This program had its beginning back in 2005 soon after VRG was founded, when Ed Valpey put together our first Driver School at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In 2009, the Driver School moved to Summit Point Motorsports Park where it continues to this day. In 2017 Denny Austin was appointed Chief Instructor and a partnership with the Summit Point Training Facility began. This partnership led to refinement of our car control exercises, something that uniquely differentiates the VRG program from other racing schools. We also implemented a training program for our instructor cadre where they learn professional-level techniques for adapting their instruction to the needs and level of the individual student. With this ability to broadly meet the interests of our members, in 2022. the VRG Driver School was renamed and rebranded as the VRG Driver Development Program.
For 2024 the VRG Driver Development program is taking a little detour from years past. We are offering our annual Drivers School for novice drivers looking for a Competition License for Vintage Racing, plus, our Advanced School for more experienced racers looking to sharpen their skills will be available on an “as available” basis. Both programs will run concurrently, May 14 through May 16, immediately preceding the Jefferson 500.
Applications are now being accepted. You’ll want to get yours in as soon as possible as there are a limited number of seats available. https://msreg.com/VRGSchool2024
Highly regarded amongst our peers, the VRG school is a once-a-year opportunity for you, or someone you know, to get started on the path to becoming a fully credentialed Vintage racer.
Novice racers will attend the Drivers School. The curriculum includes handouts for home study prior to the School. Like everything else in life, the more you put into this, the more you get out. The study guides provide a solid foundation for the skills we will be teaching. You will be contacted by your instructor prior to the school, and perhaps be asked to participate in a Zoom meeting or two to make sure everyone is fully prepared to get the most out of the School.
Once you arrive at Summit Point the afternoon before the School, you will meet your instructor face to face, along with the other students. In the classroom we instill the VRG philosophy of Vintage Racing, while covering the basics of wheel-to-wheel racing. On track, our novice students will perform car control exercises, including Threshold Braking and Slalom exercises. Additionally, you will be put in one of the tracks venerable Crown Vics and go slide around the skid pad. Students will be introduced to the Summit Point main circuit, first in ride-alongs with instructors driving the line, then perform lead-follow exercises in your race car to learn the racing line. Once you have an idea where the track goes, you progress to open track exercises where you will get comfortable driving at speed in close proximity to your competitors, practice starts, react to flags, and ultimately finish with a real race.
Successful completion of the Drivers School earns our novice drivers a VRG Provisional Competition License. After completing three VRG events (plus getting some worker experience) the Provisional License becomes a full Competition License recognized by all VMC member clubs. As an added bonus, graduates of the Drivers School are eligible to run the Jefferson 500 immediately following the school and completing the Jefferson 500 counts as your first race weekend!
Experienced licensed racers looking to raise their skill levels may participate in our newly developed Advanced School, which will run concurrently with the Novice program this year. This will replace our 1 day Advanced Clinic which had to be canceled this year due to circumstances beyond our control. We intend to offer this opportunity to licensed racers on an “as available” basis, to work on advanced skills training with personal coaching. Students attending the Advanced School will report to a separate classroom from the Drivers School students, with instructors specifically chosen for their knowledge and advanced racecraft skills.
The school accepts drivers with VRG eligible vintage race cars only. In order to get the most out of your VRG Driver School experience it is important to have a reliable race car that you can complete all the exercises in. If the thought of putting your race car through its paces for a driver’s school is too much to bear, consider renting a race car. Many students have had great experiences in the school in rental rides and we offer a couple of suggestions on the MSR registration link for those who wish to go that route. Keep in mind these vendors typically sell out, so again, signing up as soon as possible is highly recommended.
Which brings us to the fine print.
All students must be VRG members, hold a valid driver’s license from their state of residence, minors are required to have a parent of guardian sign a waiver. All students who apply are placed on a waitlist until such time as their application is reviewed and accepted by the school. You will not be charged until your application is accepted. Applicants who cancel on or before Sunday April 7th will receive a full refund. Applicants who cancel after midnight Sunday April 7th will NOT receive a refund unless we have an applicant available to fill the slot.
All Photos by Bill Stoler