Racing Schools: A Priceless Experience
There's an adage amongst racers: "How do you make a million dollars racing? Start with two million." The professionals don't disagree. Ross Bentley says that anyone can be successful in racing, as long as they're willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to get to the top [source: Bentley]. Though he discusses career and personal relationships at length, the literal cost of entry is the biggest and most immediate hurdle.
To register, students must be old enough to drive and hold a valid driver's license with no restrictions. Schools recommend that students are in good physical condition [source: Bondurant]. Some programs require the ability to drive a manual transmission, which should be mentioned in the school's literature before you register.
After you read the fine print, it's up to your high-speed dreams and your wallet. Racing schools offer sessions that range from single classes to courses spread out over several days. The longer programs cover more in-depth technique, and though prices vary considerably, the more advanced and longer the program, the more it costs.
- Bob Bondurant offers "experiences," like 60 laps at Phoenix International Raceway, starting at $500, while multiple-day advanced racing courses can run upwards of $5,000.
- Skip Barber's Mazda Driving School costs about $1,000 per day for advanced training in car control techniques, whereas the high performance driving school starts at $1,800 per day. On the other hand, Formula car instruction at Skip Barber starts at $700 for a 1-day introduction class; the 3-day course covers advanced shifting exercises, lap sessions and track drills.
If you're the ambitious, competitive type, the introduction courses might not satisfy your cravings. Instructors say that many of their students come back for more advanced training. You'll also be able to apply for racing licenses after completing certain road racing courses at the major schools.
If a racing school is out of reach, or you want to practice your skills more frequently, consider joining a track organization or club. The next page has more details.