After 25 years of consulting and assisting The Flag Company, the owners presented me with a surprise gift which really floored me. They gave me a gift certificate for the "Andretti Racing Experience". I never thought I would get a chance like this and here it was. I was going to drive a real Indy Car at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
I must admit that this intimidated me a bit. I have driven some fairly fast cars, but nothing like this. I had never driven an open wheel car before either.
It was a warm and sunny morning as Pam and I drove the 70 miles to AMS south of Atlanta. We got there early so we wouldn't miss anything. We had to sign the usual wavers agreeing that if we got killed it was our tough luck. I was then fitted with a driving suit. The reason you have to wear them is because they are fireproof (hopefully). Then attended an drivers meeting where we were told how to drive around the course and how to interact with the spotters. This is where we were told that there were no speed limits and we could pass.
Then we went out to the cars. I rode in the 2 seater first so I could see how this was done. It was quite the ride. I don't know the name of the driver, but he really knew what he was doing. I could tell because I wasn't scared at all. After this ride I decided that Pam was going to have to do this, so I signed her up. All she could say after her ride was, "I wanted to go faster"
I then discovered that it wasn't the easiest thing in the world to get into one of these, but after you're in, it's pretty snug and comfortable. Getting out is harder though.
In case you're wondering, I went 156 MPH. Not too bad, but I know I could do better. I did get a 150 MPH club member T Shirt.
The experience of a lifetime. I would do it again in a heart beat!
Here I am all suited up in my official racing suit, waiting for the driver's meeting.
Before I drove the car, I wanted to ride in the 2 seater. I thought this would give me a chance to see how it was done. I think the was the first time I ever went about 170 or 180 mph, in a car.
Here are the cars getting lined up and prepared. I'm going to be driving the yellow one on the second row.
This is the car I drove. Watch the video to see how it went. I believe this car actually did run in the Indy 500 at one time.
These cars have been detuned somewhat, only 650HP (only). They have no starters. You push in the clutch pedal, a 4 wheeler pushes you, when you getting moving, you drop the clutch and away you go. They have a semi-automatic transmission so you don't have to shift.
Getting into an Indy car is quite a challenge itself, but getting out is a lot more interesting. Actually quite comfortable once you're in. Not a lot of room for luggage though.