Racing Schools

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A racing school is a school dedicated to teaching the fine art of performance driving in either regular street cars such as a Ferrari, Porsche, Lotus, Audi, BMW or many others all the way up into purpose built race cars such as a Panoz, Formula Ford.

A quality racing school will push you to the edge and challenge your driving talents which in turn will make you a safer and better driver on the road and of course cut major chunks out of your lap times at your favorite tracks.

The more recommended of the following, in level of teaching and materials taught and practiced, as well as in the ability to recieve an FIA racing license or compete in a local league, are stressed.


Racing Schools/Drivers education providers in North America

* Audi driving experience
* Bertil Roos Racing School
* BIR Performance Driving School
* Bridgestone Winter driving school
* Car Guys
* Danny McKeevers Fast Lane school
* Marcus Motorsports
* Skip Barber
* Pro Drive
* Proformance
* Bob Bondurant
* Dale Jarrgett Race Adventure
* Panoz Racing
* TracQuest
* Jim Russell
* Driving Concepts
* Mario Andretti Racing School
* MCO Advanced Racing School (Canada)
* Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch
* Porsche Driving Experience

Racing schools in Europe

Europe is the homeland of motorsport, and you might consider to go off-shores to participate in onee of the more prestigious racing schools:

Defensive/advanced driving courses

Skid-control tuitions

Personal coaching

A full racing school pack is going to be inefficient if it is your first introduction to race driving. First, you need to learn the theoretical basis, practice it's applicable principles on public road driving (whenever and however possible) and in driving simulations. Than, take a short advanced/defensive driving course and/or personal coaching. A personal trainer is evidentally better. Here are some good trainers:

What to expect from a Racing School

Each school is different, but the foundations are the same:

 * Learning the basics of car control - gas, brake, steering, shifiting.
 * Racing line - apex, braking, turn in points, etc
 * Passing and Off-line racing
 * Flags and cornerworkers
 * How to handle going off track, oversteer, understeer, spins, etc

You should receive lots of in-class instruction, as well as plenty of track time with one on one instruction from experienced racers.

Types of courses

Most schools offer a veriety of courses:

  • Closed-compound courses: Are held in big empty lots, airfields and alike, where limit-handling and emergency operation drills, as well as traction circles and slalom courses are held and taught to a group of drivers, in a rate of 1:2 to 1:4 student to instructor ratio. The goal of such courses might be to improve defensive road driving skills or advanced driving skills as a basis for track driving. The latter sort usually includes a run on a skidcar, a slalom and a gymkhana. The former might include a small portion held on public roads.
  • A winding roads course: Held on public roads, mainly deserted, winding mountain roads (Israeli NesHarim, Japanese Touge), where the basis of good road driving habits are taught by a personal instructor and the techniques of racing are also taught often (depending on the syllabus of the specific course and the student's requests), within bounderies of lanes and speed limits. The basics of racing (smoothness, lines, utilization of grip) can be practiced on public roads and some of them make good driving habits.
  • HPDE Track day: A course lasting a day or two, during which the art of track driving is learnt with a one-on-one instruction for each student. One might also rent an instructor to observe, analyse and make commentry of his driving on a track day of training. This helps in sharpening your skills with a professional third party, and remain updated on the latest technical development of the world of motorsport and it's opportunities.
  • Full racing course: A three to four day long course held over a track and possible an adjecent lot or skidpan. This is the only real course to give you good seat time and an ability to adopt correct driving habits, for the track and road. These courses usually involve a final, timed race, which's winner might recieve a schoolarship to a local racing league and/or an FIA racing license.
  • A skidpan course: A course held on a lot partially covered in Enthol (The classic skidpan), soaked in water (Water skidpan) or where a skid-car device is used (the ideal sort of skidpan). These courses are normally held in groups, as the maintenance of the cars used in practice, the water, and the skidcar device, are expensive.

Expect to have fun, make and learn from mistakes, and have at least one off track adventure.

Here is a video from the MCO race school showing one on one in-car instruction:

Race School Example Video

Here's an overview of a racing course held in Loheac circuit, Bretagne, France:

About the effectiveness of such racing schools, for the inexperienced and experienced alike, here is the impression of a real racing driver from a simple course, one day long:

"I should mention that the course we did on friday was the basic course and yet I found myself rather speechless over and over again!
As one whose level of driving skill and driving awareness is generally vast, who practices different situation daily and competes professionally in racing, I was none the less astonished by the amount of aducation and progression to be made by basic practice!
My greatest discovery was the SkidCar, it's an utterly amazing device, how much can one learn from it and to which rate it simulates real-life situations! I did not believe I could have such fun and even more so, to improve my driving skill, from left-foot braking through fast and percise steering work (too fast for me to take a breath!!!) and up to the most advanced practice in controlling weight transfers and dealing with extreme and hazardous situations (even for me!)." (Bold phrases in origin).

Criteria in choosing a racing school

  • Proximity: It's good to have a popular racing school in your vicinity, but you should not overrule a more prestigue racing school (like the famous Elf Winfield In the Paul Richard circuit in France). These courses can often be ordered with the cost of transportation, by the midating of a local instructor.
  • Covered subjects: Coverage in amounts and in how much detail?
  • Instruction methodology: Coherension of visual and oral explainations, video examples, conditioned classrooms, progress and classification of different levels of skill amongst trainees, awareness of instructions to psychological theories and methodologies.
  • Instructors: Number of instructors (as an indication of personal treatment, when crossed with the number of students), their skills, backround, titles, personality and experience over time.
  • Means of instruction: A closed-track (how technical is the track, how diverse is it in terms of types of corners and grip levels?), a large, closed parking lot made of high-quality tarmac, a skid-car. Veriety of cars available, possibility of driving a race car of your own.
  • Length: In hours (how much is fully dedicated for driving?), conditions of hospitality, nutrition and progarmme.
  • Gifts: What do you get for finishing the course or for winning the podium in a race held therein? An FIA racing license? A schoolarship to a local racing league? A gateway to the world of professional, global motorsport? A place as an instructor? A video tape or oral summary of the course or the instruction?

The perfect instruction This is the template for an ideal instruction/training. Compare it to that of the insitution your favor or work on fulfilling it with your trainer.

Session A: Theory and basic skill

  • (1). Theory: A trainer-trainee personal talk regarding background and motivation to improve driving skills. The trainer must shake out the false sense of confidence an unaware driver experiences, and to present his "philosophy" for good driving. He must present the concept of "Effective driving" and it's nemessis: "Overdriving" and "auto-pilot driving". Than, it is important to explain in order, all of the steps, subjects and drills to be conducted during the instruction, along with their purposes and importance. Pictures, graphs and videos can be used as introductions and demonstrations of a certain drill (like strong braking, or weight transfers). Than, the trainer must focus on the subjects of the upcoming session and go over them in theory and with some illustrations. He should not just "tell" the student, he should "disscuss" with him, bring up questions to be answered over the day and targets to be achieved throughout it.
  • (2). Predrive check, with particular stress to tires. Introduce the contact patch, the details on the tire, the tread wear and the tire inflation, first disscussing under-inflation overinflation and only than correct pressure (begin by a negative demonstration and ask the student what it's consequences will be). Make the student think about the subject and it's importance, make him repeat the drill of reading the tire details, tread wear several times. All stages should include this sequence: Theory + Demonstrations + Practice (several times) + Examination of the student's knowledge.
  • (3) Positioning inside the car + Hand positioning + Body support + Mirrors. First in theory and with videos and illustrations, than negative demonstration by the instructor and a perfect setup, and than taking the student to repeat the correct positioning several times.
  • (4) Steering: Fixed-input, pulling 90, 130, 180, 270, 360 degrees, quickely and slowely. Practice first in a sterille pan with cones, than on a road.
  • (5) Visual acuity: The basic concept of opening the eyes and keeping them up and ahead where you want to go, in the distance. Teach the student to trust his peripheral vision.
  • (6) Emergency braking: Instruction of a basic emergency stop: Hard brake pressure, lockup or ABS, and than apply the clutch.
  • (7) Intentional unsettling of a car: J-Turn (on wet and dry, in a certain parameter), handbrake parallel parking between cones.
  • (7) Summary of all subjects in theory, demonstration and one fluid drill by the student. A short description of the following session, after a break. At the end of each session, a written summary of it should be given to the driver, plus a few questions, plus trails. Videos of the actual driving should be made and given to the student. The information should be disscussed in our forums.

Session B

  • (1) Theory: A short recap of the former session and the theoretical briefing of the next session: Introduction to tire grip -- Friction circles and weight transfers. Longitudinal forces and lateral forces. Corner lines for safety, speed, grip or position. Turning-in to a turn and coming out of it. How to balance the car in the corner.
  • (2) Slalom: Various slalom courses: Practice for lines, weight transfers in a turn, vision ahead, direction changes.
  • (3) "Traction circles": Two connected circles of cones, forming two a figure of eight in which the car's limits of grip and handling characteristics are learned. Part of one of the circles can be soaked in water to decrease grip levels. Get the trainer to make you use your feet and keep the steering static.
  • (4) Limit acceleration off of the line and in slow/fast corners. Than, practice over a whole course of an autocross, mountain road or track. Repeat with all following drills.
  • (5) Regressive braking + Threshold braking in various speeds and grip levels. Avoidance braking, emergency braking while recognizing objects in the rear-view mirror. Importance of ABS.
  • (6) Summary in theory and in a course involving all drills of both sessions+ description of the following session + Setting up certain trails untill the next meeting.

Session C (after a period of a few weeks)

  • (1) Summarizing both former sessions, checking the trails and moving on the describe the upcoming session: Bend lines, visual acuity, threshold braking and brake-turning.
  • (2) Slalom + Traction circle + short autocross + Practicing bend lines in a sterille enviornment, illustration various types of corners in various speeds with colorfull cones. Learning reference points and when to shift focus to the next reference point. Reference points for braking, turning-in, APEX, throttle, track-out.
  • (3) A practice of threshold braking while keeping the brakes as you turn-in.
  • (4) A practice of skid control with a SkidCar, starting from grip levels of gravel, tarmac, wet tarmac and than extremities like hydroplaning and ice (requiring different corrective inputs). Practicing both understeer and oversteer, as well as experiencing neutral handling.
  • (5) A practice with your car at a higher speed in a closed-compound or track. The trainer should surprise you when he pulls on the E-brake at different corners and speeds.
  • (6) Summary in theory and with a practice on a slalom, traction circle, corners and a final SkidCar run, where the conditions are reduced so that the driver cannot get back from it and learns his limits. A short cap of the next session.

Session D

  • (1) A short summary of the former sessions, a short cornering practice, skid-control drill, emergency braking + limit-braking + brake turning.
  • (2) Theory: Expecting a downshift and timing it before a bend, making a smooth shift by correct utiliztion of the lever, clutch and throttle.
  • (3) Practice: Expecting and timing the downshift.
  • (4) Rev-Matching + Heel and Toe + Tip and Toe + Double clutch
  • (5) Combining Rev-Matching/Heel & Toe/Tip & Toe + Limit Braking at the braking point + A timely downshift.
  • (6) Combing Rev-Matching (or Heel & Toe, etcetra) + Limit braking + Downshifting+ Steering + Vision + Tracking out.
  • (7) Summary (Theory + lap + demonstration) and a short description of the following session. Setting trails.

Session E (after a period of a few weeks)

  • (1) A short summary of the former sessions, a recap of drill D.6.
  • (2) Left-foot braking and combined braking.
  • (3) Shifting the point of focus from a brake reference point to "brake-ending" reference point.
  • (4) Slalom and skid control.
  • (5) Theoretical stresses for driving at a high-speed, driving in wet and slippery condtions and/or rain, driving in the dark, reference to off-roading.
  • (6) Special lines: Evolve from "racing lines" to "driving lines": Introduce the last APEX, the quicker steering for "taking a set", the wide line, the rain line, the overtake lines and procedures.
  • (7) Intentional unsettling of the car: Appel Contre-Appel, handbrake turns. Double J-Turn.
  • (8) Summary.

Session F

  • (1) Recap of former sessions. Short drills of Appel Contre-Appel and handbrake turns and controlling the induced skids. Introduction to the upcoming session: Track driving.
  • (2) Fimiliarization with the track, it's history, enviornment, rules, surface, turns. Watching various videos including instruction, crashes, footcams, information regarding G-forces and driver's inputs. A recorded lap of the trainer, followed by a disscussion. During the session, record as much information as possible by video (with the additional details like footcam, G-Force, driving inputs), session logs, and data collection.
  • (3) A first lap around the track with the trainer driving below maximum, allowing to disscuss the track and it's treats and turns.
  • (4) A lap with the trainer (trainer as passenger) and than walking the track and observing it from various angles.
  • (5) An in-car mental "warm-up" plus inspection and setup of the car.
  • (6) Two laps with the trainer as a passenger, making sure all of the technical skills acquired in the sessions are understood and can be performed at a good level, starting at a certain RPM limit and moving up as you progress.
  • (7) Five to seven solo laps after the trainer, increasing the RPM progressively and working on two-three pre-determinded corner sets.
  • (8) Two laps without RPM limits, with the instructor as a passenger.
  • (9) Two laps, instructor drives through selected segments.
  • (9) One more conclusive lap (trainer as passenger) and than a full-speed demonstration lap made by the trainer. Conclusions and trail-setting.

Session G(after a period of a few weeks) Another track session:

  • Recap
  • Lap by trainer
  • Instructed lap (trainer as passenger)
  • Mental preperation, car setup, training and track knowledge strategy.
  • Instructed lap, followed by solo laps (trainer in another car, following or leading), perfecting existing segments, moving on to new segments, moving on to increasing speed through the track. Start from 5,000 RPM and increase progressively.
  • Two laps, trainer as driver
  • Conclusive instructed lap for lessons, demonstrations, description of strong and weak points.
  • One final trainer lap.
  • Data collection.