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Just back from Spring Mountain

 
Old 02-11-2019, 12:56 PM
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Road machine
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Default Just back from Spring Mountain

I just got back from the two day Z06 school at Spring Mountain Motor Sports Park. And after a horrible time getting there it ended up being a great time.
I had planned a 3:10 flight which would get me there by 5:00 Nevada time, which I figure would allow me plenty of time to get to Pahrump and relax. But United Airlines nixed that plan. My flight was delayed 4 1/2 hours (they initially blamed the FAA claiming that they had slowed incoming flights due to a low ceiling but it was obvious right away that was a lie since no other flights were being delayed) we landed in Las Vagas at 9:30 and since two other flights from Newark were on time the three flights arrived within minutes of each other so suddenly every thing was packed, including the bus to the rental center. I asked how much a cab would be since the line was about an hour long and I was told the cab would be about $12.00. Typical to my time in Vegas ( not Pahrump) that would end up being doubled. The cab ended up being money well spent though as I beat the first bus to the rental center and I walked right up to the counter as a huge line formed just behind me. I had reserved what I thought was an Impala but was then told that I was eligible to upgrade to the Impala, and what I had upgraded to was a Camry. I went for the $25 a day upgrade of my initial upgrade for the Impala. As I was very flustered by that point my Waze app started driving me around in circles since it was scrambled from the flight (hint...after flying turn on your waze app and turn it off a few times and it will set properly. Once I took a breath and turned the app off and on a few times it took me to the very easy route to Pahrump in a minute or two. All you need to do is get on route 160 and Spring Mountain is on Rt160.
I got to the facility at 11:30 Nevada time and had to speak to security to get into my Condo. A quick call to security ( press 6 From the main menu) and the guy showed up at the gate and walked me through registration and directions to my room. He was very calming and courteous, and that was just what I needed. I settled in a very nice room and tried to relax so I could get some sleep for a busy next day. Breakfast starts at 6:45 and was very nice with plenty of options and well prepared meals. I then had to go to the class registration which is separate from the registration from the night before which was just for the room. Registration was quick and easy and I got to the class room in plenty of time to relax and take a brisk walk to get the blood flowing. I walked around the man made lake a few times which I guess is about a 1/4 mile per lap.
Class began right on Time and our head instructor was Rico. Rico is a great speaker and teacher and did a great job of getting us through the "boring" part quickly and in an entertaining way. Then we were off to exercises on one of the two sets of skid pads we used. The first exercise my group had ( they break you up into groups of 3 or 4 depending on total class size and the number of students per car type) was the braking exercise. In this exercise they wet the breaking area to exaggerate the slip and reduce speed needed to do the exercise. First we approached some cones at 30 MPH and where told to hit the brakes as hard as we could at the cones. Then we got to feel and see how the anti-lock brakes would react. We then moved on to emergency lane changes (obstacle avoidance) under full braking, to see how the car can still turn under hard emergency braking, as you might have to do when something suddenly is about to get hit by you.
We then switched over to a cone slalom where you slowly move forward until you line up with the cones and then turn to go as close to the cones with the rear tires as you can and set up to do the next cone. There are seven cones and you quickly learn that if you don't set up for the next cone when dealing with the first cone, you can't do that cone right. This exercise is very important to how you will enter, hit the apex and exit a corner all while setting up for the next corner that may be well beyond the one you are currently dealing with.
We then had some more class time and then went to lunch. Lunch was also very well prepared and offered plenty of options. After lunch we altered between time on the track for a bit and some other exercises on the other skip pad. One exercise was a wet figure eight where you see how the car will feel through bad understeer and then bad oversteer. They show you the difference between no traction control at all to the most intrusive, wet mode. That is a fun exercise and I got all my drifting fun out of the way. Next was an exercise on a small oval on a skid pad where all you do is enter and exit corners, with emphasis on hitting your marks for best entry, apex and unwind into exit. Track time was an absolute blast, and they did a great job of setting up groups of like skilled drivers along with cars. I never felt held back by following the instructor, something I was very worried about before taking the class. It is simply amazing how they can drive as fast as they do while watching your every move behind them. They sped up when they saw we could handle higher speeds and they slowed down if they saw we were making mistakes, all while coaching us over the radio.
There was some more class time and discussion of what we felt and saw on the track and then we broke for the day. Pahrump is a nice town and SMMP gives you great advise for places to eat, and there is plenty to do if you want to entertain yourself after class. I wanted to have a quick nice dinner and get some rest, so I went to a winery/ restaurant that was on the list and had a great meal and fine glass of wine. I then went home to get some rest. The only negative experience I had at the resort was the heat and dryness of the room that night. Once I turned down the heat and then opened a window and also hydrated I slept very well. ( also the pillows that are set up on the beds are way to soft for me, and I found some firmer ones in the closet)
The next day was awesome with alternating time on Track and inside class time. They did a whole class on using the PDR, which was great, and allowed me to record all my track time. Track time was even better than the day before as they had moved a slower driver out of our group and we really had some great laps and fun and educational stints.


Take aways: The thing I was most concerned about was paddle shifting on the A8. I have tried using the paddles on the road a bit and was disappointed by the delayed shifts, but on the track where using the paddles make the most sense, the paddles never let me down, shifting when and where I wanted and giving me a great deal of confidence in the car and most of all my choice to go A8. I never had any issue with the car as far as overheat goes but it was pretty cool out so I am sure that was not the best test....but since my home track is Watkins Glen and not some of the hotter southern or California Tracks I hope that will not end up being too much of an issue.

I would highly recommend this class for anyone with a Corvette and especially for any Z06 owners, regardless of whether or not they might track their car. The fear of traction loss is greatly reduced when you get to push these cars past their limits, and experience what happens. The instructors do a great job of separating students into compatible groups....from people who do track days to people who may never go over 80 MPH, and anywhere in between. I never felt held back and the instructors are real drivers who appreciate those who also love to drive and drive fast.

Be careful not to focus on the instructor in front of you. I noticed that even though I know to look past cars in front of me to look as far down the track as I can, sometimes I found myself fixating on the instructors car which would then throw off my positioning since I am not looking at the right places. This would happen the most when trying to see what the line they were taking was.....it is better to use the cones and class instruction to get the line. They also do a couple of laps with you riding along in the car with the instructor driving. that is where you really learn the track, and I only wish they did that on the first day so you can run that back in your head overnight, before you spend the most time on the track.

Give yourself time to get there....My late night ride to the school hid the beautiful ride that I then got to experience on the ride back to Vegas.

Thanks to all the great instructors and people behind the scene that make this a great experience.

Last edited by Road machine; 02-11-2019 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:42 PM
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Thanks for that RM. I am going to Vegas on business and considering paying full pop for the school before I buy the car. I am not sure that I will like a Z06 and I don't want to make a mistake. Since I will be there on business I figure the plane is already covered and I can put a rental on the business trip. It will not cost the whole $3,695 (full pop). It will be something less. Like spending $1,000 to $1,500 extra. Worst case I decide I don't want to buy the car and I enjoyed the school for what it is. Best case it proves to me that it is something I want. I did take a 3 day SCCA licence school years ago at Laguna Seca so a lot of this will be a rehash.

Do you think this school would help you decide if you wanted to buy a Vett if you did not already own one?
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Detroit_Bill View Post
Thanks for that RM. I am going to Vegas on business and considering paying full pop for the school before I buy the car. I am not sure that I will like a Z06 and I don't want to make a mistake. Since I will be there on business I figure the plane is already covered and I can put a rental on the business trip. It will not cost the whole $3,695 (full pop). It will be something less. Like spending $1,000 to $1,500 extra. Worst case I decide I don't want to buy the car and I enjoyed the school for what it is. Best case it proves to me that it is something I want. I did take a 3 day SCCA licence school years ago at Laguna Seca so a lot of this will be a rehash.

Do you think this school would help you decide if you wanted to buy a Vett if you did not already own one?
Well I think that it would make you buy one regardless of if you were even considering one before. These are awesome cars on the track, and they truly shine there. But I highly recommend your course of action.....you certainly will not be able to drive a Corvette on a test drive like that. But I am sure that if you tell them what you are doing they will be able to give you what you are looking for, as far as varieties of cars, transmission type...ZR1, Z06 or Grandsprot etc.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Road machine View Post
I just got back from the two day Z06 school at Spring Mountain Motor Sports Park. And after a horrible time getting there it ended up being a great time.
I had planned a 3:10 flight which would get me there by 5:00 Nevada time, which I figure would allow me plenty of time to get to Pahrump and relax. But United Airlines nixed that plan. My flight was delayed 4 1/2 hours (they initially blamed the FAA claiming that they had slowed incoming flights due to a low ceiling but it was obvious right away that was a lie since no other flights were being delayed) we landed in Las Vagas at 9:30 and since two other flights from Newark were on time the three flights arrived within minutes of each other so suddenly every thing was packed, including the bus to the rental center. I asked how much a cab would be since the line was about an hour long and I was told the cab would be about $12.00. Typical to my time in Vegas ( not Pahrump) that would end up being doubled. The cab ended up being money well spent though as I beat the first bus to the rental center and I walked right up to the counter as a huge line formed just behind me. I had reserved what I thought was an Impala but was then told that I was eligible to upgrade to the Impala, and what I had upgraded to was a Camry. I went for the $25 a day upgrade of my initial upgrade for the Impala. As I was very flustered by that point my Waze app started driving me around in circles since it was scrambled from the flight (hint...after flying turn on your waze app and turn it off a few times and it will set properly. Once I took a breath and turned the app off and on a few times it took me to the very easy route to Pahrump in a minute or two. All you need to do is get on route 160 and Spring Mountain is on Rt160.
I got to the facility at 11:30 Nevada time and had to speak to security to get into my Condo. A quick call to security ( press 6 From the main menu) and the guy showed up at the gate and walked me through registration and directions to my room. He was very calming and courteous, and that was just what I needed. I settled in a very nice room and tried to relax so I could get some sleep for a busy next day. Breakfast starts at 6:45 and was very nice with plenty of options and well prepared meals. I then had to go to the class registration which is separate from the registration from the night before which was just for the room. Registration was quick and easy and I got to the class room in plenty of time to relax and take a brisk walk to get the blood flowing. I walked around the man made lake a few times which I guess is about a 1/4 mile per lap.
Class began right on Time and our head instructor was Rico. Rico is a great speaker and teacher and did a great job of getting us through the "boring" part quickly and in an entertaining way. Then we were off to exercises on one of the two sets of skid pads we used. The first exercise my group had ( they break you up into groups of 3 or 4 depending on total class size and the number of students per car type) was the braking exercise. In this exercise they wet the breaking area to exaggerate the slip and reduce speed needed to do the exercise. First we approached some cones at 30 MPH and where told to hit the brakes as hard as we could at the cones. Then we got to feel and see how the anti-lock brakes would react. We then moved on to emergency lane changes (obstacle avoidance) under full braking, to see how the car can still turn under hard emergency braking, as you might have to do when something suddenly is about to get hit by you.
We then switched over to a cone slalom where you slowly move forward until you line up with the cones and then turn to go as close to the cones with the rear tires as you can and set up to do the next cone. There are seven cones and you quickly learn that if you don't set up for the next cone when dealing with the first cone, you can't do that cone right. This exercise is very important to how you will enter, hit the apex and exit a corner all while setting up for the next corner that may be well beyond the one you are currently dealing with.
We then had some more class time and then went to lunch. Lunch was also very well prepared and offered plenty of options. After lunch we altered between time on the track for a bit and some other exercises on the other skip pad. One exercise was a wet figure eight where you see how the car will feel through bad understeer and then bad oversteer. They show you the difference between no traction control at all to the most intrusive, wet mode. That is a fun exercise and I got all my drifting fun out of the way. Next was an exercise on a small oval on a skid pad where all you do is enter and exit corners, with emphasis on hitting your marks for best entry, apex and unwind into exit. Track time was an absolute blast, and they did a great job of setting up groups of like skilled drivers along with cars. I never felt held back by following the instructor, something I was very worried about before taking the class. It is simply amazing how they can drive as fast as they do while watching your every move behind them. They sped up when they saw we could handle higher speeds and they slowed down if they saw we were making mistakes, all while coaching us over the radio.
There was some more class time and discussion of what we felt and saw on the track and then we broke for the day. Pahrump is a nice town and SMMP gives you great advise for places to eat, and there is plenty to do if you want to entertain yourself after class. I wanted to have a quick nice dinner and get some rest, so I went to a winery/ restaurant that was on the list and had a great meal and fine glass of wine. I then went home to get some rest. The only negative experience I had at the resort was the heat and dryness of the room that night. Once I turned down the heat and then opened a window and also hydrated I slept very well. ( also the pillows that are set up on the beds are way to soft for me, and I found some firmer ones in the closet)
The next day was awesome with alternating time on Track and inside class time. They did a whole class on using the PDR, which was great, and allowed me to record all my track time. Track time was even better than the day before as they had moved a slower driver out of our group and we really had some great laps and fun and educational stints.


Take aways: The thing I was most concerned about was paddle shifting on the A8. I have tried using the paddles on the road a bit and was disappointed by the delayed shifts, but on the track where using the paddles make the most sense, the paddles never let me down, shifting when and where I wanted and giving me a great deal of confidence in the car and most of all my choice to go A8. I never had any issue with the car as far as overheat goes but it was pretty cool out so I am sure that was not the best test....but since my home track is Watkins Glen and not some of the hotter southern or California Tracks I hope that will not end up being too much of an issue.

I would highly recommend this class for anyone with a Corvette and especially for any Z06 owners, regardless of whether or not they might track their car. The fear of traction loss is greatly reduced when you get to push these cars past their limits, and experience what happens. The instructors do a great job of separating students into compatible groups....from people who do track days to people who may never go over 80 MPH, and anywhere in between. I never felt held back and the instructors are real drivers who appreciate those who also love to drive and drive fast.

Be careful not to focus on the instructor in front of you. I noticed that even though I know to look past cars in front of me to look as far down the track as I can, sometimes I found myself fixating on the instructors car which would then throw off my positioning since I am not looking at the right places. This would happen the most when trying to see what the line they were taking was.....it is better to use the cones and class instruction to get the line. They also do a couple of laps with you riding along in the car with the instructor driving. that is where you really learn the track, and I only wish they did that on the first day so you can run that back in your head overnight, before you spend the most time on the track.

Give yourself time to get there....My late night ride to the school hid the beautiful ride that I then got to experience on the ride back to Vegas.

Thanks to all the great instructors and people behind the scene that make this a great experience.
Road Machine!
Thanks for taking the time to write this review. We love to hear that we made your experience with us, a positive one! I've sent to all our folks here at the track who make the school run, as it is many hands that go into it.
We strive to make everyone's time with us memorable, highly educational and fun!
Very much hope you're able to make it back again one day!
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:24 PM
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Yeah that was a great review and will be helpful for my visit next month.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:50 PM
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now ''spring mountain'' needs to offer a cheaper 1 day class for us cheapskates
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by dmaxx3500 View Post
now ''spring mountain'' needs to offer a cheaper 1 day class for us cheapskates
The $1000 price barely covers tire wear.....you want to play you have to pay.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:58 PM
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thanks for the write up
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Old 02-15-2019, 11:18 AM
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Nice review. Thanks
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Detroit_Bill View Post
Thanks for that RM. I am going to Vegas on business and considering paying full pop for the school before I buy the car. I am not sure that I will like a Z06 and I don't want to make a mistake. Since I will be there on business I figure the plane is already covered and I can put a rental on the business trip. It will not cost the whole $3,695 (full pop). It will be something less. Like spending $1,000 to $1,500 extra. Worst case I decide I don't want to buy the car and I enjoyed the school for what it is. Best case it proves to me that it is something I want. I did take a 3 day SCCA licence school years ago at Laguna Seca so a lot of this will be a rehash.

Do you think this school would help you decide if you wanted to buy a Vett if you did not already own one?
I think you would be better off taking a used car on an extended test drive. Driving at a road course under some else’s direction is much different then everyday driving with the car.

its like a fanancy world vrs reality.

But I will say 5 years ago or so my son and I went on a father son memory trip out there, before the driving program. He got home and had to have one!

Last edited by Greg00Coupe; 02-15-2019 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 02-15-2019, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Road machine View Post
The $1000 price barely covers tire wear.....you want to play you have to pay.

Not trying to be a smart a--, but they don't have to pay for tires or brake pads. Sponsors cover those. But I understand your point and meaning, and don't disagree.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:02 PM
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Anybody know what time the classes end on the second day? I would like to drive back to the airport and fly home the same day but need to know what time it ends and about how long to get to the airport. Thanks
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Road machine View Post
The $1000 price barely covers tire wear.....you want to play you have to pay.
You're not kidding. And add to that the condo, meals, professional instruction....$1000 is just a little donation.
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Old Yesterday, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Rctreece
Anybody know what time the classes end on the second day? I would like to drive back to the airport and fly home the same day but need to know what time it ends and about how long to get to the airport. Thanks
Usually around 3p but then you have the graduation/certificate ceremony afterward. If you need to leave by a certain time then let them know. We had someone who had to and they just let him drive off the track after a few laps. They are very accommodating.
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