Most driving schools start out with a classroom session where they familiarize students wi
Grab a notebook, a pencil, your helmet and your tools-it's time to go to school. In the old days, the only way to become a racer was to actually buy or build a car, prep it yourself and have at it. Now, with the advent of racing schools, it's much easier to gain the skills and seat time necessary to further your dreams of success behind the wheel.
There's also a flourishing industry in teaching the skills necessary to become a racing mechanic or a top-flight pit crewman. Circle Track did some careful research into these schools, and we present that information for your consumption. So, pencils up ... class begins now!
Skip Barber Racing School
Location: Various tracks
Cost: $1,925 to $3,895
Web site: www.skipbarber.com
Available at more than 20 of America's premier racing facilities, Skip Barber Racing Schools strive to teach the skills required to race successfully. For some, these programs are a potential first step toward a professional career. For others, they are the culmination of years of anticipation and curiosity.
Students benefit from a structured curriculum of classroom and track sessions that provide an improved understanding of the fundamentals of racing cars. As a Skip Barber Racing School student you will follow the same course curriculum used to train four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon and CART's all-time winningest driver, Michael Andretti.
For the beginner, you'll want to take the Intro to Racing or Three-Day Racing School. The veteran driver will benefit from a number of advanced activities, including lapping/practice, a car control clinic and the advanced two-day racing school, which maximize seat time and prepare you for the starting grid. Each program integrates the basics of racing: the art of trail braking, heel-and-toe downshifting and finding the fastest racing line.
To participate in the Skip Barber Racing School you must possess a valid driver's license and be able to use a manual transmission (drivers under the age of 18 must have parental consent).
Bragg-Smith Advanced Driving School
Location: Spring Mountain Motorsports Park, Nev.
Cost: $1,195 to $2,395
Web site: www.bragg-smith.com
Touted as Chevrolet's official school for Corvettes and Camaros, Bragg-Smith Advanced Driving School conducts all lapping sessions and exercises in Corvettes and Camaros-aside from its 2000 Chevy Impala skid car.
Bragg-Smith Advanced Driving School believes the art of Visual Scanning(r) is the key to its curriculum. The theory is that since your eyes control everything you do, training them properly is essential to fully controlling your vehicle. Bragg-Smith has trademarked this technique and it is the basis of the education it provides.
The three-day Level One class begins at 8:30 a.m. and lasts until 4 p.m. every day. The first day concentrates on braking. This exercise will teach you skid control, car control, visual skills and accident avoidance by a unique comparison of ABS and conventional braking systems, some wet pavement and you behind the wheel. Skid Control, taught in the school's 2000 Chevy Impala Skid Car, and heel-and-toe downshifting are also part of the first day.
Day two features shadow-lapping. Bragg-Smith instructors will teach you how to find your apexes, how to balance the car through the corners and how to drive smoothly and precisely. On the final day of your Bragg-Smith instruction you will spend all day on the track practicing what you learned the previous two days.
Ken Bouchard's Drive to Victory Lane
Location: Thompson International Speedway, Thompson, Conn.
Cost: $50 to $2,400
Web site: www.drivetovictorylane.com