+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 19 of 19
Like Tree16Likes
  • 2 Post By redtopz
  • 1 Post By ucfbrett
  • 1 Post By Richard EVO
  • 1 Post By hakeem
  • 1 Post By SDSUsnowboards
  • 5 Post By Jack Olsen
  • 1 Post By Pure EvoIX
  • 2 Post By robburgoon
  • 2 Post By jimt

Thread: racing schools vs just doing track days w/ridealongs with faster people

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    3
    Liked
    0 times

    Default racing schools vs just doing track days w/ridealongs with faster people

    I was looking at enrolling in a racing school. They all seem to be about ~$3-4 for a 3 day course. What are your guys' feelings toward these schools? My aim is to learn how to drive properly on track days with a solid skill set not competitive racing. I've been just doing track days here and there and having a faster friend giving me ridealongs and giving me tips along the way.
    Last edited by brainhulk; 08-09-2013 at 11:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    La Verne, California, United States
    Posts
    7,645
    Liked
    2283 times

    Default

    What type of racing school ? Skip barber type ? Or SCCA racing school. Completely different animals
    Supermiata S1, SuperMiata S2, Supermiata S3
    13 Tesla, ma: no engine !!
    17 GT350 !!
    08 M3 - Carmax warranty !!
    96 NSX
    06 EVO MR
    15 Mini Cooper S

  3. #3
    Spec Backhoe Champion redtopz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    1,229
    Liked
    981 times

    Default

    A trip to Bondurant for my 40th birthday is what started me down this path. I had never really even heard of hpde before that or realized that you could take a street car to a race track for fun. Since I was so green, this was a great way for me to learn the fundamentals from a professional school and I think Bondurant hit on all the key principals to being safe and fast on the track. Other than Bondurant and one professional instructor 1 day, I have never had any hpde coaching. This was intentional (no offense to hpde coaches). After a year of doing hpde I went back to bondurant for a 2 day "advanced" course but didn't really learn much. Turns out I had the basic principals down, but had to overcome the natural instincts of a guy who had only been driving on the street for 25+ years. In other words, it was all a matter of pushing my comfort level in braking and cornering speeds. I did read some books on more advanced principals that helped also.

    If I had already been doing hpde and understood the basic principals then maybe bondurant would have been less useful. You can probably accomplish the same things with books and a faster friend/coach helping you out. Getting comfortable sliding a car and coming to the realization that the rear tires also help steer the car through a turn was a difficult thing for me and probably took 2 years for me to apply partially because I was learning in a corvette on hoosiers. I still remember the day my brain finally figured it out and I cut 6 seconds off my lap times in 1 day. Had I been tracking a miata on street tires (or karting) this would have happened sooner. If you understand the following basic principals then maybe you can save yourself some money:

    1. Smooth is fast.
    2. Look ahead, the car will go where your eyes go.
    3. Heel/toe downshifting
    4. The proper racing line.
    5. Threshold braking and trail braking
    6. Tire friction circle and how weight transfer in the car affects tire grip
    7. How to throttle steer and control under/over steer
    8. Proper hand position on the steering wheel

    I think those are the main principals/techniques that I was introduced to at the school.
    hakeem and Pure EvoIX like this.
    99 C5 corvette SCCA GT2
    99 Supermiata "Super"

  4. #4
    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ventura, Calif.
    Posts
    5,449
    Liked
    2243 times

    Default

    That's a lot of money to commit to going to racing school when your goal is not to race. For the same money, you can get lots of weekends in HPDE with in-car instruction.

    You can have one weekend, or have lots of weekends at the track having fun driving and getting faster while not trying to cram all that learning into one weekend. I can't speak for others, but driving quickly, driving genuinely well and racing is one of the most difficult things I've ever done. It's also crazy fun, but it takes lots of time behind the wheel to get good at it.

    It also takes obsessing and consulting with as many good drivers as you can.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    10,979
    Liked
    1477 times

    Default

    Unfortunately, the quality of coaching/instruction at HPDEs is pretty random. A lot of the instructors are just Advanced Group drivers who want free track time in exchange for instructing. Because they can run fast laps does not make them good coaches. Nor does repeating hackneyed phrases like "Smooth is Fast," "Look way ahead," and "Slow in, Fast out."
    bawareca likes this.
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

  6. #6
    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ventura, Calif.
    Posts
    5,449
    Liked
    2243 times

    Default

    True, some instructors are better than others. Just because you can do something well doesn't mean you can teach it well. However, I've had lots of different instructors ride along with me and I think the variety also has been educational.

  7. #7
    dirty smack talker hakeem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    3,076
    Liked
    977 times

    Default

    For ~$3-4, seems like it would be worth doing just to find out. It's cheaper than a Big Mac meal.
    Olitho likes this.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    10,979
    Liked
    1477 times

    Default

    ^^^ Exploiting the missing "K" . . .
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

  9. #9
    Not Certified Slow SDSUsnowboards's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Orange County
    Posts
    1,717
    Liked
    742 times

    Default

    I consider myself new to the sport and I've never attended a racing school or even received in-car instruction, so consider my opinion in that context.

    I think the value of racing school depends on the driver. We all learn differently. All of us learn by doing. Some of us learn by reading. Others learn by hearing. Lastly, some learn by seeing. You need to determine how you best learn things.
    If you are like me then you retain information best by reading it. If that's the case then books are sufficient for getting the basics down. I'll tell you if they work for advanced concepts if/when I nail those.
    If you like a classroom structure, then a racing school may be beneficial. They'll talk to you a lot.
    If you like seeing information, then you can self teach yourself with books with pictures and youtube videos.

    No matter which works best for you, I strongly believe in doing things to learn them. I suggest picking up a wheel and a simulator for the PC or your console of choice. I began playing racing games at a young age. I didn't try the sport in real life until recently, and there was no "transition" point where I had to drop a "Street driving" mentality. Video games are great for learning what works and what wont. They even help with general car control, to an extent.

    Learn information via your method of choice, then apply it to a racing simulator. Then go to the track in real life and marvel at how well you are doing.
    Last edited by SDSUsnowboards; 08-10-2013 at 12:00 PM.
    ucfbrett likes this.
    2001 MR2-Eleven
    Experience Points: 21
    Youtube Channel.

  10. #10
    enjoys driving fast Jack Olsen's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    528
    Liked
    375 times

    Default

    This is true. But the real value to the path of multiple days and ridealongs is the fact that it allows you a huge amount of repetition, which is the area where the schools (necessarily) fall short. When you're training reflexive responses (which is 95% of driving), repetition is the really essential element. The cognitive part can come from a book, video or expensive school, but knowing how to drive well is just a small part of actually driving well.

    Put another way, your eyes, hands and feet have no time to decide anything when you're driving. They have to be trained -- through repetition, with guidance.

    There's a science to it -- different parts of the brain, different neural pathways in the brain, different ways the brain gets input and makes decision. But the gist is you can't simply tell yourself how to get a car around a track fast. It takes different amounts of time for different drivers, but it doesn't happen in a weekend.

    All that said, I think the weekend schools have their value. But as others have mentioned, an SCCA-type racing school will usually come after a fair amount of track days. At least, I think that that's the best way to maximize its benefits.

  11. #11
    The Real Captain Slow Red_5's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Santa Barbara
    Posts
    4,188
    Liked
    704 times

    Default

    If you want to go to a school, I consistently get emails from Skip Barber for 30-40% off there 3 day school pricing.
    99 Mazda Miata SuperMiata #515 - AKA Sparky SOLD
    '91 Mariner Blue Miata project AKA Napoleon

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    10,979
    Liked
    1477 times

    Default

    Jim Russell has the benefit of running its race school at Sonoma.
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

  13. #13
    Track Whore Pure EvoIX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Fullerton, CA
    Posts
    1,728
    Liked
    299 times

    Default

    My advice is to do as many HPDE events as you can with an instructor. 10 days is like $2k in entry fees + consumables. Maybe go with NASA for more competent instructors. Then after you do 10+ track days with instructors/coaching/having someone who is fast ride along, then consider doing a racing school. You will learn more and faster that way than if you are brand new to HPDE/tracking and dive straight into racing school without having some sort of basis. Of course you also don't want to pick and and learn bad habits. That's what good instructors are for during your initial HPDE days. If you go to racing school 1st, I feel it will just go in one ear and out the other by Monday. You need tooooooooons of seat time. Paying $3-4k for 3 days and most likely 2hrs a day on the track surface TOPS isn't nearly enough. Half of it would be doing exercises and lead follow and the other half would be on your own. Watching youtube vids, reading books, etc doesnt hurt either and its cheap. Just remember to pick and choose what you watch and read. Some are good and some are bad.
    ucfbrett likes this.
    Zhong (Evo IX) | Angry Panda Racing

    1:53.396 @ BRP CW13 - 11/14/13
    1:47.2xx @ Laguna Seca - 11/28/10
    2:03.026 @ Thill CCW Bypass - 12/20/14
    2:05.100 @ CVR CCW - 1/16/11
    1:58.151 @ CVR CW - 5/5/13
    1:25.56x @ WSIR - 10/13/13
    1:23.128 @ SOW CW - 7/27/14
    1:22.2xx @ SOW CCW - 7/26/14
    1:46.0xx @ ACS Roval - 11/23/14
    1:11.299 @ ACS Infield - 5/18/14

    Fastest Limited/Mod Class Evo in Time Attack at WSIR
    2nd Fastest Limited/Mod Class Evo in Time Attack at BRP 13CW

  14. #14
    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    6,853
    Liked
    1429 times

    Default

    Yet another buy a miata thread. Buy a miata.
    emilio700 and ucfbrett like this.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    10,979
    Liked
    1477 times

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by robburgoon View Post
    Yet another buy a miata thread. Buy a miata.
    ???
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

  16. #16
    RaceTape Ninja Force McCocken's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Roswell, GA
    Posts
    1,440
    Liked
    744 times

    Default

    I would do the school and decide if you want to pursue it further on your own. It will put you into a better perspective moving forward, I think. If anything the car control techniques will carry with you the rest of your life. Some of the techniques and experience I gained doing HPDEs and such have saved my bacon, and my passengers, on the streets in various situations at least 4 different times.
    Yer pal,
    Force

  17. #17
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    3
    Liked
    0 times

    Default

    Thanks for all the input guys. I think I will just keep doing more track days and do the school later. Which one in california would you guys recommend?

    Quote Originally Posted by SDSUsnowboards View Post
    I consider myself new to the sport and I've never attended a racing school or even received in-car instruction, so consider my opinion in that context.

    I think the value of racing school depends on the driver. We all learn differently. All of us learn by doing. Some of us learn by reading. Others learn by hearing. Lastly, some learn by seeing. You need to determine how you best learn things.
    If you are like me then you retain information best by reading it. If that's the case then books are sufficient for getting the basics down. I'll tell you if they work for advanced concepts if/when I nail those.
    If you like a classroom structure, then a racing school may be beneficial. They'll talk to you a lot.
    If you like seeing information, then you can self teach yourself with books with pictures and youtube videos.

    No matter which works best for you, I strongly believe in doing things to learn them. I suggest picking up a wheel and a simulator for the PC or your console of choice. I began playing racing games at a young age. I didn't try the sport in real life until recently, and there was no "transition" point where I had to drop a "Street driving" mentality. Video games are great for learning what works and what wont. They even help with general car control, to an extent.

    Learn information via your method of choice, then apply it to a racing simulator. Then go to the track in real life and marvel at how well you are doing.
    Haha gran turismo ftw!! I grew up on it. I did a mash up of my gran turismo video and my Buttonwillow video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObGPpqaYKf8

    I also tried iracing and it is I think even better

  18. #18
    Faster than Oli jimt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    652
    Liked
    434 times

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Olsen View Post
    There's a science to it -- different parts of the brain, different neural pathways in the brain, different ways the brain gets input and makes decision.
    Yes, and I'll add it takes a large pair of neural pathways to exploit the last bit of traction out of the car.
    ucfbrett and redtopz like this.
    ~ Jim Tway
    Tway Motorsports
    (714) 528-2150
    #57 Pacific Automotive Recycling Center Corvette

    Brought to you by:
    Pacific Automotive Recycling Center
    PA Construction
    American Heritage Performance

  19. #19
    The Real Captain Slow Red_5's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Santa Barbara
    Posts
    4,188
    Liked
    704 times

    Default

    Just got an email from Skippy that says "30% off September schools, seats available."
    99 Mazda Miata SuperMiata #515 - AKA Sparky SOLD
    '91 Mariner Blue Miata project AKA Napoleon

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts