Anyone who has been my lucky passenger when I’m driving knows I enjoy speed.
“Not so fast!”
“Aren’t you over the speed limit?”
“You’re doing 75 already”
These things that have often been said when I’m driving. I blame this entirely on my father, who also has a need for speed. When I was 16, and just got my learners license (you get these at 16 in South Africa, and can get your driver’s license only at 18), my dad started racing. As a result, enjoyment of anything fast is entirely his fault. So when Field-Trip-Lifestyle invited me to a race day at the Miami Homestead to drive a Ferrari my exact words were “OH MY GOSH DEFINITELY!”
Miami Exotic Auto Racing is based at the Miami Homestead Raceway. Upon approaching the racetrack, I had a swarm of butterflies in my stomach and adrenaline racing through my veins. I was super excited to be taking part in this, and completely terrified that I was going to be not only the slowest person on the track but also potentially completely freak out and crash a ridiculously expensive car! Pulling into the parking lot and getting out my car, I could already hear the sound of the cars racing around the track – man, what a thrill! I know very little about cars, but that sound is incredible.
I located Field Trip on the side of the track and they got me signed in and set up. I could opt for a green Lamborghini Gallardo, a yellow Ferrari F430, or an Audi R8. How often do you get to drive any of these? I was spoilt for choice and torn between the Lamborghini and the Ferrari. The Lamborghini looked beautiful, but you cannot pass up the chance to race a Ferrari. Ferrari F430 it was!
Bare with me as I explain about the Ferrari F430 in my very limited car knowledge. This car is incredible and is absolutely beautiful. While not the classic "red" Ferrari, the F430 at the track made me giddy immediately. With 490 hp and a power output of 114 hp/l and 465 Nm of torque, this beauty can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in four seconds flat. It's maximum speed is in excess of 315km/h. Now I'm not sure I reached that speed, but it was a pretty amazing feeling to be in a car of this power and class. The F430 also has a 4308 cc engine. I got all of this off the website by the way, I have very little idea about how of what this means, except that this is an exceptionally fast, incredible car!
Next, we watched a safety presentation where the guys explained our course and how to sit and use the wheel. We then got into another car, where they did a demo drive of the track for us. I’m not sure whether either of these calmed me or made me more nervous! Our safety guy was great and even took me on a second lap because I was so nervous about racing.
Then it was my turn! I was shaking like a leaf with mixed fear, adrenalin and excitement. Tony was my instructor and man did he rock! He was super calm and helpful. He gave me another talk when getting in the car and the second I took off I knew I was in good hands… and in an exceptionally good car.
Words cannot describe the feeling of putting your foot down and accelerating around a track in a Ferrari F430. The track at Miami Homestead seems completely chaotic to me. But then I think that would be the case for any newbie Ferrari racecar driver! The course is about 1.6 miles long, although I didn’t complete the full lap as other cars were doing hot laps. The entire course however has 11 turns and two long straights. And boy, are those long straights amazing! The various turns and chicanes is what made the course seem so crazy to me, as you obviously need to be careful with how you are handling the car around these. We were taught how to take these turns via their apexes and the cones they lay out on the track. The instructors do a fabulous job of guiding you through the course and helping out where need be as well – literally a lifesaver! They are also there to encourage you to make the most of the experience as well. Mine repeatedly told me to not be as timid on the straights and spurred me on to hit the accelerator all the way to the floor. Absolutely amazing!
Part of what made this ride completely thrilling is knowing that you are making split-second decisions at incredible high speeds. I have so much more respect for race car drivers now. I lost my concentration briefly as a Porsche came into my review mirror behind me, and I knocked out two cones almost immediately. My instructor encouraged me to go faster, and while I did put my foot down on that wonderful accelerator, part of me was fearful, because you are teetering very dangerously on that edge of being in control but loosing it in a matter of a split second with very severe consequences. It was terrifying but incredible all at the same time. I absolutely loved every second of this adventure. I got three laps around the track, and every time around I felt more confident. Tony was really great, because he helped me on the parts I was worried about, like one particular turn. He guided you the whole way by voice, and helped steer on corners where I couldn’t manage too well. He encouraged me to go faster but also indicated where I needed to start slowing down. Absolutely great instructor.
I would definitely go back to the Homestead track to take another couple laps around, maybe next time in the Lambo though! Such an exceptionally exciting and thrilling time!
Once again, thank you SO much to Field-Trip-Lifestyle for inviting me on this incredible experience.
The Traveling Ginger was a guest of Field-Trip Lifestyle.
My opinions are, as always, my own.
You can also read and watch my other adventure with them in Miami which was exploring the Everglades.