Estimated read time: 7-8 minutes
Five months ago, I wrote about my behind-the-scenes experience attending Need 2 Drive Utah's Summer Splash event. Although I'm not a supercar owner myself, the Utah supercar group's captain and organizer, Ismael Utrilla, has been gracious enough to include me in the happenings of his supercar collective. I'm not the only one who's been interested in tagging along, either — the group's membership has doubled in the past year. Growing from about 100 cars to 200, this past year has been the best yet for Utah's supercar scene. Need more evidence that the supercar scene is growing in Utah? Just check out all the listings on KSL Cars.
I also had the chance to attend the group's End of Summer Event this fall, which was just as awe-inspiring as their first. Surrounded by exotics of every make, I was overcome by the growing supercar community of Utah. I sat down with Ismael to discuss how Utah's supercar scene has reached new heights despite the challenges of a pandemic year and reminisced on some of the Need 2 Drive Utah events of 2021.
In April of this year, Ismael put together a spur-of-the-moment birthday party at Topgolf. Its parking lot ran out of room with about 150 cars in the lot and another 50 or so parked outside — quite the turn out for a party with just one week's notice.
"My vision for Need 2 Drive Utah has always been a love for cars. We don't come to talk about numbers. We come to talk about what we love," Ismael said. This focus on cars over numbers ironically leads to some impressive numbers — around 1,500 people showed up to share their love of cars with some of the coolest cars and owners in the state.
Lamborghini of Salt Lake City dealership opening
Another marquee supercar event of the summer was the opening of Utah's first factory-authorized Lamborghini dealership in Utah. This was a significant acknowledgment of the growing supercar community in Utah, and unsurprisingly, Need 2 Drive Utah was the first group to see the dealership finished. They didn't take the honor lightly, and as the parking lot filled up with all manner of exotics, it became evident that Lamborghini's decision to open in Utah was a wise one. "Tom and Amy Buckley were so nice to have us. We don't take it for granted to be involved with them," said Ismael.
Eaglewood Festival of Speed
One of the largest car shows of the year was the Eaglewood Festival of Speed, which is in its 10th year of showcasing some of the best cars in Utah. The festival was grander than ever in 2021, thanks in part to the presence of Need 2 Drive Utah and some of its most prominent members.
Ron "Utah Supercar Owner" brought his Bugatti Chiron Sport — the only one in Utah — valued at $3.4 million. James "The Stradman" Neese was also there along with his Bugatti Veyron, his 6x6 Hellesaurus Jeep Gladiator and several other supercars. Ismael was invited to be a part of the planning meetings with the city of North Salt Lake, and his contributions helped make the festival a supercar showcase to remember.
"I'm very grateful to the city of North Salt Lake for allowing us to have a car show like that. The presence of supercars was bigger than ever. To see that growth, we should be very proud of what the Utah supercar scene has become," he said.
End of summer pool party
Just as the summer began with the Need 2 Drive Supercar Summer Splash, fall was ushered in with a similar invitation-only event. Not content with just an evening party, Ismael went all out on the day, beginning with a five-star breakfast at the Grand America Hotel. From there the group drove the Nebo Loop and ended the day with a catered dinner party.
When a group of supercars goes for a drive together, you might think there would be plenty of speeding tickets. Not so with Need 2 Drive Utah. Prioritizing safety and respect, the group has never had an accident or ticket. "We are very proud and careful. We have fun but we keep it safe. These cars are amazing, but they can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing," said Ismael.
For Ismael, the inspiration for starting Need 2 Drive Utah has always literally been the "need to drive." With about one drive per month in the warmer seasons, Need 2 Drive Utah is a great way for owners to enjoy what these cars are capable of. "We love doing car shows, but let's get out and drive. Those driving experiences are what you'll take to your grave. You can't take the polished car in the garage with you. It needs to be driven," he said.
Noting great canyon roads like Guardsman's Pass, Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, Immigration Canyon and others, Ismael says that Utah's great roads are just a part of why Utah has attracted many great cars and their owners. "Utah has so much to offer, it seems to be made for driving. There's a reason people like Post Malone and The Stradman choose to stay here in Utah," he said.
Looking ahead to 2022
Looking ahead, Ismael promises that 2022 will be even bigger, meaning more events, more cars and more "things you've never seen before." There's even an ultra-rare and specially curated McLaren P1 HDK on the horizon. Regardless of their growth, nothing will ever be more important to Need 2 Drive Utah than driving. "The need to drive is there … we will always drive, that's the most important thing. We will do events, car meets and car shows, but it will always be about the driving," Ismael said.
The motivation for Need 2 Drive Utah
While some car groups might be all about showing off, Need 2 Drive Utah is all about inspiring the next generation of supercar owners. "The reward to me is seeing everybody happy. When I see kids on the road taking pictures and smiling, being in awe, that's what it's all about. We have to give the kids something to dream about," he said. "We look forward to supporting toy drives and any other good causes. We encourage all to go out and make the community better. We all have a part in the car community, whether you're an organizer or supporter."
After doubling their membership in a year, the Utah supercar community's future looks bright, and Ismael is grateful for all his friends and their support. "KSL has been great in promoting and spreading the word to the general Utah audience. It's been a huge help in finding more people, for people to know who we are."
Find your next supercar on KSL Cars.
About the author: Having owned everything from a DeLorean to an E46 BMW M3 and a Toyota Land Cruiser, Jason Bell is a lifelong car enthusiast who loves sharing his passions as a teacher, writer, speaker and social media manager. Contact him at email@example.com for comments/questions, or just to say "hi."