World Class Driving Festival

Hey, Duane here! By mid-2007, six cars filled my garages. Thus, there would be no purchases in 2008 beyond the deposit given on the Fisker Karma However, . . .

2008 World Class Driving Festival

As summer 2008 transitioned to September, local news highlighted an intriguing weekend event only days away. Announced as the inaugural World Class Driving Festival sponsored by Motor Trend Magazine, it offered driving experiences in the finest exotic supercars.

Located only 2 ½ hours away, the host site was the West Baden Springs Hotel in southern Indiana, once known as the eighth wonder of the world. Excited, I quickly reached out to a friend, reserved a driving position at the festival, and booked a room at the host hotel. 36-hours later, we headed to southern Indiana.

This spectacular hotel opened the previous year after an incredible transformation. Our room overlooked the front driveway where 30 exotic supercars waited to be driven. Perfect!

2008 World Class Driving Festival group photo
2008 World Class Driving Festival

30 Exotic Supercars

Valued at $12 million, the fleet of 30 supercars divided into 10 groups of three exotics each. The festival package offered the choice of driving any three groups. In addition, I purchased a fourth group, thus providing the experience of driving twelve different supercars over the long weekend.

A partial list of the 30 supercars included the Aston Martin DB9 Volante, Aston Martin Vantage, Audi R8, Bentley Continental GTC, Callaway C16, Corvette Z06, Dodge Viper SRT10, Ferrari 599 GTB, Ferrari 430 Scuderia, Ferrari F430 Spider, Ford GT, Lamborghini Murcielago, Lamborghini Gallardo, Maserati Quattroporte, Mercedes SLR McLaren, Mercedes SL65 AMG, Nissan GTR, Porsche 911 GT3, Porsche 911 Turbo Cabrio, Spyker C8 Roadster, and many others.

Totally overwhelmed, I was woefully unprepared to choose my four supercar groups. After all, until 36 hours beforehand, I never even considered the possibility of driving an exotic, let alone 12 of them.

2008 World Class Driving Festival Lamborghini Gallardo
Lamborghini Gallardo at 2008 World Class Driving Festival

Total Sensory Overload

My first exotic drive group of the weekend was total sensory overload. It wasn’t until driving the third group that I reached a level of comfort piloting each supercar. My friend rode shotgun throughout the weekend.

Each supercar group followed a pace-setting leader through winding back country roads. Furthermore, driving speeds were surprisingly aggressive. Drivers switched between exotics in each group providing about 25 minutes behind the wheel of each supercar.

2008 World Class Driving Festival SLR McLaren
SLR McLaren at 2008 World Class Driving Festival

The 2008 World Class Driving Festival included two cocktail receptions and a fine dining banquet. They also chauffeured participants via Rolls Royce Phantom to the nearby casino at the French Lick Resort.

In addition, a private test-drive of the $2-million-dollar Bugatti Veyron was auctioned for charity, but I lacked several thousand dollars needed to participate in that bidding. Thus, I felt like the poor man among wealthy elite.

The World Class Driving Festival was truly memorable. Prior to 2008, I never even sat in an exotic car, yet by Sunday of that unforgettable weekend, I’d driven 12 supercars. Even today, I smile every time I think about the event.

2009 World Class Driving Event

Now hooked on the supercar experience, I participated in their smaller event with five exotics in 2009, this time in Minnesota. Driven were the Lamborghini Gallardo LP-560, Alfa Romeo 8C, Ferrari F430, Maserati GranTurismo, and Callaway C16.

2009 World Class Driving Event group photo 2009 World Class Driving Event on backroads
2009 World Class Driving Event

2010 World Class Driving Event

Then in 2010, I joined again driving five supercars back in Indiana. Driven were the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, Ferrari F430, Ferrari F599, Bentley Continental GT Supersports, and Lotus Evora.

2010 World Class Driving Event group photo

2010 World Class Driving Event on backroads
2010 World Class Driving Event

But never was another extravagant gathering held like the Motor Trend sponsored 2008 World Class Driving Festival. Thus, it was literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Now Here’s a Tip!

Never look at cars online after an evening out socializing with friends. Next Sunday, see what I purchased by mistake in January 2009. Thanks, and always drive with allure!

2 thoughts on “World Class Driving Festival”

    1. Interesting analogy…lol. The one change I would make for myself would be better education on each of the exotic cars present. I knew of each car but didn’t know enough about each to effectively choose which to drive.

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