Lately, there seems to be an influx of supercars released by luxury brands to fill every perceivable niche. The cost to purchase, maintain, and keep on the road is obscene yet they are selling out of just about any car they care to produce. Add a limited edition or ‘special’ tag and success is virtually guaranteed.
Even a standard McLaren 720S will set you back $550,000 in Australia, but if you don’t have the money (like the majority of the population) how can you get the same sort of experience and thrills on a reasonable budget?
Now, when I talk about experience I’m talking about the smile on the dial, the fun factor, the sense of speed, rather than the pose factor of driving through the city at night blasting Drake (or whoever) through the speakers.
A wise man by the name of Tracy Lauren Marrow once warned…
I gotta get more than you got, so what if some other brother gets shot!
Well that’s the family version anyway. If you can let go of the ‘look at me’ and Instagram factor, you can have just as much or more fun.
I’m going to start here, because nothing is more pure than karting. Devoid of electronics, karting is as raw as it comes. I’ll assume that most reading this have experienced karting but if you haven’t, karting will make just about everything this side of a BAC Mono feel like a bloated sack of…
Seriously. Go karting then jump in your ‘sports car’ and all the engineering compromises become suddenly apparent.
Ayrton Senna once said:
I started racing go-karts. And I love karts. It’s the most breathtaking sport in the world. More than F1, indeed, I used to like it most.
So why are we not karting more? Now that there are more circuits popping up with karting facilities integrated, there’s even more reason to get into karting.
You can dip your toe in, or you could do it more regularly, or even go the next level and purchase your own kart for $5,000 and start to get serious.
Let’s say you do two sessions to stretch it out a bit, that’s $190. Now let’s say you do that 10 times a year, almost once a month, it adds up to $1,900.
Certainly cheaper than insurance on a BMW M car…
Golf GTI (or equivalent)
The Golf GTI is the perfect do it all car. Large enough to take a family, German enough to punch above its weight in quality, frugal enough to drive every day, and sporty enough to add some spice to your life.
In today’s overly policed nanny states a Golf GTI provides the perfect amount of fun. Want to go faster? See the other options in this article, but for everyday situations the Golf GTI will deliver enough smiles while keeping the license safe. That’s more fun, more often.
On more challenging roads you’ll get to feel the car move about, then you get to drive home in comfort all in the knowledge you haven’t broken the bank or the car or even the law. You could even do the grocery shopping on the way home. Job done.
Supercar drive days
If you really are stuck on supercar worship, why not pay for a defined period of time to experience the lunacy?
Supercar experiences range from $200 for about 20 mins (are you meant to go around the block?) to $2000 or more for a more substantial amount of time.
Book it with friends and have a great time driving a sports, luxury, or supercar for a given amount of time, then hand it back and leave the insurance cost, servicing, rego, and repairs to the provider. Job done!
With the money you didn’t spend, you’ll then be able to put your $700,000 towards a 10% deposit for a one bedroom apartment in Sydney. Without parking. Yay.
Attend F1, MotoGP, and Bathurst
Want to see real speed, and feel it in your bones? You need to attend some race events. The sound (while it lasts), the sheer skill and bravery on show, watching the very best in the world pilot these incredibly technical monsters around circuits is a sight to behold whether on two or four wheels.
A four day pass at the best grandstand is $575 AUD giving you pit lane and pit walk access.
There’s flights and accommodation to consider for those of us outside of Melbourne so if that’s an issue, you can always lower the cost by grabbing a 4 day general admission ticket ($190) and flying in for Saturday practise and qualifying and race day on Sunday.
Take up motorcycling
Seriously. I know it’s scary if you’ve never ridden before, but riding, like karting is as pure as it comes and any electronics are actually welcome especially on the 1200cc superbike monsters. Even a 400cc bike will feel fast, so don’t worry about not being on a big bike.
If supercar speed is what you’re after, I’d actually campaign to stick to track riding. Not only is it a safe environment, but your riding skills will transcend those heroes on the road to such a degree you’ll be the Rossi to their Reginald (no offence to those named Reginald).
Get in the groove, and it will be one of the most rewarding things you’ve ever done. Even journalistic supremo Chris Harris has been bitten by the bike bug, so there’s at least one respectable act to follow.
It’s all about how much fun you have
So there you have it. Pick and choose or do it all, it will still be cheaper than owning a supercar (or anything above $100,000 for that matter) while having just as much, or more, fun. Even if you did all of the suggestions above you’d still come out way ahead than a supercar owner and with a lot more stories to tell.