Driving a Ferrari 612 on such a tight track was an eye-opening experience for me. This is a big V12 GT car meant for the open road, how on Earth did Ferrari make it handle so light and nimbly on a small track with some areas only a little bigger than an autocross? And how did the car give me so much confidence after just getting to know it that I was comfortable taking the chicane that splits up the main straight flat, reaching 200kph (124mph) on the back straight before diving into the hairpin?
Looking at this track, you wouldn’t think that sort of speed would be possible from a big car like this. The 612 should have been totally out of its element here, but it was so willing the change direction, and so nicely balanced, that it actually felt right at home. I was enthralled by Ferrari when I first drove the 430 Scuderia on track, but this 612 sold me for good on their ability to make any car drive as it should. Just as the Scuderia did, the 612 seemed to connect right to my brain stem, and driving it felt more telepathic than artificial. The fact that they could do that with a big 2 ton GT car is unbelievable. Most big GTs I’ve driven don’t really get past being merely competent in tight corners, but this 612 was genuinely playful. I remain blown away by it. And that V12!! 🎶🎶🎶
The BMW i8 is today a lot like the DeLorean was in the early 80s.
While not nearly the political phenomenon the DeLorean was, in the market it occupies the exact same slot: a spaceship-looking car with epic doors that doesn’t perform nearly as good as it looks. In fact, the ratio of the i8’s power compared to the Ferrari 488’s is nearly identical to that of the DeLorean compared to a Ferrari 308.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually really love the i8 for what it is, and I enjoyed cruising around in the sapphire blue one you see above. But the i8’s party piece is its appearance rather than its performance. It’s only about as fast as a stage 2 Subaru, but it will turn as many heads in town as a Koenigsegg, especially in an insane color like this. We actually had a guy push his stroller into a curb because he was so fixated on our i8 just sitting at a red light.
The i8 is really is a concept car you can buy, but it’s more for casual drivers than enthusiasts in terms of the driving experience it offers. Also just like the DeLorean ⛄️
I was lucky enough to take this 57S out for a spin just a few months before Maybach folded. It was always my preference to a Rolls Phantom as a kid looking through DuPont Registry, but on my 2011 trip to Pebble Beach I drove this Maybach back to back with two Rolls Royce’s and my opinion totally changed.
The Maybach was awesome in so many ways, but it never really shakes it’s S-Class roots. But behind the wheel it drove exactly like a W220 S Class, just a little bigger and with a lot more power. It was nowhere near the unique driving experience you get in a Rolls. After driving this car, I understood why the brand was folding. It just wasn’t quite distinctive enough for those who want the opposite of a regular experience.
The first modern Jag I ever drove was this mental XKR-S. One of just 300, it also remains one of the rarest cars I’ve driven.
I knew it would be fast with its 550hp supercharged V8, but at the time, I hadn’t expected it to be so hardcore in terms of ride and handling. This is very much on the sport end of the GT range. And the sound this thing made was unreal, a genuinely savage roar.
This was quite a car to experience back in 2011, and these are actually quite a deal today considering their rarity and performance. Just be ready to handle the obvious Jag issues. Also, as I’ve been posting all this stuff from the past, I’m starting to realize I had quite a burgundy thing going on.
We were 21 and they threw us the keys to this $500,000 Rolls Royce. That was the moment we knew our idea had worked. We started Mind Over Motor largely as a way to get access in the automotive world, and just 2 months after we launched the site, we somehow landed press passes to Pebble Beach.
A few weeks later we were doing 100mph up a beautiful stretch of coastline on 17 Mile Drive in this Phantom Drophead Coupe with the wind in our hair and huge grins on our faces.
My own mindset at the time was far too juvenile for a Rolls, but there I was with my right foot connected to a V12 and I wanted to see what it could do. Obviously, I realized the Phantom wasn’t a sports car at all, more a luxury super-yacht for the road. But it was capable, and the whole experience was immensely satisfying.
We knew we had a very ambitious idea going in, and as we pulled out past the gate in this Rolls, it hit us, this was reality. 🤘😎
This was my first drive in a Ferrari, a 430 Scuderia. Right after my drive in the Lambo, I hopped into this Scud, the stripped-out track-focused version of the F430.
I was used to driving sports cars, my STI and my dad’s 911, and I had just driven the Gallardo, but I cannot emphasize enough how much sharper this Ferrari felt than the lot of them. It didn’t feel like a machine I was operating, but more like it connected right to my brain stem and became a part of me out on the track. I’d had my warm up in the Lambo, and with the deeper connection in the Ferrari, I really started to get in my groove.
I listened to the instructor and I wound up being able to enter corners at speeds I hadn’t thought possible. By the end, I was reaching around 125 on the main straight and entering the next corner at 90, where before I had only thought 60 or 70 was possible. It was an unbelievable rush, and the car gave me the confidence to really focus on learning.
Most Ferraris offer an amazing experience, but on track, a 430 Scuderia is more amazing than most of them. It was one hell of a hands-on introduction to the prancing horse.
This was the moment the dream was first realized. I was finally driving my first bonafide supercar! It was this bright orange Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, and I drove it on track at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas. This was also my first time on a proper race track too, so I had everything to learn.
I remember pulling out on the track. I just floored it in 1st and it broke all 4 tires loose, then chirped them again into 2nd. The ferocity of the acceleration and the roar of that V10 were unlike anything I could have imagined. Before that, I had only driven a few cars around 400hp, so this was by far the fastest car I’d experienced.
Being such a novice I did my best in the corners, TC saved me big time once, but I made full use of the short straight on all of my laps, clocking around 115 or so by the time I had to brake.
In hindsight, I was so sloppy, but I had a blast realizing my childhood dream of driving a supercar for the first time. A screaming Lamborghini is a great first experience to have.
We all have our firsts, and this was the first exotic car I ever drove, an ’02 Maserati Spyder like the one you see here (only a lot rougher around the edges).
I basically just bullshitted my way into a test drive at a used car lot down the shore. In true Italian style, the convertible top wouldn’t go down, but otherwise, it was in decent shape.
This was also my first experience with a proper paddle shift transmission. I found it shifted nicely at speed, but it was utter dog shit in traffic. I proceeded, enjoying the lovely Italian V8 engine, and I almost chirped the tires in front of a cop.
It was a fun test drive in a car which at the time was quite special in the eyes of 20 year old me…. if I only knew what was to come 😂👍
The Miata embodies the balance I was seeking in life, both as a car enthusiast as well as in my own mindset. At a time when I was about to go full ego with a big turbo on my Subaru, one of my buddies bought this little black 93 and offered to sell it to me at the end of summer. I sold my turbo and accompanying parts and made it happen.
EVO Magazine said the Miata has the same sort of experience as other sports cars, but in the Miata everything happens in slow motion so there’s more time to savor it. That piqued my interest big time, and as a bonus, driving the Miata also made my Subaru feel fast again, and I came to realize that having multiple complementary cars beats having one crazy car every time.
I came to love the Miata’s total lack of ego, and the strategy involved in driving a momentum car fast. It’s really all about blissfully enjoying life, and it has no greater purpose than that.
I call this photo the Miata Yin Yang ☯️ and it was taken by my buddy @danvphotos who had the white Miata. We had some great drives in these cars, neither of which we have anymore, but they set the stage for the future.
I’ve got a secret to tell you, the Porsche 996 is a ton of fun, despite the hate it gets from Porsche “purists.” It’s surely not the last word in Porsche perfection, but it is a really satisfying sports car experience, especially when you consider the money. Sure a 997 is better, but you’ll spend more than double for it.
My dad traded his 944 for this 996 a few months after I got my Subaru, and it’s the car I know second best in this world.
300hp in a 2900lb car, RWD with an LSD, and a 6 speed manual transmission with perfect gearing. The handling is sharp and nimble and the flat 6 engine howls with fury as the revs climb. It puts most other sports cars in its price range to shame, and there is nothing missing from the experience.
My dad still enjoys it, and I’ve been thankful he’s let me enjoy it over the years as well. It’s a Porsche you can really get out and drive because it has nothing to prove. I love that.
My first car, a 2004 Subaru WRX STi, which I still have 12 years later.
Yes, my dad bought it for me, and yes I was the stereotype kid with the STi in 2006. I did lots of really dumb things, insane 100+ speeds on roads definitely not meant for that. I embarrassed many Mustangs and even a few M3s and Porsches, and I somehow managed not to crash it along the way. I was always “smart” about being stupid, I guess.
I had the STI at the best time to have an STi, in high school 😂👍and it was fucking awesome. I enjoyed the hell out of it during my young and reckless years. It could’ve gotten me in a hell of a lot of trouble, both legally and physically, but it also proved good enough to get me out of any such trouble, either by way of slowing down or speeding up (if you catch my drift 😉🏎💨🚓).
I continue to hold onto it because I still really love it when it’s running right. It’s a nostalgic relic of my 19 year old self, and it brings me back every time I drive it.
New year, new beginning, and it’s making me think back on my journey as a driver and car enthusiast as I consider where I want to go from here.
My car obsession began as a kid, but my enthusiast driving really began with this, a 1990 Porsche 944 S2 just like the one shown here (not my photo). My Dad wanted to teach me to drive stick and he also wanted a sports car for some fun, so we found this 944 with 142k miles for around $9 grand and it was absolutely perfect. I first went over 100mph in this car, and my dad was very cool about it. I also learned to “drift” by sliding this car with it’s perfect 50/50 weight distribution (not sure if Dad knows that).
This car opened my eyes to the world of sports cars from the time I was 16 on a learner’s permit and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the 944. For me as a driver, this is Genesis.