Driving Days for Kids
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Guide to Junior Driving Days
A love for driving can start at any age, but the biggest petrol-heads start young. Junior Driving Days provide a safe but exhilarating experience for aspiring racers or curious kids. In these expertly instructed lessons and demonstrations, even the most inexperienced of drivers will quickly become accomplished.
Of course, it’s a dad’s worst nightmare that his son or daughter can outdrive him. Can you imagine the stick you’d get? That’s why for the most part it is awe and excitement on offer, making you the coolest parent in the world.
There are a multitude of cars on offer. For the First Drive sessions you could be in anything from a Renault Clio 200 Cup, with its 141mph top speed and 197bhp, to a Ford Fiesta, with a more moderate top speed of 113mph. The modern Mini is also on hand, with slightly superior speed to the Clio 200; boasting 142mph despite the lesser 184bhp it has. If you fancy going a little more upmarket then children can even take the wheel of a Ferrari 360 or an Aston Martin DB9.
The days are balanced in terms of price, as is each session. The First Drive experiences start at around £50 and steadily rise to just over £100. Prices generally reflect the amount of driving time a youngster can have, the variety the day offers and the type of vehicles involved. For example, supercar sessions generally cost more than the first-time experiences in a Mini or saloon car,.
So what do the Junior Driving Experiences involve?
A typical session comprises of:
- Introductory Briefing
This is a run through of safety tips, driving theory, vehicle controls and general advice on how to negotiate the track or course safely.
- Demonstration Laps
The expert instructor will usually drive the course to demonstrate driving techniques and help familiarise young participants with the layout and show them how to drive the vehicle in question, be it a supercar, saloon, muddy off roader, rally car or beasts such as a bus or fire engine.
- Your Turn
Finally, after a lot of patience, it's the child's turn to try what is likely to be their first ever experience behind the wheel. For most youngsters this is a memory that will stay with them forever. After all, it's not every day a 12 year old gets to drive! This is their time to shine, have fun and enjoy themselves. There's no pressure to drive fast here, things are taken at the child's pace as they become accustomed to the controls of a motorised vehicle. Just relax and drive.
Ultimately a junior driving day is designed to give a young person their first taste of driving in a safe environment with specially adapted vehicles and professional instruction. The experience is comprehensive and balances fun with teaching, so that whoever the driver, they feel like they have achieved something amazing.
Which driving day for kids is the best?
Most boys and girls have grown up with a dream, whether it's to be a racing driver, fireman, bus driver or maybe even a farmer. For most children the idea of climbing into a huge and powerful vehicle and driving it is almost unbelievable and they will rave about it for weeks, so even a drive in the humble Mini Cooper or Fiesta will blow their minds. For the more hard to please child a blast in an Aston Martin or a Ferrari should dish up an exciting and thrilling ride.
If you want to learn the basics of driving and get a head start on your friends then the First Drive experiences are for you. If you want to be able to say “I’ve been in a Ferrari” then the supercars are for you.
There are many sites across the UK that offer the driving experiences listed. The First Drive sessions are available at major race circuits such as Rockingham (Northamptonshire), Three Sisters (Lancashire), Brands Hatch in Kent, Bedford Autodrome and Oulton Park (Cheshire).
A fair few of the Supercar experiences take place at Prestwold Hall in Leicestershire, but there are also sessions available in Elvington, North Yorkshire, as well as Bruntingthorpe and Kenilworth – again in the midlands – or in Longcross near Chobham in Surrey.
These sessions provide a wide variety of experiences for young, keen drivers. Professional instructors, often ex-racing drivers, are on hand to give youngsters tips on things like steering, clutch control, the best ways to brake, avoid skidding and gear changes. The list could go on. There are so many elements to driving, and it’s not just the basic principles. The off-roading and the supercars add the dimensions of speed and terrain into the mix. The difficulties involved will force the young driver to adapt and improve, and bring out ability they may not have realised they had.