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BTA help!

My son and I leave on the 5th of Sept. and I am 2nd guessing that he will be able to drive. He is truly a beginner at driving a manual so I am asking what everyone's opinion might be for someone just starting out to drive a stick. He has about 2 hrs of experience in a parking lot driving my car. He was having a difficult time releasing the clutch but eventually did ok. as well as shifting but there again it was in a parking lot and then he drove about 2 or 3 miles down the road. That's it!

I was hoping he would have been more prepared but considering he lives in a different city from me that has made it more difficult. With other cars on the track at the same time I am thinking this may be too much for him. Please advise!

I guess I will have to ask him how he feels as I do not want him to feel pressured.
 
Yeah, I'm recommending you hold off and have him get a few months to a year of stick time before you put him in a high performance car. Like anything else, he should have the basics down before he is put in a situation where instead of learning how to race the car, he is having trouble just getting the car in the correct gear. Just my two cents worth.
 
badasbullitt said:
I was hoping he would have been more prepared but considering he lives in a different city from me that has made it more difficult. With other cars on the track at the same time I am thinking this may be too much for him. Please advise!
What a great dad taking your son to BTA. But teaching your son to drive a stick on a race track at speed is not the best idea. Shifting needs to be second nature to him or he'll put himself and others in danger. I'd either cancel or reschedule.
 
Thanks so much for all the feedback guys. I was kinda under the impression this would be a place where he could learn as he goes and that once he gets into 3rd gear he would not have to change and concentrate on driving. I definitely do not want to put him in a situation or others that may be dangerous. Was also thinking he could choose to have an instructor with him the whole time to help.
 
I would also recommend he hold off until he has more stick time. They only have a few instructors and will not be able to dedicate someone to him the entire time. There is also a session of heel toe downshifting where you will be shifting quite often. Once your at speed doing laps its easy to get to 3rd and just run that gear the whole time, but id hate to see him stall it taking off with a line of other cars behind him..
 
There are classes for teens to learn to drive stick, if they are available locally.

How I taught my nephew to use a clutch (on a motorcycle, but should be the same, he isn't 16 yet) was I put him on a hill and put it in neutral with his foot off the brake and made him engage and disengage the clutch about 100 times effectively using the clutch as a brake. He was not happy with it after about 20 lol. But then we went out on the dirt track on his new bike and he was fine. Probably not enough to get someone ready for BTA but I have used that technique with good results on other people too. You can start with a slight slope then change to a steep one, and emphasize smoothness. Then loan him the car for a few days. We also then put it in 1st and let him engage and disengage 100 times without stalling it, and braking between so it starts at a stop. Though when I teach him in a car it will be in my pos track car, not the Boss. It is all about muscle memory, just like with athletes practicing.

There are a LOT of people on the wait list for BTA, so someone probably would be willing to swap spots though it is sort of short notice.
 
Agree with the others, probably not a good idea. To much pressure to learn and not entirely safe.

My Dad took me at 16 (with my envelope of $1,600 cash savings) to buy my first car, a 1980 Chevy Monza stick. He test drove it, we paid cash. Then he climbed in his pickup, drove off and left me standing in the dealer parking lot with the keys! I had plenty of miles on a motorcycle so I had the concept down, but that was an UGLY drive home!
 
CPTMac689 said:
Agree with the others, probably not a good idea. To much pressure to learn and not entirely safe.

My Dad took me at 16 (with my envelope of $1,600 cash savings) to buy my first car, a 1980 Chevy Monza stick. He test drove it, we paid cash. Then he climbed in his pickup, drove off and left me standing in the dealer parking lot with the keys! I had plenty of miles on a motorcycle so I had the concept down, but that was an UGLY drive home!


That left a scary image must I say. If I knew he would have a instructor the whole time I might feel better but even then the instructor may have a heart attack...lol.
 
I just finished BTA on Tues. The program was awesome and so were the majority of the instructors. The program moves at a brisk pace and if your son is not confident or proficient in art of shifting he may be more discouraged. Third gear lapping can be done on the course (not the quickest) but passing was only allowed in the last two sessions ( possibly leading to disgruntled run group mates).
 

Grant 302

basic and well known psychic
I guess I'm going to go against the grain here and say let him do it.

Why?

I really learned stick at an HPDE event. It's not rocket science. Prior to that I had less than 2 hours of seat time with manual cars on the street. Before I even got my first manual daily driver, I had several more HDPE days.

Not to knock my T/A classmates, but only some of us had any prior track time. And I don't see it as too different. If he has any trouble tell him to stay in 4th...and learn to do the point-bys when they're allowed. If he can make the 3-4 and 4-3 shifts he'll do fine.

Buy the insurance. Have fun.
 

Grant 302

basic and well known psychic
5 DOT 0 said:
Grant 302 said:
I guess I'm going to go against the grain here and say let him do it.

Why?

I really learned stick at an HPDE event. It's not rocket science. Prior to that I had less than 2 hours of seat time with manual cars on the street. Before I even got my first manual daily driver, I had several more HDPE days.
Was it in a 444 HP car?

Nope. But that's irrelevant. The guests don't drive Bosses!
 

PeteInCT

#LS-378 - So many Porsche's, so little time....
Moderator
2,848
14
Connecticut
I strongly advise skipping the event. Any one who truly learns how the drive a stick at an HPDE event is putting themselves and others in danger. Clubs I drive with here in the NorthEast would not even let him on the track once they see the difficulty that he will naturally have as a newbie to manual driving. Just the thought alone of him not using his current braking skills properly because he's fighting to find the proper gear scares me. Also, you are talking about a MONSTER track car that has a less than adequate shifter at higher revs. Most proficient drivers here on the forum have swapped out the shifter for a better unit, and that's guys like me who have been driving a manual for over 30 years.

Take it slow, learn off road first and then is light traffic. Then hit the track when he's comfortable and have a ball!
 

Boomerstoys

Keep the shiny side up & the rubber side down!
Have to agree with others. SAFETY is paramount. Don't put him & others at risk by letting him drive/learn @ BTA. That's a lot of pressure he doesn't need.

Don't cancel the event, just cancel the guest driver portion and bring your son with you as a non-driving guest. If he's into cars he'll really enjoy himself and he can sit in on the drivers meetings and talk to other people assuming he's a car guy and comfortable with being around adults.

There is a bunch of stuff he can do, the museum, tour the other parts of MMP, and just be with his Dad. He can be your offical camera man and get some good shots of you on track and in the paddock getting ready to go play.

Just my .02!

Cheers!
 
Wow! What a response! I never thought I would get this much feedback. I really appreciate everyone chiming in with their opinion. Thanks so much! True Boss fellowship!

I wished they had an automatic for him just in case he muffed the heel toe class for a back up. That will be the real test before he would go out from what I understand if he is comfortable in shifting. But of course there would not be a refund at this point.

Not that it matters a whole lot the gt's are 325hp. He is really really excited about going and even mentioned that he wanted to make sure he didn't have to drive. And then I spoke to Bryan who suggested he would let him practice with his car prior of the event which I was totally floored to hear him say. What a nice guy! But then he called back later and said that Miller would not let him due to liability issues. Man, I thought we were going to pull this off after all.

Thanks again everyone!
 
1,255
2
GA
The first time I drove a manual was at age 41 when I bought my 2008 Bullitt. That first month was scary because I had to unlearn a lot of habits and hesitated again like I hadn't in a long time. I waited a year before I attempted driving on a track. Until he gets used to selecting the right gear, downshifting, rev matching, and being smooth with the clutch it would be very easy for him to upset the car on track, especially a very technical one like MMP. My first track experience was at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL, and I still did a lot of things wrong but brought the car home in one piece. I agree to wait a little and get him some good practice in for at least a few months first. I know it is disappointing for him, but he will be better off in the long run and will enjoy himself more when he does go.
 

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