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Author Topic: which racing school would u do?
genaro cuevas
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ok ladies and gentlemen, trying to figure out which 3 day racing school i want to do when i get back state side, and figured this would be a good place to ask to see if any one has been to either of them.

so should i do
skip barber mx-5 racing school
http://www.skipbarber.com/racing_school/mx5/mx5racing.aspx

or
mario andretti racing school SCCA
http://www.andrettigordon.com/cars/style/

adding the
bondurant racing school too the list!
http://www.bondurant.com/courses/gproadracing.php

they cost the same, other then the bondurant it will be 4795 but has one more day, the mario andretti one says you recieve your license if you pass of course. the skip barber is accredited though. well any info will help thanks for your time!

eli cuevas

[ 04-20-2008, 06:37 AM: Message edited by: genaro cuevas ]

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Add Bondurant to your list. The oldest, and still a really good school.

PedalFaster Verified Driver
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How much experience do you have? I did the Skip Barber three day school, and found it was actually less instructive than the typical DE -- they tailor the course at pretty much complete newbies, so you don't even get to hit the track immediately, and once you do, they limit you to something like 4000 rpm in third.

Also, beware the "accreditation" -- I didn't push the issue because I didn't have a graduation certificate in hand, but it doesn't seem to considered sufficient qualification for a novice permit around here (Seattle / Portland). Having done both Skip Barber and the Oregon Region school, I agree that Skip Barber shouldn't qualify you for your novice permit -- there was no real wheel-to-wheel action, and they didn't cover flags at all.

--------------------
Stephen Hui - '95 SM #86, Northwest / Oregon Region SCCA

Jason Brassfield Verified Driver
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Also, don't forget PRO DRIVE, Operated at PIR. Although I have never been, it seems on par with the rest of the schools around the country. Also, driving SRF's seems to be a similar car as far as momentum driving.

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I don't know what Barber school Pedal Faster went to - If you paid $5000 to go to a school that was designed to get you ready to race and get a racing license and they didn't do the job I would have walked out and asked for a refund. What kind of racing school doesn't cover flags??? Maybe it was a performance driving school - not a racing school?

I went to the Panoz school at Road Atlanta several years ago OUTSTANDING EXPERIENCE - Passing the three day course was all that was required to get your full regional license. Just fill out the forms - get your physical and send the paperwork and your certificate to SCCA HQ and you get your license back in a couple weeks.

The Panoz school is closed now or rather has been taken over by a Barber school. But I understand that many of the guys that worked there are now working for Barber.

If I remember right from your other posts you will be racing on the east coast - if you are going to race at Road Atlanta (Which I recommend - it's by far my favorite track) I recommend you take the Barber course at RA - Just make sure the course still comes with a certificate that will get you your SCCA regional license - if not it's not worth it. Then get a car and take an SCCA school if only just to see how an SCCA week end is run.

If you go to the Barber "Racing" school you'll learn race craft from some of the best racers in the country and you will learn RA better then you ever would on your own.

In my first year in SM - my third race in the SCCA I went to RA. I finished well ahead of a bunch of guys that had been racing there for years.

But to be thorough you should be able to get a course outline from the schools in question - contact the schools with the date you're planning on going and ask them for the instructors scheduled for that course. See what kind of experience they have - Panoz used to have racers from Rolex, Speed World Challenge, American LeMans - those are they guys you want teaching you how to race. If they can't give this info or the instructors aren't racers you might want to consider another course.


Good luck - see you in the track..


MZ

genaro cuevas
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thanks for the great info so far, asking about who will be teaching the class is a great idea which i will be asking them next, i will be racing in the washington, portland area. and ask for experience, i raced auto x, and then of course did karting for awhile growing up mostly kt100 and tag. still trying to decide what to do!

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My mistake I thought you were on the east coast. In that case I would try and go to a school at Laguna Seca.

But the same still applies - make sure the school will get you a license, check them out first.

I think there is a list of the schools that can get you your license at the main SCCA web site.

Good luck.


MZ

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Oh ya - take the insurance on day two and three - you shouldn't need it on day one. A guy in my class didn't have the insurance and crashed on day three - no racing for him for awhile.


MZ

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quote:
Originally posted by Z-MAN:
I don't know what Barber school Pedal Faster went to

Maybe it was a performance driving school - not a racing school?

Not a performance driving school -- I took their Three Day Racing School in a Formula Barber car.

I got the impression from both the course material and the demographic profile of my classmates that the class is oriented more towards well to do people who want an exciting weekend getaway in the same vein as whitewater rafting or skydiving -- something to try once as a cool life experience rather than serious preparation for road racing. I would be very worried gridding up beside someone whose only experience was the Skip Barber class.

--------------------
Stephen Hui - '95 SM #86, Northwest / Oregon Region SCCA

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I agree with Z-MAN on insurance. One good thing I have to say about Barber is that insurance is included (or at least was when I took the class). At the school, I had a brief but painful discussion with a wall, then a longer and equally painful discussion with an instructor. I left the latter conversation thinking my weekend was done, only to find a fresh car waiting for me.

--------------------
Stephen Hui - '95 SM #86, Northwest / Oregon Region SCCA

genaro cuevas
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well i know the mario andretti and bondurant school offer the license and insurance which of course i will get because accidents happen even if you are schumacher stuff still happens! ugh still a hard choice because it is 4gs being spent so i want the best for the cash!

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Ask how much seat time you get in each school, as well as how much TRACK time you get. They two are not the same. Instructor ratio should be 3:1 or better. Find out which cars you will be driving. Find out if your instructor will be watching from the armco or riding with you; you'll learn infinitely more with your instructor next to you.

Good luck and have fun!

--------------------
David Bahr

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old65 Verified Driver
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I did the Skippy MX-5 racing school last year and thought that I received reasonable value for the money.
I had purchased an SM car which was a lot different from what I had been driving and didn't want to spend a half year transising into it from what I had been driving.
There were only six of us (one of us was Duck Waddle) so we didn't have to share cars. We were in the cars for around four hours a day for all three days.
The school coverd flags, did trailing braking exercises, passing exercises, pratices starts, pratices re-starts and the last day the sesions were an open track, passing if you could catch the guy in front of you but they staggered starting us and, on Road America short course, it was hard but doable catching the other cars.
They also rev-limit you but it is increases each session through out the first two days and the revs are only limited on the straights, you can use as much as you need from turn in to turn out, even to the limiter.
When you pass the school you get a Skippy competition license that is good for two years and a form that they have to sign that you can send into SCCA (plus a check for $200.00) for a full regional license.
The thing that I found interesing is that if you read the SCCA GCR in the first five or six pages they list all of the other groups licenses that they reconnize for regional races and the Skippy competition license is there.
I never tried to use my Skippy license because I have a comp license and have wondered what would happen if you tried to run a regional on it.
Since the school was new last year we had instructors from the west coast and Florida in addition to the RA guys. I thought all of them did a very good job, they watched everything that you were doing and commented accordingly.
I thought that the school was pretty good. Since I had racing experience they pretty well just let me run with good observations and help.
It's a lot of money but I had a good time and I didn't waste a lot of the racing season in a new car.
Take the insurance, one guy really tore up a car.

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old65's description of the Barber school jives with what I experienced. I should amend what I wrote earlier -- I think they talked about flags in the classroom (I don't remember for sure -- it evidently didn't make an impression) but they did little to nothing with them when we were actually on the track. Contrast this to our local SCCA school, where knowing and watching the flag stations was given as much weight as hitting your apexes.

--------------------
Stephen Hui - '95 SM #86, Northwest / Oregon Region SCCA

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Prodrive should be your ONLY choice. I have done the school myself, and was able to step right into a miata after the school and do well. The Spec Racer Ford is an awesome platform, it takes all your skills and improves them. The school is well set-up, with instructors such as Spec Miata racer Gary Bockman, Todd Harris, and karting champion Chris Knight.

If you have ANY questions at all, feel free to ask me.

http://www.prodrive.net

--------------------
Driver, #44 Spec Miata
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Bart
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I took the 3 day race school last year at Laguna. Was definitely worth doing it, plus it helped that there was a miscommunication between the school and the track. Both though they were overbooked, but instead of the 30 or so students, there were only 4 of us. We got through most of the classroom the first day. I think they covered everything. And the instructors were great (helps when its one on one). With only 4 students we were getting tons of track time, easily getting 150+ laps per day. Just stopping for instructions form the instructors and gas.
After completing the class I was able to get my regional license form the SCCA. Thatís how I got started and glad I did.

Bart

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Skip Barber 3 day school that is.

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quote:
Originally posted by PedalFaster:
quote:
Originally posted by Z-MAN:
I don't know what Barber school Pedal Faster went to

Maybe it was a performance driving school - not a racing school?

Not a performance driving school -- I took their Three Day Racing School in a Formula Barber car.

I got the impression from both the course material and the demographic profile of my classmates that the class is oriented more towards well to do people who want an exciting weekend getaway in the same vein as whitewater rafting or skydiving -- something to try once as a cool life experience rather than serious preparation for road racing. I would be very worried gridding up beside someone whose only experience was the Skip Barber class.

I did the Skip Barber 3 day school back in 2003, so maybe things have changed, but back then it was definitely a racing school. And by racing school I mean it taught you the basic racing techniques: the line, the limit, vehicle dynamics, threshhold braking, passing. It builds you up over the 3 days until you're going full out using all the techniques (4000rpm on the first day was irritating, but they did it for a reason). They capped it off with two wheel-to-wheel practice starts, and then 2 extended open sessions.

Personally, I'm not worried about guys who only did Skip Barber. I'm worried about the ones who only did the SCCA racing school. From what I hear, SCCA racing school ONLY really goes through the flags, and makes sure you don't do anything dumb over 2 days, then they turn you loose. Those are they guys I'd be worried about gridding up next to, not someone who actually has some training in car control.

And on flags: I would never think that a racing school would cover flags other than maybe a 5 minute presentation. I'd rather spend my time (and money) learning stuff that needs instruction rather than something that you just need to read and memorize.

And honestly, if you can't figure the basic flags out, you shouldn't have a license, let alone a racing license. Let's see, green=go, yellow=caution, red=stop. Sound familiar? Look at the next traffic light you stop at. Okay, so you also need to know: black=park it, and blue=get out of the way. But EVERYONE who has a racing license should know this because they should have already gotten a copy of the GCR and actually READ IT.

That's a long way of saying that if you want to actually know what you're doing with the car on track, do the Skip Barber 3 day. If you just want to get on track asap and bang wheels, do the SCCA driving school, and then please stay away from me. [Smile]

--------------------
Rob Gibson
RJ Racing
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tony senese Verified Driver
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Rob,
I teach our competition school here for NASA-NE and we do spend a few minutes on "Flag situations" if you have not raced before it is easy to make mistakes that could easily lead to someone getting hurt. ie blowing through or racing to the yellow flag to find a car stopped over the hill or around the corner.

I agree, anyone who wants to race should already have a good grasp of the flags, but once guys get out there trying to win that $5 trophy, they can forget the basics.

I am distressed to hear that they only do a couple practice starts at Skippy.

We do at least 3 rolling starts and 2 standing starts in our one day schools and then we usually do a race simulation with at least one restart. We also throw random flags at the students to see if they are paying attention, as well as 3 or 4 ringers who have raced for a while to show them what really happens in a NASA race.

All of this costs about 300-400 bux depending on the region. Seems like a deal to me.

--------------------
Tony Senese
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genaro cuevas
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ugh such a hard choice!so far the top ones are

http://www.bondurant.com/courses/gproadracing.php
awesome teaches, ALOT of track and seat time, they are with you in the car all 3 days and on the 4th day you drive formula fords and they follow and then u follow. and the ration student to teacher is 3:1. so this looks like a great sound school, just wondering if anyone has done it, there other is

http://www.prodrive.net/racing_school.shtml#RoadRacingSchool

now what i dont like is that it appears the spec fords are one seater, i think having a instructer with you is important. but it is on PIR which would be nice because its right near where i live and will be racing so it will be great practice.


also i would like to do a scca school but i do not think they will have one after june1st in the NW i might be wrong though.

what would u guys do?

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Tony,

Sounds like your school is on the high end then. I can only comment on what I've heard 'round these here parts.

I didn't mean for my post to sound like I was ripping on SCCA schools. Ideally, I think people should do both Skip and SCCA to get the full spectrum of eduction. It seems like Skip concentrates more on the actual techniques of driving the car and the theory of racing, and SCCA concentrates more on the safety and experience.

I think the most beneficial part of Skip teaching the theoretical side of racing was that it humbles most people, and shows them how little they know about driving.

I only did Skip Barber before I got my racing license. My first 3-4 races basically became my "SCCA school" to get up to speed, taking things slowly. In a perfect world, everyone would take it easy as they're starting. Unfortunately, I have to agree with you about things changing with the $5 trophies.

--------------------
Rob Gibson
RJ Racing
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2007 NASA SoCal SM Champion
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You can't go wrong with the Bondurant program. After you race a bit you can do one of the schools where you use your own car. I occasionally instruct for the FAASST school. It is a great program and it teaches you how to win, not just race. The school moves from track to track. I don't know if there is one in your area. http://www.faasst.com

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Eli;
I'm with Tony... [soapbox] I highly recommend that you become a NASA member and enter an event in the "Level 1 HPDE". The instruction is good enough for you to see if you really want to do this. Then go spend the big bucks @ a fancy school.

BTW: I attended several HPDE type sessions before going to 3-day Skippy Race School and I believe it made the school better for me. I had a rough idea of how to find 'the line' and had enough understanding of the flags & language that I didn't have to think to hard (which is usually problem for me).

--------------------
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The original poster said he's autocrossed and done some karting, so I assume he knows his way around a track.

Some inter-forum cross-pollination: http://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?t=277738

--------------------
Stephen Hui - '95 SM #86, Northwest / Oregon Region SCCA

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genaro,
I've done the 4 day school at Bondurant, and followed up this year with their advanced road racing course. PM me for all the details, but here are some quick points:

Awesome equipment (New vettes and formula fords)...you pick a car and stick with it...porter keeps it clean and serviced for you including fresh tires.

Awesome instructors with an especially good course for relatively new racers or first time students (SCCA schools really don't teach this stuff). The ratio is 3:1 or less. They will drill and drill some more on heel/toe and threshold braking exercises. They use special Cadillacs with outriggers for oversteer/understeer practice. Course layout will teach diminishing radius, throttle steering, set-up turns, trail braking, etc.

Insurance is cheap, but has a $6000 deductible. If you do scratch one of their brand new vettes, plan on paying very high body shop rates (ask me how I know).

Tons of track time, especially in the advanced course.

Weaknesses are few, but can be irritating for advanced students. Here they are: some students will not be well qualified for the advanced course, which robs time from guys that are really ready to learn advanced techniques. No data acquisition. All is by feel and driving the Bondurant way, which is consistently fast, if not qualifying fast. I need to be more consistent, so maybe I should go again!

--------------------
Mike Asselta
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Oh yeah...you get your license from Bondurant, too.

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Mike Asselta
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I've attended Bondurant's 4 day school. The ability for the instructor to ride along, observe you and correct is a great feature. The last day is essentially a lapping day. I have returned many times for 1 and 2 day advanced instruction courses. The use of the data vehicle and the ability to overlay your data with the instructor is very informative. Bondurant teaches trail braking. Other schools may not. It's an essential skill.

--------------------
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One more choice.
If money is tight and you have your own car, one of the best club racing schools is Midwestern Councils.
At least that is what I have heard a lot of SCCA racers say.
They hold it twice a year and, with club membership, it is around $ 250.00.
It is two nights of classroom on the two Fridays before the on track portion so you don't waste any time during the Saturday on track session.
Then it is a full Saturday at Blackhawk with an on the track session with an instructor in your car if you have a seat for him or behind/in front of you in his own car (they do both open and closed wheel at the school).
Then a session by session buld up with comp drivers on the track at the same time so that you get use to passing and being passed.
They do rolling starts and the last session of the day is a five lap race.
You need a crew person with you because the schedule keeps you so busy that you only have time for a drink and a pit stop between session.
And then the next day, Sunday, you can race.
It on their web site at http://www.MCSCC.org

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well think im gonna go with the bondurant racing school! now lets hope the gi bill will help cover some of it:) thanks for all the help from you guys btw:)

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I would do Pro-Drive. They may not have in-car instructors, but they have instructors all around the track, who work with you after every session. You would be blown away with what they see and how much they can help you. If you plan on racing at PIR, take the Pro-Drive school, they show you the right lines, and if you are going to drive a spec miata, you can get one-on-one instruction with top level miata drivers in the northwest.

--------------------
Driver, #44 Spec Miata
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