Exotics Racing: Offering Something Not Normally Found in Las Vegas: Authenticity
There is no shortage of things to do whilst visiting Las Vegas, cheap thrills and “experience” opportunities populate every corner of the desert town. These experiences are far removed from the genuine article; much like most of Vegas, one only receives a rose-tinted characture of how things operate in the real world. Fortunately, Exotics Racing is here to change that.
As opposed to the thrills associated with hot-air ballooning or hours spent behind a video poker machine, Exotics Racing is hoping to breathe new life into the experience sector. Their plan is simple: get you on track in a safe manner.
Exotics Racing provides over 60 supercars spread amongst two tracks. Team Principal Jeff Francis recently spent a day at their facility located on the grounds of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. As opposed to utilizing the track at LVMS itself, Exotics Racing has constructed its own 1.2-mile course to allow for events to run concurrently with others held on the LVMS campus.
Our day started off meeting Brad, Exotic Racing’s Head of Communications, inside the EXR corporate office. The San Jose native is quite the car guy himself, making an annual pilgrimage to his old “stomping grounds” of Laguna Seca Raceway for Monterey Car Week. Brad gave us a personal tour of the entire facility, including the paddock area where both the exotic fleet and EXR Series race cars are housed and serviced.
Once the tour concluded, we headed to the track. Before the day’s real activities could commence, there was a customary driver’s meeting for all attendees. The EXR staff were consummate professionals, and provided a thorough briefing on proper track etiquette. The instructors briefed everyone on the ideal line around the track and what to expect during each session. The meeting concluded with the instructor directing everyone to, “Drive it like you stole it.” A short session commenced where drivers rode with an instructor in one of the school’s Porsche Cayennes in order to identify visual markers and learn the track.
The Exotics Racing stable includes a who’s who of exotic cars from manufacturers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Aston Martin, Audi, Mercedes, and Chevrolet. The venerable Mercedes AMG GTS was the pick. The GTS features a 4.0 Litre “Bi-Turbo” V8 that produces 503 HP and hits 0-60 in under four seconds. Due to the abundance of power on tap, the GTS was able to hit over 120 MPH on the 1/3 mile straight. Not only did the Merc accelerate like a proverbial rocket ship, its 47/53 weight distribution provided an abundance of stability whilst cornering. While perhaps not a direct 911 competitor, the GTS proves that the “traditional” Front Engine/Rear Wheel Drive layout is far from being on its death bed.
Outside of the aforementioned supercar experience, Exotics Racing operates their own racing series, dubbed the “EXR Racing Series.” The centerpiece of this series, the EXR LV02 provides a safe but exciting vehicle for one to live out their racing fantasies. Based upon the European “Mitjet,” the LV02 is a tube-frame race car not far removed from what one would see campaigning in various silhouette series around the globe. Powered by a 2.0L Renault engine producing 230 HP, the LV02 carries its 1800 lbs. from 0-60 in four seconds. Its Sadev 6-speed sequential gearbox and Brembo 328mm front discs allow the driver to control the car with ease.
The race car instructor for the day was Jason, who primarily spends his time scaring the hell out of willing customers, drifting a Corvette Z06 at high speeds. Jason’s resume includes years of both road racing and drifting, making him a master in car control.
The LV02 was fairly easy to acclimate to. Being that this was a purpose built race car sporting a sequential gearbox, it can certainly be considered an exotic experience to say the least. Francis’ stint took place during the EXR series’ practice session, allowing for short periods of lead-follow, as series drivers made their way by.
The LV02 was designed to be a forgiving car for drivers of any experience level. This became quickly apparent as the rear end broke loose in Turn 1 at over 125 km/h. A healthy dose of counter steer provided the cure. Soon after, another driver spun directly in the driving line, but the LV02’s compliant handling lends itself well to accident avoidance maneuvers.
During the session, Jason provided exemplary instruction. It can certainly be unnerving when surrendering control to another driver, but Jason maintained a calm demeanor throughout the afternoon. For a driver of this caliber, he has certainly seen it all before.
After wrapping up the day’s on-track session, the weekend’s competitors met and openly discussed the series at length. The day concluded with meeting Alex Premat, EXR Series Team Manager and 24 Hours of LeMans driver, he was adamant that his primary goal was to provide a challenging as well as welcoming experience for all race drivers.
Exotics Racing/EXR provides a great experience for drivers of any proffiency, from the novice to a seasoned professional. The staff is knowledgeable, courteous, and certainly went above and beyond to ensure that each driver got the most out of their session(s). There is no shortage of machinery on hand; whether you want to drive the latest British, German, or Italian exotics, manhandle a Z06, or participate in a series of purpose-built race cars, the school has something for everyone. The facility is nothing less than immaculate, from the classrooms to the spotless paddock.
The The Speed Journal team would like to thank Brad, Jason, and Alex for their hospitality. Hats off to Romain Thievin and David Perisse, the Exotics Racing proprietors, for providing a unique experience unmatched in the Las Vegas desert.
The Driver’s Series scours the world to find and explore compelling driving experiences for anyone with a driver’s license and passion for speed. We send our resident driver Jeff Francis to get behind the wheel and report back to Speed Journal readers to ride along virtually or become inspired to take on the driving experiences themselves. Are you involved with a driving experience that should be featured on The Speed Journal? Do you have a driving experience suggestion for The Speed Journal to investigate? Please contact us.