Over the past several months, we've pushed our C5 Z06 through its paces by entering a number of autocross events, and the one thing we've learned above everything else is that the more seat time you get the better you become.
For some-including us-it's a little intimidating to try something new. At first, it seemed like half the time we were concentrating more on trying to not look foolish than actually putting our efforts into wheeling through the course. We've managed to get over it, and now it's just a great atmosphere where you can get a lot of seat time and it's only as competitive as you make it (more so for some), but that's the beauty of it. Unless you're running a particular SCCA class, you have the option of hitting up a wide variety of events ranging from Optima's qualifiers for the Ultimate Street Car series to any number of Goodguys shows.
One thing we learned is that the Z is an extremely capable corner carver with limits above the skill levels of the monkeys behind the wheel-us. Baby steps are what it's all about, and rather than upgrade anything on the chassis just yet, we decided to get some tips from the good folks from the Evolution Performance Driving School, commonly referred as Evo school.
You'll be happy to know that the Evo school is held all over the country, making it relatively easy to find a course in your area to sign up for. And because you're required to drive your own vehicle it makes it that much more affordable. You'll have to check the schedule for dates near you, but we've seen the price average at about $250 for the Phase 1 or 2 courses, and as low as $470 for complete Phase 1 and 2 package. Classes are offered for teens and a more advanced Phase 3 course is also available; we'll leave it to you to find the details on their website. We're going to focus on the course we attended: Phase 1.
Our Phase 1 course was a day-long experience where we got a lot-and we mean a lot-of seat time, thanks in large part to the event's watertight planning. From the moment we arrived, our instructors and head honcho Mike "Junior" Johnson explained the details of the day and they followed it precisely. The day consisted of morning and afternoon sessions with a series of solo drives along with the instructors. If your driving skills are a little more advanced, then the Phase 1 makes for a great refresher. For newbies like us, this course was perfect as it features a combination of race-proven skills, concepts, and techniques to help improve the performance of everyone involved. If you listen well and take heed of their advice, by the end of the day you should see your time improve greatly.
Making our course a bit more interesting was the heavy rain the night before. Even in the morning we experienced a little bit of a drizzle and half expected the school to be called off for the day. It's a good thing we went, because these guys run rain or shine. In reality, the wet grounds only added to the instruction and we got a rare chance to experience a range of road conditions. By the afternoon session, the sun was out and everyone was flying.
In the end, we learned a lot and there was only one drawback: we didn't sign up for the following day's Phase 2 session. That's all right, because you better believe we're signing up the next time the Evo school comes to our neighborhood!
What We Did
Spent the day with national-caliber driving instructors
What We Learned
The key to being fast is driving smoother