On Track with the Lexus Performance Driving School

lexus performance driving school hero

Auto manufactures who believe in their performance offerings enough to create programs that allow you to beat on them is a rare thing, but that is just what happens at the Lexus Performance Driving School. Not only do you get behind the wheel of the best performance offerings at the house of F, you learn a whole bunch about performance driving along the way.

The Program – Lexus Performance Driving School

The good folks at Lexus have a performance driving school – ironically named the Lexus Performance Driving School – sprinkled across four race tracks around the country. Sonoma Raceway, Circuit of the Americas, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Road Atlanta.

The school is broken up into two classes – the Performance Class and the Masterclass. The Masterclass is only available to Performance Class alumni.

With the Performance Class, depending on what group you are broken off into will determine the order, but regardless of the order the class teach you how to navigate an autocross course “at anger”, braking & cornering on track, opposite lock steering and throttle application aka drift control, and lead/follow at speed on the track.

All the pieces of the program are taught by professional drivers who have experience in IMSA all the way to Formula 1.

The Track – Road Atlanta

Of the four tracks this years Lexus Performance Driving School is visiting I attended at the iconic track Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

Located in Braselton, Georgia, Road Atlanta is one of the most famous race tracks in the country. Featuring 12 turns and 2.54 miles the track is home to the Petit Le Mans IMSA race, the location for a round of Formula Drift, and many other motorsport events.

The Cars – Lexus Performance Driving School

Tracks are beautiful and amazing to drive on and all, but most importantly is what you will be driving on it. For the Lexus Performance Driving School, Lexus brings the cream of the crop performance models.

The Lexus LC 500, the Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance, and the Lexus RC F are all at your disposal with the Performance Class. The Masterclass gets to play with the Lexus RC F Track Edition.

Behind the Wheel

Now you know what the school is, why the track is special, and the toys you get to play with, so now I am going to take you through what I experienced step by step during the Performance Class.

You start your day with registration, enjoying a hot breakfast in the beautiful Michelin Tower, and getting your assigned group – I was part of Team Carbon. And Team Carbon’s schedule started with Driving Theory. Driving Theory is the only part of the program where it actually feels like a classroom. You get taught the track details on everything from car balance to hitting apexes and how it all adds up to better performance behind the wheel.

Lexus Performance Driving School scott

At the end of Driving Theory, Lexus Professional Driver Scott Pruett stops by for a Q&A session. You can ask him anything or get him to talk about anything. Our group just overall opted to hear race stories and his favorite things about the machines sprinkled about the track campus.

After Driving Theory, we went straight to the Autocross course and hopped behind the wheel of the Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance. The autocross course was great to simulate track speed with little to no consequences. Hitting the cones is better than wall or gravel trap. In the morning my group each took three timed practice laps and later in the day a school wide competition of the best three times would get various Lexus swag prizes.

Next, we headed to Road Atlanta’s pitlane to get a quick track briefing then get behind the wheel of the Lexus LC 500. While we were going to get some full speed time with the LC 500s, for this session, we drove them out to specific locations on the track to get some performance education on cornering and braking on track.

After we got our fill of cornering and braking, we were again broken into smaller groups within our group with those with similar track experience to take some lead/follow laps at speed. I was fortunate my group was an instructor and just another “student” in a LC 500.

We went around the full Road Atlanta track for a few laps, had a little pit lane discussion, then we broke for an amazing lunch back in the Michelin Tower. Great food and gives you time to think about the things that have been talked about during the morning and how to use them in the afternoon.

We joked as we ate an amazing lunch and the first thing we were going to do after was slide cars around on the skid pad for the Drift Control course and the two don’t exactly go hand in hand.

We hopped in the Lexus RC F which with its great V8 kicks 472 horsepower to its rear wheels. It was quite easy to rip some controlled donuts around the cones the instructors set up. Being a fan of drifting I personally thought it was one of the most fun parts of the program.

After pretty much needing to be pulled away from the RC F and the drift course, we hiked it to the autocross course to set our actual competition counting times in the IS 500 F Sport Performance.

Sadly, I cannot report to you that I won the competition. My best time on the Road Atlanta autocross course was a 30.659. However, I was told by an instructor that on any other day that a mid-30 time wins the whole thing. After logging our personal times, Scott Pruett hopped behind the wheel of the IS 500 F Sport Performance to show us how it is done giving ride alongs.

My group finished out day doing lead/follow laps on the main Road Atlanta road course in the LC 500s again.

This time at the full extent the instructor felt our skill level allowed. Speed will naturally progress on track the longer you are out there, but I know since I am reviewing the program you want to know just how fast Lexus will let you go.

On the longest straight, I glanced down when I mashed the brake pedal to see it at 125 mph. Your speed will vary based on your own skill and the group your skill ties you to, but I will say triple digit speeds are promised and the best drivers get to see 120-130 mph in these Lexus machines.

Lexus Performance Driving School masterlcass

While my driving time was done, the fun was not over. Every participant got to hop in the passenger seat with one of the instructors for a hot lap. I was fortunate that I got to ride with Scott Pruett in the Masterclass RC F Track Edition. Enjoy the ride along footage below!

For information on how to attend the Lexus Performance Driving School, check out: https://lexusperformancedrivingschool.com

For more of his automotive exploits, you can follow Danny on Instagram @DKorecki and subscribe to his YouTube channel.


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