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Planning a lil' trip focused around a class with DirtFish's rally/car control school.

Any TCL'ers that have been there/done that?

This will be my first driving school of any kind. Aiming for the one day advanced course, maybe two-day, but their calendar is pretty slim right now.

My hope is really just better car control and experiencing situations that I would generally not encounter on the street. :beer:

https://drive.dirtfish.com/

 

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DirtFish Alumni checking in.

See page 3 of this thread.

https://forums.vwvortex.com/showthr...-to-my-first-stage-rally-and-I-liked-it/page3

I surprised my wife with a Seattle trip for her 30th birthday last year. The main focus of the trip was to go to DirtFish. We did a one day course and it was the best thing we have ever done. We stayed at a Hilton in Issaquah. When we do DirtFish again we will stay in Snoqualmie. Being closer would have been a little nicer and the area is just gorgeous. We spent a couple days in Seattle so Issaquah worked well for that but if DirtFish is the only stop on the agenda then stay as close as you can.

Every single person we encountered while at DirtFish was ridiculously friendly. My wife and I had an older couple, a pair of friends, and a father and son in the group. The groups are divided in half and cars are shared. There were 12 of us so we took turns in 6 cars throughout the day. My wife and I were in the same group which was cool so we can hang out and chat but being in opposite groups would've given us a chance to watch each other. They still had some hatchbacks when we were there but were prepped 6 new STIs that Subaru had delivered. There was only 1 2015+ STI in the group but I think they're all upgraded from hatchbacks now.

My wife and I will go back someday and take a 2 day course. We might wait and do the Subaru Winter Experience first though since it's closer to home and more related to our normal driving experiences.
 

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I had a great time back when they had the hatches, it was a great learning experience. Rally driving technique was completely foreign to me and I got good by the end of the day. I was surprised how mentally taxing it was to learn since the use of the brakes is counterintuitive to road racing.
 

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Nice! Good to hear, do you both remember if you did One Day regular or advanced?
I did the regular 1 day. The advanced was not available at the time.

If I recall correctly we started on the skid pad, went to the slalom, had lunch/simulator time, and then went back to do a couple of longer courses to tie it all together.
 

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I have taken the Team O'Neil Rally School in NH https://www.teamoneil.com


I always tell people Rally driving school is much more useful than track driving schools, the stuff you learn can help you in real life driving situations



.
 

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I have not but I'm in for all the experiences from others. :thumbup:
 

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I attended the single-day class a few years back. Wife got it for me as a birthday present. I file it under one of those "I'm happy to have done it" things. I have loved the idea of rally driving since I was a kid, and have done a decent amount of speed work with cars, from track to autox to fast karts. What others have said is true: it is so different than driving on pavement. You need to unlearn/re-learn just about everything. Fun, but honestly I wouldn't go back. Took care of my rally driver fantasies though.

Also +100 for the facility and people. They were both great. For me it the letdown was not finding driving in dirt all that much fun. YMMV.
 

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I've been tempted to do that or the Porsche driving school or whatever it's called in Atlanta. I did a ($300!) R8 V10 drive at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and while it was neat, there's no way it's worth that much. 3 laps, I think? Plus the car/drive was a lot less exciting that I'd expected. It was a gift though, and I'm pretty sure a groupon as well. Heh.

So, whatever you do, I'd recommend that it has a decent amount of seat time. The Porsche one even looks like a good value. For like half of the price of Hawc's exhaust tips, you can go drive a Porsche around the track for a decent amount of time.
 

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I did the one day beginner a while back. Wife and best friend got it for me and my buddy and I went together. So awesome and I'll echo all these things said below. It's ABSOLUTELY worth it and i'll be going back again next year.



it was a great learning experience. Rally driving technique was completely foreign to me and I got good by the end of the day. I was surprised how mentally taxing it was to learn since the use of the brakes is counterintuitive to road racing.
one day course and it was the best thing we have ever done.


Super friendly instructors. I've done pavement track days before and I thought I'd be at least decent on dirt. Good lord was I wrong!
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
:thumbup:

@Samson -- The Porsche experience at Barber is my second thought. It's close-ish in price. $1900 for a one day

I attended the single-day class a few years back. Wife got it for me as a birthday present. I file it under one of those "I'm happy to have done it" things. I have loved the idea of rally driving since I was a kid, and have done a decent amount of speed work with cars, from track to autox to fast karts. What others have said is true: it is so different than driving on pavement. You need to unlearn/re-learn just about everything. Fun, but honestly I wouldn't go back. Took care of my rally driver fantasies though.

Also +100 for the facility and people. They were both great. For me it the letdown was not finding driving in dirt all that much fun. YMMV.
Was it more the experience of being on dirt-- or did you feel like you didn't learn enough?
 

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I have taken the Team O'Neil Rally School in NH https://www.teamoneil.com


I always tell people Rally driving school is much more useful than track driving schools, the stuff you learn can help you in real life driving situations



.
That's why I've wanted to do it. Seems relevant to the fun that I like to have, and some of the situations that it can entail. Didn't have the time to do it last year, and thought maybe I'd do it this year, but I'll pass on in car instruction for a bit.

Left Coasters might be interested in this as well. My friend has done it a few times now and really enjoyed it. Instruction from beginner level on oversteer up to advanced techniques on how to gather up a slide without tanking your lap time. https://www.fastsideways.com/
 

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dont know where you live but you can also look into local rallyx events in your area. its like a autox but in the dirt with more fun, more seat time and less people taking it so serious. if your mini is mostly stock (suspension wise) it would be a great car for it.
 

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:thumbup:

Was it more the experience of being on dirt-- or did you feel like you didn't learn enough?
Oh I learned a ton, I just didn’t think much of the habits were transferable to street/track driving. Whole new set of rules for driving fast on dirt and everything felt like it was in slow motion.


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I have taken the Team O'Neil Rally School in NH https://www.teamoneil.com


I always tell people Rally driving school is much more useful than track driving schools, the stuff you learn can help you in real life driving situations
.
Doing this has been on my list for a long time. Need to look into this for next year. :thumbup:
 

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After reading this:

This will be my first driving school of any kind.

And then reading these:

Rally driving technique was completely foreign to me and I got good by the end of the day. I was surprised how mentally taxing it was to learn since the use of the brakes is counterintuitive to road racing.
I... have done a decent amount of speed work with cars, from track to autox to fast karts. What others have said is true: it is so different than driving on pavement. You need to unlearn/re-learn just about everything.
I've done pavement track days before and I thought I'd be at least decent on dirt. Good lord was I wrong!

Makes this sound like a bad idea.

Aiming for the one day advanced course,

By all means, go try it out, but maybe the beginner course would be a better fit. Biting off more than you can chew might lead to a negative experience. Start slow, learn everything they have to teach you, find out you love it (or hate it) and then go back for more. :beer:
 

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Nice! Good to hear, do you both remember if you did One Day regular or advanced?
Mine was definitely regular, everyone was noobs. They had deleted the brake boosters in the STI hatch I drove, which was also a first for me. Getting used to that and all the techniques are something I wouldn't gloss over

you turn in before you hit the brake, but the brake is just to shift the weight to slide not to slow you down. The sideways friction is the actual brake, then you have to hit the down shift to exit. Just getting the balls to go fast enough and turn in full speed, trusting that the car will slow down on its own just breaks your brain for a while.
 

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Mine was definitely regular, everyone was noobs. They had deleted the brake boosters in the STI hatch I drove, which was also a first for me. Getting used to that and all the techniques are something I wouldn't gloss over

you turn in before you hit the brake, but the brake is just to shift the weight to slide not to slow you down. The sideways friction is the actual brake, then you have to hit the down shift to exit. Just getting the balls to go fast enough and turn in full speed, trusting that the car will slow down on its own just breaks your brain for a while.
Lift, turn, brake!

Between my wife and I, one of us says that at least once a week still haha. I can still hear my instructor say "let the brakes turn the car". :laugh:

I actually found the techniques learned on the dirt to be more helpful than what I've ready about other racing schools. Before we drove we had a short classroom section and they talked about the 100% traction rule. It made a ton of sense and seemed applicable to real life for me.

https://dirtfish.com/learn/car-control/100-traction-rule/
 

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Lift, turn, brake!

Between my wife and I, one of us says that at least once a week still haha. I can still hear my instructor say "let the brakes turn the car". :laugh:

I actually found the techniques learned on the dirt to be more helpful than what I've ready about other racing schools. Before we drove we had a short classroom section and they talked about the 100% traction rule. It made a ton of sense and seemed applicable to real life for me.

https://dirtfish.com/learn/car-control/100-traction-rule/

I definitely remember their instruction more than any other too, they also made me much better at left foot braking which has stuck with me today.
 

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Oh I learned a ton, I just didn’t think much of the habits were transferable to street/track driving. Whole new set of rules for driving fast on dirt and everything felt like it was in slow motion.
This! Driving on dirt was so drastically different than I expected. And hard. I'm sure its because i have so little experience, but driving on pavement has some characteristics that are somewhat intuitive. Dirt throws some ideas out the window when it comes to body control and braking.

I want to go back so bad because I want to get better. its that kind of itch that Dirt Fish caused.
 
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