Friday, July 12, 2024

A Blast From the Past

We’re all about the nostalgia of the moment, and wow have we had some moments out there on the best racetracks of America!

Behind every one of these hair-raising, cheer-inducing moments was a great car. Cars that are no longer with us, for one reason or another, but still left their indelible mark on our brains and the brains of our fans alike. From purpose-built track cars that were amalgamations of a car and motorcycle, to a shrieking, nasty wail of a race-prepped Brit that didn’t always want to cooperate with the rigors of track duty, there are some true greats that passed through our orbit.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane and talk about some of the best.

McLaren 570s

Engine: 3.8L Twin Turbo V8 with Dry Sump Oiling System with 562 horsepowerDrivetrain: Mid-engined, Rear-wheel driveTop Speed: 204 MPH0-60: ~ 3.0 seconds¼ Mile: 10.7 seconds

Let’s just get something out of the way right up front: the McLaren 570s is one hell of a car.

After all, when your brand is associated with one of the longest running, and most successful Formula 1 teams in history, the road car better be incredible and well, it is. However, as perfect as this monster is out on the track at 10/10ths, it’s persistent reliability and parts availability issues kept the 570s off the track more than on it.

Since McLaren is a very small, boutique manufacturer that produces a handful of cars on an annual basis, they aren’t really built to support being run every single week on the track, nor are they ready to divert parts away from their factory racing efforts to people like us. In the end, we still got to experience this thing on more than one occasion and it always left our hearts skipping and our ears ringing.

Gosh, we sure miss it.

Ferrari 458 Italia

Engine: Naturally aspirated 4.5L V8 with 562 horsepowerDrivetrain: Mid-engined, Rear-wheel driveTop Speed: 202 MPH0-60: ~ 3.4 seconds¼ Mile: ~ 10.9 seconds

Although the Ferrari 458 Italia hasn’t been in production since 2015, there are few modern cars that can A) keep up with this thing on a track and B) provide the raw, racecar experience our instructors and our fans love.

The reason why this beast kicks so much tail out on the track comes down to its insane power delivery courtesy of a naturally aspirated V8. Sure, turbos are awesome and all, but there is nothing like a Ferrari V8 shrieking away at 9,000 RPM. Yes, you read that right, the 458 makes its maximum power at a heady 9,000 RPM! Combine this incredible engine with a transmission that slams into gears with the authority of a Formula 1 car and an ultra-balanced chassis that encourages pushing every apex and you have the ultimate Italian stallion.

Yes, we’ve replaced the 458 with the better-performing 488 but if we’re honest, the 458 Italia just had a bit more personality and charisma.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Engine: AMG Sourced Twin Turbo V8 with 503 horsepower Drivetrain: Front-engined, Rear-wheel driveTop Speed: 195 MPH0-60: ~ 3.4 seconds¼ Mile: ~ 11.4 seconds

Even with a powerplant plucked straight from the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage is all British.

There’s just something about the way the Vantage rocketed from corner to corner, bellowing from its exhaust like some sort of spitting monster that made it awesome. Unlike some of the other faves, the Vantage enjoyed a propensity for four-wheel drifts courtesy of its old-school front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. Plus, the V8 Vantage is easily one of the best-looking vehicles we’ve ever had in our fleet.

Full of charisma, panache, and class, the V8 Vantage occupied a part in the hearts of our staff that has never quite been replaced.

Polaris Slingshot SLR

Engine: GM EcoTec 2.4L four-cylinder with 173 horsepower  Drivetrain: Front-engined, Rear-wheel driveTop Speed: 130 MPH0-60: ~ 4.5 seconds¼ Mile: ~ 14.6 seconds

For the most visceral and thrilling experience out there, you simply can not beat the Polaris Slingshot “autocycle”. After all, donning a crash helmet and a full racing suit was required to even sit behind the wheel of this open-top, motorcycle, car … thing.

In the midst of 500 horsepower company, the Slingshot seems like it’s outclassed at every corner but when it’s 173 horsepower only needs to lug around a shade over 1600 pounds, things get really interesting, real quick. The Slingshot also had a semi-manual, motorcycle transmission that needed to be shifted manually by drivers which made it even more engaging. Our fans would come out of driving the Slingshot happy to not only be in one piece but practically frothing at the mouth to do it again.

Our Slingshot was the most racecar-like experience we’ve ever had in our fleet and man, we sure miss the pure insanity sometimes.

Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4

Engine: Naturally aspirated V10 with 552 horsepowerDrivetrain: Rear-engined, all-wheel driveTop Speed: 202 MPH0-60: ~ 3.7 seconds¼ Mile: ~ 11.9 seconds

We love Lamborghinis at Xtreme Xperience and the Gallardo was one of the best we’ve ever had in our fleet because of the outrageous styling and that shrieking V10 under the rear deck.

Although it was the “runner-up” in the lineup, the Gallardo enjoyed a fantastic run across nearly a decade. Spawning over 20 unique models, the Gallardo upped the performance envelope with more power, and eventually all-wheel drive. Our version, the LP560-4 had the race-prepped V10 cranked up to 552 glorious, screaming horsepower that hit the ground through all-wheel drive. The entire experience was visceral, and frankly, a bit old school for a supercar. I mean, this thing slammed into gears, bucked at slow speeds, and was happiest when it was being rung out to the nth degree.

The first V10 Lamborghini will always hold a special place in our hearts and minds.

Let’s Not Be Sad!

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing but it can also be a bit sad when you realize that things aren’t destined to always be the way they were.

Luckily for all you car-loving compatriots out there, we have just the antidote for the nostalgia blues: the best supercars in the world. Not to name drop, but with vehicles like the Lamborghini Huracan, Ferrari 488, Porsche GT3 RS and GT4, Dodge Hellcat Challenger, Audi R8 Performance, Chevrolet C8, and Nissan GTR in our stable, it’s hard not to. Plus, that’s just what we have in the fleet right now! You never know what may hit our fleet in the coming years.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out here and drive the spiritual successors to some of the best supercars to ever roam through our fleet.

See you at the track!

Find Your Drive


Mercedes Recalls More Than 300,000 Cars Over Stalling Engines

Mercedes-Benzhas issued a recall alert for nearly 324,000 vehicles because their engines can stall suddenly at speed. The problem has an odd cause —...

Guest Drive: 2022 Ford Bronco Wildtrak

​ 2022 Ford Bronco Wildtrak If your idea of a Sport Utility Vehicle is something quiet, posh, and comfortable, I can tell you straightaway that the...

Top 15 Winter Car Essentials

There is nothing worse than your car breaking down in wintry weather. Add in the freezing driving conditions and the limited visibility the season...