When you first think of a “ride-along” you tend to think about riding along in the back seat of a law enforcement cruiser on a Friday or Saturday night. That is fine for a quick thrill but I am thinking of ride-alongs that might be a little more interesting; not always realistic and a little dangerous, but never boring. Most high-speed rides are meant for one. As the theory assumes that lighter is faster, so the fastest movers admit the fewest passengers, but what if…?
- What if you could ride along in the Hennessey Venom GT as it makes an attempt to secure the World’s record for a top speed production vehicle? Imagine strapping in as the massive 7-liter twin-turbocharged engine is fired up and it begins to scream with the tone that only a 1,200+ horsepower engine can. You examine the horizon and all you see is airstrip. The Florida sun is beating down creating just the right atmosphere for pushing the limits of man and machinery; bolting to 270.49 mph in just over 20-seconds.
- Did you ever imagine what it would be like to ride along with the pole-sitter in the Monaco Grand Prix? You can have your own ride-along but I am going along with Scottish born Englishman, World Champion Racer, racing safety advocate, and network commentator Jackie Stewart. Jackie was also a perennial favorite in the Monaco Grand Prix having garnered several wins and numerous top 5 finishes. I chose this driver and this course as much for the time period as anything else. From 1965 until 1975 may have been the most dangerous time to race Formula 1.
- How about riding along in a super-sonic car capable of going over 1,000mph? The Bloodhound SSC is propelled by jet and rocket power. It is a slender car with four wheels, the two rear wheels are externally mounted and the two front wheels are internally mounted. It is driven by British Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green, previously on the alkali playa surface of the Black Rock Desert. It has the potential of producing 135,000-horsepower — that exceeds the total horsepower of all the Formula 1 cars starting a major race on any given week.
- Next, I would like to ride along with Tony Schumaker in the U.S. Army NHRA Top Fuel Dragster. This dragster can reach 300 mph in the time it takes to read this sentence. Its engine makes 8,000-horsepower; that is more than the combined horsepower in the first four rows of the NASCAR Daytona 500. Nothing accelerates faster on land, not a jet fighter plane and not even the space shuttle. It has a quarter mile speed of 330-mph and an lowest elapsed time 3.376.
- So, what could be better than these four? How about the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb of stunt man and professional race driver Mike Ryan? He drives a 2,500-horsepower Freightliner road tractor (that doubles as a drifting truck) based on a Cascadia platform and radically modified to take on the 14-mile uphill assault that features over 50-hairpin turns.