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 Post subject: Gateway drivers school
PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:56 pm 
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Does anyone know anything about the drivers school at Gateway for April 26 & 27 that is now on the MiDiv calendar on the website? Is it accurate or a mistake? Last I'd heard MiDiv wasn't doing a school.

The school at Blackhawk is an hour closer for me though, and the same weekend. Is there any advantage of doing a school in my division?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:26 pm 
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I asked Scott Bowman about the Gateway Drivers School, it's a go. Here is his response:

Matt;

Yes, spread the word. This was a late addition to their program because the rules have changed related to how many schools are needed. So there will be a Friday evening classroom session, followed by the school on Saturday. If all is well, then you would be signed off and run the regional race under your novice permit.

Please do come. I know for a fact that Bob Herman is bringing someone to the school in St Louis, and he originally was going to go to Blackhawk. MiDiv would appreciate it, and St Louis has put on some very good schools over the years, and are revamping their classroom session as we speak.

Scott…

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:52 pm 
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I've raced at both Gateway and Blackhawk. Personally I think Blackhawk would be a more beginner friendly track for a school. But the St. Louis people are really good, and they have a better paddock area with actual pavement where most of the cars at Blackhawks paddock in the grass.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:21 am 
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I actually did my double driver school at St. Louis back in 2005 in a rented IT7. It's definitely an interesting track but think it'd be a good learning experience. Comparing them both, Blackhawk is a more exciting track for a Spec Miata but "easy" at the same time. There really isn't any pucker up moments there whereas at St. Louis there are can be so it can be potentially a better learning experience. As Dave mentioned, it also has a great paddock so if any weather pops up, you won't be dealing with mud. A lot of other great benefits but in the end it's up to you. Don't get me wrong either, I'd choose Blackhawk to race at over St. Louis any day, but you really won't be doing much racing anyways at a driver's school. If it were me, I'd save Blackhawk for later as a fun, new challenge once I was more comfortable in the car. Fall sprints were definitely fun last year for instance...

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:45 pm 
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If past history holds true, the school in St. Louis will be SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than the one at Blackhawk.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:10 pm 
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So which one did you decide to go with?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:01 am 
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Stix37867 wrote:
So which one did you decide to go with?


Going to Gateway. When I compared all the numbers it made more sense financially, etc. etc.

Picking the car up from Tom this Saturday, then I just need to change the oil and add the decals and I'm all ready to go!

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:57 pm 
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Erich is planning to do his school at St. Louis as well.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:33 am 
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Good to hear. You will like St. Louis as it is very similar to Iowa but larger. Depending on your budget this year, you should think about attending the fall sprints at Blackhawk in October. As a miata driver, it is one of the most fun tracks out there. Hallett is now on my list to return to especially since they're repaving it next weekend.

Anyway, good luck to both of you at the school. The best advice I've received so far in racing that I still use every time I go somewhere new is "Don't try to impress anyone". By that I simply mean to take your time to learn the track, learn your car, and slowly start cutting down your lap times. No need to be a Vettel and try to run away from the field. The best place to be IMO is behind someone. That gives you a chance to learn their lines, braking habits, and tests to see who's are better. So just go out there to learn and have fun.

Best of luck to both of you!

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:58 am 
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Stix37867 wrote:
The best place to be IMO is behind someone. That gives you a chance to learn their lines, braking habits, and tests to see who's are better. So just go out there to learn and have fun.

Best of luck to both of you!

Agreed. My first race weekend, I got to go out behind your brother. I had done several track days at MAM and was doing OK, but seeing his braking points, when he was getting back on the gas, etc. gave me about a 2 second per lap improvement in one session.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:46 am 
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Another perk to Gateway: lots of places to safely pull off.

Image

Turn 1/2 are problematic if you're really pushing the limit and are jokingly called "shipping" and "receiving". If you have any doubt about going too hot into 1, you can safely not turn and slowly take the oval. It's a lot better to chat with a steward than medical (or the poor flagger behind the tire wall at 2!). Don't half-ass your choice either because there's a not-cushy point separating the oval from the road course: take the turn or bail to the oval.

If you have mechanical problems, especially after pit out, you have two good options to get back safely. There's a huge opening in the concrete wall driver's left just past pit out (around where the 1 is on the above map) so you can swing off track there. Alternately, the crossover just before turn 3 is a safe left turn into the paddock.

Check your mirrors before committing to turn 7! Passes are very common out of 6 and novices are very good at car-car contact at the hairpin. Nothing is worse than a turning collision before a concrete wall.

If you need to bail from your car, the safest places generally hug the lower oval wall. That's driver's right of turn 3 (especially near the crossover), driver's left before turn 7 (don't hit the workers' portapotty!), and hugging the pit wall driver's left on the opening straight (racing line is usually driver's right for a wide entry into 1). If you're not going hot at 4, go straight into the grass and try to park behind positive protection (there are utility boxes with concrete barriers, plus a worker station on the interior of the turn at 6).

Incidents are most frequent at 1/2 and 7.

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