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Jon,
Thanks so much for suggesting this. It was well, well worth it. Indeed, that was the best money I've spent on the track. Beyond the fact that I gained speed (7 seconds faster in my Elise yesterday compared to my Noble last week), I just feel much better in the car. I had five different coaches yesterday and they each helped me in different and overlapping ways. Colin and Randy were particularly helpful. Having a whole day of professional instruction on an almost empty track definitely beats the mix of help you get at a typical track day - helpful as that is too.
All the best,
Mike
 

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Jon,
Thanks so much for suggesting this. It was well, well worth it. Indeed, that was the best money I've spent on the track. Beyond the fact that I gained speed (7 seconds faster in my Elise yesterday compared to my Noble last week), I just feel much better in the car. I had five different coaches yesterday and they each helped me in different and overlapping ways. Colin and Randy were particularly helpful. Having a whole day of professional instruction on an almost empty track definitely beats the mix of help you get at a typical track day - helpful as that is too.
All the best,
Mike
Mike - Thank you for joining us! It was a pleasure working with you and we look forward to seeing you take on the competition in the Elise! Great job and hopefully we were able to help you establish a solid foundation. We look forward to working with you in the near future.

We hope to have an all Lotus day (or at least group) for our next event. Looking at dates for both Buttonwillow and Thunderhill. I'll keep the Lotus community updated ;)

Thanks!

Robbie Montinola

--
Montinola Racing | www.montinola.com
Silicon Valley Racing | www.DriveSVR.com
 

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Discussion Starter #24
I concur with Mike: This was a great experience. Having done five days in Skip Barber's racing program, and three days in Russel Racing's racing program, and now one day of private coaching from the Barber instructors in my street car, I can definitely say that the private coaching had the most profound, measurable effect on my in-car performance. Yes, driving the open-wheel formula cars is very cool. But having real-time feedback from really good coaches makes a world of difference. Some observations and reportage:

- There are some really good coaches floating about the various track day clubs most of us run with. But there are also a lot of lame coaches: Guys who are either slow (and therefore don't have enough knowledge to be coaching us), or are poor educators (i.e., they may be fast drivers, but can't communicate anything helpful to someone who wants to improve). So that's what you get from amateur coaching: a very mixed bag. In contrast, all of Robbie's coaches have been trained as coaches. Competitive racing -- and coaching race car drivers -- is their career. They HAVE to be good at it, or they don't have a career! It's an important factor. So you definitely get a COACH in these events that Robbie sets up.

- Even when you get a good "club racer" coach, he or she can still be very reluctant to give you speed-making advice. Their inclination is to discuss fundamental technique, but god forbid you ask how to cut your times in a particular corner or sector. Well, this is where pro coaching really comes in. The coaches I ran with yesterday provided a very good mix of technical advice (e.g., "I want you to brake at the three marker this time, turn in earlier, and keep trailing brakes through this landmark here") as well as "encouragement advice" (e.g., "Your car has the traction, so trust me, you can carry more speed through turn 2. So lets brake later, less, and enter with more momentum. Have faith. You can do it!"). They also had a lot of little extra tips that I had never even considered before. For example, one coach suggested I do a full lift off the throttle before my turn-in for T4. This helped put extra weight on the nose for really good turn-in and earlier acceleration up the hill toward T5. Also, at T5, trailbraking that corner really helps! I had never TBed there before, but it definitely helps there. :)

- Empirical results? Well, before today, I once had a freak lap where I did a 2:13. Who knows, maybe my DL1 was being generous with a GPS glitch. I had also been able to pull off some 2:15s in the past. But my "normal" good times were between 2:16 and 2:18. And when I was driving average, I would do 2:19s. Flash forward to yesterday. I was doing consistent 2:15s, and had some 2:14s. I was also having fuel starvation in T2, so if not for that, maybe a 2:13 was in there someplace. :) ... Regardless, I am pretty sure that if I had been running with my DL1, my "best theoretical" (a theoretical lap time based on my best performance in the various sectors throughout the day) would have been somewhere in the 2:13s. Do I feel I made progress? Oh, hell yes!

- The lack of traffic really helped. It is hard to string together hot laps at a track day, even in a full open passing environment. But because we had seven cars maximum on track at any given time, traffic was negligible.

- Negatives? None really. I would have liked to have put in one more session, if only to justify the high price of entry. But in respect to the pricing, we DO have to remember that we are running in very little traffic, that sessions are definitely longer than the 20-minute standard, and, of course, we're being coached by professionals who have to pay for their own gas and lodging, and are (let's face it) putting their physical well-being in the hands of amateurs. I have some ideas on how Robbie might add a little extra value to his program while charging the same amount of money, at no extra cost to him. I'm sure I'll share with him later. :)

I personally know 7-8 Lotus owners who should do one of these coaching days. These are guys who do a lot of track days, but (like me) lament the fact that they're not seeing lap time improvements. Given that one of Robbie's days equals maybe three regular track days in price (not even factoring in the extra track time and track space we get!), then I would say it makes a lot of sense to "sacrifice" the entry fees for two "normal" track days in order to run one of Robbie's days.

Please respond or PM me if you have questions about my experience. And it would be cool to arrange an all-Lotus day!
 

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I absolutely second that one should get all the coaching possible. Even in single seaters I try and follow faster drivers (admittedly, we're talking about very similar spec cars) for as long as I can to see if I can pick up things from the kines they are using, brake points, etc.

Steve
 

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I am sure there is a thread about setting another of these up. I'd love to hear about it.

I too have reached a plataeu. I have decided to do 5 days of Skippy in March. I have done 3 schools so far. Proformance 1 and 2 day schools and the Lotus intensive program.

I'd love it if this were offered in May or later. That will give me time to absorb what I learn at Skip B, and get a few track days of practicing the techniques.

I'll be coming from the Seattle area so if it happens to be back to back with a track day after the event that would be perfect!

I'm also very welcome to the idea of crashing at a Lotus Talk members nearby home and would gladly return the favor should you want to drive the Seattle track sometime.
 

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DANG IT . . . why couldn't you guys have had this when I was still living in California?!? Now that I have time and money, I'm clear across the US from Thunderhill. I could really use some help getting past that same plateau that Jon referred to. Crud. Ever come out to Sebring, Robbie? Lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #28 (Edited)
DANG IT . . . why couldn't you guys have had this when I was still living in California?!? Now that I have time and money, I'm clear across the US from Thunderhill. I could really use some help getting past that same plateau that Jon referred to. Crud. Ever come out to Sebring, Robbie? Lol.
Actually, Robbie does get out to Sebring. And I'm sure he can also recommend some coaching talent whose more permanently located in Florida. And, you know, Bonnie, Robbie can easily tack on a private coaching session to a TEAM Racing event. All you need to do is give up a run group, and he'll take the run group over for a very small number of cars, each with pro coaches riding shotgun and helping folks find speed.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
I am sure there is a thread about setting another of these up. I'd love to hear about it.

I too have reached a plataeu. I have decided to do 5 days of Skippy in March. I have done 3 schools so far. Proformance 1 and 2 day schools and the Lotus intensive program.

I'd love it if this were offered in May or later. That will give me time to absorb what I learn at Skip B, and get a few track days of practicing the techniques.

I'll be coming from the Seattle area so if it happens to be back to back with a track day after the event that would be perfect!

I'm also very welcome to the idea of crashing at a Lotus Talk members nearby home and would gladly return the favor should you want to drive the Seattle track sometime.
Bleu... I will be encouraging Robbie (and working with him) to set up a coaching day at Thill for sometime in spring/summer 2009. He did an all Lotus day at Buttonwillow last year, and only six cars showed. My guess is that with enough of a scheduling heads-up, and by staging it at Thunderhill, we can increase the car count to the "optimum" number of 10-12. Let me ping Robbie sometime soon. To be continued... :)
 

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With enough advance notice, you can count me in Jon.
 

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I'll be there too, if it doesn't conflict with any races I'm signed up for . . .
 

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We will be hosting several VIP Driving Schools throughout the year at tracks like THill, Buttonwillow and Streets of Willow for 09. We will definitely have a spring THill date! We should have one in Jan as well. I'll keep you all posted on LT, or PM me your email address and I'll add you to my email blasts.

In addition, we are expanding our services to private coach individual drivers at any track day across the country. We can set you up with a professional driver coach at any track, anytime! I have local coaches based near most popular race tracks and of course we have our "regulars" that are here in CA.

We will also be working with some "club" events to do private run groups to get quality track time, less traffic, and limited to who we want in our group ;)

If anyone ever has any questions, feel free to PM or email me.

P.S. Bonster - I can be flown out to Sebring to coach, one of my fav tracks :D

P.P.S. I'll be at Infineon tomorrow coaching a driver in the Formula Mazda Challenge race, if you're there, come find me! PM me for details.
 

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Great guys, I look forward to doing this.

I know a couple of owners up here that might make the trip for something like this. We are all at about the same level.

THough I admit that I am hopeful that is no longer the case after 5 days of Skippy.:cool:
 
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