Future Mobility is a phrase that the automotive industry is getting to grips with.
Extensive efforts that will alter the way the next generation of citizens perceive car ownership and indeed driving will ultimatley be a leisure past time.
It seems that the momentum for autonomous, connected and if not electric, a superior universal carbon neutral fuel adoption, is inescapable and for some, a horizon that starts the process of removal of ownership and the dilution of the 21st century freedom to drive or the adorned lifestyle indicator.
But for some, the advantages to the vision should ultimately provide safer, convenient, cheaper transportation for a growing populous and to ultimately aid an increasingly fragile environment.
Clearly, such change will evolve and adapt into a new world of connected on demand transportation, but what about the ability to drive, will the autonomy signify an eventual loss of skill?
Perhaps we need not worry about this for a while, but as we write, the appetite for driving is high and along with a society ownership model will endure for some while yet.
On Demand transportation businesses such as ZipCars are springing up in our cities, available cars that work like a Boris Bike, using apps to locate, use and pay, pretty cool really as a super convenient solution for city mobility when public transporation is often unsatisfactory.
The skill of driving is etched into our psyche mostly as a need, where vehicle control skills are needed each time we get behind the wheel, on the daily commute, or popping to the shops, the skill level is basic.
However, for many the real desire of driving is to experience speed, forces, sounds and physical sensations, experiences of track day events or by grabbing a fix from driving video games, simulators, or VR systems.
Driving supercars for some is a dream that is now accessible at track day events, a business model that has been growing in popularity over the last decade or so as a bring your own or rent.
Reserving a Ferrari or equivelent for a track day can seriously range in price and limited often to just a few laps unless you have themeans for an exclusive rental for extensive day use, which is hugely expensive.
Indeed, at the dizzy end are the track programs of the Ferrari FXX and Aston Martin Vulcan where owners arrive and drive at tracks around the world in ultra powerful high tech racing cars, the ultimate gentlemen racing experience, available to the very few…
What seems obvious is a driving model that somehow offers both exclusive access to very special racing but with cars that evoke the racing cars of the past…the ones that require taming, careful touch and tutored skills.
Well, Boutique Cars are looking to create this opportunity by offering seriously cool driving experiences that will attract specifically fans of the Le Mans 24 Hour race to emulate the historic victories of the Porsche 917 and the Ford GT40.
The initial offering will be a recreation 917. This is purposely set to get the hearts racing of fans of Le Mans, Steve McQueen and the 917… Who hasn’t wanted to Micahel Delaney chasing down Erich Stahler’s Ferrari 512!
The idea is to be not just a nostalgic drive into the past but to offer a tutored driving experience within an atmosphere of like-minded fans.
Boutique Cars will be are putting together drive experiences in the UK and at circuits such as Goodwood and the Ascari Resort in Spain with different price points for each event.
Fans will be immersed into an experience as close to the original as possible, they will be tutored and accompanied to maximise involvement and get the best possible enjoyment and thrill.
The cars will be race prepared with safety in mind incorporating modern engineering solutions to enhance the original cars’ abilities.
A suite of such cars will be built over time to include Ford GT40 recreations and other such Le Mans favourites.
Getting to drive an original 917 or GT40 is virtually impossible, but at the heart of the project is the desire to offer fans the opportunity be experience something of what it might have been like back in the day to drive these iconic race cars…
A Club will evolve where membership will allow different levels of On Demand type access to the cars, or even as fractionalised ownership of the asset.
Perhaps this will be the model for us drivers that allows us to keep experiencing the thrill, without having to sell the house for it!