Fast cars are a lot of fun, but whenever you take them out on regular roads there’s only so much you can do with them. I like driving fast, but I also like keeping my driving license. That’s why I was so excited when Lexus of Austin gave me the opportunity to spend the day at the Circuit of the America’s (COTA) F1 track with some of their sports cars. COTA doesn’t open up their track for regular drivers often, but every year they open it up for a charity event called Ride. Drive. Give. in support of the Center for Child Protection in Austin, one of the main charities Lexus of Austin donates to.
I’ve been wanting to get on this track for quite a while, so when I heard Lexus of Austin was going set me up with one of their 467 HP, RCF’s for the day and a personal coach to help me learn the track I felt like I was 10 years old again walking out to a Christmas tree full of presents. I can honestly say that I probably had a grin on my face for the month leading up to it. My friends over at Samsung also gave me some of their 360 cameras to capture the event and create a VR experience you have to check out at the end of the post.
The day started off with the general safety brief. To make the track more enjoyable, they split everyone up into two groups to cut down on how many cars were on the track at once. This worked out pretty well. When we came across a car that was slower than us on the track the system is that you wait for a straightaway, get close to them, and then wait for them to wave you by for the pass. It’s a good system that keeps everyone safe.
My primary car for the day was the Lexus RCF, but I also drove the Porsche 911 Turbo S, and took a ride in the Lexus LFA. In addition to the driving, the other great part about the event was checking out some of the other cars at the event like the McLaren P1, Ferrari La Ferrari, Porsche 918 Spyder and even the first customer delivered McLaren 570S GT4. If I wasn’t having to almost run from car to make my track times, I probably could have spent all day just checking out all the cars that were brought out.
When it came time to hit the track, my coach was awesome. The COTA F1 track has some really complex turns, and there’s no way I could have picked up the nuances that quickly without him. After a couple laps to get a feel for the course, he let me loose. There’s really no comparing driving a car on the road to a nice track, especially one so meticulously clean as this one. It’s just pure driving nirvana.
After my second time out on the track, I was starting to feel like I knew what I was doing…then I jumped in with Ojas in his Lexus LFA and realized just how much I still had to learn. This is also around the point that I learned that helmets aren’t just meant to protect you during crashes. If you watch the 360 video below, you can see my head bouncing off the B Pillar inside the car on some of the especially hard turns.
Coming into the event I thought that this day would satiate my need to drive fast cars for at least a little while, but it’s only made the addiction that much worse. After the day was over, I had depleted every ounce of adrenaline I had, but I just couldn’t stop smiling.
Here are the two 360 videos. First up is my ride in the Lexus LFA. Once the video is playing, if you’re on a phone, move your phone around, and it will change what you’re looking at. On a computer, you can click and drag with your mouse.
SECOND VIDEO COMING SOON
The next video is of the Lexus RCF and included Speedometer, RPM’s and some other interesting real time overlays.