The Roos School and The 800 lb. Gorilla
The Bertil Roos Racing School is living proof that bigger is not always better….Compare our school with the industry’s 800 lb. gorilla
The Bertil Roos Racing School has announced that it is now authorized to issue National Auto Sport Association (NASA) licenses to graduates of its 5 Day or Advanced School Programs. All past graduates of these programs will also be able to apply, with certificates of completion included in their application.
“We are pleased to announce this new relationship,” said Dennis Macchio. “In a time where the competition between sanctioning bodies has caused some to lower their license education requirements, NASA has stood firm. Both organizations place an emphasis on proper training and safety. We share the belief that respect for the sport is essential.”
The relationship between NASA Northeast Region and the Bertil Roos Racing Schools goes back many years each of which respects the others quality of instruction and the comprehensive race programs each group offers.
This cooperative effort is designed to help promote quality motorsports in the Northeast Region as well as other Regions in the country. For those looking to develop as drivers you now have more options and more places to race.
Being involved in the sport of motor racing for more than 35 years, gives one a perspective on the sport that just can’t be duplicated in a short period of time. Having been involved in so many activities within the sport, driver, track owner, manager and designer, team owner, instructor, driving coach and owner of a well known racing school, have provided me with a lifetime of experience and understanding of the sport.
During the last 3 ½ decades, I have seen so much change: driver safety has improved immensely. Driving gear, car design, track layouts and safety barriers have contributed greatly to reducing fatalities and injuries. Suspensions, tires, and gearbox technologies have made cars faster, easier to drive and as a result, more accessible to a larger portion of the population. A proliferation of entry-level car clubs, member driven race tracks and the immense growth of karting are helping to grow the number of “weekend warriors” at a rate not seen since the post WWII years.
But several things have remained as a constant within the sport. First, it continues to be an incredibly expensive activity to participate in. No one can afford to do it as much of it as they would like, and only a few can even partially satiate their appetite. Secondly, it remains an endeavor to which there is no defined, well established portal from which to enter. And third, almost everyone outside of the sport, due to their “interstate heroics” thinks they will be “naturals” on a race track.
It is the combination of these last three realities that makes us long time “racing people” shutter.
“Drive a wreck” race clubs, membership driven race tracks, and dare I say, some racing schools have, in an effort to meet their economic realities, lowered the performance driving education bar to such an extent, that tracks are now often filled with untrained and unsafe drivers. Even worse, they don’t know it. Our sport has evolved into “if you’ve got the money come play. Age, attitude, knowledge, skill, and etiquette are irrelevant.”
Drivers now “solo” on race tracks, often in cars that are beyond their skill levels, after no more than a ½ hour safety class, and some van drive arounds. One can hardly blame them; they are new, and don’t know any better. But the organizers do! Where has the respect for the sport gone?
Which brings me to the purpose of writing this long diatribe, “Do it right, or don’t do it at all.”
In addition to my racing school, I do about 40 days of coaching a year. These clients are, in theory, advanced drivers, who are lacking for a few speed secrets and some “tweaking” of technique. In about 1 out of 4 cases my speed secret advice is “go take a professional driving school.” I learned during my career, and in fact, most of us that have been around for a while know, that there is no skipping class when it comes to this sport. Bertil Roos, the founder of our school, and a European trained driver, once said “In America, it takes more schooling to get a license to cut hair, than it does to drive a racecar.”
Simply said, a proper level of training in this sport will make the track a safer place for not only the trained driver, but for all others sharing the track. And, you know what, you will be much, much better at it. Technique, vehicle dynamics, race craft, race strategy, psychology, line theory, and all of the other “good stuff” just cannot be learned properly “on the fly.” Improvements in technology, safety gear and track access are not going to offset poor training, a large ego and budget. We at the Bertil Roos Racing School would love to see a drop in the number of students that come to us and say “I wrecked my car, and figured I better come here and learn it the right way.”
So the message is simple, “Do it right, or don’t do it at all.”
We are rapidly approaching the 2016 Roos F-2000 Racing Series. This year will mark the 33rd anniversary of the series making it the longest continuously run formula car series in North America.
In a recent interview, Dennis Macchio, President and CEO of the Bertil Roos Racing School, the series’ sanctioning body, was asked why the program has been so successful for so long.
“Probably too many reasons to give an interview”, Macchio explained. “I guess it all starts with money. We have strived over the past three decades to make this the least expensive formula car series in all of racing. Unlike other spec classes, we own and maintain all of the cars used in the series. In addition to the obvious economies of scale, that strategy also insures that no driver can buy an advantage. This keeps the price of our series extremely low, while insuring the most even playing field possible”.
Macchio goes on to explain that while the racing is extremely competitive, the group mentality of participants, and the fact that it is administrated by the Roos Racing School personnel, results in a high level of clean racing. “The series is monitored from within the competitors and from outside”.
Macchio explains “As a result, the racing is done right; as clean and safe as it can be done in this sport. Crash damage and injuries are probably the lowest of any series in existence. Cost and safety are two of our biggest selling points.”
Driver mix is also a contributor to the success. “Each year, our entry list is filled with an eclectic mix of one year thrill seekers, hardened hobbyists and aspiring professionals, eager to begin climbing the ladder to the big time” says Macchio. “We have drivers who have enjoyed our format for a decade or longer, returnees from higher levels of racing who want to return to the fun of roots racing, and of course, those seeking to build a career.”
Dozens of current and past pro drivers have driven in the Roos schools and series. Oddly, Macchio eschews name dropping. “We don’t like to drop names. Our successful clients have gotten where they are by their own hard work and while we may have played a role, even a significant one, the credit should go to them. Name dropping, and even worse name buying, is better left to our competitors”.
And lastly, is the equipment. Macchio explains that the cars used in the series are “drivers’ cars”. “In our series, Macchio says, the emphasis is on the driving. The cars are all about the driver and his skill set. You can’t hide mistakes with horse power and technology, while at the same time, you are well rewarded for technique, knowledge, experience and guile.”
“Our school mandate is to teach everything we know to develop a driver and provide the guidance that will insure that his or her potential is fully realized. Our series is designed to provide a format for the execution and enjoyment of those developed skills.”
One of the final questions of the interview was how Macchio felt about the quality of driving in the series. “Funny you should ask, Macchio exclaims. Our motto is “Do it right or don’t do it at all”. A large percentage of drivers in other series are ill trained, and lack both judgment and technique, mostly due to poor education. Even in our school, we have been forced to license drivers for other race series, like the S.C.C.A, who are not nearly as prepared as they once were, or still should be. Ironically, the requirements to be in our series remain the same. This probably has a lot to do with the minimal crash, and negligible injuries associated with our series.”
The 2016 Roos F-2000 Race Series will launch its season in West Palm Beach in March, and will visit a number of venues up and down the East Coast during its 16 race season. For more information, you can check out the website at www.racenow.com or call Roos at 1-800-722-3669.