NURBURGRING, Germany - "Mrs. Speed, can Johnny come out and play?"
"Why sure kids, what sort of toys does he need?"
No denying it, I play with toys for a living.
Toys for big boys and girls.
On this day, my toy is an Audi that quickly gets into high triple digits on the seemingly indecipherable 140-plus turns, straights, drops and rises of this 14-plus-mile race track.
Lots of people have died here, many of them professional racers, lost in what can be a misty memoried attempt to parse The Carousel, every corner, apex, exit, rise and dip in the track. So many were killed, crippled or, in the case of the great Niki Lauder, badly burned, that they stopped racing Formula One here.
The Teutonic tactic after this: open this baby to the public.
Let them show up in whatever they drive — the family wagon, a race-ready Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Volkswagen, charge them a fee, and let them have at it — and each other.
If Volkswagen was the "Peoples' Car," then this is the "Peoples' Diabolique."
Glass-topped tour buses cruise this track, spectators craning necks for the inevitable crash.
But what's young Johnny or Jane Speed to do in the United States or other countries where litigation threats alone would bar such fun?
Join a private and often elegant private race club, with track, private garages, locker room, pool, tennis courts and even day-care. And have your fun in a far more safe and sane manner — if you have the swag to pay for the speed.
Which is why we are now at the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Parump, Nev., to test the remarkable Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
Hyundai? Race track? Memberships that at global retreats such as this can cost tens of thousands to join and tens of thousands in annual dues, and we bring a Hyundai?
You betcha, Bub, as they might say at lesser tracks where the hoi polloi mingle and inhale fumes.
For this Hyundai, offspring of the Hyundai Genesis sedan that was named North American Car of the Year for 2009, is a screaming little hot rod, with four cylinders cranking out 210 horsepower in a base model, and six pistons pounding out 306 horsepower for those who come to places like this.
The private race resorts are modeled after exclusive golf country clubs. And while the speed of a golf ball off the tee is about 160 miles per hour for the average PGA pro — and approaching 200 in some cases — some of the cars at these clubs can keep up with a golf ball struck even by someone like Tiger Woods (180 mph, plus).
And make no mistake, it is places like this that, globally, answer the question: "So you bought a car that can do 150, 175, even 200 miles per hour. Where you gonna drive it?"
If you are rich enough, lucky enough, you can take your 'Vette, Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, specially-built race car, Subaru WRX Sti, Mitsubishi Evo and, yes, this very Hyundai, to one of many private "country club" tracks springing up around the globe.
There is the gorgeous, twisting, dropping and rising private track at Mount Tremblant, north of Montreal. The IMOLA race resort in South Africa. The exotic, sunbathed Ascari Race Resort in southern Spain.
And for contrapuntal comparison, there is the Monticello Motor Club in upstate New York, billed as "A Private Race Track for Wealthy Auto Enthusiasts" — cover charge, $175,000 — and then the relatively Spartan Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill., late of Jake and Elwood Blues, who would most certainly be allowed to bring their Blues Brothers cop car out for high-speed runs without being chased by the polizei.
So why bring a Hyundai to a glitzy and swank private track outside Las Vegas. Because the car is worthy, and because the track is there.
Consider: a six-speed transmission worthy of a race car. Rear-wheel drive — so yes, you can steer with the throttle (as we learned particularly in a class on drifting, trying to keep the car sideways, rear wheels screaming, as we slid around a circular course.)
Were I to blindfold you, plunk you in the passenger's seat and take you on a few hot laps of the Spring Mountain track, you would pause before declaring whether you had been in a BMW 335i or an Infiniti G37.
Yes, head-to-head in a race, those other cars — costing much more money — would likely win.
And yet, there is the thrill of speed, control, grip, the racer's edge at the soul of the Genesis Coupe.
Upright in corners, even if purposely pushed until the tires squeal.
On one particularly nasty part of the Spring Mountain track — a seemingly innocuous rise and dip into a sharp right-hander — the Coupe, with the right guidance, showed a deft ability to cut in a contradictory fashion away from the obvious inside line to apex, and hang to the outer edge until the unweighting of the dip gave way to a re-weighting of the wheels.
Of course, this is mostly a car meant for those who drive mostly public roads.
And in that respect, it is still a blast. You needn't break laws or endanger lives to have fun in the Genesis Coupe.
A tight and smartly appointed interior features a three-spoke steering wheel, seats so bolstered for legs and upper body that you feel like you are wearing them, and a simplified, yet diverse center stack of controls at mid-dash.
I'd take its seats over the costlier Nissan any day.
So, don't have the bucks for a Ferrari, a 'Vette, a G37, but still want fun and snap in your driving?
Get thee to a Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
And can't afford membership in a glamourous automotive country club?
Look around you: As they said in the movie, "We'll always have Paris."
Well, we'll always have Joliet, or some joint like it, where the track doesn't know how much money you have in the bank.
And with a range of base to track ready models of this Genesis Coupe starting at around $23,000 and heading into the high 20s and low 30s, you don't need a lot of cash in the bank.
That racer in the Porsche next to you? Let her go. Have your own dose of self-induced fun and fear.
Read more from Wheels columnist Royal Ford: