Our day in Las Vegas began as any day in Las Vegas should: with the consumption of an embarrassing amount of food at an all-you-can-eat buffet. We needed fuel for our afternoon at Las Vegas International Speedway. As a Christmas present, Dave had booked me five laps around the track in an Audi R8 V10 at ExoticsRacing. He gets me.
I'd gotten behind the wheel of a couple of exotic cars before; a Lamborghini Gallardo and a Ferrari 458 Spider, but only for 2 laps each on a tiny course in the parking lot at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. ExoticsRacing is a permanent installation, with their own dedicated track, and a huge selection of supercars.
After the ten-minute safety briefing, I was fitted with a racing helmet and herded into the back seat of a black Porsche Cayenne for two "Discovery Laps". As an aside, if you've ever poo-pooed the base model Cayenne and questioned its credentials as a real Porsche, take one around a track and then we'll talk. It was terrifying and exhilarating. It's a beast. Our driver imparted some words of wisdom, and deposited us back at the corral.
While I waited for my driving coach, I got some quality time in and around the R8. What a beauty. The lines, the proportions, the carbon fiber side blades, and the view of the Lamborghini-based V10 engine; this is a special car. I think it's particularly stunning in white.
Here's what happened next (skip the first half where I'm really, really slow):
Then, as a bonus, I got to ride shotgun with a professional drift racer in a Corvette Z06 for 2 laps. At first, I was unable to produce sound, but I managed to get out some unhinged, maniacal laughter toward the end. This is this guy's job.
The whole experience left me with a lingering deep desire for power and speed. So, when we got back into our 185hp, 3.9 Liter British beast, there was a bit of a comedown. It was the first time I even thought about our much faster and more powerful supercharged 340hp LR4 back at home.
That night, we stayed in at the Bellagio and saw Cirque du Soleil's "O". It was one of the most astonishing displays of human athleticism and grace that I've ever seen. The engineering of the stage, with a variable-depth pool, and an incredibly complex system of gantries above, was mind-boggling. If it's not impressive enough that the whole production is possible at all, they do it twice nightly!
I couldn't possibly describe the spectacle adequately, so here's the trailer: