MIAM December 2010 : Page 104

Miami Drive, 1200 Brickell Bay Dr., suite 106, Miami, 305.702.0017, miamidriveclub.com. 104 | | December 2010 IMAGES COURTESY OF MIAMI DRIVE. THE RADAR | RIDES MON SPEED DE dr ives es v e n o Castr or ghini the L amb yder on Sp do r a l l a G hat also t k c a r a t Mi a mi s a c show es ics. ot x e Dr ive’s Fast Times The new members-only Miami Drive is a playground for racecar fanatics | By Jim Motavalli | I tend to avoid roller coasters; the Ali Baba ride at a church carnival once reduced me to a quivering mass. But there I was recently in the passenger seat of a 435-horsepower Porsche GT3, hurtling around Homestead Speedway at speeds above 130 mph. And it wasn’t just that we were going that fast and taking curves at g-forces that could crush a watermelon, but that the laughing hyena behind the wheel seemed to be hugely enjoying himself. Funny, because he’d been charming when he introduced himself as Helio Castroneves, the Brazil-born Miami-resident and three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. I could see why people loved him on the fth season of Dancing With the Stars (which he also won). Castroneves probably had better things to do with his day than upset my stomach, but we came together around Miami Drive, the city’s new private exotic car club. He is the o cial spokesperson and an enthusiastic member. Miami Drive owns the GT3 and—also lined up on the racetrack grid—a Ferrari F430, a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder and an Audi R8 V10. Back in the stable are a Porsche Cayenne GTS Turbo and a Range Rover HSE Sport, and on order is a Ferrari California and assorted other exotics, including Bentleys, an Aston Martin and a Maserati. We’ll get to the helicopter later. e private car club, a hit initially in Europe, has proven a popular idea in the U.S., too. Among the companies now putting people behind the wheel of near-racing cars are the Vulcan Car Club in New Jersey, Club Sportiva in northern California, DFW Elite Car Club and the Classic Car Club in New York. Miami Drive o ers a twist to the formula, which su ered a bit during the recession. According to founder Jose Luis Bueno, every one of its 30 current members lives outside the U.S. Brazil is the most popular home base, but members—who visit Miami from 30 to 40 days each year—also come from Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico. “We are marketing to second-home owners and tourists, with a bilingual sta ,” Bueno says. “Miami is the perfect city for that approach because a big percentage of our population has its main residences elsewhere. ey don’t want to keep a car here and garage it for 10 or 11 months.” According to Managing Partner Javier Martin Riva, a former Goldman Sachs nancial advisor and ex-racer in the Italian GT2 series, “Members can enjoy our cars at a fraction what it would cost for them to maintain a car here. And we take care of the maintenance.” And that’s where the helicopter, a Robinson R44 Raven, comes in: Miami Drive will pick up members in the chopper and deliver them to a special event—then hand over the keys to member’s wheels of choice. Annual memberships range from $7,500 to $29,000 (after a one-time $750 fee). What varies is the amount of time spent with the cars, based on a point system, and the number of drivers. For example, 100 miles over the course of a day in the Ferrari F430 uses up 30 points toward the 1,210 you have per year as a platinum member. Private driving visits to Homestead other tracks, sometimes with Castroneves hand, are among the perks of membership. So, which is the famous driver’s favorite ride? “All of these $150,000 cars are very capable on this track,” he says. “But I’d love a Porsche 918 Spyder. Hybrids are the cars everybody’s talking about.” e 700-horsepower Spyder may cost $640,000 when it’s available. But are you listening, Miami Drive? Castroneves wants one, so it probably should be on the order sheet. M

The Radar Rides

Jim Motavalli

<b>Fast Times</b><br /> <br /> I tend to avoid roller coasters; the Ali Baba ride at a church carnival once reduced me to a quivering mass. But there I was recently in the passenger seat of a 435-horsepower Porsche GT3, hurtling around Homestead Speedway at speeds above 130 mph. And it wasn’t just that we were going that fast and taking curves at g-forces that could crush a watermelon, but that the laughing hyena behind the wheel seemed to be hugely enjoying himself. Funny, because he’d been charming when he introduced himself as Helio Castroneves, the Brazil-born Miami-resident and three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.I could see why people loved him on the .. fth season of Dancing With the Stars (which he also won).<br /> <br /> Castroneves probably had better things to do with his day than upset my stomach, but we came together around Miami Drive, the city’s new private exotic car club. He is the o cial spokesperson and an enthusiastic member. Miami Drive owns the GT3 and—also lined up on the racetrack grid—a Ferrari F430, a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder and an Audi R8 V10.Back in the stable are a Porsche Cayenne GTS Turbo and a Range Rover HSE Sport, and on order is a Ferrari California and assorted other exotics, including Bentleys, an Aston Martin and a Maserati. We’ll get to the helicopter later.<br /> <br /> The private car club, a hit initially in Europe, has proven a popular idea in the U.S., too. Among the companies now putting people behind the wheel of near-racing cars are the Vulcan Car Club in New Jersey, Club Sportiva in northern California, DFW Elite Car Club and the Classic Car Club in New York.<br /> <br /> Miami Drive offers a twist to the formula, which su ered a bit during the recession.According to founder Jose Luis Bueno, every one of its 30 current members lives outside the U.S. Brazil is the most popular home base, but members—who visit Miami from 30 to 40 days each year—also come from Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico.<br /> <br /> “We are marketing to second-home owners and tourists, with a bilingual status ,” Bueno says.“Miami is the perfect city for that approach because a big percentage of our population has its main residences elsewhere.They don’t want to keep a car here and garage it for 10 or 11 months.” <br /> <br /> According to Managing Partner Javier Martin Riva, a former Goldman Sachs financial advisor and ex-racer in the Italian GT2 series, “Members can enjoy our cars at a fraction what it would cost for them to maintain a car here.And we take care of the maintenance.” <br /> <br /> And that’s where the helicopter, a Robinson R44 Raven, comes in: Miami Drive will pick up members in the chopper and deliver them to a special event—then hand over the keys to member’s wheels of choice.<br /> <br /> Annual memberships range from $7,500 to $29,000 (after a one-time $750 fee).What varies is the amount of time spent with the cars, based on a point system, and the number of drivers.For example, 100 miles over the course of a day in the Ferrari F430 uses up 30 points toward the 1,210 you have per year as a platinum member.<br /> <br /> Private driving visits to Homestead other tracks, sometimes with Castroneves hand, are among the perks of membership.<br /> <br /> So, which is the famous driver’s favorite ride? “All of these $150,000 cars are very capable on this track,” he says.“But I’d love a Porsche 918 Spyder.Hybrids are the cars everybody’s talking about.”The 700-horsepower Spyder may cost $640,000 when it’s available.But are you listening, Miami Drive? Castroneves wants one, so it probably should be on the order sheet.M<br /> <br />

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