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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys and gals, I had read a few posts about OA and watched a few videos of it on youtube and decided as a noob driver I needed to go. While a flight out was a few hundred dollars plus hotel, it was still cheaper than going to an all day school at most other places, and as far as I know, they wouldn't be teaching me how to drive the focus to the max. I figured since I might not ever be back, I should spend some time in Utah with the new wife and make a trip out of it. I wanted to do a little review of the class and point out why I think it's worth going to, then talk about Utah a little bit, which I think is worth spending some time exploring if you can.

TL:DR It was super fun and everyone should go and then spend a few days driving around the area.

So let's start with the class itself. I did skip the dinner the night before, it is not at the track and not at Hoonigan, so that is nice, but I was busy that evening and still didn't go. Looks like it's the same place you have your class the next day so you have plenty of time to explore the day of the class if you don't want to go. It might be nice to meet your fellow campers a day early though:question: Show up that morning and you get suited up quickly and have about 30 minutes or so in a class that goes over your schedule for the day and what they want you to pay attention to. Then it is off to the track. Your first few laps are following a lead car driven by an instructor so that you learn the turns and lines of the track, then they let you get moving doing hot laps all by yourself. Now you can't pass people, so here is a tip- If during your follow laps you notice someone in your group lagging behind- CUT THEM BEFORE YOU START SOLO LAPS. You can't pass and a slow poke in front of you can really kill the fun. Luckily the guy in front of my drove pretty quick, but there were a half dozen times I had to pretty much stop and wait for him to get some distance so I could have fun and attempt to push things a little bit. This experience is really fun even with slow pokes, especially for someone like me who has never driven on a track, it's way different than a road and everything I want to do in the streets but gets my license taken, was actually allowed there! It was amazing and I was smiling the whole time. I was actually surprised how quickly they let us go do our own thing, and happy they did. Now while your group is waiting for the other groups to drive they bring you over and show you how the other cars look and you get to talk a little smack or just keep quiet and learn :sad: Once everyone is done, you get to do a few laps with one of the instructors, they are all pros who are better than you, so even if you think you are good, I bet you could learn something. These laps are real eye openers, I thought I was pushing the car pretty well and my driver (James, former lemans driver) was going at least 20mph+ what I thought was "fast". This was probably as fun as driving myself, just seeing how fast they can get the cars around the track. I was left with the impression that my car doesn't need the AP3 sitting on my pool table, just some better brakes and a stiffer suspension/chassis and it can do more than I can realistically ask of it. This did however make me feel good about all the @tbperformance products I have been buying and the new suspension from YCW supposed to be coming later this month.
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Next was a 30 minute or so lunch they provide, pretty much sandwiches, but they weren't bad. If you are a vegetarian or something you should bring something for yourself I would think. After lunch it was time to go back to "class", we had a quick run down of what was next- auto-x practice, then auto-x laps. Also got to do a little time in a skid car ( I think that's what its called) that shows you at a very slow speed how your tire grip changes and effects your turning and traction. Here is a pic Land vehicle Vehicle Car Automotive design Personal luxury car

For the auto-x drills they split you into groups and you go through 3 stations. A 90 degree parking spot slide and a wet corner 180, both which utilize a non-stock emergency brake, that is actually just a big rally car e-break they fitted in the ST's because they said doing this with our stock ones would bust all the wires and break it. The last drill is figure 8's which only requires regular braking. Once you get pretty good at all of these they finally let you do a full lap and put it together. Now something I haven't touched on before but needs to be noted- You drive FIST's and FOST's during the whole day. During the auto-x laps you ONLY DRIVE FIST'S. This is because people cried like babies that our FOST's were faster than theirs in certain areas and so it wasn't fair. So now everyone has to drive the same car. That said, the FIST is fun as hell too just less power and a little nimbler. You do one run with an instructor who will give you tips, then a few laps solo, then a final timed lap. After the finish line the 90 degree parking spot box is used as a bonus, so you slow down and slide into it for some extra points. Unsurprisingly I won this competition (just kidding I was surprised but very happy) and ended up with the fastest time. The whole auto-x thing was also really fun and something I could see doing in the future as I think it'd be less harsh on my vehicle and require less maintenance/money than tracking it often. Overall I think OA is very much worth going to, especially if you are a newer driver. I had a lot to learn and I feel like it was worth my time to do it in an place where the specilize in the car that I will be driving ever day
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Now on to Utah itself. Like I said before, I might not be back so I wanted to spend some time out there, so if you are from the East Coast and can add a few days onto the trip I would!

We spent the week in SLC and didn't stay at the comfort inn in the middle of nowhere that is closer to the track. The track was only 30 mins from my hotel right down town..so I guess my advice is stay downtown and ignore the comfort inn. Also, heads up to drinkers, beer is super weak in Utah I think like 3.8 percent is the highest it can go, so BYOB if you are a craft guy. I also managed to snag a fiesta ST from the budget rental car at the airport in SLC. That was super fun and I suggest you reserve the one they have when you go, it was under $300 for a week unlimited miles and it only had 2700 when I got it, although I did put on about 500 more last week.

Places we saw:
Mormon Temple in downtown SLC- Regardless of how you feel about mormons this is an amazing building and the story of the hardship they faced and overcame to start SLC is nothing short of remarkable. Worth checking out for a few hours and right downtown near City Creek shopping and food.
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Bonneville Salt Flats: This was cool and disappointing. Cool because it is beautiful out there and so famous. Disappointing because it was flooded and apparently doesn't even open every year due to being wet which is something I didn't have a clue about. This is a bit of a drive, but I don't regret it at all and I got to cruise at 110-115 multiple times on the way there so I had fun! Went up some back roads and climbed some "hills" or whatever not sure what them
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Cottonwood Canyons: Right outside of the city on the way to Park Lake and Skiing. There are trails all over here and googlemaps shows them. Pretty much went out, found a trail and started hiking for 4 miles before turning back, but there was plenty of hike left in the trail I think. There are soooo many beautiful spots close to the city, so make a day or two for hiking, or even just driving through them.
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Last but not least we went to the Natual History Meusem. It was about 15 minutes outside of downtown but worth it, best part was the dinosaur bones.
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Want to do if I ever go back:
Arches and Zion national parks
Skiing

Loved it though and might need to get a raptor or rs next time so I can go again!
 

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Awesome. Thanks for sharing your experience! I'll be out there from May 2-6 for a combined trip. OA is May 3-4 for me. Debating whether I should skip the dinner so I can have more time to explore, because I'm also gonna be attending my cousin's graduation which will take a chunk out of my free time during the trip.

So I know you said you haven't had any prior experience tracking or auto-x'ing the car, which is great seeing that you still managed to get the fastest lap on auto-x. How would you rate your MT driving skills otherwise? I ask because I'm similar to you in that I've never done any performance driving, but I also have to say I'm pretty novice overall when it comes to MT. Looking forward to the experience and definitely have a lot to learn, but also slightly concerned I'm gonna make a fool of myself! Hahah
 

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I'm excited for mine in June.
I'm disappointed that we will all have to drive Fists, but I will make the most of it. I have to fly in and out shortly before and after the event because of work though. No sight seeing for me.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Awesome. Thanks for sharing your experience! I'll be out there from May 2-6 for a combined trip. OA is May 3-4 for me. Debating whether I should skip the dinner so I can have more time to explore, because I'm also gonna be attending my cousin's graduation which will take a chunk out of my free time during the trip.

So I know you said you haven't had any prior experience tracking or auto-x'ing the car, which is great seeing that you still managed to get the fastest lap on auto-x. How would you rate your MT driving skills otherwise? I ask because I'm similar to you in that I've never done any performance driving, but I also have to say I'm pretty novice overall when it comes to MT. Looking forward to the experience and definitely have a lot to learn, but also slightly concerned I'm gonna make a fool of myself! Hahah
I actually learned on MT when I was 12 with my cousin in a field. Then had only driven here and there until I bought this car last fall, then only had a week or two of use this spring before the trip. DO NOT WORRY. You literally stay in 3rd the whole time (sometimes 4th) on the track, and 2nd on the auto x. There were plenty of people not shooting off the line so don't feel pressured or worry there. I was actually nervous I'd stall and be laughed at on my way to the track that morning, it went fine and even if I did stall the guys there would have had me laughing instead of feeling dumb.

EDIT: Thinking about it, I actually stalled twice in the 90 degree turn into the box, and I almost did starting in 3rd instead of 1st getting ready to try the figure 8. It was NBD and no one commented (to my face at least lol)
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm excited for mine in June.
I'm disappointed that we will all have to drive Fists, but I will make the most of it. I have to fly in and out shortly before and after the event because of work though. No sight seeing for me.
I was actually sorta mad we had to drive FIST's, like I came here for my FOST! It was actually pretty cool and the car earned my respect over the weekend. Yes it would be better to do only FOST, but it is interesting seeing the differences between the two.
 

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Hopefully they change that by the time I go in June. I'm going so I can learn the limits of the FOST and not the FIST but I'm sure it still will be fun.
 

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I'm excited for mine in June.
I'm disappointed that we will all have to drive Fists, but I will make the most of it. I have to fly in and out shortly before and after the event because of work though. No sight seeing for me.
Believe me, don't be. They're awesome.
 

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I'm excited for mine in June.
I'm disappointed that we will all have to drive Fists, but I will make the most of it. I have to fly in and out shortly before and after the event because of work though. No sight seeing for me.
As I recall, we were able to choose our car for the track time. I chose the Focus, of course. I went during the week, and our class wasn't full, so that may have figured into being able to choose. If you can pull off a weekday class, it can work out to smaller class size, which means more seat time, since each exercise is time constrained.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
As I recall, we were able to choose our car for the track time. I chose the Focus, of course. I went during the week, and our class wasn't full, so that may have figured into being able to choose. If you can pull off a weekday class, it can work out to smaller class size, which means more seat time, since each exercise is time constrained.
I went on a Thursday and we had 15/20 people or something. We were also "well behaved" which apparently saved a lot of time and allowed us to do an extra Auto-x lap each. So if you guys see people slowing things down let them know it's only costing you guys seat time.
 
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