50 Top Driving Days

12 Dec, 2007 12:45pm

We unwrap the best experience gifts for car fans this Christmas...

How about these for a bunch of Christmas crackers? We’ve tracked down 50 of the best driving days money can buy.

And with 25 December only a matter of days away, any one of our selection would be a great present, whether you are suggesting it as stocking filler for yourself, or hunting for a thrilling gift for the keen motorist in your life.

Nothing beats the thrill of experiencing the machine of your dreams. And whether that’s a supercar, a supermini or a tank, the memory will last far longer than a pair of novelty socks!

1 Formula One Driving
Price: £1,349
Where? Lancashire; Northamptonshire
Contact: 0870 1221 007, www.prezzybox.com

Get a taste of the speed of a Formula One car. This pricey event comprises five demo laps in an MG ZR, 17 laps in a Formula Ford single-seater, 10 in a Formula Three racer and the grand finale – 10 laps in a 600bhp 1996 Forti-Corse GP car. Awesome stuff.


2 Skid Control Training Exercise
Price: £165
Where? Lincolnshire
Contact: 0870 360 0360, www.treatme.net

Knowing how to react to a slide could save your life. This experience teaches you to control a skid – and is real fun. An instructor tests you over surfaces mimicking gravel and ice as you get the tail out of shape.

3 Tank Battle Paintballing

Price: £95
Where? Leicestershire
Contact: 0844 888 2882, www.buyagift.co.uk

After mastering a 432 APC tank, you’re taught to use its specially modified paintball gun. Tasks are divided between three people, and your team then heads into battle.

4 Big Toys
Price: £185
Where? Lincolnshire
Contact: 0845 640 8000, www.redletterdays.co.uk

Bigger is better – and experiences don’t get much larger than this! Pick from a 40-foot HGV, double decker bus or fire engine, and you’re guided through slaloms and roundabouts... and even get a go at reversing one!

5 Forest Rally Experience
Price: £249
Where? Wales
Contact: 0870 360 0360, www.treatme.net

The Wales Rally GB is one of the most exciting rounds on the WRC calendar. And here’s your chance to hurtle through the Welsh forests yourself. In a fully prepared rally car, you will drive practice runs and a timed stage. An instructor will then show how it should be done as you take a high-speed passenger ride.

6 Dig It
Price: £125
Where? Hampshire
Contact: experiencemonster.co.uk

How often have you driven past a digger wishing you could have a go? This event, lasting three hours, puts you in control of an articulated dump truck, mini digger, excavator and bulldozer.

7 Extreme Dodgems
Price: £149
Where? West Midlands
Contact: 0845 640 8000, www.redletterdays.co.uk

Meet the dodgems for grown-ups! You drive a 1.3-litre stock car on a muddy track, and get loads of time at the wheel, with the four-hour evening split into practice, heats, knock-out stages and a grand final.

8 Monster Truck Driving
Price: £265
Where? West Sussex
Contact: 0870 1221 007, www.prezzybox.com

With 66-inch tyres and a 7.5-litre engine, this monster truck is said
to be the largest in Britain. First, you’ll practise in a Jeep. Then it’s
on to a purpose-built off-road track in the big-wheeled giant.


9 Track Day
Price: From £100
Where? Europe-wide
Contact: 0870 444 5541, www.trackdays.co.uk

There’s no easier way to enjoy the thrill of driving on a famous circuit than by taking your own car. Most European tracks hold days; just book and turn up with a crash helmet.

10 Quad Biking Discovery

Price: £65
Where? Various nationwide
Contact: 0845 330 5115, virginexperiencedays.co.uk

Hit the dirt and navigate the trails on these four-wheelers. You tackle forests, hills and fields on the two-and-a-half hour experience. All your safety kit is supplied, and at some sites drivers can be as young as 10.

11 Juggernaut Driving

Price: £149
Where? Lincolnshire
Contact: 0845 330 5115, virginexperiencedays.co.uk

Be the King of the Road in this truck, with its 16-speed gearbox and 40-foot trailer. Drivers learn to negotiate roundabouts, T-junctions and reversing – all on private roads. You get an hour at the wheel in all.

12 Steam Traction Engine Driving
Price: £415 (one or two drivers)
Where? Cumbria
Contact: 01959 578100, www.intotheblue.co.uk

Ideal for fans of Fred Dibnah, this traction engine driving day puts you in control of the 1912 Western Star. And you’ll learn all about its history along some really beautiful roads.

13 Dumper Truck Racing

Price: £60
Where? Kent, Devon, Co. Durham
Contact: 0845 640 8000, www.redletterdays.co.uk

As if driving a dumper truck wasn’t enough fun, this experience lets you race the industrial beasts! First, you’re given full training in the one-tonne vehicles, before heading on to a tricky track to post a qualifying time. The fastest drivers go head-to-head in a flat-out final to be in with a chance of winning a goodie bag.

14 Outdoor Grand Prix Karting

Price: £85
Where? Kent
Contact: 0845 640 8000, www.redletterdays.co.uk

Try the machines that launched the career of Formula One wonder boy Lewis Hamilton at this outdoor karting event. You will spend an evening racing go-karts powered by 390cc engines, and capable of hitting 70mph. The experience is made up of practice, quick fire heats and a final ‘grand prix’. The top three drivers get a trophy.

15 Young Drive

Price: £75
Where? Brands Hatch, Kent, and Oulton Park, Cheshire
Contact: 0870 950 9000, motorsportvision.co.uk

For under-17s, the wait to start driving can feel like a lifetime. This puts any child over 13 in the hot seat. It offers classroom instruction and basics such as starting, stopping and changing gear.

16 Racing Car Experience

Price: £165
Where? Hampshire
Contact: 01264 882222, www.thruxtonracing.co.uk

This brilliant event was the Best Buy in our race and rally school test last Christmas (Issue 940). You get six instruction laps in a Mazda RX-8 – three with you behind the wheel – then move on to a Formula Vauxhall single-seater. The Thruxton venue is the UK’s fastest road circuit, which only adds to the excitement.

17 Gourmet Classic Car Day

Price: £399
Where? Worcestershire (starting point)
Contact: www.experiencemad.co.uk

Take the wheel of a classic for a romantic trip. Pick a Jensen Interceptor or Alfa Romeo Spider (above), then head to the Welsh Borders, Cotswolds or the Forest of Dean. Lunch at a gourmet restaurant is also included.

18 Charlie’s Angels Driving Course

Price: £159
Where? Various nationwide
Contact: 0845 644 1423, www.ineedpampering.com

Motorsport isn’t just for men, as this women-only driving course proves. It’s designed for those with little or no experience of driving on a track, and teaches the basic skills. Participants get tuition in high and low-speed cornering, skid training and heel and toe gearchanges.

19 Best of British

Price: £339
Where? Warwickshire; Leics
Contact: 0870 360 0360, www.treatme.net

The British sports car industry is clearly in rude health. This driving day puts you behind the wheel of a Bentley Continental GT, an Aston Martin DB9 and a TVR Tuscan – all on track. It starts with familiarisation laps, before you jump in the cars, and ends with a high-speed passenger ride.

20 Classic Car Experience

Price: £245
Where? Goodwood, W Sussex; Mallory Park, Leicestershire
Contact: www.experiencemad.co.uk

If it’s cars of the past that get you really revved up, this is perfect! The models on offer vary according to the location, but include a replica AC Cobra, Porsche 911 and Jaguar MKII, E-Type and D-Type. You get a total of nine laps in three different cars during the experience.

21 Audi R8

Price: £99
Where? Leicestershire
Contact: 0844 888 2882, www.buyagift.co.uk

Your chance to see what all the fuss is about with one of the coolest new cars of the year. An instructor takes you on a hot lap in a BMW Alpina D3, before you get four circuits driving the 187mph Audi.

22 Ice Driving

Price: £825
Where? Sweden
Contact: 0870 360 0360, www.treatme.net

Learn how to control a Hyundai Coupé and Mistubishi Evo on the frozen lakes of Sweden. There’s also skiing, ice fishing and dog sledding. Flights, transfers and two nights’ B&B are included, but it’s only available in January and February.

23 Introduction to Single Seaters

Price: £99
Where? Northamptonshire
Contact: 0800 234 6034, www.racing-school.co.uk

Experience the G-force on the bends of Rockingham’s amazing banked oval circuit in a 145mph single-seater. The machines are lookalike American ChampCar racers, and you’ll get 20 minutes worth of laps at the Northants venue. Powered by 1.8-litre Ford Zetec engines, the cars are capable of 0-60mph in only 4.8 seconds.

24 Eurochallenge Supercars

Price: £475
Where? Hampshire; Leicestershire
Contact: 0845 640 8000, www.redletterdays.co.uk

Sample some of Europe’s greatest-ever cars, from the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin. You drive four models over four hours. The vehicles available differ at the venues, but include a Cayman and 911 Turbo, an F430, a Gallardo and a V8 Vantage.

25 JCB Racing
Price: £126
Where? Devon, Co Durham, Kent
Contact: 0845 640 8000, www.redletterdays.co.uk

Forget Ferraris – what you really want to race is an 8.5-tonne JCB! Instructors will teach you how the giant excavators work, before you head out on to the track for heats. The machines hit a ‘heady’ 20mph maximum speed, so the racing is more about technique than pace. You’ll be set challenges along the way, and the fastest drivers of the day will then come together to compete in a grand final.

26 Rally Gold

Price: £249
Where? Staffordshire
Contact: 0870 360 0360, www.treatme.net

Two legends and one hardcore course – this experience is an absolute must for fans of rallying. After being given expert instruction on driving techniques, participants are put through their paces in a Subaru Impreza WRX STi and a Mitsubishi Evo VIII during four sessions. A high-speed passenger ride follows, while spectators can even join in, as they benefit from a free off-road experience.

27 Crush a Car Experience

Price: £549
Where? Northamptonshire
Contact: 0870 360 0360, www.treatme.net

On some similar days, the car you are crushing is already destroyed. Here, you get to crush a complete vehicle all of your own by rolling over it in a 56-tonne Chieftan battle tank.

28 Harley Passenger Ride

Price: £159
Where? London or Kent
Contact: experiencemonster.co.uk

Go the whole Hog with this experience on board a Harley Davidson bike. If you have never got round to taking your test, this gives you a taste of what it’s like. The two-and-a-half-hour tours take in the sights of London or the rural villages of Kent. All safety gear is supplied.

29 Subaru World Rally Drive Day
Price: £250
Where? Warwickshire
Contact: 01676 536006, www.prodrive.com

Who better to teach you how to control a car over the roughest terrain than Prodrive, the outfit behind Subaru’s multiple World Rally Championship winning team? Participants can test themselves in a 300bhp Impreza STi, a Legacy Spec B and 2.0R, as well as a Forester 2.5XT. Tuition takes place on gravel and a tarmac high-speed rally stage, while lunch and a host of other goodies are included, too.

30 Ferrari vs Lamborghini

Price: £250
Where? Northamptonshire
Contact: 0845 640 8000, www.redletterdays.co.uk

It's the tough decision every motoring fan would love to have to make – which Italian supercar should I buy? Wishful thinking, maybe. But for a fraction of the price of actually purchasing one, your dreams can become reality. Here, you can decide for yourself after four laps in a Ferrari F360 and Lamborghini Gallardo. You will be shown the racing lines of the track by a professional instructor prior to slipping into the driver’s seat of the legendary machines. And you get to do a total of six miles in each. Guaranteed fun.

31 MG Xtreme Rally Ride

Price: £55
Where? Various nationwide
Contact: 0870 1221 007, www.prezzybox.com

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a co-driver in a rally car?
Now you can find out – and you won’t even have to read any pace notes from the passenger seat of the 200bhp MG ZR. A Pirelli Pro driver will effortlessly demonstrate high-speed slides, left-foot braking and handbrake turns. The experience lasts around 10 minutes.

32 Rage Buggies

Price: From £55
Where? Hertfordshire
Contact: 01959 578100, www.intotheblue.co.uk

Basically a cross between quads and off-road trails bikes, these 600cc V-twin-engined beasts provide guaranteed excitement. The Rage Buggies are purpose-built for fast off-road action, and the combination of their rear-wheel-drive layout and the gravel track means a thrilling experience. For your money, you get 20 laps of the man-made circuit, which equates to about 30 minutes of intense, muddy fun.

33 Full Monty

Tank Driving
Price: £250
Where? Northamptonshire
Contact: 0845 640 8000, www.redletterdays.co.uk

Most of us want to drive a tank. Normally, this would mean joining the army and potentially getting shot at. But there’s a safer option – heading out on a Full Monty Tank Driving day. Here, you’ll take charge of a 17-tonne Abbott gun tank, as well as an amphibious Hagglund tracked carrier, an FV432 APC and a Rapier rocket carrier – all in a controlled environment.

34 Caterham Circuit Experience

Price: £219
Where? Various nationwide
Contact: 01883 333700, www.caterham.co.uk

Try a Caterham in its natural habitat – on a race track! The experience takes place at legendary circuits across the UK, and includes all the help you need to ensure you’re taking the correct lines. The half-day sessions are even used by competitors looking to learn a track before race day. Drinks are included as part of the experience.

35 Ultimate Drivers’ Experience

Price: £279
Where? Knockhill, Scotland
Contact: 01383 720044, www.knockhill.com

Can't decide between track racing, karting or rallying? Don’t fear – this Scottish adventure has it all, and it’s certain to get your heart racing. For the price of a few laps in a supercar, the Knockhill event lets you try out single-seater racers before tackling a group showdown in 270cc Biz Pro Karts. After a fully laid-on lunch, you’ll then spend the afternoon slipping and sliding round in a rally car.

36 4x4 Driving

Price: £145
Where? Various nationwide
Contact: 0845 330 5115, virginexperiencedays.co.uk

Experience an off-roader in the kind of environment for which it was designed – up to its wheelarches in mud. These Virgin experiences take place at sites across Britain, and in a wide variety of mud-plugging vehicles. At each location, you’ll be taught off-road handling techniques by qualified instructors, and the day lasts around three hours.

37 Tigers and Tracks Action Day

Price: £399
Where? Cambridgeshire
Contact: www.experiencemad.co.uk

Step back in time at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. This teaches you to drive an armoured military vehicle and fly a Tiger Moth. Then, you get a flight over Cambridge in a Dragon Rapide.

38 Hummer Thrill

Price: £99
Where? Leicestershire
Contact: 01455 841670, www.everymanracing.co.uk

Meet the beefiest SUV on the market – the mighty Hummer H2! Here, you get to put the legendary American four-wheel drive to the test and enjoy seven miles on the purpose-built Prestwold Hall track. Drivers are shown the ropes in a BMW Alpina D3 by an instructor before clambering into the cabin of the Hummer for their hour-long drive. Participants also get an Individual Driving Certificate to mark the occasion.

39 Porsche 997 Turbo Course

Price: £325
Where? Hampshire
Contact: experiencemonster.co.uk

For some petrolheads, supercars don’t get much better than the Porsche 911 Turbo. This lets you sample the pace of the latest 997-generation model for four laps at Thruxton. You’ll build up to the event by learning racing lines in a Mazda 3 and Porsche Cayman.

40 Hire a supercar

Price: £587.50 (a Ferrari F360 for 24 hours)
Where? Nationwide
Contact: 0845 6022 113, www.supercarexperiences.com

If you want to drive a supercar on your own, then hiring is the best way to do it. There are loads of companies around – and you can pick from just about any model. As you would expect, it’s expensive, as the price includes insurance. And you’ll usually be restricted to a certain amount of miles, too.

41 High Speed Ride

Price: £49
Where? Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Scotland and Wiltshire
Contact: 0845 330 5115, virginexperiencedays.co.uk

You don’t have to hold a driving licence to enjoy a petrol-fuelled adventure! Anyone as young as 12 can experience two high-speed laps in a sports car at tracks around the country. The make and model of vehicle depends on the location.

42 Bedford MJ Driving

Price: £169
Where? Lincolnshire
Contact: 0870 360 0360, www.treatme.net

Get behind the wheel of a British Army workhorse. You’ll take the Bedford MJ over incredibly tough terrain, encountering a host of challenging obstacles along the way. And there’s no set course.

43 Le Mans Driving Experience

Price: £279
Where? Leicestershire
Contact: www.experiencemad.co.uk

This is your chance to experience the nostalgia of a Le Mans D-Type Jaguar, as well as a host of other classic British sports cars, including an Aston Martin DB6 and E-Type and MKII Jaguars. You also get to go on a high-speed ride with an instructor.

44 Trailer Towing

Price: From £75
Where? Suffolk and West Sussex
Contact: 01959 578100, www.intotheblue.co.uk

Towing is not as easy as it looks – so it makes sense to get some training in first. If you’re thinking of hitching up a caravan for a summer holiday or simply using a trailer to take rubbish to the dump, this course will prove invaluable. It teaches you all about manoeuvring, reversing and parking. What’s more, as it takes place on a closed circuit, you get to learn in a completely stress-free environment.

45 MINI Cooper Driving Experience

Price: £99
Where? Nationwide
Contact: 0870 1221 007, www.prezzybox.com

A vehicle doesn’t necessarily have to deliver 600bhp in order to be
a supercar – as the MINI Cooper proves. This experience gives you the opportunity to try the hot version of the British-built baby. For your money, you will get a demonstration and a high-speed ride.

46 Lamborghini Blast

Price: £149
Where? West Sussex
Contact: 0844 888 2882, www.buyagift.co.uk

It's been surpassed by more modern exotica, but the Lamborghini Diablo will still be high on many motorists’ must-drive lists. This is your chance to climb on board the V12-engined brute. What’s more, it’s reasonably priced. You get three laps of Goodwood’s picturesque circuit, and at the end, you’re handed an official certificate to mark the day.before being given the keys for four laps driving yourself.

47 Phil Price Rally School

Price: £285 (full day)
Where? Wales
Contact: 01547 550300, www.philprice.co.uk

The Phil Price course is our favourite rally school. You get to try a rear-wheel-drive Ford Escort, as well as a Subaru Impreza.

48 Drifting

Price: £129
Where? Derbyshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk
Contact: 01959 578100, www.intotheblue.co.uk

Made famous by the Fast And The Furious films, drifting is the latest craze from Japan. This day lets you see what it’s all about for yourself. In specially made Ford-based karts, you’ll learn the art of hanging the tail out on a course where safety is paramount.

49 Stunt Driving

Price: £169
Where? Bristol
Contact: 0870 360 0360, www.treatme.net

Master extreme car control on this thrill-a-minute experience. You’ll learn to make precision handbrake turns, power slides, J-turns and master the art of understeer. Once up to speed, you’ll even get to act out a mock cops and robbers-style chase.

50 Subaru Thrill

Price: £85
Where? Leicestershire
Contact: 0845 330 5115, www.virginexperiencedays.co.uk

If the Prodrive day is too costly, you should consider this. For a fraction of the price, you can discover how good the Subaru Impreza really is, with four laps of Mallory Park in a WRX STi. Before you head out, you’ll get a demo in a BMW Alpina D3.

Disqus - noscript

The experience days look great, shame I booked one with track days.co.uk, they took my money, I waited for 5 months for a date, then when I rang to ask where my confirmation was a few days before the date, I was told they had failed to book the track. Customer service was poor and staff that didn't care at all.
Still waiting for my refund, as they said they only have accounts staff on a Friday. I couldn't recommend booking with track days.co.uk