Who else has a partner that is hard to buy for? My hubby Tom’s big thing is tech and gadgets, but he buys everything that he wants on the day it launches. So choosing a present for him is tricky.
Supercar Drive Day
Last Christmas, I plumped for a Supercar Drive Day. It was a bit risky, I admit, but Tom had mentioned that he should drive a Ferrari at least once in his life. So I just went for it. He did remark that he’s now reached an age where people only buy him ‘experiences’, but he thought he would enjoy it. Phew.
Fast cars are not really my thing. At a previous job, we had a team away day at Bedford Autodrome – a whole day driving about eight ridiculously fast cars and I spent most of it petrified. I even spun off in the F4 car! I’m glad I’ve experienced it, something to tick off the old bucket list, but I don’t feel the need to do it again. This time, I was excited to be a supporter and spectator to someone who would actually enjoy the experience and be good at it.
We dropped the boy off with the grandparents for a sleepover (woop woop, freedom), and headed to Carver Barracks in Saffron Walden for the Supercar Drive Day.
A few nerves, on both sides
I had started to worry that Tom was going to crash and kill himself. Doubts crept in. Why had I bought my husband a ‘death present?’ I was a bit on edge, even though I know he is actually a very safe driver. We stopped briefly in Saffron Walden for lunch, which is a very pretty market town and worth a visit.
We’ve recently bought a BMW i3 which is electric. Gears and clutches are ancient history to us now, and Tom was a little concerned he’d stall in front of everyone. When we got there, his fears were unfounded as all the cars are automatic with paddle shifts.
Ferrari? Lamborghini? Aston Martin?
On arrival, you sign in, and are asked if you’d like to pay a £30 waiver. Apparently clipping a cone can cause £2,000 of damage, eek! Most of the cars are worth upwards of £100,000 so I’d say it’s definitely worthwhile paying the waiver. All drivers then head to a quick briefing. Tom said this is mostly a sales pitch for experience upgrades such as extra laps and driving the ‘super’ supercars. Is a regular Ferrari not ‘super’ enough?
Tom chose his three cars – Ferrari, Lamborghini and BMW i8 – and completed two laps in each. You drive with an instructor and they give you very precise directions around the track. Tom said three laps would be ideal, to really get into it and feel confident with the techniques.
It actually looked like a lot of fun, and it’s not every day you get to gaze at a line-up of supercars such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley and Aston Martin. Even though I’m not a big car fan, it was an impressive sight. In the flesh, these cars are pretty stunning.
Other options include a simulation race, and a demo drive with a pro. This is super fast and there’s plenty of sideways drifting action to get your adrenaline pumping.
Unfortunately Tom had to drive in the rain which was a shame but he still enjoyed it, and said he would be up for doing it again. I was hoping it would get the ‘need for speed’ out of his system, and I think it has a bit. He said the Ferrari was pretty good but the Lamborghini felt heavy and was tough to brake. The BMW i8 was his favourite as it’s such a smooth ride.
Date with a difference
Usually on date days, we end up browsing the shops, which is always nice but not particularly special. If you or your partner enjoy fast cars, this is a good option for a date with a difference. The Three Car Supercar Drive Day package at Carver Baracks costs £179 (including weekend booking fee and waiver) so it’s not cheap, but it was definitely memorable and it felt good to do something out of the ordinary for a change.
Please check out our YouTube video for all the action.
What unique dates have you been on?
I’d love to know what unique date days you’ve been on. Please share in the comments below and inspire us.