Places to drive a Formula 1 like a pro
For anyone who loves speed, the thrill of getting behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car is unparalleled. The noise of the engines, the car playing with aerodynamics, all that happens in seconds – driving an F1 car is something no driver wants to miss.
But is it possible to drive an F1 without becoming an F1 driver? Well yes. Thanks to some special organizers, Formula 1 Grand Prix racing car driving experience with real F1 cars can be gained on some of the most famous circuits in the world.
Read more about driving experiences in F1
The cars available have actually raced in F1, which means they are speed monsters. But the good part is that there are no requirements for driving skills like that of an F1 racer.
All drivers receive proper training and guidance from experts and are driven through several laps to familiarize themselves with the circuit in high-speed cars before taking the driver’s seat.
When it comes to circuits, there are several locations to choose from, including those that currently host F1 races. A perfect opportunity for racing car enthusiasts to clinch pole position as Lewis Hamilton has done countless times in his career.
Drive a 3.0-litre, 550hp naturally aspirated Judd V-8 Jaguar F1 2000 R1 around the famous Dubai Autodrome circuit. The car was used by the Jaguar team in the 2000 season. The other option is to drive a 2002 F1 Arrows.
Both cars are guaranteed to give drivers the pure adrenaline rush experienced by real F1 drivers. What’s more, the Dubai Autodrome is itself an engineering marvel. Driving inside the Autodrome is therefore an experience that has no equivalent anywhere in the world.
The cars are fine-tuned to give drivers the exact feel of the thrill like that of F1 drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Eddie Irvine, who drove these machines.
The experience begins with a safety briefing on the circuit and driving techniques. On the track, a familiarization round of 2 laps is organized in a BMW 330i. This is followed by 10 minutes of driving in a Radical Sportscar for an even more perfect driving experience.
Finally comes the real experience of 4 laps in F1 Jaguar 2000 or F1 Arrows 2002, which is followed by a debriefing and a certificate presentation.
The full experience costs around 2,720 USD.
And just in case the F1 cars weren’t enough, the Autodrome offers several other driving experiences in powerful cars ranging from the BMW M5 to the Ferrari GT.
Head to the Bovingdon Aerodrome in Hertfordshire, England to drive a Jordan EJ12 Grand Prix car which was previously driven by Giancarlo Fisichella and Takuma Sato in the 2002 season.
The Grand Prix experience, as the program is known, comes through Track Days, which also feature Formula F1000 and Formula Renault cars for drivers eager to take to the asphalt.
But before getting their hands on F1 cars, drivers will need to go through a comprehensive briefing and training programme. This includes advice on how to properly apply throttle and braking in addition to safety tutorials.
The Track Days briefing would feel like real Formula 1 drivers who are briefed on everything from the mechanics of the car to the track conditions before every race.
After the briefing, there are 14 practice laps on the Memphis Drift Circuit, including four instructor-led demonstration laps. This is followed by further practice laps, including a 30-lap lap in the F1000 single-seater with a practice coach in a pilot car. Finally, there are 30 laps in the Jordan F1 around the Bomber B-17 circuit.
As for the car, the Jordan F1 is equipped with a 600 hp 10,500 rpm engine that delivers a top speed of around 161 km/h. The experience lasts about five hours and costs around 4,900 USD.
As well as the F1 experience, Track Days also offers supercar and truck driving experiences in the East Midlands.
Red Bull Ring, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and other European circuits
Puresport Racing School is located in Correzzana, Italy and offers one of the best F1 driving experiences in the world as part of its VIP programme.
Instead of just one, enthusiasts can choose one of three Puresport racing venues on offer – Monza and Mugello in Italy and Red bull ring in Austria. Each of these circuits are among the world’s most famous race tracks in history.
Prior to the actual track day driving experience, riders can enjoy the utmost comfort and luxury offered by Puresport. These include a stay in a five-star hotel near the racecourse and a helicopter transfer from the hotel to the circuit. There’s also an open bar and light lunch, a driving simulator (at Monza Racecourse) and sparkling wine at the end of the experience. It also includes technical clothing and specialized technicians to complete the feeling of driving pleasure of an F1 car.
Then, as part of the Formula 1 Advanced Experience, drivers can first complete 10 laps in Formula 3 F302 and then 10 in Formula 3 F308. Then comes the 10 laps in Formula 1 Arrows.
Other cars to choose from include the Ferrari GT Experience and the Ferrari Evolution Experience, the latter offering all of Ferrari’s best supercars to drive.
But that’s not all. Those wishing to drive a single-seater F1 racing car with Puresport can also opt for one of the famous European circuits in Italy in addition to Hockenheimring in Germany and Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium – the longest F1 circuit – for a unforgettable experience.
On average, an F1 experience at one of the tracks would cost around 4160 USD.
Autodromo Internacional do Algarve and other circuits in Europe
There are four types of F1 driving experiences offered by LRS Formula – Bronze, Silver, Gold and Full Experience. Depending on the type of experience, riders can choose from five acclaimed circuits in Europe. These include the Grand Prix de Magny-Cours, the Club de Magny-Cours and Dijon-Prenois in France, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain and Autodromo Internacional do Algarve (Circuit of Portimão) in Portugal.
The Bronze program allows drivers to take the wheel of a Formula Renault 2.0 equipped with a 2.0-litre 200hp engine with a Tatuus chassis and a 6-speed sequential gearbox. Once an understanding of the machine has been developed, drivers can then take control of either the F1 Prost AP04 or the F1 Benetton B198, both fitted with 650hp engines.
The Prost was raced by the Prost Grand Prix F1 team which finished 4th in the Belgian GP in Spain in 2001. It originally had a Ferrari engine which was replaced by a Cosworth V8 or Peugeot V10 engine for racing experiments. unique driving. The Benetton was used in the 1998 F1 season and is powered by a Cosworth 3.5L V8 engine instead of the original Mecachrome V10.
The Silver program offers two more powerful machines – the 700hp Jaguar R2 and the Prost V10. According to LRS Formula, the chassis, engines and livery of both cars are in their original configurations.
The best experience is of course the Gold, in which a current generation F1 car, the legendary 2011 Williams, can be driven. The car was of the type driven by F1 big names Rubens Barrichello and Valtteri Bottas. It is fitted with the latest Cosworth F1 engine which delivers over 900 bhp at 18,000 rpm. The Gold experience costs around $6,560, the highest of the three experiences.
The Full Experience features a combination of cars including a three-seater F1.
Private tour in the south of France
F1 fans know that the Circuit de Monaco in Monaco is one of the most beautiful circuits in the world. It is indeed spectacular not only because part of it runs parallel to the harbor where the luxury yachts are moored, but also because it is essentially a street circuit, which means the road is meant to daily use for people.
Ultimate Driving Tours offers a unique experience for those visiting Monaco for the Grand Prix race. In a private circuit in the south of France, racing fans can drive old F1 cars before the start of the Monaco Grand Prix.
The cars come from the Prost team in the 2002 season and are powered by a 650 hp Cosworth V8 engine. The cars are powerful, beautiful and really fast.
The full experience lasts for a full day during which drivers can complete 16 laps in an F4 car and six laps in an F1 car. A guided tour of the facility and circuit, including two observation towers, is also undertaken.
Throughout the day, they receive professional advice and an award ceremony is also organized.
(Main and featured images: Ultimate Driving Tours)