Border collies are herders by nature. They get antsy just sitting around the house with nothing to do. Many owners will take their dog to a farm and let it herd sheep for an afternoon, allowing the pooch to do what it was bred to do. It sure beats intervening when the well-intentioned pet tries to herd neighborhood children at the park, which has been known to happen.
Corvette ownership is pretty much the same way—except, of course, for the bit about herding children at the park. What we mean is Corvettes are bred to run fast and hard, and putt-putting around to work and maybe your favorite seafood restaurant on Friday night is the equivalent of letting a border collie sit on the porch all day.
Rather than a field full of sheep, Corvette owners can turn to track-day events to exercise their cars. One of the most enjoyable and skills-enhancing track events we've encountered in recent years is the Katech Track Attack, held at the Autobahn Country Club road course, south of Chicago, in Joliet, Illinois. Given the company's longstanding motorsports involvement—including building Corvette Racing's engines until only a couple of years ago—having Katech overseeing the event is the equivalent of Guy Fieri showing you how to cook a steak on your own grill, as Mike Holmes builds a new deck off the back of your house.
The latest Track Attack brought about 50 cars to the sprawling Autobahn facility. For two days, participants enjoyed expert, in-car instructions from the likes of former Corvette racers Andy Pilgrim and Johnny O'Connell, along with almost unlimited track time. Roc Linkov, the National Corvette Museum instructor for that facility's high-performance driving events, was also on hand. Thoughtfully, participants were grouped into three categories: novice, moderate experience, and experienced, and they didn't mix with one another on the track, which made for safer, stress-free track time.
For Corvette owners who didn't have aspirations of quitting their day job to go racing professionally, the couple days in Joliet scratched an itch that that had been building for quite a while.
"This event is a great way to have fun with a car that has way more capability than cruising down Main Street," says Art Bell. "I don't want to actually race my car competitively, but I want to have fun with it, making the most of what it can do, and improve my driving skills. That's why I'm here."
Bell, who traveled from his home in Maryland, met friends Ron Turnbull, Gary Bowler, and Jim Beaton at Autobahn. They came from New York, Virginia, and Ottawa, Ontario, respectively—and it wasn't the first time.
"The National Corvette Museum's driver academy got a lot of us started, and we've become friends at other track events," says Bell, who says the group has met up at more than a dozen track events across the East Coast, Midwest, and Canada. "The camaraderie factor is a big one when it comes to track days, because these people share your passion and become close friends."
Bell slid behind the wheel of his first Corvette during the C4 generation, and his garage currently contains his fifth and sixth Vettes.
"I had gotten to the age when my wife said I'd either get a mistress or a sports car, so she preemptively bought me a Corvette," he says, laughing. "She probably made the right decision!"
With countless hours of experience at track-day events over the years, Bell says Katech's Track Attack event is different.