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      07-02-2011, 11:14 AM   #1
JusCruzin
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Driver modification

Rather than pour money into modding my car, I first want to spend some time and money modifying myself as a driver. I like the idea of finding a good performance driving instructor here in southern California and taking regular individual lessons. That seems like a better idea than taking group classes or going to a 3-day school somewhere. Yes, BMW CCA has occasional events, but I'm really looking for something more regular. I think regular, individualized feedback is essential to improving.

Any thoughts or recommendations on this, especially if you can recommend an instructor in the LA area?
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      07-02-2011, 11:52 AM   #2
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Sounds like a great idea! Good luck and have fun, I know you will
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      07-02-2011, 01:20 PM   #3
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I know of a few in California. Its about $3K for one day though. I think the private coach is a waste until you have extracted everything you can from a school like BMW CCA's DE program. And there is at least one school every month in california. Not enough for you?
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      07-02-2011, 01:26 PM   #4
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you can get a coach and try to get the scca competition license
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      07-02-2011, 03:13 PM   #5
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Unless you just have money to burn, a private coach is usually not worth it until you've got a fair amount of track experience. Group instruction is the best bang for the buck, unless you're super-paranoid about some other student wrecking into you, but most DE's put an instructor in every car with every student until they're driving pretty well.
When you get more experience, open track days with minimal instruction will get you more track time, since at some point you just need to try different things and see how they work out. A video camera with a good, safe mount can really help when you're running solo since you can review it later with an instructor.
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      07-02-2011, 03:44 PM   #6
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Just go to track and learn how to drive
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      07-02-2011, 05:13 PM   #7
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I was expecting weight loss recommendations.
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      07-02-2011, 05:47 PM   #8
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I's start with either a half day or one day school at Jim Hall karting in Ventura. You go over some basic car control techniques, e.g. braking, turn in, accelration, proper line through a corner. It sounds elementary, but as we all know, in practice, these are all much harder than they seem.

Follow this up with as much track time as possible. Do a track session once a month or more. Invest in a second set of rotors and get some good track pads (e.g. carbotechs), and proper brake fluid and enjoy yourself until your tires are done. Buy new tires and repeat!

Then follow it up with another visit to Jim Hall for more advanced classes, or if you wish to spend more, go to Bondurant for the 4-day grand prix road racing school. I'm no pro, but what I learned in this school has been huge not just for thr track, but daily driving (think safety).

Lastly, if you frequent enough track days, you can sign up to have an instructor for the day, but it's often that you'll find someone who is more experienced and is willing to give you pointers. Ask for a ride with them when they go out to see how they're setting up and taking the corners, and likewise invite them to ride shotgun with you.
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      07-02-2011, 08:19 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for the recommendations. Sounds like group classes are the way to go for now. I was thinking individual instruction would be better, but I'll save that for later.
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      07-02-2011, 09:26 PM   #10
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If you're going to be doing a lot of track days you'll probably want to consider track brake pads and maybe camber plates. The stock pads won't hold up and bringing your camber in won't wear out the shoulder of the tire right away.

Group classes should be the best way to start.
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      07-02-2011, 11:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JusCruzin View Post
Rather than pour money into modding my car, I first want to spend some time and money modifying myself as a driver. I like the idea of finding a good performance driving instructor here in southern California and taking regular individual lessons. That seems like a better idea than taking group classes or going to a 3-day school somewhere. Yes, BMW CCA has occasional events, but I'm really looking for something more regular. I think regular, individualized feedback is essential to improving.

Any thoughts or recommendations on this, especially if you can recommend an instructor in the LA area?
Smartest post on a car forum thread lol...congrats... great to start off righ boss.
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      07-03-2011, 07:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JusCruzin View Post
Rather than pour money into modding my car, I first want to spend some time and money modifying myself as a driver. I like the idea of finding a good performance driving instructor here in southern California and taking regular individual lessons. That seems like a better idea than taking group classes or going to a 3-day school somewhere. Yes, BMW CCA has occasional events, but I'm really looking for something more regular. I think regular, individualized feedback is essential to improving.

Any thoughts or recommendations on this, especially if you can recommend an instructor in the LA area?
If you just "Go to the track and learn how to drive" without proper instruction there is a good chance that you will continue a number of bad habits you already have and they will be come more ingrained and harder to break.

Personal instructors are a great way to go but can get expensive. You may want to start by attending a racing school. I have had personal instuctors but frankly I don't think I would have gotten as much out of the sessions if I had not previously taken several Skip Barber courses.

I highly recommend the Skip Barber School. I have taken the 3 day racing school, the 2 day advanced and many car control clinics and lapping days. The car control clinics are very valuable because you actually are encouraged to push the car past the limits. The idea being that the only way you are going to learn what it feels like to approach the limits. This is done in a controlled environment where you will not damage the car in your off track excurions and better yet "not your car - not your tires". The instructors are top notch. Many of them have had podium finishes and won championships in various series(SCCA, Rolex Daytona Series, erc.) but more importantly they are professional instructors. The majority of the students are enthusiasts like yourself who want to increase their driving skills but a number of top pros, incuding Jaun Pablo Montoya, Danica Partick, A.J. Almendinger, and Marco Andretti, have come through the program.

There will be a certain amount of classroom instruction to explain the theories and physics behind the tecniques you will be taught and there will excercises to teach heel and toe downshifting, threshold braking, trail braking, etc. I don't know if they have programs near you (Laguna Seca many be the closest) but I have heard good things about the Bondurant School which is west coast based.

CA
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Last edited by captainaudio; 07-03-2011 at 08:17 AM.
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      07-03-2011, 08:15 AM   #13
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The guys at the performance driving center made a lot of sense when they said doing group instruction there costs no more than tracking your own car. When you consider the wear and tear that you would be putting on your car plus the cost of the track the instruction basically comes for free.
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      07-05-2011, 02:12 AM   #14
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+1 on this mod. Love it! Best of luck!
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      07-05-2011, 02:20 AM   #15
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just to be clear, you do get in-car one-on-one instruction in BMW CCA DE's. Most of the instructors race in the club and are very good communicators.

Its a great bargain. The only tradeoff is you only get 4 20-30 minute sessions per day and in a large group of cars sometimes its hard to have clear track to work on the ideal line.

After many many schools and you want to try racing, then its time to hire a private coach and also have a track to yourself or a very small group.
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      07-05-2011, 08:33 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post
If you just "Go to the track and learn how to drive" without proper instruction there is a good chance that you will continue a number of bad habits you already have and they will be come more ingrained and harder to break.

Personal instructors are a great way to go but can get expensive. You may want to start by attending a racing school. I have had personal instuctors but frankly I don't think I would have gotten as much out of the sessions if I had not previously taken several Skip Barber courses.

I highly recommend the Skip Barber School. I have taken the 3 day racing school, the 2 day advanced and many car control clinics and lapping days. The car control clinics are very valuable because you actually are encouraged to push the car past the limits. The idea being that the only way you are going to learn what it feels like to approach the limits. This is done in a controlled environment where you will not damage the car in your off track excurions and better yet "not your car - not your tires". The instructors are top notch. Many of them have had podium finishes and won championships in various series(SCCA, Rolex Daytona Series, erc.) but more importantly they are professional instructors. The majority of the students are enthusiasts like yourself who want to increase their driving skills but a number of top pros, incuding Jaun Pablo Montoya, Danica Partick, A.J. Almendinger, and Marco Andretti, have come through the program.

There will be a certain amount of classroom instruction to explain the theories and physics behind the tecniques you will be taught and there will excercises to teach heel and toe downshifting, threshold braking, trail braking, etc. I don't know if they have programs near you (Laguna Seca many be the closest) but I have heard good things about the Bondurant School which is west coast based.

CA
Great recommendation!

I've heard nothing but excellent reviews about Skip Barber School.
It's more expensive than BMWCCA, but well worth your money if you want to learn from & be instructed by the pro's.

I think your very first track experience should be with BMWCCA where you learn the very basics first. It's the best bang for the buck. Then, your 2nd track experience should be with Skip Barber.

You'll drive their car, so you wont damage yours. Thats a plus.
& You'll be pushed very hard.
My buddy went to this school & it's transformed him.
I'm sure you'll be completely satisfied with this school.
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      07-05-2011, 11:14 AM   #17
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BMW CCA until you advance a little. I taught the intermediate classroom this past weekend. In addition to having an instructor in the car at all times (or until they feel safe in signing you off for solo), you'll get some pretty interesting classroom topics. I taught 5 classroom sessions on Saturday and 4 on Sunday. In addition, I took a couple of students for rides to help them see what they could do in a certain section of the track (exit of the bus stop, to be specific). Riding with an instructor to look at specific lines through turns that you are having problems with always helped me as a student. Take advantage of this, especially if you are a visual learner.

For individual coaching, Judy Ray at Driving Concepts can offer you some of that. She used to race Porsches and has put on many race licensing schools too. Great person with a ton of knowledge. She routinely runs events so you can work with her or one of her instructors.

The seat to steering wheel interface is the area for the most improvement on most cars. Good job recognizing that!
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      07-05-2011, 12:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karussell View Post
just to be clear, you do get in-car one-on-one instruction in BMW CCA DE's. Most of the instructors race in the club and are very good communicators.

Its a great bargain. The only tradeoff is you only get 4 20-30 minute sessions per day and in a large group of cars sometimes its hard to have clear track to work on the ideal line.

After many many schools and you want to try racing, then its time to hire a private coach and also have a track to yourself or a very small group.
There is a huge advantage to not having a lot of cars on the track with you. That is an invaluable experience if you are working on your lines, brake points, etc.

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Last edited by captainaudio; 07-05-2011 at 12:25 PM.
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      07-05-2011, 12:26 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JusCruzin View Post
Rather than pour money into modding my car, I first want to spend some time and money modifying myself as a driver. I like the idea of finding a good performance driving instructor here in southern California and taking regular individual lessons. That seems like a better idea than taking group classes or going to a 3-day school somewhere. Yes, BMW CCA has occasional events, but I'm really looking for something more regular. I think regular, individualized feedback is essential to improving.

Any thoughts or recommendations on this, especially if you can recommend an instructor in the LA area?
Check out hooked on driving, they have a number of regional groups. The one here in the midwest is very good, the instruction is helpful for both beginners and more advanced people, and there is an emphasis on safety and fun.
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      07-05-2011, 12:31 PM   #20
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I wouldn't limit yourself to BMW CCA. There are many organizations that run track weekends that will provide you with an instructor. I have done all of my time with NASA doing DEs, and the instruction I got from SpecE30 racers at the majority of events was great.
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