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Driving School - Time on Track?

Discussion in 'Oktoberfest 2016' started by 364055, Feb 26, 2016.

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    This would be my first time attending a BMW CCA Driving School, so I have some questions before I fork over the $390. It has always been a dream of mine to do a track day at Laguna Seca :)

    Is there an approximate number of laps that we can expect during the driving school? What is the format (how much time on track per sessions, how many sessions are there)? How many cars are out on track at one time? Is there always an instructor in the car? Where do I find information on the tech inspection?


    1995 M3
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    I don't have specifics on this school, but 3 years ago at Oktoberfest in Monterey, students got 3 sessions on track each track day, with each roughly a half hour. BMW CCA schools always have an instructor in car, especially for new students. You drive in groups of similarly experienced drivers. Check O'fest web site for more specifics such as inspection forms.
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    If it's some encouragement towards the purchase decision, 'CCA driver's schools are among the best values and experiences for the money. If you're in California, you'd have the opportunity with other 'CCA chapter schools, but if you're coming some distance, then, O'Fest only happens in California every so often.

    All 'CCA schools are similar as to basic format - Run groups are divided based on experience, all students will have in-car instructors for the entirety of every on-track run session, track sessions are typically 25-30 min's, each run group typically is scheduled for 3 track sessions/day, interspersed with required classroom instruction sessions, and there's a required morning student meeting each day with roll call so the organizers can confirm everyone's in attendance that should be.

    Beginner groups typically are in-class first to cover introductory basics, while instructors and the more advanced student groups are on track for the first morning sessions.

    Run group size is determined by the number of attendees and the size of the track, so the #/group varies based on location. O'Fest track days tend to sell out, so if you want to do it, the sooner you pick your days & sign up, the better. The 'CCA chapters in California have been running schools there for years, so they have plenty of experience with the max number of cars that be put on track safely and without over-crowding the run groups. If this would be your first-ever time on the track, you might find yourself in the occasional train of cars, as novice groups are literally getting up to speed with everything, including passing protocols & the how, where, & when to pass. Simple enough to address though - be patient, and discuss with your instructor whether the group is dispersing or if running into the pit lane and right back out will offer some separation from the rest of ther herding masses. Passing, by the way, for safety's sake, is one-car-at-a-time, only in designated areas (straights long enough for passing), and only with having received a point-by signal from the car ahead (ideally an arm extended straight out the window clearly, and once each for each car the lead car intends to have pass them). These types of things are covered in basic registration or student packet material, but, on that topic, of necessity, there is much emphasis on passing etiquette & protocol.

    Talking about the various rules & requirements makes it all sound rather dull & clinical - if you've done track days elsewhere, you already know, but if not, I can hardly tell you how much fun you will find you've had by the end of the day (not that it's not challenging - learning, however, is part of the fun). There's a reason many walk away from their first day or weekend at a 'CCA driver's school saying it's the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

    There are a number of past posts in the driving school section of the forums here that might generally familiarize you a bit with what to expect, if a track day would be an all-new experience. Any questions, of course, do ask!
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    I went for 2 days during O'fest 2013 and had a great time, but was disappointed that students got only 3 sessions per day instead of 4. Hopefully this year there will be 4 session per day.
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    The tough part of scheduling at Laguna Seca is the fact that their days are not like a typical HPDE. They don't allow the track to go hot until 9:00 AM and will all that is scheduled, 3 sessions is the max that can be accomplished within the time we have there.

    While the schedules are not finalized yet, I would say that you should expect the same as in prior events there and that each run group will have 3 sessions of 30 minutes each. The number of laps all depends on how fast you drive, however most usually get about the circuit in just under 2:00 minutes.

    I hope that helps with what you are asking.
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