Presents For Petrolheads

Posted on: 14 December 2007 by Gareth Hargreaves

In addition to go-fast track days, gift-givers can buy car enthusiasts training to drive safely or the chance to own a super car for the weekend.


Thanks to British F1 sensation Lewis Hamilton, Formula One is cool again. Your loved one can follow in the tyre tracks of F1 greats at the world famous home of the British Grand Prix, with a Driving Experience at Silverstone circuit.

Silverstone's £99 Christmas Special voucher offers more than a third off usual prices for three of its most popular Driving Experiences. This voucher - only available to purchase until 20th December 2007 - enables the recipient to choose from either the Single Seater, Rally or Lotus Exige Experience.

The new Single Seater Experience - which introduced new racing cars midway through 2007 - provides a slick, super-quick taste of Formula racing, and an opportunity to jump behind the wheel of a real single-seater race car, while the Rally Experience, on Silverstone's specially designed rally stage, offers a fast and furious ride with flying gravel, understeer, oversteer and hand brake turns the order of the day. Alternatively, if screaming around the track in a high-powered supercar is more your thing the Lotus Exige Experience combines exceptional agility with awesome speed.

In addition to experiences available through the Christmas Special, Silverstone has a vast array of cars and facilities on offer, including the brand new fleet of Ferrari 360 F1 Modenas and 4x4 Extreme Experience. Perfectly blending the thrill and passion of contemporary motor racing with nearly 60 years of experience and heritage, Silverstone's range of packages suit every taste and budget, starting from as little as £25 up to £705.

All of Silverstone's Driving Experiences include expert tuition from professional instructors. For further information on the full range of experiences available, or to book your £99 Christmas Special voucher, you can visit www.silverstone.co.uk, or call 08704 588 270.

Also from £99, you could treat someone special to a turn behind the wheel of the legendary Caterham Seven at one of the carmaker's Slalom, Track or Drift events. As well as Silverstone, venues for Caterham Motorsport Club events include Brands Hatch, Cadwell Park, Castle Coombe, Elvington and Oulton Park. It's not just a treat for thrill-seeking boys - 30 percent of vouchers are sold for female recipients.

Although it has just celebrated its 50th anniversary, the Seven remains the closest thing to a racing car on the road. Stripped to the very basics, the two-seater made famous by cult 1960s TV show, The Prisoner, can accelerate to 60mph in less than 5 seconds, and can embarrass any Ferrari or Porsche on the track.

Caterham Motorsport Vouchers can be exchanged for The Slalom, which takes the simple formula of powersliding and 'donutting' a Seven round a cone course against the clock - an emphasis on fun with underlying current of competition.

Introduced last year, Drift School, a tyre-smoking master class, has proved massively popular. Get taught to master the dark art of controlled power sliding a performance car. For those more experienced there is now the option to try one of the advance days.

Circuit Experience is perfectly suited for the novice. From the briefing to the one-to-one tuition, grins will be firmly fixed and the adrenalin will be pumping after spending the day on a famous race circuit in a car with more power-to-weight than a Ferrari.

With vouchers priced from £99 to £399 there is a gift to suit everybody's needs and they can be purchased by calling 01883 333700 or by visiting the online stores section of www.caterham.co.uk.

Driving Experience RockinghamIf such an adrenaline rush doesn't appeal, you could buy a present that shows you care and may even save the life of your loved one. Rockingham circuit has launched a new course which allows motorists to learn driving techniques for coping with extreme weather conditions, in their own vehicles. It could be a great gift if your child has just passed his or her driving test.

It is estimated around 60 per cent of all fatal road accidents are caused after a vehicle has begun to skid, yet few drivers know how to regain control safely once grip has been lost.

As part of the Northamptonshire circuit's driver training programme, which aims to reduce the number of casualties on the UK's roads, DriveSafe is designed to teach individual drivers to prepare for the unexpected. The two-hour course is aimed at people of all driving abilities to help them better understand their vehicle capabilities so that they can respond more effectively to a potential emergency situation.

Tuition begins with expert instruction in a theory session, providing participants with the opportunity to learn more about their vehicles and to recognise any possible defects. They will also gain an understanding of vehicle stability systems and driver aids, such as Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS), Traction Control, and Electronic Stability Control (ESC), and how these work to supplement the driver's own skills.

For the practical part of the course, participants will take their vehicles on to the Wet Grip area, where instructors will advise on how to cope with changing levels of grip on different surfaces, as well as the impact of wet and winter driving conditions. The Wet Grip area's hydraulic kick-plate will force vehicles into a sudden skid, testing the driver's reactions to the full, while the water walls create a random series of obstacles and chicanes to test a driver's emergency avoidance skills at various speeds.

Based around the circuit's £1.5 million state-of-the-art Wet Grip, DriveSafe is the only course in the UK where motorists can learn accident avoidance methods and develop potential life-saving skills in their own car. The Wet Grip offers a combination of surfaces which enables the facility to simulate the effects of hazardous driving conditions such as rain, ice and wet leaves. With its additional hi-tech functions the facilities at Rockingham claim to be more capable of simulating real-life driving conditions - at safe speed - than any other UK venue.

The DriveSafe course costs £175 per person, and can be booked on-line via www.rockingham.co.uk.

It may be a fantasy to find a super car under the Christmas tree, but you can give someone special all the fun of driving an iconic and eye-catching car without the burden of insurance, tax, servicing and storage costs that are normally associated with owning one - for a few days at least.

Guy Salmon Prestige Rental can deliver a dream car from a Lamborghini Gallardo to a BMW 3 Series either on the day or their driving experience can be purchased as a gift voucher, allowing recipients six months to choose the car themselves.

All the vehicles are equipped to the highest specification and include leather seats, cruise control, air conditioning, ABS and driver and passenger air bags as standard. Plus most vehicles have been fitted with the latest SmartNav satellite navigation systems and in-car concierge service.

To purchase a Guy Salmon driving experience you can call Guy Salmon Reservations on 0870 191 6993 or for further information visit www.guysalmon.com.

Generous Santas can make Christmas last for the whole of 2008, giving access to an entire fleet of stunning cars and motorbikes all year round, including a Ferrari 246 GT Dino, Testarossa and 328GTS, Austin Healey 3000, Alfa Romeo Spider, Ducati 900ss, Porsche 993 Cabriolet and a Jaguar E-Type Roadster. Whether it's for a weekend away in the country or to arrive at a special event in style, maybe even just a trip down memory lane, Parc Ferme Experience has a car or bike that will fit any occasion.

The exclusive membership allows an average of 35 to 80 days of driving a year.  With a one off joining fee of £500 and an annual subscription of £2,950, a member is allocated 550 points to spend on the fleet as they see fit - the more glamorous the vehicle the more points it commands.  Other annual fee options include £3,450 with a points allowance of 900 and £3,950 for 1250 points.  Membership covers two drivers, which makes it ideal for family use or for sharing between two friends - should you want to!

For those that like to budget their finances, there is also the opportunity of a driving plan called Parc&Ride, that requires an initial deposit followed by 10 further monthly payments.

As an extra Christmas gift for your stocking Parc Ferme Experience is offering all new members, who join just in time for Christmas, a complimentary weekend in their choice of vehicle from their fleet to take at anytime during their membership year.

For more information you can visit www.parc-ferme.co.uk or call 01784 470002.

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