General Motors Deploys a Test Track off the Vegas Strip
General Motors took its Auto Show in Motion ride-and-drive tour to the next level with The Drive, an 11-acre public test track situated in a formerly run-down parking lot just off the Las Vegas Strip. With the high-touch, low-sell atmosphere, GM’s main goal was to impart more knowledge about its cars to thousands of potential customers.
Part attraction, part marketing experience, The Drive featured two driving courses, one off-road (key stats: 4,400 yards of dirt, 1,500 tons of rocks and boulders, 320 feet of logs and 60 railroad ties) and the other a half-mile, high-performance loop. Participants entered the environment through an elaborately decorated tent where flashy GM vehicles were displayed and several GM affinity partners had set up info stands.
Inside, drivers 18 and older could choose a course and a vehicle. Then, a professional driver (in the passenger seat, of course) would direct them through. Each guest could test-drive two different vehicles, choosing from among 100 GM cars and SUVs , including Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Pontiac and Saab.
The $10 admission fee included rides in two vehicles. To ensure safety, GM gave participants a quick primer on driving carefully as well as Breathalyzer tests; and to ensure smooth traffic flow, the automaker used a web-based registration system and online payment service for ticket sales.
Open seven days a week, The Drive logged an average of 12,000 paying participants each month; each guest drove an average of three laps.