Jeff Lacina
April 10, 2013
Photos By: Evan J. Smith

Driving fast. It's what we dream about, plan for, and accomplish with our muscle Mustang or fast Ford.

It's why we improve grip and braking performance and why we add power. If you're addicted to speed, there is nothing like pushing your machine to the limit on track.

When you get down to it, there's on-road and off-road driving. On-road consists of driving on public streets and highways—off-road driving is done specifically at a dragstrip, parking lot (autocross), or a purpose-built road course.

In this story, we tackle the ins and outs of what it takes to get on track. Becoming a road course addict is easy, and we guarantee that after just one day of professional instruction, your car control skills and will improve it's likely you'll become a "track dawg."

The best option for most enthusiasts is a "performance driving" event, where you can turn laps on real race tracks, often with an instructor in the car, using techniques required in racing, but with significantly lower risk of damaging your pride and joy—or your ego. There are many opportunities for the average Mustang and Ford owner on nearly every road course on the planet for this. Benefits include a solid driving education and more track time than you can imagine.

While you may be king or queen of the street (in your own mind), learning the finer points of vehicle dynamics (a fancy way of saying how the suspension and tires work) combined with performance driving techniques will raise your talent level, making you faster and safer every time you get behind the wheel. A professional driving school is something every performance enthusiast should consideryoung and old—even if you never plan to race in competition. It's a great idea. Learning to enhance your car control is what really makes performance driving fun.

Is It Racing?
While there are racing schools, not all road course driving is considered "racing." Yes, you go fast, but it's unlikely you'll wad up your Mustang by attending a performance driving school, either.

Of course, we've seen some idiotic driving, usually when ego outpaces talent. So the first lesson is to have an open mind. In fact, with proper instruction, you'll find speed you never knew existed and the "edge" won't seem so scary.

Once you learn the basics, you can gain or enhance your education by attending a "racing" school that holds/teaches wheel-to-wheel competition on road courses. Armed with that knowledge, you can drive a prepared car and make the move to sanctioned racing events. But let's not jump ahead.

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