If you drive the same vehicle every day like most people, it’s probably been a minute since you’ve had that “first time feeling” behind the wheel.

What would you give to be able to drive something newer, sleeker, more powerful, and to do it in a new and exciting setting?

If you answered that question with “well, at least a couple thousand bucks,” then read on, because automotive companies and independent organizations are recognizing the opportunity to provide rare driving experiences alongside memorable travel excursions, and we’ve sourced five of them in your own backyard (a.k.a. Canada). It’s a really big backyard.

Audi Ice Experience

Each winter Audi hosts an exclusive driving experience amidst the snow and ice in Quebec (there’s also a version of the Ice Experience that takes place in the southern Swiss Alps). The package includes meals and accommodations as well as advanced training for winter driving, touching on subjects like slalom braking and skid control in three vehicles: an RS 3 Sedan, a TTS Coupé, and a S5 Coupé.

The 2019 dates and location are still to be confirmed, but you can sign up for the latest notifications about the Ice Experience on Audi Canada’s website.

GTA Exotics

May through November, GTA Exotics hosts single-day driving excursions in both Niagara’s wine region and Caledon Hills in Southern Ontario. Guests have the chance to get behind the wheel of supercars and luxury models from a variety of manufacturers—just this year a Lamborghini Huracan, a McLaren MP4-12C and a Ferrari 458 Italia were added to the fleet.

Drop the family off at Niagara Falls and sign up for a quick two-hour experience package; or consider the more in-depth five-hour option, if you’ve got the time. Drivers can expect to test four to seven vehicles, depending on the day’s schedule, and enjoy a BBQ lunch at a private estate.

Porsche Driving Experience

Porsche offers a handful of different experiential packages that provide hands-on learning to get you familiar with its machines. Their intensive two-day track day is a great introduction to the ways of motorsport, but their travel and adventure experiences are truly next level. There are two to choose from: the Travel Experience, which takes drivers through either the mountains of British Columbia or along Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail; and the Adventure Experience in the Yukon.

The latter happens in September, sending a convoy of Porsche Cayenne from Whitehorse and Dawson City on paved roads like the Klondike Highway and rugged off-road terrain. Add “Watching the Northern Lights from the driver’s seat of a Porsche” to your bucket list, book this trip and then immediately check it off.

Alcan 5000

Let’s be clear: the Alcan 5000 isn’t a vacation, but it sure is an experience. Every two years from late February into March, adrenaline junkies take part in the intense 7,500-kilometre-long rally that sends motorists from Kirkland, Washington (just on the other side of the British Columbia border) straight north through towns like Dawson Creek, Whitehorse, Dawson City and Inuvik.

The event began in 1984 with just 23 entries as “a competitive adventure that rewards experience, good judgement, consistency, reliability and resourcefulness.” That’s according to its official website, so it’s clearly not for the the faint of heart. Entry is US$3,000 per person, which includes nine nights’ accommodation and the drive of a lifetime.

Source: Driving

October 29, 2018