Hit the road in an Ariel Atom at Atlanta Motorsports Park - CBS46 News

Hit the road in an Ariel Atom at Atlanta Motorsports Park

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DAWSONVILLE, GA (CBS46) -

The Ariel Atom has a big following. It looks like a big Go-Kart, but goes zero to 60 in 2.9 seconds. CBS46's Jennifer Mayerle got behind the wheel of one at Atlanta Motorsports Park in Dawsonville. She learned what makes this car so special and how you can go for the ride of your life.

This is where fast luxury cars meet the pavement and where drivers come to explore the limits of their cars. Atlanta Motorsports Park is a country club for cars. But you don't have to be a member to experience the open road in an Ariel Atom, a less ostentatious high performance sports car.

"As a racer, it's got a lot of power where you can throw it through the corners where you get your speed," Jason Plante said.

The Ariel Atom is for novices like me or experienced drivers, if you're got an extra $500 or so.

Grady Rockett and his son-in-law chose to meet the road together.

"Driving this feels like flying a fighter plane. Things are happening pretty quick and you're feeling the wind," Rockett said.

"This is an adrenaline rush in the purest sense of terms. It makes pretty much everything seem tame," Christopher Cook said.

The Ariel Atom is unique. It costs less than $50,000, while traditional race cars can top $500,000. But the specs compete.

"This car weighs 1,300 lbs, 230 horsepower, goes 0 to 60 in 2.9 seconds so it's a drivers car. It's a big roll cage on wheels, it's designed for driver safety. This is for the everyday guy who wants to come out, jump in a car and drive and race, this is it," Plante said.

While the cars go fast, it's not just about speed. Driving the Ariel Atom is about learning to break and accelerate, and learning the lines. The course you drive is the only one like it in the southeast with 16 turns and a 100 foot elevation change on the 2-mile long course.

And the chance to get behind the wheel is thrilling.

"When I came in, I was like this," Mac Wakefield said shaking, "It's enough to get your heart pumping, and at my age that's pretty good."

Wakefield's wife gave him the driving experience as a gift.

"I choked up, really choked up. It was probably the best thing I've ever had," Wakefield said.

You can experience the Ariel Atom as soon as Tuesday, April 8. Sessions go through the fall. Click here to learn more. And click here to learn more about Atlanta Motorsports Park.

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