Have you ever wondered what it would be like to drive a race car? Have you dreamed of engine rumbling as you lap around the track, whizzing past your competitors, and crossing the finish line first? Of course you have! it's a race fan's favorite dream!
Well, now is the time to make your dream a reality. Companies all over the United States are capitalizing on the recent interest of racing by letting you drive an actual race car or race kart. These aren't one of those "do a lap around the track with an actually race driver driving" events but rather an all out educational and fun experience with you behind the wheel of a real race car at all times.
There are many different companies that provide a race car driving experience in the state of California. Some of these include:
Race Adventures @ Willow Springs Raceway – Rosamond, CA
Race Adventures' main purpose is to cater to the racing enthusiast. Their website states: "We really focus on the person that wants to learn about all the high performance/racecar driving skills like the other schools teach, but in our fun environment with no pressure from our staff or other students." They focus on getting you behind the wheel quickly but with an emphasis on students going at their own pace.
Their "Level 1" class oscillates between classroom sessions where safety and the basics are covered, and behind-the-wheel experience where you can put your knowledge to practice. By the end of the day, expect to be lapping the full track by yourself and having a blast doing it.
The Level 1 classes are held sporadically throughout the year – check their schedule to find out the next time they are in the LA area.
Simraceway Performance Driving Center – Sonoma, CA
If you want a more professional level driving school then Simraceway might fulfill your needs perfectly. Their proprietary curriculum, emphasis on quality time behind the wheel without artificial speed or RPM limits, and state-of-the-art race car will get you up to speed and ready for the races faster than ever.
Their "Stage I" class is a two-day class designed to give you the full experience of racing. Class and track times are well intertwined to give you all of the information you need without boring you and their Formula 3-based FJR-50 racecar and outstanding 1:3 instructor-to-student ratio give you the best racing experience ever.
Jim Hall Kart Racing School – Oxnard, CA
Established in 1982 by world-renown driver Jim Hall, the Jim Hall Kart Racing School is known as the longest-running and most recognized karting school in America. They've taught over 40,000 students how to drive race karts in a fun and safe manner. Best of all, their new state-of-the-art ½ mile track will have you racing in no time!
Their class lengths vary from half day all the way up to a three day class and cater to students as young as 10 years old and 4'8" tall. Vehicle choices include the 100cc Sprint Kart or 125cc TAG (Touch-And-Go) Kart.
Race Karts Inc. – Novato, CA
Founded by Lisa Caceres in 1992, Race Karts Inc caters to racing enthusiasts of all levels. Their seasoned instructors provide quality class instruction and personalized one-on-one coaching while maximizing time behind the wheel – hence the company's emphasis on "a lot of lessons and a lot of laps."
Their "Intro to Karting" is a day-long class designed to teach you the basics of race kart driving while ensuring you are 100% comfortable with what you are doing. Safety is Race Kart Inc's number one concern so they emphasize a self-paced teaching method with plenty of track time to practice what you are learning.
This company also has classes tailored for children as young as five years old. Their kids' courses have a limited number of participants (6 or 12) and use a smaller version of the adult go-kart but still provide the exhilaration of circling a full-size track at full speed.
Face Lane Racing School – Rosamond, CA
Started in 1994 by racing legend Danny McKeever, Fast Lane Racing has a wide array of classes, from beginning racing to advanced lapping. They also have "lapping classes" where you can spend the day doing some major hands-on driving practice. This school also trains trainers, so if you want to teach people how to drive race cars, this is the place to go!
Classes are scheduled through out the year – check their online calendar to find a class and time that fits you best.
Skip Barber Racing School – Salinas, CA
Located on the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the Skip Barber School caters to the recreational racer and the aspiring professional alike. From Formula One racing to everyday driving, there's something for even the most timid driver to learn.
Their "Intro to Racing" includes 60 minutes of behind-the-wheel experience while you learn the basics, including proper race line, race-style downshifts, and advanced braking and cornering techniques. This is a good class to take of you are interested in the idea of racing but don’t know if it's right for you.