PREST: Scenic Rush fuels need for speed

Is terrorcitement a word?

The highest force in the universe - spellchecker - says no, so I guess it's not. But I can't come up with a real word to better describe the moments before I took the exotic car tour offered by West Vancouver's Scenic Rush.

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There was almost uncontrollable excitement that managing partner Thom Boecker had recognized my status as a high-powered, trendsetting community newspaper columnist and invited me to take his murderer's row of supercars for a spin up to Squamish and back. There was also sheer terror that I'd lose control of the Audi R8, Nissan GT -R, Lamborghini Gallardo or Ferrari F430 Spider and crash it into Howe Sound. If that did happen, my plan was to just keep swimming, hopefully making it to Siberia before winter.

When I arrived at the starting point the cars were just sitting there, nearly $800,000 worth of chrome and leather fuelled up with the finest premium gasoline and just a few drops of unicorn blood (I assume). It was as if a collector had laid out before me Michelangelo's David, a Stradivarius, the Mona Lisa, and the original Magna Carta, and then told me to drive them.

As we waited for the session to begin Thom asked me, a little too casually I'd say, to pull the Ferrari out of its parking spot and do a short loop to set up a better angle for a photograph.

It was a distance I could have jogged in about four seconds. About a minute later I finally completed the circuit, at which point the car died of boredom.

Not me though - my heart was racing. What a thrill. And imagine what it'll be like once I push one of these bad boys past three kilometres per hour! It didn't take long for the real thrills to kick in.

I started the trip in the Audi, a posh luxury coupe with a warp drive tucked tastefully in the back. As we made our way through West Van on the way to the highway we left more than a few dropped jaws in our wake.

I'm actually a huge fan of the cycling community and alternative modes of transportation in general, but I couldn't help yelling out to a speed-suit clad cyclist who nearly fell off his bicycle trying to get a better look at our cars.

"Enjoy your bike ride!" I yelled. For a moment I felt like a jerk. Then we hit the highway, and then I felt like whoaaaaa ahh ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa!

This was the most power I'd ever felt in my life, a record the R8 held for approximately 20 minutes until I switched into the 553 horsepower Lamborghini. Oh my. I touched the gas and the Lambo went Growwllllll POP POP POP - apologies if I'm getting too technical here.

At one point in the drive I remembered that the Scenic Rush pitch included descriptions of how you get to enjoy the beautiful West Coast scenery while testing out these machines. I thought that was kind of funny, given that I could have been driving through a garbage dump for all I cared about the scenery. My eyes took in only speedometer, tachometer, the cars around me and white lane markers going by very quickly. The rest was all fuzzy, nature-shaped blurs.

A note on speed - this is not a racing tour. In fact the Scenic Rush folks are quite adamant that drivers are to stay within the laws of the land. They have their own laws as well, like you must always keep your car in the same spot in the supercar line. The lead car that sets the pace is always driven by a Scenic Rush employee. If you pass the lead car, your experience is over. If you pass the lead car and fail to stop at the next safe location, your car is reported to the police as stolen. Well then.

Our tour was broken up by a lovely trip up the new Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. Once we stepped out of the gondola on top of the world all I could think of was, "Yes, yes, stunning views, nice, nice, OK can I please get back in my Lamborghini right now?!"

We came back down to earth and I stepped into another rocket - the GT -R. Incredibly, the Nissan product felt faster - much faster, in fact - than the other three rides.

Pinned back in my seat, I let out a "wooooooooo" that would have made a drunk sorority girl proud.

Finally, the Ferrari: A red convertible that felt more expensive than all of the houses I've ever lived in combined. And by now I was completely comfortable, firing off the paddle shifters like I was playing a video game, ripping past transport trucks and revving the engine. The car's beautiful note bounced off the Sea-to-Sky cliffs making me feel like I was driving an orchestra.

If we're picking winners, my eight-year-old self would choose the Lambo, but middle-aged me can't stop thinking about the sound of that drop-top Ferrari trumpeting my return to the city.

And just like that, it was over - truly one of the coolest afternoons of my life.

The tour costs $500 plus a little extra for insurance. When I first got the invite I thought it was a little steep (Scenic Rush covered my costs). Now that I've done it, I'm seriously considering selling something, anything, to get back into those cars. My first-born child? No, he's not for sale. But maybe we can hammer out some sort of rental agreement? Price starts at $500.

For more information visit scenicrush.com. Click here to see video of Scenic Rush's lineup of exotic cars as well as columnist Andy Prest driving painfully slowly around a parking lot.

aprest@nsnews.com

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