Ariel Atom on the Brain

Ariel Atom Experience
Ariel Atom Experience; photo courtesy of OTP

Life is full of experiences. Some you’d like to relive while others you’d prefer to forget. Learning to walk, riding a bike or tying you shoes are some early ones most people will have. Of course, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. At 30 I have many more experiences to, well, experience. But, I can say with complete confidence that one of the most memorable of them will be the Ariel Atom Experience. There just aren’t that many opportunities to feel what going from zero to 100 km/h in 2.8 seconds on four wheels is like (and, what better way is there to celebrate my 30th?). The AAE gives you that experience, but that’s just for starters.

The Ariel Atom Experience is a high-performance driving adventure you’re not likely to forget! Part and parcel to this is the awesome Brammo Motorsports Ariel Atom you get to drive. At 1,400 pounds with its whiny 245-hp supercharged 2.0L GM Ecotec rear engine, the low-cost British supercar’s unsurpassed power-to-weight ratio of over 600 bhp/ton translates into pure adrenaline rush.

The second key to having a most memorable time at the AAE is the top-notch team of experienced professionals that keep the grin-filled programs well-oiled and progressing safely with personal one-on-one interactions. Hosted by Trak Motorsports Inc. (TMI), CEO Dave Goadby and his team have motorsports experience starting with amateur karting in 1989 on up to professional road racing from 1995 to 2004. They definitely know how to run a program!

The high level of hospitality they offers its customers reflects their passion for speed and motorsports. It’s immediately apparent upon your arrival at the track where your eyes begin to take in the professional track side paddock dominated by a huge trailer that functions as the guts of the operation. On one side is a covered pit area where the program’s eight Atoms line up and get ready for action.

Running the full length of the race trailer, the opposite side functions as an indoor/outdoor classroom/dining room where participants get both oriented and refueled with gourmet food throughout the day. A manned continental breakfast buffet spread with coffee, tea and espresso is out when you arrive. At lunch it’s replaced by a fully catered affair with menu choices like longue de boeuf, curried Hawaiian broccoli salad, poached salmon with a strawberry jalapeno compote and more.

There’s also a 60-inch plasma screen on the side of the trailer that comes in handy for presentations and video review sessions later on in the day (all AAE cars have in-car cameras installed). After a short orientation briefing it’s time to suit up in your Nomex fire suit, brand new driving gloves and helmet and head out on the track for the first time. Seated next to your personal driving coach who is now talking over the two-way radio from the driver’s seat, the next six to eight minutes will be your first real taste of the Atom. Then it’s your turn!

Going progressively faster every lap up to where you’re comfortable, you will find the Atom drives like nothing else you’ve ever experienced. It’s blazingly fast and the exoskeleton you sit inside offers a view of the road found nowhere else. As long as you have a valid license and can work a manual transmission, you can drive this car fast, very fast!

Depending on the package, full-day programs offer about two hours of segmented seat time in the Atom. At $1,450 per person, AAE Gold packages offer the most driving time. The corporate half-day rate for groups of 20 or more is $495 per person. At the end of the day, if you must own one, TMI–the exclusive Canadian distributor for the Brammo Atom–will deduct your AAE fees from the purchase price of your very own custom-built Atom. How cool is that?

AAE events are taking place on both side of the 49th parallel. Visit the Ariel Atom Experience to find out when and where to have your own supercar experience in this incredible car. Seats are going fast. Ariel Atom fast!

[Update: It’s been a few months since I drove the Ariel Atom on Shannonville’s Fabi race track on my birthday. It feels like it was just yesterday though. How does time fly by so fast? A couple of weeks after getting to do this, I got married and spent 10 days honeymooning in beautiful, sunny Negril Jamaica with my amazing wife. We had a fantastic time but found it really difficult to re-adjust back to normal life. It’s not that I wasn’t prepared to face reality again, it’s just that I was having trouble getting Ariel out of my head.]