For someone who has no interest in being a racecar driver, the thought of attending a high-performance driving school may seem wasteful. It’s just doing fast laps on a track.
That is incorrect. There’s a lot more to attending a performance driving school. While some of it does involve high-speed driving, most of the course teaches you other driving skills. This includes car control, confidence in abilities behind the wheel, and education on what to do in emergencies.
Location is Key
In addition to third-party school, there are several driving schools around, put on by automakers for owners. They’re all located at a closed course. Having these lessons in a safe, controlled environment means you don’t have to deal with unknown. Furthermore, you can focus entirely on learning.
How Does Driving School Work?
Professional drivers start in a classroom-type setting where they explain how each exercise works, what your goals are, and recommendations on the best way to drive the course. Then, students get to the cars to take the ideas they just learned and use them on the course.
Autocross is a small driving course where cones are set up to show you where to drive. The track is often a scaled-down version of a more extensive track. The entire course is made up of cones, therefore if you make a mistake, the only thing you can hit is a cone. Instructors give suggestions based on what they observe after each lap.
Braking and Cornering
Two students per car drive the entire route, with instructors leading each group of students in a lead car. Instructors show how to spot when to brake and accelerate at each corner. This is a skill that can improve your time at the track and can make you a smoother driver on the road.
Generally, the overhead view of a skidpad course looks like a target and a set of four cones at the bullseye. A car skids in circles around the cone, keeping the nose of the car pointed towards the cones.
This course teaches you how to get the car into a controllable skid and how to get out of it safely. Have you ever skidded in wet weather and weren’t sure what to do? Here, instructors show you the right way to get out of it.
Instructors lead, and participants follow. You will go faster than the first time out on the track, observing where the instructor brakes, turns, and accelerates, all while hearing instructions over walkie-talkies that are in each car. Everyone takes what they have learned that day and became more proficient in this challenging track.