The national COVID-19 lockdown has got all of us pining to explore the great outdoors. While social distancing continues to remain the golden rule, thanks to the marvels of modern technology, we can explore some of our favourite destinations from the comfort and safety of our own homes. And yes, for all those automotive enthusiasts out there, we are talking automotive factory and museum tours as well.
Here are some of the best virtual car and bike tours you can find online to help beat your lockdown blues:
McLaren Technology Centre
Every Formula 1 fan has dreamt of strolling through McLaren’s James Bond-esque headquarters, right? The building’s lobby is bound to make any racing fan’s heart skip a beat with its display of the MP4/4 that powered Ayrton Senna to victory in 1988 (and happens to be one of the most successful F1 cars of all time), Mika Hakkinen’s 1998 title-winning MP4-13, and even the car in which Lewis Hamilton secured his first F1 championship – the MP4-23. The MTC also happens to be quite the feat of modern architecture; so that’s worth checking out as well.
Honda Collection Hall
The Honda Collection Hall, located right in the heart of the Motegi Twin Ring Circuit in Japan, is home to nearly 300 restored machines. The museum houses everything – from Honda’s first motorised bikes and cars to the Japanese carmaker’s modern-day stars like the Civic. There’s even an entire floor dedicated to Honda’s illustrious two-wheel and four-wheel racing history. Don’t forget to click on the little orange pop ups to see the cars and bikes in action! Head here for the virtual tour.
In addition to classics like the Miura, Huracan and Aventador, Lamborghini’s museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese houses a number of gems, including the 40th anniversary Miura concept, the Reventon (1 of only 21 cars produced is on display), and even the Lambo 291 Formula 1 car. Looking for a feast for your eyes? Head here.
Museo Ferrari in Maranello
We couldn’t compile a list of automotive tours and not have something for the Tifosi. The Museo Ferrari is on every automotive fanatic’s bucket list, and thanks to Google Maps, it’s just a click away. Unlike the more extensive tours listed above, this one’s limited to viewing just one floor at a time. On the first floor you’ll be able to take an close look at some of Ferrari’s iconic racing machines, while the second floor houses the production cars and limited-edition models.
Porsche’s Museum in Stuttgart is a must-visit destination for any car fanatic out there. The location houses over 80 vehicles and a number of small exhibits covering the carmaker’s rich automotive history as well as its racing success in Le Mans, Formula 1, rallying and more. With iconic cars like the 356, 550 Spyder and 911 on display, this virtual tour is going to keep you occupied for a while. Head here to check it out.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart happens to house one of the most comprehensive car collections in the world. The way the virtual tour is laid out, it walks the user through somewhat of a narrative – starting from the invention of the very first automobile to giving you a peek into the brand’s plans for an emission-free future. And, of course, when you have a motorsport history as prolific as that of Mercedes-Benz, you have to have a section dedicated to the Silver Arrows’ racing prowess. Check out the full virtual tour here.
Honda Virtual Motorcycle Show
With the COVID-19 outbreak leading to the cancellation of the Osaka and Tokyo motor shows, Honda decided to host its own Virtual Motorcycle Show. The digital event saw the unveiling of the updated high-performance CBR250RR quarter-litre sportbike and the CB-F concept, along with the launch of the company’s most expensive moped – the CT125. You can check these out, along with a host of Honda’s other two-wheelers, in the 360-degree virtual booth here.
Audi Ingolstadt factory
Always wondered just what goes into the production of your favourite car? Audi’s introduced a new virtual tour of its Ingolstadt factory to give users a behind-the-scenes look at the entire production process – right from the first steps in the press shop to the final assembly. Moreover, this is an interactive stream, so you can go ahead and have your questions answered by the virtual tour guide, and even pick your own tour route. Audi’s presently offering the virtual tour for free but there are only limited slots available, so you’ll have to register; you can head here to register.
Volkswagen’s 2020 Geneva Motor Show booth
If you’ve always wanted to visit an international motor show then here’s a good virtual alternative! The escalating COVID-19 crisis unfortunately forced this year’s Geneva motor show to be cancelled. While majority of the brands went ahead and conducted online reveals, Volkswagen wasn’t going to let all of its floor planning go to waste. Instead, the carmaker has come up with a 3D virtual tour of its show booth with the ID.3, the new eighth-gen Golf family, the Touareg R and more cars on display. The tour is also packed with a few interactive features that allow users to pause and play around with colour and wheel options. Check it out here.