By Rick Dandes
Whether you're looking to create a lasting impression as a reward for your organization's top performers, or planning an event to engage prospects, hold a company retreat and team build, NOLA Motorsports Park, a 750-acre "auto-tainment" park, about 20 minutes from downtown New Orleans, is an event destination that can combine meeting needs with the high-speed excitement of driving a supercar, such as a Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini LP560-4, Porsche 911 GT3 and Nissan GT-R.
At the heart of the park is a state-of-the-art 2.75-mile main race track (the North Track) for cars and motorcycles with 16 fast turns and a 3,200-foot straightaway. Near the main North Course is a 23-acre world-class kart facility with a professional, winding course. And for indoor events, there is a trackside 34,000-square-foot center, ideal for corporate presentations.
"We're a non-traditional meeting venue that happens to have racetrack on site," said Scott Touchton, sales and marketing director, NOLA Motorsports Park, "We've even let people hold a meeting inside a garage with a Ferrari sitting next to them."
NOLA Motorsports Park is also the year-round home to Xtreme Xperience, a traveling supercar show, which allows people to get behind the wheel of a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, Touchton said.
"We've done some small group events where guests meet part of the day, and then spend the other half in a race car getting one-on-one instruction from a professional," Touchton said. "You're in a race suit, you climb into the roll cage, and the steering wheel comes off when you climb in. It is a very immersive experience all the way from go-karts up to the Xtreme Xperience and the opportunity to drive a supercar."
My IT, a New Orleans' IT support company, recently held an Xtreme Xperience event at NOLA Motorsports "as a great way to raise the company's profile within the region's thriving IT community," said Delous Smith, director of business development, My IT.
"I spent four hours, looking around the facility seeing if it was right for our needs, and the next thing I knew my company was prepared to spend $5,000 on the Xtreme Xperience," Smith said. "We invited a lot of players in the tech market here, and it went extremely well. We invited high-powered decision-makers to an event where they could drive a super car versus say a fishing event.
The Xtreme Xperience is a unique, different kind of experience, Smith said, and it's memorable. "There were several decision-making individuals we wanted to meet, so we invited them and having them together at the park gave us the ability to talk to them individually."
Smith was out to engage prospects. "There are a lot of IT companies and everyone is calling on the same customers," he said. "Unless you have something different and unique to invite them to, typically you are not going to get the turnout. By inviting people to experience the thrill of driving these supercars, we had top decision-makers show up. Chef Emeril's IT director, for example, and many other large companies. People that have big IT use are so hard to get in front of."
The idea, which proved successful, was to talk to prospects in a non-confrontational situation, and get information about their account.
"To the participants, it was an exciting time, and the overall reaction was, they'd do it again, if asked," Smith said.
There are also team-building competitions and timed races to meet the need for speed among participants, Touchton said. "And all of the racing is done on a track that is safe for amateur driving, because the guard rails are set way back. We can customize the experience to the requirements of the meeting planner."
There is one more huge advantage to the Xtreme Xperience at NOLA Motorsports Park, Touchton added. "Nearby New Orleans is a backdrop for our clients—the French Quarter, and all that great city has to offer."