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October 05, 2018

The case for attending a high-performance driving school

Courtesy of AutoWeek: Everyone should attend a high-performance driving school, or at least a defensive driving course. When I started in this industry a bit more than a decade ago, I thought I was a pretty good driver. I drove a manual, autocrossed, worked on my own vehicles and understood the dynamics of driving a rear-wheel-drive car through Michigan winters. But my first driving school experience, at Monticello Motor Club in New York, opened my eyes to a new world of friction circles, weight balance, string theory and driving lines.

With the news of Bob Bondurant’s legendary driving school filing for bankruptcy, we figured no better time — actually, a better time would have been six months ago, but … — to talk about the importance of additional driver’s training.

Let’s start with the current state of affairs. In Michigan, a driver must take two segments of training. Segment 1 includes 24 hours of classroom instruction, basically six days, six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction and four hours in a training vehicle. Segment 2 requires three months and 30 hours of driving after completing segment 1, and six more hours of classroom instruction.

When I got my license 20(-ish) years ago, it was even easier. Very easy in fact. We did no winter driving –- training was in the mornings after freshman year of high school –- and no night driving either, which is now a requirement.

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