Off-roading

Driving On The Beach: The Poor Man’s Track Day

There’s nothing like taking your daily driver to the track. Opening up the engine, driving your car in a manner that befits it’s performance badging. Hearing the tires squeal, being pushed back into your seat, and the best part is…it’s legal. Unfortunately, track days are expensive, members of the BMW Car Club of America recently received a track day invitation for two days of driving at Lime Rock Park, but it cost $3,000.

This past weekend I went off-roading in a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It was equipped with all the off-road options, locking front and rear differentials, massive tow hooks, and hefty underbody skid plates. For three days, I drove this Jeep on beaches on Cape Cod, up steep hills, around tight corners, and best of all…parallel to the bright blue ocean. One night, I took the Jeep out on the beach with nothing to guide me but my front headlights and the sound of waves breaking in the distance.

With the traction control turned off I was able to get the four-wheel drive Jeep to overseer. It was fun sliding around in the sand. When I found some open space I was able to execute a few hasty donuts before the beach patrol saw me.

So ok, you can’t go that fast in a ’07 Jeep, and driving on the beach is not as exhilarating as driving on a track. But it’s an inexpensive alternative for those looking to have some fun in a legal and safe way with their daily driver. For about $50 I was given access to miles of pristine beach where I could slide around corners, or cruise beside the Atlantic – not a bad alternative to Lime Rock for 3 grand.