When Lexus initially reached out to gage my interest in attending the Lexus Performance Driving School in Monterey, California, I couldn’t have said yes fast enough. Lexus is known for their relentless innovation and uninhibited performance, as well as their luxurious look and feel. As a Lexus owner myself, I have felt strongly towards the company for years and was thrilled to work with one of the biggest names in the industry.
However, once I started looking more and more into what the Lexus Performance Driving School entailed, I started to get pretty nervous.
Do they expect me to know a lot about cars? Am I a skilled enough driver to attend such a high-intensity event?
There is no getting around it, guys.
I was nervous and questioned whether or not I was in over my head.
My nerves started to slightly fade once they dropped off the car that I would be driving around for the week: The Lexus LC 500h. A breakthrough Lexus Multistage Hybrid Drive with a 4.7- second 0-to-60 time with an unmatched luxury experience.
There was no turning back now. I threw in my duffle bag and made the scenic drive from San Francisco to Monterey (with a few double takes from other drivers along the way). This is truly the car you need when making the scenic drive on Highway 1 to Big Sur. The Lexus LC 500h combines beauty with purpose. It was such a fun ride, with exceptional ease since the car anticipates your every need.
The Lexus Performance Driving School took place bright and early the next day. We were greeted with the most incredible sunrise as we made the drive to the iconic WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The Monterey raceway has played host to some of the most famous drivers and world-class races over decades. While the track has undergone numerous updates and modernizations over the years, the infamous Corkscrew remains, with a physics-defying left-right combo that drops more than five-and-a-half stories in just 450 feet.
Several of you have reached out to me after I posted on IG Stories from the experience and asked if the opportunity was open to the public. The answer is YES. They will be hosting the Driving School again soon at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey California and an announcement for how to purchase tickets will be announced soon! The Driving School will also be available at different racetracks around the country.
- Registration/Breakfast (55 min) The call time was 7 AM! It was easy to wake up though because we were SO excited. They had a wonderful breakfast ready for us overlooking the track.
- Chalktalk – Welcome/Safety Talk/Driving Theory (55 min) After breakfast we met for a classroom session that briefed us on the finer points of driving dynamics, the concept of grip and track safety. Not going to lie, I felt pretty overwhelmed by the information and was worried that I wasn’t experienced enough to get out onto the track!
- Line Techinique on the Track (45 min) After the classroom session we went to the track where we would be learning the proper racing line and how to identify and use reference points to safely maximize speed. We each paried up with a partner from the group and took turns behind the wheel. Being behind the wheel on the track for the first time was so exhilarating. I wish I could bottle up the feeling!!
- Up close with Danny Sullivan (45 min) This was such a cool experience!! We got to casually chat with one of the best race car drivers in the world. Danny Sullivan earned 17 wins in the CART Indy Car World Series, including the 1985 Indianapolis 500. He also won the 1988 CART Championship, and placed third in points in 1986. Sullivan also scored a victory in IROC. We got to ask him questions ranging from how racing has changed over the years to what it felt like to win the Indi 500. This was absolutely priceless and such a cool opportunity to listen to someone so passionate and talented share insight into his craft.
- Skid Pad (45 min) Okay, this took things up a huge notch!! I would also say that this was the turning point in the experience for me in regards to my confidence as a driver. A skidpad is a road surface made slippery and used for testing the ability of automobiles to withstand lateral acceleration and to help learn how to control skids. All of my years of driving in Colorado snow prepared me for this and made me so confident that I could calmly correct a skid if it were to happen!
- Autocross Practice (45 min) Now i’m getting the hang of it. Lexus set up a course that we had to weave through as fast as we could without hitting any cones (hitting a cone deducted from your race time). It was crazy how well the morning sessions prepared us to control the car at such a high speed.
- Lunch (45 min) One word… tacos.
- Autocross Competition (45 min) I have always been an extremely competitive person, so I loved this portion of the day! Since we had practiced autocross earlier, now we got to put our skills to the test. Not going to lie… I came in dead last but to my defense I was the only one in our group that had never done anything like this, so I was more than happy with my time!
- Lead/Follow on the Track (45 min) It was wild how much faster we went around the track later in the day. It’s blindingly obvious how much more confident everyone was in their abilities by the end of the day. However, the corkscrew still makes my stomach drop just thinking about it haha.
- Drifting (45 min) Why not save the best for last? You could tell everyone in the group was ready to go out with a bang. Drifting is a technique where the driver intentionally oversteers, with loss of traction in the tires, while maintaining control and driving the car through the entirety of a corner. This was absolutely exhilarating!
I feel so fortunate to have had this experience and urge everyone to sign up if able!! The Lexus Performance Driving School at the infamous Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California is something that will go down as one of the coolest experiences i’ve ever had! We got to drive the Lexus GS F, RC F & LC 500 and learn advanced driving techniques from professional drivers (helllllo, Danny Sullivan 👋). From a timed autocross competition (I came in last but it was still a fast time, okay?), to completing my first ever (controlled 🤣) drift, to confidently speeding down one of the country’s most iconic tracks… it was a day that will keep my heart pumping for years to come.
*Make sure to watch till the end and see me driving down the infamous corkscrew!!*
PRODUCTS USED FOR PHOTOS + VIDEO
Thank you Lexus for sponsoring this post!