Sometimes, a road just isn’t enough. The need to remain (just) within the legal speed limit, potholes, and the existence of other drivers, all serve to make that dream drive more of a nightmare.
So what’s a man to do? Take yourself to a track and wave goodbye to reality for a day.
Fancy yourself the amateur answer to Lewis Hamilton? Prove it. The home of British F1, Silverstone opens its lanes for you (and your car) to show what you’re worth.
You get a full safety briefing, a lap in the track in a minibus (driven by a track instructor) and some breakfast, before you’re let loose on the tarmac. You get to play on the track until the sun sets so, for a day at least, you can be an F1 hero.
What To Drive: You’re on an F1 track, so you should really be in an F1 car – or the nearest thing to one. The Ariel Atom is, essentially, a street-legal racing car. It looks like an F1 car and it flies like one too.
Turn up in one of these and you’re pretty much guaranteed to be top of the podium at the end of the day.
If Silverstone is Hamilton, then Goodwood is Sir Stirling Moss. The circuit opened in 1948, and hosted its last ‘modern’ meet in the mid-1960s.
It’s now famous for its historic meets, where cars from motoring’s ‘Golden Age’ come together in a blur of chrome and tweed. The whole setting is very gentleman racer, but the chicane-free course allows you to get up to a serious lick.
What To Drive: Turn up in a modded Subaru Impreza and the old guard will side-eye you all day. But you don’t need to be in something that starts with a hand crank. The Seven is a stripped-down wonder that you can build yourself, should you choose, and provides old-school looks with some very new-school pace.
Though it’s not got the biggest engine, it weighs less than a supermodel so has all the poke you could want. Team it with goggles for the perfect pre-war look.
Corners not your thing? More concerned with turbo lag than understeer? Then perhaps a traditional track isn’t for you. What you need is a drag race day, where all that matters is getting from here to there very, very quickly.
Santa Pod is the most famous UK drag course, and its ‘Run What Ya Brung’ days are as the name suggests. Turn up in whatever you want, rev it until it hurts, and then burn some serious rubber.
What To Drive: Bring a drive what you ride experience, you could turn up in whatever the hell you want. But since your Daewoo won’t have reached the finish by the time the next flag drops, what you actually want to arrive in is something with serious amounts of torque, that’ll launch itself off the line.
So get yourself a Nissan. Not a Micra, but the 24-carat crazy GT-R Nismo, which can hit 60mph in less than 2.7 seconds.
Are you less track, more field? A McCrae rather than a McLaren? Prefer the rough to the smooth? Then embrace the mud. Extreme Rally gives you the chance to go properly primal (in motoring terms) at courses across the UK. And, should you care, across frozen lakes in Sweden.
It uses the two legends of rallying, the Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru Impreza WRX, and offers the most fun you’ll have in the countryside with your clothes on.
The battle for on and off-course supremacy between this pair has been legendary. And the cars have both got progressively more bonkers. There’s one of either available for every budget.
If even rallying seems a touch too, well, urban, Wild Tracks Outdoor Activity Park offers the kind of grime even Michael Eavis would look at with disapproval. Because 4x4s weren’t meant for pootling around Chelsea, and what they want is mud. Plenty of mud.
There’s full tuition offered for the less ditch-literate, and they’ll even tow you out if you get stuck.
What To Drive: If you’re going off road, you need to do it in a Land Rover. If you want the full countryside experience, do it in a Defender. If you want to be cosseted in almost unparalleled luxury, do it in a Range Rover.
Both are more than competent away from the tarmac. You’ll just have to prove you are as well.