For most of us, cars serve a specific purpose. They get us to work, our vacation destinations, carry groceries and kids, and are basically just vehicles for transport. Few of us have ever really tested the limits of our sports sedan or the clearance on our SUV, let alone seen what a real, high-performance vehicle is capable of. "Driving is really the only sport where people don't tend to use coaches," says Johnny O'Connell, the winningest driver in the history of Sebring International Raceway. "The best money any driver will ever spend is that which is spent at one of the country's top racing schools." With that in mind, we chose these 13 schools, events, and experiences that aim to help reconnect us the road, the dirt, and the horsepower in our engines.
There's no shame in taking go-karts seriously. That's what Lewis Hamilton, the world champion F1 driver, did – and then went on to become youngest driver to sign with McLaren. At the New Jersey Motorsports Park Karting Experience, you can see how driving these nine horsepower machines – which can hit 55 mph – could impart the skills needed for the bigger wheels. Best of all, karting is easy on your wallet (it's just $135 for 6 people to race for 90 minutes).
How to Enter
Credit: Sam Feinstein
Where: New Jersey
Experience Needed: None at all.
Equipment: A helmet that fits comfortably is a good investment.
Beware: Nowhere is "rubbing is racing" more true than on a karting track.