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Behind the wheel of the world's most powerful cars

Jan. 12, 2010 - 08:40AM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 12, 2010 - 08:40AM  |  
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It's time to channel your inner Jason Statham.

All you need is a few hundred bucks and a plane ticket to Vegas and you, too, could be hurtling around a private race track in a supercar, experiencing high-octane thrills in an über-expensive, high-performance vehicle.

At Supercar Life, the Sin City-based company that puts regular Joes behind the wheels of some of the world's most expensive automobiles, you can be James Bond for a day. And no one's going to yell at you for slamming on the brakes, mashing down the pedal or burning out the Porsche's tires. That's what you're there for.

Win a package with Supercar Life!

"We fulfill boyhood dreams," said Joe Douthitt, vice president of this fantasy camp just a stone's throw from Nellis Air Force Base. "It's the sort of opportunity most people only dream about."

He's talking about the opportunity to drive a collection of the world's most elite supercars at the speeds for which they were designed. We're talking performance vehicles like the Lamborghini Gallardo, Aston Martin DB9, Mercedes CLK63 AMG Black Series and Porsche Turbo 997.

We're not talking ride-alongs, either. After a short time spent in Supercar's ground school, you'll soon be behind the wheel engaging in a series of exercises that are nearly as fun as hitting the track. These include going from zero to 60 as fast as the car will get you there, and then slamming on the brakes like your life depended on it.

These drills get drivers familiar with the characteristics of these glorious automotive bastards, which cost as much as half a million dollars.

After a little ground and pound, you'll be off to the track for an afternoon of racing, as fast as your car and your heart will take you.

"You get to drive them all by yourself, after an orientation with one of our professional drivers," Douthitt said. "That's what makes us unique: The diversity of cars we offer and the amount of time you get to drive them all by yourself. It blows people right away."

You roll from one car to the next in a dizzying sequential pace. Once mastered, you get to hit the track. For a half-day experience, more than an hour and a half is spent racing on the track.

"We get people going fast," he said. "And believe me, you will go fast." Supercar's pro drivers are there to teach and excite. They use a lead-follow scenario: The pro leads, you follow. Or try to.

"These cars can be very intimidating," Douthitt said. "We get people comfortable with them. It's great to see people's immediate gratification and watch their confidence levels rise."

By day's end, you'll appreciate why cars like these come with the price tags they do. The thump in the chest you get when you punch a Porsche 997 is unlike any muscle-car experience you've had.

"Everybody has the same reaction," Douthitt said. "It's just overwhelming."

The son of retired Army Lt. Col. Thomas Douthitt, of Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Joe Douthitt is eagerly wooing military audiences and their families with as much as a 15 percent discount off regular half-day prices, he said.

The proximity of several military installations, on top of the natural draw of Vegas, means a supercar experience could easily be in your future.

"I grew up with the military, and have great respect for these folks and their families," he said.

For pricing and more information, visit http://www.supercarlife.com/">www.supercarlife.com.

—————

Lawson is a former Military Times managing editor.

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