Pedal to the Metal

Luxury driving experience puts racing fans behind the wheel of the car of their dreams

Houston luxury driving experience puts racing fans behind the wheel

Lamborghini Superleggera
The Lamborghini Superleggera is one of five different luxury cars you can drive with Fittipaldi Exotic Driving. Photo courtesy of Fittipaldi Exotic Driving
Porsche race car from Fittipaldi Exotic Driving
This Porsche race car is available for "race rides" from Fittipaldi Exotic Driving, and you might even be driven by Christian Fittipaldi himself. Photo by Alex Bentley
Lamborghini Superleggera
Porsche race car from Fittipaldi Exotic Driving

Christian Fittipaldi, champion race car driver and co-owner of Fittipaldi Exotic Driving, knows only one speed: Fast. So if you find yourself sitting next to him and going over 100 miles per hour at Texas Motor Speedway, it's best to hold on for dear life.

That's what I found out the hard — and best — way during the media preview of the new luxury driving experience, which recently launched in Fort Worth and is available one weekend a month at MSR Houston. Fittipaldi and co-owner/CEO Bill Scott started the hands-on business as a way to make cars normally only attainable by the 1 percent available to the rest of the world.

They'll bring the cars of your dreams to the track and offer those willing to pay the relatively affordable price a chance to take six laps around the infield track. For anywhere from $269 to $419, depending on the car, you can get behind the wheel of a Ferrari F430 Scuderia, Lamborghini Superleggera LP570-4, Lamborghini Balboni Edition LP550-2, Nissan GT-R, or Porsche 911 Carrera S 991.

Drivers 18 and older are paired with an in-car driving instructor who's there to show you the ins and outs of paddle shifting, where to accelerate, where to brake, and how to get the most out of your experience. You also get an on-track video as part of the package to show off just how fast you can go.

I chose to drive the Lamborghini Superleggera, a V-10 monster that can go from 0-60 in just 3.4 seconds. If you ever get the chance to try out the experience, don't be like me. Trust your instincts and put the pedal to the metal.

These cars are designed to hug the road, meaning that any halfway competent driver should have no trouble controlling them. And with the instructor there to guide you every step of the way, it's next to impossible to forget where to brake and where to accelerate.

If you still think doing the driving is not for you, or if you're not actually old enough to drive, you can also choose to get a "race ride" in an actual Porsche race car for $99. Staff drivers — or, if you're really lucky, Fittipaldi himself — will give you the ride of your life.

Fittipaldi drove a few media members, myself included, at the preview, and to say it was an insane experience is putting it mildly. It wasn't so much the straightaways, in which he topped 110 miles per hour, as some of the curves where he truly showed off his skills. Barreling through curves at close to 90 miles per hour, he gleefully bounced my carefully protected head around.

The cars are also available one weekend a month at Driveway Austin as well as the Houston-area track in Angleton spreading the love to other racing enthusiasts around the Lone Star State. They're scheduled every month, except April, for the rest of 2016. If you choose to participate, don't be timid: You'll likely never have an opportunity like this again.