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How To Drive A Supercar Without Ending Up In An Embarrassing YouTube Video

Illustration for article titled How To Drive A Supercar Without Ending Up In An Embarrassing YouTube Video
Photo: Andrew P Collins

I gave as many rides as I could in the short time I babysat a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ. “I’d love to rent something like this one day,” one passenger confided. “But I’d be afraid to crash it.” A valid concern I’m happy to try and allay for non-pros who might find themselves behind the wheel of a supercar.

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There are plenty of newb-wrecks-expensive-car videos online, generally followed by a cascade of comments that are some version of: “More dollars than sense!” Right?

And yes, there are some reckless dummies with more credit than talent. But also, even in today’s era of advanced driver aids and ultra-grippy tires, it’s not that hard for 5-, 6-, 700-plus horsepower to get away from you.

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Unless somebody’s driving drunk or high, in which case you can fork right off, I always feel bad for the dudes (it’s always dudes) who clearly got over-excited and drove off the deep end too quickly. Sometimes literally.

You do not need an SCCA competition license or elite driver training to have a good time in a McLaren or something similarly extreme. You do, however, need discipline and earnest respect for just how unforgiving these cars can be.

So if you just won the lottery/sold your app/inherited a hotel chain and find ourself stepping out of a Prius into a Ferrari, or maybe you’re splurging on Lamborghini rental and are fired up to make your high-horsepower dreams come true for a day, here’s a little advice that might help you keep your good time from melting into a big insurance claim.

Illustration for article titled How To Drive A Supercar Without Ending Up In An Embarrassing YouTube Video
Photo: Andrew P Collins
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Learn What All The Buttons Do

Zooming down the highway at 75 mph is not the time to bury yourself in your new car’s infotainment system. Your speedy supercar will wander away from you the second you take your eyes off the road.

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But also, you don’t want to look like a total putz getting high-centered on the ramp into a gas station because you took off without knowing how to use the nose-lift.

Adjust The Seat, Mirrors, Steering Wheel Properly

You can do this while you’re learning the buttons. Temper your excitement, just a little longer, and make sure you’re perfectly positioned to have good leverage on the steering wheel and the best visibility you can have before shooting off into traffic.

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No Music (At First)

I tend to want to drive approximately five times faster when good tunes are on. If you also feel this way, consider keeping the beats off at least until you’re comfortable with the machine’s controls.

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Leave Traction Control And Other Safety Measures On

All that shit is there to make you look good, not keep you from having fun. Don’t futz with it.

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Roll Into And Off The Throttle

If you haven’t handled huge horsepower before, I promise you’re going to have a better time if you heed this advice: Do not suddenly mat the gas pedal, or once you’re going fast, snap your foot off the throttle abruptly.

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“But the whole point is to skurrrt off!” I know, don’t worry, that’s why I’m here to help.

Many supercars have magnificently impressive traction, but they can’t beat the laws of physics. If you suddenly put tons of power to cold tires (even sticky ones) they might spin, behave unpredictably, and send you off in a direction you don’t want to go.

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Then when you let off the gas in a panic, you suddenly disrupt the car’s balance all over again as weight transfers from the back to the front, giving it another opportunity to spin you out into ouch city.

Almost as important as the car being surprised–don’t underestimate the fear you might experience in a modern supercar under hard acceleration.

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You’ve probably seen chatter on forums and in comment sections that looks something like: “Supercars are so advanced they practically drive themselves nowadays.” “No modern cars got no soul.” In my humble opinion; bullshit on both accounts.

While it’s true that some cars are more viscerally invigorating than others, for the unjaded (and especially the uninitiated) a supercar is going to blow your mind. For real. It might also make you crap your pants!

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You’re going to want to walk the car up to speed and get used to its abilities incrementally. It will still feel fast! Seriously, it will, don’t worry about that. Just focus on maintaining control of the car. That is how a true supercar-driving gentleman or lady baller behaves, anyway.

You’re Simultaneously Invisible And Ultra Loud

Once you spot a Lamborghini Aventador, it’s hard to take your eyes off it.

But if you’re going about your day like most people seem to: One knee on the steering wheel, one hand on a coffee, one hand on a phone... both eyes on a phone... A car that sits well below the beltline of modern SUVs can disappear into blindspots. So practice motorcycle driving techniques and drive like you’re invisible.

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On the other hand, when people do clock you, be prepared for a lot of street race challenges, cheers, jeers, extra bold road ragers, and lots of attention

Always Assume A Camera Is Watching

If you take anything away from my little Supercar Driving For Dummies guideblog here, let it be this: It’s 2020, everybody has a camera, and you are going to get a lot of pictures/videos/TicTacs and Twittagrams uploaded of you.

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What’s that Spider-Man quote: “With great horsepower, don’t be a dick?” Driving a supercar in a big city can be fun, but it comes with some baggage you’re hopefully better-equipped to deal with after reading this blog.

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So rent yourself a supercar and have fun!

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles

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DISCUSSION

bmphlbn
Neil Young & the Restless

I’d add: If you can afford the car, you can afford a performance driving course/instructor.