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Old 11-05-2005, 07:32 PM   #1
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High Performance Driving School

Anyone take a driving school/class in your boxster? What did you learn? How did the car perform? Which school did you take? Was it worth it? Did it improve your driving?
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Old 11-05-2005, 08:52 PM   #2
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Hi,

I have been to several schools for both Performance Driving and Racing Schools. Mrs. MNBoxster loves to give me these as presents over the years - gotta Marry a Girl like that...!

While never with my Boxster, I have been to Skip Barber's School at Watkins Glen in NY, took the Formula Ford Course from Russell Racing at Sears Point in Sonoma, CA, the BMW Performance Driving School at the BMW Performance Center in Greer, SC and the Indy Racing Experience (the Driving Experience, not just the RideAlong - Yes, I've driven a Super at the BrickYard - You can too! ) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, IN. All but the BMW course were Open Wheel Racing Schools. I also hold an SCCA Regional Competition License, formerly a National one.

Besides the fundamentals of Steering, Braking, working the Corners and of course Safety, I would have to say that the single biggest boost to my skills was an increasing smoothness. You really learn to drive way ahead of the Car and to anticipate rather than react. At the BMW course, you learned to extract the most from the Car, it was really the best for Street Driving.

So far as I am concerned, each of them was well worth it. And the very fact that a Pro is critiqueing you, you learn more about your driving than you ever could on your own. I found the Post-Track Audits very enlightening.

All this said, these schools can be relatively expensive, and unless you're competing regularly (I race a Formula Vee in SCCA Club events), the skills you learn deteriorate somewhat quickly.

If you just want to learn to drive your Car better, get involved with your local AutoCross. These allow you to hone your skills on a regular basis for not much more than Gas and a Helmet - you compete as much or as little as you choose, and it's just across town. I am involved with several such groups here in Mpls. and have gotten to know the folks quite well over the years. Consequently, we brutally critique each other's Runs and this improves you tremendously. Also, you get many Runs in a Day and the DieHards usually stay behind for Buck Runs until Sunset.

You're on the course alone and so can much better concentrate on your performance without having to watch for Traffic or Strategize your Race. The Schools are Great experiences, and I highly recommend at least one to a True Enthusiast. But Auto-X Can be just as informative, while cheaper and more available. Check with your Local MG, Jag, Healey, Corvette, BMW, Audi and Lotus, SCCA and of course, Porsche Clubs, they're bound to have a number of events and these are usually open to all Enthusiasts. For a $10-$35 Fee and minimal Tech requirements, you can drive your Boxster like you never could on Public Streets plus Learn and have Fun at the same time. Hope this helps...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99

Last edited by MNBoxster; 11-05-2005 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 11-05-2005, 09:47 PM   #3
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Wow

Allready I like that alot.
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Old 11-06-2005, 01:20 AM   #4
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I would recommend that you start on a track with the school car and NOT your boxster, you will find it easier later on in your own car and if something goes wrong!! it doesn't matter it is their car you are bashing!!don't forget insurance does not cover track days
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Old 11-06-2005, 06:15 AM   #5
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"Besides the fundamentals of Steering, Braking, working the Corners and of course Safety, I would have to say that the single biggest boost to my skills was an increasing smoothness. You really learn to drive way ahead of the Car and to anticipate rather than react. "

Jim's comment has hit the bullseye, IMHO! I can't tell you how many hot shot warrabies have come to drive my Porsches and in effect, they can't drive worth a hoot!

When I am done riding with these guys, I feel like I need a neck brace.

However, a really good driver can motor seriously and still comport the car with grace and fluidity.

Those race programs are all top notch. Mrs Jim is OK in my book!

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Old 11-07-2005, 04:36 AM   #6
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Join an arrive and drive kart series and consider karting school as a lower priced alternative to performance driving schools that use formula cars or road cars.

I learned more about driving at the limit in one season in a kart than 12 years on the road.
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Old 11-07-2005, 04:57 AM   #7
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Another vote for schools.
I'm not nearly as experienced as MN - I have only done 2 DE's in the Boxster, will do my 3rd Friday. Not much I can add to their descriptions.

Costs:
1. One day DE at CMP with instructor: $225 for all day. At least 6 (or up to 8) sessions of 20 minutes each.
2. Tires: Figure about 4 DE days on tires, maybe more depending on the track, the temp, your style, etc. I run $100 tires because I know that I am consuming them. So, say $100 in tire cost per DE day.
3. Tech inspection (required) at a local shop: About $35 plus any work done. PCA requires new brake fluid on a regular basis.
4. Brake pads and disks: Depends on driving style. The rule of thumb is again maybe four days on pads, 2-3 sets of pads on disks. I drive with car conservation in mind, I hope to do better than average and keep my brake costs down.

Maybe $500 per day...

If I do 4 DE's per year that's about 2 grand (less than a set of aftermarket wheels). The experience of getting off the road, away from traffic and speed traps, and be able to focus on just driving is great. Being able to see what your car will do (yet safely) is great. Watching your driving style and smoothness (there's that word again) improve is great. The comraderie of spending a day with other motor heads is great. Two thumbs up.

Yep, my wife supports my "habit" too.
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Old 11-07-2005, 05:00 AM   #8
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I think the best bang for the buck are the PCA Drivers Education offered by most local PCA groups.

For the cost of a weekend at the track + about $100 you get a combination of classroom training and on track time with instructors that allow you to probe the performance envelope of your car in a controlled environment.

I spent the last one in my 930 working on exactly as described above, smoothness. The net effect for me was a much more enjoyable road experience along with the knowledge of how the car feels as it reaches it's limits. While Autocrosses are a blast and help with the slower speed control skills it really doesn't make up for understanding the car's dynamics at highway speeds and above.

Join your local PCA and do their DE program, you won't regret it.
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Old 11-07-2005, 07:09 AM   #9
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I participated in a series called Evolution http://autocross.com/evolution/
THey basically cover 99% of what you will learn in a MUCH MORE expensive driving school like Skip Barber, Bondurant etc. but the cost is only a fraction since you are driving your own car and not helping to fund a fleet of cars of differing categories.
Your car will take some abuse mostly depending on the type of course and the surface. This type of driving is not all like anything you'll do on the open road.
If you plan to Autocross regularly next season you might want to upgrade your brake pads and have a spare set of tires and wheels to drive to events. THis car is only a weekend driver for me so I decided with the street legal R compounds from Toyo rather than to change the set up for events. I'll have to ditch those tires soon as the winter temps approach.

oh and did it improve my driving?
You'll realize how many mistakes you have been making your whole driving life. It also had the side effect of making me a terrible passenger I almost have to be blind folded and gagged when my lady friend is driving her car at high speeds.
I now avoid major highways full of SUV's and stick to the local roads whenever possible. SOme people should not be allowed to drive.
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