Are you one of those people? You know the kind I mean: Revving you vehicle’s engine at stop lights; TiVo-ing Formula One races from Europe; spending more time than is really healthy reading car mags, aftermarket catalogues and dreaming about turbo-charging your V-6.
If this description fits you, or someone you love, don’t worry -- help is here. This summer, you can satisfy your inner racer at a variety of venues and driving instruction facilities. Have a look at a few of the well-known names and lesser-known gems below. There are numerous raceways and venues for half-day, all-day and even 3-5 day-long programs where you can have fun, bump up your skills, and even go racing.
Take it from me (I have an ‘inner racer’ living within me!), it’s safer and smarter than driving too fast on the highways and byways of America and, at the end of the day, you might even save money, considering the high price of speeding fines in most states today! Plus, think about a school for your teen driver; it’s a great way to help new drivers master good skills and learn safe driving habits.
Here’s a short list of schools and programs to whet your appetite.
Car Club Racing
Drivers who join car clubs, from the Corvette Club to the BMW Club, can take advantage of track days organized by their clubs. Destinations like Lime Rock, Connecticut, serve as one of the many destinations for these learn-and-drive events.
Skip Barber Racing School offers a full range of driving and racing classes at some of the finest track facilities in the world. Since 1975, Barber’s experts have taught drivers of all skill levels to drive and race automobiles ranging from street cars to Formula race cars. Each of the fun, fast-paced driving classes is taught by current or former professional race car drivers.
AMG Driving Academy
The AMG Driving Academy is a world-renowned driver training program that began in the United States, in 2009. AMG is the high-performance division of Mercedes-Benz. The U.S.-based program is part of a global expansion of the AMG Driving Academy, originally founded by AMG in Affalterback, Germany, that also operates throughout Europe and at international raceways.
Bondurant High Performance Driving School
Internationally recognized as a leading authority on advanced driver training, Bob Bondurant has been at the forefront of professional driving instruction since 1968. Utilizing the Bondurant Method, over 250,000 students, ranging from housewives, racers and celebrities, to teenagers, professionals and police officers, have learned from Bondurant's expertise.
Dale Jarrett Racing School
Dale Jarret Racing Adventure’s racing school is a real stockcar driving school; you will learn to drive an authentic racecar used in stockcar racing and learn how to drive like a pro. What could be a better gift for a husband, father or loved one than driving over 165 mph on the Talladega SuperSpeedway? You can also participate in a high speed ride-along at any one of the Dale Jarrett schools on race tracks across the U.S.
Exotics Racing School
EXOTICS RACING, located in Las Vegas, Nevada, is the U.S. subsidiary of the #1 European supercar racing school: CASCADEVENTS. This successful company is a forerunner in the exotic’s racing market, known for innovation and customer service. With more than 40 racing schools in France, CASCADEEVENTS calls itself a leader in exotic automotive inventory, safety and in the number of annual events. In addition to driving experiences, the company hosts a TV show in France and Belgium: FAST CLUB.
Can’t decide? Not sure whether your dad would prefer a NASCAR-style run or your mom would like an exotic adventure? And, how about you? Stop gunning your engine at stop lights and head to Racingschools.com – it’s a site that is to racing schools what StubHub is to tickets. It is set up to help you find and buy gift certificates to a variety of racing schools in one location.
Sue Mead is a long-time Autobytel journalist, international disaster relief volunteer, winner in the stock class of the 2011 Dakar Rally and inspiration to Autobytel Managing Editor, Michelle Naranjo.