VW Newsroom

Scott Speed, Volkswagen Andretti take 3rd straight Global Rallycross titles in Los Angeles

Both Volkswagen Andretti Global Rallycross drivers found success this weekend at the season finale in Los Angeles, securing wins in the race and the overall Driver’s Championship.

Scott Speed, driver of the No. 41 Oberto Circle K Beetle GRC, focused on protecting the championship title all weekend. To do this, he needed to be fast, but limit the risks he took on the track. After qualifying second on Friday, Speed battled second and third-place finishes in early Heat races on Saturday, but won his Semifinal putting him back into a good starting position for the Final.

Speed was shuffled to fourth in early laps of the Final, but fought his way back to a second-place finish with a smart execution of the joker lap, safely clinching the Driver’s Championship.

“The whole week leading up to the race I was constantly thinking of the what-ifs, all the problems that could happen going in with a solid lead,” said Scott Speed. “My hat is off to everyone – I have the best team out here. I’m so lucky for them and we have great partners in Volkswagen, Circle K, Oberto, Expedite Home Loans and Rockstar – it was a team effort!”

Tanner Foust, driver of the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle GRC, wasn’t just trying to win the race, but with 30 points separating him from Speed, Foust was aiming to win the championship as well. He kicked off the weekend qualifying fastest out of the ten cars participating, and continued to stay in the top spot through Saturday’s Heat races and Semifinal. Foust finished the perfect weekend at the top of the race podium, but ultimately, couldn’t help but watch his teammate finish directly behind him in second-place. Foust celebrated his fifth win of the 2017 season and finished second in the overall Driver’s Championship for the second year in a row.

“The key is qualifying,” said Tanner Foust. “That sets you up for success for the rest of the weekend. We snuck that away from Scott [Speed] and then there was a glimmer of hope – we made it through the Heats. We came into the Final actually having a chance to win [the championship] if Scott finished eighth or worst. I’m not going to lie, that was a big gap in points, but I was feeling it. I’m so happy for our team on the Rockstar side of the Volkswagen Andretti tent.”

Going into this weekend’s race, just 30 points separated first-place, Speed, from second-place, Foust, in the Driver’s Championship. With the conclusion of Saturday’s race, Scott Speed finished the 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross season with 826 points, 19 points ahead of Tanner Foust. Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross also celebrated its third consecutive Manufacturer’s Championship.

Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross will return to action for the 2018 Red Bull Global Rallycross season, hoping to keep the momentum going.

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The Special Edition Tradition

Celebrating a long association of the Volkswagen Beetle with surfing and coastal heritage, the new 2018 Beetle Coast Special Edition will get you to the seashore — or anywhere else — in a fun modern twist on its long heritage. It’s just the latest in a long tradition of attention-getting Volkswagen Special Editions.

The 2018 Beetle Coast offers unique new features including Deep Sea Teal exterior paint, two-tone black/beige “Pepita” cloth seats, and a surfboard wood-look dash pad with retro-style Kaeferfach (“beetle-bin”) glovebox. The Beetle Coast will also be offered in Habanero Orange, Tornado Red, Pure White, Deep Black, and Blue Silk and as both a coupe (with sunroof) and Cabrio convertible.

The 1971 Beetle GSR (Gelb-Schwarzer Renner). It’s German for “Yellow-Black Racer” and was sold in the United States as the Super Beetle Sports Bug. A 2014 version added racing stripes.

The 2004 Golf R32 came with a lower suspension, bigger front spoiler, and twin exhausts; inside were R-logoed Konig seats. But the main attraction was a 240 hp, 3.2-liter VR6 that launched the R32 from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds.1

The 2016 Beetle Denim gave a nod to nostalgia with a special Stonewashed Blue exterior color option, a Denim Blue convertible top, unique denim-look sport seats, and heritage wheel design.

The 2017 #PinkBeetle was the first vehicle named with its own hashtag and the only Beetle to wear Fresh Fuchsia Metallic pink paint. Gloss-black mirror caps and black side sills accented the exterior while the interior featured Pink Club cloth seats, interior accents, and piping.

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The 2018 Golf Family is On it’s Way!

Golf enthusiasts cheer! The 2018 Golf family lineup has gotten a few updates that will make you happy it’s model year update time. Read on for all the juicy details.

Family Updates

Overall, all models receive styling updates for front and rear bumpers, as well as new chrome accents on some models. Radiant, full-LED taillights and LED Daytime Running Lights are standard now, while available full-LED headlights replace the previous years’ bi-xenon option on some models.

Inside the cabin, infotainment systems feature larger, crisper touchscreens: 6.5-inch displays are standard while some trims get 8-inch screens.

More Driver Assistance features such as Front Assist (now with Pedestrian Monitoring),1 and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert now come standard on SE trims for some models. Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, ParkPilot, Park Assist, and automatic High Beam Control are also available on some models.2

All of this because Golf owners say it’s what they want, and Volkswagen wants to show they’re listening.

Here’s a model-by-model rundown of what else is new for each member of the family:

Want to know more about the GTI? Check out our infographic to learn about the history of this iconic model.

1 Pedestrian Monitoring has late availability for SE trims.
2 Driver Assistance features are not substitutes for attentive driving. See Owner’s Manual for further details and important limitations.
*6 years/72,000 miles (whichever occurs first) New Vehicle Limited Warranty on MY2018 VW vehicles excluding e-Golf. See owner’s literature or dealer for warranty exclusions and limitations.

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It’s official: The VW Bus is back, and it’s electric

Driven by popular demand, Volkswagen announced today it is planning on selling a production version of the award-winning I.D. Buzz concept electric vehicle in 2022 for the United States, Europe and China.

“For me, the I.D. Buzz concept is the most beautiful and most exciting electric car in the world,” said Dr. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management for the Volkswagen brand, in Pebble Beach, Calif.

“Our goal is clear: we want to make the fully electric, fully connected car a bestseller around the world. The iconic car of the electric age must be a Volkswagen.”

The I.D. Buzz is the second EV concept that VW has revealed for production, along with the original I.D. concept slated to enter production around 2019 as a 2020 model, while the I.D. Crozz concept has shown how an electric VW SUV could look. All three use VW’s Modular Electric Drive kit (or MEB, for its German acronym), a group of components and chassis parts engineered to maximize the potential of electric drive and future technology.

“These cars will offer everything – and even more – than you have seen from other electric carmakers,” says Diess. “And they will be much more affordable.”

Designed to recall the original Type 2 Microbus without mimicking it, the I.D. Buzz concept has won several awards in the months since it was revealed at the Detroit Auto Show. The front V in the bodywork calls back to the two-tone predecessor on the original Bus, but in the I.D. Buzz carries a light strip that surrounds the vehicle and gives it a unique visual signature. The LED headlights have hexagonal segments that act as “eyes” to communicate the vehicle’s status. With near-zero body overhangs and 22-inch wheels, the I.D. Buzz manages to look modern and timeless, one of the hallmarks of Volkswagen brand design.

The first VW Bus sold in the United States in 1950 had all of 30 hp. The I.D. Buzz concept sports 369 hp from electric motors on each axle that also provide all wheel drive and the 111 kWh battery pack in the floor of the MEB chassis provide nearly 300 miles of estimated range. Using a VW fast-charge system, it can recharge about 80 percent of its energy capacity in 30 minutes at 150 kW.

 But just like the original Microbus, the design and engineering of the I.D. Buzz concept and MEB platform provides ample space for passengers or cargo, with an expansive view of the surroundings. There’s even a front trunk, just like the original VW Beetle.

The I.D. Buzz concept also offers a preview of the type of autonomous technology that VW will develop for future models – namely its fully automated “I.D. Pilot” mode that could go into production by 2025. From the fold-away steering wheel and pop-up laser scanners in the roof to a heads-up display that integrates augmented reality, the I.D. Buzz does not lack for innovation.

“The I.D. Buzz stands for the new Volkswagen,” says Diess. “We are fully committed to the future of mobility, and we want to reignite America’s love for VW.”

Standing beside Diess at the Pebble Beach announcement was Ben Pon Jr. His father, Ben Pon Sr., was the first VW importer for the American market and a major initiator of the original VW “Microbus” concept. He sketched the rough outline on a napkin during lunch one day in 1947. Thanks to Volkswagen designers and engineers, the rest is history.

Today that napkin is on display in a museum in Amsterdam, and the vehicle itself went on to even greater fame. With its compact exterior, spacious interior, and a design that seemed to put a smile on every face that saw it, the VW bus became “one of our most beloved cars,” says Diess.

That was especially true in the United States in the 1960s and ‘70s, where a VW Bus represented freedom.

“It took you everywhere with your friends, it was a car but also a home on wheels, it was both reliable and unconventional, it was highly emotional,” says Diess. “It was and still is a wonderful car.”

The new I.D. Buzz will be the seventh generation of the bus. Over time, the vehicle evolved in style but always retained its character, versatility, and ability to draw or carry a crowd. Still, the original version — affectionately called the “splitty” by aficionados for its split front windshield — remained the most iconic design.

The exterior I.D. Buzz harkens to that first generation. It sports a two-tone V-nose, rectangular windows, a hint of a windshield sunshade, and a gesture at the rear side air vents that characterized the original.

At Pebble beach, Diess asked Pon Jr. what he’d like to see in the newest generation of the bus.

“I saw it already,” Pon replied. “It looks absolutely great and I’m sure you will be very successful with it!”

 

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Meet the brothers with the best seats in Global Rallycross

Perched high above the uppermost grandstand seats at each Red Bull Global Rallycross event is a group of competitors who, after the drivers in their cars, probably have the greatest impact on the outcome of every Heat, Semifinal, and Final race of a GRC weekend. These team members are the all-important “spotters” who navigate their drivers to safe and winning races on a GRC circuit.

From the lofty vantage perch, kitted in Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross uniforms, are the spotters for Scott Speed and Tanner Foust, although you might easily be confused into thinking that the two teammates share one spotter between them.

“That is actually my brother,” Cole Carter jokes. “No, we’re not twins.”

Cole calls races for the No. 41 Oberto Circle K Beetle GRC of Scott Speed, while older brother, Dane Carter, watches over the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink entry of Tanner Foust. Together, the brothers are responsible for keeping Speed and Foust aware of their surroundings every time they go on track.

 

“In my car, I have a rearview mirror that kind of works, -ish,” explains Speed. “The side mirrors sometimes are pointing backward. Sometimes after the first corner, one of them is hanging off. You can’t really see and do everything you need to do, so you want someone who’s able to describe accurately what’s going on in the areas you can’t see in real time.”

At the frenetic start of a rallycross race, there’s a lot of information that needs to be relayed via radio to the drivers, a phenomenon Foust describes as akin to “listening to an auctioneer.”

“I do speak a little quicker than I probably should, but in spotting,—especially with these cars as fast as the action is—you need to think and speak quickly,” says Dane Carter. “There’s not a lot of time to get many words out.”

The Carter brothers bring a deep racing knowledge to their spotting expertise. Each is a veteran of sprint car and midget racing and they are the sons of another legendary oval racer. That history in motorsport gives the pair the ability to help their drivers in more ways than just giving warnings about other cars.

The brothers are on the spotters’ stand for every session, including practices, where they watch the competition to help their drivers ascertain their strengths and weakness at different portions of the track, leading to quicker lap times overall. Having been behind the wheel themselves, the Carters are able to offer feedback and constructive criticism to Foust and Speed in a language they can understand quickly and accurately.

“It’s literally letting you know how each of your corners compares to the cars around you,” says Foust. With the spotter’s input, “you have a better chance of focusing on your strengths and taking a win.”

That firsthand racer knowledge also allows the Carters to help dictate race strategy quickly and effectively in the hectic environment of a short rallycross event.

“Dane is trying to interpret the intentions of the guy behind me, not just where he is relative to my bumper,” says Foust.

With the joker shortcut playing a crucial part of every GRC race, it’s important that a spotter can monitor the constantly shifting gaps around his car, telling his driver when he needs to push hard to build a gap and when it’s alright to ease back and protect the car.

“It’s really critical to watch how the race plays out—not just your own car, but the cars you’re kind of racing around,” explains Cole. “Keeping good track of who’s taken the joker and who hasn’t.”

Racing drivers are notorious control freaks, so the relationship between driver and spotter must be strong and built on a foundation of trust.

“You have to trust your spotter,” says Foust. “There’s no doubt about that because you can’t double check anything they say.”

“When you’re out there driving, you don’t have really any other voice but the spotter there telling you where to go, what to do, where everybody else is around you,” adds Cole.

While each of the Carters has plenty of victories to his name in GRC and other racing disciplines where Andretti Autosport competes, the two are always trying to outdo one another, helping their driver to victory against the other.

“Once the green drops, he’s just a competitor. He’s no longer my brother,” says Dane with a smile. “Having that friendly rivalry between teams makes both teams better.”

Competition between the cars at Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross is fierce, but Foust credits the familial, intra-team bond with easing some of the tensions that come with racing side-by-side each race weekend.

If there’s an incident between the two Beetle GRCs on track, “[The Carters] will tell each other what they think, they’ll fight about it, but they’re going to be brothers at the end of the day,” says Foust. “It doesn’t put a split between the teams.”

The Carter brothers and their friendly sibling rivalry represent some of the best qualities of Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, and perhaps the source of the team’s great success over the past four seasons—a group of talented individuals who push each other to constantly improve.

That attitude has served Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross extremely well and given each of the Carter brothers the opportunity to answer a Spotter’s favorite question from his or her driver after the checkered flag falls, “Where can I do donuts?”

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For one family, winning a Volkswagen Atlas was a dream come true

When Patti Shenk signed up her family for the Four Wheel Family Face-Off contest on Disney/ABC’s syndicated daytime talk show “Live with Kelly and Ryan” she didn’t even know what the prize might be. The New Jersey mother of four was just hoping for some quality time and a fun day off from the typical busy routine.

But the day was nothing but routine.

After besting three other families, the Shenks won a 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium. So what do they think about their newest family member now that they’ve spent a couple of months behind the wheel?

“I love it. It’s like a dream car for us,” says Patti Shenk. “I keep thinking as I’m driving that I’ll have to give it back.”

Patti Shenk says the Atlas arrived just in time for a busy summer. The family has put some 3,000 miles on the Platinum Grey Atlas since mid-July, a hefty dose of traveling thanks to competitive swimming commitments and college scouting for their oldest son Connor.

Pre-Atlas, the family’s vehicle fleet had included a minivan with 180,000 miles and another well-worn car with 140,000 miles, both busy with two working parents and four children in sports (plus one dog with car privileges.) Neither had the available panoramic sunroof or Fender audio or center-dash touchscreen of the new Atlas – along with room for soccer equipment and swim gear.

“We’ve already brought it to Virginia and Connecticut a couple of times,” Patti said. “It’s very spacious. My kids love it; they say it has more room in the seating than our old minivan did.”

And while some of Patti’s friends and coworkers know her new SUV as a TV star, the Atlas has drawn a lot of positive attention from other drivers.

“Driving it the other day, an older couple stopped me at a light and asked me how I like it,” she said. “I let my husband take it to work and a lot of people asked him about it. There’s a lot of interest in it wherever I go.”

Up next for the Shenks: the back-to-school routine, the occasional vacation, and looking forward to years of adventure in their Atlas.

“We were blessed to win a car,” Patti says. “I plan on keeping it for years.”

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Artistic vision. Astonishing images.

Pete Eckert is a blind photographer. He was born sighted, but halfway through his life he went totally blind. He works with his other senses: sound, touch, and memory — to build images in his mind. He then uses long exposures and colored light to create unique effects that convey how he sees the world. See Eckert’s unique perspective of the Arteon in this video. The impressive results speak for themselves.

Get more details on the Arteon.



 

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Good Works, Amplified.

Not everyone lands their dream job, but Machelle Williams at Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA) in Herndon, Virginia, managed to do just that. As Senior Director of Diversity and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Williams works internally to promote an inclusive workplace at VW.

While most people appreciate the value of workplace diversity, the concept of corporate social responsibility is newer. A 2015 study found that nine out of ten consumers expect corporations to go beyond profit-seeking by responsibly supporting the environment and the needs of their local community.

“Consumers are now looking to corporations to solve community problems,” says Williams. “They’re expecting them to step up, support, and be a good citizen.”

Bottom line: Diversity and corporate social responsibility are good for business, employees, and communities.

Making Inroads

Williams goes beyond facilitating good works for Volkswagen employees; she rolls up her sleeves and serves on several boards and works many events herself. She is on the board of INROADS, an organization that gives leadership development training to young college students from under-represented communities. That training is paired with internships that give the students a bird’s eye view of corporate work. Williams and her colleagues mentor INROADS students at VW, which she calls the most rewarding aspect of her job.

“Writing a check is okay,” she says. “But when you see the light go on in a young person’s eyes when you tell them they can be professional and successful — that’s remarkable.”

Williams says it’s even more rewarding when her mentees graduate, get jobs, and reconnect with her to share their successes.

“I’d do this even if I didn’t work with VW,” she says.

Williams and her CSR team work with local rather than national organizations, including LAWS, the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter in Leesburg, Virginia and Northern Virginia Family Service.

What seems like a simple gesture — asking employees to donate toiletries or diapers to a shelter — makes a big difference to an organization operating on a shoestring budget.

“We really want to make an impact locally, and they are grateful for our enthusiasm,” says Williams.

The Volunteer Zone

Every summer, the VW CSR department helps students in under-served communities who often avoid going to school due to a lack of supplies. Staff fill backpacks with pens, paper, glue, and other necessities, and help community members give them out to the children.

“It makes you proud of the company you work for,” says Williams. “It gives you satisfaction that the company supports our efforts in that area. It just makes coming to work that much more meaningful.”

More Ways VW Gets Involved

Here are just a few more ways VW works with local charities.

  • Matching donations. In 2016, VWGoA and staff donated nearly $200,000 to 299 charitable organizations.
  • A day off to volunteer. All full-time VW employees have eight hours of PTO per year to volunteer with a charity of their choice.
  • Team building activities. Many team-building activities at VW are centered around philanthropy — clothing and school supply drives, or spending a day helping out at a soup kitchen.
  • The Charitable Contributions Committee. This committee supports organizations that focus on under-served children and families.
  • The “Get Involved” Community Leadership Award. This award recognizes an VWGoA employee for outstanding volunteer work.
  • Summer of Service. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, employees across the United States can plan volunteer projects and activities to benefit the charity of their choice.

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Inside Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias’ dream VW collection

Everyone has an attachment to their first car, a certain nostalgia that makes them want to relive every memory from those years. For comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, success has allowed him to turn that passion for the VW Bus into something close to an obsession.

Ten years ago, the comedian decided to go back in time and purchase a 1968 Volkswagen Transporter, his first car at age 17. The project of finding and refurbishing the Bus quickly turned Iglesias into a collector. Today, the comedian owns more than 30 Volkswagen Bus models and has even built his own private Volkswagen museum.

“Every time I do something, it’s in excess,” says Iglesias “I don’t do drugs, I don’t drink, I really don’t have any bad habits. So, instead I decided to do this. Every time I get a new item for my collection, I feel like a kid with a big new shiny toy. Right now, I just got a 1963 Bus and I’m already in love with it.”

The new addition to his collection is one of the 32 Bus models in his private museum, which has been built to resemble the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, with of course, a “Fluffy” original twist. Across the space, there is Volkswagen artwork, three rare VW Beetle models from 1950, 1956 and 1958, and even a set of matching fish tanks made from two halves of a 1967 VW Bus.

“Every piece is a VW classic that came from Germany or the United States, with the exception of the fish tanks which are actually built from a 1967 VW Bus from Brazil,” he says.

His collection is worth more than $3 million and includes rare finds such as a 15-window 1963 Bus and a 1952 Barndoor Bus. Iglesias calls them his “metal babies,” and works closely with a team of experts to restore his finds and keep them in running order. While he drives most of them on a regular basis, the trips are often brief.

“I take a lot of care of my collection. You have to figure each one of these is like driving a luxury car with a really bad alarm system,” he says. “You can pick the locks with a toothpick and start the engine with a screwdriver; when you have something that valuable, you have to take care of it.”

And despite its size, the Fluffy bus depot has room to grow. “My museum right now is about eight cars away from being cool,” he says.

“You always have that attachment to your first car.”

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How to take your performance VW to the track

High performance driving is an inherently dangerous activity. Always follow all track safety rules and instructions, and it is best to obtain professional instruction and supervision. In addition, aggressive driving on or off track may violate your loan, lease and insurance agreements. Check any applicable terms of your agreements before entering a performance event.

Chances are, you’ve heard of track days, especially if you’re the proud owner of a Volkswagen GTI or Golf R. These two hot hatches light up the track with ample horsepower and handling — much of which would be inappropriate and unsafe to deploy on a public road. If you do want to experience the amazing full performance of these cars, the safest, most regulated place to do it is on track.

But the prospect of actually preparing and participating in one can be intimidating for a number of reasons: How much does it cost? Will it cause harm to your precious baby? What about insurance considerations? And most importantly, what if you don’t immediately find yourself setting lap records as you channel the spirit animal of Scott Speed?

Never fear; we have your answers right here.

Who do I call and how much does it cost? 

Choose reputable providers who have a proven track record (no pun) who take safety seriously and offer some form of HPDE (High Performance Driver Education) for all drivers, especially first timer track drivers. To find them, try local clubs, online forums, and track day aggregator sites. Pricing varies depending on your area and track rental costs, but you can expect to pay between $200 and $400 for the day including HPDE (more if you’re going to a high-dollar track). Tack on another $50-$100 for gas, and don’t forget about the cost to get to the track/stay near the track. If you do it often enough, it’s wise to amortize the increased wear on all consumables (tires, brakes, fluids, oil, etc).

How do I sign up and prepare?

With a reputable provider, there’s usually an instructor on-hand to help you learn behind the wheel, which is helpful for all levels of experience, especially first-timers. The list of must-haves will vary by organization, but at the minimum, you must have a helmet with a current safety approval, and it’s a safe bet to wear long pants, which are often required for safety reasons. Accept that you are’n’t going to be walking any fashion runways and get some adventure pants that zip off at the knee for hot days on the asphalt, as well as a hat. Bring plenty of water – you may be surprised how much you sweat when coaxing your car around the track on a hot summer

How does insurance work?

You’re not planning on having a no-no, but accidents do happen, and most existing policies won’t happily cover your day of performance driving. Since this isn’t your typical day at the golf course, you might consider track day insurance. These insurers can cover you just for the weekend; the deductible is usually high (think $2,000), and the cost should be somewhere around $100 per day, depending on what you drive. Much like travel insurance, there’s no backdating the policy – you can only buy before the event.

How do I prep my car?

If you’ve picked your provider right, your car will get a tech inspection before it’s allowed on track, which should at the very least cover brakes, tires, and safety belts. You’ll want to have plenty of tread on the tires, and plenty of pad on the brakes. Tire pressures are very important, so you’ll want to find a good starting point for your car before going, and monitor it throughout the day. Be sure your maintenance is up to date – filters, coolant, and of course oil – and adjust your maintenance intervals based on the amount of time you spend at full bore on the track.

What if I’m not Tanner Foust and everyone laughs at me? 

Set aside your track fears and/or fantasies — this isn’t a race, even in the advanced groups. Like you, these are people who want to enjoy their performance cars. Nobody is timing you, and unless you want them to, nobody will remember you at the end of the day. So take your time and learn your way around at your own pace; your speed will increase as your comfort does, and you’ll have a more rewarding experience in the end.

 

Any other tips? 

Be punctual and don’t miss the mandatory driver’s meeting. This is where you’ll learn the day’s schedule, and crucially, the rules, the driving lines, and how incidents will be handled on the track. You’ll learn what each flag means, if and when you’re allowed to pass, and more importantly, how to properly let someone pass you. Basic driving technique may be discussed, and pitfalls of the track should be brought to your attention. Then, go have fun.

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