This is a drive sports car enthusiasts won’t forget
By MANDY MURRY
Hugging the curve of a mountain road is part of the thrill behind the grip of the wheel for a sports car enthusiast. Handling the chassis with wheels maneuvering each turn and almost gliding on the straightaways is borderline spiritual for some, and why the RS Xperience has chosen Western North Carolina for their inaugural driving experience event.
This three-day adventure explores scenic drives of the area. Each day of the immersive driving experience, a lead car will set the pace and route of the day, taking drivers to pavement less traveled and one-of-a-kind scenic photo opportunities. A sweep car follows, keeping the group together and on-course. Provided mounted cameras and communication equipment for placement in each participant’s vehicle will capture the thrill, laughter and camaraderie of fellow drivers and passengers.
RS Xperience guests begin their journey at Snowbird Mountain Lodge. A welcome reception upon arrival allows for mingling, followed by a four-course dinner, and then it’s off for a restful night of sleep. Each morning of mountain road navigation begins after breakfast. With a picnic lunch and snacks to go, your internal compass sets in when your foot presses the gas pedal and accelerates through the twists and turns of the Smoky Mountains and beyond. Routes designed for Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche sports cars and convertibles make the most of the intuitive operation of the vehicle and the roads.
“Driving the lush mountains of North Carolina not only offers beautiful vistas and scenic byways but the opportunity to drive a sports car in a way it was designed,” offered Andy Papa, the mastermind behind the driving experience.
Each night after gallivanting across the blacktop and stopping in places such as Highlands and Cashiers to refuel, not only the gas tank but perhaps with a sweet treat from Kilwin’s, the group meets back at the lodge to reminisce about the day over dinner and drinks.
Creating the driving experience is an opportunity to live out a passion for driving and share new ideas and driving methods. “We are all looking to experience new things and follow our passions. RS Xperience is a way to combine the passion of driving with getting to know other like-minded people and creating memories and long-lasting friendships.”
Andy Papa has led over 300 auto enthusiasts and driven over 10,000 miles on Western North Carolina mountain roads. You will find him behind the wheel of a 2019 Porsche GT3 RS, selected for its engineering prowess, and finished in black with lizard green interior highlights and exterior graphics. As a driving instructor, Andy enjoys sharing not only the roads and routes with others but driving tips to make the most of your experience in the driver’s seat.
The Smoky Mountains are famed for the wilderness, and that includes the wild Moonshiner 28 and Tail of the Dragon roads. With 318 curves in 11 miles, the “tail” lives up to its name, with photographers on-site to capture the moment. Once a major run for illegal moonshiners, hence the name, Moonshiner 28 winds southeastward 103 miles through the mountain countryside with sights of waterfalls and secluded lakes.
The experience is more than the daily route. It is the scenery, the camaraderie, the places, the vistas, the photos, the friendships, the driving, the cars and the memories created.
Imagine yourself behind the wheel whizzing through tunnels, and almost magically popping out in an indescribable scenic vista. From curves to straightaways where you can let her rip, the whisper of the engine amidst this crowd will be a roaring good time.
The inaugural event takes place on October 11-15, 2020, followed by a November 2020 event.
2021 events will be announced later this year on RSXperience.com. Events will be held April-October 2021.
A curated driving experience, accommodations, all meals, welcome reception, in-car cameras for the duration, merchandising, keepsake video, and more are included with RS Xperience. Pricing starts at $5,000 per car. Visit www.rsxperience.com for more info.
Plan on five to six hours of actual drive time per day, and about 220 miles. The routes are designed for maximum fun and include Route 64, Blue Ridge Parkway and the Cherohala Skyway.