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Discussion in 'Tracking & Driver Education' started by rspike, Jan 24, 2010.
any one have input for a driving school around ny ?
What are you interested in doing? Learn how to drive your car better? Learn defensive driving techniques that will help you avoid hazards on the road? Drive your car in a safe controlled environment (Monticello, Lime Rock) with an instructor in the passenger seat to help guide you towards executing the proper technique? Start out with a solid, basic high performance driving foundation through attending a professional school like Skip Barber or Bertil Roos? Lots of answers available, just need more information to help narrow it down.
I'd like to learn how to race properly ,this would also improve my watching of F1 and le mans at home I think. I've never had any training in this art , probably to old really 50?
Dr.Who is giving you good advise. I attended the 3 day Formula school at Lime Rock. Very well operated and instructors are top notch.
SB is great way to see if racing is something you want to explore. After doing the 3 day, if you want to continue the process you only need to attend a 2 day advance school afterwhich you will then be able to go racing on weekends "renting" their cars. A very well scripted and time proven process. Even if you don't go any further then the 3 day program you will come out of it with a new appreciation what you are watching on TV during races.
Get a part time gig driving taxis in NYC
PS Never make the mistake of telling a cabbie when you are at the Church on Wall Street at 5:00 pm that you are in a hurry to get to La Guardia.
Bobby, I think it's unanimous! Great talking with you this afternoon. Keep us posted!
I started at 50, with DE through Sports Car Driving Association (based in CT) and Skip Barber 3-day school. Wish I had a little more DE experience before Skippy School so I wouldn't have needed to focus so much on the basics (and might not have been the slowest in the class), but there is no denying that the instruction is first class and the overall experience is extraordinary.
Racing is exciting and fun, but so is DE with a great group of people at a well-run event. I'm a big fan of SCDA and NASA (also race with NASA) but there are plenty of other groups.
Enjoy your new addiction!
Well, I'll be the one that votes different. I went to Bertil Roos race school - they have classes at Pocono, VIR, and now at the new NJ Motorsports Park.
Dennis Macchio, who owns the school, used to be GM at Bridgehampton, and he's a great guy. Teaches slightly different technique from Skip - it's more complete braking and exit turn on full power rather than reverse (e.g., trail braking), but very comprehensive.
There was a student when I went that had completed Skip Barber 5-day and thought Bertil Roos was better. He certainly applied the lessons well as he was way faster than anyone else!
I completed the 5-day course and was eligible for my SCCA license. Never followed up as it really is too expensive for me at this time, but I greatly enjoyed my experience.
One more note - this may have changed - Bertil Roos pricing was cheaper than Skip when I went. Not that the cost is a factor necessarily, but a data point.
What a great note! I work with people who've started a lot later than fifty, but they have just as much fun as participants of any age!
I still think it's wise to spend time at either Skip Barber or the excellent program run by my good friend Dennis Macchio, of the Bertil Roos School of Motor Racing, before starting DE's.
You can't beat a solid foundation of fundamental skills and knowledge. The pro schools provide the BEST foundation for continued learning.
Did skippy formula schools at 50 myself. Not too old to have fun and compete within your own group charitably referred to as "masters". Expect to be shown a few things by some brave youngsters.
I never got in a Ferrari on the track until I was 61 - am now 65 and having a blast tracking my Scud
not sure I entirely liked what I was shown at SB, did lime rock, Good Year and Laguna Seca.................Instructors are pretty much young folks looking to race or are racers trying to cover costs by "tolerating" students, IMHO, its a little too much uncontrolled aggression for weekend warriors like me, and actual track time seemed very skimpy to me. Its not cheap either and the price seemed to be pushed up by lots of car damage that is rolled into the price paid by careful students like me. Seems like "taking off a corner" is considered a right of passage, (not the corner of the track, the corner of the car) "they call it insurance but IMHO it only encourages reckless students that end up bending the cars on the days I attended."
Its needlessly aggressive for a school and something that has no pay check if you come in first. I would bounce the Ricky racer students or make them pay full boat for damage to keep the price more reasonable for folks that respect the cost of a car. Also, car prep was lacking during my lime rock experience, many banged up cars not ready to go back on the track and seemed like a huge imposition on the staff when they found out they had to get off their rear and replace/repair cars that had been taken out of action by other students. Beyond Cocky is a term that would apply to many of the instructors I had. If your talented and cocky thats one thing, but just plain cocky and paying $3k for class is pretty insulting.
I think a racing school is a cool thing and not sure if it were mine I could control the staff either. Fun idea, but the concept is not pretty up close. Not sure I would do it again. I did learn some concepts though that have proved valuable and improved my safety.
I admit, I am not sure how to ride herd on this crowd either. Perhaps SB is the least bad way to do it. Lots of lip for the money and not much track time.
Frankly, you have a point. I did my racing school at Laguna Seca, and there was a lot of waiting around because they were running two MX-5 and two Open-Wheel groups. The Open-Wheel guys tended to end up in the gravel quite a bit, which delayed things even further.
And, yes, some of the younger instructors, while friendly, think they walk on water. And, yes, some of the younger participants are still living the dream, However, Randy Buck runs a good (and safe) show, and you can pretty much dial in how aggressive you want to be. After all, it is a racing school. Moreover, once you start racing in the series, particularly the MX-5 which doesn't have regional feeder races, it is real racing. The leaders will be going balls to the wall without too much concern about eating the insurance deductible.
About the cost, I suspect Skippy is not making a ton of money on the racing schools. I'm a CPA and have a bad habit of mentally guessing the bottom line of various businesses. So, even though, the cars and tires are free; the instructors work for tips; and the track rent is relatively cheap, they have a lot of overhead. Therefore, I doubt they are making a lot of dough.
PS A race week end at roughly $4k has got to be one of the best deals in racing, particularly for fly and drive.
I have a feeling that driving schools are a bit like exercise programs: the best one is the one you will actually do.
That being said, I have done the 3-day Bertil-Roos and just signed up to finish the 5 day program this spring. I thought it was excellent.
When you know nothing (like me) then anyone with experience teaching you anything is a good thing
I think your write up is pretty good and about matches my experience. I guess racing is just a rough business and if you want instructors that know racing, you get the racer's mentallity along with it. I guess I was not ready for how "into it" folks really get, some of the students actually think they are going to win Indy!
The time in classroom was pretty good, coverage of flags, track procedures, and the geometry of entering and exiting turns was well explained, just wish there was more track time and perhaps I am just a slow poke. Fun was had, no doubt, seems like there is room to do even better. The other local go cart class (not SB) I took from a different school was all track time, almost zero instruction, just here you go, probably not the safest way to do it.
Again, a rough subject matter and the students are rough crowd too. A tough assignment no matter how you slice it. I guess I am more a future vintage driver (ie. slow) than a true racer, maybe in my next life!.
SB's tracks are top rate and its fun to get on them and see them up close. I just did not totally enjoy some of the instruction styles from some of the instructors, maybe I will give it another try at some point. There does not appear to be a ton of options in the schools, who else have people tried and enjoyed?
I've done Bonderuant , Panoz , Spring Mountain and am going to attend Skip Barber in May at VIR . I can give my thoughts on all after .
which school do you feel is better for a beginner?
Wow - nothing like the experience at Bertil Roos. They'd throw you out for that level of recklessness.
Lots of track time, good instruction, no cowboys. Cheaper than SB too.
I concur. I got tons of seat time and was exhausted at the end of each day. Class room is good. When you are not in the car, you are watching at a corner with an instructor and still learning. No attitude. And zero deductible on the insurance too, though they will frown upon you getting out of shape.
Bondurant runs a good program, primarily with "big" cars (like Corvettes), but it's in Phoenix, Arizona at Firebird Raceway only. Panoz is gone, purchased by Skip Barber. Spring Mountain is the old Rupert Bragg-Smith Corvette school in Pahrump, Nevada only.
VIR is awesome, with either SBRS or Bertil Roos!
Hell, no!!!!!....just kidding.. 50...60, just do it!!! I did the Roos 3 day school a number of years ago...found it to be excellent. Very comprehensive. I was doing vintage racing at the time and wanted to get involved in pro racing and found his school to be excellent. Actually, several months after I completed the school, I called Bertil and asked it I could bring up one of my race cars for a test day....and intertwine it with one of his school sessions and he was more than happy to ablige. It was well worth the trip.. Bottom line..talk to all the schools you're interested in and make your own "educated" decision....And good luck and have fun!!!!
Laguna Seca is better!