Peak Performance

GM takes clients for a spin

By: Ryan Slattery

"Autotainment" has arrived in Las Vegas. In a city where walking the neon-lit Strip is part of the Vegas experience, General Motors has arrived with a fleet of automobiles designed to give tourists and locals alike a chance to get behind the wheel and test their driving skills in one of the company’s newest and hottest cars and trucks.

It’s a new spin on the old motto, “why walk when you can drive.” The Drive, as it’s called, is similar to GM’s traveling AutoShow in Motion you grab the keys and take a spin. But this hands-on driving experience isn’t only for serious drivers, it’s for anyone who has ever wanted to rev the engine of a 2006 Corvette on a straightaway or tackle a steep man-made mountain in a Hummer.

After passing a mandatory Breathalyzer test, drivers can choose from a full range of vehicles including Corvettes, Pontiacs, a Cadillac CTS-V and the Saab 9-3 Convertible on the performance course; or the Hummer H2, Hummer H3, Silverado Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon and the Cadillac Escalade if off-roading is more your clients’ style.

Visitors can try both, however. The price of admission includes two experiences, so drivers can run both courses if they wish. The performance course features a paved, half-mile track filled with jogs and turns that give drivers a taste of how a sports car handles. Meanwhile, the off-road course consists of two challenging trails: a Hummer course, for its namesake behemoth, and an SUV course designed to show off a truck’s power.

On the Hummer course drivers best have nerves of steal as they attempt to navigate a foothill climb, v-ditch, sloped banks, moguls and logs and railroad ties. One hill, angled at 60 degrees, will have you staring skyward at the Stratosphere tower before peaking into what amounts to a near free-fall descent.

The Drive which is located under the Monorail station on an 11-acre lot near the Sahara Hotel & Casino serves two purposes actually. Not only will drivers be able to handle a sports car in a hairpin turn, but GM will grow its reputation and brand recognition among potential automobile buyers. It takes the test ride up a notch without a salesmen in sight.

“The Drive represents a significant marketing opportunity for General Motors, allowing us to showcase our products in a unique fashion,” explained Steve Tihanyi, a marketing director for GM. “This platform elevates the driving experience, without pressure to buy, to another level that has never been presented in the U.S.”

So if your client has a need for speed and adventure, send them for a drive.


Drivers must be 18 years of age or older with a valid driver’s license, and before taking the wheel, you have to pass a mandatory Breathalyzer test. (It’s Vegas, after all, but always safety first.) Anyone registering on the test will not be allowed behind the wheel.

The Drive is open seven days a week from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Admission is $10. Nevada residents, military, GM cardholders and seniors over 65 years of age can get $2 off the admission price. The Drive opened in April and will run through at least November.