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

Regardless should you 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 abilities 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 abilities to the take a look at and be taught from the professionals on change into 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 college hosted at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, I jumped on the likelihood. The concept is straightforward, for a charge of $995, you get a day on the monitor operating via numerous driving workout routines and classroom time with skilled instructors. After a day driving the most effective elements of Lexus’ present lineup at velocity, it’s clear that this college is a correct fast path to raised driving.

My time with Lexus started nicely earlier than I ever reached the monitor. 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 street to get there, I obtained a great opportunity to get conversant in the platform, and its unbelievable 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8. As soon as on the monitor, I checked in and went straight right into a room with breakfast and refreshments on supply 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 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 obtained behind the wheel. The course was quick, 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 obtained three timed runs. 

Since all the driving befell in a managed surroundings, all the drivers in my group actually 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 priceless 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 automotive management abilities with the skidpad. As its title 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 obtained extra classroom time going over the basics of drifting and provoke and keep a slide. Nonetheless, this time we had radios within the automotive so instructors might 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 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 operating this system for a number of years, that they had by no means misplaced a automotive as a consequence of a mechanical fault. 

Not like 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 an additional spherical. Regardless, studying to manage a slide constantly can have severe real-world advantages, particularly in case of a lack of management as a consequence of rain or snow. 

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Half 3: Observe Driving

The most effective a part of the day was the on-track driving throughout two periods. This meant taking the gorgeous Lexus LC 500 via numerous laps round WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Fortunately, this was the majority of the day. Nonetheless, as with the opposite workout routines, we obtained 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 monitor noticed the group training lead/observe driving and exhausting braking situations. For the reason that program’s coordinators stored monitor of who the quickest drivers had been, they cut up the group based mostly on velocity. This meant going out on the monitor 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 monitor 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 stored pushing more durable. 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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Last Ideas

On paper, $995 might appear to be rather a lot for a day of enjoyable. Nonetheless, given all the workout routines we had an opportunity to expertise mixed with the superb hospitality and data on supply, that worth is a little bit of a steal. The easiest way to do that program is with shut associates. That approach, you’ll be able to race in opposition to each other and even go on monitor collectively. Nonetheless, going by your self has its advantages. I managed to attach with numerous Lexus house owners and get a way of the possession expertise.

After finishing driving college, the enjoyable doesn’t cease. Lexus additionally gives an elevated driving program referred to 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 monitor. Consequently, there’s one thing for everybody on the driving college, no matter ability degree. Given the possibility, I’d 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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