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

Regardless when you spend most of your time on the street commuting or driving supercars for {a magazine}, it’s simple for all of us to create a false sense that our driving expertise are a lot increased than they really are. In my case, driving six-figure rocket ships weekly definitely creates that feeling. Nonetheless, we seldom have a spot to place these expertise to the take a look at and study from the professionals on methods to turn out 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 straightforward, for a charge of $995, you get a day on the monitor working by way of varied driving workout routines and classroom time with skilled instructors. After a day driving one of the best elements of Lexus’ present lineup at pace, it’s clear that this faculty is a correct fast path to higher driving.

My time with Lexus started nicely earlier than I ever reached the monitor. 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 bought a great opportunity to get aware of 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 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 present 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 vehicles. 

As soon as out on the autocross course, I used to be shocked to study that Lexus upgraded final 12 months’s group of IS 350s to the brand-new IS 500. These vehicles have been so new that the one I drove had simply three miles on the odometer once I bought behind the wheel. The course was brief, easy, and tons of enjoyable. Every driver will get three runs by way of the timed autocross course. Fortunately, we revisited this train after lunch, the place we bought three timed runs. 

Since all the driving passed off in a managed setting, all the drivers in my group actually started to push the IS 500. Whereas knocking over cones added valuable seconds to our runs, determining how shut you possibly can get to them at pace 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 best way. 

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Half 2: Skidpad

After finishing our run by way of the tight and technical autocross course, it was time to check our automotive management expertise 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 group bought extra classroom time going over the basics of drifting and methods to provoke and keep a slide. Nonetheless, this time we had radios within the automotive so instructors might watch from afar and provides us suggestions. 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 the sort of abuse and whether or not they wanted specific upkeep schedules. To my shock, my teacher confirmed that regardless of working this system for a number of years, that they had by no means misplaced a automotive resulting from 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 regulate a slide constantly can have severe real-world advantages, particularly in case of a lack of management resulting from 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 beautiful Lexus LC 500 by way of varied laps round WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Fortunately, this was the majority of the day. Nonetheless, as with the opposite workout routines, we bought loads of classroom time. There was even a consultant from Michelin to stroll us by way of the tire tech and their limitations. 

Our first time on monitor noticed the group working towards lead/observe driving and exhausting braking situations. For the reason that program’s coordinators saved monitor of who the quickest drivers have been, they cut up the group based mostly on pace. 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 observed 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 stage. 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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Remaining Ideas

On paper, $995 could seem 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 provide, that worth is a little bit of a steal. The easiest way to do that program is with shut associates. That method, you may race towards each other and even go on monitor collectively. Nonetheless, going by your self has its advantages. I managed to attach with varied Lexus house owners and get a way of the possession expertise.

After finishing driving faculty, the enjoyable doesn’t cease. Lexus additionally provides an elevated driving program known as Grasp Class. This second program is simply obtainable after finishing the primary and dives a lot deeper into dealing with dynamics whereas spending extra time on the monitor. In consequence, there’s one thing for everybody on the driving faculty, no matter ability stage. 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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