The Bertil Roos Racing School, located in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, has lived by a simple philosophy over the years – when it comes to teaching the art of motor racing, it’s quality, not quantity that counts. As a result, the school is often referred to as the smallest of the well-known driving schools…and that’s just fine with us.
Bertil Roos started the school in 1975. Having forged a formidable reputation as a professional racer throughout Europe, the former Formula One driver emigrated to the United States in 1973, to continue his career.
Upon his arrival, Bertil immediately saw that there was a need for a high-quality road racing school in this country. Traditionally an oval racing country, Americans were being turned on to the idea of European-style road racing. However, there were very few people capable of teaching this highly intricate and technical form of racing. Out of that need, the Bertil Roos Racing School was born.
Having grown up on a small, isolated fishing island off the coast of Sweden, Roos had learned, at a very young age, the art of self-reliance and efficient use of assets. So, with very little capital, no formal education, and little knowledge of English, he set his talents to building and developing the first serious road racing school in the U.S.; the same talents that helped him build his own cars and win six driving championships during his stellar career.
Over the years, a variety of driving programs and venues have been added to the curriculum. The school has developed a Two-Day Highway Driving program, which concentrates on the training of new drivers, and a 2 Day Grad Camp for drivers looking for more 1-on-1 coaching.
But the bread and butter product is still the road racing schools. A major innovation in this school is the use of slide cars. In the late 1970’s, Roos designed and built a patented training car that slides at very low speeds, simulating what occurs at much higher speeds in racecars. By practicing in these cars, students learn to control the slides at safe speeds, which help them develop the skill and confidence needed to drive racecars at the limit.
Through it all, the school has remained extremely principled in its approach to teaching. “Others have chosen the route of becoming an assembly line,” says spokesperson Dennis Macchio, “we have taken a different road. We are passionate about what we are doing. We’re highly committed to the sport and to our theories and principles of performance driving. We couldn’t be that way if we went for mass economies, and a factory-like mentality. In the art of teaching performance driving, we still believe that smaller is better.” And apparently, so do a number of others. The company counts among its sponsors, Cooper Tires, Royal Purple, Petrol Eyewear, Road Magnet Springs, Bosch, Protect All, K&N, Cargo Trailer Sales, GREN, Koni, Jet-Hot, Quest Promotions and Tulpehocken Spring Water.
Additionally, numerous Fortune 500 companies have begun to use the school as a basis for their corporate outings. Groups of executives, often including important clients, participate in specially tailored programs conducted by the school. They find that it dramatically improves teamwork, communication, morale and motivation. Everyday skills, such as the ability to focus, anticipate problems, and analyze solutions are sharpened. And it’s simply more fun and adventurous than a typical golf outing.
The school has also developed lower priced introductory programs in recent years. In these programs, the emphasis is on providing clients with a taste of what motor racing is, at an affordable price.
While the school will continue to operate on the theories and principles it was built on, some expansion, particularly in the area of new locations, is planned for the near-term future. The school is currently negotiating with several southern racing venues, for a winter school program.