Last week I attended the BOSS Track Attack with my buddy Tom who, earlier this year, purchased a 2013 BOSS 302 in Race Red. As part of the purchase, he was eligible to attend a day of performance driving school at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, UT. To my great fortune and surprise, he asked me along as a guest. I opted to drive the first day of the two day class. I could have also not driven at all or driven for two days (at additional cost). I’m glad I drove – it was an amazing experience.
We arrived on Sunday night and were welcomed for dinner in the museum at Miller Motorsports. The Museum houses some incredible cars from the history of Carroll Shelby racing. There were Cobras, GT 350s, Ford GTs and several other cars, all with a winning history in racing. Each car had an incredible history. The row of Ford GTs had one of each iteration Mk I through Mk IV and this was where I stopped first.
The first car in this picture was the first of any cars in the Gulf colors to win a race. I’ve got a thing for these colors. Apparently so, because even my 7 and 9 year old recognize them. I guess I credit good parenting that I explain to them things like this. The second car in the row is one of the three GT 40’s which won 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Le Mans in 1966. If you have seenÂ Top Gear America Season 3 Episode 12Â you have seen this car driven on the track at Miller Motorsports Park.
After a tour of the museum, we had dinner within feet of these cars. What a great night.
The next morning we started in the classroom. You may have seen my post of Facebook from the classroom. We spent about an hour there talking about the fundamentals of driving a road course including turning, apexing and breaking. We then suited up in the class room before heading out to the garage.
In the garage, they directed us to our cars. They split us into two group and my group was first out to the track to follow the instructor. Â It felt like we jumped in feet first. I was alone in the car with a helmet, a four point seat belt and a “modern” Mustang under me. Â It was very foreign, at first.
Our six cars did a few laps with each getting slightly faster. Tom, being a BOSS owner, drove a 2012 Race Red BOSS 302. I, being a guest, drove a 2006 Mustang GT. Both were mostly how they came form the factory with a few racing bits to make them safer and race-ready.
After our quick laps around the track we headed to the skid pad for some work with only a little traction. I thought I would do OK with this especially when the instructor said that those with experience in driving in snow and ice might have an advantage. I was not as good as I had hoped. We started at full traction with the instructor reducing it for each subsequent lap.
My tendency was to go to the brake at the first sign of trouble.Â When I did do it right it was surprising how a little gas and turning in could correct a skid. It was also a lot of fun.
The rest of the day was spent alternating between classroom and track time. They really mean it when they say that you’ll be in the car 70% of the day. We had sessions on heel/toe shifting, cornering and braking. We had on-track time in a lead/follow where we each of us took turns right behind the instructor to learn he correct line, an instructor ride along and a some general track time in order to put it all together.
Although, initially I feared it, the instructor ride along was really good and some of the most beneficial time on the track. I found that I wasn’t using all of the track on exiting corners and that I was underestimating the car. It was far more capable than I was allowing it to be. Those that drove the BOSSes, they were allowed times to explore the custom feature of those cars such as Pit Lane Speed Control and Launch Control throughout the day.
They started to allow passing during the last track session. Though, I didn’t pass anyone, that session ended with me wanting more which was a sure sign that I had a great time.
The last thing of the day were “hot laps” where an instructor drove and we rode as the passenger. They said they didn’t do this earlier because if we knew how the cars could go around the track we would have tried it on our own with less than impressive results. These laps were amazing. The amount of control, the smoothness and the hard breaking were all impressive. We even got a little sideways in each turn. The day ended with a “Graduation” where we each received a certificate and plaque.
I didn’t drive the second day but Tom did. It was cool to be track side as the cars came past.
Of course, once I knew we were at such a high altitude (4,200 ft), I couldn’t resist going for a run. I’m used to under 500 ft above sea level where I live. The course I took was fairly flat while following the edge of some steep mountains but the running felt uphill all the way. Not in my legs but in my lungs.