If it were as simple as just saying so, we’d happily become professional drivers. But, things don’t really work that way. And since we also don’t want to put ourselves and others at risk by taking to mad dashes on the freeways, we have to get our automotive adrenaline pumping elsewhere. Thankfully, actual pro racers aren’t the only ones with access to the world’s premier tracks and vehicles.
If you’re willing to take the trip and buy the ticket, you too can get behind the wheel of a dirt-devouring rally car, F1 racer, or even an absurdly expensive and fast supercar and take them for a spin. You just have to know where to look. Lucky for you, we’ve done the legwork and put together this collection of 15 of the best driving experiences around the world. So find one that strikes your fancy and go live out your dream of tearing up the track.
AMG Driving Academy
AMG is responsible for making some truly impressive street machines. And they’ve been doing it for decades. So, naturally, you can count on them to know exactly how to drive said machines. Which also means, thanks to their driving academy, that they can pass on those lessons to you. With a full complement of classes that range from a basic introductory performance driving course up to a comprehensive PRO+ program, the AMG driving academy will teach you everything you need to know about taming their creations.
Location: Atlanta, California, Texas, and Connecticut
Aston Martin Millbrook Performance Course
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to drive like James Bond, then where better to do it than at the Millbrook Proving Grounds behind the wheel of an Aston Martin? Located in Bedford, UK, this one-day course – which takes place year-round – will give you the chance to learn all about vehicle dynamics via tutorials with a personal driving expert. Get one-on-one training on how to handle hill routes, straight line power delivery, proper braking technique, and more. Just remember that you need to be of legal age and have a clean driving record to partake.
Location: Bedford, England
BMW Performance Driving School
With locations around the world (including an option to drive on Germany’s famous Nurburgring race track), BMW’s Performance Driving Schools are the best place to learn to master everything from the brand’s M-class to their X range of SUVs. They even offer Motorrad classes if your tastes are more in the two-wheeled realm. And they don’t just teach track-friendly tricks either – their range of courses cover everyday driving skills too, from panic braking to driving on wet pavement. And, if you especially love any of the vehicles you drive, you can also look into their vehicle delivery program.
California Superbike School
Prior to 1976, advanced rider training for high-end road bikes did not exist. So, beginning with one-on-one courses, Keith Code – founder of the California Superbike School – filled that void. Now, this is one of the most comprehensive motorcycle schools around. They run their courses in various locations throughout the United States, provide bikes for non-owners or allow people to bring their own, and offer four levels of classes in increasing difficulties for everyone from bare-bones beginners to the most seasoned of professionals.
Location: Alabama, California, Kentucky, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington
Vehicle: Provided or Bring Your Own
Dirtfish Rally School
Nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain range outside of Seattle, Washington, the Dirtfish Rally School has been teaching the sport of rally racing to a full range of students since 2010. The school occupies an expansive 300 acres of beautiful scenery which has been used to film car shows such as Top Gear and Roadkill, as well as production features for Ken Block, Travis Pastrana, Forza, and more. If you appreciate off-road rally racing and want to learn to do it yourself, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better school in the United States at which to learn.
Location: Snoqualmie, WA
EXR Exotics Racing
Besides their locations in California, Arizona, Utah, and one of the top tourist destinations in the world – Las Vegas, Nevada – Exotics Racing has at least 19 other reasons to visit – of which all are vehicles provided for your racing pleasure. And most of them are supercars of the highest caliber. If you’ve ever wanted to get behind the wheel of a Ferrari 488 GTB, a Lamborghini Aventador, or an Aston Martin Vantage GT, you can do it all at the EXR facility. They even offer multiple car packages if you want to bang out a few of your bucket-list drives in a single trip.
Location: Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah
Ford Performance Racing School
Ford’s Performance Racing School runs out of the Utah Motorsports Campus, a state-of-the-art driving facility for everything from off-road vehicles to go-karts. Participants in their program will get to drive on their 4.5-mile, 40-50-foot-wide, 23-turn circuit – which is actually the longest in North America. What’s even better is that the vehicles offered consist of both a souped-up Mustang GT and a fully race-prepared BOSS 302FRS (which boasts 444 horsepower and produces 380 foot-pounds of torque). Coincidentally, this is also the facility at which Ford offers their Raptor Performance School – where new owners of their Raptor F150 truck can partake in intense off-road courses.
While the cost of entry includes owning your own Jeep (that also must be outfitted with a list of required equipment, such as a winch, a CB radio, skid plates, and more), this is arguably the most fun you can have in a 4×4 without putting yourself at serious risk. With locations all around the world, these courses will show every Jeep owner exactly how badass their vehicles actually are by putting them through the ringer over rocky, muddy, or even flooded terrain. And, if you’re willing to pay the boosted price, you can even take your entire family along on the adventure.
Vehicle: Bring Your Own
Land Rover Experience Driving School
Boasting 35 locations in over 19 countries, Land Rover’s Driving Centers will take you into just about every possible terrain you could imagine. The classes range from just an hour to full-day outings, are led by experienced expert coaches, and are even offered in multi-driver formats – so you can bring a couple friends along with you. They also offer select special driving days for those Land Rover owners that want to test the limits of their personal vehicles.
Vehicle: Provided or Bring Your Own
Master Maserati Driving Courses
This performance driving school can be found at the Varano De’Melegari Track in Parma, Italy – just an hour away from the brand’s headquarters in Modena. Here, drivers can get behind the wheel of some of the greatest luxury sports vehicles ever made and, under the tutelage of seasoned professionals, get a real track experience on one of the same courses that champions drive on. And it doesn’t stop there; they also offer situational training – such as how to deal with a hydroplaning, off-road handling, and more.
Price: Upon Request
Location: Parma, Italy
NASCAR Racing Experience
NASCAR is, inarguably, one of the most popular sports in the United States. A part of that is because it’s inherently tied to our country’s heritage (it was birthed from prohibition-era bootleggers running from the police). But it’s also one of the most exhilarating experiences to watch in person. So, you can imagine how breathtaking it must be to get behind the wheel of one of the sport’s unbelievably fast cars. Or you could actually do it and find out for sure.
Nurburgring Driving Experience
If you’ve never heard of the Nurburgring, you’re probably not that familiar with cars in general – because it is, without exaggeration, the automotive industry’s most important and illustrious racetrack. It is simultaneously a place where the greatest drivers in the world come to compete and a proving ground at which automotive brands test out their latest and greatest vehicles. It’s also a track you can drive upon yourself, if you want to make the trek to Germany. And you don’t need to be an professional racer either, as they offer classes for all experience levels.
Location: Nurburg, Germany
Porsche Driving Experience
If you own a Porsche already or you’ve always wanted one, there’s no better way to learn how to drive one than through the brand themselves. These legendary sports cars are plenty of fun to take out on the road, but you can’t really push them to their limits unless you hit the track – and that’s exactly what you can do at any of Porsche’s worldwide Experience Centers. They also offer drives for all experience levels and your choice of vehicle from a Macan S to a 911 Turbo. You can even take courses which illustrate the differences between some of the brand’s most favored cars.
Skip Barber Racing Academy
There’s a reason that so many emerging professional racers have taken classes through the Skip Barber Racing Academy (and have often come back for refreshers). Simply put, they offer some of the absolute best technical race training available. Truly, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better open-to-the-public offering at any price, let alone something as affordable as some of the classes this famous school offers. Sure, it might seem a little pricier than some of the other less comprehensive experiences on our list – but if you’re looking for some real pedal-to-the-metal track training, it’s worth it.
Vore Adrenaline Compound
While many petrol heads are perfectly fine with tearing around a smooth asphalt track, there are those of us who like our driving experiences a little bit grittier. If you don’t mind getting some dirt in your teeth and having your brains rattled around like they’re inside a cement mixer, then there’s the Vore Adrenaline Compound. Outside of Las Vegas, this company’s comprehensive driving experience offerings are perfect for the off-road junkie. And they offer everything from short desert tours to 2-3 day outings. They even have a series of drift courses, if that’s more your speed.
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada