Port Jefferson native Michael Lucki wants to change the way East End customers shop for cars.
Instead of going to dealerships, consumers now use the Internet to find the majority of information about cars they are interested in, he said.
But there’s one crucial thing missing.
“You can’t physically test drive vehicles online,” he said. “When you test drive a car, you’re actually getting a deep understanding.”
Mr. Lucki’s company, ARC Test Drive, plans to give customers just this weekend, when it holds its first public test drive event at Riverhead Raceway.
Mr. Lucki, a co-founder and CEO of ARC Test Drive whose family owns several local dealerships in Riverhead, said the event is designed to help consumers “shop for cars without [having the] pressure to go to different dealerships.”
“Most people don’t like the experience of buying a new car,” he said. “I want the experience to be something people will enjoy.”
The test drive event will feature more than 100 cars from 14 brands sold at local dealerships, including Toyota, Jeep, Honda and Volvo, Mr. Lucki said.
Attendees will be able to test drive cars on three tracks: a road course, an off-road course and the racetrack itself.
For the racetrack course, consumers will be driven around the banked track by a professional driver in a Corvette, Camaro, Scion FRS, Fiat 500 Abarth or other models. (Mr. Lucki said the banked track would be too dangerous for normal drivers.)
While access to the first two courses will be free, riding on the racetrack will cost $10 per vehicle, he said. The test drive event will also feature a live DJ, sponsor booths, prizes and food vendors, Mr. Lucki said.
“It’s kind of a mix between a car shop, a ride and drive and a sales event,” he said.
The event, “hopefully our first of many,” has already gotten positive feedback from local dealerships, Mr. Lucki said. Dealers will not be given the names of the customers who take their cars out during the test drives, though they will receive the attendees’ information after the event is over.
“We set up the event so it’s really pressure-free,” he said.
The test drive will be held Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20 and 21, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., weather permitting.