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Old 04-14-2018, 03:31 PM
johnny5 johnny5 is offline
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School Question

A quick question regarding the school. Does anyone drive your car at the school other than yourself?
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Old 04-14-2018, 05:38 PM
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Cap'n Pete Cap'n Pete is offline
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Re: School Question

Typically, allowing your instructor to turn a couple of "demonstration" laps (for the sole purpose of showing a brand new student the course layout / racing line) has been up to the discretion of the student, ie: if you REQUEST your instructor to show you the track, and/or if your instructor OFFERS and you agree. There has never been an expectation that an instructor will drive your car, and besides, not everyone may be comfortable allowing a total "stranger" (qualified racing instructor or not) to drive their car, and that's understandable. In a lot of cases, there may be "instructor lapping" sessions built into the schedule, and that is the students' opportunity to go for a ride-along with their instructor in the instructor's car ...... which, IMO, can be both GOOD and BAD experiences!! (ie: you may see bad habits in practise!)

Can't speak for the exact structure of this year's school, but when the schedule for the day is posted, it may include instructor lapping sessions.

Speaking from experience, an instructor ride-along can be helpful, but is not entirely "necessary" at most tracks (ie: the DDT). However, if you're doing the school at CTMP Grand Prix track (aka: Mosport big track) and it's your first time there, then I would HIGHLY encourage you to allow your instructor to turn 2 or 3 laps before you jump in the driver's seat ....... it's a beast of a track, and I think those first couple laps are vital! (...that's my own personal experience ).

Hope that helps?
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Old 04-14-2018, 06:01 PM
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Re: School Question

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Originally Posted by Cap'n Pete View Post
However, if you're doing the school at CTMP Grand Prix track (aka: Mosport big track) and it's your first time there, then I would HIGHLY encourage you to allow your instructor to turn 2 or 3 laps before you jump in the driver's seat ....... it's a beast of a track, and I think those first couple laps are vital! (...that's my own personal experience ).

Hope that helps?
This is true. Made that mistake first time on the big track and after some cars passing by speeds 2 times faster, realized the learning curve would have been much faster letting someone drive my car at 7 /10ths.
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Old 04-14-2018, 06:27 PM
Grant Galloway Grant Galloway is offline
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Re: School Question

I trust my instructor more than I trust myself! But yes it is up to the student..
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Old 04-14-2018, 08:00 PM
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Re: School Question

The HPDE school offered by OTA usually starts with the instructor driving the students car, as said above, to demonstrate the reference points and talk the student around the track layout. This done at 50 to 60% speed and is critical for the student to understand how the lap should be driven. At no point will the instructor drive for more than a couple of laps or at more than 60% speed.

The school is not about going flat out but instead teaches students how to drive with consistency, smoothness and precision. In turn this leads to high speeds driven safely on every track. It has proven to work for almost all students and on all tracks. It is the proven path.
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Old 04-14-2018, 08:35 PM
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Re: School Question

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Originally Posted by johnny5 View Post
A quick question regarding the school. Does anyone drive your car at the school other than yourself?
It's always up to the student. You can ask the instructor to show you in their car if you're more comfortable with that. In my case, I don't fit in most of my students' race buckets, so I invite them into my car if that's the case.

It can help to have an instructor get a feel for your car as they guide you around the track at very reduced pace. The instructor can detect a braking issue, how rapid the steering ratio is and how much input they should see you dial in, and might detect if there's something odd or extremely good with the handling; e.g.: rapid off-throttle rotation is something the student and instructor need to be aware of. Great for someone who is ready for it and knows what to do with it, not for someone who isn't. These situations may require the instructor to watch your inputs more closely than normal, change your braking points and pressure, etc.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:12 AM
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Re: School Question

As per what GWoody27 has stated, the OTA school at DDT and GP usually involves the instructor driving your car at half pace or slower to show you the line, physical reference points, things to look out for and how to, in general, become a better driver overall (not just for that track).

At GP, this becomes more critical because of the speeds involved and some of the surface transitions on turn 2 and the undulations (read: DROPS) in 2, 4 and coming out of 5B into C.

As the owner of the car, obviously you have your right to refuse your instructor to your car and (s)he will be more than happy to take you in their car instead but it's always good to get a reference lap in your own vehicle. Most, if not all, instructors understand the bond between car and driver and will most likely not abuse your vehicle.

Whenever I've taught at DDT, I've always suggested a lap with me driving at half pace so that the student can:

1- See the line
2- See what I am looking at (I will call it out)
3- Note passing zones (if passing is allowed)
4- Note passing etiquette (if passing is allowed)

It's easier to absorb that way anyways. But of course, we can do it without but it might be harder. My $0.02.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:43 PM
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Re: School Question

Myself, I would very much prefer that the instructor drive their own vehicle.

I read nothing above that could not be accomplished by the instructor demonstating in their own vehicle, or, for Stephen's points, better served by having the student drive the car around some cones.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:11 PM
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Re: School Question

The instructors are trained and experienced. Let them take the wheel of your car so you can see what it's like having your car on the track. If you're driving a Civic and the instructor has a GT350, it's a very different experience!
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:54 AM
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Re: School Question

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Originally Posted by craig View Post
Myself, I would very much prefer that the instructor drive their own vehicle.

I read nothing above that could not be accomplished by the instructor demonstating in their own vehicle, or, for Stephen's points, better served by having the student drive the car around some cones.
If you drive say a Mustang GT350, it would be VERY different than my S2000. Braking points, turn in points, visibility, etc.

If you drive say a Ford Focus ST, that would be also very different too.

When I was a student, I always found it a huge plus anytime my instructor had the same car as I did.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:24 AM
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Re: School Question

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Originally Posted by johnny5 View Post
A quick question regarding the school. Does anyone drive your car at the school other than yourself?
Potentially. Why do you ask?
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Old 04-18-2018, 07:50 PM
johnny5 johnny5 is offline
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Re: School Question

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Potentially. Why do you ask?
I have heard different things from different people, and was curious as to how the school was/is ran.
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Old 04-22-2018, 10:25 PM
jsphyang jsphyang is offline
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Re: School Question

Side-track question..

I'm wondering how the instructors are assigned to different students.
I'd assume that all instructors are experienced and well rounded but I'm sure some have more experience in a certain drive type (FWD/RWD/AWD).
Ideally I'd like to be paired with an instructor who has extended amount of seat time on the track in FWD cars.

**Disclaimer before anyone jumps off the chair to scream at me

-I DO NOT expect the school to be where I learn car control 101.
-I DO acknowledge that the school's focus is on how to be smooth, consistent and safe on the track.
-I DO acknowledge that as a novice I have a lot to learn from any instructor.
-However, I'm just curious about the process since it could bring more value to the experience, that's all.

Thanks
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Old 04-23-2018, 01:47 AM
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Re: School Question

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Originally Posted by jsphyang View Post
Side-track question..

I'm wondering how the instructors are assigned to different students.
I'd assume that all instructors are experienced and well rounded but I'm sure some have more experience in a certain drive type (FWD/RWD/AWD).
Ideally I'd like to be paired with an instructor who has extended amount of seat time on the track in FWD cars.
It's a good question. I'm not as skilled with pairing as our current chief instructor, but I've done the job in the past. We have X number of students and Y number of instructors with U in FWD, V in RWD, and W in AWD. How do we pair them up?

There is no one formula that works, but here's a few thoughts.

What is the student looking for and what do they need most? If they're already on the class podiums at CSCS and OTA, we're down to fine-tuning and we need an instructor tuned into details like minute tire lock-ups, the butt sense for tire slip angles front and rear, how much curb the driver and vehicle can handle, what seems to be compensation for setup rather than just poor inputs, etc. Maybe they'll be able to detect and recommend some setup changes or highlight speed limitations in the setup? And several dozen other little things all while watching the driver's inputs for perhaps a slightly quick turn in that's causing a fractional loss of front tire grip on entry, or leaving some weight transfer potential on the table? The student's level is usually step one in finding an instructor.

Next, there's a safety issue. The instructor has to be comfortable delivering instruction at the pace of the student and their car's potential. Knowing what to do at enhanced speed, with advanced aero, anticipating the student's thoughts, and being able to communicate cautionary instructions for a car/driver potential of sub 1:35 laps at GP track is different than doing so at T3 class laptimes. There are many brilliant and capable champions who instinctively execute the right inputs to the controls but can they anticipate, and verbally communicate a correction in the time a skilled student in a Viper ACR needs?

How are the personalities going to match up? All of our instructors have the experience to read a student and try to adapt to how the student processes. Landmarks, other visual clues, auditory, soft-spoken/loud, natural or learned talent, do they need the details of the "why" before they trust you or even comprehend what you're asking for, have they had a recent incident, have they had multiple incidents, do they have another field of reference like karting or rally, etc. Is the instructor bold and boisterous and the student pensive and soft spoken? Is the student harsh in inputs and in need of someone who is super smooth to correct them?
Although instructors can adapt based on a questionnaire and pre-track briefing, it's often best to look for people of similar mindsets and sometimes intentionally different styles.

Somewhere thereafter comes drivetrain experience. Many of our instructors already have a variety of vehicle ownership history and are comfortable jumping into anything and providing guidance. Certainly, we have specialists, but there are other factors that are more critical.

Feel free to Email the Chief Instructor (Scott) what you feel has worked best for you in past schools and what hasn't worked well for you with us or other organizations.
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Old 04-23-2018, 09:52 AM
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Re: School Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsphyang View Post
Side-track question..

I'm wondering how the instructors are assigned to different students.
I'd assume that all instructors are experienced and well rounded but I'm sure some have more experience in a certain drive type (FWD/RWD/AWD).
Ideally I'd like to be paired with an instructor who has extended amount of seat time on the track in FWD cars.
Hai Joseph

Totally valid question especially given that you're paying to be taught so no worries.

In my previous experience as a student at the OTA school, they typically try to pair students with instructors in similar drive trains if not the same car. Example, I got John P who competed in a S2000 for years. A few other Miatas got instructors who also run Miatas, etc.

From an instructor point of view, now that I've attended the OTA instructor school, Scott definitely tries to do this on purpose so that should answer your question there.

Given OTA has a wide berth of competitors in all sorts of drive trains, I'm sure we will have a FWD (if not a Civic) driving instructor for you.

You know where to find me on Facebook if you want to grill me further!
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