We all like to think we’re good drivers, but we don’t always put our ‘skills’ to the test. As a driver or rider, we should never stop learning.
IAM RoadSmart’s Skills Days not only allow you to test yourself as a driver in a safe environment, but also ensure you learn some top driving tips from the pros to help you to be more confident and assured in your ability to handle different every day driving challenges.
When you join a Skills Day you use your own car or motorcycle, guided by a qualified instructor on one of four iconic racing circuits: Mallory Park, Thruxton, Croft or Blyton Park. You work with instructors – either one-to-one or in small groups, who help you fully understand what your car or bike is capable of on the track.
And last year IAM RoadSmart launched and hosted Skills Day Plus, which featured all the fun and driving know-how of the Skills Days but with the added excitement of getting the chance to sit alongside a British Touring Car Team driver for a ‘hot lap’ in a racing spec BMW.
To find out a little more about it we spoke to IAM RoadSmart member Hugh Raynor who went along with his VW Golf R.
Says Hugh: “The day started with a short, but insightful track safety briefing and then we went out as passengers with the professionals for a hot lap in a race spec BMW M2. It was incredibly good, and you simply wouldn’t be able to replicate that yourself.
“Next we were teamed up with another driver and instructors took us out in our own cars, with road tyres and brakes to drive three to four laps of the circuit,” adds Hugh who has a Masters with Distinction in Advanced Driving and is a Local Observer.
“There were all kinds of cars on the day, one person brought their Mondeo, someone else was even in their Bentley Continental GT…the instructors helped us get a feel for how our car performed and felt and gave us confidence to really find out what they were capable of.
Hugh made a video of his laps and watching them you can see his progression during each lap. He says testing themselves and their cars on a professional circuit makes many drivers realise that they go into corners too fast and leaves them no time to steer. “At Skills Day you learn with corners, it’s ‘slow in, fast’ out and looking back at the videos of my laps you realise those teachings work.”
Adds Hugh: “The biggest takeaway for me was that everything I have done on the courses I’ve completed with IAM RoadSmart was applicable on my laps at the Skills Day.”
Hugh would certainly recommend a Skills Day – and Skills Day Plus with the professional drivers: “It was absolutely fantastic to feel the incredible skill of the BTCC drivers and the terrific g-forces they contend with. I also had an absolute blast with Phil taking my car around the track. His experiences shone through, and it was evident he had a wealth of passion and knowledge with on-track coaching.”