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

Regardless in case you spend most of your time on the highway 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 greater than they really are. In my case, driving six-figure rocket ships weekly actually creates that feeling. Nonetheless, we seldom have a spot to place these expertise to the check and be taught from the professionals on learn how to grow to be that driver we think about ourselves to be. 

Enter the Lexus Efficiency Driving Faculty. 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 likelihood. The thought is easy, for a price of $995, you get a day on the observe working via varied driving workouts and classroom time with skilled instructors. After a day driving the perfect elements 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 an alternative of flying, I drove a 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Efficiency from Los Angeles to Monterey. With 5 hours on the highway to get there, I received a superb opportunity to get aware of 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 quick dialogue about security, my group went into the primary classroom. Whereas our first train of the day could be the autocross course, the oldsters at Lexus took the time to provide 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 stunned to be taught that Lexus upgraded final 12 months’s group of IS 350s to the brand-new IS 500. These automobiles have been so new that the one I drove had simply three miles on the odometer once I received behind the wheel. The course was brief, easy, and tons of enjoyable. Every driver will get three runs via the timed autocross course. Fortunately, we revisited this train after lunch, the place we received three timed runs. 

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

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Half 2: Skidpad

After finishing our run via the tight and technical autocross course, it was time to check our automobile 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 automobile 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 group received extra classroom time going over the basics of drifting and learn how to provoke and preserve a slide. Nonetheless, this time we had radios within the automobile so instructors may watch from afar and provides us ideas. Regardless of how tough it appears on paper, sliding the RC F on the skidpad was surprisingly easy, concurrently instructing us correct steering wheel and throttle manipulation. It’s one factor to slip a automobile 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 this sort of 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 automobile as a result of a mechanical fault. 

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

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Half 3: Monitor Driving

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

Our first time on observe noticed the group working towards lead/observe driving and onerous braking eventualities. For the reason that program’s coordinators stored observe of who the quickest drivers have been, they break 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 observed I used to be nonetheless on his again bumper, he stored pushing tougher. It is a nice setup as a result of the trainer 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 scorching laps, their brakes retained most of their efficiency, regardless of getting a bit smokey. 

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Ultimate Ideas

On paper, $995 could look like loads for a day of enjoyable. Nonetheless, given all the workouts we had an opportunity to expertise mixed with the wonderful hospitality and data on provide, that value is a little bit of a steal. One of the best ways to do that program is with shut associates. That method, you’ll be able to race in opposition to each other and even go on observe collectively. Nonetheless, 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 referred to as Grasp Class. This second program is just 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 ability 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 Vehiclenews.net, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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