SVRA Wants to Get You on Track

Admit it, you’ve caught yourself dreaming about leaving the sidelines and taking the plunge into vintage racing. It’s a deep pool, right? One that requires a special handshake in order to gain entry?

The SVRA is looking to eliminate one of the biggest barriers to getting involved: the confusion and intimidation that can come with taking that first step. After that, the rest is relatively easy.

Their new SVRA Driving Experience aims to turn spectators into drivers via a comprehensive program that features both track work and classroom sessions. The track time starts with simple lead-follow exercises and then graduates to limited passing. To keep things accessible, street cars are used—no crew, no expensive race gas, no overwhelming wings. The goal here is to get feet wet and keep participants comfortable.

The car requirements may be simple, but the tracks are first-class. The season’s first school visited Sebring, while later ones are scheduled for Road America, Mid-Ohio, Virginia International Raceway, New Jersey Motorsports Park and Rockingham.

The instruction is also top-shelf, as SVRA Chief Driving Instructor Peter Krause will share his wisdom. Have a question or situation? Krause has been there and can answer it. Plus, as we have personally found, he calmly delivers his message, working with students to achieve their best.

How easy is it to get involved? We recently sent Alan Cesar, our associate editor, to the Sebring school. Alan has been on track before, but he doesn’t have a ton of time at this renowned venue.

While the Classic Motorsports fleet includes plenty of race cars, for this outing he drove something a bit less involved: his 20-year-old Mazda Miata. He recently rebuilt the engine—after 200,00 miles, it was time—and the suspension is a bit stiffer than stock. He added a roll bar, too. (Don’t think that this was a rarified build, either, as he recently sold the car for the princely sum of $2900.)

The day at Sebring, as promised, got him involved in vintage racing. A tech inspection kicked off the event, then Alan and his class were whisked away to a classroom. Driving the correct line, scanning the track, and becoming comfortable with traffic were all discussed. The track speeds increased as the day progressed, and by the end the crew was hustling around the track nicely.

Then there was the company in the paddock. Yes, other track schools are available, but there’s something extra special about sharing space with the heroes of your youth. Suddenly you have gone from spectator to participant.

The SVRA Driving Experience schools cost $495 per driver. Drivers will need a helmet, but racing suits are not required. Convertibles are allowed provided the roll bar sits at least 2 inches above the driver’s helmet. In addition to the track time and instruction, that fee includes a one-year SVRA membership, a one-year subscription to Classic Motorsports magazine, and a copy of “The Ace Factor,” written by longtime driving coach E. Paul Dickinson. Details, registration info, and a pre-event checklist can be found at svra.com.

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