If you’re in a hurry let me save you the trouble of reading a long winded review. Freakin Awesome!
Since the NJMP race track opened in Millville, NJ I’ve attended 15-20 events.
Inevitably, there’s always some kind of racing going on. I’d sit and smoke a cigar and fantasize about rocketing my daily driver around that asphalt. I was then privy to several paced laps around the tracks. This, by the way, does not quench your thirst for SPEED…I was now parched!
And then I found Hooked On Driving. “HOD” is the kind of experience I’ve always dreamed of. HOD is billed as a “performance driving program”. Abso!
“HOD is primarily focused on providing high performance driver training for those with capable cars, in the controlled environment of a race course – with NO competition or training for competition.”
You get 2.5 hours of track time in a 9 hour day. You a get professional race car instructor ride along on every session. Best of all you get to drive your car as fast as you can.
The only caveat being, you can also wreck your prized possession.
You know what they say, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay off the track”, or something like that.
I took my prized possession to this event. No, no, not my lovely wife (wink, wink)
I mean my 2010 Camaro 2SS, manual 6 speed.
I’m very comfortable driving fast. I wasted no time in driving my Camaro to it’s limits. My pro instructor took the first 2 laps behind the wheel of my car.
He wanted to “show me what the car was capable of”. My God. I knew the Camaro’s were kick ass on paper and certainly in daily driving, but, get that bad boy on a track and cut it loose. Once I got behind the wheel the adrenaline ratcheted up quickly. By the Hammer of Thor that sum bitch gave me the thrill of a lifetime!
After my first session, my pro said, “cmon, let’s go play in my car”…we hopped into his 4th gen stripped Track Camaro. YaHOO! He drove the effer like he stole it! For the record, my ride is faster.
By my third track session, I managed to hit 130 mph on the back straightaway before drop kicking the brakes, heal toeing the clutch and go pedal and down shifting into third all while navigating a hairpin turn! Unreal. There’s a reason a couple of instructors puked!
Even though you need the driver’s permission ahead of you to pass, the feeling of overtaking another hopped up race car is invigorating.
Drivers ranged the gambit from 20 to 80 years old! The 80 year old was a great dude driving a Vette.
Cars ranged from a freaking BMW SUV, some supercharged or turboed Vettes.. to a couple of Mustangs and Porches.
Drivers are classed based on experience.
Bring extra $ to rent a onboard video camera or bring your own. Or, at the very least be prepared to buy some photos. I purchased a cd onsite from etechphoto.com. My next time will include a video set up. It’s difficult to believe you and your car just did what you did. If you really want to capture the moment, bring a spouse or friend with a video camera to film the “outside” of your car. Edit the onboard and offboard videos together and it’s the equivalent of race porn. ahhhhhh, I need a smoke…..
There was nothing missing from the program. And nothing missing from my Camaro. The two fit together like bacon and peanut butter!
The Hooked on Driving program is very professionally run. From classroom time to the instructor ride alongs to a very nicely catered spread by the track.
Also made available were complete diagnostics, onboard video and racing analysis and professional photography.
Two door prizes were given away as well. A set of race ramps and the OMG! deal of the day, a gift certificate from Pirelli for a full set of rubber for whatever vehicle you wanted. What?! Must be preset at the drawing to win. The first schlubs name got called and he was nowhere to be found. NEXT!
If you love your car and really want to see what she’s made of, hunt down a track session from Hooked On Driving and cut her loose.
On the side:
Ice Cold Water made available
Helmet rentals available
The drivers handout suggests raising your tire pressure a few clicks before hitting the track. Popular opinion says not to do this. Your tire pressure will rise automatically while racing. If anything, you’ll need to reduce your tire pressure.
Pop your Hood
After each session, pop your hood to allow your engine to cool a little faster.
DO NOT USE. I repeat, DO NOT USE. It will fry your rotors.
I live about 20 minutes from the track and arrived with a nearly full tank. I used a 1/4 tank per session. I neglected to address my 1/2 tank after lunch. My second to the last run was cut short due to a blinking “low fuel light”. Their was a mad scramble for expensive gas from the track or a run to town for more reasonalbe petrol.
If anyone wrecks or their cars explodes while in session, it eats your track time while they scramble a toe truck to clear the track. You do not get that time back. We lost about 10 minutes or better when a hopped up Vette disinegrated it’s clutch and pieces were left all over the course.
Joe Mills – Owner/Operator & Group Leader – HOD Northeast Region
Rick – Joe’s right hand man
good folks and were as happy for my excitement as I was.