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Discussion Starter #21
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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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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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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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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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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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

View 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:
RF0604002_m.jpg
 

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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.

 

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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
 

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Thanks Kurt nice report!
Thanks Chip. Here's answers to your questionnaire.

What was the worst driving habit that you corrected there?

*I'd have to say, hands down, hand position.

How much of what you learned can / could be translated to your off track use of your C-7?

*I think just about everything can apply to street/road driving, especially knowing the ability of the car and how it responds.

What is the most significant thing you learned there?

*For me, I think the tremendous stopping power and control doing it. We don't tend to go out and stomp on the brakes that much to test it. The other thing was how to drive correctly on a track as I haven't done that.

Kurt
 

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Just finished my first day at spring mountain. I'm exhausted and more than impressed. Didn't know I still had it and tomorrow should be equally satisfying. A must do for anyone who owns a C7 or other sports car. Thank you, thank you. The instructors are, as my C7, just awesome.
 

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Making my first foray into YouTube... unintentionally selected the longest video I had from my road trip :) (amazingly, this took six hours to upload!!!!) This is a day three open lapping session, with several laps including an instructor ride along. Wish I would have watched my videos while I was there... as I notice that I was early on some of my turn in points. I THOUGHT I was hitting them pretty well, but with looking ahead to the next apex, I didn't notice how early I was. This caused me to get many a turn exit 'push'.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Thanks for posting Al. This gives everyone a very good perspective on what to expect in the 3rd day of the course. Well done. :cool:
 

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Had a great two days at Spring Mountain, and I have little to add to the earlier posts except about the automatics. I was one out of 20+ students who requested an automatic (having never driven a stick), and a lot of the instruction was based on shifting and heel toe configuration.

While I appreciate the technique, I will never use it, so would have rather spent the time learning more about paddle shift points etc. Even the track lead follow sessions were tailored to the manual shift so while the instructor was calling out gear changes for the manual trannys, I had to interpret them into the different shift range for the Auto.

I would highly recommend that you request an auto if that is what you plan to drive, and I hope the Spring Mountain crew tailors their instruction to the growing group who will never need to heel toe tap the accelerator during a downshift with the advance in technology.

I was disappointed that the one thing that I really had a question about on the automatic transmission was never taught, namely the Launch Control on the auto. I haven't been able to figure that out on my C7 Auto yet. They demonstrated the Launch Control on a C6 Z06 with a manual tranny but never on a C7 and they barely talked about automatics unless I asked about them.

With that said, it still was an amazing experience and one of which I hope every C7 owner takes full advantage.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Good points mcginna. I hope you shared these with your instructors at Ron Fellows (if you did not have a chance, suggest you complete the feedback form you got with your graduation certificate and pass on your suggestions). I have forwarded this thread url from our forum to the crew at Ron Fellows and expect that they are following the posts here as well. :cool:
 

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Mcginna,
That's a good point. I too, would expect more attention paid to driving an auto with paddle shifter. Learning heal & toe technique is completely unnecessary with an auto. I think maybe we should let them know how we feel, and tell them our decision to attend would depend on more attention to automatics.
 

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Is it worth doing the 3 day course. Very conflicted.


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If the cost of the third day is no issue for you then definitely take the third day.

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