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2 Nov

“The Ultimate Driving Experience” – Memorable or Forgetable?

60-Minute Ultimate Driving Experience Trip Report: Extreme Excitement or Ultimate Disappointment?

Ferrari 360The old adage, “if it is too good to be true, it usually is” certainly applied to the 60-Minute Ferrari Super Car Driving Experience offered by Groupon.   Looking for the perfect gift for my husband I quickly hit the purchase button.   Unfortunately, the entire experience left me a little flat.

The offer was from The Motorsport Lab at the New Hampshire Speedway.   As a smart consumer I read the fine print on the coupon offer, however; that was not enough for this deal.   Driving the car was an amazing experience for my husband, but it was for less than 5 minutes in the parking lot (Agility asphalt course), and not on the speedway and it certainly was not 60 minutes of excitement.

Booking the experience was challenging to begin with as there was no way to reach a “live” person to respond to questions.  Upon our arrival at the Speedway we were faced with signing a 10+-page release form and strongly encouraged to purchase multiple types additional insurance. (Did we want to insure the tires from possible damage, the paint from being chipped, for the penalty fee for exceeding the set speed limit? etc.) What started out as a $99 deal could have grown significantly if we bought into the add-on intimidation.   The real shocker was the gratuity structure (technically up to your discretion), based on the $499 value above the Groupon cost.   I have never seen added charges rise so quickly in such a short period of time.  There is a difference between setting expectations and questionable business practices.

Overall, my husband enjoyed the driving experience and felt even 5 minutes behind the wheel of a Ferrari was worth every penny.  The high performance Ferrari’s are not your everyday street cars, and the “Driving Sherpa’s” were excellent instructors, adding to the entire experience.   This is primarily a group experience – think REALLY high-end driver’s ed.  After careful instructions, each member of the group has a turn at taking the wheel for 3 laps around the course (speed is controlled because of the space).   To be clear, you drive on an ‘agility’ course in the parking lot, not on the speedway.  In speaking with other participants, they agreed the experience was “terrific” and would recommend it to others. This is a situation of going forward “eyes wide open”, and researching the company before purchasing.

We ultimately spoke with Groupon about the implied experience vs the actual one, and they assured us they want customer’s to be satisfied and encourage consumers to provide feedback.   Here are some tips we took away from this experience:

  1. Read the fine print and website thoroughly
  2. Read reviews provided from online sources
  3. Set expectations; consider all costs which may be additional
  4. Report any issues immediately to place of purchase

If you are looking for a unique experience and the opportunity to drive a high performance automobile, then go for it, but be prepared, read the forms online and make all your buying decisions before you head to the racetrack.
Photo Credit:  Flickr-kenjonbro

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