October '99 I attended a Skip Barber two day driving school in Laguna Seca.  I couldn't believe how much I learned, not to mention Damn fun!   I highly recommend it to anyone.  You drive Dodge vehicles: Neon, Dakota, and Viper - right up my alley.

Here's some detail you have a hard time getting elsewhere:

The Laguna Seca track is used by Skip Barber all year, unlike their other tracks.  For the driving school you don't actually get on the track itself, rather you use the paddock/parking lot. 

Along with classroom instruction, you will spend time in three categories:

1. The Neon's are used for the braking/lane change exercises.  They are completely stock except for the Michelin Pilot tires.   Before you say disparaging remarks about those little beasties, you ought to try driving one at the limit.  The four (damn good) instructors took us all out for a spin with them at the wheel around the track.  Geez!  You walk away with a NEW respect for those little economy cars - and the Michelin Pilot tires.

Speaking of the Pilot tires, John, the manager of Valley Tire & Brake, Santa Rosa, was at the same class and I got a lot of good info on tires from him.  He says Dodge put out a challenge to the four major tire manufacturers, asking them to propose a tire for the Viper and the best tire would get the contract for the car.  Well, Michelin went out and designed a new tire just for the Viper and the Pilot line was born.  All I can say is I am very impressed with them.

2. The Dakota V-8's are equipped with bald tires, a rear hand brake the instructor uses to enhance your enjoyment, and are used to cruise around a watered down oval.  You start with keeping it completely under control and getting immediate control when the rear brakes are hit for you, working up through several sessions to hanging the tail out as much as possible.  Final is a timed event.

3. The end of the second day you hit the Vipers on an autocross track right where you've been doing your other stuff.  You get a few laps with the Neon to warm up to it, a couple times with several laps with the Viper, ending up with a timed Rally with competing teams.  Pretty damn fun.  You might even get to take your own car through the autocross after it is all done.


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On the autocross

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