When do you turn that enthusiasm for driving vintage cars up a notch and become a certified driver? As a Hagerty employee, I’ve had many opportunities to attend motorsports events, and not long after purchasing my vintage race car, I knew that pursuing my vintage racing license was a road I wanted to go down.
I spent hours researching race schools, comparing and contrasting the various courses to figure out which one would be the most suitable for my driving needs. As luck would have it, the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association—aka the SVRA—decided to start a racing school of its own about the same time I began looking for one. It was exactly what I was looking for.
Off I went to the SVRA Driving School at Roebling Road Raceway (formerly Savannah International Raceway) near Bloomingdale, Georgia. The school offered a three-day curriculum that was both intense and exciting. Roebling Road is a two-mile circuit that’s a throwback to the early days of sportscar racing. The class was small enough to accommodate personalized training with plenty of one-on-one time with the driving instructors, giving it an efficient and low-stress feel. In the classroom we learned etiquette, safety, SVRA/track rules, flag meanings, tech inspections, appropriate safety gear, and what to expect on race day.
Speaking of expectations, you’ll be required to bring some things with you, including a completed medical form, signed by your doctor, stating that you are physically fit to race. You’ll also need your own personal racing equipment, namely appropriate racing apparel that meets the safety equipment standards outlined by the SVRA (found on the website). And if you bring your own race car, prepare for several days of heavy driving. Due to logistics, I was not able to ship my car to Georgia for the event, so I secured a rental race car through Karl Burke Racing, which was an amazing experience.
On our first day on the course we were introduced to the instructors, one of which was Peter Krause, head of the school. We walked the track and learned as much about the course as possible in preparation for driving the next day. Day two began early, and within an hour the students (dressed in their racing attire) were behind the wheel. Throughout the day, we alternated track time with class time until breaking for dinner. The third and final day began much like the second as we quickly headed onto the track, with part of the day set aside for mach tech inspections. The finale of the weekend: two timed races that gave us plenty of real-time racing experience. An awards ceremony was held after the second race, and we were presented with an official SVRA license.
The entire experience was a success. Honestly, I went into it thinking I would simply go through the motions to become certified, but I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of information and additional skills I walked away with, not only pertaining to vintage racing, but everyday driving as well. The school’s staff was friendly, the class was thorough, and I had a blast on and off the race course.
The diversity of the drivers was amazing too. There were older, more-experienced drivers as well as young, enthusiastic drivers who were just starting out. There were father-and-son race teams. And there were guys, like me, who simply want to race as a hobby. All in all, the SVRA Driving School was a thrill, and I enjoyed every step of the way.