Watched the video Tuesday evening with my husband. Overall I think I drove better than I seem to have remembered.
- Do NOT chew gum if you intend to get the in-car video. Also, the little hairnet they make you wear was poking out the back so when I'm looking through corners I looked like the chubby-cheeked lunch lady.
- Try to keep in mind the instructor's perspective: they're very likely terrified you're going to kill them and total a $300K car.
- Buy a cool suit to wear if you intend to try this in July or August. I was sweating buckets and it was only in the mid-80's. They won't be running the AC. I saw my heated seat light indicator pop up on the dash at one point and could only think that was the stupidest thing I'd ever seen.
- If I were to do it over (and I will!), I would have driven 3 cars. One I cared the least about, with the lowest HP first to get a feel for the track. Then move to the cars you're more excited about. Having the McLaren be broken was a huge bummer and I wasn't really ready to choose a different second car when they called.
The second item above is especially where I'll focus my review. Objectively, I understand this. It was still really REALLY hard for me to not have access to even one mirror (they move them all to be in the instructor's line-of-sight) and know they'd be grabbing the wheel to allow others to pass.
Bigger than these two things was my overall feeling of disappointment I had when I climbed out of the car. I couldn't put my finger on it until after I'd watched the video. My instructor repeated the same information related to what I should be doing where on the track even when I'd been demonstrating my understanding via DOING IT for several laps. I was also surprised to realize he only acknowledged twice when I'd nailed something. Not that I need an ego stroke, but I tend to celebrate with my students when they're working hard and then succeed on track.
The 458 Italia: This a LOT of car. It sounds sooo goooood. It will go exactly where you point it. I really struggled with the brakes in particular. I liken braking in it to trying to squeeze a cup of water out of a granite rock. They did not modulate whatsoever so I had a tough time feeling whether I was braking hard enough, too hard, etc until it was too late. I definitely blew a few corners (especially that last kink which is downhill and slightly off camber) and ended up doing some trail braking a couple of times (much to my instructor's dismay). The tires gave a lot of high-pitched feedback (like an Italian supermodel perhaps?), but seemed to let go gradually. I never felt in danger of a spin. The girl friend I went with has decided to sell her house and her dog to buy this car. Poor Toyo...
The ride-along was thrilling. They won't let you do it until after you've completed your driving for the day... and with good reason. The car was sideways more than pointed in the appropriate direction. Also, a proxy a drifting this much is that his hands weren't exactly on the wheel a whole lot. I can only imagine how someone drive if they let you do so after the ride-along.
Overall, I have a good opinion of the operation they're running out there. The inventory is staggering - and you're allowed to put your dirty little hands all over it! (FYI, they've ordered another Aventador and GTR to ensure they're not without again.) Their staff was friendly and helpful. The classroom session was jam packed with all the right info. And yes, I'll be doing it again.