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French duo make local inroads

Romain Thievin and David Perisset grew up together in France, longtime friends who became business partners in a sport they cherish.

Though they are from the heart of Formula One territory, Thievin and Perisset were drawn to stock car racing and the idea of establishing a toehold in the United States.

They own Exotics Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where Lamborghinis, Ferraris and other top-of-the-line sports cars are available for a spin. And they compete on NASCAR’s European circuit, where Thievin is second in the Elite Division. He finished second last year.

Perisset said the quality of EURO-RACECAR falls somewhere between NASCAR’s K&N regional series and its Nationwide Series.

“The goal is to win the European championship this year and drive in the U.S. next year,” said Thievin, a five-time French champion and a professional stunt driver who has appeared in more than 150 movies. “I think it’s a good goal to ride in the K&N Series and a Sprint Cup or Nationwide race in Vegas.”

Perisset is seventh in the Open Division, which is for amateurs. He is in his first season racing after spending his career on the business side as Thievin’s agent. Perisset was an investment banker before getting involved in the sport.

“I’ve always been into cars and racing in particular,” Perisset said.

Both men are 33, and they have known each other for 20 years.

They wanted to create a business for those who don’t typically have the opportunity to drive high-end cars, and they knew they wanted Exotics Racing to be in the U.S.

They have tested California cities Fontana and Irvine but found their customers preferred to come to Las Vegas.

Though driving one of the 30 cars – 14 different models – on site isn’t cheap, the prices are reasonable compared to what Thievin and Perisset could charge. Prices range depending on the kind of vehicle and how many laps someone wants to drive.

“The main goal is to share our passion, and you can’t do that if you offer this at a crazy price,” Perisset said. “It’s an easy thing to do – have six or seven cars on the racetrack and charge $1,000 or $2,000 three days a week. If you’re doing that, you’re limiting yourselves in terms of cars you can get.”

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.

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