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Once you have attended Ron Fellows Stingray Performance Driving School, please post your impressions for example, about how, if at all, the experience impacts your thinking and driving of your Stingray? Feel free to also include any hints you think future owners might find of value when they attend the school. It would also be useful to share whether this is your first formal performance driving school. Thanks!:cool:
 

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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

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks very much Rich for the details!:cool:
 

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I can't wait to do this! Thanks for sharing your experience.
 

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Was there any mention of oil ingestion or coking?
 

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Was there any mention of oil ingestion or coking?
During the classroom we had a chance to ask questions about the car but I don't recall any relating to ingestion or coking. I did ask about other things such as whether or not they used all the stock components and settings for track use. The school director said they use the stock brake pads, tires and alignment settings and that they do install the front brake cooling rings. I also asked about their break-in procedure and they advised that the follow the book and won't take the cars on the track until they have at least 1,500 miles on them.

I didn't think to ask about any oil related issues but doubt the cars have enough miles on them to determine if coking is an issue. I had wanted to find a time when we could speak with the mechanics maintaining the cars to ask them a few questions but they were gone by the time our sessions concluded.

Rich
 

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Great report. Many thanks. I don't know how long the discount will last (or lasted) but I'd like to do this with one of the 6 speeds they have on order. Thanks again.
 

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Great report. Many thanks. I don't know how long the discount will last (or lasted) but I'd like to do this with one of the 6 speeds they have on order. Thanks again.
The discounts are for C7 buyers and remain in effect for up to 1 year from date of delivery to the original purchaser. When you register with Spring Mountain, you have to give them your VIN and they verfiy the original purchaser of that car. I hear they will continue this program for the 2015 MY.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
A recap of the phenomenal experience

Summary: Highly recommend Ron Fellows Performance Driving School Stingray 2 day course.
My impressions: It is much more driving than you anticipate. It is run by Rick Malone, who is genuinely interested in your getting the most you can out of the sessions. You are led by highly capable instructors with superb interaction and instructional skills. It goes quickly but is intense for the most part (I lost 2 ½ pounds in the 2 days and I was eating well, drinking plenty of fluids, etc.). You will easily be pushed to your limits in a friendly and non-pressure manner. You ultimately determine in almost all of the driving how far you want to push yourself.
As with most things in life what you take away will of course be moderated by what you come with (some participants had already had track training either here or elsewhere, some had no track or high performance driving instruction previous to the course) and what you put into it. I have zero interest in ever tracking in my car or someone else’s. My racing days are well in the past. I also was initially bummed that they did not have sufficient number of automatics to suit those who purchased an automatic (like myself). But my ‘takeaways’ are numerous from the course:
-The Stingrays are darn near bullet proof (the instructors’ words by the way). The cars are at times brutally driven, driven very very hard, pushed, etc. and yet they have had no problems. They specifically have had no oil ingestion issues- I asked two different times. They have now somewhere in the vicinity of 150 to 200 Stingrays there.
-Until you take a course like this you have (or at least I had) absolutely no real idea as to how capable this Stingrays are in terms of sticking through the turns, stopping and high speed maneuvering. They consistently pushed (encouraged is a better word) you to go faster through the slaloms, curves and ‘ses.’ We- the participants- pretty consistently eased back at some point but not because the Stingray couldn’t handle it.
-You take away a lot of great skills that cross apply to everyday defensive driving, such as how to properly use ABS and steer while doing it exactly where you want to go; how to really scan the road ahead; how to brake to drop speed versus ‘trail’ brake to shift the weight distribution; when to shift up/down; proper ball-roll (aka what we used to know as heel-tow) blipping on downshifts.
-I did all of my track driving in with the manual except for one run where I drove their automatic. The manual, while the clutch required a bit more pressure than my Porsche’s, was exceptionally good. In all of the driving I only missed a shift once. After demonstrating that I could do the proper ball-roll technique I used the rev match which is truly amazing.
-The condos you stay in are extremely nice and well equipped: full refrig, microway, small 2 burner stove, dishwasher, etc.
-Two in our group had their wives who are invited by the instructors to participate in every session except one, as a ride along in their car. From what I could see they were made to feel very welcome.

Here is an abbreviated schedule of the two days:
1st day: instruction and hands on experience in ABS, ball-roll (heel/toe), intro to apex and course management, wet skid pad figure 8s, full vision scanning, and more apex training. You had a lead follow set up of 1 instructor for 4 cars in the morning and 1:1 in the afternoon. In the lead follow the instructors are uncanny in their ability to drive a darn near perfect line at speed while watching you in their mirrors and giving each person specific (by you name) live feedback on what they were doing right and missing (for example, too far from the apex, too slow through the start of the turn, not trail braking, not fast enough after the unwind of the turn etc.)

2nd day: Almost all track. Started with ball-roll emphasis in a lead follow, faster speeds and emphasis on hitting the apex, brake and trail brake exercises, throttle steer and a 1:1 ride along. During the ride along they said they were only driving at about 50% with in most cases was at least 2 to 3 times faster than we ever drove! The last session in the class room went into the different mode setting and what they did, also discussed briefly the differences between the auto and manual Z51s and base models.

The class room time was relatively short in between the tract times (and if nothing else gave you a chance to recover).

Had a great time with the other participants including Area 473, razrx, Chipking and jagamajajaran. Jag was kind enough to take a couple of Go Pro MP4s of me that I will post at some point.:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Was there any mention of oil ingestion or coking?
I specifically asked at two different occasions and the reply was no ingestion issues, these C7s are pretty much bullet proof.:cool:
 

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I specifically asked at two different occasions and the reply was no ingestion issues, these C7s are pretty much bullet proof.:cool:
For the ingestion issue with coking on the valves, I wonder if they have ever actually taken one apart to see.

For the oil overfilled and showing up in the air box issue, this they should definitely know (since they should have a visible oil leak if they get too much in their air box). So, I would assume from their response to you that this has not occurred for them. Do you happen to know at what oil levels they keep in their Z51s?
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
No I don't know what level they maintain the oil at in their Z51 Stingrays. All I know is what I reported Rodney. I specifically asked and they said they have not had any oil injection issues. They stay right on top of these cars with any maintenance concerns.

I'd like to keep this thread pretty much focused on post Ron Fellows discussions. Let's move any further oil ingestion comments to the other existing threads. Thank you.
 

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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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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
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.’

 

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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!
 

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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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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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