TVR Scott
TVR Scott HalfDork
3/23/19 11:51 a.m.

Woo-Hoo!  Just got the call yesterday that they have an opening at ST Octane Academy for April 4-5!

I only called at the beginning of the week, and was told everything was full.  For the year.  Since I bought my car last May, I thought I was going to miss out entirely on this.  But I got on the wait-list, and sure enough they called.

For anyone who doesn't know, this is a free program that Ford Performance puts on at their facility in Salt Lake City.  It's for all purchasers of new Focus ST and Fiesta ST.

Here's my new car that I bought last year:

As a daily driver, kid-chaser, grocery getter, I've just loved it.  Everything my Protege5 was but with double the horsepower.  Now I'm going to FINALLY take my first steps into performance driving!  Been wanting to do stuff like this for 20 years.

TVR Scott
TVR Scott HalfDork
3/24/19 3:22 p.m.

Flight and hotel are booked. 

Jeez, I just dodged a bullet - I had in my head that the dates were April 4 & 5 (as I wrote above) but they're really April 3 & 4.  I was literally ready to click the Buy Now button on the flights and I reread the confirmation e-mail.  Yikes!

I was a bit surprised when the Ford Racing guy asked me if I wanted to get liability insurance on the cars I'd be driving at the event.  It's like $150 and has a $5k deductible if I wreck something.  I said no, but now I'm wondering.  Is this normal for this kind of event?  I have to wonder how often a student trashes one.  Can't be that often, can it?  Probably a roll off the track would be about the only way.

Thoughts from those more experienced than me?

APEowner Dork
3/24/19 3:59 p.m.

Awesome!  That should be a blast!

As far as insurance is concerned I have no direct knowledge of the Octane Academy but I've instructed for some other performance driving organizations that include the cars in the program and offering insurance is standard.  It's not common but I've seen instances where people used the insurance and also where they didn't have it and wished they did.

Personally, I'd spend the $150.00 and hope that it was a total waste of money. 

Sine_Qua_Non SuperDork
3/24/19 4:26 p.m.

Better safe than sorry. Pony up on the $150 

RacetruckRon Reader
3/25/19 9:06 a.m.

I did ST Octane Academy last June, it's a lot of fun and the instructors are great. I did not pay the $150 for the liability insurance, it was also my first track experience so I was a little worried but I wasn't planning on pushing the car too hard.  The only way I could see you needing the insurance is if you money shift one of the cars or get way too crazy with it on the track.

pinchvalve MegaDork
3/25/19 9:08 a.m.

I leased my FiST first, then purchased it, so I didn't get to do the Octane Academy. (not offered on leases or used cars)  I have heard it's a blast, have fun!  

TVR Scott
TVR Scott HalfDork
3/25/19 12:34 p.m.

I switched to the event hotel and saved a ton of money.  So I think I'm going to sign up for the insurance.

Seems like a giant deductible, even with the insurance.  I'll just have to do my best to not ball-up a car.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
3/25/19 1:02 p.m.

Take pictures and report back. This looks like a ton of fun. 

jharry3 Reader
3/25/19 1:29 p.m.

Buy the insurance.  If you wreck it could be a total because of repair costs.  At least most of your note would be paid off if you have one. 

TVR Scott
TVR Scott HalfDork
3/25/19 1:34 p.m.

I bought the insurance just now.  They listed the liability without as $40K - I couldn't stomach having that number hanging over me for the day.  I can live with a $5k deductible.

Just need a rental car and I'm all set!

Stefan MegaDork
3/25/19 2:27 p.m.

Its available for those that buy Focus RS and Mustang GT, etc. 

I'm insanely jealous!  That should be a ton of fun!

I can't wait to hear all about it.

Armitage Dork
3/27/19 8:26 a.m.

Congrats on the new car! I had a lot of fun at the O.A. last year, even with a lot of prior track events. I did not get the optional insurance and no cars were damaged that day, but I have heard of the occasional crash happening. The UrbanX course with the handbrake turns is a lot of fun too!

TVR Scott
TVR Scott HalfDork
4/3/19 9:34 a.m.

All ready to go.  I leave in about a half hour.  Quick bike ride to the train station, train to the airport, and off I go!

TVR Scott
TVR Scott HalfDork
4/3/19 10:24 a.m.

I was a ball of nerves sitting around the house so I left 20 min early. 

Light rail time! 

TVR Scott
TVR Scott HalfDork
4/3/19 9:31 p.m.

Great first night.

Pretty here. The mountains remind me of Denver. But without traffic.

They had a reception at the track - dinner and introductions and schedule for the next day. Dinner was decent, and I sat at a table with a bunch of other gear heads and we had a grand old time.

And the were lots of cool cars to admire! Gorgeous old GT40:

And an old Shelby mustang:

Little preview of tomorrow's ride!

That's it for now!

TVR Scott
TVR Scott HalfDork
4/4/19 1:35 p.m.

Super awesome day, and it's only half done.

Short class in the morning:

Van tour:

Then lots of track time! I had so much fun!


TVR Scott
TVR Scott HalfDork
4/5/19 10:16 a.m.

At the airport, ready to head home.  Such a great day yesterday.  I got almost no pictures from the afternoon, but it was all on their "Urban Cross" course.  Three activities first:

My group did figure eights in focuses first. Good fun and I only clipped a cone on my first run.

Second activity was doing the 90 deg power slide into the finish box in Fiestas. They have big hydraulic rally handbrakes, so that's pretty cool. I took to that one pretty quickly - many power slides in the snow of my youth!

Last exercise for us was the 180 slide which left me with a stupid grin! Just like the 90 but with a full throttle blast away. So awesome.

Then we all regrouped and got to run the whole course. One lap with the instructor, two on my own, and one for the contest. I was really happy with my runs. I just got faster and more consistent with each one. Only bummer was on my timed run I hit two hard to see cones right at the start. Ugh. Otherwise my time was in the top third and I was super happy with my runs. Not bad for a total newbie!

Salt lake picture:

That's it for now!

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