If you look at any experience website, like Adrenaline or RedBalloon, you’ll notice that V8 supercar experiences are one of the most popular options. These companies are popping up all over Australia, offering everyday people the chance to ride in – or even drive – a V8 supercar for themselves.
However, before you commit to the ‘ride of your life’ with one of these high-speed adventures, it’s a good idea to look beneath the surface and find out what you’re really getting for your money.
Are V8 hot laps worth trying out, or are there other worthwhile alternatives worth exploring?
The V8 supercar hot lap experience is one of the most popular driving adventures offered in Perth. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the best one. It does give the everyday person an opportunity to ride in a pro-style V8 race car with an experienced driver at the wheel. It’s marketed as a fun and memorable gift for thrill-seekers, but there are a number of details to be aware of before you commit to this short (and costly) experience.
This post gives a comprehensive review of the Fastrack V8 Race Experience and V8 Drive Day at Barbagallo (Wanneroo) Raceway in Perth. If you’re concerned about getting maximum bang for your buck, we’ll take a look at some other driving experiences available in Perth, so you can weigh up all your options.
Read on to learn more about the fine print surrounding the V8 Supercar experiences. We’ll look at some real-life customer reviews so you can hear from those who’ve tried the experience first-hand. This post will help you determine if the driving experience you’re keen to do is really worth paying for.
Why Are V8 Supercar Experiences So Popular?
When the first Fast and Furious movie came out, it was an instant hit and has since become one of the biggest movie franchises in history. This action-filled series has proven that people are drawn to the adrenaline of racing and fast, sleek cars!
Businesses picked up on this public interest and began offering driving experiences that deliver the highly sought after adrenaline rush and need for speed inspired by this franchise. For long-time motorsports fans, though, the itch to get behind the wheel never needed any Hollywood inspiration.
Anyone who’s an avid follower of the Supercars Championship has probably always wanted to take one of the V8s for a spin themselves.
What Does ‘Hot Lap’ Mean?
The term hot lap is often used in motorsports and car racing. This refers to driving a car around a real racetrack outside of competition. It is very common for drivers to complete hot laps before a formal race to practice and get comfortable navigating a particular track.
When it comes to motorsports experiences, hot laps are typically passenger seat laps riding alongside a pro driver.
These days, numerous businesses offer racecar hot lap experiences to the general public all across Australia. The experience is marketed as a fantastic opportunity for car enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies to spend a short time in the shoes of the pros.
However, reviews are mixed when it comes to whether these racing experiences are really worth it.
How Many Laps Are in a V8 Supercar Hot Lap Experience?
Different companies tend to offer a range of packages with varying lap numbers, so it all depends on which option you choose. Something else to keep in mind: the number of laps is directly related to the cost of the experience. This means the more laps you want to do, the higher the overall cost.
Looking at the V8 Supercar experiences available across Australia, the number of V8 hot laps in a session can range from 2 to 14 laps. At Fastrack V8 Race Experience, only 2-lap hot lap packages are offered. At V8 Drive Day, the other hot lap operator at Wanneroo Raceway, there is more variety. Here riders have the option to ride in the backseat for 3 laps, for a smaller price tag, or jump in the front seat for 3 or 5 laps. Both locations also offer packages that combine hot laps with the driving experience.
While the cheapest packages – those with just two hot laps – are the most popular for gift vouchers, customers are most often underwhelmed by these short experiences.
Passengers who experience 6 to 8 hot laps report being the most satisfied with the value, so the fact that Fastrack offers a maximum of 2 laps may set customers up for disappointment.
Customer reviews suggest some V8 hot lap businesses actually use this as a tactic to upsell on the day – we’ll talk more about that later.
How Much Does a Hot Lap Cost?
The V8 experience comes in packaged deals, and the details offered in each package determine the general cost. Some of the main factors that affect the price include: choosing drive laps or passenger laps, the number of laps, the car type, and the intensity.
Prices at V8 Drive Day start at just $99 if you opt to be a backseat passenger for just 3 laps. However, if you want the thrill of riding up front, the experience will cost you $209 for 3 laps, and $349 for 5 laps. The VIP packages on offer will set you back $599 to $699 but will see you enjoy up to 13 laps, with the opportunity to ride in the front and back as well as having your turn in the driver’s seat.
The 2 packages available at Fastrack V8 Race Experience both offer only 2 hot laps, but for an extra $120 you get to ride next to former NASCAR champion, George Elliot. This experience will set you back $340.
As you can see, the V8 car hot lap experience can get expensive very quickly if you want to maximise your experience.
How Long Does a V8 Supercar Experience Last?
Many V8 supercar hot laps promise an exhilarating and pulsating experience. However, take note that this experience is usually a very short one. Just to give you an idea, one lap around a typical racetrack is approximately between 2.1 and 2.4 kilometres. If you book a 4-lap drive, that’s just 9.6 kilometres. The top speed of V8 supercars is around 300 kilometres per hour. So, even if you drive way below this speed rate, you will likely complete the entire experience in less than 10 minutes.
The length of these V8 experiences is one of the major reasons customers mention in negative reviews.
What Do Customers Say About the V8 Hotlap Experience?
Customer reviews for V8 hot lap experiences are reasonably mixed. Some people love the thrilling experience and have enjoyed the professional attitude provided by the staff and coaches.
Here are some examples of positive customer reviews:
However, many customers found themselves severely underwhelmed or even downright disappointed with the experience and claim they expected more for their money.
Here are some negative reviews to consider:
Pros of V8 Hot Lap Experiences
For many customers, their V8 hot lap experiences were a gift from a loved one. Driving a V8 supercar on a professional racetrack is an incredibly unique gift, especially for motorsport and driving enthusiasts.
This driving adventure is a promising opportunity for thrill-seekers who understand what they’re signing up for, and racing fanatics may consider it a great experience to cross off their bucket list. Most positive reviews of the experience highlight the organisation of the event and the friendliness of the staff.
Cons of V8 Hot Lap Experiences
On average, the V8 supercar hot lap packages offered to the public are pretty expensive. The main caveat of the whole experience is that it’s relatively brief, considering the price tag to participate. Riding in a race car is fun, but it will be over before you really get to relish it, and it’s not as engaging as a hands-on activity.
V8 hot laps operators are aware of this shortcoming but have actually used it to gain even more revenue. For example, customers claimed that during their scheduled V8 drive day, they were highly encouraged to pay an additional amount to get more laps and have a ‘better experience’.
Another common complaint from customers is the long wait time for their chosen activity. Businesses tend to cluster people into groups for this activity. Therefore, you likely go in a queue and end up waiting for over an hour for an otherwise quick activity. Some people enjoy the suspense and atmosphere, others understandably get frustrated.
Companies selling the packages have also failed to be clear about what composes a lap. For example, some packages actually count leaving and re-entering the pit as laps. Those who have in-depth knowledge of cars have also complained that the V8 vehicles they drove were the slower versions of the supercars used in races, not the real deal.
Overall, some of the biggest disappointments customers have highlighted come from lack of communication and a sense of false advertising leading to expectations not being met.
V8 Race Experiences in Perth
Most commercial V8 supercar experiences in Perth take place at the Barbagallo Raceway, now called Wanneroo Raceway once again. Whatever you call it, it’s a 2.4-kilometre Championship Racetrack that hosts several high-profile racing events such as the Perth Supersprint, a round of the Supercars Championship.
This is why many companies choose to station their V8 supercars at Barbagallo, giving their advertising a boost with a bit of that championship magic.
Alternatives If You Want to Try Race Car Driving in Perth
There may be several V8 supercar experiences available in Perth, but hot laps are not the only driving experience worth checking out in Western Australia.
At Drift School WA, you can also learn and experience the adrenaline-packed street racing technique called drifting. Drifting is an exhilarating experience as well as an impressive driving maneuver, and with Drift School WA, you don’t just come along for the ride – you learn to drift yourself in a fully kitted out car.
Drift School WA offers a variety of drifting courses, and all of them are suitable for beginners, with no drifting experience necessary. All instructors are expert competitive drifters, offering one-on-one tutoring to guarantee safety without taking away the fun and excitement. And if you’d really rather not get behind the wheel, one of the most popular options is 8 to 10 drifting hot laps alongside a pro driver.
What Types of V8 Experiences Are There?
V8 experiences come in three types – driving experiences, passenger experiences, and then a combination of the two. The hot lap experiences are the most popular, since they’re cheaper than the hands-on options.
This package includes a short induction on how to drive V8 race cars before you get to gear up and drive the race car yourself, with a coach usually at your side. The passenger experience means you ride in a V8 supercar (front or back seat) with a professional driver taking the wheel.
The third type of V8 experience combines both the driving and riding experiences. This option usually involves more laps and is more expensive than the first two experiences. Customers usually choose the number of laps they want to do and the type of car they want to drive. Some of the car choices out there include Ford, Holden, and Mustang.
It’s important to remember that you need to know how to drive in manual gear to enjoy V8 supercar hot laps.
Are The Cars in a Hot Lap Experience Real V8 Supercars?
The cars used in the V8 hot lap experience are not typical road cars, but they are also not the same cars typically used in the V8 Supercars Series. Instead, they are usually modified V8 cars with slick race tyres and redesigned interiors. The original interior is removed and fitted with a roll cage, and the seats are also replaced with ones used in races.