Our 240SX takes out Carre...
Our 240SX takes out Carreras!
With tons of instructors, all with years of racing experience, there was a lot of expertise on hand to share with us one-on-one. Our lead instructor, Randy, shared a really good point at the beginning of class: the amount of money you spend on their driving school will do more to improve your track time than any aftermarket part you could add to your vehicle. It brings home the point that a lot of people spend money on car parts when they are overlooking one of the biggest factors in racing - themselves and their driving abilities.
We started the day with a pre-test of tracking our lap time on the race course. This was the crowning principle to show our improvement in time by comparing our pre-test lap time to eventually our post-test time at the end of the driving school. Turbo's second bragging moment: our 240SX kicked ass against the school's Porsche 911. Out of ten students driving the loaner 911 (because they didn't bring their own vehicle) we took fourth place. Not bad for an N/A S14 that makes half the power of a 996 Porsche.
Having been quite satisfied with our Project 240's performance (and glad that nothing broke so we still had our ride home), we were off to the classroom for some instruction. After learning about tire contact principles and how to shift the weight of the vehicle to our advantage, we hit the braking test course in the Carreras and M3s. Practicing threshold braking and suddenly jumping into a different lane last minute at high speeds meant there was a lot of tire screeching going on. Next it was off to the wet skidpad with the BMW M3s and 330is to practice our powerslide and trail braking techniques. (Clearly a crossover appeal for you drifting fans.)
Day Two brought us back into the classroom for some more pointers and then out to the autocross course to take out the Carrera, M3 and the insane Viper. Without any electronic controls like vehicle stability and traction control, the Viper is a beast to drive. It makes the Carrera and M3 look like you're driving an automatic minivan. Just trying not to spin out took all of my concentration (and left a big bruise on my calf from trying to brace myself in place). It was certainly a thrill to drive and then to experience a ride-along with our instructor Conrad who happens to be the Jasper Performance drift driver. Riding while he seamlessly drifts the Viper on the autocross track was phenomenal.
After the exhilarating autocross fun, we spent the afternoon taking all the cars (except the Viper) out on the racetrack for hours of solo track experience. This way we piloted the vehicles alone and followed behind instructors who modeled the perfect line to take, noting the corner's apex and when to brake upon entry and accelerate upon exit. Having the luxury of so much track time was terrific.
We left the school satisfied with having improved on our driving techniques. I found that I knew the concepts for most of the techniques beforehand in theory, but because I hadn't had formal instruction I couldn't apply them to their utmost potential. Sure, I could have told you before what trail braking was, but it was a whole different experience to have a professional instructor sitting next to you giving you blow-by-blow instructions on how to perfect it. We definitely would recommend high performance driving school, whether it be for one day or two days, for enthusiasts who want to track race their vehicles. It'd be a shame to invest so much in your car, and ignore the key factor of your driving potential: the driving part.