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Corvette Driving School
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TUSCANY TRIO TACKLES SPRING MOUNTAIN PERFORMANCE DRIVING SCHOOL
Surprisingly, only 28%of new Corvette owners take advantage of Chevrolet’s offer to foot most of the cost for the Corvette Owners Driving School. The new (w/I 15 months of purchase) owner pays $1,000 for two days of priceless instruction that would normally cost Stingray owners $2,500; Z06 owners would pay $3,695. Granted, additional costs would include are fare to Las Vegas, a rental car to drive 50 miles to the school, two evening meals (a good breakfast and lunch for two days and one night accommodations is included) and perhaps an additional nights stay in Las Vegas if you don’t want (or can’t) to take a red eye home.
The accommodations are clean and more than adequate (three stars out of five). The buildings for lodging, classroom and dining are new and the track, it’s layout and the track practice/preparation areas are first class. The school has an inventory of 150 to 200 Corvettes available for student and instructor use. The Corvette you drive at the school will have the same power train as the Corvette you own.
The life cycle of a Spring Mountain Corvette is noteworthy. A new arrival from Bowling Green is given to one of the instructors as a personal car to be driven for the required 1500 mile break in period after which the Corvette is placed in instructional service. When the teaching aid reaches 10,000 miles it is taken out of service, completely reconditioned and sold through a dealership in Los Angeles. (The four different cars I drove had no more than 4300 miles) During the 8500 miles the Vette entertains students; it is subject to rigorous maintenance and inspections. These cars can wear a set of breaks in a day and tires in three days. The school’s partnership with Chevrolet, Michelin and Hawk Brakes answers the question of how the school can offer high quality instruction with new or nearly new Corvettes at a reasonable price.
Class size is limited to twenty students and there are nine (yes 9) instructors assigned to the class. The instructors are first rate with respect to their knowledge of the C7, the dynamics of the Corvette during track and street use and a superior instructional ability appreciated by the students. We found the instructors to be very supportive, encouraging and approachable.
The best part of the performance driving school is……..the SCHOOL. You’ll love driving in a serpentine pattern around cones with the windshield blocked by a shade forcing you to look out your drivers and passenger side windows. This exercise has great application on a twisting road course. How about accelerating to 35 mph and slamming on the brakes on a wet skid pad and steering into a left or right lane to avoid an imaginary truck. Then there’s the accelerating to 65mph, braking while downshifting to reach a 15 mph speed before entering a curve. Figure 8’s on a wet surface with the “nannies” off will guarantee that the back of the car will try to trade places with the front; select “Weather Mode” and be amazed at how well the Corvette responds on wet pavement. Additional class room instruction and off track exercises come together on a 2.2 mile portion of a larger track configuration where students in five car groups follow an instructor providing lessons with the use of a radio played through the Corvette’s audio system. Track time is generous with each lap reinforcing off track instruction and exercises. We found each successive lap or track session to be smoother and faster than the prior one and none of us ran our Corvettes off the road.
The Ron Fellows Performance Driving School at Spring Mountain is fun, educational and an adrenalin rush and worth the time and expense even if you never plan to track your Corvette.
Jim Turner Don Kerndt Bill Zabielski