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Thread: Skip Barber 3 day Formula Car School

  1. #1

    Skip Barber 3 day Formula Car School

    Old Baillie, Norcal and I just completed the Skip Barber three day school, so I thought I'd pop up a quick review of it here, and maybe the others will throw in their thoughts too. It was Old Baillie's first track event, Norcal & I have both done a lot of track days, and Norcal has done some racing too.

    This gives you an overview of what you'll experience;

    The first day was getting used to the cars, some fun autocross exercises to get a feel for the brakes and gears, plus couple of slower laps to learn your way around the track and quite a bit of classroom stuff. Each session is timed to give you only about 15 minutes of seat time, with a total of maybe 1hr 20mins in car. There are four run groups sharing the track, two in spec Miatas, and two in Formula cars. I've done a bunch of other driving schools, and honestly at the end of day one I was pretty disappointed, and felt I'd maybe wasted my money.

    The second day you get out on the track a bit more, and start to get a feel for the tires and handling as the speed increases. The real revelation is the braking ability of the Formula cars from higher speeds. They go from 110 > 35 in about 100 feet, so charging turn 2 at full throttle and getting hard into the breaks really requires a suspension of disbelief! Day two we got what seemed like about 1hr 30mins in the cars, but they were all pretty enjoyable minutes, and when we weren't in the Formula cars we were driven in or driving the Speed 3's around the track being shown the line by the instructors, or taken to different corners to watch the other run groups in the vans. The instructors hustle the vans around the course very briskly, which adds greatly to the days enjoyment. Even with the relatively small amount of seat time by the end of day two I was feeling much better about my investment!

    The third day started with overtaking practice on open laps in the morning. We got in three run sessions of four to five laps each, which was very enjoyable. After lunch we had rolling start and safety car restart exercises, which were actually loads of fun, and then finished the day with two six or seven lap open track sessions which was a great high to leave on.

    Overall it is a very enjoyable event, despite getting quite a bit less seat time than in any other track school I've done. On the plus side the instructors are all super nice and very attentive, the track is Laguna Seca, the cars are able and any excuse to spend a few days in Carmel/Monterey is a great thing! For us it was great just to get together and have fun doing something we love, driving fast and enjoying one of the best parts of California!

    Here are a few snaps to give you the idea...
     
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  2. #2
    Sport Button On racer98's Avatar
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    Talk about a great track to begin with. I think there is a track day coming up soon with the POC (Porsche Owners Club) in Aug/Sept after the historics. I don't think you can get a better location then the one you were at .
    I'd have to say the less track time does seem to be a complaint that many have shared between different schools, the class room setting can be a bit boring but

    I'd like to know if there was a fee if any one accidentally drove off the track? I ask because there used to be a school out in Riverside for go-karting and one of the people in our opposing teams went off the track in the go-kart and was charged a $350 'off track fee'. Is this the same case at the school?

  3. #3
    There was no off track fee, I've never heard of that before and I've done around 200 track days!
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  4. #4
    Sport Button On racer98's Avatar
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    Good to know. I've heard of this at other schools that allow people to use their cars and I wanted to know if they did this, and good that they don't. .

  5. #5
    Team Z8
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    Yup, an oops will cost you at the go kart track...

    I was in traffic, hit a barricade...broke a tie rod...charged $350.

  6. #6
    Team Z8 riverflyer's Avatar
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    Andrew, are you sure about that? I have done SB twice in the last few years and on both occasions there was most certainly a fee for any off track damage. If no longer, guess its the economy. If the last pics are the whole group, less than 1/2 the number from two years ago. Cant understand why you would not have had more seat time though with the small numbers.

  7. #7
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Yes, you break it you buy it. We did all buy the optional INS that limited our total liability to 2000 per car. No charge here for flatspotted tires, that was good. Nobody in our school bought any parts I'm aware of. A couple people did flat spot some tires. As for group size, we had about 16 students, so two run groups in the formula cars and about the same in the mx5s... Thus, four run groups on track. The first day rained, that was great fun and very educational.

  8. #8
    Z8Mania
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    That looks like a lot of fun! Great pics!

  9. #9
    Sport Button On racer98's Avatar
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    I can't wait until the track day for August and Sept. Yup I'm going to be using the roll caged canyon rocket for the track day, its no show car but gives a GT2 a run for its $.