I have benefited from 3 types of racing education: HPDE instructors, Racing Schools and individual coaching.
HPDE at CMP
I began High Performance Drivers’ Education at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC. CMP has its own Turn One HPDE events plus it hosts HPDE events by other clubs. John Meek is the head instructor at CMP and he has a ton of experience racing and instructing, including Porsche and AMG Schools. John taught me the basics about weight transfer, finding the apex and smoothness in driving while I drove my 2009 CTS-V. Here is John next to my car at CMP.
Bondurant School of Racing
After soloing in HPDE, I had an opportunity to attend the Bondurant School of Racing in Phoenix. Bob Bondurant was an accomplished international racer, winning everything from motocross to Corvettes to GT World Championship to GT win at LeMans to the Ferrari Formula One Team. Bob started teaching during the filming of the movie “Grand Prix” and opened his first School of Racing in 1968. Today Bob Bondurant oversees a dozen instructors in courses, including Introduction to Road Racing, Advanced Road Racing, Karting, Executive Protection and Special Forces Training. Bondurant uses Corvettes and Formula Mazdas for their road racing instruction. Here I am leading a pack of Corvettes last December.
Here I am having fun in a Formula Mazda.
I have worked with three excellent instructors, each of whom I recommend highly: Corey Horsford during the Introduction to Road Racing and William Hawkins and Pete Miller during Advanced Road Racing. If you are interested in attending Bondurant, contact one of these three instructors and they will arrange registration and give you discounts that might not otherwise be available.
SCCA Racing School
Even though I had qualified for a racing license by successfully completing Bondurant, I decided in February 2011 to take the SCCA Race School at Roebling Raceway outside of Savannah, GA. Tom Fowler of OPM Autosports rented me a Spec Miata and acted as my Instructor for the three-day weekend. Over 50 drivers participated in classroom instruction and track work. Here is Tom Fowler going over racing technique with us.
The weekend was cool and rainy so we got lots of practice driving on a wet course. That experience has come in handy many times. The weekend progressed through practice races and culminated in the Big Race Sunday afternoon. I was poised to win the race but another car spun on the last lap and took me out with him. As you can see, I had a blast even though the car was damaged.
NASA Competition School
My first race was a National Auto Sports Association (NASA) Southeast event at CMP. NASA-SE requires new racers to complete a 1/2 day Competition School to demonstrate proficiency. NASA rules and flags were reviewed in classroom sessions. Some of the on-track drills included driving 3 laps side-by-side with another car at close to race speed, then switching sides of the track and doing three more laps side-by-side. It was good practice for racing and entering turns offline. I competed the Competition School by lunchtime and started my first 3 hour Endurance Race before my food digested. 3 hours later, I got my first podium finish – 3rd Place!
I was now a full-fledged and licensed racer!
In another post, I’ll describe the importance of continued race instruction from qualified people, even after you think you know how to race.