The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Arizona recently became the official driving school of Dodge and SRT. The one of a kind partnership allows all customers who buy a new 2015 or 2016 model SRT is to receive a full-day session of high-performance driving with professional instructors and time on a race track.
Luckily, we were recently given the opportunity to experience a session, and here’s what we learned.
Stage 1 – Skid Car: We learned how to properly control the car when it loses traction and goes into a skid. The Charger Hellcat was attached to a rig that acted like training wheels for when we skid around. An instructor was present with us in the passenger seat to guide us on how to properly correct and stabilize the vehicle. We must say sitting in the back seat while someone else drove felt like we were in the T-cup ride at Disneyland. But, we survived.
Stage 2 – Accident Avoidance: After we did a few figure eights in the skid car, it was time to learn how to react in emergency situations, such as avoiding an object on the freeway or child running into the street just to name a few. The course was laid out in a shape of a fork with cones. The instructor controlled lights at the end of the straight away, and at last-minute, would switch two lights to red (meaning not to go into those lanes) and one light green that would determine the lane we needed to swerve into. Starting out at 30 mph, the car handled our sudden movements when maneuvering into the correct lane. Each time our instructors asked us to increase our speeds in increments of 5 mph, leaving us at 45 mph on our last run. Basically, DON’T HIT THE CONES.
Stage 3 – Auto Cross: We passed avoiding accidents with a few knocked over cones, but don’t worry no one got hurt! Now, we put our skills to the real test. Auto Cross is a small track that use cones to map out the track. The objective was to get through the course as fast as possible without hitting any cones. Since we were the last car to go, we put everything we had into the car and hauled ass around the track. We got a bit comfortable though, and spun out on our last turn, but guess what? We knew how to handle and correct the car right away because of our training at the skid cars.
Stage 4 – Lead and Follow: We were next sent to the big boy track where we were able to drive the Challenger and Charger Hellcats and the Viper GT in a lead and follow exercise. The objective of this course was to follow and replicate the instructor that showed us the proper driving line, braking and acceleration points throughout the track. Our goal was not to be the one at the end of the line driving slow.
Stage 5 – Hot lap with an experienced driver: BONUS STAGE! I mean who doesn’t want to ride along experienced driver? Our first ride along was in a Challenger Hellcat drifting along the track and doing a full 360 spin at the end was a lot of fun! We then hopped into the fastest street legal car the Viper ACR and it had one hell of a bite!
Special thanks to Dodge and The Bob Bonduruant School of High Performance Driving for all of the fun and hospitality this is definitely one for the books. For more info, visit Bondurant.com or Dodge.com.