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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I received my invitation to the Track Side Driving school a few days ago. It should be fun, but driving 2,000 miles to get there from Florida may not be quite the experience that I had hoped for. I also see that they have a second day drive through the Arizona area, which is more to my liking. I guess at 72, I am not interested in learning how to drive faster, but enjoy the drive more.

Has anyone done either of these schools? What are your impressions? If I do the tour, is it also advisable to do the Track Side Day. I know the program is still just starting, but I am hoping to hear from someone that has done one or both schools.

Thanks in advance,

Wayne
 

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Wayne,

I've done a couple of events at Bondurant (a 1-day SRT experience and a 2-day Corvette). Both were lots of fun with most of the time spent learning some competition driving skills (skid pad, autocross, panic braking, some lead and follow on the track). You'll enjoy it - nobody in my group was disappointed. I think it is useful too in helping you understand the limits of your car.

I believe the Abarth experience uses Bondurant Fiats, so no need to bring your own. I'd definitely fly to Phoenix.

M
 

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I did the Trackside school and tour last year. I wish I could do it again!! I was somewhat stressed initially by some of the exercises, but it quickly became exhilarating and addictive. I expected to be tired and satisfied at the end of the day but, like everybody else in the class. we would have liked even more. I loved the relay exercise, and follow-the-instructor exercises best. The staff is great, and you will certainly learn useful maneuvers.
The tour was fun, but a bit expensive.
 

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I haven't received anything yet, they said an email was sent back in August but I didn't receive it, even checked the spam filter. I just called Tommy and he gave some dates that I could go, I just would like some info on this, what is covered what is not and so on. It's like sitting on a black hole with nothing to go on.
 

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I received my invitation to the Track Side Driving school a few days ago. It should be fun, but driving 2,000 miles to get there from Florida may not be quite the experience that I had hoped for. I also see that they have a second day drive through the Arizona area, which is more to my liking. I guess at 72, I am not interested in learning how to drive faster, but enjoy the drive more.

I'm intrigued too but this bothers me.The trackside experience is "free" but the tour is not. For those of us travelling any appreciable distance it's most likely we'll opt in for the tour. It may be fun and it may very well be worth it, but, like most things, it aint free.


Add in airfare, 2 nights lodging and food my "free" trackside experience is a $1000.


I know that's not on them per se, but the Trackside Experience (Only) is really only free to those close to AZ.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My concern, not only the cost of getting there, is how much fun will I have. We planned a driving vacation next year anyway, so this fits in perfectly. We usually go to New Mexico (near Taos) for a BMW motorcycle rally. Been doing that for years, since we used to live in Lubbock Texas. But, driving from DeLand Florida for a "free" track day, followed by an expensive drive in the country may not be worth it. I'll have to wait to see what my dates will be.

Thanks all for your advice and insight.

Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Update: yesterday I got an email and PDF file from Bondurant explaining the school. It "is designed to help break you into the world of high performance driving so that you have a better understanding of how to manage your new Abarth." This is what I expected, but what I did not expect was the possible cost if there is an accident. They charge $100 a day for insurance, with an $8,000 deductible with that insurance. Could be costly if you were to wreck one of the cars.

At my age, I am not interested in "high performance" driving, although I am sure I could learn some tricks to make my driving more enjoyable. Right now I am not sure I am going to take the course. This is not my first sports car, bought my first one in the 60's, a bug eye Sprite. Followed by a "Box Sprite" that I restored in the 80's, and five Miata's, first one bought new in 1993.

Wayne
 

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I took the course eariler this year. Loved it and HIGHLY recommend it for everybody. First, I would recommend flying if you are coming from Florida unless you have something else planned from the trip (it looks like you might). You will not be driving your car, only theirs for the class. This is for safety so they know the cars are safe for everyone. The tour would be with your car but honestly you can have just as good a time on your own without that long of a drive. Next, yes this is a performance based class but that does not mean you are ready for autocross at the end of it. What that means is that you get to see what this car is capable of in a very controled environment. That will help you enjoy the car in your daily driving because you will have a better idea of what is safe in the car. They start off teaching you how to accelerate and make quick adjustments without losing control. It seems stupidly basic but this is applied in dodging potholes or other obsticles in the road. They then progress to things like contolled steering while in a full brake condition, this could save you in so many circumstances. After the basic exercises you do start do things like autocross and 'follow the leader'. At best these are a taste of what 'racing' is if that is what you want to do.... which you state you don't. I would say don't look at it like that. These exercises also allow you to understand how the car is able to corner in extreme conditions or how the car is capable of taking a corner at higher speeds than you might otherwise feel comfortable. What that equates to is that the next time you are out on your favorite road on a 'spirited' drive you will have a much better understanind of what is safe and what is not. You will understand how to take a corner with more eloquence and less brute force. As with any class you get out of it what you want to learn. I get it, you are not looking to be the Mario Andrette. You want to 'enjoy the drive more' and you will after this class with a much better understanding and peace of mind behind the wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hound, thanks so much your review. This has made up my mind, I’M GOING. The second day’s drive will be icing on the cake. We will take the 124, instead of towing our motorcycle, like we normally do for riding in the New Mexico mountains. Thanks to you, and others, that answered this thread.

Wayne
 

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Sounds as though students will be better prepared to react safely to those situations on the street that sometimes require you change your underwear. Good stuff.



Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update, I picked a date in April to attend. However, we often go to New Mexico for vacation in the fall to attend a motorcycle rally and be with friends we made over the years when we lived in Texas, but we missed going last year due to health issues. During that time we lost a close friend we would have seen there, so we decided we must go this year. Problem is, the motorcycle rally we attend is in September, and the driving school dates only go through June. This means we were faced with having to make a decision, since we felt we probably could not do both.

I contacted Bondurant and was told that they will offer more courses next year, but right now they cannot tell me the dates. They did not know if Fiat would approve putting the course off that long, and suggested that I contact them for approval. I did, and it took only 24 hours for them to approve the change. Bondurant then told me to watch their websites for a update to their schedule as the year goes by, and let them know my new preference.

I would like to thank Bondurant and Fiat for accommodating us, saved from having to make a decision on which to attend. We will attend one event, then the other, which will make one nice vacation trip. Problem is, do I take the motorcycle or Spider.

Wayne
 

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Update, I picked a date in April to attend. However, we often go to New Mexico for vacation in the fall to attend a motorcycle rally and be with friends we made over the years when we lived in Texas, but we missed going last year due to health issues. During that time we lost a close friend we would have seen there, so we decided we must go this year. Problem is, the motorcycle rally we attend is in September, and the driving school dates only go through June. This means we were faced with having to make a decision, since we felt we probably could not do both.

I contacted Bondurant and was told that they will offer more courses next year, but right now they cannot tell me the dates. They did not know if Fiat would approve putting the course off that long, and suggested that I contact them for approval. I did, and it took only 24 hours for them to approve the change. Bondurant then told me to watch their websites for a update to their schedule as the year goes by, and let them know my new preference.

I would like to thank Bondurant and Fiat for accommodating us, saved from having to make a decision on which to attend. We will attend one event, then the other, which will make one nice vacation trip. Problem is, do I take the motorcycle or Spider.

Wayne
of COURSE you take the spider!

i'm leaving el paso tomorrow driving the spider to phoenix for Friday's track day.. can't wait
 

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I went to Phoenix on November 7th and 8th and I thoroughly enjoyed the course.
I never thought that the 124 spider Abarth was capable of some of the things that we were taught, Especially on the track. It just blew my mind how well the spider handles.
The staff was great! top notch. everyone from reception to the instructors were very friendly and helpful.
If I had to give a rating on a scale of 1 to 10 I would go with 11 best experience ever. I Will be looking into other courses that they may offer in the coming year.
I say this if you can swing it then just do it you will not regret it

JdSmith75229
Th
 

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Bob Bondurant School Questions.

I went to Phoenix on November 7th and 8th and I thoroughly enjoyed the course.
I never thought that the 124 spider Abarth was capable of some of the things that we were taught, Especially on the track. It just blew my mind how well the spider handles.
The staff was great! top notch. everyone from reception to the instructors were very friendly and helpful.
If I had to give a rating on a scale of 1 to 10 I would go with 11 best experience ever. I Will be looking into other courses that they may offer in the coming year.
I say this if you can swing it then just do it you will not regret it

JdSmith75229
Th
Couldn't agree more with what JDSmith had to say about the school. I especially enjoyed the Road Rally. I brought my own 124A and it was well worth the 760 mi RT drive to Chandler, AZ for the school. I was there with JD and SB Rocket as part of this Road Rally group of six.

We started the road rally about 8:30 in the morning and we got back from driving 208 miles around 4:30 in the afternoon. We drove through some very challenging roads up to an elevation exceeding 5,000 feet. This is the first time I learned how to use the paddle shifters, especially when droping down some very steep grades on very winding roads, to run the rpms up and use the engine compression to releive using the brakes too much. It was rather tricky, as we were advised to keep the group together and to maintain a distance between vehicles of three car lengths. Anyhow, it was a real blast, and the scenery was magnificent. I have attached 15 pictures to give you a sense of the trip.
 

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Oops, they apparently only allow the posting of 10 pictures for each post. Here are the remaining five.
 

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Mahalo @CA_Kid great pictures.
 
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Yes, CA_Kid great pics thanks for sharing them and your insight.


Makes me want to get out there even more before my opportunity expires on 4/1/18.
 
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