You can have your two front teeth – I’ll take the Lamborghini!
Oh yeah, that’s the one I want!
Periodically, my father-in-law will send me Italian Groupon deals that he thinks we may be interested in acquiring. Through this site, we have found good deals on restaurants and hotels. Just like Groupon or Living Social at home – some of the deals are interesting, others are not. Some are phenomenal values – others are just cleverly packaged marketing schemes. Recently, he sent me one item that had the hairs on the back of my neck standing tall. The opportunity to take a Ferrari and/or Lamborghini out on a race track and really “open’er up!”
I wouldn’t call myself a true “car enthusiast” – but I am definitely a guy who loves his vehicles. I’ve had the pleasure of owning a few very fast cars and I have relished driving them. My favorite toy (Harley Davidson VRSC Nightrod Special) is sitting under cover at my parent’s house back at home. I love fine automobiles and have a propensity toward German vehicles. However, when it comes to the worlds best super-cars… nothing can rival an Italian made vehicle. Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati are the “dream cars” for every little boy (both here in Italy and around the world). So it was no wonder that the little boy that still lives inside me was doing cartwheels over this particular Groupon deal. Jen agreed that this was as good a gift as any – an early Christmas present for the bigger of her two kids.
Julia stands with me before I get all set to drive the Lamborghini
Jen and Julia in front of the racetrack
So on a recent cold December morning, we set our GPS toward the small town of Chignolo Po – home to the Circuito Internazionale Le Colline. I had elected to purchase a package of 6 laps. I chose this particular racetrack because of its substantial length and perilous turns. I also chose the option to divide my 6 laps between two different Ferrari’s and a Lamborghini that this race track held in it’s fleet. Having raced my own cars on a track before – I was beyond the limit of human excitement to do it all over again in some of the world’s most exclusive and powerful vehicles.
If you have been reading about our road trips over this past year, you’ll know that we are almost always late getting out the door. Not this time! I had a 10:30 start time and nothing was going to make me late. Except traffic. A heavy, inordinate amount of traffic. The traffic devoured the extra hour I had budgeted for myself. Then we arrived in the wrong city – the address on the website was wrong and we had driven roughly 30 minutes out of the way. After almost 2.5 hours in the car, we finally crossed the gates of Le Colline and I rushed up before my spot was lost. It did take some convincing on my part for them to let me race (they had already moved on to the next grouping of participants). Fortunately for me, my skills in Italian arguing and hand gestures have come a long way over the past year.
I was beyond giddy as I crossed under this banner
The young lady organizing the races asked me if I wanted to drive a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. I told her that I wanted to drive both, but she told me I could only choose one. I thought the miscommunication was due to my tardiness and so I opted for the Lamborghini. Six laps in that monster would suit me just fine. But then she told me that the first two laps would be in a Porsche Cayenne. I protested, but quickly relented as she gave me a gesture like, “I did you a favor to squeeze you in.” So I walked over to the Porsche SUV. Then I realized I wouldn’t be alone. And I wouldn’t be driving! I was shown into the back seat, alongside two other participants. One of the track employees was behind the wheel. Jen later told me that my face was so obviously full of disappointment and frustration that she thought I might hurt someone or myself.
We set out in the Cayenne – there I am in the backseat!
That’s us “burning” up the racetrack… I’m still in the backseat
I remained optimistic that the two laps in the back seat were just a tutorial – an opportunity to learn the turns and nuances of the track. I sat in the backseat, bored and un-entertained while the other passengers proclaimed their excitement about being on a racetrack alongside Ferraris and a Lamborghini. Meanwhile, I just wanted to drive them! When we pulled back to the start, it became obvious that the first two of six laps had just expired in the back of a not-so-special SUV. OK, well… I still had four laps left and the confidence that I could convince the lady to divide them among both a Ferrari and a Lamborghini.
By the time we pulled back to the start it was obvious I had just burned two of my six laps
Almost immediately after I got back as a passenger, my name was called to be a driver. I marched toward the Lamborghini and eagerly got behind the wheel. After a brief explanation in a mixture of Italian and English – I put the pedal to the floor and took off. I quickly got a feel for the track and even passed one of the Ferraris. My instructor gave me an extra boost of confidence in my driving ability with many, “bravos” and “perfectos.”
I’m about to drive a dream car…
Here I go…
And there I GO!
If my face before these two laps was full of frustration and disappointment, I’m sure that my face after those two laps was the polar opposite – I couldn’t hide the smile that stretched from ear to ear. That is, until I asked about the car for my final two laps. The young lady explained that I didn’t get any more laps. My companion (Jen) could opt to take the final two laps in the Porsche SUV as I had done previously, or I could opt to take that same ride again. I couldn’t believe it. We did not give up without a fight and made her pull out the paperwork to show us the fine print. Sure enough, it was there. Six laps somehow watered down to two laps. Three super cars had somehow boiled down to one. To add insult to injury, she presented me with a “diploma” before I had the chance to storm away.
Getting out of the car, you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face
Julia gives her favorite GT driver a big hug
I “proudly” display my diploma
Here it is… my diploma!
I wasn’t the only one that got to race fast cars
In cases like this – there’s nothing more you can do than laugh. So that’s exactly what we did. Plus, I was still happy that I actually got to race a Lamborghini – something that I had always dreamed of doing. So what if it was took four hours in the car to race for roughly 6 minutes?! I had 6 minutes of fun and exhilaration and we got a funny story. One thing is for sure – I’ll be certain to read the fine print of any future Groupon deals.