Welcome back, Corvette friends, to my look at the Corvette Owners School at the https://www.corvetteblogger.com/2021/08/26/corvetteblogger-visits-the-spring-mountain-motor-resort-and-country-club/Spring Mountain Motor Resort. This is where you get to be the Cal Naughton Jr to my Ricky Bobby as I shake and bake around the track in a new Corvette Stingray.
Day 2 of the course is an absolute blast and features more seat time than day 1. Inside the car there’s three more lead/follow sessions, a launch control exercise, and an autocross competition. In the classroom we touched on several topics including more of the C8’s various electronic widgets, early versus late cornering, a personal PDR review with the instructor, and a brief presentation from Spring Mountain’s professional photographer, James Tantillo of ReVision Automedia.
The 2nd day kicked off with a brief review of some more of the electronic controls on the C8. We talked about Stabilitrak, the eLSD, and Launch Control among others. After that James Tantillo from ReVision Automedia presented the various photo packages available for purchase. You’ve seen James’ handywork in many of the “close up” track photos in this series.
Next it was back into the Great White Buffalo and off to the track for our 3rd lead/follow session. Following yesterday’s instructor ride along I was ready to challenge both myself and the C8. With a fresh dose of confidence, I was able to get my best lap time down to 1:32.5 or roughly 7 seconds faster than my previous best lap time.
From the road course we headed right over to the autocross track for 3 practice sessions. The goal here was to apply everything we’d learned so far in a much smaller, tighter track. You could really see how important visual scanning was here. Entering and exiting each corner properly was key as the next corner was on top of you before you knew it. My first run came in at 33.19 and after the 3rd run, I had taken nearly 3 seconds off that time. Overall, I was really impressed (yet again) just how hard you could push the Corvette and it would still stick in the corners.
Once the autocross practice concluded, we retreated to the classroom to discuss early/late corning and how each of these can influence your overall speed and lap times.
Then it was track time again. We hit the road course for the 4th lead/follow session and I was even more comfortable this time. Everything felt right and I was right in the instructor’s tire tracks almost the whole time. As we were pulling into the pits, I noticed on the PDR that my best lap time was 1:25.7. That was 7 seconds faster than the 3rd session and just 4 seconds behind my instructor’s time from yesterday. I got this.
After that we returned to class where the instructor reviewed our PDR video with us asking for our feedback first before providing his. Again, instant feedback is easy to apply, especially when the video is right in front of you. For me, I needed to work on my turn-in timing and being smoother when leaving the brake and switching back to the loud pedal. Now off to lunch.
After another great meal in the clubhouse, it was time for the Launch Control exercise. This one was simple. Stand on the brake, put the gas pedal to the floor, release the brake, and hold on. The result is savage accelerations during which you can really feel the car working to control wheel spin and keep everything moving forward. We did 3 runs each and my best 0-60 time was 3.45s. That’s about ½ second slower than the advertised 0-60 time, but factoring in the 100+ degree temps, my time is understandable.
Next, we took a short break to review our Revision Automedia photos and then took a class photo with my colleagues. The class photo and a PDR SD card are included with every class.
The day wrapped up with yet more seat time. First, we set off for the autocross course. There everyone has 3 shots to take home bragging rights for setting the fastest time. I really wanted to claim the victory here, but in the end, I came home in (I think) the 5th spot in the class of 18 with my best time of the day at 29.63 seconds. No complaints here as I had chopped almost 4 seconds off my first practice run time.
That left just one more lead/follow session to complete my time at Spring Mountain. Having realized how close I was to the instructor’s time I really wanted to go out with a bang here. Unfortunately, I never really got in a full, clean lap during this round. At one point we caught the group ahead of us and had to take a time out so we could create some open space. Even with that delay, I was able to clock a 1:26.99.
The class concluded with a short Tech Talk about some basic C8 Corvette functions like the manual door release and others then went on to cover basic maintenance items such as oil changes and the like. Unfortunately, then it was time to pack up and bid farewell to my new friends. What an amazing couple of days!
The Corvette Owner’s School at Spring Mountain is without a doubt one of the top things I’ve ever done inside of a Corvette. We’ve all heard about the Corvette’s performance, but experiencing it firsthand on a track is hard to explain. You may think you’re driving your Corvette hard on that freeway entrance ramp, but you’re not. You’re not even close. The track is where this thing excels. It’s a euphoric experience just enhanced by the glorious LT2 noises emitted behind you. Once you take delivery of your C8, call right away to get yourself a spot in an upcoming class. Don’t wait until the end of your 1-year window as you may not be able to get into a class.
The curriculum here is phenomenal. It’s a great balance of track and classroom time. The instructors are top-notch. They’re knowledgeable, patient, and it’s obvious they’ve done this a million times. This is a well-oiled machine. There’s virtually no downtime, the instructors rotate in and out seamlessly and are ready to answer a question at any time. I’m still not sure how they give such detailed feedback while racing around the track. If I tried that, I’d be in the weeds in no time at all. The best part is that you (and the instructors) can see your growth from session to session. During class, there’s really no talk about lap times save for the autocross. The focus, rather, is on technique and learning both the car and the track. I included lap times here just to demonstrate what can happen when you heed the instructors’ feedback. This was my first time even sitting in a C8 and within hours I was comfortably hitting triple digits on a real race track. I think that speaks more to the instruction than it does to my driving skills.
My other takeaway here is the people. We often say that we came to the Corvette hobby for the car, but we stayed for the people. After a year and half of Covid, it was so nice to just hang out and meet new folks and talk cars, racing, and everything in between. We cheered each other on and celebrated our growth over the 2 days.
If you’re on the fence about attending a class at Spring Mountain, just go ahead and sign yourself up now. Even though its much less expensive if you own a new Corvette, the classes are open to anyone. Between the staff, the cars, the facility, and your classmates, the Corvette Owners School is something every car enthusiast should experience at least once. I had such a great time and was so amazed by the midengined Stingray that I promptly placed a deposit on a 2022 Corvette a few weeks after attending my class. As soon as that baby arrives next year, I’ll be on my way back out to Spring Mountain for 2 more days of fun.
In the meantime, Doug Fehan or Laura Klauser, give me a call if you need another driver for the C8.R. I’m your guy.
Thanks again to everyone at Spring Mountain that made my time there so enjoyable. Your efforts are very much appreciated!
Photos by Steve Burns, James Tantillo / ReVision Automedia
[VIDEO] The Corvette Owner’s School at Spring Mountain – Day 1
CorvetteBlogger Visits the Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club