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b00bies!!!
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Well for a few months now I have been seriously considering attending the SKip Barber racing school. I have wanted to be a racecar driver ever since I have been a kid but due to complete lack of support from my family, I have not been able to do it financially. A few months ago I started working for a job that gives me the opportunity to try and work my way up the ladder system and have decided to do so. Its a big step and I probably will be broke for the rest of my adult life...but hey its a car forum (story of our lives. lol) Anyways, I am going to be attending the Skip Barber 3 day racing school very soon. My question is that I want to make this an extremely memorable experience at a world renowed race track but at the same time, I want to do the school before the end of the year so I can start at least competing in the regional series races next season.

I can take the class in October up in Daytona BUT it is not the full 24hr. course just a 1.86 modified infield course. My other option is to wait until December 27th and attend the class taking place on the full 12hr. course in Sebring. My question is for anyone who has run at these tracks what would you choose? The only thing I would be holding back on is the venue of the track. For those who have run at Sebring...is it worth the 6 month wait or should I just attend the closest class? I have the book "Going Faster" and in there, they mainly focus on the 12hr. Sebring course. It seems like the best choice with its high-speed straights followed by slow speed corners. What do you guys think?
 

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I have never run Sebring, and not knowing you and just from your post above it sort of sounds like you are somewhat of a beginner, so to me it seems that getting into it and learning how to drive fast and smooth is much more important than whether you learn on a short course or a long course.

Have you already done HPDE type events? I think doing at least a few of those does most people a lot of good.
 

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Heavy Metal Momentum
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I agree with Nick (I still consider myself a novice) You are going to learn a lot at the school and you'll learn a lot at any school, especially being a newbie. Have you thought about doing an HPDE or even some auto-x events first to get to know the feel of 'competition' driving? You'll learn alot either way you do it but you may walk away with a little more if you've put in a little seat time before the school. It took me quite a few events to really understand what I need to be doing vs. just understanding what the instructor is telling me. If you're like me you'll want to know why to put the car here vs. just where it needs to be.
HTH,
Brian
 

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b00bies!!!
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have done a few auto-x's so i'm not a complete newbie but I have never done actual wheel-to-wheel racing. While I understand the importantance of seat time, I unfortunately cannot track my car or build a dedicated track vehicle without seriously affecting my race budget. I need to work my way up the ladder system andthe only way to do that is to participate in the program.
 

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Pedro TT said:
I have done a few auto-x's so i'm not a complete newbie but I have never done actual wheel-to-wheel racing. While I understand the importantance of seat time, I unfortunately cannot track my car or build a dedicated track vehicle without seriously affecting my race budget. I need to work my way up the ladder system andthe only way to do that is to participate in the program.
I would get the track time first before investing in the race school. I think you will get more out of the school that way.
You don't have to have a dedicated track car - just get some reasonable tires and suspension and enjoy. You can learn a lot in a "slow" car.
 

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TRNSFST
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VickSupra said:
I would get the track time first before investing in the race school. I think you will get more out of the school that way.
You don't have to have a dedicated track car - just get some reasonable tires and suspension and enjoy. You can learn a lot in a "slow" car.
Yes, so true. Just get out to your track during an HPDE and ask someone to show you the lines around the track. Most people there are really cool and know wtf they're talking about. Getting a ride with someone before you go out can prove very beneficial. Also, try getting an instructor to ride with you, this will help A LOT. Some HPDE events are geared towards this and you'll have a dedicated instructor.

Learning with lower power and street tires...there's nothing wrong with that. I learned that way and it's definately preferable, start working your way up with street tires and then get some stickies after you have more seat time. You definately don't need a dedicated track car. Hell, I drive mine to the track and pass trailored cars on stickier tires.

Good luck, and just get to the track and get some seat-time before paying big bucks for a racing school. HPDEs with an instructor or friends to show you the way is much cheaper too.

Billy
 

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Pedro TT said:
I have done a few auto-x's so i'm not a complete newbie but I have never done actual wheel-to-wheel racing. While I understand the importantance of seat time, I unfortunately cannot track my car or build a dedicated track vehicle without seriously affecting my race budget. I need to work my way up the ladder system andthe only way to do that is to participate in the program.
Well... you don't need to start off with wheel-to-wheel right away. Actually, I wouldn't suggest it.

Just go from the auto-X to a roadcourse, and attend a track day. You can get a full day of seat time and start the wonderful experience of being on a roadcourse. I wouldn't imagine a setup much different from what you used for Auto-X. Let us know how it goes, I'm sure you'll absolutely love it.


Troux ~ hpde = high performance driving event. It's just an open track day with beginners, amateurs, and experienced of all sorts. I usually end up paying 100-150 for a full day.

Billy
 

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4G63 said:
Y...... Also, try getting an instructor to ride with you, this will help A LOT. Some HPDE events are geared towards this and you'll have a dedicated instructor.

Learning with lower power and street tires............

Good luck, and just get to the track and get some seat-time before paying big bucks for a racing school. HPDEs with an instructor or friends to show you the way is much cheaper too.

Billy
Agree totally about the instructor! I drove a few times at Road Atlanta (no instructor) before I had an instructor at TX2K4. You learn much better/quicker with an instructor. Frankly, I don't see how they do it. I'd be too afraid to ride with someone that I don't even know!!
 

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TRNSFST
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VickSupra said:
Agree totally about the instructor! I drove a few times at Road Atlanta (no instructor) before I had an instructor at TX2K4. You learn much better/quicker with an instructor. Frankly, I don't see how they do it. I'd be too afraid to ride with someone that I don't even know!!
Ya it does amaze me. First time I had an instructor in the car he just got in with no hesitation. Of course, I wasn't pushing too hard relative to what he's use to. He was telling me to gas it out of the turns really early while straightening out the steering.

"Don't worry, it won't come around on you." LOL, the things he said during those 10 minutes will forever stick in my mind.
 

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HPDE events are well worth the money. I never knew I can do such manouvers with my car. So far I will be attending my 4th one and I cant get enough.

I will also be attending the skip barber school here in california(Laguna Seca). Just gotta save upu a couple more cents. I got a lot of feedback from a buddy of mine, Tophie Stewart, a WELL known racer, got sponsered by the Skip Barber scholarship, etc...And he told me it is well worth it.
 

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V-tec JUST KICKED IN!!!
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I'm in the same situation as you are. Unfortunately i am also not financially suitable yet to take on the road racing life. I wish you the best of luck and would love to hear some feedback about the school when you are back.
 

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ChiliSauce said:
I'm in the same situation as you are. Unfortunately i am also not financially suitable yet to take on the road racing life. I wish you the best of luck and would love to hear some feedback about the school when you are back.
Keep your eyes and ears open. Sometimes there are small events that are less expensive. There have been some as low as $99/day that I have seen. ANy seat time is good time!!
 

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I don't want to beat a dead horse, but these guys are very right. If you go to Barber w/o ever having been on a road course before, it will be wasted.
I've been on two HPDE's, and I can say that for the mindset I'm in right now, I'm better off w/o an instructor. My first HPDE was a waste. I had an instructor, and he was telling me everything that he was supposed to about what I was doing right and wrong, but I wasn't ready to hear it yet. No, my ego wasn't in the way. It's just that what he was saying was way farther out than I was focusing on. He was trying to coach me on improving my lap times by a tenth here and a tenth there, when I was just barely feeling out the limits of my car.
I was alone for the second HPDE, and I learned way more then. I didn't have to worry about whether I was going to do something right or wrong and have the instructor bark at me. I made one mistake on the first lap out, went off the track, got pissed etc etc. But I never went off again and I learned way more that day because I wasn't worried about whether the instructor was gonna have a hissy fit at me.
Now I admit, on the first day I learned a lot about passing procedures, flags, pit exiting and entering etc, so it wasn't a total waste. I really needed those things so I didn't kill someone the next time I went out, but I had to be alone to learn how to handle my car and how to find the right line.
However, I think after I'm thru making my own mistakes and I can start getting some cinsistency in my driving, I think it would be great to have an instructor to show me the rest. But for now it's really just a distraction.
If you still think that you need to just jump into the Barber class now, go ahead. But the biggest thing you need to do is relax. Think about your car and the track, listen to what the instructor tells you, and use your head. If you're distracted by the bills you gotta pay at home, or that scout that you wanna impress in the stands, or that hot chick watching you like a hawk, into the wall you go. But if you just relax and feel what the car is doing, you'll learn in no time.
 
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Another thing to consider is that if you are not fast/good/safe/experienced at the wheel, Skip Barber won't recommend you for getting their or SCCA racing license. So HPDE or similar track days is a must.

Money in auto racing is more important than talent. With money you can practice and practice and practice, until you are as good as anyone else there, with talent of without. So if you cannot afford HPDE then earn the money or consider a different hobby.

Also, have you considered racing go-carts? They are cheap and quick. You will become a 10x times better driver from racing go-carts than sedans because they will let you develop much faster reflexes. All F1 drivers came from go-carts, not from sedans. With go-carts you can race the whole season for about the price that it would take you to go to one Skip Barber school.
 

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TempesTT said:
.........
I've been on two HPDE's, and I can say that for the mindset I'm in right now, I'm better off w/o an instructor. My first HPDE was a waste. I had an instructor, and he was telling me everything that he was supposed to about what I was doing right and wrong, but I wasn't ready to hear it yet. ......... He was trying to coach me on improving my lap times by a tenth here and a tenth there, when I was just barely feeling out the limits of my car.
I was alone for the second HPDE, and I learned way more then. ....
Really, you are not in a position to judge based on two HPDE's. It's possible to get a less than stellar instructor, but they know way more than you, and if you listen, you might learn something. You said yourself "but I wasn't ready to hear it yet".
Trimming tenths here and there is what it comes down to after you get the basics down.
You can normally request different instructors during the day, and should do so if you feel you are not learning.
 
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