by Tom Lally
I’ve always liked cars. I’m not a NASCAR junkie, and I couldn’t tell you the difference between two vintage Ford mustangs. But I do appreciate a good sports car – I think Aston Martin’s are downright beautiful – and I still gawk whenever I see a Tesla. So I was really excited last Christmas when I opened a large (decoy) box from my sister and brother to find that I’d be getting behind the wheel of something way out of my price range.
The experience is at Thompson Speedway in northeastern Connecticut. First, I had to choose when, and settled on Memorial Day weekend. I don’t usually go away then but many people do, so I thought the track would be less busy and the weather would be nice. Keep reading to see how that turned out. Then I had to choose what car, which came down to a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. I chose the Ferrari, and was very happy with this decision when I arrived and discovered one of the distinguishing things about the Lamborghini – the vertically opening doors – had been “modified” to open just like any other car door.
After what felt like forever, the day finally came a few weeks ago. If you live in New England you may remember that the unofficial start to summer did not live up to that expectation. Much of it was 50s and rainy. That may seem great in March or April, but not when it’s almost June. I have no point of reference for how busy the track typically is on a weekend, but it was pretty busy now. There were a lot of other people waiting for the same things, so after arriving I waited over an hour before it was finally my turn. I was surprised that at no point did anyone ask to see my driver’s license. I did have to sign a few waivers, but it wasn’t nearly the experience of singing my life away that I expected it to be. Maybe they can tell a good driver when they see one, I told myself.
Whatever notions I had about my own driving expertise were quickly squashed when I finally got behind the wheel. I don’t mean to cause any alarm – I didn’t crash, and no one got whiplash – but I was nowhere close to zipping around like a pro. The Ferrari handles much differently than my current Toyota, or any other car I’ve ever driven for that matter, so that was a major adjustment that took some time. And my “instructor” – for insurance purposes they have to put a professional driver in the passenger seat – was giving plenty of commands that I was doing my best to follow perfectly. I was happy to have him there not just for the instructions but also for the encouragement. Every time we hit the straightaway he would encourage me to take it a little faster, and a little faster. By the last time around I thought I was definitely going too fast to hit the turn, but the instructor didn’t seem worried so I held my breath and steered hard into it. The Ferrari handled it like a charm, and I walked away absolutely amazed at what an incredible machine it really is.
The author of this article is Tom Lally, Wealth Manager Assistant at US Wealth Management.