So I'm not quite ready to buy a F458, but when I got an offer to drive one at the track, it was difficult to pass up :) (Ferrari has a program for its owners that allows you to learn to drive their latest car at speed on a nice racetrack).
Ok, so it wasn't cheap, but considering that changing tires is around $2000, and changing ceramic brakes is in the $10k range (not sure how many track days they last), once you add that you can drive a car you won't have to buy and can't otherwise rent for track use, the cost becomes more acceptable :)
They use a track in French speaking Canada @ Mt Tremblant which is one of the best ski resorts on the east coast during the winter (although they all suck compared to the Rockies and Sierras). I liked the track layout, it was challenging.
arriving at the hotel
lineup wasn't too bad :)
The 2 day advanced course had a mix of:
skid pad in a Ferrari California, where you were actually supposed to do full powerslides through an figure 8 at the end (I was one of the least sucky students, but still not good at it, because it's hard).
autocross around a section of track to see who got the best lap time (boy was that hard, especially since I've never been that good at Auto-X).
driving around the north and sourth sides of the track first.
Of course, we then got to drive the whole track, although we were always "tethered" in a lead follow pattern where the instructor would only drive as fast as he thought you should (based on whether you looked safe or not, and then it felt capped around 2:02 per lap kind of regardless).
A few pictures of the F458:
the LCD rendered speedo is cute
Ok, let's go, let's lap this baby :)
We used the Ferrari California for skid pad training:
Ferrari California in the simulated rain, ironic :)
inside is nice too
They had one F598, which was used by the intructors to give laps, and slow us down (unfortunately, it is heavier and slower in turns, so I did feel like it was slowing me when I was behind it in the 458 :)
598 interior isn't too shaby
The fun part for me was that all the instructors spoke French, so half the time they would instruct me in French, half the time in English depending on what we felt like.
So, the slightly disappointing part was that as I got better the 2nd day, my lap times did not improve since I was effectively held back in some places by the instructor driving in front of me (although in other places they were clearly still a bit faster, since they were obviously better than me).
We also had to drive with the traction control in street mode, which wasn't as aggressive in cutting me off as I was fearing it would be, but I'm sure it slowed us down a bit compared to race mode which I use on my car at the track (but eh, I was willing to live with that tradeoff for being able to drive those nice cars on a real racetrack).
So even if I don't feel I got to improve much on the second day due to being held back, it was still a hell of a lot of fun :)
part of the track tours
and everyone is a winner :)
They had an in car video setup, but it failed miserably, so they lost all of it. Lame...
Thankfully, trusting person that I am, I took a few of the laps with my GoPro (yes, the camera isn't straight, I was trying not to block the main camera that never worked).
Longish session following an instructor as close as I could :) (yes, the camera was sideways, it had to be where I put it)
Another session where I was following a slower F598 (it has a lot more horsepower, but has a hard time putting that power down and has a harder time turning and breaking with its extra 1000lbs of weight). Of course, the instructor was still faster than me, but I had to brake to early in places because of him :)
One of the last sessions, which were getting shorter by then, and where I hopefully did better :)