Always wanted to drive at Nurburgring, Monza or flat-out on the Autobahn? Here’s your chance


You’ve heard of fantasy camps for typically over-the-hill athletes who get to rub shoulders with some of their heroes while also hoping to relive sports versions of what could have been when they were younger, right?

Well, even if you couldn’t hit a curve ball or your jump shot had little jump in it, there’s a heck of a fantasy camp of sorts for motorsports fans.

Whether you drive a Viper, Corvette, Porsche or maybe a high-performance Camaro or Charger – heck, you can probably drive your beater Nova or Vega as long as they can keep up – get ready to turn your ignition key.

Oh yeah, provided you have about $10,000-plus to burn.

The cost may be high, but the experience is priceless on The Autobahn Tour. Five times this year, starting in mid-May, if you can find a way to ship yourself and your car to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, you can put some serious pedal to metal.

Or as Tour promoters say, it’s “For Serious Drivers Only!”

After two days of sightseeing and getting to know your fellow tour participants, the ultimate roadtrip begins with a journey to neighboring Germany, with the destination of the infamous Nurburgring. There, you’ll spend 1 ½ days taking laps on the same track where the greatest F1 drivers have competed for decades.

After that, you spend a day getting up to and past speed on the no speed limit Autobahn.

The following day, you swap corners on the famous twisting roads up through both the Swiss and Italian Alps, then take part in a full day of driving on the famous track at Monza, where you can either drive your own car or rent (at an additional cost) a real, true race car to pilot.

While the tours in June, July, August and September will have slightly different concluding itineraries, the May tour will take you from Monza to take part in the Cannes Film Festival, followed by attending in (but not racing in) the Monaco Grand Prix.

Sure, it’s costly – and you have to pay for your own fuel and any traffic (i.e., speeding) tickets you get along the way – but imagine the memories you’ll have and the tales you can tell to all your jealous friends.

For more info on The Autobahn Tour, click here.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.