The thought of speeding down a racetrack is the stuff driving enthusiasts dream of, but it’s not always a practical proposition. Apex Driving Events aims to make the dream a reality with events at select tracks on the east coast.
Although open track days provide the chance to test your skill and your vehicle, Apex Driving Events takes it a step further. They offer structured track days with drivers grouped by skill level and programs designed to make everyone a better driver no matter their experience level at the start.
Whether you’re a track novice there for the first time or you’re looking to shave a few crucial seconds off your time, Apex Driving Events offers the technical feedback and professional instruction to meet you needs. I experienced their High Performance Driver Training at a recent track day held at Thompson Speedway in Thompson, Connecticut. Pricing for this event ranged from $695 to $1,295.
We arrived and quickly divided into our three pre-assigned groups which were based on our experience levels. Advanced drivers took to the track on their own with instructors monitoring and providing feedback. They also took advantage of technical data analysis from data recorders to see exactly where they need to make adjustments to improve their times.
Intermediate drivers then got their time, also on their own, with instructors providing coaching immediately after their track time. Beginning drivers then had their chance with an assigned professional driving instructor in the right seat for every lap. I drove in the beginners group so through each of my four half-hour drive segments there was someone there to coach me through every turn.
It’s exciting and daunting to simply hit the gas and let loose on the track and it’s definitely not easy. You might think that two hours of drive time over the course of a day isn’t enough. You’d be wrong.
Driving on a track takes constant concentration. There’s no fiddling with the radio or checking out the scenery. Your eyes and full attention are on the track as you process what the car is doing and what the instructor is explaining. As a novice, after 20 minutes I was tired and by the fourth session I was really feeling the intensity of it all.
If reading that makes you anxious, well, you’d be pretty much where I was when I first buckled into the BMW that was provided for my drive. Although most people show up at the track with their own cars, you can rent one through places like The Motorsport Experience, which provided me with a BMW M3 DCT for the occasion.
This wasn’t simply a stock M3, which is a darn capable car in its own right. It was prepped for the track with 18×10 track wheels and tires, modified springs and brakes, and Schroth harnesses to make sure we stayed in our seats as we took the turns. Use of this fantastic machine for a day at the track runs $1,200.
There was also a special Lamborghini from Guardian Angel Motorsports. This charitable organization raises funds for children’s charities and if you rent the Lambo that was donated to the group, part of the fee goes to those charities. You can have a stellar day at the track and do good at the same time.
There I sat, in my rented M3, while guys with far more experience sidled up to the track in their Porsches and Ferraris and GT-Rs. Even the newbies drove up in incredible cars. It was intimidating, but here’s the thing.
Everyone from the first time driver to the experienced one, just wanted to get out there and drive. They all wanted to get better, whether that meant getting a first-time explanation of how to hit the apex or figuring out where the slightest unnecessary touch on the brakes cost them time.
There was a camaraderie of sorts. Everyone wanted to beat their own times, and of course each other, but the shared excitement of it all came out in the debriefing sessions after each round on the track.
We learned from our instructors and we learned from each other. We also each worked at our own pace. Not every driver had the same tolerance for their time out on the track, and the instructors were keenly aware of our limits.
They had us take breaks, slow down to recollect ourselves, and made sure that we were safe at all times. This is a high-speed experience, but that doesn’t mean you get to hoon around the track like a fool. You’re expected to follow rules that keep everyone safe and ensure everyone gets what they want out of the day.
The whole experience was a ridiculous amount of fun. Our crew of novice drivers was far more capable when we drove home than we were at the start of the day. And every single one of us was ready to sign up and do it again.
Apex Driving Events holds track days at Thompson Speedway, Virginia International Raceway, Lime Rock Park, Watkins Glen, and Palmer Motorsports Park throughout the summer. Check out their schedule of events and sign up to experience the thrill of driving on a racetrack just like the pros.