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
US TUNE UP FOR ALLSTARS