Many car fans dream of attending certain events or going to certain locations that are the pinnacle of motoring, like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Monaco Grand Prix and so forth. However, not everyone can realistically afford dream destinations, but there are some gearhead vacations for those on a budget.
Getting to gearhead heaven
A recent post on Jalopnik, titled “The Top 10 Ultimate Vacations for Car Lovers” mentions a few destinations that are a gearhead’s dream, locales and events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Nurburgring, among others.
Unfortunately, few could afford some of those vacations. Getting to the 24 Hours of LeMans is expensive. The easiest way to get there is to fly into Charles De Gaulle airport and take the TGV. Flying from New York to Paris easily costs upward of $1,000 or more. An economy seat on the train, according to Rail Europe, is $53. Lastly, tickets to the race itself. The cheap seats were 69 euros (about $88) at this year’s race, according to the 24 Hours of Le Mans website.
Race lover destinations
Luckily, Jalopnik mentions some car lover vacations for the more budget-minded. For instance, there is the 24 Hours of Le Mons. Le Mons, a clever pun on Le Mans and “lemons,” is a race series forbidding any car worth more than $500. Teams modify their vehicles for safety and many decorate their cars in an eccentric fashion.
Races run every few weekends from February to December, every year, in nearly every state; one would not have to go far to watch one. A similar race series, Chump Car, likewise runs all year and has events all over the country. Tickets are reasonable. For instance, a ticket to the Chump Car 24-hour race in August at the Virginia International Raceway is $15, according to the track’s website.
Besides, why fly to Europe when Le Mans-style racing is already here? The American Le Mans race series, in which race teams run Le Mans Prototype-class cars and modified road cars has race events nationwide at race tracks in major cities like Daytona, Fla., Laguna, Calif., and Baltimore, Md., just to name a few. Tickets are expensive but it isn’t as if one needs a passport to go to Florida.
Car shows and auctions
If racing is not the ideal trip for a car lover, there are a plethora of car shows and museums that could underpin a great vacation. For instance, one could ski at the Arizona SnowBowl in Flagstaff during early January and drive to Scottsdale for the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction on Jan. 13 – 20, 2013. Barrett-Jackson is a premier collector car auction house and classic car fans show up in droves.
A trip to Detroit could also prove memorable. In nearby suburbs, there is the Walter P. Chrysler Memorial Museum in Auburn Hills and The Henry Ford, practically a Ford theme park in its own right, naturally located in Dearborn. The General Motors Heritage Center is nearby, in Sterling Heights, but isn’t open to the public. However, according to VisitDetroit.com, a number of automotive museums are also in the city, including one devoted wholly to the Ford Model T. There is also the Automotive Hall of Fame and a large auto display at the Detroit Historical Museum.
Chump car tickets: https://www.etix.com/ticket/online/packageSearch.jsp?package_id=9769&language=en&cobrand=virnow2012
American Le Mans: http://www.alms.com/
Visit Detroit :http://www.visitdetroit.com/attraction-search?attraction_category=3129
Walter P. Chrysler Museum: http://wpchryslermuseum.org/
The Henry Ford: http://www.thehenryford.org/index.aspx
GM Heritage Center: http://www.gmheritagecenter.com/
Rail Europe: http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/point_to_point/triprequest.htm
Le Mans Tickets: http://www.lemans.org/en/news/The_ticket_office_for_the_2012_Le_Mans_24_Hours_is_now_open-__5733.html