Experiencing America’s best muscle cars at World Class Driving
I love modern American muscle cars. The ones with rumbling, throaty V-8s that offer gobs of torque and horsepower pushed through the rear wheels. Forget winding up the engine—I want the immediate feeling of power when I step on the gas at any rpm.
That means barrel-chested rides like Ford’s Mustang GT and Boss 302, or the Chevrolet Camaro SS or Corvette. Not to mention the Dodge Charger, Challenger, and Viper, which in spite of their corporate Italian accents still retain their red, white, and blue roots.
So imagine my excitement when I found out about a company in Las Vegas that lets you drive several high-powered cars in a single day. It’s called World Class Driving, and it offers a program called the “American Muscle Car Driving Experience” where you get to drive a Challenger, Mustang and Corvette back-to-back. And they're not the base-model, rental-car fleet versions. Oh no. You get to drive some of the very best muscle cars available today.
The Challenger is the top-of-the line SRT8, its 392 HEMI V-8 making a whopping 470 hp. Its Mustang is a Shelby GT500 with a 5.8-liter, supercharged V-8 monster that has 662 hp and can propel the car from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds. And the Corvette is the mighty Z06 with its massive 7.0-liter V-8 generating 505 hp, good for a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds. A new 580-hp Camaro ZL1 was unavailable at the time but was ordered and is on its way.
The experience started with a visit to its showroom on Dean Martin Way, a few minutes drive from the main Vegas Strip. It’s a dream garage where they keep all of these American cars plus some European exotics (Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Gallardo, Bentley Continental GT, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Audi R8, to name a few) used with their other driving experience.
After a quick sign-in at the front desk, we gathered for a 20-minute orientation where the staff went over the operation of the cars — mostly so the green drivers wouldn’t get nervous behind the wheel. Since we were driving on roads and not on the track, they emphasized that we should remember the speed limit in case we are asked (50 mph in the Red Rock Canyon State Park, our destination for the 30-mile drive). After that, we headed out to the cars.
I started out in the Corvette Z06 and was told to stay close to our lead car driver, Warren, a friendly part-time MMA fighter and one of the drivers at World Class Driving. We merged into midday traffic and headed for the highway. Instructions from the two-way radio were frequent and Warren and Darren, pulling up the rear in the trail car, did a great job of herding the throttle-happy flock together, directing us to the correct lanes, and letting us know when our next turns were coming. About half way through our journey we switched cars and I got into the driver’s seat of the Shelby GT 500.
Several times during the trip, when traffic and road conditions permitted, we were allowed to put the hammer down and experience the acceleration these cars provide. The highway leading out to Red Rock Canyon is long and straight, so getting to speeds above the posted limits took only a matter of seconds. However, at no time did I feel anxious or concerned about driving these cars. Most of the time it was a beautiful and scenic drive, and not a day to flog the cars on a road course.