an experience, ride in the pace car if that’s an option. Plan to drive the cheapest car they offer first for practice if it’s your first time as there is certainly a learning curve. Definitely plan for at least two rides, you don’t want to get there and just drive once. Also pick a car based primarily on tight handling in the corners rather than something like top speed which will be irrelevant with minimal straights. Most importantly, enjoy the ride and don’t stress about whether you’re doing everything perfectly. Just follow the line of the pace car, enjoy the short time you have and try not to listen to the instructor too much unless he’s saying “BREAK BREAK BREAK!”
Enjoy the ride!