MBCA Performance Drivers School

MBCA Performance Drivers School

Alabama-NW Florida
Saturday, May 15, 2021 -
7:00am to 5:00pm
Munford / Talladega
Alabama

Mercedes-Benz Club of America

Performance Drivers School,   May 15, 2021

 

The Alabama/NW Florida and Peachtree MBCA Sections, sponsored a Performance Drivers School at “Talladega Grand Prix Raceway” on May 15, 2021.

The Alabama/NW Florida Section partnered with the Peachtree Section in planning and organizing this MBCA Performance Drivers School.  Dr. James Roberts, MBCA Director at Large & Alabama/NW Florida Membership Chair, and Gary Edwards, Peachtree Vice President, were the lead organizers. Both competent race drivers with many years’ experience.

Saturday 7 AM, 39 drivers and instructors entered the track along with 20 other enthusiasts, while completing event registration we made new friends, met with old buds too. It was a cold Alabama Morning 43 degrees, but sunny and light fluffy clouds, with the promise that it would warm up to a very pleasant 80 degrees with a light wind.

Once registered, cars and helmets were inspected. For MBCA events your car must be pre-inspected before arriving at the track, by a competent mechanic. Your helmet had to meet current SNELL 2015 2020 Car type helmet safety dates.  A final check to see if the battery was secure, and floor mats removed. Now you and the Mercedes are good to go.

Prior to our driving we were called to the classroom.  Here the first of 4 classes were attended. Each class built upon what we had experienced in each driving session. The primary message was...

  1. Be Safe
  2. Learn Something
  3. Have Fun

As beginners we were advised to brake while in a straight line, before entering the turn, and accelerate out of the turn. The turn itself is viewed in 3 parts. The Turn-IN, the Apex, and the Track-Out.  We were shown where our car should be for each of these points in a turn.  Also, it was pointed out no two turns were alike, we had to adapt. The various flags and their significance were demonstrated.

Out to the track.  “Talladega Gran Prix Raceway” is in Munford, Alabama a short distance from NASCAR’S Famous Banked Oval.  The track is 1.4 miles long about 40 feet wide, 7 turns.  Designed originally for Motorcycles, there are No Steel barriers, ample runoff room, Little chance for severe damage should anyone go off track.  Nobody went off track this day!

The 21 student drivers, split into 3 groups. There were 17 instructors. It was a varied group; most had not had Performance Driving experience.  MBCA members were from Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South and North Carolina, and Tennessee.  Out of the student drivers, 16 drove Mercedes-Benz’s, a Lotus Evora, an Alfa Romero 4C, a Corvette, and a Porsche Boxster rounded out the cars. Oldest Mercedes was 1984 300TD, most unique Mercedes a 1999 12-cylinder SL600, Smallest car was a Fiat 500 Abarth (an instructor’s car).  Also, there was a Mercedes C230 Sport Coupe. Also note, most of the Mercedes-Benz were AMG’s.   AMG’s were designed and built to do exactly what we did on that Saturday. They each did it well, there were no issues.

 Four of the 19 Students were female drivers.  Ladies come on out to Performance Drivers Day. Learn, have FUN!   

Thank you to the sections for sponsoring this event, Gary Edwards and Steve Mina, from Rocket City Miata Club for the class room sessions. Cheryl Edwards for keeping everything together. Thanks to the instructors who were MBCA members, Porsche, and BMW club members     A grateful Thank You to Dr Jim Roberts and Gary Edwards for organizing the entire weekend.

BTW, each MBCA student was awarded the "MBCA Sport Fahrer Werein" certificate, or “Sports Drivers Badge” which allows us to display a grill badge signifying our new skill as a Mercedes Driver.