What To Expect At Driving School
In last month’s article I made frequent references to the feel of the car. Getting a feel for the car will be the main theme for this year’s driving school. I believe that having a good feel for the car is the key element to driving a car in a high performance way. When I say in a high performance way I don’t mean driving fast. What I am talking about is having complete control of the car at all times. Also, it means knowing what messages the car is sending you and knowing how to react when the car tells you that it is getting into trouble.
The drills at this year’s school will be geared towards obtaining these skills. For the experienced track driver the drills will be geared toward refining those skills and learning some new specialized skills for track use. The best drill for acquiring a feel for the car is the skid pad. What a skid pad consists of is a section of track that has been watered down to make it slick. Having a slick surface will make it easy to put a car into a skid at a relatively slow speed. Hence the name skid pad. The purpose of the skid pad is to help you get a feel for your car. That is what is so great about it. The skid pad is an environment where you can push your car beyond its limits in safety. This is where you learn how your car feels when it is about to lose control.
In the skid pad drill you will put your car into a skid, into a spin, lock up the brakes, and spin the tires. You will learn how to recover from all those mishaps! The instructors will take time to explain the physical events that lead to loss of car control and what correc tive actions to take to regain control of the vehicle This drill, along with a couple of other drills will prepare you for high performance driving.
After the morning drill stations you will then be ready to run the full track in the afternoon. This is the part that most people enjoy the best. The full track session gives you the chance to put all that you have learned in the drill stations to use. For those that are first timers to running the track, the in structors will teach the safest way around the race course. They will point out certain areas of the track that can get you into trouble if you are unaware of them. Those that are Level 1 or 2 will simply go on out and run the course. Of course, if you wish, you may have an instructor ride with you to critique your driving skills.
For those of you worried about mixing experienced and novice drivers together on the track, don’t worry. There will be separate sessions for dif ferent levels of ability. That way the new drivers can drive at whatever speed they feel comfortable without having to worry about more expe rienced drivers always catching up to them and wanting to pass.
Points to remember if you are going to attend the Driving School:
- BRING A HELMET! All drivers and passengers must wear a helmet when a vehicle is on the track.
- FILL YOUR GAS TANK. A lot of driving on the track can quickly eat a lot of gas. The nearest gas station is a twenty minute round trip.
- PUT EXTRA AIR IN YOUR TIRES. Track driving puts a lot of stress on your tires. Inflate them to 36-40 psi. The instructors will help you set the proper pressure when you get to the track.
TECH SESSION. Your car will be checked to make sure that it does not contain any defects that might cause a problem on the track. It would be a good idea for either yourself or your mechanic to give the vehicle a standard safety check. Common problems found during tech inspections include: batteries not properly secured, loose fan belts, low brake fluid level, badly worn brake pads, and loose wheel bearings
Schedule For The Day
7:00-8:30 Sign in, get vehicle teched, park in pits and empty vehicle of any loose objects.
8:30-9:00 Ground school
9:00-10:45 First Drill Session 11:00-12:00 Second Drill Session
12:15-12:45 Novice Drivers’ introduc tion to the track. Experienced Drivers’ lunch break.
1:00-1:30 Experienced Drivers’ track session. Novice Drivers’ session.
2:00-2:30 Novice Drivers’ session. 2:30-3:00 Experienced Drivers’ session. 3:00-3:30 Novice Drivers’ session.
3:30-3:55 Experienced Drivers’ and Instructors’ session.
4:00 Track closed.
A couple of final notes. For those of you that get your registration form in early you will be mailed a packet of information on the Driving School. Others will receive your packet at the track. Please try to arrive early so that your car can be teched in a timely manner.
If you have any questions about the Driving School, please feel free to give me a call at 854-1986. See you Monday, July 3.
This article was originally published in the July 1989 edition of Zundfolge