At Full Throttle
With a love of all things fast and furious, Abu Dhabi is a haven for those who like to test their own limits
Home to the worldâ€™s fastest rollercoaster and one of the most exciting Formula One circuits, Abu Dhabi is a city where speed, adventure and excitement are celebrated.
In one day, adrenaline junkies could hit 320kmh as a passenger in a modified F1 car on the main straight at Yas Marina Circuit before heading next door to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi for a front-seat ride on Formula Rossa, a rollercoaster which hits 240kmh thanks to the same technology and equipment used to launch fighter jets from aircraft carriers.
If being in the driverâ€™s seat is the preferred option, head to Yas Marina Circuitâ€™s Drag Racing Academy and face off against a friend in a 400hp Chevrolet Camaro putting the pedal to the metal over the quarter-mile.
Those who prefer to work on their aim will find the cityâ€™s shooting ranges up to standard and there are paintball facilities for those whoâ€™d rather a moving target.
As the home to the UAEâ€™s national carrier, Etihad Airways, itâ€™s perhaps no surprise that visitors can also try their hands at flying a Boeing 747-400 simulator (pictured), which offers all the excitement and none of the risk.
So whether itâ€™s getting behind the wheel of a seriously fast car or the thrill of flying a jumbo jet that gets your blood pumping, Abu Dhabi is sure to impress.
There is nothing like extreme speed to get the adrenaline pumping so for the king of all adrenaline-charged experiences, get strapped in to the passenger seat of a modified Formula One car. Speeding around the stunning Yas Marina Circuit, which is home to this Novemberâ€™s Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, you will reach speeds of more than 300kmh and experience the same G-forces felt by F1 drivers during a race. The ride is not for the faint-hearted, so only serious speed lovers and adrenaline junkies need apply. Hit top speeds as you roar down one of the longest straights of any F1 circuit, then feel the force as the driver drops down to first gear for two sharp 90-degree turns. Youâ€™ll pass under The Yas Hotel, the only five-star property to be built over a Formula One race track and snake around the beautiful Yas Marina where luxury yachts are berthed.
Where: Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island / When: See website for availability / Price: AED11,500 for an open-ended ticket / Contact: 800 YAS (927) or yasmarinacircuit.ae
Think youâ€™re fast? Why not put your skills to the test over the quarter-mile on Yas Marina Circuitâ€™s drag racing strip. Get behind the wheel of the thunderous Chevrolet Camaro SS with its 400hp, 6.2-litre V8 engine and tear down the strip, reaching 100kmh in just 4.6 seconds and breaking through the quarter-mile in 13.3 seconds. The Camaro has an automatic transmission, so thereâ€™s no need to perfect gear changes and you can even race your friends along the NRHA-certified drag racing strip. Drivers will receive a technical briefing from the Yas Drag Racing Centreâ€™s chief instructor, who will take you through the necessary training and safety procedures as well as drive the first test run to demonstrate. You will take the wheel for the second run, with the instructor in the passenger seat assessing your ability to drive solo. If you pass, you will be allowed to take the remainder of the runs without the instructor.
Where: Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island / When: See website for availability / Price: AED600. Bookings essential / Contact: 800 YAS (927), 02 6599800Â or yasmarinacircuit.ae
Practise your aim, let off a bit of steam or take delight in firing a round with friends and family at Al Forsan International Sports Resortâ€™s impressive paintball facility. There are two air-conditioned domes to choose from as well as two outdoor floodlit tournament fields. To make things a bit more interesting, why not stage a Wild West shootout or practise tactical warfare on a Pacific Island? Al Forsan has different themed play zones equipped with special sound effects, lighting and air-conditioning. There are interactive props, â€˜intelligentâ€™ sounds and smoke effects to add to the fun. The paintball centre has an indoor practice range where people can acquaint themselves with the
arsenal as well as briefing rooms and changing areas. Coaching is available for all skill levels, making it an entertaining challenge for groups of friends, family and colleagues. In addition, competitors can upgrade their weapons to a Tippman Custom 98 or a TPX pistol for extra oomph or add paint grenades to their arsenal to gain an edge on the opposition.
Where: Al Forsan International Sports Resort, Khalifa City / When: DailyÂ /Â Price: From AED120 per person for 200 paintballs and equipment. Group packages are available and competitors can upgrade their weapons and ammunition for an additional fee / Contact: 02 5568555 or alforsan.com
The UAEâ€™s only Olympic medal was won in double trap shooting by Sheikh Ahmad bin Mohammad bin Hasher Al Maktoum in Greece in 2004, so itâ€™s no surprise that shooting is a popular pastime here. In Abu Dhabi, visitors can make like an Olympic champion and fire a few rounds at Caracal Shooting Club where the arsenal includes semi-automatic pistols, bolt-action rifles, semi-automatic rifles and sport pistols. Most of the action happens at the 25-metre target shooting range and there is a 10-metre open range for training. A gallery overlooks the 25-metre range so those who would rather not participate can still watch. Beginners are given a safety briefing, while for those looking to improve their skills there are training courses for shooters of all levels. Once on the range, officers accompany all shooters throughout the session to ensure the safe use of the firearm. Under UAE law, the minimum age for shooting is 12 and identification such as a passport must be shown.
Where: Caracal Shooting Club, Armed Forces Officersâ€™ Club & Hotel, Al Maqtaa / When: Saturday to Thursday noon to 10pm, Friday 2 to 10pmÂ / Price: AED205 for first-timers with 25 bullets and a safety briefingÂ Contact: 02 4416404 / Beginners are given a safety briefing, while for those looking to improve their skills there are training courses for shooters of all levels