Chasing A Dream - How I Got Caught Up In Cars
How I Got Caught Up In Cars
How did I get caught up in cars? I never really thought about it until I started writing this article. My dad had a 1967 mustang that he was always working on. He had it since he was in college and didn't drive it around much. I remember looking under the hood and seeing so much space to work around the engine.
But I wasn't driving back then. I was, however, an adrenaline junkie. At the age of six I was water skiing off a rowboat with a small outboard motor in the summer, and downhill snow skiing in the winter. I was racing small boats and large ski boats with my friends on the lake long before I was old enough to drive a car.
Phase 1 - Obsessed Gamer
As I became an older adrenaline junkie I started rock climbing and scuba diving. When I wasn't working I was traveling, and on the down time I was a gamer. I loved 'Need For Speed Most Wanted' and 'Gran Turismo' and put hundreds of hours on the virtual tracks in various cars.
Phase 2 - Exotic Car Experience
Eventually I had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Ferrari Scuderia on the track at Disney World's Exotic Driving Experience. I felt very comfortable finding the driving line, apexes and calculating the maximum speed for each corner.
Phase 3 - Go To Lots And Lots Of Car Shows And Events, And Get Involved
I caught the bug and started going to car events. I like cars, but I don't love them (although I have my favorites). I DO love driving them though! I soon became friends with Stewart Sensor the founder of Orlando Cars & Coffee, a monthly car social meet. I started asking a lot of questions and followed him around the event, helping out where I could. Soon I was involved and Stewart hired me as the creative director. I began recruiting talent from Full Sail University and other local colleges looking for videographers, photographers and post production help. Eventually our event was attracting over 1000 participants and we were running out of room for spectators.
I was also concentrating on our social media marketing, creating content, sharing 'hot off the press' auto news and helping to develop additional events like rallys and trips to other major shows in Florida. I was networking and soon became friends with Matt Moreman. Matt was just a regular guy with a Porsche who was shooting video of how he detailed his vehicles. He had an idea to start a group call Obsessed Garage on Facebook and asked me to be a moderator. Matt has done an amazing job and now has over 112k YouTube subscribers and is quite successful.
Phase 4 - Track Day Road Course At Daytona
In 2015 I had the opportunity to drive the road course at Daytona, thanks to Jeff and Jimmy Ippoliti founders of Celebration Exotic Car Festival. It was exhilarating driving a 2015 Corvette Stingray around the road course at speed with traffic (Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches). I put over 200 miles on the car and drove over 173mph. I was shaking with adrenaline at the end of each session and couldn't get enough. By the end of the day, I was exhausted.
Phase 5 - Graduate From Skip Barber Racing School
I had heard of Skip Barber racing school and was always interested but never had the money to attend. I researched the history of Skip Barber and it was quite impressive.
A Little History Of Skip Barber Racing School
Since 1975, Skip Barber had operated a fully integrated system of racing schools, driving schools, racing championships, corporate events and special projects across North America. No other organization delivered such a combination of high quality instruction, equipment, facilities and memorable experiences.
Celebrity Drivers & Graduates
Bill Elliott, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Joe Nemechek, Juan Pablo Montoya, Mike Wallace, Paul Newman.
“When it was time for my kids to go to racing school, we did a lot of research. I believe that they got the most out of the Skip Barber Racing School because the training quality and equipment used is superior and very consistent.”
Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Patrick Dempsey, Drew Carey, Richard Dean Anderson, Emilio Esteves, Billy Idol, Al Pacino, Meat Loaf, Jerry Seinfeld, Charlie Sheen,
A gift from my wife and family greatly changed the direction to the next chapter of my life: a three-day course at the Skip Barber Racing School.
Guaranteed smiles inside every helmet! A sure way to make your client-guests really appreciate you.
— Sports Illustrated
40 Years Of Creating Champions
After 40 years, Skip Barber interviews graduates and asks how Skip Barber Racing School has played a role in their lives.
Last Christmas my wife surprised me with some Sparco racing shoes and a gift certificate to Skip Barber Racing School! In January I was at Roebling Road Raceway attending my first class! We spent the early mornings in the classroom and the afternoons on the track. There were only three other students in my class and there were three instructors.
The cars were manual and the heel-toe down shifting took a little practice. I had no trouble trail braking into the chicane with my past experience at Daytona. One of the greatest lessons was learning how to control skids. I had never spun out in a car before and we were encouraged to do so (in a controlled environment) to learn how to react appropriately. This was both good and bad. The good news was, I now knew what it felt like to spin out and Roebling Road was a more forgiving track (being mostly flat and surrounded by grass). The bad news was, I was pushing harder than ever before.
The class was amazing and left me wanting more. I was happy to be a graduate!
More Car Shows - Amelia Concours D'Elegance 2017
In March we celebrated my wife's birthday at Amelia's Concours D'Elegance. We submerged ourselves in the car culture and networked. There we met Hurley Haywood who gave us a hot lap in a Porsche GT3RS on the Navy base runway.
Hurley Haywood (born May 4, 1948) is an American race-car driver. He is said to be America's most decorated endurance driver in history. Hurley has won multiple events, including five overall victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, three at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and two at the 12 Hours of Sebring. He is credited with the 1988 Trans-Am title, two IMSA GT Championship titles and 23 wins, three Norelco Cup championships, a SuperCar title and 18 IndyCar starts.
He won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1977 (Porsche 936), 1983 (Porsche 956) and 1994 (Dauer 962 Le Mans) and is tied as the most successful driver at the 24 Hours of Daytona with 5 wins (1973, 1975, 1977, 1979, and 1991). He won the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1973 and 1981. He also drove in the 1980 Indianapolis 500 finishing 18th. He represented IMSA four times in the International Race of Champions (1986, 1989, 1992, 1995). In 1970, he was drafted into the Vietnam War where he served as Specialist 4. After completing his tour of duty, he won his first IMSA GT title in 1971. After Peter H. Gregg's death, Haywood has been the main leader behind Brumos Automotive dealerships. He is the chief driving instructor at the Porsche Sport Driving School, held at the Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, Alabama.
I also had the chance to meet Roberto Guerrero
Roberto Guerrero is a former racing driver from Colombia. He participated in 29 Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on 23 January 1982.
The Job Opportunity
I also met Troy Macias of Championship Touring who told me about the tour company that he founded. His company offers track days at the Nurburgring and Spa Francorchamps with over 130 cars to choose from. I became VERY interested. This would be another opportunity to take my experience from the gaming console to the track. I asked to jump on board and join his team with an offer to develop a California trip that I had been working on for a while. I walked him through the tour idea, he liked the proposal and I was hired.
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Through the grapevine I had heard that Skip Barber racing school might be closing and I really didn't want to miss the opportunity to take the advanced racing class. I signed up to take the advanced class with their sequential shifting formula cars and in June of 2017 I headed to AMP (Atlanta Motorsports Park). Every seat in the classroom was taken. The track was very interesting. You could feel a strange tension in the air as this might be the last class for Skip Barber.
We had the usual classroom time in the morning with track time in the afternoons. We focused on the differences of the formula cars and the intricacies of the track. We also focused on drafting and passing. We spent time on the skid pad and was corrected on multiple occasions as I perfected drifting when we were supposed to be working on reacting to skids. Although the days seemed long, the course was over before we knew it and was a proud graduate.
The network that I was creating through Skip Barber was great and the instructors were amazing! Some of the instructors that I met lived close by in Florida and I have remained in touch.
Divina was my instructor at Skip Barber Racing and Skip Barber Advanced Formula Racing schools. She was insightful, patient and an overall pleasure to learn from.
Divina competed in four Winter Olympics as a skier, captaining the British Women’s Olympic Ski Team in 1968 and 1972. She also pursued a career in motorsport, entering three Formula One World Championship Grands Prix.
Devin was one of my instructors at Skip Barber Racing School and is an active racing driver
Devin is an American professional stock car and sports car racing driver. He currently races in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, driving the No. 31 Porsche Cayman for Bodymotion Racing.
Peter is a friend and former instructor at Skip Barber who at met at Celebration Exotic Car Festival
Peter Argetsinger participated in numerous junior open wheel racing formula in the late 1970s and early 1980s, finishing 14th in the 1980 Formula Ford Festival. He competed in the British Formula 3 Championship in 1982 and finished 19th in points. While in Britain he served as a racing instructor at Brands Hatch racing school. In the mid-1980s he switched to sports car racing, largely in the United States. He drove in the 12 Hours of Sebring as well as the 24 Hours of Daytona - driving a Mazda RX-7 in 1997, a Pillbeam prototype in 2001, and a Chevrolet Corvette in 2004. He won the inaugural Petit Le Mans in 1998. In 2007 he competed in the Koni Challenge Series. - wiki
Here Are Some Good Skip Barber Instructor Videos From Various USA Tracks
Skip Barber had locations at many of the historical tracks across the US. Here are some instructional laps at Luguna Seca, Lime Rock and Road Atlanta.
A Call To Action - I'm Your Driver - Contact Me
If you need a driver for your team please let me know! I live in the Ft Lauderdale FL area and am eager to race!
I am also looking for related work in social media and other car related ventures.
Thank you for your time and welcome to the tribe!