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    Just completed the 3 day class June 9, 10, & 11. Rick Malone and his crew do a FANTASTIC JOB!!!! On day 1 I thought I was driving well and fast. By day 3 I was hitting my marks (at least most of them) and getting those apexes they way I was now taught to hit them and realized how slow I was on day 1!!!!! These guys are PROS!!

    This is an awesome experience EVERY Corvette Stingray owner should have. It absolutely amazes me how well these cars are balanced and just what their limits are!!!! No one in our class ran off the track and we pushed these cars well beyond what most of us thought they were capable. Here's our class:


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    Cool Ron Fellows Track Video

    Here is a section of a GoPro video shot by jagamajajaran of one of our Ron Fellows track sessions. I think you will find it very informative especially if you have not done one of their Performance driving schools. What you will be viewing is a ‘lead follow’ session where I am in the C7 behind the instructor and jag is in another C7 behind me. Things to notice: jags perfect hand position on the steering wheel at “9 and 3,” the smoothness that he steers, his line as he approaches each apex of the turn and his unwind from the turn typically followed by an upshift. You can hear the instructor commenting on my driving as well as jags, the types of feedback he gives real time, etc. You also will see the 1.5 mile course this was shot on, and possibly be able to see on jag’s speedometer that we reached speeds of mid 80 mph on the short ‘straight aways.’

    Last edited by jsvette; 06-14-2014 at 01:42 PM.
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    Senior Member jagamajajaran's Avatar
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    A detailed review and overview of Spring Mountain's Level 1, 2 Day, Ron Fellows Performance Driving School

    7:30 a.m., Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - Arrival at Spring Mountain Motor Resort!

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    As I pulled in, I proceeded to what I perceived to be the building that I needed to check in at. It's a building that has Ron Fellows Driving School and C7 Cross Flag Emblems on it, so I thought, "This must be the place!"

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    No other students were around when I walked in, but a nice young female employee greeted me as I came in. I said, "I just arrived. Is this the place I need to be?" She replied, "Yes, this is it!" While I waited on others to arrive for the 8:00 a.m. class start time, I looked around their C7 product area.

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    I made my way into the classroom with the other students and took a seat. As class began, it didn't take long to figure out that I was with a group that had already been there for at least a day. I later learned that this was a Level 1, 3 Day class group that was beginning Day 2. Walking out of the classroom, I asked the young lady I had previously spoken with where I was supposed to be. When she realized that I was in the wrong place, she said, "I am so sorry. When you asked me if you were in the right place, you acted like you knew what you were doing and I thought you were in this class." She then told me to go to the Radical Racing building. So I quickly drove over to that building.

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    I was now about 5 minutes late, but my late arrival story gave everyone a good laugh, so all was well. After some initial comments and introductions, our class of twelve students was dividing into two groups of six. The two days would be spent divided between driving time and class time. While one group was driving, the other group would be in class, and vice versa.

    Spring Mountain has an impressive fleet of new Z51 Corvettes. They keep them in their stock configuration with the exception of added brake rings. The cars are meticulously inspected and maintained. I also learned that as the tires wear, they move the tires from the track to the driving exercises, using them as appropriate and safe. I was very impressed.

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    Day 1 morning instruction began with braking exercises. We learned about threshold breaking and ABS breaking while practicing our breaking and accident avoidance on a wet pavement area. The next topic was visual scanning. Driving time for this consisted of driving around cones in a serpentine fashion while looking at a fixed point to our left/right and using our peripheral vision to know when to make each turn. During one run through this course, they even added a sun shade so we could not cheat by looking out the front windshield. This was a fun and revealing exercise. The rest of the morning was devoted to heel/toe shifting. This was something that I was not at all familiar with, but I learned a lot and also learned how awesome it is that GM has given us rev matching to do what heel/toe shifting would normally do. The heel/toe driving exercise consisted of driving down a straight away, getting up to about 60 mph, then downshifting at the end from 4th to 3rd and then from 3rd to 2nd using heel/toe shifting. I didn't use rev matching until the end of the exercise, which is a great way to check your heel/toe proficiency.

    It was now Noon and time for lunch in the club house.

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    A very nice lunch was provided for us each day. The first day's lunch consisted of salad, grilled hamburgers and grilled chicken breasts, vegetable side dishes, a couple of dessert options, and various beverage options. The second day's lunch was similar with chicken pesto being the main entree item. The food was tasty and plentiful.

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    While I spent most of my lunch time visiting with new friends, there is a pool table inside and a ping pong table on the patio for those wanting to play before class resumes at 1:00 p.m.

    I was excited to get back to class at 1:00 p.m. because we would soon be taking our first laps around the road course track. We were first taken around the track in a van so we could learn the appropriate line together. Our group used the 1.5 mile track exclusively because the 3 Day class was using the 2.2 mile track. In the next photo, you can see the track configurations. The 1.5 mile track is the configuration on the left.

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    It was now time for our first lead/follow track time, complete with head socks and helmets.

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    An instructor would lead a group of three for multiple laps around the track. The instructors drove Camaros for the most part, until a group of students were performing at a level that required the instructor to upgrade to a Corvette. I was thoroughly amazed at the ability of every instructor to tell each driver what to do, when to do it, what we were doing, what we weren't doing, as we were doing it or not doing it, all while driving a perfect line around the track just in front of us! It was honestly as if they were in the same car with you. Each time we were on the road course, we would rotate in such a way that each one in a group would have several laps directly behind the instructor for personal coaching.

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    Once we had spent some time on the road course, we were back in class to review everything we had learned to that point and then to head out for driving time on the skid pad and oval track.

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    On the skid pad, we practiced in a figure 8 pattern, hitting the throttle and letting the rear end slide out and then attempting to make the correction and continuing on. I may have done a few 180s and 360s as well. LOL On the oval track, we worked on getting as close to the apex as possible and driving the proper line. Once these exercises were concluded, it was time to call it a day.

    The resort's condos are beautifully furnished and decorated. A personal note was waiting for me on a table in the room describing the activities I could participate in that evening should I desire to do so. There is a swimming pool outside the club house as well as a basketball court and a racquetball court near the condos. I chose to spend some time relaxing and then headed into Pahrump for dinner.

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    Day 2 was a a blast! Our day was spent in classroom review sessions and road course driving. Rick Malone, Driving School Director, is the most enthusiastic performance car enthusiast and driving instructor I have ever met. He loves what he does and it shows, not only in his enthusiasm and instruction, but in that of his instructors.

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    At one point, the instructors had us ride with them for a couple of laps around the track so we could see what they did as they drove the track. They performed this exercise at approximately 70% of their normal track speed, which was still superior to any of our track speed. They took us out in groups of four for this exercise, so I took a couple of shots while others were on the track.

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    The day ended all too soon. Around 4:00 p.m., we were presented with certificates of completion, and then headed back outside for a class photo. An independent photographer took the photo of our group after spending the afternoon taking photos of each of us as we drove around the track. My photo set included over 100 photos of me driving, so I purchased the set provided on a thumb drive for the price of $100 for all of the photos. I have attached a few of theses photos at the conclusion of my review.

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    I couldn't have asked for a better learning experience, both on and off of the track. From the provided water bottles, water, and Gatorade, to the instructors making sure our windows were down after track time so the cars would be cool for the next driver, to the high quality personalized instruction, to the assistance of the instructors with one's in-car video equipment, to the patience and encouraging comments from the instructors, to the cars, to the track quality, to the condos and amenities, Spring Mountain Motor Resort offers the best performance driving school money can buy. This was my first road course/track experience and I learned more than I could have imagined about our Corvettes, track driving, and myself. The information we were taught is applicable both on and off the track and I have found myself employing various elements in my daily driving. I am looking forward to going back to take Day 3 of Level 1 along with the two day Level 2 class. If you own a new Stingray, don't miss out on the opportunity to attend a Spring Mountain school at the reduced price. It's worth every penny!
    Last edited by jagamajajaran; 06-14-2014 at 09:48 PM.

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    Senior Member jagamajajaran's Avatar
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    Various track photos that I took:

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    Photos taken by the professional photographer of me driving the Crystal Red Stingray:

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    Last edited by jagamajajaran; 06-14-2014 at 09:39 PM.
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    A few questions for you graduates; What was the worst driving habit that you corrected there? How much of what you learned can / could be translated to your off track use of your C-7? What is the most significant thing you learned there?




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    Great questions Chip Here are my 'first responses'. "A few questions for you graduates:
    What was the worst driving habit that you corrected there?
    -Driving hand position, went from my 10 and 2 to 9 and 3. Directly impacts control, smoothness of turns, etc.
    How much of what you learned can / could be translated to your off track use of your C-7?
    -A tremendous amount of the focus, timing etc. Actually to driving any vehicle.
    What is the most significant thing you learned there?
    -How to steer very effectively while in full ABS application. We were driving at about 50-60 mph and applying the ABS at a specific point, facing an instructor, who after you were in full ABS waived you to one of two traffic lanes (right or left) between cones placed a little wider than the C7. Learned how to do it with very little steering and not hitting any cones.
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    Senior Member jagamajajaran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    A few questions for you graduates; What was the worst driving habit that you corrected there? How much of what you learned can / could be translated to your off track use of your C-7? What is the most significant thing you learned there?
    1) The worst driving habit that I corrected has to do with visual scanning. I have found myself looking for and seeing a whole of what is going on around me after taking the class.

    2) I think just about everything that we learned can be translated to normal road driving.

    3) The most significant thing I learned was visual scanning and using my peripheral vision more as I drive. The second most significant thing I learned was braking for balance. There is so much more control that one can have when coming around a corner and braking about 5% to balance the car through the turn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jagamajajaran View Post
    1) The worst driving habit that I corrected has to do with visual scanning. I have found myself looking for and seeing a whole of what is going on around me after taking the class.

    2) I think just about everything that we learned can be translated to normal road driving.

    3) The most significant thing I learned was visual scanning and using my peripheral vision more as I drive. The second most significant thing I learned was braking for balance. There is so much more control that one can have when coming around a corner and braking about 5% to balance the car through the turn.
    I would concur with ! & 2, but for #3 I would say for me it was learning what these cars are really capable of. The power, the abuse they will take, the handling. The car is truly amazing. Although I must say, my automatic, in comparison to the manuals we drove, felt like a rocket on the drive home.

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    Senior Member jagamajajaran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VETJAZZ View Post
    I would concur with ! & 2, but for #3 I would say for me it was learning what these cars are really capable of. The power, the abuse they will take, the handling. The car is truly amazing. Although I must say, my automatic, in comparison to the manuals we drove, felt like a rocket on the drive home.
    I guess I was thinking about what I learned that helped me the most. But you are right about what these cars can do. Unbelievable!

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    GREAT video, Jag!

    We did our 3 day course on the 2.2 mile course and were able to attain triple digit speeds on the back straight between 9 and 10, and 90+ on the shorter front straight going into 1 and 2.
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    Senior Member jagamajajaran's Avatar
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    Thanks! I was a little disappointed that we weren't on that track because I knew the straight away on that track allowed for triple digit speeds. Thanks for reopening a wound! LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by richscorvettes View Post
    We just returned from the two day school on May 28th and 29th. Earlier this year I had read on the Forums about the special offer for new C7 Corvette Owners. While I've had track experience at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen I had never attended a formal school and this offer was just too good to pass up. With Chevrolet covering 60% of the cost the savings paid for our flights and three night condo stay.

    We had two primary objectives in mind: first, to learn everything about the capabilities of the C7 and, second, to learn current driving techniques from a formal driving school. In both respects our expectations were exceeded.

    The driving school was extremely well done. Just the right balance of classroom, exercises and plenty of on-track driving. The school begins at 8am and ends around 4:30 each day. The instructors were all superb. Maybe the most impressive part of the instruction was that they kept control of their cars while looking out their rear-view mirrors to give you instruction on the correct entry, braking and shifting points all while speaking to you on their in-car radio's. My wife, Barb, attended all the classes and also rode with one instructor so she got to experience most everything in person. Riding with the instructor is open to anyone accompanying you who wants to experience the track. The school Director is really energetic and enthusiastic and that followed to all the instructors. There were thirteen drivers in our group and everyone was really friendly and all there for the same reasons - especially to have fun. Everyone came away with a great experience and had nothing but good things to say about every facet of the school and the facility.

    The first day was a mix of classroom instruction on braking, cornering, understanding under-steer and over-steer, hitting the apex's correctly, exit speed and quite a bit of time on heel and toeing. We also did wet skid pad runs along with full force braking to give us a feel of the car at its limits. After each classroom session it was onto the track for practical experience and a debrief afterwards. We did several heel and toeing practice sessions even though the C7 has the Rev Match - which works great by the way. In the afternoon of the first day we had group sessions of three to four cars on the track following one of the instructors. Each driver rotated their position to be directly behind the instructor so he could give you tips on the correct line, when to brake, when to downshift, what to look for on the apex and when to "balance" the car entering a turn as well as when to accelerate out of the turn. Their emphasis is on exit speed and not barreling into the corners. The second day was spent with many on-track sessions. They moved the drivers into smaller groups depending on your lap speeds which provided more laps at greater speeds. Interestingly, the instructors used Camaro's for most of the early sessions (I believe because of better rear visibility) but for the last two sessions our instructor used a Vette so we could really get going. Those sessions were the most fun!

    They have several track configurations and we used the 1.5 mile track which was designed for the driving school with plenty of variations of left and right turns, some slightly banked turns, decreasing radius turns, tight 180 degree turns, one small downhill section and two straights.

    The C7 is really impressive as a track car: great engine torque, extremely well balanced, great brakes, unreal cornering capability and fast. All of the cars used are C7 Z51's with the 7 speed transmission although they have just ordered ten C7's with automatic transmissions if you want to use those. I was impressed by how hard the cars could be run with not a single car having any issues. If these things can be flogged as hard as we were using them they should really hold up well in regular street driving. We made every run with the A/C on which was nice to keep things cool even in those cars which had the transparent roof. By the way, they use the stock tires, brake pads and alignment settings but they do use the front brake cooling rings.

    We stayed in the condo's at the track which were really well designed, superbly furnished, spotlessly clean and decorated by someone who had great taste. We had a balcony on the rear of the room which looked out onto the track. The condo's are the most convenient place to stay and reasonably priced as they have a discounted rate for school participants.

    The locale in Pahrump, Nevada is right in the desert as you would expect and seems pretty sparsely populated. For places to eat we tried Symphony at the local winery which was a really good higher end restaurant and the local casino also has a good restaurant as well as a café. The Clubhouse at the track serves breakfast ($8 which is very reasonable), lunch (included for the students and $15 for others) and, on at least two nights (Monday and Tuesday), they also serve dinner. All their meals were good and reasonably priced.

    The weather was great even at 95-97 degrees since there was always a strong breeze blowing. They have plenty of shaded areas and Barb found the tower to be cool and offer great views. She took many of the pictures from that tower - a total of 149 pictures but unfortunately many were of the barren desert as she seemed to miss the cars speeding by……….

    While we were out there we added two extra days after the school to visit Red Rock Canyon, the Hoover Dam, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and tour downtown Las Vegas which made it a great experience with a little local scenery thrown in.

    It was certainly an experience well worth the time and expense. We would highly recommend their school to anyone looking for a great experience.

    Rich

    Attachment 8539
    Hey Rich,
    Wow, there I am in that picture. Neat!

    I'll echo everything you said and more; chasing the instructors around the track was both a blast, and instructional at the same time. We all learned something; for me, feathering the accelerator through the corners to make the front end stick and turn better. And for a paddle-shifter, the rev-matching was both helpful, but also fast - never had to worry about missing the blip, and we were doing some pretty fast downshifts.

    I did more with their car than I ever thought I would - got home and told the wife "I really can scare you now!!" - no way to really understand how powerful and sticky this car is - would love to go back for Day 3.
    Steve
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    I will echo all that I've read so far about experiences... I don't think I've seen the class photo from our three day school on June 4 - 6:
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    Senior Member jagamajajaran's Avatar
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    The first video I shot was with the GoPro mounted to the back glass. It actually fell off shortly into our session, but I remounted it and shot for a few more minutes before the GoPro decided to stop recording for some reason. The rest of my videos were shot with the GoPro mounted to the transparent targa top. I noticed that mounting it on the targa top results in what appears to be much fast speeds around the track, even though the speeds are the same.



    The remaining videos were shot with the GoPro mounted to the targa top.



    The next video has me following behind jsvette.





    Another video with me following jsvette.



    My last video is of the instructor demo laps. The instructors took us out in groups of four to drive us around the road course at about 70% of their top speeds to instruct us in the car with them driving.

    Last edited by jagamajajaran; 06-16-2014 at 08:13 PM.

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    My impressions and comments on the Driving School;

    As has been said so many times, the facilities, the cars and the instructors are second to none. I’d also like to say it was a great pleasure to meet and spend a couple days with jsvette, razrx, Chipking and jagamajajaran, along with the rest of the class. We had a great group.

    Although it seems a little overwhelming at first with all the info thrown at you, it all comes together and by the last session, you’re wanting more time on the track! Each step is a building block and the sessions are designed to show you what the car is capable of as well as hone your skills.

    Speaking of capable, the vette takes that to another level, way beyond what I thought. We all know it’s got power, but equally impressive is the braking ability and the stickiness along with the stability. Forget about screeching tires and sliding around corners, it simply doesn’t do that. Initial runs on the 1.5 mile track are run in 4th gear only, and trust me, the car has more than enough torque at any speed to handle that. As you progress, it’s 3rd and 4th and finally some 2-3 shifts are introduced.

    The track sessions are great and the real time instructions and advice over the cars speaker system is incredible. How those guys drive, watch you in the mirror and chat with the ride along guest is beyond me. If you watch Jag’s video that he put up here, you’ll notice it starts out at a mild pace, however with each lap that picks up considerably. When it’s your turn behind the lead car the instructor will encourage you as he picks up the pace, all gaged on what he thinks you’re capable of, and believe me, it’s way beyond what you think…lol.

    Heel and toe! I would venture to guess that this is one of the more intimidating skills for those that haven’t done it or aren’t yet proficient at it. They do stress it but also encourage you to simply use the rev matching feature if you prefer, no shame in that, it’s what it’s for and works extremely well.

    Peripheral vision! This is probably one of the most important if not the most. They tell you to look for the turn and move on to the apex and then the exit. Believe me, they can not only see if you are doing that, but also, your hand positions as well….all in their mirror. I have never run on a track so this was all new to me and it all clicked when I found that once identifying the turn cone well before you get to it, forget that and move to the apex, forget that and on to the exit. The brain will process it as you pass each one and you’ll hit the corners perfectly and begin setting up for the next one.

    Balancing in the turns; Another important skill they teach and is key to smoothly executing the turns. For us that live in snow and ice 6 months of the year it’s very natural, for others, it’s well explained and easy to pick up on. It’s an excellent skill and useful in everyday driving, especially on wet roads and ice.

    Shifting; We’ve all blown a shift or two and they give some good advice on the cars transmission and how to avoid that.

    The cars; I talked to the instructors quite a bit about the maintenance etc. All the cars I drove {at least 6 different ones}, had 5xxx miles on them. The cars were all in excellent condition both inside and out and frankly, you’d never know they were used for track instruction. They told me they change the tires about every two weeks and had not touched the brakes yet on any of those we drove. Oil is changed regularly and if I recall, they use a different brake and transmission fluid for the temperatures and use they get. Around 12k miles they sell the cars to dealers, send some to auctions and some to other places that have requests in.
    There is one car that is an exception and that’s the one they use for the wet figure eight session. The tires are well worn so it WILL skid and they have that car coated with a thick wax substance to protect the paint as it gets quite wet and dirty.

    I hope this is helpful for those that have dates and for those that are thinking about taking the class. Remember, there are no dumb questions and the staff goes out of their way to make you feel comfortable regardless of your skill. You will come away with confidence and skills in both yourself and especially the car with emphases on the later! Everyone should have this on their bucket list and I doubt there is a finer school than Ron Fellows.

    Kurt
    Area 473
    Chip, Gyrsaker, 53Vette and 2 others like this.
    2014 Premier Edition, 473 of 500. Z51, 3LT

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