Review by Haney Louka. Photos by Haney Louka, Derek Mizak and courtesy of Exotics Racing
Let’s dispense with the Vegas clichés for a moment; that’s way too easy. No, we were up for something a little more involved, a little more unique as far as Sin City thrills are concerned. This is a cross-it-off-the-bucket-list kind of experience that, it turns out, appealed to the car-guys and non-car-guys alike.
We were in Vegas for an engineering and construction conference; the World of Concrete as it’s known. The show needs to be seen to be believed, as it is the eighth largest convention that Las Vegas hosts, with 600,000 square feet of exhibition space and annual attendance figures in the range of 45,000 people.
Lucky for us, the seminars ended mid-afternoon leaving plenty of time for other activities. And Exotics Racing, for sure, is a must-do. I’ve known about Exotics Racing for a few years, but it was only last year that this experience first became a reality. And even though I was intending this to be a one-time thrill, I’ve been looking forward to my next visit ever since stepping out of that Ferrari 458 Italia at the end of my drive.
It wasn’t all car guys that decided to give it a go: our group of conference attendees ranged from certified gearheads to those who simply decided to give it a try for something different.
Exotics Racing, or EXR, has been operating in Las Vegas since 2009 and was launched by co-founders Romain Thieven and David Perisset as the world’s largest collection of supercars for public use. I know: brilliant, right?
Vegas is a place where people go to spend money. The task for Thieven and Perisset was to offer something unique enough to attract not only a small number of car or racing aficionados, but also to have the broader appeal that’s required to make a venture like this sustainable. And oh, have they succeeded.
At the heart of the two-track operation (the company also started a Los Angeles location in 2014) is a fleet of 50 supercars, ranging from the Porsche Cayman and Nissan GT-R at one end of the spectrum and the Lamborghini Aventador at the other. And deciding which vehicles get added to the fleet is an easy one for the company: friends and followers can make requests online, and the most popular choices will likely end up at Exotics Racing.
There are exceptions, of course: despite numerous requests, there will not be a Bugatti Veyron joining the fleet anytime soon. Its seven-figure price tag aside, maintenance costs would be “outrageous”, says Stephan Legrand, director of communications for Exotics Racing. That, coming from a company that buys and maintains dozens of supercars, speaks volumes. Plus, “the car would be no fun on this track,” he adds.