Hello there and welcome to the BMW Car Club of America.

If you are a BMW CCA member, please log in and introduce yourself in our Member Introductions section.

Driving school, What to expect?

Discussion in 'Driving Schools' started by flyfll, Apr 29, 2008.

    Dr Obnxs guest

    Post Count: 122
    Likes Received:1
    There are other organization than BMW CCA

    I know it's heresy to say so, but it's true. Several that I run with allow passengers after the organizers have gotten to know that you're not a wreckless idiot. It really depends on who's running the day.

    A good rule of thumb is that if your in control and getting really frustrated that others are holding you up, then it's time to bump up a group. Often times, if you want, one of the coaches can ride with you and let the orginzers know you're ready for the next level. If the field isn't too crowded, they'll kick you into the next group that very day!

    But these are all very loose rules, and vary a lot depending on who is organizing and running the events.

    Matt

    ps, I've never, ever ever heard of an organization that won't move you down right away if you feel uncomfortable in the more advanced run groups.
    • Member

    MGarrison

    Post Count: 2,780
    Likes Received:142
    Indeed; Of course I was talking about BMWCCA driver's schools. As I understand it, the company that insures BMW club events require that only instructors be allowed to give rides.

    Of course there are lots of options for places to learn high-performance driving techniques and how to drive on a racetrack.

    BMW club schools (I feel, anyway) have a lot to offer, comparatively.

    A highly experienced, high quality, instructor corps. At most schools, you're assigned an instructor for the weekend who will ride with you, in-car, for every session, coaching you the whole time and providing instant feedback with suggestions on how to improve. That type of personal attention will cost a fortune at a professional school, assuming it's offered.

    With an event that's primarily BMW's, you're immersed with like-minded enthusiasts for the weekend, who also have a great deal of knowledge, experience, willingness to help, and possibly even parts and tools, should one have any questions or need help w/ any problems that arise. Any group you go with will have plenty of enthusiasts, but not necessarily that many people who might know that much about your car.

    As far as I know, no other marque club has been doing formal track driving schools as long as the BMWCCA. 34 years straight of various club chapters organizing and running these events at tracks all over the country. Every attendee gets the benefit of this cumulative experience in streamlined, well-organized, smooth-running events (although there's not much you can do about the weather).

    You combine the amount of track time typically offered with the cost, the coaching, the emphasis on safety for everyone involved, and the comraderie - overall it's an excellent package that's been working well from the get-go.

    Once you get some track time under your belt and progress through the learning curve to the point where you're an experienced 'A' group student who can also drive with instructors on the typical Friday instructor day - at least from an experience and safety level, you can probably handle yourself just fine in nearly any track event run by anyone (at least for street cars, or modded-for-racing street cars).

    Plenty of good options out there for different groups to get track time in with if you're so inclined. For anyone just beginning however, 'CCA track events are an excellent starting platform to get the basics in place and progress safely.

    Dr Obnxs guest

    Post Count: 122
    Likes Received:1
    You're right on for the BMW CCA

    but you're selling some of the other options short. Hooked on Driving offers is very, very high quality. If you want coaching it's there at no additional cost. FWIW, they also have restrictions on passengers, I think, you have to check thier web site for details.

    Also, some local events can be excellent. The Nor-Cal Shelby Club offeres great events as well. Coaches are there if you want them, no cost. You also get to run with lots of different kinds of cars, little restriction on passengers, but you have to have a fire extinguisher in the car to pass tech. Track fees are reasonable, and it's only a bit more if you're a non-member. They run at Thunderhill, Sears Point (I'm still not used to Infineon), Laguna and do some co-branded events with Green Flag racing at those and Buttonwillow. And with Nor-Cal, you'll have the opportunity to really see what an M3 can do against a 427 Cobra!

    I wasn't meaning to dis the BMW CCA, but really, there are lots of very high quality outfits out there where you can learn track driving. There are also some pretty bad ones (one I don't do any more is the Phil Wicks driving events for Minis... Never enough coaches, piss-poor tech... More off-track excursions per event than any other group I've run with).

    Another point is that sometimes ones free time doesn't line up with the BMW CCA schedule. If you're near a track, look at the track schedule, find out who's running that matches your schedule, and do some homework on what they offer. Really, it's about driving enthusiasm, and seat time, and BMW CCA doesn't have a monopoly on those.

    Matt
    • Member

    MGarrison

    Post Count: 2,780
    Likes Received:142
    You'll note I did not say that 'CCA schools are the only or best option, just that, all things considered, they compare well to the other options out there, and are an excellent starting platform & program for beginners, for a variety of reasons.

    I'm not attempting to make any positive or negative point about non-instructor passengers, just pointing out that the club has an insurance-mandated constraint. Of course other groups make their own determinations.

    Regarding instructors and professional schools, I was referring to the Bondurants, Skip Barbers, etc. of the world; someone else probably knows more specifics, but I think more commonly, their formats use techniques like follow-the-leader and out-of-the-car, post-session review, simply because it's not economically feasible to have highly paid, experienced race-car drivers on hand for riding and coaching each student. I think typically, you're getting the benefit of insight and learning from a bigger-name racer that will be teaching the class. I'm not saying that's bad, that can work very well too; I just think there's a lot to be said for instant feedback from an in-car instructor as well.

    Any event that offers or has instructors available for in-car instruction is a positive in my book. As I said, there are plenty of good options out there, and some of them also excellent, as you mention. I tend to think of the 'pro' schools as the biggest ones with the most programs, varieties, and highest profit margins/charges. There's plenty of less expensive ways to go that offer a quality experience.

    I didn't really interpret your post as a dis', you weren't criticizing anything - only pointing out that there are other options for track driving events. I just thought it was worthwhile to mention some of the pluses of club schools, for the sake of general comparison.

    Actually, nobody has a monopoly on enthusiasm and seat-time (thankfully!) :) Fortunately, that means there's lots of options and opportunities all over the place for those of us that want to get to the track!

    (now, if I can only get my car together and running.... soon! :))

    Dr Obnxs guest

    Post Count: 122
    Likes Received:1
    I guess this means

    we can agree to agree!;)

    Matt

    flyfll guest

    Post Count: 4
    Likes Received:0
    Now I know!

    Well track day has come and gone, What a ride! Thanks for all the help from everyone that posted. I belong to the everglades chapter and all I can say is WOW! I can't get the smile off my face. My e 46 M3 is an amazing vehicle, my instructor shared a lot of info and experiance and by the last set of laps I was comfortable with my car. (just comfortable). That car has a lot more than I can provide at my skill level, but getting the pass signal from a Ferrari ( even though it was a 98 model) was well worth the price of admission!

    I meet some great people and learned a true respect for what the real racers do!

    I also learned why they call it the Ultimate Driving Machine!

    Thanks again!

    Rick
    • Member

    joepizz

    Post Count: 3
    Likes Received:0
    Hi, I'm also a member of the everglades chapter. quick question...where did you have your car teched?

    Joe

    mcain32055 guest

    Post Count: 1
    Likes Received:0
    Driving School

    Expect that you will wonder why it took you so long to enroll!

    wanesso guest

    Post Count: 149
    Likes Received:0
    car protection?

    Is there any issue with your auto insurance or car warranty when you participate in driving school, club racing, or autocross?

    335fll guest

    Post Count: 3
    Likes Received:0
    Sorry Joe I dont visit this site to often but will get back to you when I get home on Saturday.
    • Member

    az3579

    Post Count: 3,270
    Likes Received:3


    Don't let them (the insurance company) know you're doing it. You're not covered if you set a tire on the track.

    wanesso guest

    Post Count: 149
    Likes Received:0
    crap, glad I asked--thanks.
    • Member

    182861

    Post Count: 23
    Likes Received:0
    Woa, hold on a minute. That is not always the case. It all depends on carrier and policy, there are a number of insurance companies out there that will not void your policy just because you set a tire on the track. Especially with non-timed, non-competitive events like BMW CCA's driving events, there's a good chance you may still be covered. I know someone who's totaled his car twice at local tracks and both times his insurance company covered the damages (they ultimately dropped his coverage when it came time to renew, but that's another story all together).

    Obviously, in club-racing, don't expect any insurance policies that cover street driving to cover competitive events. Heck I don't think typical policies will cover auto-crosses either since it's timed. But that's something you need to clarify with your insurance company, and read the fine-prints in your policy. Just because your agent tells you that "track events" aren't covered in your policy doesn't mean it isn't.

    Also, there are other options out there where you can buy short term coverage for specific events:

    http://hpdeins.locktonaffinity.com/Default.aspx

    I've found that at most local BMW CCA DEs, every effort is made to make sure that risk is minimized and that same effort is made to make sure that if incidents were to occur, the insurance company is informed that it was not a competitive event and is structured entirely for educational purposes. In my limited years of doing BMW CCA DEs, I've not seen a single incident requiring the attention of the insurance company NOT covered.
    • Member

    CRKrieger

    Post Count: 1,616
    Likes Received:20
    Not only is it a carrier-dependent issue, but insurance fraud is a VERY bad thing. Having a claim denied is one thing. Being prosecuted and dropped like a hot potato is another. Don't lie. If your insurer doesn't cover you, use one of the new specialty insurers.
    • Member

    az3579

    Post Count: 3,270
    Likes Received:3
    Either way, it's best not to let them know you're doing it. It's better to be that much more careful with the thought of them not covering something because you're on a track than to find out they won't cover something after you've already had an accident.

    Some companies won't tolerate that kind of driving, and so it's best to be more wary than sorry.
    • Member

    CRKrieger

    Post Count: 1,616
    Likes Received:20
    Well, it's not exactly like I tell my insurer everywhere I go, like lower Manhattan, south Chicago, or a brisk run down Ohio 555. You are under no duty to report to them unless you have a claim. And then, it behooves you not to lie about it.
    Yeah; well, if you've got GEICO, you've got more problems than I can help you with. :cool:

    wanesso guest

    Post Count: 149
    Likes Received:0
    No---certainly do not intend to lie, will ask state farm, and if an extra policy is needed I would rather pay for the peace of mind. Replacing a new M3 or any of its parts without coverage would be very pricey......I'm glad I raised the question as there seems to be some philosophical differences on the topic--:cool:
    • Member

    182861

    Post Count: 23
    Likes Received:0
    Actually it is better to KNOW where they stand and clarify with them whether or not they'll cover you before you do it. Be upfront and honest, find out if the insurance policy you have cover DRIVING EDUCATION EVENTS held in a controlled environment at a local track. Know whether or not they cover you before you do it will help you prepare for the unexpected.

    It's better that than to find out if something does happen and they don't cover you.
    • Member

    CRKrieger

    Post Count: 1,616
    Likes Received:20
    Agreed. Some companies have gotten so paranoid lately that they will not cover you if your car is at a track - as in spectating! :eek: I would hope someone denied on a claim would sue them on this. Otherwise, the next restrictions will be if you go to see a racing movie and park ...
    • Member

    182861

    Post Count: 23
    Likes Received:0
    I've often wondered about the "track surface" exclusion on some policies. Does that mean if you were in an accident in Long Beach on any of the streets they use for the annual Long Beach Grand Prix any time of the year, that they can deny your insurance claim because technically your incident occurred on a "racing surface?"

    What happens if you went to the Kentucky Derby and someone backed into you in the parking lot? I mean, that's technically a track, and you were spectating a race...Between horses.

    One advice I have to those of you worried about your insurance carrier and HPDEs. IF, and that is a big if, especially in BMW CCA sanctioned events, you were to have an incident requiring submitting a claim to the insurance company, be sure to have a lawyer lined up too. It may save you thousands.

Share This Page