Driving experiences make it possible for regular average income individuals to drive real race cars and supercars on amazing tracks. Most of these experiences will leave a huge smile on your face when it’s over. However, it’s not all positive. There are a number of annoying things to note about these experiences. Not paying attention to these could leave you with a huge hole in your pocket. The contracts are incredibly one-sided, so it’s important to carefully read the fine print.
1. Harsh Cancellation Policies:
The cancellation policies at these experiences can be stringent. If you have any doubt about being able to attend, do not sign up. You may end up losing your money. While the contracts vary, the cancellation terms are usually very rigid. What’s worse, the policies appear to get stricter as the programs get more expensive. One program goes as far as saying your inability to attend due to death will result in forfeiture! A rather callous thing to put in a contract.
2. Sketchy Program Details:
Most experiences advertise a schedule. Some of them don’t strictly adhere to this schedule while others simply ignore it altogether. We suggest that you speak up when you think you’re not getting what was advertised. Some of the experiences will offer to make it up to you.
3. Dubious Pricing:
Some providers offer what appear to be great prices, but as you’re about to commit to the experience, you start seeing fees that you can’t get away from. In fact, some of these experiences should be renamed “we’ll nickel and dime you” LLC. A common fee is for insurance. While the best experiences don’t charge extra for insurance, many others do. In addition, most of the providers who charge for insurance usually have high deductibles. To make matter worse, some use scare tactics to get you to buy down the deductible.
4. Poor Experience Video:
Unfortunately, this is almost universal. It’s usually 1 of 2 things. The video quality is either really bad, or it has a lot of branding to the point where you feel like you should have been paid to ‘star’ in the video. Luckily, there are experiences out there that have decent video quality with no branding. However, these often don’t have any telemetry information.
5. Less than Ideal Safety:
This applies to the open wheel experiences. Given the nature of these experiences, FIA approved racing gear should be offered without exception. However, while most offer fire suits, gloves, shoes and helmets (there’s at least one that offers nothing but helmets), we have yet to see one that offers a Hans device or any other kind of head/neck support device. This omission includes F1 experiences. It’s hard to imagine why this is being left out given the fact that these devices are mandatory for most professional open-wheel racing events.
In summary, we suggest that you read your contract carefully before committing to any experience. Two critical things to pay attention to are the cancellation terms and the cost of insurance. While no one hopes to be in an accident, you definitely don’t want to end up with a huge bill if you’re unfortunate enough to get into one. If you attend these experiences frequently, it may not be a bad idea to get your own gear. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for most people as the equipment can get very expensive. There’s a good chance that nothing will go wrong and you’ll have a good time. However, paying attention to the terms before signing will be helpful if something goes wrong.