Well, Christmas is almost upon us. If you are still looking for that perfect gift for the gearhead in your life, here is my annual Christmas gift suggestion list for the racer and the race fan. If you are the gearhead in question, leave this column lying around in a conspicuous place where your significant other can easily find it.
Depending on your budget, there is something for just about everyone. From a die cast model of your favorite driver’s car to a driving school, to a crate motor, you can spend anywhere from a few dollars to thousands.
Although the Internet is filled with websites peddling everything from race tickets to race cars, there are a couple of local places where you can find the perfect gift. One is the Need2Speed kart racing track in Reno. Whether you are a racer or not, you will have a blast in these electric-powered karts capable of 45 mph speeds on a tight, twisty quarter mile track in a 50,000 square foot, climate controlled building. You can race for as little as $18 if you’re a member, or $23 if you’re not. They also have group packages if you want to race with a bunch of friends. Visit them at 6895-B Sierra Center Parkway, or checkout their website at www.N2SReno.com.
Another local company catering to the automobile fan is Summit Racing Equipment. They have everything the performance enthusiast could want, whether the interest lies in racing, off-road, restoration, or anything else to do with custom, classic, racing, and specialty vehicles. You can find gifts in the low two-digit dollar figure at the low end, and the sky’s the limit at the high end. I would advise you to visit the store in Sparks, because if you order online your gift probably won’t arrive in time for Christmas. They are located at 960 East Glendale in Sparks, and the website is www.summitracing.com.
If you’re on a limited budget and the gearhead in your life is a reader, I recommend checking out the Motor Bookstore, which has everything from famous racers’ biographies to how-to books on preparing and driving race cars. They also have repair manuals for just about every type of street vehicle, calendars, die cast car models, and more. You can find them at www.themotorbookstore.com.
If your budget is wide open, send your loved one off to one of the many driving schools or racing experiences that are available at tracks around the country. The ones closest to us are the ones in Las Vegas and Sonoma. Las Vegas has Dream Racing (www.dreamracing.com), where you can drive a Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Porsche, and other supercars on the track, starting at $189 for five laps. If you’re an open-wheel fan, you can get behind the wheel of an Indy Car for a mere $599 with the Richard Petty Driving Experience. There are also a variety of stock car packages, ranging from around $100 for a short ride-along to about $3,500 for the Advanced Racing Experience.
The Jim Russell Racing School at Sonoma offers everything from teen defensive driving courses to high performance courses in your own car to full-out racing instruction in open-wheel formula cars. The high performance driving school is $395 and the three day Techniques of Racing is $4,295, with other options in between. Details are available at www.jimrussell.com
Happy shopping, and have a merry Christmas!