Last year Skip Barber Racing School moved their headquarters to Road Atlanta in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. To celebrate they held an open house, which proved so successful that they did it again this year. You can't go wrong with offering people free track time, and the people showed up in droves. This year was yet another successful open house for the Skip Barber crew. Those who chose to play hooky from work were rewarded with seat time in a variety of prepped Mazdas, as well as an amazing racing simulator. I chose to begin my day at the autocross. Skip Barber's instructors were on hand to guide me around the short course. I must admit that I am no race car driver but the instructor gave me a few tips that will have a lasting impact on my driving style. Next up was the skid pad. For those unfamiliar the skid pad is a large round donut with a beefed up lawn sprinkler in the middle. The sprinkler soaks the skid pad and drivers then hone their car control skills by pushing their cars to the edge. The highlight of the day though was a hot lap around historic Road Atlanta in a race prepped Miata. You really cannot appreciate this track until you take a lap around it at speed. I have been to numerous races at Road Atlanta and have even taken a few laps around it at a gentle pace. But ripping down the front stretch into turn one, pushing hard to the outside and charging through the esses is an unforgettable experience. Even though I was only a passenger, it was comforting knowing that I was hurtling down the back straight at 120 mph seated beside a professional driver.
The good folks at Skip Barber put on this Open House to give people a taste of what it is like at one of their events. Most people think that driving school is only for those who want to have a racing career. That is mostly true, but the truth is that almost every driver on the road can benefit from one Skip Barber's programs. Whether you want to hone your track skills, or help your teen driver feel more confident behind the wheel Skip Barber has a program. I know I enjoyed the open house, but more importantly I got a better understanding of what Skip Barber Racing School is all about. I may have to look into a little track time for myself.