Patrons of Walt Disney World have been able to experience what it’s like to ride in a NASCAR race car at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. By mid-January, 2012, however, things will start to get a bit more exotic. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney will offer the Exotic Driving Experience, featuring such cars as Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
Buckle up, Mousekateers
Tough economic times have forced NASCAR to contract its stock car business. Looking to fill the gap, new driving experiences that are revenue-producing made perfect sense, according to Richard Petty Driving Experience chief of marketing, Mike Bartelli.
“We looked at extensions of what we do in the stock car arena to help build our business, and what we’re good at is putting people in cars, safely,” Bartelli said. “We’ve got the track, we’re here year-round, and we know there are people who would love to drive these cars on a race track, given the opportunity.”
How do you like your speed?
Park patrons at Disney World Orlando with a need for a more exotic brand of speed will have several choices to quench their thirst when the Exotic Driving Experience opens. Sources indicate that two Ferraris, two Lamborghinis, a Porsche 911 and an Audi R8 will be available to drive at first. Additional brands and models are expected to be added in the near future from Orlando-area dealers. All vehicles will sport automatic transmission.
Drive or be driven
The Exotic Driving Experience offers two variations of driving pleasure. For $99, guests can sit in the passenger seat while a Richard Petty Driving Experience instructor takes the wheel, which is the “Thrill Rides” experience. For the more daring, $199 gets six laps of drive time with the instructor in the passenger seat.
Officials at the Richard Petty Driving Experience noted to the Sentinel that prices will vary somewhat, based upon the vehicle used. All driving experiences are preceded by classroom instruction.
Expectations of success
Considering that the Richard Petty Driving Experience has provided high-speed entertainment to more than 250,000 customers so far, Bartelli is optimistic regarding the Exotic Driving Experience’s potential.
“We think the Exotic Driving Experience has the potential to be every bit as successful as the stock cars,” he said.
Provided the experiment is a success, Petty envisions adding branches of the Exotic Driving Experience to the Daytona International Speedway complex in Daytona Beach, Fla., as well as at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla.