#170, WeatherTech Raceway ready for racing

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Just like any business relying on visitors, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca had it tough during 2020. Events were rescheduled and canceled. But management did its best to offer recreation opportunities when it could.

One unheralded but important track use is the facility’s access to non-competitive racing clubs and performance driving programs. Members rent or bring their vehicle to the racetrack and experience the famous layout.

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca has a full schedule of racing as well as programs for improving driving skills.
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca has a full schedule of racing as well as programs for improving driving skills.

Barry Toepke, the director of heritage racing at the WeatherTech Raceway, is our guest on this episode of The Weekly Driver Podcast.

Co-hosts Bruce Aldrich and James Raia discuss with Toepke the upcoming 2021 season and the varied competitive events on the horizon.

WeatherTech Raceway: Improve Your Driving

But we also talk about programs available to the public to develop their skills behind the wheel.

For a minimal fee, and sometimes a club membership, anyone can come and take part in a track day. Participation usually consists of five, 20-minute sessions circling the track.

Several organizations such as Hooked on Driving and Speed SF also offer one-on-one professional coaching, for those who desire more confidence in a high-performance vehicle or want to take their skills to the next level.

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is renowned for its varied motorsports racing.
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is renowned for its varied motorsports racing.

In many cases, professional instruction is required for those who’ve never driven on track before, ensuring the safety of all participants. There are manufacturer group programs as well, such as the Lexus Performance Driving School featuring instruction by championship driver Scott Pruett.

For someone looking for a way to get a competition license and graduate into a professional series, regular renters like Skip Barber Racing School, the Allen Berg Racing School and the AMG Driving Academy offer enthusiasts the chance to learn from seasoned professionals how to get the most out of their car and themselves.

As Toepke details, it’s the best way to learn how to handle a car under racing conditions.

The Skip Barber Racing School has seen many graduates go on to race professionally. Patrick Dempsey Paul Newman and Jerry Seinfeld have frequented the driving programs at the racetrack. And icons Jeff Gordon and Chip Ganassi honed their careers at the facility’s driving programs.

For individuals or groups looking for time on the track or a detailed list of the racing season, visit WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

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The podcast is in its third year, and we’ve had a diverse collection of guests — famous athletes, vintage car collectors, manufacturer CEOs, automotive book authors, industry analysts, a movie stuntman and episodes from auto shows and car auctions.

Please send comments and suggestions for new episodes to James Raia via email: [email protected].
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