I attended the HOD event at Thunderhill on Saturday, June 11th. WHAT A BLAST!
The event was magnificent! Dev was an extremely effective A group leader. He was well prepared, articulate--communicating with the right amount of humor and seriousness. He conveyed a spirit of fun while educating participants--a great balance. He was personable and professional. The download sessions provided a great opportunity to debrief. The “Drive the Line” video was shared at the right time...before the day was too far gone, but after I had an understanding of what the options were out there!
Don was my instructor during the first two sessions. He was very patient with me and a highlight of my day was getting to ride with him in his Corvette during the instructor rides! WOW! It was extremely educational. I also rode with John in his Lotus. I appreciated the way John narrated what he was thinking as he was driving. He provided me with a new way of thinking about the turns that I took with me throughout all three of the afternoon sessions. It made a difference and helped a lot!
Ann was my instructor for the last three sessions. Ann was very patient as well and I appreciated her teaching technique immeasurably. She used minimal voice input and offered additional visual cues--hand signals that she provided to match her voice cues for approaching turns: “Press (the brake) - Lift - Turn - and Go!”--each with a hand signal that I could see out of my periphery. Under her tutelage, I was able to begin to understand aspects to driving the line of the track that I might have otherwise missed.
She also took me for a ride during B group in her Stealth. That was not only educational, giving me a chance to see what she was after with me, but an absolute blast as well!
Under the instruction of Don and Ann, I went from being intimidated by “Corvette Men” early in the day, to “chasing” (well, not really “chasing!”) two of them during my last session. They couldn't shake me in my little BMW Z4 car. Such fun!
I wanted to make a suggestion--I don't know if this might be possible or not: Is it possible to have a “Women Only” event--a day or half day? That would be SUCH fun and a chance for us to have fun and develop our skills without the mid-life men :-) on the track. LOL! Ok...so I am biased. ;-) I wonder if more women might not turn out for the event if that was an option. Seriously, I did have a frustration with a few of them on the turns...feeling they wanted to pinch off my turn exit for the sake of letting me know they were going to pass me at the passing lanes. I wanted to announce during the download sessions “TRUST ME! I WILL LET YOU PASS!” so that I could hopefully get them to quit what felt like intimidation tactics! I am sure many of them were frustrated with me, but I did offer a pass by at every opportunity.
My husband was with me all day, photographing the experience and taking in the sights. I debriefed with him about things along the way. In May, he participated in the Skip Barber racing school at Monterey for 3 days--his first experience driving on the track. He had a great time, of course! But after that experience and mine with HOD, I think we are sold--instead of purchasing more Skip Barber for him or a Skip Barber course for me to go through, we will be back for more Hooked On Driving events! We can't wait and are already planning a couple more this year! We may even buy a car to dedicate to this kind of thing. We really *are* now “Hooked on Driving!!!”
Thank you so much!
Oh! And please subscribe me to your HOD Newsletter! Thanks!
Just wanted send you a note on how much Denny and I enjoyed the HOD event. Despite a couple little hick ups, the day was a lot of fun and we will definitely be back to Roebling. Looking forward to VIR and maybe even Atlanta. You put on excellent event and HOD is by far the premier diving school in the country.
Capital Ford ROUSH of Rocky Mount
Thanks for a wonderful weekend for myself and my Bugeye. I cannot remember having so much fun even with the challenging weather on Saturday. I look forward to future events with HOD. Absolutely professional and extremely well executed.
Regards, Bill Pierce
LINCOLN HILLS SPORTS CAR GROUP
Hooked On Driving
Thank you for setting up the September 8th 2010 track day event for Lincoln Hills Sports Car Group members. We all had a terrific time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!
Your timetable which included registration, explaining the track, meeting our coaches, and scheduling separate Lincoln Hills Sports Car Group driving times was spot on for our group. Also, taking the time between sessions to go over our experiences in the classroom greatly helped each of us to become better with each successive session.
Adding the extra additional driving circle to our curriculum to improve our skills and learn our vehicles more was also enjoyed by all of us. You saw the chance to help us improve new areas of driving and quickly adjusted the track to accommodate an even more robust track challenge.
When the rain started, you also saw this as another opportunity for our members to enjoy another driving aspect to further improve our skills. Again, this also was just as fun to experience for many of our members!
What really put the “topping on the cake” however was having experienced coaches’ test our cars for safety, with us riding along, and then having them ride with each of us to provide individual instruction and advice on how to improve each curve and skill needed to progress faster and safer through the course each time around. Each and every coach acted professionally and skillfully in giving guidance and advice.
Hooked On Driving really does a terrific job in promoting safe, fast, and fun driving experiences! Your professional interest in promoting individuals to learn proper safety on the track and knowing our vehicles capabilities makes the complete experience worth wanting to do it again and again.
Lincoln Hills Sports Car Group would therefore hope to make arrangements again for a similar experience next year, permitting track time will come up again like this last event. Ernie Drake would be the best person to contact and he would then pass all information to our members.
Again, a “Big Thank You” from each and every participant of this event to you and your coaches for providing a driving day with such wonderful experiences on a world-class road course!
Lincoln Hills Sports Car Group
Thanks for the wonderful time at Gingerman. I have waited 47 years to drive a Corvette on a track. It was the time of my life. Thanks too to Jim McKamey, a great instructor.
I won't be at Gingerman with HOD this Fri. I just ran this past Saturday again at Autobahn, this time with ______.
But I wanted to share my observations with you. Although the _______ experience was really very good, it served to illustrate how truly exceptional your HOD events are. Again, not knocking ______, but your events include better organization, better advance materials, better reception set-up the morning of the event, a stronger focus on safety and learning, lots more coaches, lots more classroom opportunities, and the very nice buffet lunch.
In the _____ event, although they mentioned it’s not a race, and had similar safety rules to HOD, many of the attendees were constantly comparing lap times. And one of the advanced drivers had a major wreck, resulting in an ambulance, a wrecker, and 50 minutes of track closure. (I hope he's OK.)
The ________ folks were there and helpful if there were any questions, but I really appreciate the more pro-active approach that HOD brings to its events.
The Autobahn folks were very efficient and professional, as always.
Fyi, I sometimes see comments on the local car enthusiast websites noting that HOD prices are a bit higher than some other track event organizers, but my experience is that its well worth it considering the content and execution.
Good luck at Gingerman. I am hoping to join you at RA.
It was this time last year when my husband excitedly handed me my birthday card. As I read the card, I have to be completely honest and tell you that my first thought was, "Really? Who is this gift really for?" You see, for my birthday present my husband gave me a day on the track at Thunderhill. He could hardly contain his enthusiasm and my lack of enthusiasm took all the energy out of him. I could visibly see his disappointment that I didn't share in his excitement for my, according to him, ridiculously fabulous gift!
So, after a couple of days of thinking this gift wasn't exactly what I would have picked I decided to embrace the attitude that at least I could spend an entire day with my husband away from our two small children. As a Mom, that's a birthday present I can appreciate!
Our day on the track fell right in middle of the intense heat wave we had in July of 2008 when temperatures reached 115 degrees. That wasn't the worst part. It also was during that crazy time when half of California was burning up in wildfires. So, not only was the temperature 100+ degrees by noon but I couldn't see much through the haze of the smoke smothering the central valley. But I was determined to keep up my "good attitude" and not let my husband down.
I sat through the introductory instruction and I noticed there was a little stirring of excitement from deep within. But I wrote it off. Of course I was nervous. I would be driving my husband's Lotus Elise around the track and up to that day I had driven it maybe four times in my entire life!
During my first session I went so slowly everyone passed me, probably twice but I lost count. I didn't quite get it. But that was fine by me. I considered it a great success to make it through the twenty minute session without any damage to myself or the car. Then I went out for my next session. I had a coach the second time that really took the time to help me improve in baby steps. First he had me focus on driving smoothly around the track. Then he had me work on picking up the pace and improve my braking, always focusing on the line and keeping it smooth. Hmmm, things were starting to click.
Then it came time for a ride in a coach's car to demonstrate how it's done. I tell you this set me straight. My life changed with that five minute demo ride. I transformed from a reluctant wife of a fanatic track husband to a proud-to-be-just-as-fanatic track wife. I was hooked!
I continued to improve throughout the day and by my fifth session I even passed others on the track! If Hooked On Driving handed out awards at the end of the day I'd like to think I would have received "Most Improved." And the rest, as they say, is history. I love the Hooked On Driving Team. By the end of every track day my cheeks hurt from smiling all day. For me nothing matches the thrill of moving around a track with grace and speed and sharing the experience with my husband makes it that much sweeter.
I want to encourage reluctant wives like I was to consider spending one day on the track with your husband to see if the same will happen for you. You might even find yourself dreaming about driving the line. I know I do and oh am I sad when I wake up from that dream.
Lastly, I want to say a huge "Thank You!" to the entire Hooked On Driving Team for making it such a joy to spend time on the track with my husband.
Diane Hunter or as my husband calls me, Trixie!
Angela & Rob - Thank you for a wonderful day! I was happy to see I hadn't forgotten everything I learned last June. I suspect the YouTube video helped some in that department. Also, please pass along a big thank you to Dennis Gibson. His patience as he rode along was calming, allowing me to concentrate on his comments and suggestions.
And what great suggestions - he made the north-south link smooth and faster than I could have imagined and he showed me how to improve on all of the slow, tight corners of the south course. I didn't think my car could handle those as well as his instruction showed me "we" could. As last time, the ride home to Bloomington in "regular" traffic gave me considerable opportunities to shake my head. Made me wonder if we should be taking the train when we go on vacation this coming weekend!
August 19, 2009
Dear Angela and Rob
Thank you for the 'Best Monday of My Life'. I still have a large smile on my face. The smell of burning brake pads and the sound of my squealing tire are now a cherished memory. This was without a doubt the most fun I have ever had in my car.
I hope to join you and your wonderful staff next year at Road America. I have dreamt about driving around that track since 1967. Thanks again;
Most of you have heard of it, while some of you have seen it, but only a few of you may have experience it. I'm talking about the 2.85 mile road course just west of Willow, known as Thunder Hill.
My interest in Thunder Hill increased after purchasing my 03 Vette (Ethel) in August of 2004. I've often thought of what it would be like to take Ethel to the track and see what she could do. Well, after months of research and planning and as my schedule allowed, I contacted David Ray, owner of the Hooked on Driving Program and signed up for a day at the track. David was the guest speaker who presented at the Americana Corvette Club meeting last October in Oroville. I had already signed up for his program, so I was really interested to hear what he had to say. Well, my dreams came true on Thursday, November 3rd.
I remember starting checking the weather forecasts on iwon.com about a week ahead of my scheduled track date. My biggest concern was rain. Of course the forecast was for rain for a 3 day period and Thursday, November 3rd , was in the middle. While driving out to the track, that early November morning, I had one eye on the road and one eye on the sky, looking for any break in the clouds, hoping for it not to rain. Well, the weather was almost perfect, the skies were overcast and the temperature was a cool 50 degrees and no rain, at least where we were at.
Check in time was between 7:00 AM and 8:15 AM, a welcome meeting at 8:15AM.
For those of us who had arrived by 7:45 AM and had checked in, there was a brief opportunity to do a introductory ride along with one of the instructors. This was my first chance to get out on the track and see what it was like. This ride was at a maximum 45 MPH speed and a chance to meet and talk with someone who knew the track, plus I was introduced to a couple of other first time drivers like myself during the ride along. After we took 3 laps, we came in for our fist meeting.
I must say, by this time, my feelings of excitement and the anticipation was starting to build. I could hardly wait to get out on the track with Ethel. Of course, at the same time, I was apprehensive and nervous, what if I got out there and something happened to Ethel, my dream car – with a scar, I didn't want that to happen.
As our first meeting broke, we were told to get in our cars and head down to the staging area. I had asked Tom, one of the instructors, if he would be willing to ride along with me. I figured, if nothing else, I would remember his name. I can recall sitting there in the staging area, my helmet on, Ethel all ready to go, Tom (the instructor) riding shot gun, remembering what someone had once told me, "If you scare the instructor, he probably won't want to ride with you, without an instructor- you don't get on the track". So I knew I didn't want to scare the instructor.
My first 20 minute session on the track, , was over before I knew it. I was both nervous and excited at the same time. It was so much fun being able to drive without having speed limits or having the CHP around the next corner. I soon had a better feel for the layout of the track and a sense of what Ethel was capable of doing. The track has 15 turns and several hilly areas, making for some blind spots when cresting the hills. I remember thinking to my self, as I would come over each hill, I hope the car just ahead of me is gone before I get there. Several of the corners were considered high speed corners with berms, an over run area, where the car was supposed to drift out to. Some of the corners were slower speed, around 40 MPH and we would brake hard, turn, then accelerate through the corner. The front strait-away gave Ethel a chance to get up and run a little. I knew I could do over 100 MPH here but again I didn't want to scare my instructor and I also knew the turn 1 was just ahead.
There were 3 driving sessions and 3 class sessions in the morning and 2 more of each in the afternoon. During the class sessions we would receive additional instruction on technique, throttle control, track position, and line. All this information was helpful in being able to drive both safely and at a high rate of speed. The afternoon driving sessions were more for practice, either with an instructor or without.
I felt the instructors were very professional, informative and helpful. I thought the whole program was very professionally run and well organized. I would definitely recommend the Hooked on Driving program to anyone interested in learning how to drive their high performance car – fast
I want to let you know that my first time out with Hooked On Driving at last week's event was a blast! From start to finish, the day was disciplined yet relaxed, serious yet fun, and safe yet exhilarating, while the ambiance throughout was very congenial and pleasant. Making my experience even better was the availability of instruction -- Terry and Dev were quite helpful to me.... You know how to put on a great show! I'm hooked and, to the extent that my calendar will allow me, I'll be back!
As mentioned previously, a friend, Mel Cacho, told me about the event and encouraged me to attend. Although he probably did not follow the official "Tell a Friend!" procedure, I think that he deserves the $50 credit for introducing me to HOD.
See you again back on track!
All the best,
The Hooked On Driving school held at the Ferrari Club of America’s National Meet at Road America was absolutely great. Until then a book by Bob Bondurant, a Skip Barber video, and my weekends as an SCCA corner worker encompassed about all the track knowledge I possessed. The Hooked On Driving school took all that theory and put it into practice right away.
My instructor, Darren, led me through two track sessions, and then during the third had me out by myself. He had me learn the line very quickly, and then find the ideal braking, reference, and shifting points for my particular car. The car felt great, really driving the line was an incredible feeling, and lap by lap what I was learning allowed me to go faster and faster.
My experience with Hooked On Driving allowed me to learn a great deal in a very short time about performance driving, my car, and myself as a driver. I highly recommend Hooked On Driving to anyone who’s looking to become a better driver while having a ton of fun doing it.
2009 Ferrari Club of America Coppa GT Award Winner
Rob and Angela, Yesterday at Autobahn was awesome! I had a blast and the event was extremely well run and organized. The amount of quality track time and training we had was great! The participants, coachs and organizers ran a incredibly fun, safe and professional day. Rotating the track time with the class instruction worked great. My fiancee also felt very comfortable and enjoyed watching the wide variety of cars, talking with the coachs and interacting with other drivers. She had 5-6 laps as a passenger during the coach demo laps. She had a blast!
Kern was a great coach. I learned and incredible amount. I had never driven my car on a track before and it was a great experience to run laps and have real-time expert guidance. Not only did I learn the rules and techniques of track driving, I am a much improved and safer driver on the road.
I will be enthusiastically recommending your program to my business partners among others. I am also looking forward to attending another session in the near future.
Again, Thanks for all your hard work, dedication and passion,
Thanks to you and your wife for a great day yesterday. My wife and I really enjoyed ourselves and had fun. We did leave a little early, because we both felt extremely exhausted. We did not want to make a mistake in our final track sessions and damage the car. We both learned so much yesterday from our individual driving coaches and in-classroom training.
I am really looking forward to coming back to "Hooked on Driving" again. I am recommending this to all my friends and co-workers.
"Hooked on Driving" is great!
Rob and Angela,
Thanks for the great event at the Autobahn. I think I have never been at a track event that went that flawlessly, gave me that much track time, had great catering, and great weather. You just raised the level for the next event...