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BangShift Question Of The Day: Have You Had Specialty Driver Training?

BangShift Question Of The Day: Have You Had Specialty Driver Training?

Today’s Question of the Day is a bit skewed, so read this before you immediately go for a tale of Driver’s Ed. We’ve all endured some form of early driver’s training. You might have learned how to wheel around a well-beaten Chevy Corsica with DRIVER’S TRAINING emblazoned on it somewhere, or maybe you drove Mom and Dad home in the truck when they offered you the wheel, nervous and on edge as they critiqued every move you did and didn’t make. Or maybe you were like me, who parked a 1975 Olds Omega into salal bushes when I made my first attempt at forward travel since I was five years old. We’ve all been there. It’s cool.

No, let’s talk about actual training. I’m sitting at the line of the start of the course of Bremerton Raceways’ SCCA autocross course in a 2006 Chevy Monte Carlo SS, one of the V8 front-drivers. Upon my signal to start, I absolutely annihilated the front tires off of the line, plowed every corner with the enthusiasm of a horny teenager, and somehow managed to not park the Monte into Scotch broom bushes in the run. Returning from my first autocross lap, Alan, a Subaru crew friend, came over and informed me of what I did wrong without using the word “everything”. I took some of his advice and got a bit faster here and there.

Now move to a couple of years ago. I’m sitting in the Chrysler, with Rodney Prouty in the passenger seat. I know this man knows what he is talking about, I’ve seen him whip around g-machines on racetracks for a few years now. This is no g-machine, and I’m no seasoned vet. In fact, it’s been a couple of years since my last track workout at NCM and years since my last true autocross session. I think I’m hot shit as I boot the Chrysler around, but he’s in the passenger seat coaching me on. More throttle, more steering, MORE THROTTLE. I thought I was doing okay, but I was barely scratching the surface.

No matter where you go or what you do, someone is better than you. You can stay pissed off at that thought, or you can try to learn and improve with the advice and tutelage of someone with greater skills. Military training? EVOC training? Racing schools? What did you learn?

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6 thoughts on “BangShift Question Of The Day: Have You Had Specialty Driver Training?

  1. Matt Cramer

    I went to an Evolution Performance Driving School event – a one day autocrossing class. Brought the cheapest car in the event, probably by an order of magnitude, a ’89 Ford Probe GT that I’d picked up for $500 and would be driving in the GRM $2004 Challenge. That’s it so far.

  2. Piston Pete

    It’s not totally off topic so I’ll mention a film and lecture that was used during Air Force basic training in the the early 70’s called Driving Free. The jist of it was that the furthur you stay away from the vehicles around you, the less likely you are to have a wreck. In 51 years of driving and riding who knows how many miles (claiming a million miles is easy, documenting so it’s a legit claim, not so easy) I’ve never hit anything, so I guess the concept took. That said, I’ve never driven anything in actual competition, nor been trained to do so.

  3. EAK

    My wife took evasive driving classes with Carlos Rossi as her instructor on Monza in Italy. I will always claim I’m a better driver but she can power slide, do donuts, and pull Rockfords that will make you crap your pants! Luv my wife for indulging me with all my car addictions!

  4. jerry z

    I had a 2004 GTO in the mid-2000’s and did a HPDE and Pocono Raceway North track. A friend I drag raced with also road raced. He was my instructor for the few sessions. Going into the bank turn and approaching 100 MPH, I started to let off the gas barely, he said keep your foot in it or you end up in the wall. Driving through the bank turn was a rush!

  5. Chas

    Had Buddy Baker as in instructor at his school at Rockingham back in the early ’90’s. I attended twice. They taught using actual old Cup cars. They didn’t make you pay for repairs if you wadded one up. Baker figured if they allowed you to get into trouble, they weren’t good instructors. Also drove Frank Hawley’s super Comp dragsters two years back.

  6. George

    After mtn carving a sport bike for a couple of years, I ponied up and went to the Ed Bargy school of motorcycle road racing. The best money ever spent. The information learned not only made me faster but safer too.

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