Monday, May 10, 2010

Auto Tune Up or Drivers Tune Up

While any responsible driver will have regular tune-ups performed on the car, there aren't too many who feel that their driving skills may be in need of a tune-up as well. We aren't talking about going to your everyday driving school for a safe driving course using one of your own vehicles. We are talking about driving one of what may possibly be on your dream cars list. Learning to fine tune your own skills in a car that you would love to drive every day.

The opportunity to brush up on skills that may potentially save your life probably can't be done on a vacant lot in the neighborhood. By joining one of the clubs that cater to sports car drivers, the best skills you will probably learn are social and not driving skills. If you want the best schools to be at your service to teach you how to handle high performance vehicles, there are some available. The best, according to reviews, is in North America near Atlanta, Georgia. The name of the school is "Porsche Driving Experience". This is not a school to teach you how to drive a racecar, although many of the instructors are in fact racecar drivers. The school is designed to teach the enthusiasts how to safely control their vehicles and perform with safety, awareness and smoothness.

All of the cars used are road ready vehicles. "Porsche 911 Carrera" coupes are the cars used and not racing cars. The skills learned are those that will easily be used and should be used in your regular driving. You do not have to own one of the high performance vehicles to attend the school. Basic requirements are that your age be at least eighteen and you do have some driving experience. One year of driving experience is the criteria set. The school offers a combination of track laps, initial teaching in the classroom and exercises to learn. The school will not only improve your driving skills but will make you a more skillful, confident driver. Classes are either one or two days. The one-day class focuses on skill-building exercises. If you choose the two-day class, you will have longer periods of laps on the road-course.

The proctors/instructors are drivers with whom you will associate the Porsche name. Drivers such as Dave Murray, Doc Bundy, Hurley Haywood and occasional guest drivers. Initially, you will learn how to adjust the seat in your vehicles. Being in the correct position behind the wheel is essential. Adjusting the seat forward or back is first. After extending your legs to be straight under the pedals, move the seat forward until they are slightly bent. Then you will place your wrists on the top of the steering wheel with your arm extended. From this position, your arms will be bent slightly and in the correct position to drive your vehicles.

After getting that part set, you will be guided through a series of classroom studies before you start with your driving practice. The practices include lane change exercises and skid-pad control. It also covers maintaining your speed and smoothness of operation by balanced application on the pedals. You will have your hands in the proper position on the steering wheel. By learning the smooth driving techniques, you will learn the safest and quickest way around the track. This is not as easy as it sounds. It will take practice and consistency.

Downshifting around corners is especially difficult if you aren't used to high performance cars. The vehicles will have a tendency to slip off the line or surge as you shift. By learning the heel/toe exercise, you will learn to simultaneously brake the car and hit the throttle to maintain the proper ratio of wheel speed and engine speed as you make your way around the corner. Learning simple techniques such as sliding your knee sideways and letting the side of the foot on the brake touch the gas pedal is something that most would not consider in their own vehicles.

Proper stopping is also taught at length. It familiarizes the driver with the ABS system and the finer points associated with them. These are some of the lessons you will learn on your first day. Also on your first day, you will have handling dynamics of the challenging course as well as the slolom and skid courses. While not an inexpensive venture, the money is well spent. You will be driving someone else's vehicles on an exciting course with championship drivers of many Porshe racing cars.