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Advanced/Performance Driving Courses?

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Old May 3rd, 2021, 21:03   #1
ilmiont
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Default Advanced/Performance Driving Courses?

I'm wondering if anyone can endorse/recommend a performance driving course. Not sure if this forum really caters to this kind of question but would be interested to hear from Volvo owners if anyone's been on one.

I'm looking for something intensive, probably only one day, focused on driving at/beyond the limit and learning and practicing performance driving technique. Ideally applied to road driving (I'm not a track driver and although may one day go on a trackday, it's not my focus at all). I'm NOT looking for "driving in all weathers", "speed awareness" or "anticipating bends", which seems to be what a lot of "advanced driving" courses advertise; I'm seeking mastery of the car and driver-car connection.

I'd like to have the opportunity to push myself and the car to the absolute limit while getting immediate feedback on my technique and how I could improve. I'm a road driver with a completely stock 2005 S60 2.5T (no plans to alter its factory-standard nature - discussion is not about the car).

I feel like I know where the limit is and I do have good instinctive car control ability (which my driving instructor noted). Yet I'm also only 22, have only had the car 11 months and am acutely aware I have made mistakes, some of them stupid, and that I will make more mistakes. I'd like to either prove to myself that my car control is as good as I believe it to be - or, more likely, be found out, told my technique is poor, and shown how to improve it. I've read a great deal of performance driving theory/literature but I would like to practice it in my own car.

If anyone's done a genuinely "advanced" driving course that doesn't break the bank, would be interested to know details. Thanks.
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Old May 3rd, 2021, 21:09   #2
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Go to a track day, find a coach, pay them to sit alongside you for a few hours on track.
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Old May 3rd, 2021, 21:11   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilmiont View Post
I'm wondering if anyone can endorse/recommend a performance driving course. Not sure if this forum really caters to this kind of question but would be interested to hear from Volvo owners if anyone's been on one.

I'm looking for something intensive, probably only one day, focused on driving at/beyond the limit and learning and practicing performance driving technique. Ideally applied to road driving (I'm not a track driver and although may one day go on a trackday, it's not my focus at all). I'm NOT looking for "driving in all weathers", "speed awareness" or "anticipating bends", which seems to be what a lot of "advanced driving" courses advertise; I'm seeking mastery of the car and driver-car connection.

I'd like to have the opportunity to push myself and the car to the absolute limit while getting immediate feedback on my technique and how I could improve. I'm a road driver with a completely stock 2005 S60 2.5T (no plans to alter its factory-standard nature - discussion is not about the car).

I feel like I know where the limit is and I do have good instinctive car control ability (which my driving instructor noted). Yet I'm also only 22, have only had the car 11 months and am acutely aware I have made mistakes, some of them stupid, and that I will make more mistakes. I'd like to either prove to myself that my car control is as good as I believe it to be - or, more likely, be found out, told my technique is poor, and shown how to improve it. I've read a great deal of performance driving theory/literature but I would like to practice it in my own car.

If anyone's done a genuinely "advanced" driving course that doesn't break the bank, would be interested to know details. Thanks.
I did the IAM which was good but not what you look for. I think it’s really hard to give advice on for road work. Talk to anyone who tracks cars etc and they invariably have ‘offs’. On a track that’s more often than not into lovey soft gravel, buff the scratches out and on you go.

On the road you will likely have an off also but it will be straight into someone que investigations, prosocutions and such like (if you are lucky and don’t kill someone).

You don’t need a course for on road driving, put the money towards track days and such like would be my advice.

Don’t want to come across judgemental, but I am late 30s and it’s not worth the performance driving on the road isn’t worth it.

I never had any problems but others I actually know we’re not so lucky 😳
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Old May 3rd, 2021, 22:32   #4
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I have lost count of the money which I have spent on advanced road driving courses, and don't regret a single penny, probably the best thing I ever spent on a car.

Regarding your question of the best way to proceed. You are looking for something intensive, and there lies the problem of doing a half or one day course, they are very intensive by their very nature. If you have never had any experience of advanced driving techniques you will find that after a few hours your concentration starts to drop, and believe me you really have to concentrate, and from thereon you driving will start to deteriorate and you will probably come away with more questions than answers.

As you may realise a good coach for a half or one day course doesn't come cheap, a ball park figure is probably around £400/£600 or even more depending what they include, does that break the Bank? An alternative is to do a course with either IAM Roadsmart or RoADAR, both are very similar in approach and are based on Roadcraft, price around about £160 and include as much tuition as you need, and will give you a good grounding in the techniques. Thereafter you can do more intensive courses if you so wish and you will have a good understanding of the basics to build on.

You mention a few things that you are not looking for, but infact a advanced course will include all of those, with quite a lot of emphasis on some of them, Bends in particular. It is easy to anticipate a bend, there will be a sign or you will see it coming up ahead, it is how you approach, drive through and exit that will make or break your driving.

Another option if you just want to see what your car is capable of is a Car Limits Handling course, again not cheap and you might have to budget for some new rubber at the end.

Over to you.

Mike
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Old May 4th, 2021, 05:32   #5
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This was literally decades ago, but a mate was in the NSW Mazda Car Club and I went to a few club driver-training days with them. I suspect they may be the sorts of thing that's being sought, they were more about car control than they were about good driving, and all 3 times they had a couple of professional racing drivers on hand to do the coaching.

Apparently John Bowe was one of the trainers the year before I first went, ie:




So maybe a physical car-club could be a good approach? Wasn't run for profit so was considerably cheaper than the courses I attended.
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Old May 4th, 2021, 10:11   #6
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I would also endorse the posts recommending IAM courses, 'ilmiont'.

Given your very positive attitude towards driving, you might consider joining the IAM anyway and affiliating to a local group. This would perhaps be your most economical route, allowing you to participate in their guidance sessions in preparation for the advanced test. While it is not 'intensive' as such, as suggested by 'MikeGMT', that may not necessarily be an advantage. As a member, you would also be able to take advantage of the courses that Mike mentioned.

One activity laid on by our local group was driving on the skid-pan, which I found particularly helpful.

Regards, John.
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Old May 4th, 2021, 11:26   #7
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I'm going to echo the cautious tone of XC90Mk1 I'm afraid. The driving techniques that explore the limits of traction and performance don't (and shouldn't) be applied to public roads.

Publics roads have somewhat annoying factors like distractions and other road users. Yeah, there are some sweeping country roads out there that offer the luxury of forward-looking visibility, you won't be able to see that troublesome dip, puddle, spilt oil, or mud that may upset the car as you negotiate a bend at the limits of traction. Unfortunately, I've seen a lot of Police tape and faded floral bouquets at the exit of bends.

I know I'm a boring old fart, but I'd really recommend separating your styles of driving and push the envelope on a track and maintain safety on the public roads.
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Old May 4th, 2021, 12:18   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilmiont View Post
I'd like to have the opportunity to push myself and the car to the absolute limit while getting immediate feedback on my technique and how I could improve. I'm a road driver with a completely stock 2005 S60 2.5T (no plans to alter its factory-standard nature - discussion is not about the car).

I feel like I know where the limit is and I do have good instinctive car control ability (which my driving instructor noted). Yet I'm also only 22, have only had the car 11 months and am acutely aware I have made mistakes, some of them stupid, and that I will make more mistakes. I'd like to either prove to myself that my car control is as good as I believe it to be - or, more likely, be found out, told my technique is poor, and shown how to improve it. I've read a great deal of performance driving theory/literature but I would like to practice it in my own car.

If anyone's done a genuinely "advanced" driving course that doesn't break the bank, would be interested to know details. Thanks.
Firstly, lets get this bit out of the way - the road is not the place to be driving near or at the limit. If you want to drive at 9/10ths, get on a track.

You've acknowledged that your experience and knowledge is incomplete, and want to learn, which is great. However, I think most here for whom 22 is a distant memory will confirm - your car control skills are almost certainly nowhere near as good as you think they are

I would highly recommend doing a skid pan course first. This will cure you of any notion that you know how to handle a car on the limit Having basic skid control skills is vital though, and more importantly it will give you exposure to the feel of a car that's near the limit of traction in a benign environment. The course will be done in a vehicle adapted to simulate varying levels of traction without the benefit of ABS, EBD, stability control etc.

Many years ago I did the beginner and intermediate level Lotus Driver Training Experience, and it was both huge fun, and covered a range of pertinent skills which you first learn in isolation, then get to apply driving laps of the circuit at Hethel in an Elise. Not cheap, but well worth the cost.

I've also done a couple of days of driver training in my own cars with 1:1 tuition, which have also been invaluable. (Sorry, can't provide any useful recommendations of who to use that are still relevant).

Those sorts of things will teach you the car control skills, which are great to have, but pointless in the context of road driving without also learning the "Roadcraft" side of it. Yes, most of the IAM/RoSPA type courses are more focussed on safety than about driving quickly in safety, but the skills they teach about reading the road and other drivers are critical to making good, but safe, progress. It's all very well knowing how to drive fast, but if you don't know when it's safe to do so, it will invariably end badly no matter how good your driving.

HTH,

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Old May 4th, 2021, 13:34   #9
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Go to a track day, find a coach, pay them to sit alongside you for a few hours on track.

Correct, as has been said several times already, the road is not the place to find your limits.

I was on traffic for several years and the advanced driving course was a very intensive 3 weeks . The big difference with this compared to civilian advanced driving is that you are often pushing on at 140mph plus on a daily basis and believe me that is very tiring, particularly once you start having to do commentary, as well as being all too aware of the SAFETY OF OTHER ROAD USERS.

I can remember finishing the course with a Class 1 and thinking that I was quick. I then got crewed with a guy that had been on traffic for years and the difference in speed and ability was massive. It takes time but driving very quickly on a daily basis hones the skill to another level.

Sad to say that I have well and truly lost that edge now and am happy to bimble about listening to Classic FM.............😁
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Old May 4th, 2021, 13:45   #10
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Correct, as has been said several times already, the road is not the place to find your limits.

I was on traffic for several years and the advanced driving course was a very intensive 3 weeks . The big difference with this compared to civilian advanced driving is that you are often pushing on at 140mph plus on a daily basis and believe me that is very tiring, particularly once you start having to do commentary, as well as being all too aware of the SAFETY OF OTHER ROAD USERS.

I can remember finishing the course with a Class 1 and thinking that I was quick. I then got crewed with a guy that had been on traffic for years and the difference in speed and ability was massive. It takes time but driving very quickly on a daily basis hones the skill to another level.

Sad to say that I have well and truly lost that edge now and am happy to bimble about listening to Classic FM.............😁
I don't know....finding yourself behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Senator, or maybe an SD1, it might all come flooding back!
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