Go Back   Team-BHP > BHP Worldwide > The International Automotive Scene


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 21st May 2017, 12:09   #1
BHPian
 
jalajprakash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Delhi
Posts: 177
Thanked: 439 Times
Default Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!

After graduating from Michigan State University with my Mechanical Engineering Bachelors, I decided to use my leased 2015 Ford Fusion to travel from East Lansing to San Francisco and finally fly out of San Francisco. That trip will be covered in another post but on the route, we stopped in Las Vegas for a day.

Now I'm no gambling man, but the only thing I'll occasionally gamble with is cornering grip on the car I'm driving. And since I was in Las Vegas, I had to satisfy my gambling needs.

Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!-img_4594.jpg

  • Selection Process

When you're in Vegas, there are a couple different companies that offer Supercar drives on track and competition is what makes them a little cheaper in Las Vegas than the Supercar drives that happen across the rest of the US.

The 3 big names that came up during my research were,

- SpeedVegas -

Name:  3.jpg
Views: 7934
Size:  8.4 KB

Name:  4.jpg
Views: 7934
Size:  150.1 KB

They've been in the news recently because of a crash in which both the customer and the instructor died. Fingers were pointed towards the complexity of the course but later it was determined that the cause of the crash was the customer having a seizure. But other than that, they had the longest track. They offered 1 warm up lap* + 5 laps + 1 cool down lap as their most basic package.

- Dream Racing - Another great company, which has quite a wide collection of supercars, as well as some legitimate race cars on offer. Their most basic package includes, training on simulator + 5 laps + 1 cool down lap.

Name:  5.jpg
Views: 7909
Size:  6.0 KB

Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!-6.jpg

- Exotics Racing - This is 3rd biggest name in the game but I had to make a quick decision and didn't really look into this one much. But if you're planning ahead, do keep this company into consideration.

When comparing SpeedVegas and Dream Racing, I thought to myself, do I want an actual warm up lap to get acquainted with the track or do I want some laps on a simulator? Reality vs Virtual? Well, I've played enough games so this time it had to be real.

  • What car to drive?

SpeedVegas themselves have quite a few cars on offer including Ferrari 458, Ferrari 488, Lamborghini Huracan and the McLaren 570S among others but a balance between cost and gratification needed to be struck. Well guess what? The Porsche 911 GT3 is a dream car of mine, It might not be the fastest in a straight line but it sure makes my heart beat faster and it was priced decently towards the lower range at $59/lap. Porsche 911 GT3 booked.

Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!-1.jpg

Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!-2.jpg

  • Porsche 911 GT3 Quick Review?

Before I say anything let the moving pictures tell you a thousand words per 1/60th of a second. Haha.



The Porshuh nine eleven geetee three. People tell you to not meet your heros because you'll be disappointed, but let me tell you, my experience was quite the opposite.
  • Steering - The Porsche steering was a beautiful alcantara wrapped wheel. Even though the unit itself is electronic, there is no lack of feedback as you go around the turns. Truly, one of the best examples I have ever come across.
  • Engine - The engine in the first gen 991.1 911 GT3 that I drove is a 3.8L motor derived from the GT3 Cup car. It makes around 475hp near the top of it's rev range which is freakishly high 9,000 rpm. Even the GT3RS only revs to 8500rpm.
  • Gearbox - The 991.1 GT3 is only available with a PDK transmission but it was specially developed for the model with sequential manual gearboxes as inspiration which is a fact quite evident when you feel the punch in the gut as you shift gears near the redline. The gears are lightening quick and instantaneous. Now, something that I wasn't used to was that even in first gear, the car required 20% throttle to start moving which unlike any other automatic car that I've driven, which start moving as soon as you let go of the brake pedal. But damn, if you own a Porsche 911 GT3, you better not complain about that.
  • Handling - I pushed the car as hard as possible but the car still wouldn't budge from the line I put it on. The grip levels are tremendous and the aero, functional. The car is very linear and predictable when accelerating.
  • Braking - The brakes on the GT3 I drove were the steel brakes. From what I've learned during my YouTube PhD on cars, is that carbon ceramics are best for occasional street or highest echelon race use. But if a personal owner is looking to track their car frequently, the steel brakes actually serve the purpose and cost better. That being said, I have zero complaints since each time I hit the brakes, the car slowed down with zero drama. I don't think I really pushed the car to it's limits or even close to it. But they seem trustworthy.
  • Seating - Seating position for me was a little awkward being 6'3" since the car had the normal seats and not the full carbon buckets which allows one to sit lower inside the car. I wasn't able to pull the steering wheel close enough to the golden 90 deg arms and legs rule, because of which I had to use a lot of strength to turn the car quickly during the corners. Someone smaller would have a much easier time.
  • Sound - The car had a new Akrapovic exhaust installed on it the day before I came in for the drive, and boy was it sweet. The note emitted by the engine close to the redline is nothing less than a opera house symphony. But alas, the engine was also loud enough to drown out most instructions being given to me which led to me being unable to push the car very hard. I'm not really complaining though, this is one of the last N/A engines that will find home in the 911 since the rest of the range is already turbocharged to reduce emissions. Also, my ears were still ringing from the high pitched noise when I went to dinner 3 hours later haha. Might have to invest in some ear muffs if my car sounded like that full time.

  • SpeedVegas +/-

Now, as much fun as I had in the car, my experience could definitely be improved. I actually received an email from the CEO of SpeedVegas asking me about my experience with a promise that he would read the feedback and implement changes as necessary to improve the driver experience and this is some of the feedback I also provided to him.
  • If you noticed the (*) next to the number of laps that were offered by SpeedVegas, that is because when I looked over the experience online and when I booked the experience over the phone, I was told that when buying the 5 lap package, there would be an additional warmup lap to get acquainted with the track and an additional cooldown lap, aka 1 warmup lap + 5 laps of driving + 1 cooldown lap. I confirmed this with person who gave us instruction before we got on to the track as well as the instructor who was sitting next to me but after looking at the footage that was provided to me, I really only completed 6 total laps and the warmup lap was made part of my 5 laps, which made me sad because if I was told that is how it works, I would've gone as fast as possible for me starting lap 1. I wasn't counting laps because I was trying to enjoy my driving experience and even though, I still enjoyed it, knowing that I was allowed 1 less lap than what was promised to me detracts from my experience.
  • As I mentioned before, the Porsche 911 GT3 that I was driving had a new exhaust fitted to it the day before I came to drive it. It was pretty loud which sure adds to the experience but when driving the car on the track at full throttle, I could barely hear the instructor especially with a helmet on, because of which I became hesitant in my braking zones, I wasn't sure if he was asking me to keep going or to brake, and pretty much each lap, I let go of the throttle early so that I could hear where I should start braking. Not following the instructions being provided by the instructor is a very good way for the drive to be terminated without refund. If a microphone for the instructor and a headphone fitted inside the helmet could be provided, it would allow the for the driver to listen to the instructions clearly without taking away from the experience of driving a loud and fast car.
  • During lap 5 of my experience, around the beginning of the track, I caught up to the Audi R8 in front of me which was being driven very slowly, instead being allowed to pass as was told to us in the briefing, the instructor told me to just take it easy since the next lap is cool down. Now, going back to the first point, I was promised one warmup lap and then 5 laps taken at speed, I drove my first lap quite slowly to get to know the track, but then I was essentially only allowed 3 and a half laps at speed. I wouldn't be counting laps like this if it was 50 laps but when I'm allowed only 5 and paid $59 per lap, was assured before hand that there 1 warmup lap, 5 total laps and then 1 cool down lap, these small things do matter.
  • I was in Vegas for only a day and I made that clear over the phone when I was making a booking a day before. Since I was travelling from Park City, UT the same morning (6 to 7 hours away), I asked for the last time possible (5pm) so that I could comfortably travel to SpeedVegas. But at around 3:15 pm I received a call giving me an ultimatum that if I wasn't there by 4pm, I wouldn't be allowed on the track since there is a party of 100 people coming in at 4pm. Now I'm assuming that a party of 100 people wasn't booked and arranged starting at 3pm, then why not give your customers a heads up beforehand in the morning? Instead of allowing them 45 minutes to get to location on an ultimatum or forfeit the experience?

If I ever go back to Vegas, I'd like to try the Dream Racing experience in different car (also if I can convince my heart to abandon the 911 GT3, probably won't happen though ).

  • Track Pictures

Now for some pictures from my mom who was looking on from a paddock.

Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!-img_4567.jpg

Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!-img_4570.jpg

Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!-img_4576.jpg

Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!-img_4578.jpg

Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!-img_4579.jpg

Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!-img_4580.jpg

Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!-img_4581.jpg

Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!-img_4582.jpg

Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!-img_4583.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!-img_4568.jpg  


Last edited by jalajprakash : 22nd May 2017 at 16:13. Reason: Correcting image orientation
jalajprakash is offline   (29) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2017, 08:44   #2
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 47,521
Thanked: 87,622 Times
Default Re: Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Int'l Scene. Thanks for sharing!
GTO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2017, 13:01   #3
Team-BHP Support
 
Rehaan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 22,318
Thanked: 22,372 Times
Default Re: Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!

Awesome summary jalajprakash!

I think you need to go back and try the other 2 places in the name of research!

The pic of all the cars parked under the shed is absolutely drool-worthy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jalajprakash View Post
I was told that when buying the 5 lap package, there would be an additional warmup lap to get acquainted with the track and an additional cooldown lap, aka 1 warmup lap + 5 laps of driving + 1 cooldown lap.
This is a bummer, though I guess you were expecting just 5 laps anyway. It's good that they didn't force your first and last laps to be warm-up or cool down.

If I ever do one of these track experiences, my primary concern is seat time. However, most of these websites are rather unclear about the specifics - making me hesitant to choose...
Rehaan is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2017, 18:32   #4
Senior - BHPian
 
agambhandari's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Delhi,Ludhiana
Posts: 1,163
Thanked: 876 Times
Default Re: Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!

Looks like a dream drive! With such a great range to choose from. I was in Vegas 2 years back, but didn't have the time or the License :P

Definitely looking to go back one day to do this. And your choice of car is perfect, couldn't be more track focused.
agambhandari is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 24th May 2017, 06:53   #5
BHPian
 
jalajprakash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Delhi
Posts: 177
Thanked: 439 Times
Default Re: Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post

This is a bummer, though I guess you were expecting just 5 laps anyway. It's good that they didn't force your first and last laps to be warm-up or cool down.

If I ever do one of these track experiences, my primary concern is seat time. However, most of these websites are rather unclear about the specifics - making me hesitant to choose...
Thanks Rehaan!

The first and last lap were actually warm-up and cool down, I just cut them out of the video, since its just me slowly rolling on the track. Not too interesting.

The CEO of SpeedVegas actually did respond to my email as he promised and also promised to improve the experience based on my feedback. He invited me for a chat and some free track time next time I'm in Vegas (which unfortunately won't be anytime soon) but I was impressed by the personal touch from the CEO and open admission of when a genuine mistake was made.

But when I do visit Vegas next, I will be visiting Dream Racing for sure and can compare those to the free laps I'll redeem at SpeedVegas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by agambhandari View Post
Looks like a dream drive! With such a great range to choose from. I was in Vegas 2 years back, but didn't have the time or the License :P

Definitely looking to go back one day to do this. And your choice of car is perfect, couldn't be more track focused.
Definite recommendation for car enthusiasts when they go to Vegas. You can even buy discounted laps on Black Friday and other Holidays and redeem them whenever you're in Vegas.

Last edited by jalajprakash : 24th May 2017 at 06:54.
jalajprakash is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th May 2017, 08:26   #6
BHPian
 
Raghav_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Chennai
Posts: 96
Thanked: 69 Times
Default

Wow, Just amazing!! What a dream drive, that would've been.

One query: Is a United States driving license mandatory? Or do they accept International driving permit?


Edit: Just checked their website. It says "a valid driver's permit from the country of origin". This is definitely going on my to-do list when i go to Vegas.

Last edited by Raghav_K : 24th May 2017 at 08:30.
Raghav_K is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th May 2017, 18:23   #7
BHPian
 
thatfastdude19's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: JHANSI
Posts: 37
Thanked: 71 Times
Default Re: Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!

An experience to be jealous of.

Awesome! Hope you stuck to your racing lines. Huh?

Would have gone for the Godzilla instead as it too looked like a good value and to be honest in the GT-R Fanboys vs 911 Fanboys fight, I prefer to stand on the side of the former. It's just something about the Japanese beast that makes me love it.
thatfastdude19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th May 2017, 13:22   #8
BHPian
 
jalajprakash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Delhi
Posts: 177
Thanked: 439 Times
Default Re: Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thatfastdude19 View Post
An experience to be jealous of.

Awesome! Hope you stuck to your racing lines. Huh?

Would have gone for the Godzilla instead as it too looked like a good value and to be honest in the GT-R Fanboys vs 911 Fanboys fight, I prefer to stand on the side of the former. It's just something about the Japanese beast that makes me love it.
They have different colored cones for assisting the drivers in identifying the best braking zones and apexes, and the instructor guiding you also helps. I tried my best to follow the instructions and the braking zones but I just wasn't that used to the track. Next time, I'll do better for sure. The CEO has sent me a gift certificate for 5 free laps in a car of my choosing for the next time I visit Vegas.

The Nissan GTR is a car of the future with twin-turbos and all wheel drive and no doubt, does well on any track, but there is something almost romantic about a naturally aspirated Porsche-tuned flat six revving to 9,000 rpm in a rear engine, rear wheel drive configuration with that much revered PDK gearbox helping you conduct the mechanical symphony.
jalajprakash is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 25th May 2017, 18:29   #9
BHPian
 
guyfrmblr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Boston
Posts: 940
Thanked: 1,920 Times
Default Re: Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!

Nice thread jalajprakash! The rates looks very competitive. How much did you pay for the insurance? Was it covered in $59/lap?
guyfrmblr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th May 2017, 23:01   #10
BHPian
 
jalajprakash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Delhi
Posts: 177
Thanked: 439 Times
Default Re: Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at SpeedVegas!

Quote:
Originally Posted by guyfrmblr View Post
Nice thread jalajprakash! The rates looks very competitive. How much did you pay for the insurance? Was it covered in $59/lap?
Insurance is covered in the $59/lap. But I had the video package which is $79 extra. For a total of 59x5 + 79 = $374 + tax. The competitive rates are a result of local competition in Las Vegas from other companies offering similar experiences.

Last edited by jalajprakash : 26th May 2017 at 23:02.
jalajprakash is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid Bumblebee86 The International Automotive Scene 7 7th January 2015 11:31
porsche unveils updated 911 GT3 sidindica The International Automotive Scene 12 14th April 2014 08:28
Porsche 911 GT3-R! suhaas307 The International Automotive Scene 15 5th May 2011 19:18
Porsche 911 GT3 Hybrid | 2010 | Scorcher The International Automotive Scene 0 22nd March 2010 19:49
Porsche to revv up the 911 GT3. turbo_v12 The International Automotive Scene 2 1st March 2006 09:39


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 18:21.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks