Adventure Drives is an event held yearly and is the brain-child of Rob Ferretti aka YouTube sensation SuperSpeedersRob. Rob was making videos long before YouTube if some of you are old enough to remember the Super Speeders DVDs from the early 2000s.
Rob likes 2 things. Cars and traveling (well, and chicken fingers but thats another story). Each Adventure Drive pretty much turns into you going on an epic automotive adventure/vacation with him and some of his YouTube influencer friends. This Adventure Drive was no different to the 3 before it. We were joined by automotive influencers like Matt Farah of The Smoking Tire and David Patterson, better known as That Dude In Blue.
Not Your Regular Exotic Car Rally
Adventure Drives fills the niche for those who want to attend a driving event but at a little slower pace compared to most rallies. The event also differs from rallies as there are only 25-30 cars allowed. This makes it much easier to make friends quickly as it is a more intimate setting. This also makes it easier to get into certain attractions and do different activities. Logistically it is much easier to get 50 people into a hotel or other venue as there are 50, not 200+ people to accommodate. Rob stressed this isn’t a rally, it’s more like an automotive vacation, a way to see the world via asphalt.
This was the first Adventure Drive held outside the United States. AD.04 was set to depart from Munich Germany and makes its way down through Austria and Italy then back up through Switzerland returning to Munich. When I received the call from my friend and fellow GoldRush Rally alumni Jebo Lopez, I jumped at the opportunity to go. I couldn’t think of a better way to experience my first trip to Europe.
Day 1 Arrival and Registration in Munich Germany
After an 8 hour flight from Chicago, I was greeted by Adventure Drive staff at the Munich airport. They provided a shuttle for each participant to get to the hotel which made things really stress-free. At registration we were given a nice booklet outlining the next 8 days. It included contact information for all the staff and a detailed itinerary of the whole automotive adventure we were about to embark on. It explained the logistics of navigating through the European Union and gave us some great pointers on how to prepare ourselves for each day. We were also given a sheet of paper with abbreviated instructions for the upcoming day including a weather report – a nice touch.
Since we had a few problems with reserving a rental car, Rob had a couple spare cars reserved and we chose a 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera S4 Cab. I was really starting to see what Adventure Drives were made of. Every little detail seemed to be covered. I was only scratching the surface, however, of how well things were going to run.
After getting our car back to the Sofitel Hotel, I spent the later part of the day installing all of the Police countermeasures I can’t live without.
That evening we all took a 20 minute walk through downtown Munich to a restaurant for the reception and dinner. It was refreshing to see some familiar faces and GoldRush family such as Ramin, owner of GoldRush, Sam & Dave from Black & White Car Rental, Omid & Fahad and their friend, Gumball 3000 veteran Andras.
Day 2 Hitlers Eagles Nest – Salzburg Austria
To kick things off we headed down the Autobahn on our way to the first destination which was Hitler’s Eagles Nest outside Berchtesgaden Germany.
Driving on the Autobahn was simply amazing. The road is so smooth and perfect. The only problem is, its not actually a road without a speed limit as one might think. There are signs overhead which change the speed limit according to conditions. When conditions are right, many of the stretches of Autobahn can be unlimited, otherwise the limits are as low as 80/100/120kph. When the speeds were unlimited you can easily cruise at speeds well over 200kph. This didn’t get us down as there was still plenty of times on the Autobahn where the speeds were unlimited and we took advantage of each chance we got!
Germans have great lane etiquette – always moving out of the way for faster traffic. They seem to take not being in the way very seriously, and always give faster traffic the right of way. A very orderly society where people are concerned about others and it all works out to being the most efficient way to travel.
The day ended when we arrived in Salzburg Austria at the Schloss Fuschl Resort on a peninsula on Lake Fusch. Built as a hunting castle near Salzburg in 1461, Schloss Fuschl was transformed into a luxurious castle hotel in 1947. The views were great and we enjoyed a dinner, drinks and the spa to cap off the evening.
Day 3 Stelvio Pass – Rezatto Italy
The best driving experience in Europe! Picturesque, clean, orderly and simply gorgeous! Austria, Germany and then Italy as we made our way to Stelvio Pass. We hit 230kph on one stretch with the 2017 Porsche Cab Turbo (we are sure to receive some tickets in the mail) but it was all worth it!
When we exited the Autobahn, we got to drive through some picturesque Italian villages. The locals got a kick out of the line of supercars as we made our way through their tiny villages. The roads are SO narrow in these towns where you can tell the streets were made well before cars were on the roads.
My favorite part of the day was driving up the back side of Stelvios Pass. I aggressively drove the Porsche up the narrow switchback roads. It was really my favorite thing I’ve done in a car, and probably Jebo’s least favorite as he held on for dear life. As we climbed higher up to our lunch destination over 12,000 feet above sea level, we got above the tree line and the views were amazing. The lack of guardrails made things interesting as you could easily drive right off the side of a cliff. With the top down it got colder and colder until it was below freezing.
During lunch at the top of Stelvio, a fellow Adventure Drives member offered me the chance to drive his BMW M6 down the front of Stelvio. His wife jumped in the Porsche with Jebo and we were off. The front side of Stelvio is actually more tame than the back I had just came up. On the front side of Stelvio there are walls blocking you from doing anything really bad other than scraping up the side of the car. The pass was mildly busy and you had to be careful of cars and even bicycles who were coming up the pass as we went down.
The Haunted Hotel Of Adventure Drives?
After a slight navigation faux pas, we arrived a little late to the newly re-opened Villa Fenaroli Palace Hotel in Brescia Italy. Built in 1735, it was rumored to be have been a hospital or a mental institution at some point. Let’s just say it was an interesting experience with its un-lit stairways and very strange rooms. I was fully ready to wake up to a ghost. While it wasn’t nearly as nice as the castle we stayed in the night before, it sure added some adventure to Adventure Drives!
Day 4 Pagani & Lamborghini tours – Florence Italy
Day 4 was one I was really looking forward to. We drove to San Cesario sul Panaro Italy to visit the Pagani museum and to get a private tour of their factory!
It got even better as we drove to the next town over, Sant’Agata Bolognese, where we met the legendary Lamborghini factory test driver Valentino Balboni for lunch. Valentino worked for Lamborghini for over 40 years and test drove EVERY Lamborghini Countach ever produced! How cool!!
After a LONG family-style Italian lunch, we went just up the road to the Lamborghini Museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese Italy.
After the museum tour, Valentino joined us for the trip down to Florence where he would stay with us for the evening. We enjoyed a spirited drive down the Italian Autostrade with Valentino in his Gallardo and arrived in Florence at the Sina Villa Medici Hotel. A quick shower and we were walking down the streets of Florence, which date back to 59 B.C. heading to dinner. What a surreal experience to be in a city so old with so much history.
The Adventure Continues…
Stay tuned for the rest of the story, including our near International incident with the Swiss Police! Another 4 days on Adventure Drives to come!!