Slipstream Network

Dan Goes to Evo School Pt. 2


Evolution Performance Driving School, or Evo School for short is a multi-phase school designed to teach you the secrets of being fast around an autocross course.  Phase one covers fundamentals with each driver getting a lesson plan tailored to their skill level.  From first-timers to ten year veterans, everyone can learn something from the instructors which happen to be some of the best autocrossers and drivers in the entire country.  With us for this school was Sam Strano (7-time National Champion including 5 consecutive championships and Driver of the Year), Tony Savini (another National Champion Corvette driver), Andrew Pallotta (Solo Driver of the Year, Solo Nationals Rookie of the Year, 4-time National Champion), and Bryan Heitkotter (Solo National Champion, winner of the Gran Turismo Academy, driver for Nissan, and competitor in the Pirelli World Challenge).

Phase two of Evo School is meant to focus on the mental aspect of autocross.  It’s designed to force you to see the course ahead of you, process that information, and take the necessary actions.  You’re only supposed to get one course walk in but being smart and using every advantage possible, I helped outline the cones in chalk on course.  Still, it forces you read the course as you drive it instead of relying on memory.  They then make you run the course backwards without a course walk.  That forces you to change your thinking on how to drive the course.  Where a turn was once increasing radius, now it’s decreasing radius.  They then have you go back in the original direction, but they then make a change to the course.  Again, with no course walk.  That forces you to again reevaluate how you intend to drive the course as well as giving you a new element on the course you have to find and negotiate.  Finally, it’s the reverse direction again with just three runs to prepare, evaluate, and drive the course correctly.  The instructors are pretty hands-off by then end and they force you to critique your own driving.

Once again, I had Andrew Pallotta in my car in the beginning doing a great job of getting me to look ahead to the elements I needed to worry about as well as what I needed to do with that information.  He also did one hilariously awesome drift in my car in a long sweeper on course.  Later in the day, I had to act as a GPS for Tony Savini to get me to not only look ahead, but think ahead on course.  Despite spinning my car across the finish, he was added to the long list of people that finished an autocross course with a giant smile on their face after driving my car.

Dan Sabol