Driving my own car on track is a scary and exciting thing. The possibility of damaging the car is met with the realization that I have used it for exactly what it was built to do. I absolutely loved my experience at Hooked On Driving Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
As coaches, we have many dynamics to read when we are introduced to a new driver and climb in the right seat. Certainly knowing their goals and experience
are essential to know. But how does the car they bring affect how we coach? It may be a 1998 Volvo, a Porsche GT3, a Spec Miata, or a GTR! Cars these days
bring an extra challenge for us to manage from the right seat. This article is aimed at the conundrum brought about by the cars that are now showing up
with a host of technologies to both – go fast – yet prevent the unwashed novice driver from getting in over their head. These automobiles could also
accurately be called “digimobiles!”
With more computing power than current spacecraft, the cars coming from manufacturers today are simply amazing. Power,
suspension, drivetrain, and brakes – all quantum leaps ahead of cars of just 10 years ago. And THEY are FAST!! In the mid-$30 range, you can have over
400HP, six-piston brake calipers, and oil coolers….YIKES. Ah…. the manufacturers may be crazy, but they’re not stupid. With as much power and performance
as is offered, they have been working in parallel to put electronic leashes on all of this performance. In some cases, these leashes cannot actually be
completely turned off, meaning that the potential performance is almost impossible to reach – or is it?
CarsYeah podcast is a 5 day a week show hosted by Mark Greene. An incurable automotive enthusiast interviewing automotive entrepreneurs who live a lifestyle around their passion for automobiles. He will take you on their journey, get under the hood, and provide some inspiration - See more at:
I could go on for two pages about Elliott Forbes-Robinson’s career as a professional racer; 3 time Daytona Champion, Trans Am Champion, Baja 1000 Champion, Pikes Peak Hill Climb Champion, ALMS Champion. Enough already! Google him and you’ll find a treasure trove of fun stuff. But what I haven’t said yet is, he is a really, really good guy.
Being a part of the Prototype Development Race team (www.pdg4.com ), I’ve had a number of adventures, highs and lows over the last 4 years as we’ve taken on the longest endurance race in the world, the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Richard and Yvonne Migliori, Team owners, have doubled down this year with a complete rebuild of the warrior GTM #4, and are really giving a significant effort to performing well in the 2012 race. Enter Elliott. Through a friend of a friend in the networking of drivers, Elliott was discovered as “always up for a challenge” and agreed to come out and test the GTM and get to know the team. This took place at our HOD event this past Saturday, and everyone got along great. Elliott enjoyed the home-engineered GTM, and at the end of the day, committed to join the team for this year’s race. To say the least, the team is VERY excited by having a Motorsports Hall of Fame member driving with them. And as a bonus, EFR turns out to be a true gentleman, humble with his polished inputs on the car, and very happy being “one of the guys.” While there is a lot of work to be done, we can’t wait for the race! Note: For those lucky enough to be attending SEMA in Las Vegas, the GTM will be polished up and on display in the Baja Designs show booth this year.
Ladies and gentlemen, I come to you today with a true confession. I have encouraged drivers to “find their own personal red line,” and applauded the purchase of sporty cars of any kind, and I’ve been at least a small influence on many of you to actually drive those cars. Now, look what I’ve done. I bought a hybrid. It is with deep concern for my reputation, and the support of my family, that I write this “tell all” tale of how such a thing could have happened. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a place in your heart to forgive me.
There were two experiences along the way that got my attention.
I had the good fortune to drive in the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill with some really great folks, the owners, drivers and crew of Team Prototype Development, out of Stockton CA. A grassroots effort that you may have read about from our race a couple of years ago, progress had been made leading up to this venture and our band of enthusiasts had high hopes for a successful race.
If you are a driver and have never driven in an endurance race, especially one in the dark, I highly recommend that you put it on your bucket list. It’s just an amazing experience. The PDG team did admirably this year, with a very solid 4th place overall finish in a locally developed car that did encounter some issues during the 25 long hours of this contest. But almost every team encounters issues…
As a performance driving school owner I get asked all the time what’s the best way to drive in snow. I have a “secret” technique to share with you: Separation of Controls will help save your life and property when driving in snow!
What is “Separation of Controls?”
We’ve all seen
the phenomena of the first season’s snow-fall and cars spinning
wildly into the ditch; it’s as though the previous seven months of
warmer weather completely erased any memory of how to best drive in
Here’s my technique that I guarantee will improve your safety: Separation of Controls.
What “controls” do you have?
By using only one control at a time you dramatically improve the effectiveness of your tires! Why you ask? Because a tire only has so much grip (determined by a number of different tire properties), and once you exceed the maximum grip level that can be achieved given the road you’re driving on that instant, the sliding (skidding) tire now has much less grip.
If you’re using 100% of the tire’s grip for braking, how much grip remains for turning? Zero! That’s the beauty of Separation of Controls, it helps you from CREATING SKIDS! The majority of skids that you will experience in your driving life will be created by you!
Ok folks – I know this database…a bunch of hard-core drivers with a passion for our sport, AND a passion for sharing our knowledge, or at least our
self-perceived knowledge! And of course, we’ve passed the sniff test as applied by the Bentleys, so there certainly is a reasonable amount of credibility
that comes with being published here. So this is a story of an epiphany I had while babysitting my two year old grandson. And it’s turned out to have
created a fresh way to present a very fundamental message that we all share with our students any chance we get, “Keep your EYES UP!”
November 26, 2012: Lockton Motorsports, the industry leading
HPDE physical damage insurance provider, has conducted a review of on-track
activity among their over 150 covered HPDE groups. The result of this study
showed that Hooked On Driving’s safety
record was markedly better than the industry average, and thus has earned a
discount on Lockton Motorsports premiums paid for HOD events.HOD is
the only commercial enterprise in the HPDE industry that has qualified for this
discount program.Beginning immediately,
and carrying through the 2013 calendar year, a 10% discount will be applied to any premiums for customers driving in
HOD events nationally.HOD plans
over 100 high performance driving events across the U.S. in 2013, so this
discount will provide substantial savings to a large number of drivers who
utilize the Lockton HPDE Insurance Program. What’s more, the HOD customer will
now have the 10% discount reflected automatically when he purchases the policy
– no special codes to remember. The discount is now in place for events in the
remainder of 2012 and the 2013 season.HOD is very, very proud that our safety goals have been substantially
achieved, and we thank Lockton Motorsports for recognizing this with this
outstanding customer benefit. To take advantage of this program, visit the
Lockton HPDE Insurance Program at http://hpdeinsuranceprogram.com.
Hooked On Driving is a leading provider of performance driving programs, commonly known as an high performance driving experience (HPDE), or high performance driving school (HPDS). These programs are run on Track Days, at regional tracks such as Thunderhill Raceway, Laguna Seca, Reno-Fernley, Pocono, Autobahn Country club, and many others. See below for a complete list of Track day venues. We give drivers of high performance cars and sports cars the opportunity to drive their cars on a race track. During the first sessions a coach will ride in the passenger seat, and teach the driver high performance driving techniques. All new drivers need to participate is a helmet (available rentals), and an inspection to be sure their car is roadworthy. Beginners are given a thorough briefing and are introduced to their coach before they drive their car on the track. The initial "A Group" for beginning HPDE drivers, teaches smoothness, awareness, and driving a proper, safe and efficient line on track. A priority is also placed on learning basic car control skills such as late bssraking, proper shifting and understanding the concept of the apex of a turn. While A group has significant passing restrictions to maintain a conservative pace, the B - Intermediate, C - Advanced, and D - Race-prepped groups have progressively more flexible passing rules and advanced level coaching. There is NEVER any competition — wheel to wheel or timed laps — in our programs. Hooked on Driving HPDE Programs are safe experiences for all, an enjoyable time for every driver — and to assure that our drivers come away with much more confidence in handling their car in an emergency situation. Hooked On Driving customers frequently are heard saying that they've had, "The time of their lives!".