Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Mark asks: I’d like to learn high-performance driving, or at least how to get more out of my own car. I checked out the Bondurant school, and it’s a bit pricey for me. Even the one day course is a bit steep for me; forget about doing multiple days! Are there more cost effective options for learning how to get the most out of your car, particularly if you don’t own a high performance car? Thanks!
My reply: Track time isn’t cheap and neither are tires (and the wear and tear on the car on the track) which is why high-performance driving schools aren’t. You’re also getting one-on-one instruction from people who’ve raced professionally and know how to drive.
The cost should be weighed against the skill you’ll acquire – in the manner of flight school, also not cheap. But once you graduate, you will be a much more formidable – a much better – driver. You will have experienced what happens when a car is pushed to the limit of its grip threshold; how to maintain control in situations that would result in loss of control (with an average and unschooled driver behind the wheel). You will also learn how to do things most people – including AGWs – do not know how to do. Which may come in handy some day.
You could also join a club that does weekend slaloms/track days; this will entail using your own car, of course – but the cost is more manageable as the track day fees are spread out over a group and you aren’t paying an ex F1 driver to show you the moves. You can learn a lot in a controlled environment, where it’s safer to push a car (and yourself) than on the street.
Avoid “defensive” driving schools as these generally fixate on reactive driving as well as on inculcating obedience to signage and that “speed” always “kills.”
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