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.
Skip Barber Racing School
Taking a high performance driving class is some of the best car related money you can spend. Learning that tires can only do one thing well at a time (accelerate, stop or turn) is an invaluable skill, as is learning how to control a slide by first learning how to get the car into one.
Once you've taken a swing at car control, though, it's time to step it up with racing lessons at a place like Skip Barber's Racing School. "One in three professional racecar drivers in motorsports is a Three Day Racing School Graduate," claims Barber. While you may not graduate in the top of your class, you will get to drive some pretty cool cars at Barber's like Porsche 911s, Mazda MX-5 Cup cars and Barber's own Formula Barber 200 open wheel racecar. Even better, Barber has schools on numerous tracks around the country including Lime Rock, Road Atlanta, VIR, and Watkins Glen. We suggest going to the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one of the most beautiful, historic and fun to drive tracks in the country.
How to Enter
Experience Needed: While not a prerequisite, taking the high performance classes before the racing classes is an excellent idea.
Beware: Becoming the type of person who heels and toes around town.