Modern Corvettes are among the automotive world's most accomplished dual-purpose performers. They may go about their everyday tasks just like any other car, but underneath that beautiful fiberglass skin lie the taut muscles and lightning-fast reflexes of a top athlete.
One of the best ways to exploit the Corvette's more dynamic side is to attend a high-performance driving school. Many such schools are offered in the U.S., and several even use Corvettes as training cars. Unfortunately, most of these classes take place on small, remote racing circuits, and speeds are strictly controlled for safety reasons.
In Europe, speed rules. As we have found, it is not uncommon to be passed by faster-moving traffic while cruising at 130 mph on the Autobahn-even in poor weather. The overall skill of European drivers is very high, and many of these drivers are keen to hone these skills further.
Emmanuel Claes (left) is the...
Emmanuel Claes (left) is the Managing Director of the Corvette Performance Academy.
In response, Kroymans Import Europe, one of the continent's most prominent Corvette dealers, organized the Corvette Performance Academy. The Academy is run by Managing Director Emmanuel Claes and offers three levels of training. Classes are held on huge, permanent race courses as well as on safety and training tracks throughout Europe. (The 2007 season includes race courses located in Germany, Luxembourg, France, Belgium, and Sweden.)
The Corvettes are really put through their paces, reaching speeds as high as 300 kph (approximately 186 mph) on the high-banked tracks. The training is demanding and not for the faint of heart, but for Vette enthusiasts who want to learn how to get the most from their cars, the Corvette Performance Academy offers a safe, properly supervised place to do so.
The Academy offers classes designed to suit everyone from a prospective Corvette owner to an experienced performance driver. If you're planning a trip to Europe next year, you might want to consider signing up for one of these programs. It will be a Corvette experience you'll never forget.
Three Vette transports, carrying...
Three Vette transports, carrying eight cars each, are used to move the training cars from one event to the next. How would you like to load these by yourself?
A hospitality area is set...
A hospitality area is set up at each event. Event organizers go the extra mile to make sure participants get their money's worth.
Courses are conducted at top...
Courses are conducted at top track facilities throughout Europe. Here, three Corvette training cars pose in front of a spectacular Alpine backdrop.
Level 1: Corvette Safety Training
This program teaches the basics of car control. It includes skidpad runs, which teach class members how to control understeer and oversteer. Participants are also taught how to avoid obstacles and put through their paces on a slalom.
The course lasts one day and uses nine C6s and three Z06s. The capacity is 48 participants, and the price is 500 euros (approximately $682) per person.
Twenty-four Academy Vettes...
Twenty-four Academy Vettes grouped together make for an impressive sight. Here, the drivers wait to take an exploratory lap around the training course.
Each student makes several...
Each student makes several low speed laps before attempting any high-speed work. An instructor always rides along for the full-blast runs, and proper safety equipment is mandatory.
Wet-weather car control is...
Wet-weather car control is included in the course. The training takes place on an artificial "storm pad" with plenty of run-off area.
Level 2: Corvette Performance Training
This program also incorporates understeer and oversteer training on the skidpad. Additional areas of focus include car dynamics, acceleration, braking, the proper way to negotiate a corner, and using the throttle and steering to maintain correct balance. The culmination is a 90-minute session on a full race track.
This course also lasts one day and uses nine C6s and three Z06s. The capacity is 36 participants, and the price is 750 euros per person (approx. $1,023). One spectator is allowed for 150 euros (approximately $205).
Three drivers lap a banked...
Three drivers lap a banked oval to learn the high-speed handling characteristics of the C6.
Car control is what these...
Car control is what these courses are all about. This driver is learning how to control his Vette during power oversteer.
Level 3: Corvette Z06 Advanced Training
This program's objective is to produce very skilled Corvette drivers. It includes training in all of the basic racing techniques including handling, dynamics, throttle, steering, braking, cornering, and building up speed in the Z06. It offers plenty of track time in a C6 on Day One, and in a Z06 on Day Two. One instructor is assigned to two students throughout the course.
This two-day program uses four C6s and four Z06s and includes a Saturday-night stay in a hotel. The capacity is 12 participants, and the price is 2,500 euros (approximately $3,412) per person.
* Participants must successfully complete a Corvette Performance Training program prior to entering Z06 Advanced Training.
The two-day Z06 Advanced Training...
The two-day Z06 Advanced Training course requires that students master the Corvette Performance Training program before participating.
Participants have access to...
Participants have access to broad areas of pavement, allowing them to safely push the cars to their limits.