As guys who spend a lot of time around cars, talking cars, studying car theory, and driving hot rodded muscle cars, we occasionally feel like we've got all the bases covered on car control. We've read books, we know the terminology, we know what theoretically needs to be done in certain situations, and we're no stranger to a track. In other words, we figured attending a high-performance driving school would be a breeze. Nevertheless, it took actually getting on the track under the eye of a seasoned instructor to realize that we weren't translating that knowledge effectively into proper technique. There simply is no replacement for seat time-and lots of it.

But we'll go one step further and say that there's no point in spending lots of time and money practicing incorrect techniques. We had spent a great deal of time (years, really) ingraining bad habits because we'd never taken the time to get professional help. Actually, we had assumed it was just something we could learn by doing. The reality is that no one is born knowing how to handle a car, and only a rare few figure out how to on their own. Sure, some people are just luckily endowed with better reflexes, faster reactions, and a tendency to take to extreme driving with ease, but everyone has a learning curve and everyone will be better after proper instruction. Even pros who earn big bucks to drive multimillion-dollar cars in the world's greatest races take classes. Why? Because there's no such thing as a perfect driver, and it's difficult to see your own shortcomings, but a seasoned instructor can easily observe and pinpoint ways to fine-tune techniques for different tracks.

Of course we're far from pro drivers; responsibilities limit us to a handful of track days a year at best. And rather than driving a purpose-built track machine funded by sponsors, we have a worked-over street car with a few upgrades paid for with our own hard-earned money. But the rationale is the same; what good are thousands of dollars worth of the best engineered chassis, suspension, steering, and other performance parts if you're not capable of putting them to use effectively? Whether you've got aspirations of impressive lap times at Laguna Seca, or never plan to tackle anything more aggressive than a curvy road, attending a high-performance driving school will absolutely help you enjoy your car more. Bob Bondurant's School of High Performance Driving certainly gave us a wake-up call; we discovered we needed much more work than we had ever thought. Our braking technique was incorrect, our heel-toe downshift was sloppy, and our corner entry was working against us. And the instructors said we were well above average.

That actually wasn't to our advantage though; the best thing you can do is leave everything you think you know in your hotel room and enter Bondurant's classroom with an open mind ready to listen. All those previous misconceptions will actually just impede your progress. Of the several schools available, our choice was the package often referred to as the signature Bondurant course, the four-day Grand Prix Road Racing School. This course offers the most instruction and track time for students to really hone their abilities, plus it fulfills the requirements for an SCCA regional competition license. That's a good thing too; we've got plans to put our projects to use.

We'll do our best to recap our adventure, and provide a good primer of the lessons we took away that you can apply to your own driving styles, but there really is no substitute for being there first hand. We'd honestly rate attending the Bondurant School as one of the most transformative things we've done. It caused us to reevaluate our driving in every aspect, and not only made us feel more capable behind the wheel, but more confident-and that benefits everything right down to our daily commute dodging Gomers on the freeway. Plus, we actually get more enjoyment out of our joy rides than ever before. There's truly no better investment for a car guy than learning how to really drive.

Know Your Curves
Each corner has three main sections: the turn-in point, apex, and exit. Connecting them together correctly produces the racing line. Of course, every curve is different, and the location of the three points will vary. Below are representations of the five major types of curves present on every track and the appropriate line to follow through them.

SOURCE
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving
20000 S Maricopa Rd
Chandler
AZ  85226
800-842-7223
www.bondurant.com
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