Lexus Efficiency Driving College At Laguna Seca: A Fast Path To Higher Driving

Regardless if you happen to spend most of your time on the street commuting or driving supercars for {a magazine}, it’s straightforward for all of us to create a false sense that our driving expertise are a lot increased than they honestly are. In my case, driving six-figure rocket ships weekly definitely creates that feeling. Nevertheless, we seldom have a spot to place these expertise to the take a look at and be taught from the professionals on tips on how to turn out to be that driver we think about ourselves to be. 

Enter the Lexus Efficiency Driving College. When the representatives from the Japanese carmaker reached out for me to attend their faculty hosted at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, I jumped on the probability. The thought is easy, for a charge of $995, you get a day on the observe working by varied driving workouts and classroom time with skilled instructors. After a day driving one of the best components of Lexus’ present lineup at velocity, it’s clear that this faculty is a correct fast path to higher driving.

My time with Lexus started properly earlier than I ever reached the observe. As a substitute of flying, I drove a 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Efficiency from Los Angeles to Monterey. With 5 hours on the street to get there, I received a good chance to get accustomed to the platform, and its unimaginable 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8. As soon as on the observe, I checked in and went straight right into a room with breakfast and refreshments on provide forward of the primary briefing. 

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Half 1: Autocross

After a fast introduction to this system and a short dialogue about security, my group went into the primary classroom. Whereas our first train of the day can be the autocross course, the parents at Lexus took the time to offer us a fast overview of some fundamentals of quick driving. From weight switch to optimum braking factors, this transient chat with our instructors arrange the group properly earlier than getting within the automobiles. 

As soon as out on the autocross course, I used to be shocked to be taught that Lexus upgraded final yr’s group of IS 350s to the brand-new IS 500. These automobiles had been so new that the one I drove had simply three miles on the odometer after I received behind the wheel. The course was quick, easy, and tons of enjoyable. Every driver will get three runs by the timed autocross course. Fortunately, we revisited this train after lunch, the place we received three timed runs. 

Since the entire driving occurred in a managed surroundings, the entire drivers in my group really started to push the IS 500. Whereas knocking over cones added valuable seconds to our runs, determining how shut you could possibly get to them at velocity was a rewarding expertise. After many makes an attempt, I managed to snag the quickest time in my group. Nevertheless, earlier than we completed with the autocross course, skilled racing driver Scott Pruett took me for a spin across the course, dropping precious bits of driving data alongside the way in which. 

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Half 2: Skidpad

After finishing our run by the tight and technical autocross course, it was time to check our automotive management expertise with the skidpad. As its identify suggests, the skidpad is a flat open part of asphalt coated with water, permitting a rear-drive automotive to slip effortlessly. The Lexus RC F stepped into the ring for this second and maybe most rewarding train. 

Like with the autocross train, our crew received extra classroom time going over the basics of drifting and tips on how to provoke and preserve a slide. Nevertheless, this time we had radios within the automotive so instructors might watch from afar and provides us suggestions. Regardless of how troublesome it appears on paper, sliding the RC F on the skidpad was surprisingly easy, concurrently educating us correct steering wheel and throttle manipulation. It’s one factor to slip a automotive briefly, however sustaining a slide as you go in circles certainly requires focus. 

As I bounced off the rev limiter for minutes at a time, I questioned how these RC Fs survived any such abuse and whether or not they wanted explicit upkeep schedules. To my shock, my teacher confirmed that regardless of working this system for a number of years, they’d by no means misplaced a automotive because of a mechanical fault. 

In contrast to the autocross train, we didn’t get a second go on the skidpad. Nevertheless, the day was flying by in all equity, and there genuinely wasn’t sufficient time for one more spherical. Regardless, studying to manage a slide persistently can have severe real-world advantages, particularly in case of a lack of management because of rain or snow. 

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Half 3: Monitor Driving

The very best a part of the day was the on-track driving throughout two classes. This meant taking the beautiful Lexus LC 500 by varied laps round WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Fortunately, this was the majority of the day. Nevertheless, as with the opposite workouts, we received loads of classroom time. There was even a consultant from Michelin to stroll us by the tire tech and their limitations. 

Our first time on observe noticed the group training lead/observe driving and laborious braking situations. Because the program’s coordinators saved observe of who the quickest drivers had been, they cut up the group based mostly on velocity. This meant going out on the observe with one teacher per three attendees. Given my efficiency on the autocross course, I ended up within the quickest group, which allowed us to get on the observe and get some quick laps in. 

As my teacher within the Lexus GS F in entrance seen I used to be nonetheless on his again bumper, he saved pushing tougher. This can be a nice setup as a result of the teacher can tailor the expertise based mostly in your driving degree. These LC 500’s by no means missed a beat just like the RC F. Even after a number of sizzling laps, their brakes retained most of their efficiency, regardless of getting a bit smokey. 

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Closing Ideas

On paper, $995 might look like rather a lot for a day of enjoyable. Nevertheless, given the entire workouts we had an opportunity to expertise mixed with the wonderful hospitality and data on provide, that worth is a little bit of a steal. The easiest way to do that program is with shut mates. That method, you’ll be able to race in opposition to each other and even go on observe collectively. Nevertheless, going by your self has its advantages. I managed to attach with varied Lexus homeowners and get a way of the possession expertise.

After finishing driving faculty, the enjoyable doesn’t cease. Lexus additionally affords an elevated driving program known as Grasp Class. This second program is barely out there after finishing the primary and dives a lot deeper into dealing with dynamics whereas spending extra time on the observe. Because of this, there’s one thing for everybody on the driving faculty, no matter talent degree. Given the possibility, I might do it once more in a heartbeat. 

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Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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