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.