January 27, 2022

It was truly the experience of a lifetime.

I admit to being more than a little nervous getting ready to attend the Bertil Roos Racing School at Palm Beach International Raceway on December 27-28, 2021. It had been years since I had driven a car with a manual transmission, much less a Formula race car, although I was excited to try it.  

On day one, I went into the office located by the PBIR road course. I introduced myself, signed a couple of waiver forms, and was off to get my suit and helmet. After getting properly fitted, I went into the classroom area where I met a couple of fellow students, also first-timers like me, which made it less nerve-racking.

After about 10-15 minutes of getting to know each other, our instructor JT (John Twardzik) comes in and starts the classroom training. He teaches us the terminology, safety, and techniques used in Formula racing. The in-class training, which is very interesting, runs about two hours before a break for lunch.

Then, it’s time to get on the track.

Before getting into the actual race cars, we took a few laps in a streetcar to see the track, learn how to navigate the turns and go over the apex points. Then, we took a couple of laps in the slide car which was incredibly fun. The slide car, which was developed by Bertil Roos, lets you feel what it’s like to drive a car over its limit at low speeds.

It is designed to handle sharp corners with a special suspension that once you get to the turn, it automatically adjusts to drift, then comes back to normal.

After we finished mapping our route, It was time to get in the powerful Formula R/T-2000 race cars and see what we learned. After a couple of tries to take off properly, I got the hang of it, then kept a semi-constant speed to get comfortable with the car.

A first-day goal was to see how I would do on the turns. The gear shifting was tricky, but I managed to get the hang of it a little more as the day went on. I mainly decreased speed entering the turns, then accelerated as I got to the straightaway.

We ended the first day around 4 p.m. and headed back to the hotel to rest. The next day started at 9 a.m. with classroom training, going back to the track to scope it out and then racing.

There’s nothing like the exhilaration of being behind the wheel of the Formula race car and you’re testing your limits.

Definitely Will Be Back!
Diego B.

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