Driving School
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Since I've been to the track once or twice in my lifetime (literally, and I'm not even sure if it was once or twice since it happened so long ago.) I've been fielding questions from folks who are looking towards attending their first driving school. Most of these are the usual queries about what to bring, how to prepare and what to expect; problems for which I am completely useless. However, I have been frequently asked that age-old question: "how can I leave an large impression on those around me thereby subjugating their will?"  This question is one of remarkable depth that only seems to be superficial, but once you scratch the surface you will realize that there is still more surface to be scratched and eventually, if you keep scratching, you will wind up with a considerable amount of very scratched surface. With that in mind, I, a bit too gleefully, submit the following list of guidelines on how to correctly impress your instructors and fellow drivers at your first driving school. Many of these ideas can be carried along with you as you advance and will leave the very same impression that they did during your first school.  I am quite certain that this is a bad thing but feel free not to quote me on any of this.


Preparation, attire and demeanor:

1.)      At your first school, show up dressed head to toe in nomex. Boast that you are even wearing a nomex thong. If you can, have some colored sequins sewn on in a pattern such as a flaming skull, lightning bolts or stars and stripes. This will let everyone know that you are somebody to be reckoned with and that they would do well to stay clear.

2.)      Never, ever take off your helmet. Intimidation is key. If your face shield is not opaque then wear police style mirrored sunglasses under the visor. If you must remove your helmet, never smile and if you can affect a nervous tic, by all means do so. Speak only in a low, incoherent, guttural grumble.

3.)      Immediately seek out those in your run group. Approach their cars and cast a long slow look at them from top to bottom. Likewise the drivers. Hang your head, slowly shake it two or three times while smacking your forehead with your palm. The demoralization effect that this has is devastating.  If the person fails to respond in the desired fashion, pointing and laughing is permissible.

4.)      Carry four or five fire extinguishers in your car 'just in case it happens again.'

5.)      At the air hose, ask everyone what pressure they are running in their tires. No matter what they say, snort and say "Hmmmph, that's for wimps. I know for a fact that Fangio himself never used less than 55 psi." Alternatively mention that Schumacher never runs more than 20 PSI.

6.)      If there’s a line at the air hose, see if you can get all four tires within .1 PSI of each other. Check them each four times just to make sure.

7.)      Swagger up to your each fellow driver at least twice during the day with your arms akimbo and your chest pushed out as far as you can and growl, in the deepest voice that you can muster with your chest pushed out like that, "Your can is mine, mister!" Employing a bullhorn is encouraged.

8.)      Beep the horn frequently during tech inspection.


During classroom/instructor orientation:

9.)      Tell your instructor that your goals for the school are to consistently get your car to slide around corners sideways like they do on the A-Team.

10.)   Ask teacher during the class if you should turn the car off while it is still tumbling or wait until it comes to a rest because your last instructor was really upset when he had to reach over and switch the key off while he was hanging upside down.

11.)   Ask  when they are going to train you to jump your car.

12.)   Boast to everyone that you’ve been to Le Mans classes. Then prove it by breathing in short intense bursts while grunting.

13.)   Continually inform everyone, “That’s not what they taught me at Joie Chitwood.”


On the track:

14.)   Use your winter tires. If anybody asks, tell them that the head instructor wanted to handicap you to keep you in line with everybody else in the school.

15.)   If the weather is hot, strip out of your nomex and just wear a g-string and a tank top. This is most effective if you have six point harnesses.

16.)   Wear an open face helmet during track time. This allows you to light up a cigarette or, better yet, a cigar. Instructors get really impressed when students do this. It shows them that you are comfortable at speed and besides, the ashes flipped casually out the window or sunroof do much to deter those seeking to pass you.

17.)   Speaking of passing, never ever point anyone by. No matter what they tell you, this is a sign of weakness and lets everybody know that you have been defeated. This holds doubly true if the person behind you is in a car that costs less than yours.

18.)   If your instructor forces you to point someone by, make sure that you do not lift off the throttle. See how deeply into the corner you can force your opponent to go before they brake.

19.)   If you must let someone pass, be sure to inform them, once you are back in the pits, that it was because you were only running on one cylinder.

20.)   On the fastest sweeping corner, jump on the brake hard right at the apex. Once you’ve stopped spinning, laugh at your instructor and say “Made you blink!”

21.)   Just before that big corner with the wall, stomp your foot on the floorboards and say in a panic stricken voice "Noooo braaaakes!" Then yell "Psyche!" and hit the brakes hard.

22.)   Talk with your hands, they are an excellent tool to make sure that those less knowledgeable than you will understand. This is especially important when you are driving on the track.

23.)   Occasionally take both hands off the wheel and yell "Wheeeeeeeee…. I'm flying!"

24.)   While lapping, always keep your left foot on the brake just enough so that the brake light is always on. When questioned about it, state “I don’t want to give away my braking points.”

25.)   Never take the same corner the same way twice. Tell your instructor that it’s to surprise the competition.

26.)   Throw a handful of golf balls in your trunk just before you go out on the track. Or, if you’re especially brave, a single bowling ball. When your instructor asks, say “What noise?”

27.)   Keep repeating to your instructor “I’m an excellent driver. Time for Wapner. Wapner’s on in five minutes. I’m an excellent driver.”

28.)   Never ever turn off your left hand turn signal while on the track. Always stick to the left side of the track on the straights. Flip everybody off who passes you on the right.

29.)   When you are done with your session, crawl out of your car and cower with your hands held up in front of your face. Say to your instructor, loudly enough for everyone to hear, "Puh..Puh.. Please! I'll do anything you ask. Just don't beat me again!"

30.)   After your hot laps, proceed through the pits with the same pace and alacrity that you had on the track. Slide into the paddock noisily by using your emergency brake.



At the end of the day:

31.)   Complain bitterly to the head steward that nothing you learned is going to help your decrease your Ľ mile time.


These are just some of the fun things that you can do to ensure that your first driver school is a memorable one. Rest assured that everyone you encounter will appreciate your efforts to make their day just a little more interesting and that it will be duly noted in your permanent record. Remember, if you’re not having fun, neither are they.