TRAIN­ING DAY

Automobile - - All - Stars 2018 - By MAC MOR­RI­SON pho­tog­ra­phy by WIL­LIAM WALKER

JUST AS YOU find in the gen­eral car-driv­ing and car-en­thu­si­ast pop­u­la­tion, the au­to­mo­tive press corp is com­posed of in­di­vid­u­als rep­re­sent­ing an ex­pan­sive range of driv­ing skills and ex­pe­ri­ence. Our staff and group of con­trib­u­tors are no dif­fer­ent, rep­re­sented by track-day rook­ies all the way to a pro­fes­sional cham­pi­onship-win­ning sports car driver and ev­ery­thing in be­tween. To help hone ev­ery­one’s tech­nique and ap­proach to driv­ing prior to tack­ling Mount Charleston and Speed­ve­gas, the folks be­hind the new Toy­ota Driv­ing Academy stepped up and gave us a day of in­struc­tion on the Streets of Wil­low Springs cir­cuit in Cal­i­for­nia.

Or­ga­nized by a com­pany known as Dan Gard­ner Spec, Toy­ota’s academy is a new in­ter­nal train­ing pro­gram not open to the pub­lic (see side­bar). The Au­to­mo­bile staff was the first group to go through the cur­ricu­lum con­ceived by com­pany founder, racer, and au­to­mo­tive per­for­mance en­tre­pre­neur Dan Gard­ner and pro­fes­sional GT-cham­pi­onship-win­ning race car driver Craig Stan­ton.

We be­gan the day with a se­ries of ex­er­cises, from proper use of ABS to crash-avoid­ance ma­neu­vers, fol­lowed by time on a large skid­pad and par­tial lap­ping of the Streets of Wil­low to learn proper apex points. The begin­ners among us re­al­ized quickly there is far more to find­ing speed and con­trol be­hind the wheel than just nail­ing the throt­tle and hav­ing quick hands; our more ex­pe­ri­enced folks ben­e­fited from ap­ply­ing the­o­ries they knew al­ready in a con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment with top-flight in­struc­tion from the pros rid­ing shot­gun in the 86s and new Cam­rys used by the Academy.

THE TOY­OTA DRIV­ING ACADEMY HELPED

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