Dubai Autodrome track driving experience, BMW M240i, Dubai tourism


With million-dollar cars, track days and amazing private collections, Dubai just might be one of the best holiday destinations for auto enthusiasts.

Published On Mar 09, 2024 09:30:00 AM

Think about an automotive-themed holiday and you invariably think of road trips in the Swiss Alps, top speed runs on the German Autobahn, cruising around the Italian lake district or perhaps a track day at Silverstone. But there’s another destination that’s closer to home, has some of the most insane and exclusive cars in the world, and a number of attractions to keep the auto enthusiast in you entertained – Dubai.

The Flat12 cafe is the place to visit for some great cars and coffee.

Dubai in February is a great place to be. The weather is perfect, there’s loads of events and gatherings happening, and of course, there’s the automobiles. If you are a keen car spotter, there isn’t a better place in the world than Dubai. From the huge showrooms flanking Sheikh Zayed road selling ultra-exclusive, multi-million dollar supercars and hypercars, to the exotics parked carefree on the streets and in mall parkings, it is truly a sight to behold. My personal street car spotting highlights were a Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34), a Mercedes-McLaren SLR and a Bugatti Chiron, and this was just the tip of the iceberg.

Agile and punchy BMW M240i was good fun to drive on the Dubai Autodrome.

A select few Indian media personnel were invited by Dubai tourism to experience what the city has to offer, and apart from some interesting and insightful ‘touristy’ activities planned, our event itinerary involved a few auto-centric activities. The one I was most excited about, by far, was the track driving experience. I had a lot of pent-up excitement before we even got to the Dubai Autodrome; after all this would be my first ever track drive experience. And that excitement only grew tenfold once we entered the track. The car park was littered with your ‘usual’ Dubai cars – Audi R8s, Lamborghini Huracans, Rolls-Royces, Dodge Challenger Hellcats and the likes. But through the half-drawn garage doors, I could see some really special track machinery. A Ferrari 488 Challenge Cup Car, plenty of Formula 4 open wheel race cars and even some superbikes.

Dubai Autodrome track experience

Post a quick briefing session, where we were told what to and what not to do out on the track, I got to meet the car I would be driving. It was a BMW M240i coupe, which with its sweet B58 straight six motor, rear wheel-drive configuration and short wheelbase was sure to be a hoot to drive. And it was! It was dusk by the time I got to the track but that didn’t stop me from enjoying myself. The focus was not on flat-out lap times but on proper track driving techniques and following the racing line. And to keep me in check, I was accompanied by Charles who was one of the instructors at the Dubai Autodrome; it was a good thing considering a near million dollar Ferrari Cup car was also on the track at the same time.

You can literally arrive and drive at the track.

And it wasn’t like this was open to just racing license holders or media people, anyone with a valid driving license can literally arrive and drive at the Dubai Autodrome. The choice of track weapons are also plentiful – the M240i, the M4 Competition, the Ferrari Challenge Cup cars and even an older Jaguar Formula 1 car!

Dubai car culture

It’s not just the cars or the track driving experience that you’ve got to look forward to. There’s a bustling and growing car culture as well, with regular cars and coffee meets taking place, and one of the best places to experience this is the Flat 12 cafe. We visited this cafe that’s situated in a huge warehouse by Port Rashid, on a relatively off day. Still, there was some serious eye candy in store, from a mint condition Audi Quattro, to a Lancia Delta Integrale, two Jaguar E-Types (one was a restomod), a BMW M3 (E46), a Honda Integra Type R and a Porsche 911 (991.2), all on display inside the cafe. The delicious food and coffee was an added bonus. We also dropped by a special, private collection of some eclectic classic and vintage cars in the heart of Dubai, which also had a small aeroplane parked inside!

Seeing the Dubai skyline from behind the wheel of a car, in the sea, was an unusual experience.

The Marina is another place where Dubai really flexes its muscles, with huge shiny yachts parked in the harbour on one side and tall shiny skyscrapers on the other. This is also where I got to drive the Jet Car, which was essentially a jet ski with a car’s body. It was an unnerving experience, thanks to the choppy waters, but exciting and unique nonetheless.

Michelin-starred 11 Woodfire’s food was as delicious to eat as it was to look at. 

While in Dubai, I also got to experience some amazing food from around the world, with the highlight being 11 Woodfire, a Michelin star restaurant. Then there was the exhilarating Edge Walk, which is a 55-storey high platform that provides stunning, uninterrupted views of the entire city and the mammoth Burj Khalifa right in front. We also drove down to the town of Hatta, which is near the Oman border and experienced kayaking in the picturesque Hatta Dam reservoir. We also had an informative tour on honeybees and how they make the precious honey, which was concluded by a very sweet tasting session.

There was also an insightful tour on the life of honeybees. 

Mind you, these are just the experiences we had but Dubai has so much more to offer. From exotic car rentals, to dune bashing in the desert in Toyota Land Cruisers and Nissan Patrols, auto enthusiasts and tourists are well catered to in this city. This jewel in the middle of the desert should be on your bucket list of places to visit.

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