Moving away from two-day driving programs, MMC will be offering a redesigned three-day High-Performance Racing School for the 2021 season. The new program, meant to help Members expeditiously and comprehensively move towards their learning curve, will help foster an appreciation of the art of high-performance driving. Participants will be taught by Dennis Macchio, MMC’s own track director and one of the leading instructors in the US, along with several of MMC’s top instructors.
The goal of this new curriculum is to build upon and expand the driving skills of drivers, in a methodical and systemic approach. The program picks up where the individualized approach leaves off, and helps the driver build a solid foundation for race craft. Self-teaching, self-dependence, and an analytical approach are concomitant goals, and an important step- whether your goals are fun, safety, and a higher level of skill, or an eye towards eventual competition.
Over the three days, school participants will engage in massive amounts of track time behind the wheel of a fully-prepped Porsche Cayman PDK, along with class discussions, ancillary exercises, and group critique. Simple and advanced race line theory, technique, vehicle dynamics, psychology, ocular driving technique, the art of braking, efficient use of track time, mistake management, and safety are among the many topics covered, with a goal of developing systems and methods for continued improvement as solo drivers.
Graduates become solo drivers at MMC Member days, and are eligible for all competition-related, and advanced programs. Participants must be 18 years or older, or have a valid driver’s license, but participants as young as 13 may be eligible with prior approval from MMC’s track director.
Courtesy of Racer.com: Nikko Reger won the opening Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup race of the day and then backed that victory up with a run to fourth place at Monticello Motor Club to seal the 2018 championship and the $200,000 in racing support from Mazda that comes with it.
The double race-day championship showdown Saturday marked the debut of the series at the natural terrain New York circuit, and featured two highly competitive events.
Courtesy of MazdaMotorsport: 2017 Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup Champion Patrick Gallagher has had a busy 2018 season, putting his $200,000 in Mazda support towards competing in the IMSA SportsCar Challenge top GS class. When he’s not racing, he’s teaching others how to do so, usually at Monticello Motor Club. Gallagher spends so much time up at MMC, he has some quick suggestions on what the drivers and teams should keep an eye out for.
I remember every detail of the day I received my driver’s license. My 16th birthday fell on a dreary Tuesday with temperatures hovering near freezing and the skies filled with dark, threatening clouds. There was a periodic bone-chilling drizzle. That night, I took my first solo drive in my dad’s 455 c.i. Pontiac Grand Prix…and was pulled over by a police officer within an hour. It was a crappy day by most people’s standards. Yet, I was elated.
For those of us over a certain age, the car was more than transportation. It was freedom. And independence. In those days before technology ruled—or some might say ruined—our lives, the car was a conduit to the bigger world. Exploration happened behind the wheel and in the back seat. From discovering a new town or a new song to the furtive fumblings of young love, cars feature in so many memories. And it’s not just those teenage experiences. I recall obsessively strapping, and re-strapping, the baby seat into our first family car for my newborn son’s ride home from the hospital.
In the pre-internet days, every drive was an experience. Even for those who aren’t auto enthusiasts, riding together in a car was a chance to talk, laugh, see new sights, or jointly experience whatever was playing on the stereo. When I hear certain songs today, vivid memories spring back to specific times, places and most often, specific cars.
When it comes to us car people, the connection is infinitely deeper. Vehicles are so much a part of who we are and the lens through which we see the world. Before the global pandemic, I think most of us took our cars and car experiences for granted. Many of us were looking forward to the first track day of the year in 2020. Like opening day at Yankee Stadium, turning those first few laps after a long winter’s hibernation signals the start of spring.
In our current reality, with everything still uncertain, just taking a drive with no destination feels like therapy. After the lockdown began and looking to keep my family and elderly mother safe, I was hesitant to go anywhere beyond the grocery store and back. But one day, when a curbside pickup at a local shop was necessary (wine and cheese is an essential), I pulled the cover off my 20-year old S2000 instead of jumping into the daily driver. The store was only five minutes away, yet I was gone for nearly an hour.
In my part of northern Fairfield County, there are few straight roads. The S2000 was designed for these twisty two-lanes and I enthusiastically flicked through the gears, pushing the digital tach higher with each passing mile. The wind blowing through my near-Fabio length hair felt like the perfect cocktail of forbidden fruit and essential life force.
With no other traffic on the road, the turns were a bit quicker than normal, the g-forces feeling like a welcome hug from a friend. There was a distinct awareness of the anxiety and stress melting away as my grin, so rare these days, grew bigger with shift. I can’t remember the last time I was so focused on just driving. Every one of my senses was alive and soaking up every delicious detail, no matter how small.
Like all good things, and with my bounty secured, the drive came to an end. Pulling the cover back on the little red convertible, I reflected on my drive and the driving future in the weeks ahead. With the lockdowns easing up, our roads will again be frustratingly packed with distracted drivers. Yet, that also means we’ll be turning laps at Monticello Motor Club and other tracks around the country.
67 Cantrell Road
Monticello, New York 12701
Monday – Sunday
8 am to 6 pm
By appointment only
Monticello, New York 12701
+1 855 MMC CLUB (+1 855 662 2582)
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