Imagine sitting behind the wheel of not one but three supercars, steering the Ferrari 458 Italia, McLaren MP4-12C and Porsche GT3 models along some of Europe’s and the United Arab Emirates’ most exhilarating roads. Imagine what it must feel like to drive these cars as if they were your own?
Well, imagine no longer, as this adrenaline-charged adventure is now a reality, thanks to Waldorf Astoria Driving Experiences (www.waldorfastoria.com/drivingexperiences). A selection of Waldorf Astoria’s iconic hotels in Europe and the United Arab Emirates, each as individual as the selected supercars themselves, are offering every petrol head’s dream. This is an opportunity to stay in luxurious surroundings, drive and compare three high-performance vehicles along pre-determined routes and spend time with some of the world’s most highly regarded motorsport professionals.
World-class professional racecar driver Didier Theys has personally curated each route, ensuring each experience in France, Germany, Italy, Scotland and the UAE offers the driver a carefully balanced blend of straight roads, minimum traffic and hairpin bends. In other words, the perfect chance to compare the three cars’ speed and agility – all played out in front of some of the regions’ most breathtaking scenery.
The experience gives a maximum of three pairs of drivers a high-octane adventure lasting 2.5 to 3 hours, during which time each car lover will alternate between the three supercars and the professional driver’s lead car. This part of the driving experience offers each driver a unique opportunity to spend time with a racing legend; in Europe Vanina Ickx takes charge (Le Mans 24-hour race, Dakar Rally and Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race), whilst in the UAE, Eric Van De Poele leads the day (12 Hours of Sebring, Petit Le Mans and Spa 24 Hours).
Supercar aficionados need not worry if their driving skills are not world class, as the professionals are on hand to offer friendly, uncondescending coaching and advice, ensuring every driver has enduring memories of this remarkable experience.
The nominated professional racing driver leads each journey and is in constant contact with each driver via walkie-talkie, deepening the driver’s sense of exhilaration and enjoyment. They are in a position to know what to expect around the next tight bend, thus enabling them to drive each moment to the full.
So, if you are an auto enthusiast whose ultimate dream is to drive three iconic supercars on some of Europe’s and the UAE’s most thrilling roads, and stay in some of the world’s most elegant hotels, then the Waldorf Astoria Driving Experience is for you.
Each Waldorf Astoria Hotel’s location and setting presents a route that expresses the region’s and country’s own distinct personality. However, all the routes share one common factor – open roads that reward the driver with an authentic and unforgettable experience.
Scotland’s dramatic scenery is ever-present on the route from the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian. As drivers leave this converted Victorian railway station, a wild and rugged terrain awaits, with sparsely populated roads and sweeping bends mirroring the theatrical landscape.
The French experience starts at Trianon Palace, Versailles, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel. This extravagant Rococo palace sets the tone for the journey ahead – a route that personifies this region of France with verdant, rolling hills, dense forest and off the beaten track roads offering the perfect stage on which to compare these equally dramatic technological powerhouses.
To the Waldorf Astoria Berlin for some classic timeless luxury and, of course, some of Europe’s most thrilling roads – Germany’s autobahn. The route has been planned to allow drivers to take advantage of these famously straight roads. However, it is not only speed that is on offer – the scenic roads make the perfect stage on which to test the drivers’ skill at steering and car control.
La dolce vita beckons at Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. The hotel, perched on 15 acres of Mediterranean parkland overlooking Italy’s capital, sets up this journey of a lifetime. The meticulously planned route encompasses all that Italy’s roads and natural beauty have to offer. Sitting behind the wheel of these remarkable cars, the driver gets to enjoy a variety of driving experiences, which are matched by the ever-changing landscape: vineyards, olive groves, woodland and pockets of urbanisation.
The United Arab Emirates has two locations where adrenalin junkies can experience the power and agility of the supercars: Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, a remarkable beach resort destination, and Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, set by the azure Arabian Sea and offering unparalleled luxury and facilities. Both of the hotels’ routes give drivers the opportunity to evaluate their skill along the very twisty roads and then push the cars to their limits on traffic-free open highways.
Ferrari 458 Italia
The Ferrari 458 Spider is the first car to combine a mid-rear engine with a retractable folding hard top that delivers both unprecedented in-cabin comfort and unparalleled Spider performance. The 458 Spider offers a genuine sense of sportiness and power. An incredible mix of sounds supplied by the car’s 570 horsepower incorporates just the right notes.
Known simply as the McLaren 12C, this supercar was born, designed and manufactured by McLaren Automotive. It is the first production car wholly designed and built by McLaren. The MP4-12C features a carbon-fibre composite chassis, and is powered by a mid-mounted McLaren M838T 3.8-litre V8, twin-turbo engine developing approximately 592 hp.
This, McLaren’s first production vehicle, is an advanced supercar designed to do battle with Ferrari’s 458. It offers impressively precise handling and blistering acceleration, along with surprisingly high levels of everyday usability and comfort.
The 911 GT3 has always been a benchmark for a GT Supercar. With a long tradition on the road and in racing, Porsche always demonstrates that it can reach the pinnacle of what is possible.